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Disrupting My Own Life

Disrupting My Own Life

Most of us strive for comfort. I know I have. Our society is full of comforts and panderings to the smallest of inconveniences. As human beings, we don’t like pain, so we do whatever we can to get away from it. Some pain physically hurts. If something is wrong with our body, it often notifies us through the sensation of pain. If something traumatic happens to us, we experience emotional pain, and this is where pain gets really interesting.

I have had a lot of trauma in my life, most of it is self-inflicted trauma, but it was trauma none-the-less. When you experience trauma there are a couple of different reactions that are common. The first is to fall into the victim role and sometimes we are the victim. If the actions of someone else hurt you, you have a right to be a victim. The problem with being the victim is that it is easy to get stuck there. We live in a society that makes it very comfortable to be the victim, so comfortable that it is likely you will become the very trauma that you were once the victim of. We all want to belong to something and to be understood so when someone understands our trauma and sympathizes with us it is easy to become addicted to that.

The different traumas I have experienced in life have never been more talked about before and that is the case for most traumas out there. If you were molested as a child, people talk about that now whereas not too long ago it was something people hid from others. Considering all of the hurt in the world, it is a great time to be alive because of the breaking down of these kinds of walls in society. It is now normal to admit that you struggled with something and that is a great thing. Being able to find and converse with others who have gone through what you went through is a good thing. The problem is that many people have allowed their identity to become the trauma they experienced and outside of that, they have no identity. People end up reliving their trauma day to day because it’s the only thing connecting them to people “who understand them.” People, we were not put here on earth to get hurt and then shut ourselves in around others who were hurt in the same way. How will you ever grow and become stronger if the only thing holding you together is other hurting people?

The other reaction is to grow from the trauma you experienced. Now obviously the best way to grow as a person is to just live a life in search of enlightenment and self-awareness, but we were not raised that way. I was raised by the generation who believed all advertising was truthful and that the Government is only trying to help us lead healthier better lives. It is only now that some of the Babyboomer generation is becoming more self-aware and understanding that there is a better way, but they already finished raising us so now we have to figure out how to undo the tendencies we have to microwave our boxed dinners and wash them down with “Sugar Free” beverages laced with chemicals we don’t understand. We were raised by the first generation to experience true convenience living and the last to experience the real “American Dream” as it was. We have our own version of the American Dream but it looks different and does not revolve around a single career and home ownership. Or at least it shouldn’t.

So trauma has definitely put me on a different path than I would have been on without it. Some people don’t need to experience much trauma because they were either raised in a way where they were taught to seek enlightenment on their own or they were an observant enough person to see what was going on around them in the world and were able to learn from what was happening to others. While I believe I am very observant and can easily learn from the mistakes of others, that has not stopped me from making my own mistakes and allowing myself to fall victim to trauma.

So now that I have explained a bit about where I am at on my path to becoming a more enlightened and self-aware person, let’s talk about this whole concept of Disrupting One’s Own Life. What does it mean to purposely disrupt your life in a world where most people are looking for the least about of disruption? First, let’s take a look at where I’ve been the past few years.

About two years ago I made some decisions to start dealing with some of my own junk which meant talking about it. That started first with my wife, some family, friends, and getting a counselor. I was in a rut and I also felt that I was dragging those around me into that rut as well. There were some things I needed to talk about that I had never talked about and unbeknownst to me at the time, I would end up going super deep into those things with my counselor over the coming years. The decision to talk to a counselor, and the right counselor, not just any counselor, was the best decision I have ever made. I plan to talk more about the importance of having people in your life that are deep thinkers and how this has helped me. The problem is that at first, it was kind of depressing. A lot was coming to the surface and it was really bumming me out. All of this stuff I was dealing with was already there as it was stuff I buried down inside me so I was not dealing with anything new other than the realization that this damage had been done.

I apologize if some of what I am saying sounds a bit cryptic. I very much plan on getting into the deeper details of my past on this blog and in other ways in the future but I am also wanting to make sure that I do that in a way that is beneficial. There is no purpose in me simply dumping my mess all over the internet with no real context. I was not given the experiences I have had in this life to present them that way. I need to not only honor my past appropriately but also make sure I share it in a context that will be able to help people. Otherwise, what was it all for?

So for about a year, I was super depressed. I was so depressed I wanted to isolate myself from everybody. There were moments I believed in my mind (thankfully only moments) that my family would be better off without me. I would keep them supported financially of course, but they would be better off without me around. Thankfully those dark moments were nothing more than moments, but thoughts like that haunted me for quite some time. I was not a very effective human during those months. If I didn’t have a business to run and others whose livelihood was my responsibility, I probably would have gone deeper into that darkness, but thankfully I had responsibilities and enough resilience left to keep moving forward.

After Thanksgiving of 2017, I had had enough. I had spent enough time sad and needed out of the rut I had gotten myself into. I was not doing anybody any favors by living in the mindset I had been in so I decided to change it. I literally changed my mind and decided I was no longer going to be depressed about where I was in life at that moment. You see, I think that we have done ourselves a disservice by giving everything a name and a personality. Depression is a big thing and affects a lot of people but giving it a name and a personality has only grown the depression epidemic. More people suffer from anxiety and depression than ever before, even during the depression era where people had good reason to be extremely bummed out about life and the outlook of the future. A few months prior to pulling myself out of the depression I had gone to see a therapist through my medical provider. My counselor even suggested it. The Psychologist was quick to diagnose me as clinically depressed and recommended I start medication, which I did. The problem is that I took medication for about three months and felt no different. I was told and believed that the medication would make my life better, but that was not my experience at all. For all I knew I was taking sugar pills. After about three months of being on medication, I slowly backed off my dose over the course of three weeks to nothing at all. I don’t want to get into an argument with anyone here about whether the medication works or not, whether or not I was truly depressed or argue any other unknown factors influence on how it all went down, but I pulled myself out of depression, not medication. It is possible people (but please only do this after consulting with your doctor). You just have to have had enough. And yes I know that not every person out there is capable of this due to the varying degrees of mental illness. What I am saying though is that there are many people out there who were told they are clinically depressed when really they are just going through a patch of depression. I now know that there is a difference and I am sad that clinicians treat all depression and anxiety the same way.

Deciding to be done with sadness was not enough though. After deciding to pick myself up off the floor my life did not change. I still had the same struggles and battles to fight each day and I continued to fight them for almost an entire year. About five months ago, my last employee quit to move on to different work. That left me alone at my office. Each day I would go to work, and work alone. It was just me, the tasks I needed to complete, and my thoughts. At first, I had a lot of work to catch up on as I had enough work for two people, actually enough for four people, but two of us were supposed to be there for it. It took me until the end of September to get caught up, so three months after my last employee quit. After I was caught up I had some time to think and think I did. I found myself looking around my office at all of the equipment I had acquired over the years feeling anxious about it. I didn’t have to be at the office by any certain time anymore because nobody else was going to be there so I started looking into my daily routine, which seemed to have been causing me anxiety as well. I started making notes about my day and logging my activities which quickly led me to the realization that I was not being very effective with my time. I knew something with my work life needed to change.

I had also been chasing the goal of building passive income revenue streams that would offset and eventually replace my need for a traditional source of income. I have been chasing freedom from the traditional occupation for my entire life. Now not having employee overhead I realized that if I didn’t have the overhead of my office, I would already be there. Between the income I was receiving from my YouTube channels and online content combined with the recurring revenue from managed services I provide through my online marketing agency, I had enough income to live that freedom now. Recognizing that and the fact that I needed to change my current daily routine led me to the disruption of my own life, where I am at today, and my new plans for the future.

I started off this blog talking about comfort. It is comfort that is unnatural. We were not designed to be comfortable and comfort is why so many of us are unhappy and end up depressed. Comfort keeps us from living out our true potential and from becoming what we were told we could be when we were young which was “anything you put your mind to.” I knew that I needed to be more productive with my time and that was not going to happen in my current routine so I needed to disrupt it. The disruption started by deciding to close my office and work from home. I had worked from home before, so I knew I was capable of it, I just didn’t have three children before. Working from home meant that I would have to be as productive as I could during the hours they were at school. After they were home from school the house was theirs so my entire routine would need to change in order to make sure I got stuff done within this new window of time. To be honest, when they are home from school, I want to be able to hang out with them, not be stuck at an office until dinner time. I am running out of days where my kids will prioritize hanging out with me over friends. I need to prioritize them now when they are young. It would be much harder for me to make this change later in life when they are older and all they know is that there Dad works all day and gives them his leftover attention. They deserve the best of me and I want them to have that.

Because we live in a world of comfort I think it is important to disrupt ourselves from time to time. In the past, trauma has disrupted my life and I noticed that I have always come out stronger because of it. This time I wanted to be the one leading the disruption, not circumstances. This disruption is just the first of many to come as I never want to become complacent about where I am at or what I have achieved. Everything is an opportunity to learn and grow. I want to raise my children to be adults that see every opportunity as a chance to be enlightened. I want them to be self-aware and able to quickly recover from life’s hurts. On this Earth, we will never be free of trauma or pain, but we can choose to learn from it, better ourselves, and empower others through it.

