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How to Make Time to Be Creative While Still Being Productive

How to Make Time to Be Creative While Still Being Productive

There are a lot of misconceptions about the creative process that people have. Those who appear to be more creative are seen as just being more creative than others. I believe that someone is more creative because have the ability to separate creativity from getting things done. Most people know that constraints such as time and business stifle creativity. How can you be creative if you are worried about deadlines? I decided to put a video together discussing how I try to make time for the creative process but also assure that I am still getting things done. My process is not perfect. Let me talk a bit here about what seems to work for me.

1. Schedule Your Tasks

If you are able to, schedule the tasks, meetings, and other items you need to get done so there is a clearly defined time that these things will be dealt with. If you do not schedule a time to do them, all you will think about is the deadline. Deadlines stifle creativity unless you take away their power by scheduling the tasks to be completed before that deadline. Take the power away from the deadline so you don’t have so much anxiety over it.

2. Schedule Time to be Creative

Remember those scenes in the tv show Mad Men where Don Draper seems to be up against a wall with a deadline and no idea so he just decides to take a nap? This happens in the first episode of the first season. Don seems overwhelmed with what is going on around him, so he just takes a nap instead. He wakes up, has an idea, and knocks it out of the park.

Don Draper Takes A Nap

Now I don’t think that naps will solve all of your problems with being creative, but I am sure that taking some time to recharge and clear your mind will. It’s hard to be creative when all you can think about is the deadlines and work tasks that need to be done.

I try to schedule some uninterrupted time that I can spend thinking and writing with the sole purpose of exploring ideas. This has to be a time where no deadlines or tasks can be done and no promises are made to anybody. You also need to disconnect to prevent distractions from coming up. I recommend not checking email for at least a few hours before you start this creative time because you do not need fresh reminders of upcoming things that are required of you. You need to have a fresh mind that is as clear as possible.

For me, being creative seems to come easier in the morning. I typically have more energy and nothing has happened yet that day to fill my mind with the needs of others. I have more mental bandwidth in the mornings.

3. Journal and Take Notes

How many times have you had an idea right before bed, not write it down, and it’s gone in the morning? This used to happen to me all the time until I started journaling and taking notes throughout the day. I use a combination of things such as Evernote, Trello, and a physical journal to keep track of my thoughts, ideas, tasks, and goals.

Evernote is great because you can use it like a notebook to take down ideas, make lists, and track goals. Since it’s an app you can put on all of your devices, you can load photos, audio, and sketch into it as well. I often take a picture of something I read that I want to remember later. You can use the search feature in Evernote to search text in images as well so the next time you see something cool in a magazine, instead of tearing out the page, take a picture of it in Evernote and store your thoughts along with it. I do this when I read as well. The image above I took with my smartphone and in Evernote, I highlighted the text I wanted to remember.

Check out “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”

Trello Board for YouTube Video Production

I use Trello to put my ideas into action. In Trello, I set up boards for different ideas. Those ideas are put on cards and those cards can be moved throughout the board. For videos I want to entertain making, I have a Videos board. On the videos board are different lists. Video ideas start off on the left-hand side in an Ideas list. This is where I dump any and all video ideas I come up with. Some of these ideas will never see the light of day. Other ideas will move down the board through other lists as they make their way to the last list on the right which is for Live Videos.

There are many tools out there to help with your creative process. For me, it’s getting the ideas out of my head so I can clear up mental bandwidth for other things. This is how we are able to push out multiple videos each week while still getting a ton of work done for our clients.

4. Get Active

This is the area I need the most help in. I used to have no problem getting to the gym, being active throughout the day, and maintaining some sort of activity at home. I recognize that when I am more active, I am more creative. I have read the research on how being active affects the brain, it’s just tough to actually make it happen. This is the area in my life I am most challenged. When I wake up, I just want to get to work. When I get home, I just want to chill and hang out with my family. I need to work more activity into my life because when I do, I am more alert and my mind is more pliable.

5. Give Yourself Some Downtime

One thing we don’t do much of these days in the United States is allow for some downtime. We are always in production mode and never go into R&D mode. R&D typically stands for Research and Development, but I like to look at it as Relax and Dream time. When I give my body and mind time to not worry about the needs of my clients or the mountain of tasks I wanted to complete, I come back from that recharged. Not only am I able to be more creative but I am able to get tasks done quicker and more effectively as well.

