Pulse Check

Every quarter, 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 July – September 2013.

This Is Getting Harder

This is my first Pulse Check since I switched from monthly to quarterly ones. And, boy howdy, recapping three months at a time instead of one – and projecting out further into the future – is tough.

Where do I even start?!

Well, the biggest positive news is definitely the birth of my second son, Clark (although the World Domination Summit in July would have been #1 if it weren't for Clark).

He's just an awesome little fella, totally healthy, and much more vocal than his brother, Grant.

I don't have any “woe is Joel” stories that anyone else hasn't had about being a newborn's papa. Yet the sleep-deprivation level on son #2 is a fair amount worse than son #1.

That impacts me in a number of ways, such as hormonal imbalances that make sugary objects fiendishly desirable and a less productive pace to the day.

Yet, I'm just super grateful that I work from home and I'm my own boss for this baby experience. I was still spending sixty hours a week away from home, commuting and working, during Melinda's first maternity leave. Now my commute is about five seconds and I can be interrupted (or seek interruption) to enjoy the company of Melinda and Clark.

It's awesome!

In other major news, my draft of Experience Curating (the book) is done and in the hands of my fantastic editor, Erin Kurup.

She and I will kick thoughts, words, structure, and laughs around for the next month or so until the book comes out coherent, cohesive, and generally much more schuper schweet.

I've also been even more stoked about podcasting lately (if that's possible) with a flurry of great recent Smart and Simple Matters episodes. I feel like SASM is starting to hit its stride and I want to build on the momentum.

My long-term goal remains weekly episodes and I'm hopeful that will happen starting early next year. Are you as stoked about 2x more SASM episodes as I am?

And last (for now), I finally finished something that I've been putzing around with for over a year. I have a new – and dare I say rockin' – nineteen email series that newsletter subscribers automatically get when they enter the Refuge of Simplicity.

My previous email sequence wasn't that valuable and lacked the pride I have for most of my work. So I blew the whole thing up, enlisted the help of a marketing expert, and put together a new series that highlights all the themes and resources of Value of Simple.

Digital simplicity, Professional Organizers, unpredictable personal finance tools, spreadsheets, curating, the Continuous Creation Challenge, The Value of Simple Declaration… it's all illuminated in vivid detail now.

I'm so freakin' happy with this new resource! Check it out for yourself or let me know that you'd like to start a new email journey with me if you're one of the thousands that are already subscribed.

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 quarter. 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.

Note: All numbers below are a monthly average of the past three months.

  • Traffic Stats
    • Website Visits: 4,867 (+2,092)
    • Unique Visitors: 3,642 (+1,487)
    • Pageviews: 10,011 (+5,105)
    • Bounce Rate: 64% (-6%)
    • Podcast Downloads: 4,387 (+2,668)

Groovy! The raw numbers are way up thanks to my guest posts on Miss Minimalist, Firepole Marketing, and Get Rich Slowly. I've also learned a lot about ranking for key words in Google over the past few months (thanks, Heidi!) and I've seen more traffic to older – and now optimized – articles like my Manilla.com review and my Professional Organizers hand guide.

And look at those podcast download numbers! Hell to the yes, baby! Gimme some more of that.

But traffic doesn't guarantee impact or income (as you'll plainly see). So here are some other average monthly stats that give an objective view of engagement in and by this community.

  • Value of Simple Products/Services Income:
    • Start Investing with $100: $50.94 (+$9.35)
    • The Digital Launch Playbook: $105.81 (+$84.98)
    • Unsexy System Sessions: $0.00 (-$8.06)

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

  • Affiliate Income (Affiliate Links Below):
  • Total Average Monthly Income: $176.73 (+$99.47)

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

What I Learned

Lemme tell you: writing a book – at least what I hope will be a really good one – takes a freakin' metric crapton of work!

If you're thinking about writing a book – self-published or traditionally published – prepare to be amazed at how much energy goes into it. Sheesh!

Another thing that can't be over-emphasized is the importance of marketing what you create. Because as much as I love you dear reader (and that's a lot), I'm going to need many more awesome people like you to make Value of Simple into a viable long-term business.

That's why I hired my marketing/branding guru and appreciate all that Heidi has done with me in the past few months. I've also been motivated to create less quantity and more quality articles, podcasts, products, and services in the coming months.

I'm OK if I spend twenty hours on a Baby Names Spreadsheet Spotlight and another ten hours promoting it. I'm cool with putting a ton of extra work into the best Personal Capital review around and fleshing out the FAOCAS framework of Experience Curating.

At this point, I'd rather have five high quality resources than fifty OK resources. Wouldn't you?

What's Around the Corner

Most of my energy in the next three months will be going into a handful of projects of varying length and impact. They include:

  • Publishing an official sales page for my Unsexy System Sessions
  • Finishing the editing, book cover, and other major components of Experience Curating
  • Preparing to market the bajesus out of Experience Curating
  • Drawing the blueprint for a Twin Cities simplicity themed event in Sept/Oct 2014 (holy schmoly, it's a lotta work!)
  • Doing a Kickstarter and overall fundraising campaign for the simplicity event (tentatively named “ReSimple”)
  • Collaborating on some potential projects with awesome people like, say, Warren and Betsy Talbot
  • Writing up guest posts for websites that jive with our whole simplify, organize, and be money wise dealio (plus curation, of course).
  • Enjoying the time with Melinda while she's on maternity leave and hanging out more with Clark and Grant
  • Maybe attending New Media Expo from January 3-5, 2014 (if they accept me as a speaker)

That's plenty to keep me busy and to keep you motivated or entertained. But as always, let me know in the comments if you don't see something 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