Discussing what I have been doing with others seems to be unsettling with them, which is why I know I am heading in the right direction. Disruption is a good thing. It keeps us moving and learning. Industries are being disrupted because their providers got too comfortable. General Motors announced today that they are laying off 10,000 employees and closing down five factories when Tesla is hiring like mad and building factories. GM is refocusing on electric vehicle production and will scramble to catch up to companies that have been moving in that direction for years now. I want to be the one proactively disrupting my life rather than being reactionary to what is going on around me.

If this post stirred you in any way or if you are at all interested in what I am doing, I would love to hear your thoughts. Let’s talk about it in the comments section below this post. You can also be notified when I post new content by signing up for my email newsletter.

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Dude, Wash Your Face!

Bro Wash Your Face - Dude Wash Your Face

I read a lot of non-fiction and often suggest books to my wife, who is not so keen on non-fiction books. The motivational and self-help shelves have blown up over the past years with books specific to women, which is fantastic. There are many powerful books out there but they lack the specifics of the individual struggles men and women face which are often very different from each other. It takes books like “Girl Wash Your Face” to speak directly to the specific struggles that men and women do not share.

The title of the book intrigued me, but that was about it at first. It would have been easy to write it off completely because it’s obviously a book written for women. My first thought was that hopefully, this is a book that will finally combat the “Hot Mess” movement as I assumed Girl, Wash Your Face meant, Girl, get out of those yoga pants and do something with your life. Not a fair statement for sure, but I am getting really tired of the “Hot Mess” mentality. Guys, we have our own version of this, so ladies, please know that I am not picking on you specifically. Life is tough, but we have to show up every day or what’s the point?

My wife completed the book and I didn’t really think much about it after that. Then, the author, Rachel Hollis, was interviewed on a podcast that I listen to, “The School of Greatness.” The interview was fantastic. She had some really interesting things to say and some amazing insights that really got me thinking. Though the book obviously was not written for men, I felt that I would get a lot out of reading it not only for myself but to better help me understand my wife.

You see guys, I didn’t grow up with much of an understanding of females. I only had brothers, I spent most of my time working on things or racing them, and the women that were in my life didn’t really teach me much more than to make sure I had good manners and to open the door for them. I didn’t know much about women at all until I got married and started living with one.

The last 10 years of marriage has been a big learning curve for me. Though I am a pretty insightful person and I feel like I pay attention pretty well, I believe that I could’ve done a lot more to prepare to be a husband to my wife than I did. This was not a new realization of mine. I noticed quite some time ago that men and women process and deal with things much differently. I have read some books on the topic of our differences but books like that don’t often give you much practical information to walk away with. I also recognize that women are not so simple that they can be boiled down and explained thoroughly in a single book, nor are us men.

After having listened to that interview I decided that I needed to read this book for myself. What was so powerful about this book that sent it to the top of the New York Times bestseller list? What kind of knowledge and insight does this woman have that seemed to shoot her directly to guru status in what seemed like no time at all? So I purchased the audiobook in an attempt to better understand my wife and the struggles of her womanhood.

Now this book was definitely written to and for women. There were some chapters that I could easily have written off as non-relatable, but I am a husband to a woman who is the mother of my children and listening to Rachel share about her struggles and challenges in this world as a woman and a mother definitely helped me better understand my wife. I also recognize that as a man, it is really easy for me to discount the struggles women have in this world. They have real struggles that men don’t have to deal with and could never relate to regardless of how hard we try to understand.

Rachel started by telling her story, which was I glued to. Her husband and I share a few traits, to say the least. I know that I have treated a few women in my life the way Rachel’s now-husband did her when they were dating. I broke up with my now wife just like Rachel’s husband did with the plan to move away from our hometown. Glad that didn’t end up happening.

I carried a lot of brokenness into my marriage. I hope to get more into that in future posts, but for now, let’s just say that I share Rachel’s appreciation for therapy.

There are a lot of lies we believe. It’s not just women, men believe plenty of lies as well. Rachel’s book was a breaking down of many lies a lot of women believe. I really connected with that. I am closing in on 40 and I am realizing more and more the lies I have believed. I also recognize many lies that the world tells us that I have believed. This is why I decided to write this post. I am going to borrow some of Rachel’s lies and explain how I, as a man, have believed a few of them, so let’s get started.

Something Else Will Make Me Happy

Men have been chasing after things in search of happiness for ages. We get the job, but we want more. We get the family, but we don’t seem fulfilled. We buy the things, but that doesn’t help either. It’s easy to look at what’s in front of us and allow ourselves to believe that they are the things that are keeping us from being happy.

I have watched people uproot their entire lives in search of finding happiness. This might mean leaving a spouse or moving their family across the country in search of something. I have watched friends go into debt over the things they thought would bring them happiness. If we believe the marketing, we can easily be swayed.

The problem is that happiness is not found in things, or someone else. It all starts within. If you can’t be happy without, you won’t be happy with. You once were happy. You were happy when you got the job. You were happy on your wedding day. You were happy the day your children were born. What happened?

You believed the lie that other things would bring you happiness. When they didn’t, you felt cheated. The world told you to get something else, so you did over and over again and now you’re overwhelmed.

“Life is not supposed to overwhelm you at all times. Life isn’t meant to be merely survived—it’s meant to be lived.” That’s a direct quote from the book and to me, it means that the things that overwhelm me need to go. I have been working on doing just this for the past few months. Guys, if we are in a constant state of overwhelm, how can we focus on living our lives? If we can’t focus on living, how can we enjoy it? We first have to admit that we are overwhelmed. I want to give you permission to admit that. The world says that it’s not ok as a man to admit something like that, but that is a lie, my friends. Men get overwhelmed too and it’s time the world learns to stop making us feel bad for it. We are all set off by different things, we all have different levels of tolerance.

What overwhelms me might be a walk in the park for you. That is what makes us different. I used to photograph a lot of weddings. People used to ask me if that stressed me out or if I ever got overwhelmed. Photographing a wedding knowing that I am responsible for capturing this couples once in a lifetime and non-repeatable moments is not overwhelming to me at all. But I can easily get overwhelmed with my kids. Handling a high-strung MOB (Mother of the Bride) is easy, handling three kids when they are tired and hungry can be overwhelming at times.

It’s ok to feel overwhelmed at times. As Rachel states, “moments when you feel like you’re drowning are supposed to be brief. They should not be the whole of your existence!” We have to take control of our own lives and for lack of a better phrase “man up” to our responsibilities. There are too many voices in the world today telling us that it’s someone else’s responsibility and that we should look out for ourselves. Bro, I am here to tell you that as men we are here to take care of ourselves and we are here to take care of those who God entrusted us with. Don’t get mad at me for saying that in 2018. Rachel is right in that women need to be their own heroes. If they rely on us to be that for them, they will be disappointed. We will fail them and they will fail us. We have to champion ourselves so that we can champion those around us.

We have to choose to be happy. Our circumstances and our things will not do that for us. We have to make that choice every day and when that doesn’t seem like enough, we have to make that choice every moment. I highlighted this statement from the book and have read it at least a dozen times over the last month: “When you’re engaged and involved and choosing to enjoy your own life, it doesn’t matter where you are, or frankly, what negative things get hurled at you. You’ll still find happiness because it’s not about where you are but who you are.” It’s about who I am? Do I even know who I am? Bro, that got deep.

We can more easily choose happiness each day when we stop comparing ourselves to other men. We do that just as much as women do even though we make it sound like women do it more. We look at the guy with the better job, the one who is more in shape, the guy whose wife looks better in a bikini postpartum than she did before getting pregnant. It’s damaging, not only to us but to our spouse as well. They are unrealistic expectations. No job, car, house, or spouse will bring you happiness if you can’t be happy with yourself.

I Am Not Good Enough

I am going to go out on a limb and say that every man ever has told himself this. I do this thing where I try something new and if I am not immediately awesome at it or can’t see myself becoming awesome at it pretty easily I stop doing it. For years I told myself that I just don’t have time to practice and since I don’t like to suck at things I will simply limit myself to doing things that I can be good at with little effort. I know how that sounds, but so many of us are that way.

I was the oldest of three boys, which meant that at some point I was expected to just figure it out, and I didn’t always make the right choices. I always wanted more than I had and even though I didn’t have a problem working for it, sometimes I decided to take it instead. I got into trouble often as a youth and was often told that I was “not good.” School also did not seem to be my thing. There were years that I did well, but for the most part, I would have rather been working than sitting on my butt at school. Good grades and/or excelling at sports seemed to be the only thing that parents were interested in and I was not very good at either.

I have always been a risk taker, which was obviously bad when not exercised correctly. Running your own business is risky and scary. I have not had a regular paycheck since I was 21. If I want to get paid, I have to find the work, do the work, and make sure I get paid for the work. There have been times where work was harder to find. It is easy for me to feel like I am not good enough when a client decides to go in a different direction. I often get told that it must be nice to work for myself because I can set my own hours. I laugh on the inside. If it was only that simple.

We all feel like we have something to live up to that is beyond our capabilities. We either chase it or we sit on the sidelines and watch everybody else. Regardless, both believe they are not good enough and allow that mindset to limit them.

In the book, Rachel explained how she knew she was under too much stress from trying to live up to a standard that was not realistic. She could see it on her face, literally. For me, it started with an ulcer in my early 20’s. That ulcer would come back in my early 30’s and I am still dealing with digestive issues today. Damage has been done and I have to pay attention to what I consume, or I will feel like garbage. I wish I could say that the acid reflux is all it took to get my attention, but it wasn’t. Perhaps I will share more about that one day. What damage are you doing to yourself by trying to live up to something you don’t even believe in?

