Many New Updates and News At Shadow Dragon….

My name is Derek Wood and I would like to welcome you back to Shadow Dragon Unlimited. 

Shadow Dragon Unlimited began in 2003 as a chance to better myself and enter into the world of business ownership. Back then I was very young, as green as a bullfrog, and had no real idea what I was doing. 

During much of the past 13 years there have been many ups and downs as any business owner will attest to. Luckily it looks like the worst downs are hopefully past us. I'll keep my fingers crossed. 

On that note let me tell you about some of the upcoming changes, (some of you might have noticed already), some important news and the future outlook for SDU. 

First The Updates

SDU Restructured

Shadow Dragon Unlimited has been brought back to its roots and will from this point on be primarily my business home site. This means the site will undergo more changes to include:

  • Site Redesign - Updating our look.
  • Topic Restructure - Changing what I talk about.
  • More Focus - This site will be all business (maybe some personal)
Shadow Wood
Shadow Wood

When I first named my business I named it after my most beloved dog, Shadow. He was a beautiful Alaskan Malamute who was with me through the toughest periods of my life.

He had a spirit of determination that had been a driving force for for me for many years. To him I owe much.

In honor of him I named my business after two things I loved, Shadow and dragons.

 

Shadowood Press

As part of the above mentioned restructuring I had to come up with some new options on how to facilitate this plan. 

The first part of this took some time. You see I am somewhat of an over-thinker by nature. So I spent some time thinking about what to do with all of the WordPress related topics that are already here and all the new content being created. So I checked for hundreds of domains names that I could use to rebuild into a WordPress content site. 

Then of course it dawned on me. I had originally planned to use several domains names I already had. It was now time to re-purpose those domains.

This is where Shadowood Press now comes into play. Shadowood Press was to becomes the first in line to find a new purpose.

All of the WordPress content will now reside there. This was in part because I wanted something with "Press" in the name, without having to worry about any WordPress name infringements.  

To facilitate this changeover:

 *ALL* posts on SDU that have WordPress content have been permanently redirected to the new ShadowoodPress.com

Along with the present content you can expect to see an increase in WordPress posts in the future. WordPress security will continue to be the main focus of the site. I will also include topics as:

  • WordPress tutorials
  • Plugin setup guides
  • Plugin evaluations
  • Theme reviews

Shadowood Press will also share the same design as SDU for the foreseeable future. I hope this will ease any issues and maintain some continuity. 

 

Shadowood Marketing

Where Shadowood Press will be all things WordPress, Shadowood Marketing will be the Internet Marketing counterpart. 

I have spent the last 13 years learning, practicing and working as an Internet Marketer.  I look forward to being able to share this knowledge with my readers in order to help you further your marketing goals. 

Over my life time I have worked at everything from a dishwasher, to salesperson, web designer, computer technician, software engineer, office manager, entrepreneur and more.  I have over 30 years experience in customer service, sales, management, business, and computer science skills. 

I don't say to boast, but to let you the reader know what my background is and what it is I am bringing to the table.

I will use any and all of my experience in order to help you reach your business goals. 

Shadowood Marketing topics will include all general marketing topics, but will focus on:

  • E-Mail Marketing
  • Traffic Generation
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Integration

Whether you are looking to start a new website, integrate social media marketing into your existing site, or how to implement any number of marketing concepts into your business, Shadowood Marketing is where you will find me. 

 

Shadowood Media

What do you get the woman who means everything to you? How about her own company. Sort of. 

As SDU has grown over the years I took on roles that I would never have thought to do before. In the ever changing mass media markets I found myself learning and honing my marketing skill. Everything from sales copy-writing to audio and video productions are required skill sets as media progresses into the future.

While some might say these are all part of marketing category above and they would be right, I find that having there own home is warranted. As such we present Shadowood Media

For many years my wife wrote sales ad copy for the radio industry. We decided to put that many years of expertise to work helping our clients with all of their media needs.

Shadowood Media will be covering topics such as:

  • Writing Sales Copy - how to write effectively to get your sales message across to the reader
  • Audio / Video Production - learn how to create, edit, and market your existing or new A/V content
  • Media Relations -  learn how to maximize the benefits of your own business relationships 

In addition to everything above we will be implementing new Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other social integrations for all sites as well. 

Well that's it for the major updates for now. If this were the only part of the post it would be good enough. If however you have another few moments, please read my personal story to the right to catch up on the happening behind the scenes. 

This will be an ambitious undertaking to say the least. I hope you all will join us on this wonderful journey.

On A Personal Note - Derek

As if the story to the left was not personal enough, right? Well it does get a little worse and a little better. 

Over the last few years I have been quite neglectful of my business and for that I apologize to my readers. 

So below is the backstory of what has happened to pull me away from here. 

The Back Story

Before actually starting SDU I was working for for a local Web-hosting provider here in Massachusetts. 

From 2001 to 2003, I, like many millions of people suffered from that most universal of pains - known as a Divorce. 

Anyone whose been through a rough divorce knows how painful it can be. If you haven't been, I hope you never do.During the that time my status went from being a married homeowner with 2 children, 3 dogs, and all the other bells and whistles to homeless, poor and broken almost overnight. 

With Shadow by my side I began to to try to put my life back together. After 2 years of back and forth trying to save my marriage it was finally over. So I did the best I could at that time. Eventually I had taken a new job, purchased a new, albeit small and inexpensive house, and even a new 2003 Kia Spectra to drive. 