Being Creative and Getting Things Done

If you don’t plan to succeed you plan to fail. ~Benjamin Franklin

Flying by the seat of our pants doesn’t work. Not in today’s world. If you want to be more creative while at the same time expanding your ability to be more productive, you need to plan for it. I can’t say I have found that perfect plan or combination of things that result in the highest level of productivity, but I am working towards it. This process will never be complete. It’s something you constantly refine and work at. Eventually, something becomes too routine and is no longer effective so you have to change it up.

Work towards finding something that works for you. Try a few of the things I am doing to see if they help you be more creative while still having plenty of time to get things done.

If you have an idea or something that works for you that I did not mention, let me know in the comments section below.

Blog

Chasing “There”

Chasing There

I started writing this blog two years ago and never finished it. I just read it and it’s never more relevant than when I started writing it so I decided to finally finish it instead of making another video.

As I kid, I don’t remember having much to worry about. That is how it is supposed to be. I remember desiring things, like toys and whatnot, but I didn’t worry about things like where I would be sleeping or what I would be eating. I was very fortunate. It was not long into my later childhood that I began wanting things and worrying about whether or not I would get them. At age 10, I got a paper route job so I could earn money to get the things I wanted. That embedded in me a mindset that I have been stuck with ever since but at the very same time fully aware of the need to change from. Before I get too far down this thought let me stop to mention that there is nothing wrong with wanting more. Our country was founded on the desire for more. More is what made this country what it is today. I’m not trying to argue that the desire for more is bad, it’s just that when we allow that desire to lead us, we lose our ability to enjoy what we already have.

Since I got my first paycheck and fell short of the funds needed to buy what I wanted I wanted more. I was not satisfied making the money I was making because it did not get me to where I wanted to go. I remember wanting a new part for my bike and not having enough money to get it. I thought to myself, “If I only had a second paper route, I could afford to get it now.” My brothers and I grew up racing. We loved building motors and working on things. We would dream of having the money to build our own motor the way we wanted to build it, with all new parts. We had catalogs of parts that we would go through meticulously making sure each part was compatible and changing our minds often on the final configuration. Later in my teen years, I did this with computer parts as I wanted to build a powerful computer. Throughout my younger years leading into my teen years, I would do a variety of jobs to make money, including starting a small lawn mowing service. Later on, I would build that awesome computer and build the motor from my childhood desires.

Through some program with the school district, I got a summer job when I was 14. This was the first job I attended daily and received a paycheck for. To me, this was real freedom. I had a paycheck every two weeks and could afford more. I remember one of my first major purchases being a new complete skateboard. Summer came to an end and so did that summer job. I was used to that income and now I didn’t have it. The one constant throughout my younger years is that I had often desired more and never felt like I had it.

In school, we are encouraged to make a life plan. They say that you have to have a five-year-plan or something along those lines. I always found that hard to do because I was chasing tomorrow to make sure it happened. I could not imagine thinking out five years in advance. When you are young, the concept of five years seems like an eternity. As I have aged, the gap seems to have closed a bit. Five years seems to go by in the blink of an eye. My oldest child almost eight years old. Where did that time go? Perhaps if I had created a solid plan for my life I would have reached it by now and would no longer be chasing after something. I highly doubt that. We always find something more to long after.

Over the last few years, my goal has been to become debt free. We are close. We paid off our cars and carry very little revolving debt. I have been chasing the idea of purchasing a home for a long time. As a self-employed person, it is very hard to purchase a home without telling the IRS that I made more money than I actually did, which in turn would require me to pay more taxes, or saving the money and purchasing a home with cash. Since I believe the government does not deserve any more of my money than they already take, my goal was to save up. We were well on our way, but had some setbacks with medical expenses we decided to pay in full and for some living expenses that I did not want to make payments on. I have allowed myself to get stressed out, even depressed over the idea of not having achieved these goals. I wanted to own the home my wife and I would grow old in by the time my kids were old enough to remember their first home. Since having kids, we have moved twice and are currently renting. Sometimes I have to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with that. The alternative would be being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to a bank, which is not freedom or something that would make it easy for me to sleep at night. I know people that are upside down on the homes owing more than it is worth and others who have had to short sale a home or even foreclose on one. Life happens, but I am glad I avoided those mistakes.