We have to find enjoyment in what we are doing. It is easy to end up chasing the wrong carrot in life because we were told that was the goal. I had a family that constantly beat into me that I would not make it in life if I did not go to college. I couldn’t afford college and was not about to go into debt over it so I spent many years believing that I was not good enough because I didn’t have a piece of paper on the wall.

Stop believing the lie that you don’t have what it takes to get that promotion, start your own business, lose the weight, or whatever it might be. Whether you decide to sit on the bench or you chase after something until your stomach bleeds, you have to decide if it is worth it and you have to decide that you are worth more than “it.” Your health is one of the only things you have complete control over. You might have to start over to find out what brings you happiness and contentment because you were chasing after what someone else wanted for you for so long. You might have to prioritize some things over others because you have to start living for yourself so that you have the strength and health to lead those around you.

I’m Not A Good Enough Dad

Being a Dad is hard. It’s not as hard as being a husband, but it’s right up there. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t receive a handbook with each of my children. I was not prepared for everything that would come after we came home with our first child.

I was ready to hold and comfort my first baby boy, but he didn’t want me, he wanted his Mommy. I would try to play with him, but he would get upset until he saw his Mommy. This seemed to go on for almost two years until finally he and I started connecting. I was jealous of the closeness my wife got to have with our babies. At times I would keep myself busy with other things since it didn’t seem like my kids needed me. It’s easy to get emotional over things like that, but they are babies. Babies are not doing anything on purpose, they are just being babies. It may seem like you don’t have a connection to your newborn, but you do. It just takes more time to surface than it does with their Mother.

As my kids have started to grow up, I have felt like I wasn’t succeeding as a Dad. I am not good at disciplining my children. I don’t know how to do it well or in an effective way. I don’t always respond to their outbursts well. At times I have a short temper with them. I often feel like I am hurting them more than I am helping them, but that is mostly my internal self-talk. It would be much easier to just be their friend and let them raise themselves.

Then there are those Dads that seem to have it all together. Their kids are amazing in public, play all the sports, seem to do things without arguing, get along with their siblings, and even seem to respect their parents. Is that all smoke and mirrors, or am I failing somewhere?

Men don’t stand around talking about parenting, they talk about common interests. It’s easy to assume that other Dads have it all together but we would never know that because we don’t talk about it. I have allowed myself to believe that I am not good enough. It is easier for guys to disconnect from their families than it is for women because of the motherly connection they feel responsible for. Rachel mentioned in her book that she considered flying the coop in a moment of struggle. I think us guys have our moments as well. It’s also much easier and more acceptable for a guy to separate himself from his family in today’s culture. Some even do it without ever leaving the house.

For me, I have found a few guys who have gone before me to ask questions and vent to. It’s equal parts relieving and frustrating when they smile and explain that what I am experiencing is not unique. What I need more of is guys with kids of similar ages, yes this might mean that I have to talk to some of my wife’s girlfriends husbands. Trust me guys, we need to do life together on a deeper level than whatever sports ball is on tv. I have kept myself at a distance from a lot of other Dads for a variety of reasons, but the main one is that I have a hard time connecting with other guys. This has been a problem for as long as I can remember. If we continue to try to be Dads on our own, we will always feel like we are not good enough. If we listen to that voice enough, we will put distance between us and our kids when what they really need is for us to draw near to them.

I Can’t Tell The Truth, I Need a Drink, I’m Not A Hero

This post is getting super long, I get it. If you are still reading, you deserve an award.

In all honesty, I want to rewrite Rachel’s book for us men. We need it. We live in a world where it seems like we are getting attacked and blamed for everything. Some of us deserve it. We have not been the best leaders or the most truthful. We have taken advantage and not been responsible. Guys, we have been lazy and now that women are standing up for themselves it is easy to feel like we are the ones being attacked. It’s easy to feel like a victim and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to read Rachel’s book.

I was not a truth teller. I mean, I was pretty honest most of the time. Some of my friends might tell you that I actually don’t know how to keep my opinion to myself. That might be true, but I had a lot of secrets that required lies to keep in place. Things I did when I was young and decisions I made brought me shame and I allowed that shame to drive my decisions. I did not deal with my emotions in a very healthy way. I have allowed my struggles to tear me apart and others have been hurt because of them.

I have also gotten in the habit of needing a drink to unwind. I have never been addicted to a substance, but it became a habit and if we were out of wine or I didn’t have any tonic water for my gin, I would feel a little uneasy. I never needed a drink, but I found myself desiring one especially after a stressful evening with the kids.

The truth is that I have never been very honest about what I am going through. I always felt like I was the only one going through it. My struggles were unique and since everybody else’s lives looked perfect, I could not afford to let my truth out. I still struggle with it, but I am working on it. My counselor has helped a lot with that. As I mentioned before, I am an all or nothing kind of guy, so at times I feel like putting it all out there but I am trying to be patient and prepare myself for opportunities that my experience could be helpful in. I am also being careful to make sure that I have healed enough to help others. There are too many people in this world who woke up one day from a major struggle and felt they were ready to teach the world how to heal. I don’t want to be one of those people.

Being a man in this world is not as easy as it used to be. I’m not talking about jobs and equal pay. I believe that anyone who works hard for something deserves to be compensated equally for it. That means that the person needs to work hard. I don’t care what your race or gender is, you don’t deserve something just because you are something other than a white male. You deserve it because you made the choice to work hard for it. Equal opportunity should not have to be a policy, it should be assumed because it’s the right thing to do. The fact that society seemed to hand those things out to white males much easier than anyone else is wrong. I have never assumed I deserve anything for being a man. I grew up with my Grandmother who was a successful businesswoman, as my example. She built a successful Real Estate business during a time where that was dominated by men. To top that off, she was barely five feet tall. After my parents divorced my Mother went back to school and achieved her goal of becoming a teacher. I never knew that women couldn’t achieve something because my environment told me different.

If you watch any tv at all, you know that the Dad is usually the joke, and guys, we have allowed ourselves to become a joke. We are irrational, simple-minded, and easy to entertain. We get angry at things we don’t understand and as long as we can enjoy a football game from our living room in peace, we are happy. We are allowing ourselves to be minimized and emasculated. We are being taught that masculinity is barbaric. We are being misled. We need to regain our masculinity, not to rise as the dominant gender, but to utilize and appreciate our strengths to use them for good and to build others up.

There is beauty in femininity and masculinity but we need to learn to respect each for their uniquenesses. We also need to take the time to understand our differences. Society today is so quick to say that the other side is wrong. We read an article and immediately alienate a whole group of people instead of taking the time to understand why they might think that way. Instead of technology bringing us together, it is further separating us. Have a difference of opinion with someone? Prepare for unrealistic conflict over something that doesn’t really matter that much.

Our society is in a transitional place. We have come into so much information over the past thirty years and we don’t know what to do with it all. Rather than appreciating the little things that make us different we are using them to separate us further. Instead of learning to live together in one society we find people who have our exact beliefs and silo ourselves from everyone else around us.

Guys, we have always been called to be leaders and I don’t see many men leading these days. Women are stepping up and doing everything us men have become too lazy to do. To put it simply, they are more driven than us. Women are fully capable as leaders and should have every right to lead in any capacity as a man is able, but that doesn’t mean we should also give them the job of leading us. We all need to be a leader in our own lives. I see too many men whose wives have to step up and lead in ways they shouldn’t have to. Many men traded their birth mother for a wife who they expect to treat them as their Mom did. That is not fair to women in a relationship.

I am not the best leader and I am definitely not my wife’s hero. I have slacked off at times because I know that she won’t let the house go sideways. I have not always shown up for her as a husband should. I have allowed myself to feel minimized because of the way society portrays men and fathers these days, but lately, I have felt a tugging at my heart and I am starting to finally realize what it is. It’s starting with honesty and openness about the real struggles of being a guy in today’s society. Not out of a response to some sort of movement or to defend myself, but to be vulnerable and open in an attempt to break down the silos that I have put around everything in my life in an attempt to be comfortable. The comfort I built around me doesn’t feel good anymore.

What’s Next?

This post took on a life of its own. I hope that it came across as a call to action for men to step up and take control of their lives again. I hope that it encouraged you as much as it empowered me writing it. Writing helps my thoughts make sense to me. I highly recommend you try writing about the things you feel strongly about. It really helps you understand what you really believe when you have to write it out.

If you have a wife and struggle to understand her, I highly suggest reading “Girl, Wash Your Face.” Keep in mind that your spouse is unique and different than Rachel. What was real about the book was all of the insecurities she shared. We all have insecurities but ours as men are different than what women deal with. It is important that we understand them so we can be better husbands to our wives.

I don’t want to become complacent. I want to continue to grow and better understand myself and those around me. I want to show up as best I can for my wife and kids because they deserve that, not because they need a man to rule over them, but because they were given a man to support and encourage them.

Check out Rachel’s book on Amazon: https://jer.fyi/rachelsbook

Listen to it as an Audiobook like I did, Rachel narrated it herself. Get your first audiobook free from Audible: https://jer.fyi/freeaudiobook

What are your thoughts? Are there some lies you tell yourself? I would love to continue the conversation in the comments below this blog or on my Facebook page. Please share this post with a friend if you found it helpful!