Once the divorce became final in 2003 and life was looking wonderful, as you have might have guessed, is when things took a turn for the worse.

Out of The Frying Pan

Over the next few years I continued to work on myself. I went back to college to acquire my Bachelors of Science for Informational Technologies from the University of Phoenix in Arizona. Work was going very well, I had started my own business (SDU) and I even met the woman who would eventually become my wife, Jennifer. 

But that's when the proverbial "SHTF" moment occurred. My beloved and faithful companion Shadow fell very ill. 

For the next few years Shadow's health continued to decline. It was not a pretty picture to watch as he lost all of his fur. While the doctors medicated him to treat his symptoms there was little to do as they could not find the problem. Unfortunately I knew it was only a matter of time. 

Late in 2004 Shadow passed away.

This was tragic and heartbreaking for me to bear. He had been with me for almost 14 years. He was my faithful companion through the roughest stretch of my entire life to that point. To his credit Shadow had taught me a lesson about perseverance that I had forgotten of late.

Into The Fire

Most people are familiar with the metaphor "Out of the frying pan and into the fire". It is meant to mean that even though your being cooked in the pan, the fire is far worse of a place to be. I was about to burned without even knowing it.

After I buried Shadow I was left in a very empty and vulnerable place in my life. Like many who encounter this place in life I made a bad decision and I entered into a relationship well before I was ready. (not my wife in case you're still reading) :)

In my particular case I met a woman. Nothing against women in general, but this one lured me in, chewed me up, spit me out and laughed all the way to the bank. 

To make an already long story somewhat shorter, here's the end summary:

  • Owned and lost two houses
  • Owned and lost two new German Shepherds, Abie and Axel
  • Lost and found many new jobs as none were ever "good enough" for her
  • Lost E-commerce store making $40k per year or more, because it "wasn't a real job"
  • Lost everything else I had, including cars, tools, computers, self-esteem, motivation, and hope among other things. 

After spending some time at rock bottom during the "pseudo-divorce", as we were not technically married, I found myself back where I did not like being, broke, homeless and full of despair.

*side note: Take care who you let into your life, Pray for the best, prepare for the worst.

Burnt to a Crisp

So you wouldn't truly think it could get much worse would ya? Continue fearless reader...

During the time where I was homeless I found myself again falling deep into depression. I found myself having a lack of focus. I was unable to keep myself motivated to do much of anything. It seems like a lifetime to get anything done. Nothing could ever happen fast enough. 

Even the job market seemed against me. Nothing hurts more then to have a company "not make an offer" during a job interview because they "can't offer me enough". Company's were afraid to hire me because they felt I was going to leave as soon as better job came along. When you have no income and no food on the table any income is enough.

But it did get worse. Much worse. For this time my health took a direction that no one thought it would ever come close to.

Imagine my surprise when after years of fighting fatigue, depression, weight loss, and a host of other health problems that I was diagnosed with liver disease. 

You might imagine the conversation with my doctor but it went like this:

Me: Doc, I'm not feeling well, trouble breathing, hard to walk.

Doc: You're just out of shape.

Me: Having all sorts of problems.

Doc: Lets run some tests.

Lab work done, return to doctor.

Doc: Your liver numbers are up.

Me: Anything to worry about?

Doc: Nope, likely alcohol abuse.

Me: Like hell Doc, I don't even drink. Maybe couple beers at holidays.

Doc: We'll have to do more tests.

Doc: You need to see another doctor about your liver. She's the leading transplant doctor on the east coast. 

Me: WTF, WHOOOOOOAAAAAAAA There.

That's right I went from just being out of shape to being transferred to one of the leader liver transplant hepatologist in the country. 

For many years I grew up around family members that were alcoholics. So I learned at an early age not to drink and if you did not to do so in excess. I spent my entire lifetime watching what this disease could do to a person and did my best to avoid it.

Turns out my Autoimmune system didn't get the memo.

So it wasn't from drinking at all, just that my body hates me. :) At least it was something. Imagine how you might react if your doctor just said "your just out of shape" and it turned out to be serious.  

Rising From the Ashes

Like the mythical Phoenix who rises from the ashes upon his death, so to am I a changed man. The brash, immature, youthful rambunctiousness has long since been replaced with maturity, wisdom, and understanding that only comes from a lifetime of experience. 

While I still continue to struggle with a host of health issues I refuse to let depression and despair rule my life. 

One of my favorite quotes:

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” - Napoleon Hill

Four years ago while grabbing a coffee at the local McDonald's I ran into someone I had not seen for almost ten years, Jennifer. We rekindled a love for each other that was much stronger then I knew. 

derekandcheyenne1
Cheyenne's favorite chair

I now celebrate the loves of my life: my wife Jennifer and our lovely daughter Cheyenne. It has been with great patience and understanding on their part to have taken the time, shown the love and made it clear to me why I must continue to move forward with both my personal life and my business.

I thank the Lord for taking me down the path that led me here. I have been through Hell and now know Heaven in the joy of my family and loved ones. You never know what life has in store.

Keep moving and you will get to your destination, even if you don't know where you're going.  - Derek

Thank Your For Visiting

DerekWood3I would like to thank anyone who has actually taken the time to read such a long post. I look forward to hearing from my readers and would hope to see you all back here (or any of my other sites) in the future. 

See you soon, 

 - Derek