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 June 2013.

What's Blowing in the Wind

There's a lot of stuff about to change 'round these parts.

So much, that I feel like sub-headings and bullet lists are required.

Value of Simple Navigation

If you normally read Value of Simple via email or RSS (and were good about switching from Google Reader), you probably haven't seen the actual website in a while. Whether it was a week ago or a year ago, check it out now.

The top navigation menu has been revamped to make the best stuff easy to access.

More tweaks are coming, but the good news is that you can now quickly access these goodies:

  • Various pages “About” different things like the website itself, my story, VoS products and services, the Continuous Creation Challenge (CCC), and more.
  • The Smart and Simple Matters subscription page and archives, plus sample episodes for various interests (e.g., simplifying, organizing, and personal finance) in the “Podcast” navigation drop-down.
  • The best CCC resources like the free resource kit, FAQs, and various people's experiences
  • My new Public Speaking page! I'm super stoked about the page itself and my ability to showcase my public speaking skills. Need a dynamic speaker for your next event? 🙂

I hope you dig the changes so far.

Value of Simple Survey

I ran a survey last month to better understand what you want from me and from Value of Simple. The results were enlightening and will guide my plans for months to come.

The key discoveries included:

  • 50% of you find this website through my guest post on another website (e.g., The Huffington Post, Becoming Minimalist, or Lifehack) and only 12% find me through Google. Looks like the guest posting will continue and the Google optimizing needs to start!
  • 59% of you smile or laugh because of Value of Simple (awesome!)
  • 35% of you listen to Smart and Simple Matters. I wish that was higher, but I know podcasts aren't for everyone (especially my brand of podcasts).
  • You generally like multiple mediums (e.g., written blog posts, inspirational images, podcasts), but you do prefer short-form content. Message received (even if this Pulse Check doesn't reflect it)!
  • 82% of you said you want more “how to” stuff. Roger that, friends! You'll be getting a heavy dose of “how” to go with your “why” and “what” in the future.
  • Over 80% of you keeping coming back for simplicity topics, 61% for organizing tips, 44% for personal finance, 39% for curating stuff, and only 12% for these monthly Pulse Checks.

I'm planning two big changes with this backdrop:

  1. Quarterly Pulse Checks: If you're part of the 12% that digs these Pulse Checks, thank you! But that's not enough to justify the monthly energy I put into making these helpful for all of us. So unless I get some major pushback, I'm changing the Pulse Check frequency from monthly to quarterly.
  2. Shorter, more frequent “how to” content: I love doing comprehensive posts on things like Professional Organizers and spreadsheets. But most of you would rather have 2-3 shorter posts broken up into a series. Okie dokie! I do this for you, not me. So if that's what you want my friend, that's what you get.

I'll share more insight after the regular numbers breakdown.

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: 2,651 (-161)
    • Unique Visitors: 2,055 (-109)
    • Pageviews: 4,603 (-239)
    • Bounce Rate: 71.29%

Traffic to Value of Simple ain't good right now, folks. That's partially offset by rapidly increasing podcast downloads, but I've noticed people aren't acting on my prompts from the episodes like coming back to Value of Simple for something cool.

Also, in the not-so-trivial category, income for June was almost non-existent. Ouch.

Despite my current income struggles, future income should be better. That's because a friend has contracted me to do some behind-the-scenes work for her business starting this month, resulting in a steady chunk of change.

You won't see that reflected in these Pulse Checks though. That's because the relationship and income are independent of anything related to Value of Simple.

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

  • Value of Simple Products/Services Income:
    • Start Investing with $100: $0.00
    • The Digital Launch Playbook: $0.00
    • Unsexy System Sessions: $0.00

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: $3.87
    • Aweber: $0.00
    • Bluehost: $0.00
    • Dragon NaturallySpeaking: $0.00
    • Elance: $0.00
    • Headway WordPress Theme: $0.00
    • iTunes: $0.13
    • 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: $4.00

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

What I Learned in June

So… it turns out that writing a book is easier the further along I get.

I have about four chapters of Experience Curating written and I'm liking it. I continue to crank out about two chapters a month and – with all the other self-publishing non-writing work (a.k.a. the metric crapton) – I'm still on track to get this baby published early next year.

If you want to offer your insight on draft versions of the chapters, book cover, or anything else, send me an email and let me know how we might make Experience Curating even more awesome together!

And speaking of curating…

My Ignite Minneapolis talk about Experience Curating is finally on YouTube!

With over 100 views and six “thumbs up” in just a few days, this could grow into something big.

What do you think about these five minutes worth of Experience Curating?

Click here if you can't see or play the embedded video.

And, hey.

Want to help the Experience Curating mission and the power it can give you and others? Please email a link of the YouTube video to 2-3 friends and tell them why this is rad (along with the context since perspective is kinda important to this curating dealio).

What's Around the Corner

What's around the corner is actually right now if you're reading this between July 4-9.

That would be me at the World Domination Summit (WDS).

I bought my ticket in October 2012 hoping that Melinda would be pregnant now, but not far enough along that we were in “any minute now” mode. Three cheers for good timing!

I can't tell explain how stoked I am for WDS! Anything seems possible at an event like this and I'm hoping it's a transformational experience worth curating the hell out of.

Go-go Joel super extrovert mode!

There will be a full recap on Value of Simple within the next month, so I'll leave it at that for now.

At the risk of giving other future grooviness short shrift, there's other schweet schtuff I'm jazzed about. The first is a Live Your Legend Live Event I'm co-hosting in the Twin Cities on August 17th. I'd love to see you at the event if you're around Minneapolis or St Paul that day!

And in the “teaser alert” category, I'm starting a new website soon. This new project is in a small niche and has the potential to rival Value of Simple in impact and my personal priorities someday.

But to quote Forrest Gump, “That's all I have to say about that.”

(For now…)

Am I seriously going to end this Pulse Check by dropping these bombs and running?

Yes. I am. And I just did.

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