People are so quick to go into debt to buy a home, get an education, or purchase other things. I try to be a more cautious with how far I stretch myself, especially now that I have kids. I believe that any money owed to anyone for any reason is a debt. Somehow people seem to think certain debts are actually investments. You don’t have an investment if the bank is who owns it. An investment is an asset. You don’t have an asset until you have equity.

Regardless, I still have ambitions and things I want to achieve. The problem is that I always feel like I have a level I need to get to before I can even get started. That results in me not getting started until it’s too late. I often fail to remember that some of the best and most profitable things that I have done in my lifetime I started the moment I had the idea.

The frustrating thing is that I know that I am getting in my own way. I get caught up in the things that I feel need to get done at the moment and neglect the ideas that I know could be great. I tell myself that I just need to get that done first and check off a few other tasks before I could get started. I tell myself that I have responsibilities and I need to make sure that they are all taken care of before I can work on what I want to work on. I get those tasks done but I lose the feeling that I had when I first had the idea. It becomes hard to start working on that idea again because the passion was extinguished by the busy work.

I have been full-time self-employed since I was 20 years old. You would think that by now I would not have moments where I felt like I was near the end of my self-employed journey. Having generated my own income for the last 18 years of my life, you would think I would have nothing but confidence in myself. That is not always the case. I know that many entrepreneurs deal with these feelings. Being responsible for it all and making all of the decisions even when you are not sure if they are the right decisions to make can leave you feeling like a fraud at times, even after 18 years.

Back to chasing “there.” “There” is always somewhere just out of reach. It’s the pursuit of more, and not always just more stuff. The problem with it is that it’s a destination. But life can’t just be a series of destinations. We make everything about the destination rather than part of the journey. If you live your life trying to get to the next destination all you are going to want is a new destination once you get there.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like I have put in the time to have made it to some of those destinations. I see others reach greater heights having put in a fraction of the work, or at least that is how it seems. This is another dead end. The end result is what’s publicized but that is all we see, not the hustle that it took to get there. I know this fact, but moments of weakness, remember? It’s one of the ways I allow myself to get demotivated.

What our world really needs is to understand that the pursuit of “there” is not healthy. It’s too easy to fall into the trap that enough is not enough. If we can’t appreciate what we have in the moment, we’ll never enjoy anything.

I need to give myself the freedom to think and to work on ideas when I have them. I used to be good at this and that is why I have had success in some of my endeavors. Anytime I feel atrophy it’s a direct result of spending too much time trying to focus on what I think needs to be done rather than doing what should be done.

Over the past few years, I have been cutting away elements of my work that are contributing to an unhealthy desire for more. I have been trying to simplify, but it’s hard to do. When you worked hard to build something, you don’t want to let it go, even when you know the time has come. I need to focus less on the destinations I keep looking toward so I have more time for the journey.

As a parent, I think about what mindset I want my kids to grow into adults with when it comes to achieving. I want them to have a healthy understanding of what achievement is. I know that I can not program my kids to do anything or be any certain way. All I can do is let them observe as I live my life as their dad. Some people grow up not able to handle the fact that they are not reaching the destinations they built up for themselves so they push those emotions down with alcohol or drugs. What’s worse is that some of those destinations were put on them by others such as society or their parents.

What are your thoughts on chasing “there?” What is that destination you find yourself fixating over because you never seem to reach it? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Blog

Does Technology Enable or Disable Us?

Does Technology Enable or Disable Us?

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like without all of the technological advancements of the last 40 years. I was born in 1980 and grew up with a computer in my home. Technology has definitely made a huge impact on my life, but at times I feel like it can disable us rather than enable us. Though I am a very early adopter of many technologies, I am very careful not to introduce too much technology into my home. I want my kids to grow up using technology as a way to enable their lives, not as an escape from real life. In this vlog, I talk about my thoughts on this topic.

Blog

My Give-a-way got 50,000+ Entries

I am giving away a Cryptocurrency Mining GPU and that give-a-way has blown up. It has over 50,000 entries and it’s only been live for 8 days. The total length of the give-a-way is 9 days so it will end tomorrow. I’m excited to see who won and am even more excited to have so many new YouTube Subscribers, Instagram and Twitter followers, Facebook likes, Email subscribers, and more. What a successful campaign!

