Sep 142009

I spent most of yesterday working on a website for Carlyle Lehman at Focal Wood Products. Many people are surprised to learn that while the Amish people live a much simpler lifestyle than most of us, with their horses and buggies, they do in fact make use of many modern conveniences, including telephones, electricity, and even the internet.

Every Amish community has its own rules as to how much of the “English world” (as they call life among the non-Amish), they can incorporate into their homes and businesses. While the Amish don’t own or drive cars, they will hire someone to take them where they need to go if it is too far for their buggies, and crews of Amish workers at local factories car pool in vans driven by non-Amish co-workers.

If you drive past the Amish farms on some of the back roads here in northern Indiana, you will see small wooden structures at the end of the driveway at every third or fourth home. These are shared telephone booths, where they can make and receive calls relating to business. But these booths are not heated and do not have a seat, to prevent them from spending much time chatting. We often see newspaper advertisements for items for sale, with a telephone number and the notation “Call between 7:30 and 8 a.m.” Those are the hours when they will be monitoring the telephone to receive calls. For businesses such as Focal Wood Products, they have a voice mail system, so if we call when Carlyle is busy, we leave a message and he calls us back. It’s not quite as convenient as calling a traditional business, but it works for them.

In the case of his website, Carlyle received permission from his community to have one to advertise his products, but he cannot build or maintain it himself. That’s where I got involved, and it’s been an interesting experience working with someone whose culture is different in so many ways from our own.

I mentioned a while back that I have co-authored a new book on self-publishing, titled The Step-By-Step Guide to Self-Publishing for Profit. Last week I received my first copy of the book, hot off the press, and I’m very pleased with it. All of the credit goes to my co-author, Christy Pinheiro, who conceived the project and handled all of the production details. For more information, here is a link to the book’s website. Check it out; you too could be a published author!  

One of the things I suggest on my self-publishing website, Publishing4Profit, is producing small niche guides aimed at very targeted markets. Examples would be our Guide to Free Campgrounds and Overnight Parking Places, and our Guide to Casino Camping.

I don’t know if Dale Sumner from Mobile RV Medic, Inc. spent any time reading the website or coming to any of my seminars, but he recently published a very good guide, titled Basic RV Electricity and Protection, which is an excellent primer for anyone who owns an RV. Dale packs a lot of excellent information into the book, without getting buried in technical details that the average RVer could not understand. If you want to know what happens when you plug your RV’s electrical cord into a campground’s pedestal, and how to avoid overloading the circuit, and how to protect your rig from problems, this is an easy to understand guide that is well worth the money. You can order your copy at or e-mail Dale at

Of course, if you’re staying at an upscale RV resort such as Retama Village in Mission, Texas, you won’t have to worry about things like electrical problems. My friend Jack Mayer owns a couple of RV lots at Retama Village, and Jack and some of the other lot owners have set up a website, Retama Rentals, to market their lots when they are not staying on them. We paid a visit to friends at Retama last winter, and I can tell you it’s the nicest RV resort we have ever seen! So if you’re thinking about spending some time in the Valley this winter, check out Jack’s website.

While I was busy building a website this weekend, Bad Nick wrote a new post for the Bad Nick Blog titled We’re Going To Lose The War On Terror. Check it out, it will give you something to think about.

Thought For The Day – Anything in the future will always look better because there’s always something wrong in the present.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  6 Responses to “Not Just Horse Drawn Buggies”

  1. Without reading the Bad Nick Blog (which I tried one time), the war on terror was lost on November 4, 2008.

  2. We disagree with Max, but he has the right to express his opinion.

  3. Thanks, Nick, for the referral to Dale Sumner’s book on electrical protection. I have ordered a copy – it’s just what I need.

  4. I also disagree with Max. And agree with Jerry and Suzy that he has a right to express his opinion even if it is the polar opposite of mine. One thing I can’t figure out is how all of our problems in the US (the economy, the deficit, global warming, etc.) are now the fault of someone who has barely unpacked in the White House … can someone explain how that happened?

  5. The USA has been sliding into a void for many years (like my 401K since 2007). Now, like my 401k (my having reached 70 1/2 y/o last year) they are both in a tail-spin in an accelerated mode.

  6. Nick , Would you let us know the website for Focal Wood Products? Thanks!

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