Carlos Andrade, better known around the community as "cpvr", recently completed an interview with us. Carlos is highly motivated and enthusiastic when it comes to websites in general and forums and blogs in particular. Since Carlos is and intends to remain a full time webmaster I thought it would be interesting to hear his perspective on things.
Can you give us a brief bio?
Hello, my name is Carlos Andrade. I've been a webmaster since 2002 and I've been working with online community since I was 15. My first forum was an invision power board (free) and I've been trying to develop new sites ever since my first community become a success. I'm currently 18 years old, and I'm going to be a father real soon. Being a webmaster is a tough job for me, but with so many hours in the day; I can manage it all. I've only worked one job in my life, but I quit because they cut-down my hours for no reason. I'm currently engaged, and I try my best to succeed in all aspects of the internet and if it can't be done by me, then someone manages to help me. I'm very motivated and I'm always chatting.
What is your educational background?
Well, when I moved to Texas; they removed my credits and I was a junior at the time, so since they did that; I had to go out and get my GED. So, if you'd like to true answer, you can say that I'm a high school dropout with his GED.
What is your primary occupation?
My primary occupation is being a webmaster. I don't work outside the web, but I do help my friends from to time to make some extra cash.
Can you describe your usual daily schedule?
I usually go to bed at 4 AM and wake up at 12 PM. At 12 PM; I wake up, take care of some personal business, brush my teeth, and at 12:15 PM, I eat breakfast, then at 1 pm I start my day.
When I start my day; I begin to check my email, check up on my sites, check on other forums, and then check my income from the night before. By 2 pm, I'm usually done with all that. From 3 pm to 6 pm; I usually spend time on my community chatting with my forum members. It's a tough job, but if you want to succeed with your online community, you have to try to be as active as possible.
What is your "dream job"?
Well, my dream job is being an CEO of a major company. If that can't be done, then my dream job is working for the government and making big bucks. I don't have a dream job really because if its a job, then its not fun!
Anything exciting going on in your personal life?
Ahh yes. My baby is due on March 16, 2007. My fiancee is 5 months pregnant now, and we're waiting til the special day! : ) Harmony Alicia Andrade is going to be our new family member very soon!
What do you do to relax and unwind?
Well, I usually try to spend time with my little siblings to relax, and/or watch some TV with my fiancee. Quality time with the family members usually helps me relax - because without my family; I wouldn't be as successful as I am today.
What are your favorite books? Movies? Music? Games? Foods? Beverages?
My favorite book is "From pieces to weight", by 50 cent. My favorite movies are: Scarface (a gangster classic), American Gangster, and 2 fast 2 furious. My favorite games would have to be the Call of Duty Series for xbox 360 (call of duty 1, 2 and 3).
My favorite foods are: Pizza hut (stuffed crust), Chicken Alfredo, and Eggs. My favorite beverages would have to be diet coke, diet pepsi, and lemonada (homemade).
What do you consider your greatest success? Any failures you want to tell us about?
My greatest success would have to be my motivation from my family members. My dad is always telling me how much he makes from his real life job, and so; my dad has always been my main motivator because he's been taken care of our family from soon. Well, yes, my partner and I started up a business forum last year (I believe) and it didn't grow at all, so we sold it for $400 and focused on other projects.
Why are forums important?
Forums are important because they help users meet new people, learn new things, and network with other webmasters. It's hard to say why forums are important, but with so many online today, there's a reason why they're so important. I believe its the exchange of information that makes forums important.
Which online communities do you enjoy as a member?
I enjoy this community (TAZ), Digitalpoint, Sitepoint and EarnersForum. I try to post on many communities as possible, but its hard for me to enjoy them all because of the lack of time to post on all of them.
How much time do you spend online?
I usually spend at least 8 - 10 hours a day online. I chat a lot and try to work on my sites whenever possible. If I didn't chat as much as I did, then I'd have so many bigger sites. Chatting is a huge problem for me since I love to chat.
Yes, I love to code. I've been coding php / mySQL for about a year now. I'm not much of a designer (I can't design like the great designers, but I try my best.). I'm not an expert at anything and I don't claim to be.