Blog Vlog

Starting to Make Videos Again

90-day vlog challenge

A few years back I decided to start vlogging. It lasted a few weeks and ended up consisting mostly of vacation short films. My family and I love watching those videos. My kids will be the first to tell me that I talk too much in them but I miss making them. I have been on this mission for the last few months to replace my income with revenue from my own projects. So far I am off to a good start. If you have not yet seen them, I have been posting my income report from my side projects. My plan is to continue to do that through the rest of this year.

Today I started a 90-day Vlog challenge. I am not sure if these videos are going to fit the typical vlog format, but I am going to take it day by day. I have a lot of topics I want to talk about regarding my business life, family life, spiritual life, and I sure I will find other topics along the way. I want to document more adventures with my family. We have had several adventures since I last vlogged and I didn’t film any of it. That needs to change.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel, Click Here!

My goal with this challenge is to use my camera every day. It was a lot of work, but I miss making videos. I also have a lot that I want to talk about and I think YouTube is the right place for it. As I have mentioned many times before, I get much more achieved using a camera than when I try to write blogs.

I am not sure if I will post every vlog on this website or not. If you want to follow along, I suggest you subscribe to my YouTube Channel. There you can find my older vlogs as well. If you know my family and I, it will be a fun trip down memory lane.

See you there!

Blog Income

December 2017 Side Income Report

December 2017 Side Income Report

Things are starting to get interesting as a lot changed this month. It is December, so most of my product affiliate links saw more action than normal but I also dove in head first into Cryptocurrency Mining. As I write this I am thinking back on what I was thinking when I decided to start investing in Crypto Coins and in Mining. I was a little scared, but I knew that I would miss the boat if I didn’t start right away.

In December I made a lot of changes to my investments. I don’t typically include investments as side income because I look at my investments as a long-term growth strategy. My strategy for buying and selling stocks is to continue to grow that portfolio into something I can use for retirement. The stock market has been good to me in 2017 but the growth is nothing compared to what has happened in Cryptocurrency in the last month.

I talked a lot about my mindset in a video I filmed on Building My First Ethereum Mining Rig, but I saw Cryptocurrency Mining as a less risky way to get into Cryptocurrency. If I was wrong, I could at least sell the mining rig or its components. Currently, I am posting weekly update videos to a new YouTube channel where I focus more on Cryptocurrency and Mining. It’s called AltCast. My goal is to talk about alternative forms of investing as well. Right now my topics are mostly Cryptocurrency and Crypto Mining.

I want to talk about the crazy things that have been happening in January so far but this blog is about December so I am going to try to stay on topic. You can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I will try to share as much as I can there as it happens.

Towards the end of the month, I filmed a course titled How to Build an Ethereum Mining Rig. I had built a few at this point and had been answering a lot of questions online. The course went live a few days before the new year so it only sold a few copies. I’m excited to see how the course performs through January.

Traffic to the YouTube channels continues to grow. State of Tech and the new AltCast got most of the attention in December even though I wanted to give Ditch Auto more time. State of Tech has seen some growth due to the mining specific videos I posted. I thought about doing more mining content for State of Tech but I didn’t want to get too far off topic so I created AltCast to discuss investing and Cryptocurrency.

With that said, here is my Side Income Report for December of 2017. I am looking forward to seeing where things go in 2018 as I continue to explore new ways to grow my personal income.

December 2017 side income total – $3705.40 (+16.98%)

YouTube

  • StateOfTech – $1351.56 (+21.33%) Subscribers: 24167 (+6.48%)
    This YouTube channel is part mobile technology review videos and part tech tutorial videos. There were a few videos added to the channel this month but we did add a bunch of videos right at the end of October that was specific to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Those videos tend to take off a few months after they go live.
  • Ditch Auto – $595.45 (+36.25%) Subscribers: 20692 (+7.28)
    This YouTube channel is similar to StateOfTech but for Photography. The videos that perform well are reviews and tutorials. Not a lot of content has been added to Ditch Auto this month.
  • Jerad Hill – $36.07 (-0%) Subscribers: 4626 (+0.37%)
    This is my personal channel which I do not post too often. I do plan to do a lot more on my personal channel in the near future. I am just trying to decide what I want my focus to be there.

