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 January 2013.

I Wish Life Was a Big Bowl of Paella

Last month I went to a paella party at a friend's house and rekindled some friendships with people from high school. The food wasn't paleo, but it was a great way to “cheat” and spend time having meaningful conversations.


The conversations were about the sunny side of life – like my experience at New Media Expo – but also about the challenges that we've faced and continued to face (not to mention the challenge the Vikings had scoring points against the Packers in the playoffs, *sigh*).

When I speak with new people or those I haven't spoken with in years, it makes me wonder if I'm too transparent now. For example, when you tell people you made $0.60 in your business in December – and are on your way to making $1.25 in January (see the sad income stats below) – they tend to react strangely.

But hey, the way you experience life and communicate your experiences can't always be a big bowl of paella.

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 long-term.

Now, on to some numbers.

Visitors to Value of Simple

Value of Simple Stats

Value of Simple Stats

I started keeping detailed business metric stats in January and I've added a couple of new ones for us to track. Notice the addition of “Podcast Total Downloads” and “Podcast Unique Downloads” in the Non-Income Stats section below? I'm doing that because the Smart and Simple Matters podcast is becoming more and more important to me and to my ability to inspire change. The number of downloads will be a key metric and it's a permanent fixture for future Pulse Checks.

I'm also privately tracking all kind of things like the percentage of people who visit from non-U.S. countries. But I don't think you need all that mumbo-jumbo.

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

  • Value of Simple Products/Services Income:
    • Start Investing with $100: $0.00
  • Affiliate Income (Affiliate Links Below):
    • A-List Blogging Bootcamps: $0.00 (my personal review)
    • Amazon: $1.25
    • 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: $0.00
    • 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: $1.25

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 January. This includes content not published on Value of Simple like guest posts, YouTube videos, other people interviewing me, and more:

What I Learned in January

Last month I learned that quiet launches of cool projects can be just as rewarding as loud launches of other projects. You may have missed it, but last month brought about the quiet launch of our new Refuge of Simplicity. If you're subscribed to the newsletter, you got a special announcement about it and instant access to the free resources in this online sanctuary.

Already, I've been getting tweets and emails about the Refuge of Simplicity and I couldn't be happier! I'm all in on my commitment to creating new tools there to simplify, organize, and be money wise. I hope you'll consider joining us there if you're not already a member of the growing community.

I also learned that the slow growth path can pay off…but patience is a finite resource.

I continue to be enriched by the new relationships that blossom all around me and that I spend a ton of time cultivating. For instance, my episode of the podcast recorded in January (and published earlier this week) featuring Dan and Vanessa Hayes of Simple Life Together was awesome! We spent just as much time talking when not recording as we did when the mics were live.

These two are truly wonderful people looking to bring purpose and fulfillment to everyone else. And as I interact with people like Dan and Vanessa, my relationship capital continues to blossom. But this emphasis since quitting my job on building social capital is starting to affect my ability to generate financial capital. Case in point: $1.25 earned in January.

This is the consequence of the slow growth business model, not to mention the fact I still have much to learn and business savvy to gain. I wonder how long I can maintain patience with not making any money and I'm starting to worry a bit about my ability to create income from my business model.

Don't worry. I'm sticking with my plan and I'm committed to spending most of my time, money, and talent on creating free content for you. But something's gotta give soon and I'm not sure what or when.

What's Around the Corner

I have a ton of things cooking right now, some of which are just about ready to serve. Here's some of the stuff the boys in the back room are whipping up for you (in no order of importance):

  • The Huffington Post: I was invited to contribute to The Huffington Post by Dan Koh – Arianna Huffington's Chief of Staff – after meeting him at New Media Expo. That means there's yet another place on the Internet you can find my words and I'm pumped up about the platform to spread our mission! My first blog post is already live and you can find “How to Unite With Movements and Ignite Them From Within” there now. You can also subscribe to my HuffPo RSS feed and hey, if you feel like leaving a comment on my first post there or showing some social media love, don't hold back. 😉
  • The mini-product “thingamajig:” I referenced a “thingamajig” I've been working on in the last Pulse Check and I plan to launch it next month. Look for an announcement on VoS next Thursday to see what the fuss will be about.
  • Continuous Creation Challenge Resource Kit: I've been talking about this one for months and I've started to build the framework for a free toolkit for anyone who wants to do their own Continuous Creation Challenge (CCC). I'm doing a 72 hour one again in April, but you won't have to wait for an “official” CCC period to do your own once this is available. I really want to be known as “The Continuous Creation Challenge Guy” and this is my biggest step to make that a reality.
  • The scariest post I've written: I have a post scheduled for March 18th and it's by far the scariest post I'll publish to date. There's lots of cursing, brutally raw emotion, and a heavy dose of me ripping open my insides for everyone to see. I'm thrilled and terrified about how it's going to be received, so I guess we'll all just have to wait to find out.
  • Doubling my reading speed: This has been on my annual goal setting list for three years and February is the month I have it scheduled to be completed. Will I finally make it happen? TBD.
  • The Deerfield, WI Public Library Trivia Contest: I've been going to an annual fundraiser the last weekend of February for the Deerfield, WI Public Library ever since Melinda and I started dating. It's a tradition where we hang out with college friends, friends of friends, parents of friends, and the occasional random person…all in the name of a few hours of trivia and raising some money for the local library. If you're looking for me the night of Saturday, February 23rd, I'm at Doubleday's in Cottage Grove, WI doing trivia.

Look forward to updates on all this and more in next month's Pulse Check. That assumes the “Burning of the Christmas Trees” party I'm going to this weekend doesn't end up badly. If you've never seen an inferno of two-month-old Christmas trees on a frozen lake before, find a way to make it happen. It's schweet!

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