Debra D - Debra DalgleishAbout Debra D’s Blog

Here on my Debra D’s Blog, I talk about running my online business, and the tools that help me, “behind the scenes”. If you’re earning an online income too (or if you’d like to!), I hope the tips on this blog will help you.

Early Years in Business

I’m Debra Dalgleish, owner of the Contextures Excel website, Contextures Blog and Excel Pivot Tables blog. Before building those sites, I worked at a large university for many years. Finally, I took the plunge into self-employment, to work from home, instead of suffering through a long commute every day.

My earliest self-employed projects were in word processing — everything from simple sales flyers, to complex templates, and form letters with pop up user forms that collected data to fill in the blanks. My first computer was one of the original Macintosh machines, and I used MacWrite, then moved up to Microsoft Word a bit later. The first spreadsheet program that I used was MultiPlan and later, of course, I started using Excel.

For several years, I also did corporate computer training for Microsoft Office and Windows. Teaching was hard work (on your feet all day, walking backwards, and trying to avoid bumping into the furniture), but great fun, and good mental challenge! The students had interesting questions and problems, and often helped me learn something new too.

Debra D Consulting

As my business grew, I gradually moved into computer consulting, helping clients on-site and remotely. Some projects were quick and easy solutions to straight-forward problems. Other projects were long-term development of complex Excel workbooks and Access databases.

One client needed help with a website, so I learned how to do that too — first with PageMill, and now with DreamWeaver and WordPress. Since 2000, I’ve been running my Contextures web site, and my Contextures Blog and Pivot Tables blog started in 2008. In the past couple of years, I’ve stopped doing consulting, and focus on my online projects.

Also, I’m honoured to have received the Excel MVP award from Microsoft, every year since 2001.

Debra D Websites

Creating content for those sites takes up most of my time now — you’ll find a vast collection of Excel tips, tutorials, sample files and videos on those sites. I’ve also written three books on Excel pivot tables, that were published by Apress, and you can find them on Amazon. Writing a book is an exhausting, but rewarding experience!

Those sites bring in revenue from Google Adsense, so that’s another skill that I’ve had to learn — it’s important to keep traffic going to my sites, and keep a good reputation.

To keep people updated on what’s new on my sites, I use Aweber to manage a mailing list. Their service fairly easy to use, but it’s worth investing time to learn all the extra features that are available. You should get the most from the services you’re paying for!

Other Online Income

Another income source is the Excel products that I’ve built, and sell on my website. I also promote a few great Excel products from other people, and earn commissions from those.

So, there are many different ways to earn an income from an online business, and lots of skills that you need, to be successful. I’ll show you some of the things I’ve learned, and hope to help you succeed, and avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls along the way!

Final Notes

  • In 2010, I founded Spreadsheet Day, which we celebrate every year on October 17th, the date that VisiCalc was first released, in 1979.


Affiliate Disclosure: Debra D is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.