Amazon Affiliate

  • Amazon Product Links – $840.51 (+45.15%)
    With August being back to school, it makes sense that these numbers would be higher. The majority of the product links I have out there are for technology and camera equipment. We have not put out much content that includes product links so I don’t expect much growth here until Christmas shopping begins.

Google Adsense

  • Google Adsense links/display – $155.33 (+31.99%)
    I cut some of the fat on a couple of my websites which will initially produce a decrease in traffic. I deleted a lot of content that I did not feel was relevant anymore. Many of these pages would generate a click or two here and there from organic search, but I deleted it all so that the search engines could focus on crawling quality content.

Jerad’s Courses

  • Paid courses on Jerad.Courses – $74.00 (+100%)
    This is a new side income category. I have had this website live for a few years now but there has not been any paid courses on it until now. I expect a lot of growth here as I continue to produce content.

Udemy.Com

  • Paid courses on Udemy – $7.49 (-111.91%)
    I only have one paid course currently and that course is getting old. It needs to be refreshed. I have plans later this month to get new courses out that will be paid and to revise a couple of my existing courses to drive some return traffic to my instructor page.

Other Income

  • Other monthly revenue streams from side work – $645 (-34.62%)
    I turned off a couple of sources of this other income that I did not plan to maintain any longer. These sources really only brought in $20-75 per source and took an average of 3 hours per source. Not a good return on invested time, so they are gone.

I am excited about what 2018 will bring. I have a renewed vigor for improving my side income and a new goal I will announce with the January Side Income Report. I also plan to start filming some videos for my personal YouTube channel to discuss more on how I produce content that leads to the side income I am reporting in these blogs.

Thanks for coming along. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section below.

Blog

Looking Back at 2017 Moving on to 2018

Looking back at 2017 Moving on to 2018

At almost this exact time last year, I remember telling myself that 2017 was going to be an amazing year. I thought about all of the projects I wanted to finally get completed and how they were going to change my life. I was going to get back into a gym routine. There were several ambitions I had planned in my head. However, 2017 kind of took me by surprise. What I thought was going to be a fantastic year, turned out to be probably the most challenging year I have had yet in my life.

Since around the age of 30-31, my health started to change. I became aware that I have an underactive thyroid and I was experiencing a lot of acid reflux issues. My doctor started me on medications for both of those issues which I was not thrilled about. All of the sudden I was taking two medications daily when prior to that I would take a Tylenol maybe once every other month. The next several years I would spend trying to figure out what was causing those issues. During 2016 I seemed to have figured out what was causing the acid reflux and managed to somewhat fix the problem without the continued medication. I was feeling pretty decent as 2017 approached.

The year even started out pretty good with a lot of new business coming in. I had a good feeling that January was giving me a good idea of what the rest of the year would look like. My wife and I had been working on our adoption paperwork and the only remaining items were my blood test and an in-home study before we could enter child search.

I typically have my labs ran every year but I had not had labs drawn in a few years. My labs ended up coming back with a few abnormalities. Nothing life-threatening, but I was not expecting the results I received. Up to this point, I thought that I was gaining distance from health issues, but there were lab results showing me otherwise.

Off and on during my 30’s I have felt kind of defeated in the area of my health. I was never battling anything major but the constant acid reflux and bloating really affected me emotionally because I generally didn’t feel like myself. With these new lab results, I ended up depressed and anxious about my current situation. I couldn’t get myself to the gym because I didn’t feel good both physically or emotionally.

Parenting got more challenging this year as my kids grew and become more independent thinkers. My struggle is mostly with finding the right balance as a parent. My oldest is now in second grade and I am starting to see that he holds in his emotions as much as a seven-year-old can. He has struggles and has not come to me with them. I want my kids to know that they can come to me with anything. The challenge is figuring out how to do that within the constraints of their personalities. This will be a lifelong process but it was tough this year because it was the first time I became aware of it.

My marriage also got really hard this year. This is my ninth year of marriage and my wife and I have discovered a lot about each other this year which started with me feeling the need to really open up in some areas. We have never been good communicators and that has allowed a lot of assumptions to build up. There are also a lot of things we found we have resented each other for that would not have been a big deal at all had we just communicated about it in the first place. We started counseling which has been really good for me. I have always left the past in the past but I am realizing that it is hard to understand why I am the way that I am without analyzing the past. It has been an interesting journey this year looking at myself in this way. It has not been easy and it has led to more depression and anxiety. As a married couple, counseling is helping us become better communicators and we have never been so close to being on the same page with everything. It’s truly liberating.

