Pulse CheckEvery 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 October to December 2013.

Too Much Good Stuff

Someday, it may become impossible for me to write this Pulse Checks. I mean, where do I even start anymore?! Do I:

  • Get into how Clark, my now four-month-old son, is smiling, going down snow hills in his car seat (very slowly and with papa holding on the whole way), or is only waking up once a night now?
  • Explore how hard and rewarding the editing process for Experience Curating was or how amazing Erin Kurup (my idea architect) was during the whole thing?
  • Mention how disappointing the 2013 Minnesota Vikings were or celebrate the best start to a Wisconsin Badgers basketball team season in over a century?
  • Explain the amazing Live Your Legend Local events I've been co-hosting with groovy people like Andrea?
  • Write 5,000 words on what's happened with SimpleRev since I published the vision in November?

I wish I had a magic polling tool where I could instantly learn what you want to know about the most. Alas, I do not have said magic polling tool. So I'll comment on some of the stuff above in the “What I Learned” section below.

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.

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

  • Total Average Monthly Income: $154.85 (-$21.88)
Check out my Resources page if you want to know why I stand by these products and services.

The first thing I notice from the numbers is the ascent of Smart and Simple Matters. I'm even on pace to break 10,000 downloads this month!

Have I mentioned lately how much more I enjoy the spoken word than the written word?

(Says the guy who just wrote a 35,000 word book and is writing a 1,600 word Pulse Check).

Next, I see some flagging numbers that need a major boost. For example, my newsletter is growing slowly, mostly because I haven't marketed the Refuge of Simplicity with new guest posts for about three months.

Fortunately (or unfortunately because I'd rather not write so much), I'll publish a ton of guest posts in the next couple of months to market Experience Curating. I'm also going to change the newsletter landing page to make it, um, less ugly, more concise, and convert better. This is the kind of unsexy stuff that should help expand the newsletter community.

However, I'm excited to share some already groovy 2014 growth in other numbers for the next Pulse Check.

What I Learned

Experience Curating CoverI'm intentionally short-changing Experience Curating details. That's because you're going to hear a whole lotta curating and spreadsheets from me in the next couple of months.

One thing I'll say is this: I'm pretty sure I don't ever want to write another book. The whole process was no joke, folks! Especially while sharing a work space with my wife on maternity leave and an infant that didn't understand the phrase, “Sleep, little baby. Please? Please?! I'll do anything you want tomorrow! Just … sleep.”

You know what, though? I really liked having Melinda and Clark around. For instance, taking a break from work to snuggle a soft and cuddly infant was great. And being around to help Melinda was fulfilling.

In contrast, I remember coming home from my old corporate gig at 5:30-6:00 p.m., shortly after Grant was born, and wishing I could have been around to support Melinda on the hard days. But with your continued help, I'll always be free to work from home and do the kind of papa or hubby stuff that I wistfully dreamed about less than two years ago.

Shifting gears, perhaps my biggest insight from the past three months is this:

I need my online business to create opportunities for live, in-person connecting.

I'm starting to feel that my greatest value rests in three words that Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend has permanently implanted in my brain: Bring. People. Together.

Most likely, I'll always create and sell digital products and services. But my best results may be in building and facilitating physical environments for people to gather to connect, share, grow, and multiple each other's impact.

I'd love it if events like New Media Expo, SXSW, or World Domination Summit asked me to present in front of thousands. But I'm not waiting for anyone to pick me.

I can crank out more value and cultivate larger legacies with my own home-grown events like SimpleRev.

After all, is it better to speak for thirty minutes to 3,000 people and have ten of them do something because of what I said? Or are we all better served if I create a two-day event for 200+ people in the simple-living community to foster deep relationships, build influence, solve problems, have tons of fun, use diverse workshops to form new habits, and spread simplicity?

I'm choosing the second option.

Especially when I can bootstrap a big event like SimpleRev with just $1,000.00 up front (the deposit fee for our awesome venue).

Are you ready to support the simplicity community as a participant, workshop leader, volunteer, or from afar? Check out SimpleRev.com (still a work in progress) and subscribe to the email list for more info.

What's Around the Corner

I need to be very careful with what I take on. Because major Experience Curating marketing runs through March, before and after the public launch on February 18. Hot diggity!

SimpleRev is even more time and energy intensive because I have giant tasks that last through October.

But I still have time for other business and personal activity. For instance, I want to:

  • Find a standing desk solution for the freakishly tall. Did you know that the world isn't made for a dude who's 6'6″ (a.k.a. two meters tall)?
  • Upgrade my podcasting software, hardware, and process to squeeze in more Smart and Simple Matters episodes.
  • Collaborate more on new events, webinars, and products. By the way, which ones are you in for?
  • Learn some graphic design so I no longer have to punish those poor, sweet creative folks who make images for me from my insane requirements.
  • Fly with Melinda, Clark, and Grant to somewhere fun in the spring. Melinda and I each have $600.00 Delta vouchers burning a hole in our pockets and ready to expire in July. Do you have any recommendations for us?
  • Attend the annual Deerfield Public Library Trivia Contest in Melinda's home town of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin the last weekend of February.

There's a lot more where that came from, but I'll spare you the wall of text.

Thanks for your support in wrapping up a solid 2013, and for your help to make 2014 schuper duper schweet!

It might be relatively quiet on Value of Simple for the next two months while I focus my creativity on other people's platforms to highlight Experience Curating.

You can always join me on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook so you don't miss me or the grooviness outside of Value of Simple.

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,

Joel

Photo Credit: fmgbain