Pulse CheckEvery 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 March 2013.

Each Piece of Life is Like a Puzzle

My March was a bit like a Rappin' 4-Tay song from the 90s:

Each piece of life is like a puzzle, can you solve 'em. Stress'll drive you crazy when you're dealing with these problems. Problems, problems – How you gonna solve 'em. Man, I'm going crazy trying to deal with these problems.

I expressed my frustration to the Refuge of Simplicity on Monday and talked about this roller coaster ride of emotion I've felt since The Digital Launch Playbook (TDLP) was launched.

The response was overwhelming, in a good way. Even people who I've never heard from had words of wisdom much more refined and meaningful than, “Buck up, kid! You'll be fine.”

So to everyone who replied to my latest newsletter: thank you! It helps more than you know.

Going back to TDLP for a moment, it took a Sarah Goshman inspired offer to sell the first couple of downloads.

This is when it's awesome to be friends with fun and nutty people. The kind that you don't even need to ask for help. They just do it because that's part of who they are.

So muchas gracias, Sarah! And thanks to Sophia and Karen for being the first rockin' people to get their hands on TDLP!

Shifting back to the highs and lows theme for the month, I had some other things – like TDLP – not blast off yet that I thought would do well. Not “Holy crap! 10,000 people just viewed this in the last two hours!” well, but well.

They include The Value of Simple Declaration and my post 49 Powerful Lies We Tell Ourselves and How to Speak the Truth. But ya know what? I shouldn't expect us to go “viral.” Or should I?

This community has grown by leaps and bounds since Value of Simple was born last July. We have clout. We have spirit. We have tools to spread our message.

So hopefully with your help over the coming months, we'll show a lot of folks that this community has some seriously awesome-sauce stuff with a ton of value.

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: 3,543 (-201)
    • Unique Visitors: 2,670 (-212)
    • Pageviews: 6,188 (-220)
    • Bounce Rate: 69.46%
    • New Visit %: 68.50%

I didn't notice anything special about the traffic numbers this month. In relative terms, they were a little bit lower than I hoped, but that's going to change this month. The reason why will be clear in a moment.

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: $0.00
    • The Digital Launch Playbook: $17.14
  • 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: $0.10
    • 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: $17.24

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

What I Learned in March

I admit it.

Every so often, I feel like selling out and trying some internet marketing tricks. The kind of techniques and psychology tactics that are proven to work (unfairly in my opinion).

But then I remember my man Rappin 4-Tay again and his words:

No, I can't run, I can't hide from all of this pressure. If I sell out, that means I'm copping to a lesser charge. And whenever there's a will, baby there's a way. Each one, teach one – I always say.

Feeling pressure and selling out is common. We've all done it in one way or another. But the last part of those lyrics – “each one, teach one” – remind me of why I'm doing this. This stuff with Value of Simple, Smart and Simple Matters, guest posts, creating and growing amazing relationships with you and other people online.

I have a lot to teach. A lot of useful and actionable stuff. You do too. We all do.

I seek wisdom because it makes me a better teacher, not to mention more self-aware. Since I'm on a quote kick, here are two more that keep popping up about why I teach. They get to the heart of why I created Start Investing with $100, The Digital Launch Playbook, my podcast, written content, and why I want to influence the world with my voice:

Part of my joy in learning is that it puts me in a position to teach; nothing, however outstanding and however helpful, will ever give me any pleasure if the knowledge is to be for my benefit alone. – Seneca

Not to be outdone by one of the world's greatest philosophers, Randy Pausch said:

It is an accepted cliché in education that the number one goal of teachers should be to help students learn how to learn. I always saw the value in that, sure. But in my mind, a better number one goal was this: I wanted to help students learn how to judge themselves. Did they recognize their true abilities? Did they have a sense of their own flaws? Were they realistic about how others viewed them? In the end, educators best serve students by helping them be more self-reflective. The only way any of us can improve…is if we develop a real ability to assess ourselves. If we can't accurately do that, how can we tell if we're getting better or worse?

And when I can't teach, I entertain. Or motivate. Or realize that the world doesn't come to an end when you unleash some internal rage like I did with Screw 80-20: Let's Do 99-1 (A Tribute to Destroying Addictions).

What's Around the Corner

(Abrupt shift in tone and content ahead!)

Did you know I'm doing my first non-Toastmasters public speaking in two days? And that I'm super jazzed about it and what it could mean for my future as a respected and coveted speaker?

It's at a local event called MinneBar where 1,500 entrepreneur and technology enthusiasts will gather for a day of exchanging ideas and building relationships.

My presentation is called “Experience Curating: Filter, Organize, and Share Your Way to Insane Value and Kicking Butt” and it's essentially an early verbal version of my book about curating your existence.

What do you think? Would you come to this talk if I was giving it in your town?

The recording should be available in a few weeks and I'll share it on Value of Simple when it is.

I've also pitched Ignite Minneapolis to do a five-minute version of my Experience Curating talk in mid-May. Wish me luck on the start of this crazy and wonderful public speaking journey!

Between thinking about, preparing, and actually doing public speaking, April is all about the Continuous Creation Challenge (CCC). You didn't forget about the CCC, did you? 😉

There's a CCC podcast coming up, my own CCC from the 16th – 19th, and most importantly, a CCC resource kit for you that I feel like I've been talking about forever!

Brain to Joel: “Shut up about this Continuous Creation Challenge resource kit and just give it to the people, damn it!” Roger that brain. Roger that.

You'll have your own CCC resource kit to plan, do, review, and troubleshoot your experience on April 15th. Get pumped up, baby!

As always, 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