Update: I just heard from a friend that Rachel’s husband Dave is writing the “guys” version of her book next year so I will be looking forward to reading that when it comes out.

 

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Raising Tech-Wise Kids

Raising Tech-Wise Kids

I have been wanting to write on the topic of raising tech-wise kids in this technology age we live in for a while but have struggled to gather my thoughts so I can bring it all together into something that would even make sense. I have said it before, but for me, writing helps me make sense of my thoughts and also helps me convert those thoughts into ideas.

Those of you who know me know that I am fully emersed in technology. I have two smartphones, a smartwatch, a tablet, a laptop, computer, Kindle reader, cameras, gaming consoles, and more within reach every single day of my life. I have made a side business out of getting to spend time with technology with my YouTube channels State of Tech and Ditch Auto. I also have three young children ages 8, 6, and 4 who take notice of the endless tech options I have around me. So what am I doing to raise my kids to be wise consumers of technology? This is a question I have to continuously ask myself almost every day.

You are not going to like this, but raising tech-wise kids starts with your own behavior in regards to technology. I am approaching the ripe age of 40 and am realizing more and more each day the habits I gleaned from my parents when I was a child. Our kids will learn many of their behaviors from us and carry them into adulthood. I am in no way qualified to speak as though I have achieved some perfect balance of technology in my home but I am hyper-aware of what is going on and am doing my best to stay on top of it.

Before we can parent a child we have to be able to parent ourselves. We no longer have parents telling us to turn off the game and go to bed or to stop scrolling Instagram. It is our turn to be that person for our children but if we can not be that person for ourselves, we will simply become the thing we hated most about our own parents which was when they told us to do as they say, not as they are doing.

Children Learn Patterns

Around the age of 3-4 years old, our children start to notice patterns and are able to guess what the next item will be. Remember those pattern worksheets from your childhood? Square, circle, square, what comes next? Our children will mirror our behaviors. If we can’t spend an idle minute without checking our phones, our kids are not going to be able to sit still either. We have to give our children healthy behaviors as patterns for them to follow. The little brains of our children are being wired using the patterns and behaviors we model for them.

Remember when you used to be creative? Some of my best memories as a child was building with Legos. I never bought the Lego sets that came with instructions. I wanted to build something from nothing and even though my Lego creations were not perfect replications of things in the real world they took creativity to make. These days we reach to our phone for inspiration rather than trying to make something on our own. No need to come up with an idea for our child’s birthday lets just scroll Pinterest for “5-Year-Old Boy Birthday Party Ideas.” We’re teaching our kids that kind of behavior people!

We also need to keep control over the compulsions we find ourselves often giving into. What I mean is that there are things we compulsively do. Some of these things are healthy, some are addiction-driven. We have lost the ability to be idle because we grab our device in hopes for a small kick of dopamine. We have become so conditioned to receive that little jolt in the pleasure center of our brains that we can’t handle being disconnected. Our brains learn that Disconnection = Being Alone and that Being Alone = Sadness.

Lately, I am trying to be mindful of how everything affects my heart and how things affect the hearts of my children. I recently removed a lot of influences from my social media accounts. Some of it was affecting my heart in a negative way. Removing it felt like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. If I can’t see how the things of the world affect my heart, how can I guide my child’s heart?

Technology Is Not A Replacement For Creativity

Yes, you can be very creative using technology. I have built a business on it, so I know this very well. I also recognize that technology has limited my creativity. When I use technology to find inspiration for creativity I often end up taking shortcuts that take away from what could have been a good idea. There is nothing wrong with using technology to vet your ideas, but often the best way to be creative is to disconnect and sit down with a notepad. A pen and paper, not the notepad app on your PC! This means that you might fail, and boy do we hate that. Finding the ideas and the ten steps to make it happen on Pinterest sure make it easier, but what do we learn when we do that to ourselves.

When I was in high school, I was in charge of our senior class float. We had a general idea of what we wanted to do but none of us really knew how to pull it off. We did it ourselves, no help from parents and it sure looked like it. Guys, our class float was horrible. The freshman beat us. It was sad, but it taught me some lessons I wouldn’t have learned if we had let our parents do the work for us.

Technology Is A Stimulant

I spoke to this above, technology is a stimulant because of how we use it. We use it to connect to information and information feels good. Information is not inherently bad, but we can become addicted to it. Over stimulation + Isolation leads to addiction. When we constantly allow ourselves to be stimulated by the pretty pictures and information of the internet we start to feel isolated. We are constantly reminded about what we don’t have or what we haven’t achieved. As an entrepreneur, I see others in my industry achieving more than me and it can make me feel like I am a failure somehow.

People turn to their technology to connect to whatever makes them feel something. It used to be tabloids and magazines, now it’s Instagram and Pinterest. We are surrounded by it. Though it often makes us feel insufficient, we are drawn to it like a moth is to light. We scroll Facebook or Instagram for hours hoping for a connection to something. Those apps are designed to make sure we receive some sort of reward from time to time for using them.

Technology Can Isolate Us

If we allow our technology to over stimulate us we crave more and will find ways to consume more of it. This leads to us deciding to spend time on our devices rather than with others who edify and build us up. When we are over stimulated and isolated, addiction takes hold. We need to make sure we recognize this before it becomes a problem because we are not only isolating ourselves from our peers but also from our spouse and children.

How To Raise Tech-Wise Kids

I often get asked by other parents about healthy limitations. How should I limit the time my children spend with technology they ask. To be honest, I am no sure I like the idea of limitations. Setting limitations mean focusing on lack rather than abundance. I believe that what we need to do is make sure that there are enough healthy and edifying things in the lives of our children that technology is just one of the many things that makes up their lives.

I find that when I get lazy and don’t make my children my main focus in our home, they want technology. When I am constantly checking my phone and busy on my laptop, my kids want to be busy playing games on theirs. It is not fair to them to see me constantly on my phone and not allow them to do the same. I knew I had a problem when my oldest told me that he can’t wait until he turns 18 and moves out so he can surround himself with all of the technology that I have. That hit me like a brick to the face. How can I teach my kids about being “tech-wise” when I don’t appear to be tech-wise myself?

This has led to me making some other changes in my life. I am currently working to free up the clutter in my life so I have more mental bandwidth to assure I don’t get blindsided again.

Healthy Boundaries vs Limitations

We don’t let our kids take technology into their rooms. Their rooms are for sleep and play. This is an area I need to work on myself. I go to bed with devices next to me and I need to create some separation. This is going to become more important as I transition back to working from home. Our kids need these same healthy boundaries in place. There is a time for technology and there is a time for it to be put away.

Most devices these days have the option to set limitations which shut them down after a certain amount of time. While this is a nice safety feature, I want my kids to be able to moderate their own use of technology without having to rely on the device to disable itself. What happens when they are old enough for their own device? They will just turn that limitation off and let freedom ring!

We should be starting the day and ending the day technology free. When we are with other people, we should be interacting with them rather than burying our faces in a game or an app. I think virtual reality is neat, but I fear what it will do to the family if that is the future of consuming content in the home. We all slip on our headsets and forget about each other. That freaks me out!

But They’re Bored!

When attempting to moderate my kids use of technology I will offer up suggestions on how they can spend their time. Are you really a parent if your child hasn’t told you, “That’s Boring!?” I get it. Playing Legos just can’t hang with the latest updates to Fortnite. What my kids will choose every time is uninterrupted time with me. When I chose to play with them, they don’t care about the games and the apps. They want to spend time with me.

“But your kids are still young,” you say. Yes, they are, which means I still have time. This is why I am making major changes in my work life right now to allow for more time with my kids. When they get older, they will choose technology over me if I spent their childhood doing the same to them. Your kids will never get bored of you engaging with them in fun activities they can take part it. It’s when you trade out that time for other distractions that it becomes hard to win them back later on. They will fight you when you try to separate them from their devices because those devices have been their comfort. I never said this would be easy.

Becoming Tech-Wise

Intention is going to be the biggest tool you have in your arsenal. If you make a device the top priority in your own life, your kids will as well. It is also important that your kids’ friends parents know your stance on technology use as well. One of my favorite things about my kids still being young is their accidental spilling of information. They know they are not allowed to play games endlessly at home and that goes for when they are at their friends’ houses as well.

We need to set healthy boundaries between us and our technology. I recently moved my phone across the bedroom. I have kept my phone on my nightstand for as long as I can remember. My first business used to get broken into occasionally so I had this fear that I would get a call in the middle of the night from the alarm company and police and that is when the habit of having my phone next to me while I sleep started. Now, I simply wear my smartwatch to bed and put it on “Do Not Disturb” mode. If someone from my contacts calls me, my watch will notify me of a call, otherwise, it will not disturb me. I have slept like a baby and grabbing my phone when I wake up before even putting my feet on the floor has changed my attitude in the morning. These are healthy boundaries I want to pass on to my kids and that can’t happen if I am not practicing them myself.

Avoiding Technology Addiction

As I eluded to before, technology provides us with a stimulant we use to feel something. When we start to isolate so we can spend more time in an app or game, that leads to addiction. We need to recognize what that looks like in our own lives. Are we addicted already, or on our way?