Tell us about your websites.
Virtualpetlist is a community for virtual pet fans. Virtual pets are like "Real life pets", but you have to adopt them, care for them (feed, play, etc), and try to become the richest player! Virtual pets have been around for a long time ever since Neopets first blew up.
Myspacehun.com is a myspace helpsite providing myspace users with codes, generators, and tweaks. We also have the biggest myspace-sites directory which lists all the myspace sites online.
Virtualpetsblog.com is a blog about the virtual pets niche, which also covers how to make money online.
Do you have a blog? Is blogging important?
I have a blog, but its not related a webmasters blog. It's just a blog for my niche.
Yes, blogging is important because it helps you reach a bigger audience than your community. Blogging is like a journal, you can talk about whatever.
Who is your targeted audience and why?
My targeted audience is the kids, teenagers and adults because they're the main players on pet sites - mainly the kids and teenagers.
How did you recruit your staff?
I usually don't recruit my staff. We usually hire the people who apply to us. I wish we could recruit more staff, but a lot of people don't know about our site - nor virtual pets, so its hard for us.
How would you describe your moderation style?
My moderation style is somewhat strict than most community owners. If a user spams twice or more, then they'll receive a 2 day ban. But, before the ban comes, I usually send them a written pm warning and if it continues, I'll issue the ban.
How do you find advertisers for your site?
I don't. They advertise on our site via Google adwords.
What ways do you make money online?
I make money online from Adsense and Kontera. I run their ads on all my sites.
What are you favorite ways to promote a site online?
Well, the search engines + other forums are my favorite ways to promote a site online. I don't rely on word of mouth because if the users can't find my sites via the search engines - nor know about my site, then how can they hear about it? The search engines is my favorite, though.
How do you stay motivated?
I remember my past and think about all the times how I was too broke to buy candy from the local candy store. Once broke, you'll have a tough time building your way back. I don't want to go back to the ghetto to live, or raise my family, so I try my best to stay motivated at all times. Motivation is the key to my success.
Who is your business idol and why?
My business idol is Shoemoney, he's one of the richest webmaster. He's my idol because he teaches everyone that it can be done - especially with a good plan. I also envy Randy Brown because he tells everyone how to make money online from adsense + Kontera. I learnt about Kontera from him.
What where some of your most difficult challenges to overcome?
Well, the most difficult challenges to overcome for me where gaining my member's trust back. Earlier in the year, our host deleted out site's database without any backups, and a new competitor opened and took our members. Need less to say, we grew back to our old status and I ended up buying our competitor out.
What are your future goals for your site?
My future goals are to grow my community into other niches and try to branch out. I try my best to promote, and if you really on one niche with your community; it might be tough to grow. I'd rather focus my community on a ton of different niches in order to grow more, than just focus on one and not grow when that niche dies down.
What makes your site different?
My site is different because it provides the community with the most up-to-date news around the community and a lot of users come to our site because of our unique content, nice members, and overall unique design.
What advice can you give to moderators/admins of forums?
My advice is to never give up! Just because you can't get your forum active, don't be discourage, keep trying. Invite some of your real-life friends and tell them what to do.
Are you involved in any other interesting projects or ventures?
Yes, I've involved with a web game (Rescreatu.com). It's the only other project I'm involved in right now. I want to work for other webmasters in the future, though; especially those that can pay me for doing work for them.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
10 years from now I see myself being married, having two kids, owning a big-board community, and being one of the top webmasters to look up to. It's hard work and its a learning process, but I'm sure once my baby girl is born, things will get tougher for me, but my kids will be involved with all my projects in the near future.
What is the significance of your username "cpvr"?
Oh, it was based upon my dad's native country - Cape Verde. See, the cpvr?
Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.
If you guys didn't know; I grew up poor in the streets of Brockton, Massachusetts. Things were tough for us; my dad wasn't there for me because he was always working and the same goes for my mom. I was always fighting in the streets to try to stay alive - and if someone disrespected me for whatever reason, then we fought. I've since changed now, and I'm not longer in the streets.