It’s been a great couple of weeks for us! Our spreadsheet now works in any country (I’m 90% sure of that at least). I never realistically thought that the work we did would go much past a few friends and family. So It was amazing to find out we had reached people outside the USA. Here’s a fun fact: dates don’t look the same in every country.
I’ve also been working with a great group of students in Colorado to help get our google marketing set up. If you found us on the interwebs, it’s because they did a great job.
I got an email a few weeks ago from someone that said my spreadsheet wasn’t working correctly. My first reaction: I was so excited that I got an email from someone who I had never met before and it wasn’t spam! This is our first time hearing from someone new like this. It was a great day!
My second reaction: there’s no way the spreadsheet is wrong. I’ve been using it for so many years and I’ve tested it out like crazy. There can’t be anything wrong with it. It’s just a misunderstanding of how to use it. I know we do things differently. I totally understand that someone might not know how to use it right away.
I was wrong. There was definitely something weird happening. Numbers were showing up where they shouldn’t be and it looked real bad. Then I typed one thing in an unrelated cell and it all fixed itself! That’s not supposed to happen either. Excel tries to be smart, but it isn’t AI or anything like that.
Luckily I also happened to notice something that didn’t seem connected at the moment, the person who emailed me was from Finland! Third reaction: How did someone in another country find us? That’s really cool. (Finland is snowy so that’s a pun).
It turns out that dates look different in other countries. We’re the only ones that use imperial measures, so why wouldn’t we be the only ones to use a different format for dates? Some of my formulas depended on that format. So that’s why they weren’t working AND why I had never seen the problem happen in any of my testing.
After some some emails back and forth, a lot of Googling, and some more help, I think we got it all figured out! So if anyone outside of the USA wants to test it out and use our budgeting system, go for it! We’re ready to go international!
Thank you so much to our new friend in Finland for reaching out to us! I’m glad we were able to work through it and figure out what was going on. We’re happy to get feedback and questions from anyone (as long as you aren’t spam). You make our budget better and more usable for everyone else.
Google has a great program for nonprofits where they give you some free advertising in the search results. They ALSO have a program where they match you up with a group of college students to help you get that free advertising set up and running well.
I got paired up with a group of 4 students from the University of Northern Colorado. Whatever they are teaching there is working. Advertising online is a confusing thing. It’s a maze of tags, triggers, ad copy, keywords, SEO, measures, HTML programming, and cost…so much cost. And even within Google’s world, there seems to be separate places to handle and manage all of those things. I had no idea how to even get started.
I met with the group and told them what I was hoping for, what we have to offer people, and who we wanted to reach. Then they ran with it. Campaigns got created. Keywords got tested. Ad copy was created and tested out. It was great! They got everything started up for me and ran it all for a month.
Because of them we’ve sold more copies of our book. We went from 20 spreadsheet downloads to 300. And we get noticed when people are searching for some of the big name budget programs and people out there. It is crazy what marketing can do! And we’re just getting started. They were able to get me over that initial hurdle and show me where and how to make changes and improvements.
Thank you so much to the students at the University of Northern Colorado! You’ve expanded our reach and helped us move forward with our goal to make budgeting a happier experience for everyone. If you are reading this it is probably because of their work!