What does video game addiction and recovery from that look like?

ESports and The Professional Gamer Movement

There is a new category of sports if you haven’t already heard and that is the sport of Electronic Gaming. There are gaming competitions and events where professional gamers go head to head just like in the world of physical sports. It’s fun to watch, especially if you enjoy the game they are playing. Gamers stream live each day so others can watch them play and be entertained by their commentary. This is a huge emerging market where gamers are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and getting major sponsorships just for playing games on their computer.

Kids watch these streamers and are envious of their skill and the lifestyle they get to lead because of their skill at the game. It would be easy for our kids to become addicted to video games because there is an online community that enjoys the same thing they do. However, online gaming communities are nothing more than a community around that game. Outside of that, it is rare that any real connection or personal growth will come out of those communities.

We not only have to guide our children toward healthy technology use but we have to guard them against the false realities that exist out there. Just like we enjoy following people on Instagram and Pinterest who are amazing at certain things, kids want to follow those who are pros at their favorite games. We have to make sure our children understand what being a professional gamer means and how that differs from spending too much time playing games as a child.

As adults, we can fall into the same traps by getting too caught up in the lives of celebrities. Our kids are getting caught up in the lives of gaming celebrities and it is much easier for them to fall into the addiction of gaming than it is for an adult to carry out a shopping addiction. We have to look at our own lives and make sure that we are not projecting addictive behavior onto our children. If we are addicted people, our kids are going to become addicted.

Check out this short review of a book called “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.”

External vs Internal Triggers

As you now know, we live in a world of external triggers. These are the things that are marketed to us that look great and promise to make us feel better. Technology companies have perfected the trigger. Look at how Apple has triggered millions of people into purchasing new phones each year that only contain small updates.

If our children are not strong enough, they are going to give in to those external triggers when they have their own internal negative triggers. We all have negative triggers such as feeling down or lonely. If we do not model for our children how to create healthy boundaries between us and our technology, our kids are going to have the behavior patterns that lead to turning to those external triggers that are the first step to creating a technology addiction.

Technology Fasting

It’s impossible to avoid technology altogether and if we do not allow our kids to explore technology, they will likely be left behind. We now live in a connected world, but our minds have not adapted to that kind of existence. We are community driven and need to connect with others.

This summer I took my family camping and decided to go completely off the grid. That is a hard thing to do as a business owner but I told my clients that I would be unreachable for 8 days. During those 8 days, I did not touch my phone at all. The first four days were torture. When I didn’t have something to do I felt the desire to go grab my phone. Even without a connection to the internet, I was sure something needed my attention. Thankfully I resisted and spent that time reading instead. It was a nice break and part of me wished I didn’t have to reconnect.

To drive home the point about setting healthy boundaries we need to make sure we are building planned separation from technology. This means taking a technology fast. In the book, “The Tech-Wise Family, author Andy Crouch shares that in his family they take an hour a day, one day a week, and one week each year completely free from technology. Here is what that might look like:

One Hour Dialy- Dinner time no technology. Dinner lasts an hour. Instead, we take our time to enjoy our food and each other through conversation.

One Day/Week – Sunday, no technology. We go to church, maybe go to the park to play, and then do some yard work. It’s not that hard to fill a day with activity.

One Week/Year – Camping or disconnected vacation. We like to go camping so we go camping up in the mountains away from Wifi and cellular connection. For me, I need to be completely disconnected. That means no signal at all!

Be a Leader to Your Children and to Others

I could go on forever on this topic. Each paragraph I write I think of something to add to a previous paragraph. Writing helps me think and I learn through the process of converting my thoughts into written word. I want to encourage you to look inward and consider the behaviors you are displaying to your children. They are going to grow up with those patterns gleaned from you ready to be put into practice when they encounter situations. This goes for so much more than just technology.

We need to be the leaders our children need. Only by understanding ourselves will we be able to equip our children with the patterns and behaviors they will need to navigate the world they are growing up in.

Here is a list of books that have added insight into my own life and thus resulted in me being able to recognize my own behaviors so that I can build upon or correct to better equip myself to raise tech-wise children.

Books:

Podcasts:

There is no one book or podcast that will give you all of the answers to life. I have read hundreds of books and recognize that each book introduces me to a key nugget of information or a concept that I had not considered. All of these books are available in an audio form which is how I consumed them.

You’ve Got This!

You’ve got this Mom or Dad. I know you came here hoping for a 5-step plan to raising tech-wise kids, but that just isn’t a thing and if it was, it would be rendered useless almost immediately when the next pleasure centered device hits the market. The key is to be the example you want for your children. They are going to grow up to be just like you whether they want to or not. You have the power to set a baseline for healthy behaviors in their lives and it goes so much deeper than just technology use.

Obviously, I am pretty passionate about this topic and plan to write more on it. If you have any thoughts, please share them in the comment section below. I would love to hear your opinion. We all learn from each other. If you want updates from me, please consider sharing your email address in the “Get Updates” box on the right column or bottom of this website.

Thanks for taking the time to read my long post. I appreciate your time and your desire to invest in the lives of your children.

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Parenting Is Not For The Weak

I’ve been a dad now for a little bit over eight years. I have three kids. Two are boys, and the youngest is a girl. I absolutely love my kids and I love being a dad. Everything that I’ve done over the last 10 years has been to try and provide a good life for them without exchanging my presence in their lives.

I have been self-employed since I was 20 years old, so for about the last 18 years. There are many different things that I have taught myself how to do that have turned into revenue streams that has provided me the life that I have today. I’m usually pretty quick to figure things out. If there is something that I want to learn how to do, I can read a couple of blogs and watch a couple of videos and know exactly what I need to do. With a little bit of practice, I almost always have it down solid. I’ve just always been good at getting hands-on with things and figuring them out.

Parenting on the other hand has been the biggest challenge of my life. Marriage has definitely been a challenge also, but at least you’re dealing with another adult there. With parenting, you’re dealing with ever-changing little beings that are also trying to figure out what this world is all about.

I have always been an observer. I tend to stand back and watch while I take in what’s going on around me. I try to do this with my kids, especially when they are having a hard time with something. With my boys, they would get frustrated and lose their composure over something but I was able to see what was happening, empathize with them, and bring them out of it rather quickly. My daughter on the other hand I just am often at a loss with. I do not know how to handle her. I didn’t grow up with many girls around me so I just don’t know how to deal with them. Girls are different than boys, and handle things completely different than I am used to.

My wife had her Street Market tonight so I took most of the day to handle her responsibilities with the kids. That included picking up my daughter and our friends boy at noon and then returning at three to pick up my boys and their other son. We do a carpool with our neighbor friends. I told my daughter that we would go on a lunch date together. It had been a while since our last one. She said she wanted to go somewhere fun for lunch so I thought I would take her to John’s Incredible Pizza for lunch and a few games. She was pretty excited.

We had a good time and used up all of our tokens and left to go run a couple of errands before picking up her brothers from school. Right when we got into my truck she said to me, “Dad, I actually didn’t have a nice date with you.” I was confused. It seemed to me like we had a lot of fun together. We had pizza, chocolate vanilla swirl ice cream, and played some fun games together. It was just her and I and we didn’t worry about anybody else.

I asked her why she didn’t have a good time and she said to me, “John’s Incredible Pizza was dumb.” I explained to her that I thought we had a pretty good time together. She persisted by reiterating once again that she did not have a good time and then ended her statement by saying that she didn’t think she wanted to go on anymore dates with me for a while. Talk about bringing back old highschool rejection wounds. Where was this coming from?

I explained to her that when someone who cares about you takes you somewhere that you wanted to go, you need to be appreciative. If you didn’t have a good time, it’s OK to share that, but it’s not OK to make somebody feel bad. At this point she was giving me the cold shoulder and I didn’t want to start an argument with a four-year-old.

While we were running a couple of errands I started to notice that she was most likely exhausted so I am sure that she was not simply being mean to me but that she was feeling tired and that translated to her not having a good time. I know she had a good time, but she’s tired and when my daughter is tired the filters come off. She’s 4.

Fast forward to later in the evening, we went downtown to check out my wife’s market. I just started drinking coffee again and got a coffee from a friends coffee booth and was enjoying my fresh coffee. My wife wanted to buy my daughter a hand made bag from one of their junior vendors so we were at his booth. My daughter was holding her bag and for some reason decided to swing it at me knocking my coffee out of my hand and all over my arm and right side of my body. I was livid. My daughter is lucky that there were hundreds of people around us or my filter may have came off. Though my wife had 1000 other things going on, I was ready to force her to take her daughter because I was done. I took a couple of deep breath’s and composed myself, and then used her blanket that I was forced to carry by her to dry my coffee soaked body off.

Now my boys also operated on pretty narrow wavelengths around that age. I recognize that there is a lot of changes in the brain going on at that age. I also remember the family dynamic that I grew up in. There were three of us kids and I remember my younger brother having a pretty short fuse. Having three kids is pretty tough. Two play together well, and the third always is the odd man out. My daughter is even more at a disadvantage because she’s the only girl. The boys are really good about playing with her in her world, but they are boys and would rather be doing boy things and lately they have wanted it to be all about the boys.

