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 October 2012.

Que Han Hecho con Mi Cabeza, Tio?

For the zero percent of you that understand the headline reference above, this is a Spanish variation of Michael Moore's book Dude, Where's My Country? Instead, it's “Dude, Where's My Head” in Spanish.

It's only funny if you were with me in Spain in the spring of 2004, which coincided with the release of Moore's book and gave me a kick every time I saw the book title in Spanish (who frickin' knows why).

In October, I felt like “Dude, Where's My Head?” all the time.

It could have for many reasons like:

  • Inhaling wood stain fumes being applied to my backyard deck and fence.
  • The soreness from swinging kettle bells at Art of Strength.
  • A massive sugar binge before and after a Wisconsin Badgers football game in Madison, WI.
  • The pain from a back injury ignited while picking up dog dishes from the kitchen floor (oy vey, I'm lame and sore).

But most of the time it was from hunkering down for the launch of Start Investing with $100. More on that in a moment.

October was a fun month though. I had the pleasure of talking with Courtney Carver and Colin Wright for the first time and publishing an episode of Smart and Simple Matters featuring each of them. Could there be nicer, more helpful, and more insightful people than those two?

Salvador Valdovinos

This post – Practicing Dying to Simplify Living – featuring my 87-year-old Toastmasters buddy Sal, was also fun. I told Sal about publishing it and he was shocked at the response in all the great comments.

Hey Sal! I think you might have some buyers when your new book comes out.

Also, Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe featured my September Pulse Check in her Make Money Chop Shop, proving something I've always suspected. People actually read these monthly reports, appreciate my transparency, and enjoy seeing the humble origins of a giant experiment evolve. Based on the comments in Ana's post, some folks are even inspired to do their own version of a monthly report after seeing mine.

Good news Ana! I made almost double in October over September.

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.

Visitors to Value of Simple

Value of Simple Stats

Value of Simple Stats

First off, I've been noticing that the traffic from non-U.S. countries has been steadily creeping up. Over 15% of the visitors at VoS in October were from Canada, the U.K., or Australia (hi friends!). And this stat alone justifies why I made Start Investing with $100 into an international course that included those three countries. What's also cool is the 20% of people who come from a host of other countries, 120 at last count. This is the beauty of the Internet!

It was also groovy to see a site other than Becoming Minimalist send a bunch of people here last month. The episode of SASM I recorded with Courtney Carver of Be More with Less was mentioned twice in her article “The Difference Between Simplicity and Minimalism” which helped a lot. By the way, the article is a great read, so check it out.

Overall, traffic was down about half from September. That's easily explained because I didn't have the blockbuster content in October that I did in September from the SASM episode with Pat Flynn and the guest post on Becoming Minimalist.

I'm OK with that because October was devoted almost exclusively to getting Start Investing with $100 launched on November 20th. You'll see me pop up in lots of places in the next few weeks, which should give my numbers a major bump in next month's Pulse Check.

Here are some other stats 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.

  • New
    • Comments (not including mine or guest post related ones): 79 (+21)
  • Value of Simple Products/Services Income: $0.00 (Next month is a different story! Woot!)
  • 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: $18.44
    • Elance: $0.00
    • Headway WordPress Theme: $0.00
    • iTunes: $0.50
    • Legalzoom: $0.00
    • Manilla.com: $0.00 (my personal review)
    • ODesk: $0.00
    • Optin Skin: $0.00
    • The Bootstrapper Guild: $0.00 (my personal review)
    • Total: $18.94 (+$8.94)

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

Article Round Up

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

What I Learned in October

In October I (re)learned not to take anything for granted. With my back injury and being unable to move until Melinda very slowly pried me off the kitchen floor, I remembered how insanely healthy I normally am.

With all the “Dude, Where's My Head?” thoughts swirling around, I (re)learned why it can be fun and invigorating to do things that make you dizzy.

And I learned it takes a boatload of work, motivation, and coordination to get ready to launch a product for your business. Thankfully, I have an awesome team of friends, family, and contractors giving me everything I need to get Start Investing with $100 (SIW100) out into the digital frontier.

If you need a good graphic designer, an awesome website developer, or an amazing editor for your upcoming product or service, let me know and I'll pass along details. Just don't ask for the name of a quality research and data entry assistant. I'm having nightmares getting a decision guide (i.e. spreadsheet) for SIW100 populated with data about investment companies from four countries. Heaven help us all if I end up doing that work myself!

What's Around the Corner

I bet you know what I'm going to say. But before I do, let me tell you about something else.

My favorite little dude, the “Grantster” himself, is turning two on November 15th! Although I don't experience time speeding up or slowing down like everyone else does, it's kind of nuts that I'll have a two-year-old son in a week.

Once in a while, Melinda or I look at him and think, “Wow. We are parents of a small child.” But not just any child. I'm the papa of “Squeaks” and feel overwhelmed with joy when I do something weird and Grant says, “Thas fun-ne!” (translation: That's funny)

Whether you experience it or not, Melinda and Grant are a huge part of everything I do at Value of Simple. The reason I'm even typing this is because of the support from Melinda and the motivation from Grant.

Without them, there is no Start Investing with $100.

Without them, there is no month of “Dude, Where's My Head?” moments. Instead, it would just be numbing work at a corporate job that kept me financially stable and emotionally hollow.

I am so freakin' jazzed to launch SIW100 because it's the culmination of a promise I made to myself and to my family at the start of 2012.

I promised to pursue a path of enormous value for as many people as possible with VoS, Smart and Simple Matters, YouTube videos, leveraging the development of my peers, and more.

So if you're on the SIW100 pre-launch team (and if you're not, you're seriously missing out), know your involvement is special to me. I'd love to have more special people helping to shape the final vision of version 1.0, so join us before it's too late.

The launch on November 20th is fast approaching and I'm dizzy with excitement to live up to the vision of Value of Simple!

Let's liberate our time, money, and talent folks!

If it's not by joining a new generation of confident investors, that's cool. It's not for everyone.

But if you want to do something quick to help this community out except clicking a Twitter, Facebook, or G+ button (always encouraged of course), how about leaving a review of Smart and Simple Matters on iTunes. Or what about emailing a friend about an article you read here that they would really benefit from.

I'm hoping next month to feature a bunch of folks who take a moment to do just one or two small acts to help this entire community. Be one of those people please!

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

Your partner in simplifying,


Photo Credit: fmgbain