With all of that said, my business has seen ups and downs this year too. The year started off really good but took a dive during the summer. I think that since summer vacation was shorter for most schools in this area most people went off radar through summer. Once school was back in, I was flooded with new business and was once again busy. What made it tough is that I did not expect it to go the way that it did. On top of that, I did no marketing for photography so I did not have much photography business to supplement the lack of clients for Hill Media Group. Because the first half of the year had been so busy and stressful, I did not have any time at all to work on my side projects, so they suffered a lot. I lost a lot of ground that I had with my side income.

There were some great moments in 2017. We had some fun trips with the kids, despite our camping gear getting stolen. There were memories made in 2017 that rise above the difficulties.

Looking back at 2017, it would be easy to call it a bad year. It was a tough year and not what I originally expected it to be. Regardless, I have learned a lot and am far enough removed from it all to know that 2017 was actually a pretty good year. Just because I felt that the year had defeated me doesn’t mean that it was bad. I am sitting here a few days into 2018 writing this and thinking about how much more aware of things I am. Everything that happened last year has made me a better husband, father, friend, and business owner. It was not easy by any means, but building character never is.

Going into 2018 I have some decent momentum behind me. I dealt with everything that happened in 2017 and am wiser because of it. I plan to continue to invest in myself in 2018 because if I am not healthy I cannot be the kind of man I want to be for those in my life. I can’t let anything that afflicted me in 2017 or the years prior determine who I am in 2018 and going forward. I am excited about this year, not because I think it’s going to be an easier year, but because I believe it will lead to more growth.

How did your 2017 go?

Blog Income

November 2017 Side Income Report

November 2017 Side Income Report

As predicted, November was a bit better than prior months. This happens often during the holidays. The biggest boost I saw in my side-income during the holidays was when the Hoverboard got popular. There was a couple of months where I was getting $2,500 to $4,000 just from Amazon Affiliate links alone. That died off of course as does any fad. Going into this holiday season I do not have any content that is somewhat going viral to help generate revenue. I have a few ideas that just are not going to make it in time unless I end up with spare time in December.

One area that saw decent growth was the Google Adsense links. Due to my recent hire, a lot of content was created for two of my websites that I have brought new traffic to those sites. Though there was only a small amount of growth in regards to the cost of producing that content, that new content will live on for months and hopefully will return on the investment.

This month I started looking into Cryptocurrency mining. I am very interested in mining Ethereum (ETH). I will be building a mining rig early December so there will be a new category in my side-income report. I plan to track what I have mined, it’s growth and the fluctuation in the market. Should be interesting to follow.

So let’s take a look at the report for the month of November 2017.

November 2017 side income total – $3124.74 (+32.44%)

YouTube

  • StateOfTech – $1091.08 (+32.59%) Subscribers: 21135 (+4.86%)
    This YouTube channel is part mobile technology review videos and part tech tutorial videos. There were a few videos added to the channel this month but we did add a bunch of videos right at the end of October that was specific to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Those videos tend to take off a few months after they go live.
  • Ditch Auto – $412.74 (+21.94) Subscribers: 19238 (+5.71)
    This YouTube channel is similar to StateOfTech but for Photography. The videos that perform well are reviews and tutorials. Not a lot of content has been added to Ditch Auto this month.
  • Jerad Hill – $36.02 (-6.15) Subscribers: 4592 (+0.20%)
    This is my personal channel which I do not post too often. I do plan to do a lot more on my personal channel in the near future. I am just trying to decide what I want my focus to be there.

Amazon Affiliate

  • Amazon Product Links – $530.89 (+57.02%)
    With August being back to school, it makes sense that these numbers would be higher. The majority of the product links I have out there are for technology and camera equipment. We have not put out much content that includes product links so I don’t expect much growth here until Christmas shopping begins.

Google Adsense

  • Google Adsense links/display – $112.49 (+48.73%)
    I cut some of the fat on a couple of my websites which will initially produce a decrease in traffic. I deleted a lot of content that I did not feel was relevant anymore. Many of these pages would generate a click or two here and there from organic search, but I deleted it all so that the search engines could focus on crawling quality content.