As a parent, I don’t want to micromanage my kids’ childhood. They need to figure some things out on their own without coming to my wife and I all the time. I want my kids to be able to manage conflict and resolve situations on their own, even though they are young. I haven’t always been perfect in this area and still am not anywhere near it. Sometimes I don’t have enough bandwidth to handle their situations and it’s much easier to shut them down immediately then to understand and hear them out.

I recognize that days like this happen to me because it is mostly my wife that takes care of them throughout the day. Today was a disruption of the norm for them. I haven’t picked them up from school in forever and been with them all afternoon, so it was totally different and for my four-year-old daughter, that’s a big deal, especially at the end of the week when she is tired.

Now, they are all in bed and sleeping and I’m sitting on the couch ranting into a blog post, trying to make sense of all of my thoughts and what happened today. For me, writing helps me process my thoughts. Parenting is not for the week. It would be very easy for me to live in the frustration that was today and decide that limiting my work so that I could spend more time at home with my kids was a bad idea. You see, I’m trying to free up more time by limiting work so that I can spend more time with my wife and kids. I want to be done with work when they come home from school. I want to play with them in the afternoon before dinner. I don’t want to miss out. But after a day like today it would be easy to find more work to do so I could avoid the craziness.

I know that it is not under my own power that I am able to see my thoughts and emotions for what they are shortly after a situation like today and understand the deeper meaning in all of it. It would be very easy to take everything personal, but it’s not personal, it’s parenting.

Many people think that their kids are doing things like this to them on purpose and that their kids must just spend all of their free time trying to come up with ways to torture them. Honestly, I don’t think that our kids think about us enough to do that, nor are they capable of that at such young ages. Their little brains are literally just firing and reactions are happening. They are young, and are unable to fully control all of their emotions. They are still trying to figure it out and it is up to us as parents to guide them, even when we are the ones being attacked.

I am very thankful for the ability that I have to see the bigger picture most of the time. If it was not for that, I would have nothing but resentment built up from situations like this. I just went in to my daughters room and kissed her on the four head. I also made the mistake of inhailing through the nose right next to her blanket. Which is utterly disgusting and still covered with coffee.

Parenting is the hardest job that I have ever had. When people say that parenting is hard, they are not kidding. When they follow that up by saying that it is also the most rewarding job, they are not kidding either. I had my turn as a child and young adult. I’m not saying that I can’t still enjoy my life, but it is their turn. My kids need the best that I can give them at all times. When I fail at being the best for them, I need to be humble enough to share with them my shortcomings and apologize when necessary. None of us are perfect nor do we have all the answers. There are no step-by-step guides to raising perfect children.

So I guess I am writing this as a reminder to myself but also as an encouragement anyone else out there who has children that go sideways sometimes and blast you with hot coffee in the middle of a street market. Remember that your kids are young and are not fully in control of their emotions. They need guidance and understanding, and patience. Heck, adults these days are rarely in control of their emotions. Kavanaugh much?

The next time you see me with my kids and a crazed look on my face, know that this Dad is doing his best with what he has in that moment and I’ll do my best to encourage you in your moments.

Do it for them, because being a dad is important. It might be the most important role there is in a child’s life and there are so many dads out there not showing up for their kids these days.

Show up for your kids in all moments. You’ve got this Dad!

Note: The image I used in this post is a stock photo and not a photo of my daughter, though it is a pretty good representation of how she was looking at me earlier today. I’ve made a point not to shame my children by posting their vulnerable moments to the Internet.

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I’m Raising Material Obsessed Children

Too Much Stuff

I was pretty lucky growing up. My life was not perfect, but I had a roof over my head in a nice neighborhood. I remember having things, but not too many things. My parents did not have much money, especially after they divorced, so my Grandparents provided the extras for us. I had a computer in my home at a young age, which was rare in the late 80’s. I had new shoes at the start of every school year. Clothes that fit me. Stuff like that. What sticks out to me more is what others had that I did not and here I am in my late 30’s just now realizing how much of a problem it was.

Fyi, the photo I used for this blog is a stock photo but the storage at my office is just about as jam-packed with stuff.

When I was young, my Dad and Grandfather both had their own spaces. My Dad’s was the garage, which was unattached to our house. It was like his own little world out there full of tools and fun stuff like that. We went out there to hang out with him as often as we could because it was where Dad was and we wanted to be near him.

My Grandfather built a large shop when I was very young and filled that with machines that he used to make just about anything he wanted. Growing up we would go out there and make our own little things using whatever scraps we could find from the bigger projects. This is where I learned to weld, turn a piece of metal on a lathe, shape something on a mill, and much more. Adult me has a strong desire to return to that part of my childhood. I just want to make stuff.

Though these aspects of my childhood were pretty cool, what I have brought from it into my adult life is the need to have a tool for everything. The tools of my trade are the different technologies I use for work. This ranges the gamut of computers and accessories to cameras and the like. I have acquired a lot over the years for work but my work life and personal life are very closely tied together. Since I own a business, everything that the business is composed of is personally mine. My workspace has been described as by several people as a man cave or a toy room. I have computers, cameras, screens, phones, tablets, and more. All in the name of work.

Just about everything I have I purchased for work and have used it somehow. I have not been reckless in my spending on technology, though I could have gotten by with much less. I have found a way to make my desire for the latest and greatest work for.

I wanted an excuse to always have the latest smartphones and tablets so I created a blog and YouTube channel around that. The same went with cameras so I have a blog and YouTube channel for that as well. I have used these tools to work on building my passive income revenue streams. Nothing wrong there…

I have been noticing a few different things lately and I am going to talk about two of them in this post. The first is the anxiety that things bring into my life.

There have been several times in my life where I have downsized drastically. By drastically, I mean selling everything including my bed. I have done that twice. At one point I could have fit everything I owned in the back of my small truck. Those were the days when I felt most free. I didn’t have much to maintain so I had all of this mental space for creativity and serving. My expenses were pretty low as well so that made it easy to live.

Over the years I have accumulated more than I have ever had. I have a home that is filled with stuff I don’t use or have any real connection to. I have an office overflowing with stuff that goes unutilized. I have still managed to keep my expenses down compared to most of the people I know but I still desire to operate on less. I follow these blogs and YouTube channels on minimalistic lifestyles and desire that for myself. My wife and I have watched the Tiny House shows on Hulu and something inside of us desires that but fears it at the same time. Something tells me much of the rest of our society feels this too because otherwise, these type of shows would not exist.

I have noticed that my office and workspace does not bring me comfort. If anything, I feel anxiety when I am around it. It’s because there is so much here and I feel the need to do something with all of it. I should be doing more with it, right?

So I recognize that the amount of stuff in my life is causing me to be uneasy. I never wanted to have all of the stuff and now here I am with all of the stuff.

The second and more frustrating thing pulling at me is that my children look at everything I have and covet it. My boys especially, come into my office and it’s like a playground. I see in them what I felt when I was their age walking into my Grandfathers shop. It is a place full of things they can’t touch. Of course, I let them use the computers here, but it’s not their playground, it’s mine. They talk about how much stuff they are going to buy when they have money. I remember doing this with my brothers. We would make our list of tools and Go-Kart parts we would buy when we had our own money. As an adult in my early 30’s, I finally purchased that Go-Kart and all of the parts I used to dream about as a child. That Go-Kart sits in my shop covered in dust. It’s been years since I have driven it.

Living in this world and all of its messages is hard enough. You have society telling you that you need all of these things to be happy. These days the cool thing is how much money you have spent in Fortnite on digital character add-ons. Add-ons that do nothing to make you any better at the game. It was like showing up in Jordans when I was in elementary school. At least you could wear your Jordans.

All I am doing is reinforcing the messages of this world to my children with the way I have been living my life. Of course, I could be much worse. I rent a modest home in a nice neighborhood. My wife and I drive cars that are paid in full. I don’t buy many clothes these days, except I do have a t-shirt problem. I don’t even own a suit. Blasphemy!

We could be spending a lot more than we do, but that is not the point. I know that I only have a few years left with my children before what they believe about me is pretty much written in stone. I also believe that the first 7 or so years of a child’s life comprises the structure of their internal owners manual. Their beliefs about themselves and their limitations are founded during these years. That means that my oldest is already beyond that. I have spent a lot of time lately looking into what I have done with those years.

I do not want my kids to believe that their fulfillment will come from the things they obtain. I want them to have things in this world that they can be proud of and that they use. Currently, they have tons of toys, most of which they only use when we threaten to get rid of them because they never use them. My kids live in excess, just like their father.

I have not led by example. My kids are old enough to notice that I have a new phone, tablet, or laptop almost every month. They see the new things I have at my office. Most of them look like a lot of fun, and they are, but what am I teaching my kids?

What I thought I was teaching them is that if they work hard, they can afford to have the fun things they have always wanted. I realize that all they see is the fun things my work has afforded me and not the work that was done to get them. Thankfully we have had some cool conversations about work and the things we buy. My boys are starting to understand how much money things cost. My wife and I do not try to hide this from our kids. Our kids know how much a house costs to live in each month and how much of the month their Dad has to work just to make that happen. They know how many months of saving it took for us to go on a trip and how important saving is.

All I know is that I need to be a better example to my children by showing some restraint. There are a lot of fun things out there, most of which I want. We live in a world where there is a new version of just about everything at least once a year which continuously puts that carrot out in front of us.

