Free phone number and free voicemail

Although it is still by invitation only, and I had to wait about 9 months to receive my invitation, I recommend taking a look at Google Voice.

When I finally received my invite, I signed up immediately.  It was necessary to have a phone, or access to a friend's phone, to complete the process, but that;s about it.  I had the opportunity to pick from among several phone numbers in my area code (502 - middle Kentucky, Louisville), for free.  I then set it up so that it did not right through to the phone I borrowed, but rather went directly to the Google voice mail service.

My new phone number is 502-230-1613.

Although I can have calls to that number forwarded to any other phone that I wish, it can also be directed exclusively to voicemail.  The neat thing about Google voice is the automatic transcription from speech to text.  The voice mail messages I receive can be listened to as audio files, but they are also available as email text.

The speech to text conversion is very good, so far.

Another interesting feature is Google call widget (below).  Anyone wishing to call me can use it.  You enter your phone number in the widget data fields and Google places two calls - one to me and one to you, and then connects us.  It is cool.


Bootstrapping digital goods

A low-cost method of selling digital goods online is provided gt E-junkie.com. I've used the service as a consumer to buy a instant e-book download, which is relatively compact.

E-junkie pricing involves only a monthly subscription fee; with no bandwidth cost, no per transaction fee, or any other hidden fee.  Currently, the minimum monthly subscription fee is $5 per month, which is not payable until after the free 7-day trial period.

The bootstrap strategy is simple.  Line up your ducks so that you can sell at least $5 in digital goods in the first 7 days, during the free trial period, and at least that much every month afterwards, and your fixed costs are covered.