Pulse Check

Every month I recap the past, present, and future of my personal journey and the voyage of Value of Simple.

This “Pulse Check” is intended to be an honest, transparent, and (hopefully) inspiring assessment of where I've been and where I'm going.

This is the Pulse Check for April 2013.

Hear Ye, Hear Me

I did a lot of talking in April. Stuff like:

  • Publishing two podcasts and recording many more for your future listening pleasure.
  • Being challenged by my Lifeline Group to justify my business model and how I could/should/would try out some services.
  • Telling the Refuge of Simplicity that I'll be the proud papa of a second son on September 16th! Melinda and I will be having our second kid on my birthday (or at least somewhere around that official due date)! Can you say holy freakin' crap?! More on this later.
  • Doing my first public speaking at MinneBar with a talk titled, “Experience Curating: Filter, Organize, and Share Your Way to Insane Value and Kicking Butt“.

All of these things were important, but my official entry into public speaking was the most exciting (besides the whole having another son thing). It was invigorating to be in front of 75 people – all hanging on my next word – on why and how they can curate their existence.

This whole “Experience Curating” thing is starting to be my thing… and I love it! Like, “I'm going to make out with you for hours” love it.

You can't see me in action yet since the recording isn't on YouTube, but I'm proud of these stellar tweets from people who attended my session.

Note: I had some technical difficulties with my laptop and presented on a borrowed Mac Air… which I had two minutes to set up before the show started. Oh, and I don't even know how to scroll on a Mac. I'm completely Mac challenged.




(That's not the end of the Experience Curating talk. There's more excitement in a moment.)

While I was at MinneBar, I also attended a great presentation by Michael Noble and Paul Prins called “Pivot, Pivot, Dominate.”

Michael had the best sound bite when he said:

Doing a startup is an experiment. Pivoting is part of the process. [You should always] pivot toward pain.

That “pivot toward pain” part has really stuck with me. Let's be honest: the products I currently sell on Value of Simple – Start Investing with $100 and The Digital Launch Playbook – were created to solve pain points.

But these two products likely don't solve your pain points.

And that's unfortunate because this community is large enough now where I should know what you need me to create for you. Whether it's a type of blog post, product, service, podcast – whatever – I should have a pipeline into your brain and you should have a funnel into my brain.

So let's get better at telling each other what we're struggling with. You can start now by leaving a comment on how you'd like me to pivot into your pain.

And I'll continue running experiments like offering Unsexy System Sessions for (temporarily) ridiculously low prices.

(Warning: Awkward non-transition into a different subject)

April was also Continuous Creation Challenge (CCC) month at Value of Simple.

I did my own CCC for seventy-two hours and, better yet, The Continuous Creation Challenge Resource Kit was published!

Have you seen the awesomeness yet?! You now have zero excuses to not plan your own CCC and rock it in the next few months.

The Numbers

A lot of people are interested in the stats behind Value of Simple. I am too because it helps me understand what's working, what's failing, and what I need to emphasize in the future.

But more than that, being upfront with you and sharing these numbers lets me display some core values of candor, vulnerability, and accountability. The more you know about this refuge of simplicity, the more you know whether this community is a place you want to be.

If a number is in parenthesis, it's the net increase or decrease of the same stat from the previous month. This also includes the income I made so you can see how this site supports my family, charities like Second Harvest Heartland, and the greater community.

Now, on to some numbers.

  • Traffic Stats
    • Website Visits: 2,862 (-681)
    • Unique Visitors: 2,245 (-425)
    • Pageviews: 5,270 (-918)
    • Bounce Rate: 66.77%
    • New Visit %: 70.79%

The raw stats sagged in April and I'm not happy about it. I went on a guest post writing binge during my CCC and those will slowly be making their way onto the Internet. So that's going to help a lot.

You know a simple way that you could help me and bump up our influence? Send an email to that podcast host you love (you know the one) and inform them they should bring this inspiring dude named Joel Zaslofsky on their show.

I can talk more than simplifying, organizing, and being money wise. Word on the street is I can talk sports, politics, religion, business, health, and a whole host of other topics.

A giant high-five and virtual hug is in your future if you land me an appearance on someone's podcast.


Here are some other stats for the month that give an objective view of engagement in and by this community.

  • Value of Simple Products/Services Income:
    • Start Investing with $100: $76.41
    • The Digital Launch Playbook: $17.14

Note: amounts shown are after PayPal fees and affiliate payments are made

  • Affiliate Income (Affiliate Links Below):
    • A-List Blogging Bootcamps: $0.00 (my personal review)
    • Amazon: $0.00
    • Aweber: $0.00
    • Bluehost: $0.00
    • Clicky: $0.00
    • Dragon NaturallySpeaking: $0.00
    • Elance: $0.00
    • Headway WordPress Theme: $0.00
    • iTunes: $0.00
    • Legalzoom: $14.85
    • Manilla.com: $0.00 (my personal review)
    • ODesk: $0.00
    • Optin Skin: $0.00
    • Premise: $0.00
    • The Bootstrapper Guild: $0.00 (my personal review)
  • Total Income: $108.40

Check out my Resources page if you want to know why I stand by these products and services.

Article Round Up

Here is all the content I was responsible for in April. This includes content not published on Value of Simple like guest posts, YouTube videos, other people interviewing me, and more:

What I Learned in April

Besides learning that I should pivot toward pain and that I'll be speaking at a huge event in May (details in a sec), April was a reflective month.

My CCC gave me time to shut off the Internet and put myself into a three day bubble. And I used that time for planning, doing, and determining the future direction of Value of Simple.

I can't concisely and clearly state what the future holds – mostly because I'll have to see how some experiments pan out – but I'll let you know about it soon.

What's Around the Corner

September is right around the corner.

(Not for me. I don't perceive time speeding up or slowing down like 99.9999% of people in Western cultures)

And that means it's time to physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually prepare for my second son. Soon, it won't just be mama, papa, Lucia, Emsky, and Grant in this house.

That also means I'm cranking hard on my biggest goals before kid #2 shows up. It wasn't long enough ago that I've forgotten how zombified a person gets when a newborn is around, meaning Sept. – Dec. will be “low cognitive load” months.

There's still time for some fun before kid #2 is here though. Melinda and I are heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina later this month to do a “babymoon” like we did in Vancouver before Grant came along. It's just three days, but taking a relaxing trip anywhere with my honey is always fantastic!

And after we return from NC, it won't be long before my talk at Ignite Minneapolis.


I'll be giving a five-minute speech on “Experience Curating” in front of 400 people on May 29th.

I get twenty slides and they auto-advance every fifteen seconds. So not only do I have to keep this talk to exactly five minutes, I need to time everything perfectly so that what I'm saying matches the slides behind me.

Diz-zamn! That's a challenge! And I'm soooo up for it.

I'm so stoked about public speaking right now and I'm looking for more and more opportunities to do it. Just locally this year, but starting next year, speaking nationally is on the table.

Maybe I'll be a national public speaker starting with New Media Expo 2014? I've pitched the event organizers a presentation and I'm waiting to hear back. Speaking at NMX would be huge and I'll let you know the result of my pitch when I hear back.

As I told the newsletter community, it's full steam ahead until I crash, have a second son, people stop wanting me to chat with them (or at them), or I run out of experiments. Which one of these things do you think will happen first?

Let me know in the comments if you don't see something around the corner you were hoping to see.

Thanks for being interested enough in me and Value of Simple to read this report!

Your partner in simplifying,


Photo Credit: fmgbain