I am currently working on going through everything I own. I want to operate on at least 75% less than what I have and I believe that to be obtainable. I do about 95% of my work with about 10% of the things at my office. Imagine having 75% less on your mind every day? Now, of course, I am not thinking about every little item at my office and being anxious over its lack of use, but there is a large part of me that knows there is much more than I need here. My goal by the end of this year is to be rid of as much of it as possible.

I would rather be known as someone who did a lot with a little. I want my kids to grow up knowing that they can achieve a lot without having to have all of the things and that things will not bring them happiness and always make life easier. There is a point where things actually make life harder and less enjoyable. I plan to have my kids take part in my downsizing. I want them to understand why I would get rid of so much that looks so appealing to them. I want us to operate on less so that we have more room within to enjoy each other.

I also recognize that this is going to have to fundamentally change the way I live, the way I think, and the way I project myself as well. Looking at my social media feeds you can see exactly where my problem lies.

I will probably be posting a lot on Facebook Marketplace and will probably have a sidewalk sale of some sort soon that will look like a photography studio going out of business. I am, however, not going out of business. I am simply choosing to operate with only what I need. Let’s challenge each other to live like that rather than try to keep up with those who have more than us.

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How I’ve Made $60,000 On YouTube – With Analytics!

Hey, what’s up. It’s Jerad with Practically Passive, and I wanted to talk today about my number one source of passive income, which is YouTube. Really, that income actually comes from Google AdSense, because Google AdSense is Google’s ad platform for creators. For example, if you’re a company and you have something that you want to market, and you want that to show up in the form of video before a YouTube video plays, then that’s the process you would go through, you would use Google AdSense for that, you would create an ad and it would show during content that was kind of related.

If you came to one of my videos, which was about an iPhone, and you had an iPhone case to sell, you might want your video to play as an ad before, during or after my video is done. So that’s where that revenue comes from with YouTube. I built the State of Tech channel, and also Ditch Auto, which is another YouTube channel up to the point where I’m getting on average around $1,600 to $2,200 a month just from YouTube ads basically.

I started State of Tech a while back. Actually, State of Tech was the second phase from another YouTube channel that I had called Daily App Show. I had really gotten into reviewing apps for smartphones back when the smartphones first came out. I had a lot of traction there, things were going really well for me at that time. It wasn’t so much traffic, or income that was coming from Google AdSense, and from ads, it was active revenue that was coming from other sources such as companies paying me to review their apps.

Daily App Show Website Screenshot from 2010

But when I transitioned towards wanting to come at things from a more educational standpoint, and actually teach people how to use their devices, inform them on how to do specific things on their smartphones, or their tablets, or whatnot, that’s where I really started looking at, “Okay, how do I add the most value? Because this has to be informative. I have to come at this as a good teacher helping people, otherwise, my information isn’t going to be consumed, and it’s not going to become passive income.” As my ad revenue has grown over the months and the years, I’ve really realized there’s a lot of potential in producing content for YouTube.

Revenue-Since-Monetization-SOT YouTube Subscribers State of Tech Watch-Time-Lifetime-SOT

As long as I’m producing enough content, it’s relevant, it’s value-added, then I’m going to end up getting paid over time in a passive way from that content that I’m putting out. I started building on State of Tech because I wanted to be more of an informational source, an educational source in mobile technology. I was trying to differentiate myself from the people who were just doing reviews, who were just doing what I had been doing previously, because the competition had gotten really steep. State of Tech came about and I’ve been kind of slowly building that over time.

Now, I haven’t really focused that well on State of Tech as far as finding a specific topic. I think that if I had gone more niched, and made it just about iPhones, and getting the most out of your iPhone, and being more productive with it, and taking better photos with it, and everything iPhone related, it might’ve been a little easier because that’s a big audience. There’s a lot of people with iPhones, and there’s a lot of people who want to learn how to use their iPhone better.

But I also mixed in iPad stuff, Android phones, Android tablets, Mac computers, Windows computers, drones and all that other stuff into this one channel, which I think created a little bit of a challenge for some people, because maybe they’re not as interested in that wide of a gamut of technology.

I know there are people like me who are interested in all of that, and even though some people may not own all of those things, they’re interested in it, they want to know what technology is, and that’s kind of where State of Tech is, it’s like the state of technology, where is that at, and let’s talk about it. That’s where that whole channel and the name even came from. But I’ve started to realize through watching the behavior of people on the website, or on the YouTube channel, when I get a video that has 100+ thousand views and very few of those turned into actual subscribers. I’m realizing that video performed well, and a lot of people gave it a thumbs up, and there’s great comments, so I know that people are finding that video useful, it’s getting a lot of views, but it’s not resulting in subscribers. So I’ve realized that I think I have gone in too many different directions with that channel, and maybe if I was more specific, I would see better growth there.

I don’t necessarily know if the answer is splitting it off into a whole bunch of different channels or not, that’s something that I definitely need to look at. But I do know typically what is going to produce some views for that channel, and because I’ve been able to create content that’s useful, and it helps answer questions, and it solves problems, I’ve been rewarded in the form of passive income from YouTube add revenue. I’ve tried to do the same thing with Ditch Auto, which is the other YouTube channel that I spend most of my time on, which is in the area of photography.

Revenue-Since-Monetization-DA Subs-DA Watch-Time-Lifetime-DA

With Ditch Auto, I do a lot of camera reviews and set up videos, and here’s tips and techniques, and camera hacks and some different stuff that people can use to become better photographers. So the idea there is that if I’m providing information then I will be rewarded with views and subscribers. That channel’s been a little tricky to grow as well, because I used to shoot with Canon cameras, so a lot of my content was Canon, and then I switched to Sony, so a lot of my content is Sony. Switching to Sony is kind of the popular thing to do right now as a photographer so it’s worked out somewhat.

I just haven’t really found a niche there either to where people could really find a use for every single piece of content that I put out. It’s not relevant to every person every piece of content that I put out, that’s been kind of a challenge for me. But, with all that said, and understanding that there’s a lot of things that I could fine tune and actually make work better, I’m still earning on average $1,800 to $2,200 a month of passive income from those channels alone without even included revenue from links to Amazon products. That’s something that I’ve been able to build up by being persistent, by putting content up as often as I can, even though I’ve had to take some good breaks from that. Especially the last two months, in July and August of 2018, I’ve had to take a lot of breaks from putting up content just because life’s gotten busy, and my actual company has gotten busy, and I lost an employee, so I had a lot of stuff enter my plate. With that, it’s taken away from producing more content for my YouTube channels.

But, with that said also, I am now looking back at that and saying to myself, “Okay, these are great passive income revenue sources that I cannot afford to ignore for too long, how do I make the most of them, how do I produce the content that people want to see and that people will actually subscribe to so that they’ll watch more than one video or they’ll come back as often as I’m putting out new content?” Because that’s where that passive revenue that comes from the YouTube ads is going to grow much faster is if people are coming back. Not every person is new, but I have new people coming in, but I also have people that have been around for a while that are watching content and consuming new content.

With that said, those are the things that I’ve done and kind of the mindset that I have around those YouTube channels, and why they’re working as well as they are. I’ve been feeding into them for quite some time. Now, not only am I being paid with those videos from YouTube, but a lot of them, when they are about a product or something like that, there is an affiliate link down in the description of the video. If I’m talking about, if I did a video on the top five cases for the new iPhone 10, there are five cases and their affiliate links down below.

Amazon-Affiliates-Payout-Since-Beginning

If I do a product review on something, if I do something educational that requires something that people would have to buy, then there’s a link down in the description. Those videos I’m getting paid for for people watching them, but also if somebody decides to go and buy the thing that I recommended, I’ll also get paid there. That’s all passive income.

I wanted to talk about the fact that I have made over $60,000 on YouTube because I wanted to make sure that people understand that it’s not the only source. If I put all of my efforts into just getting paid from YouTube only, and then YouTube decided to change the game with the way that they pay out. So I wanted to talk about this so that I could explain that yes there is one passive income revenue source that does produce a decent amount of revenue for me, it’s not the only place that I’m receiving passive income. Because if YouTube decided to make some major changes to their monetization, or if for some reason something happened to my YouTube channel, or whatever, there’s always things that can happen when you’re playing in the space of other companies such as YouTube.

If something was to happen and I lost that, I wouldn’t lose all of my passive income. Yes, that would be a big chunk of income, and it sure would hurt to lose it, but it wouldn’t be the end of the game. I would just have to look at how I have all these other passive revenue streams, how do I make them the primary or how do I build upon them as well? Having multiple things going on definitely takes the stress out of it all being in one basket.

The same way that I typically was stressed out because all of my income was reliant upon clients, getting new clients and stuff like that. If I didn’t get a new client, then I wasn’t getting paid. If I wasn’t able to get the work done in the time promised, then I wasn’t getting paid either. Now, with passive income, I’m getting paid for work that I’ve already done, and all I need to do is continue to pour into that so that those can continue to grow.

If you have any questions about that, especially with YouTube, I know YouTube monetization is a huge one, especially with earlier this year YouTube deciding to set higher guidelines, or higher limitations that people would have to reach. That’s going to do it for this video, if you have any questions especially around the topic of YouTube monetization, let me know. I have several channels that I monetize with YouTube as well as one that I’ve brought to monetization this year in 2018 after YouTube raised the level of requirements for a channel to be monetizable.