Udemy.Com

  • Paid courses on Udemy – $26.52 (+124.18%)
    I only have one paid course currently and that course is getting old. It needs to be refreshed. I have plans later this month to get new courses out that will be paid and to revise a couple of my existing courses to drive some return traffic to my instructor page.

Other Income

  • Other monthly revenue streams from side work – $915 (+33.0%)
    I turned off a couple of sources of this other income that I did not plan to maintain any longer. These sources really only brought in $20-75 per source and took an average of 3 hours per source. Not a good return on invested time, so they are gone.

Overall I am pretty impressed with this month considering the low effort. As I mentioned before, the holidays often boost these numbers. It is much more challenging to maintain these numbers during the rest of the year. I am sure December will be good and will probably be a decent month assuming the mining of Ethereum (ETH) goes well.

I plan to do some filming early in the month to try and get a few videos that would make sense for the holidays done, but I am not sure if I will have time. Hill Media Group is keeping me pretty busy going into December. Unless that lets up a bit, the December income report will just be true passive income.

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Focusing On The Small Wins

Focusing On The Small Wins

Everybody wants to get rich and it has to happen today. If you look at social media, people are either living the good life or in shambles. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between these days. Though 2017 has been a tough year for me both physically and emotionally, I am choosing to focus on the small wins.

I love discussing life and it’s various pursuits with people. I have met a lot of driven people in my life. I have also met a lot of people who are obviously stuck in a rut. How do I know they are stuck in a rut? I only recognize a rut because I have been stuck in too many to count.

One bit of advice I have received over and over again is to focus on one thing that I am good at and give it 100% of my effort. To me, that would mean choosing one thing and focus on doing that better than anyone else. While that seems like simple advice to follow, it has not been that easy for me. You see, I have a problem with sitting still. I don’t have the ability to focus on just one thing. I have tried. It just doesn’t work for me. My brain is not wired in that way, and yes I know that you can rewire your brain. I just don’t know if I really want to in that way.

I have often measured my success by the big tangible wins. The first year I marketed myself as a wedding photographer I booked 32 weddings. That was a big tangible win. In 2008 I started a website reviewing smartphone apps and technology. That website quickly became a huge win that lasted for several years. It’s easy to see those wins because they are big and they change your life for the time being.

What I have ignored is the small wins and today that changes. The small wins are what I believe really define us. The small wins are what give us daily contentment. Looking back on this year, I realize that all I have had is small wins. There were no big wins this year. There really haven’t been any big wins for a few years, and I notice that in my emotional health.

While big wins are great, they take a lot of time and hard work. There is nothing wrong with big wins, but big wins can be lonely. On the way to a big win is a lot of doubt. The path to a big win is a tough path that you often do alone. Few people understand that path and can relate to it.

I have been at it long enough to know what it takes to make a big win happen, the problem is that I am not willing to sacrifice everything in order to get to the next big win. I am at a point where in order to make a big win happen I would have to subtract a lot from something else. I am completely fine with that. I don’t need another big win to define myself by. I watch people chase big wins every day and most of them never reach them. They jump between big win opportunities never giving them the time to become anything.

I have a couple of projects that I am working on that could be big wins if I stopped everything and focused on one of them. The problem is that I don’t really want to stop everything and focus on one single thing. While I might be able to see a huge growth in success in one of those things if it was my only focus, I don’t want to let go of the other things. I enjoy these projects and I want to continue on them. I also enjoy my business and do not want to sacrifice that for short-term success in one of these projects.

I have a long game but I am also focusing on my short game. You can’t ignore one or the other. You need to focus on the future and what that is going to look like but you have to make time for the small wins and celebrate them. You can’t jump from opportunity to opportunity, you have to invest time and effort to see a return.

If you are young, it is much easier to focus on the big wins that come with the investment of time and effort. In some areas, I have succeeded in this way. In others, I have fallen short. I have always invested in learning and exploring. That has never led me astray.

For now, I am going to be better about acknowledging the small wins and celebrating them. Small wins add up to a big win over time. I didn’t give some of the small wins of this year the appreciation they deserved. I don’t see any big wins happening in 2018, but you never know when something small shows opportunity to become something big.

What were some of your small wins this year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

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