Just to recap that, in order for you to monetize your YouTube channel and get paid by the ads that show up in YouTube videos, you have to have reached 1,000 subscribers on your channel, and you also have to have 4,000 hours of viewed content within a rolling year’s period of time. In that year’s period of time, you have to have 4,000 hours of watched time. I don’t know what happens if you fall below that in the future, if they take away the monetization or what, but I know that you have to at least reach those things in order to monetize. I’ve done that with one channel this year, and my goal is to do that with this channel as well, but it’s going to require you subscribing.

Please, subscribe to the Practically Passive YouTube Channel. Check out some of the other videos that I have here on the channel that you find useful. The more that you watch them, the more that it counts towards that limit that I’m trying to reach. That is definitely a goal of mine that I have that I would love to achieve within the next 30 days. I would appreciate the subscribe, and definitely appreciate you watching some of the other videos all the way through. Until next time, my name is Jerad with Practically Passive, and I hope to see you back here soon.

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7 Ways to Find Time to Build Your Passive Income

Hey what’s up, it’s Jerad, with Practically Passive, and in this post I have seven ways to help you find time to build your passive income revenue stream. This is super timely for me because I forgot to put a blog up yesterday. I had announced, not even a full week ago, that I was going to be putting out a blog every day for 30 days and yesterday I straight up forgot to edit a video and get a blog posted.

Now, I started the day early and had meetings in the morning, and then had a couple hours back at the office, tried to knock out editing a video for State of Tech and then had to drive to another town to pick up some stuff for a photo shoot, and then make it back in time to take my kids to Jujitsu practice. Then I had to figure out dinner, I mean, it was just a crazy day, it totally slipped my mind. In looking back, I had forgot to add it to my task list for the day, so it just wasn’t a thing that was on the top of my mind. I had too much going on to really think about it. Then of course there’s today, which at the time that I’m recording this, Apple announced their new iPhones and Apple Watch, so I watched that keynote. I got a new drone in, so I was messing around with that. So there are things for my passive income that I’ve been working on.

Yesterday, I was editing a video on the comparison between the Galaxy S9 Plus and the Note 9 cameras, and so I was editing that video and then I also got my Galaxy Note 9 review video out. So I was working on my passive income revenue streams but I failed at getting a video up for this channel. So here’s seven things that I have identified as things that I need to continuously remind myself of and work at, in order to grow my passive income. I think that they’re things that are going to help you out. So let’s dive right in.

1. Cut Back on Other Activities

The first thing is to cut back on other activities. Now, there are a lot of things that I know that I could cut back on, like TV watching, scrolling Instagram, news and stuff like that. I read … I have to stay up on the industries that I’m in with my passive income, I need to stay up on technology. I need to stay up on what’s coming out with cameras and all of that stuff because I have to constantly be generating ideas for content, and thinking about what’s next and what’s new.

For example, like with the time that I took today, two hours, to watch the Apple keynote, that was two hours that I could’ve been working and doing other things. I tried to multitask but it’s a little hard to take notes and prepare for producing a video while doing other things. So, there’s some times I have to pay attention to that, but when it comes to watching TV shows and scrolling Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, or whatever, those are all things that you can cut back on. I know at times I need to remind myself to cut back on those.

I mean, would you rather be editing content or writing content to put out there that’s going to help you build passive income or would you rather make sure that you are up-to-date with whatever TV show episode that’s out, that you’re interested in. The TV show adds value in an entertainment aspect, but it’s not going to add passive income value to you. So you need to look at those ares and how you can cut back. When you go to reach for that remote, to open up Netflix, or whatever it is, you need to just put that remote down and go jump into whatever it is that you’re doing to start building your passive income revenue stream.

2. Wake up Early or Go to Bed Late

Number two is to wake up early or go to bed late. Now, I am not going to trade out time with my family for my passive income. For example, I’m not going to go home after being gone all day working and then ignore my family so that I can work on my projects. My passive income is not more important than my family. My family comes first because if I sacrifice my family in order to build passive income, what good is having the passive income? I just don’t believe in trading extra dollars for time that you could be spending with your family. Especially in the stage that I’m in now, with kids that are elementary school aged. I want to make sure that I’m spending as much time as I can with them and I don’t want to trade to much of it out for work if I don’t have to.

I already feel like I do that. Going to work from 8:00 to 5:00. I’m already gone throughout the day, and even though they’re at school during the day, there’s still a few hours in the afternoon that if I was able to leave a little earlier I could spend time with them. That means, if I want to work on my passive income, I either need to wake up earlier then everybody else. Everybody in my house wakes up around 6:30. So that means I need to wake up maybe an hour earlier then normal to spend some time in the morning on it before everybody wakes up or wait until everybody goes to bed and then spend a little bit of time.

My kids go to bed around 7:30, 8:00. My wife goes to bed usually around 10:00, so maybe that means I stay up until 11:00 or 11:30 working on it. So that’s a way to kind of get some additional work done on your passive income revenue streams without trading out time that you could be spending with a significant other or your kids, or something else important to you. I also wouldn’t trade out time that you spend on yourself, like going to the gym, remaining fit or taking care of yourself, don’t trade that out either. I would rather it take longer to build my passive income revenue streams then sacrifice taking care of my body. Because these are all things that catch up with you, you can’t get time back in those areas and the more that you put those things off the more that you sacrifice the things that’s are important, the more challenging it is to actually make them important again. So, wake up early, go to bed late. That’s number two.

3. Automate Simple Processes

Number three is to automate as much of it as possible. One of the lovely things about the Internet, if you’re going to be doing content on the Internet, like I do, and a lot of what I’m talking about, whether that be blogs or stuff on social media or a course or an eBook or videos like this for YouTube, is that you can sit down and do a whole bunch of them at once. You may have noticed the videos that played before this one, the majority of them I’m wearing the same shirt. I didn’t even bother trying to pretend like I am recording new videos every day. I sat down and recorded three or four videos at a time. A few days later, I sat down and recorded three or four more videos at a time. Now, this one I’m recording today because I wanted to talk about how I forgot yesterdays video but tomorrows video would have been a video that I recorded a couple days ago.

So, you can actually sit down and knock out a bunch of work, and stagger that work to be published because all of these platforms allow you to schedule your content, so you can make a promise like I did, of releasing something every day for 30 days, and get all that work done and then schedule it out and then it doesn’t become something that you have to do every single day. It becomes something that maybe you have to spend a bunch of time on one day. Maybe you spend a couple of hours on a weekend getting that content done, so that you can schedule it out. That’s automating because it’s automatically going to be posted at the time and date that you give it.

If you’re going to be putting out content, depending on the type of content, it’s best to release it in the morning, especially if it’s content that’s more informational, like what I’m putting out. If it’s entertainment content, you may want to schedule that out later in the day because most people are consuming informational content earlier in the day and entertainment content later in the day. But every audience, in every industry, and whatever type of content it is, it’s going to vary. It’s not a solid rule, it’s just my experiences in having produced both types of content.

So, automate as much stuff as possible so that you’re not doing work that could be easily setup and ran automatically. A lot of that comes down to you being able to just sit down and produce a bulk amount of content and scheduling it so that it looks like you have stuff going out every single day. You want to have that activity, it’s extremely important to have that consistent activity happening constantly so that people are exposed to what you’re doing.

4. Hire a Virtual Assistant

Number four is to hire a virtual assistant. If you don’t have that extra time then you can hire a virtual assistant to do the simpler work. This is one of the things that was talked about a lot in, The 4-Hour Workweek. One of these books that is touting the lifestyle of being able to go and do whatever it is that you want and only work for a few hours, automation is discussed a lot in that book and hiring out and allowing other people to do your easier work. Giving the assistant the authority to do certain things so that you can go and explore the world.

For me, it’s looking at the different things that I don’t necessarily need to do, that somebody else could do for me. What are the things that I know somebody could do faster? Now it’s tricky with video, editing video, I would love to outsource that but the files are so large that transferring them would be tough. It’s much easier for me just to shoot a video, do minimal edits to it and upload it myself. When I had an employee I could have the employee handle that stuff and I could get a lot more content out because I could be shooting videos, he could be editing, I could work on other things, he could still be editing, and so I was able to get much more stuff done and get more content out when I had an employee working full-time. But now that it’s just me, it’s a little bit more challenging and if there was a simple way to outsource my video editing I probably would do it, but when it comes to logo design or some other graphical stuff, I will hire out for that, I’ll use Fiverr.com.

When it comes to converting these videos into articles, I don’t do that because it’s going to take me a lot of time. I use Rev.com, get 10% off your order by clicking here. In a video in the near future I’m going to talk about Rev.com because it saves me a ton of time to have these videos transcribed, for a couple of different reasons, I don’t want to get into it too deep, but I have these videos transcribed so that I can convert them to a blog really easily. I can add closed captioning to my videos, which is extremely important to help with these videos being discovered on YouTube.

5. Find a Partner

Number five is to partner with someone. Is there someone that could add value to what it is that you’re doing and with the two of you together you’re actually able to cover twice the amount of ground, in half the amount of time. Maybe you’re married to that person. You have a spouse that’s interested in a similar thing and you both can share the different responsibilities. Partnering with someone can definitely help get you more ground covered. If there’s something that you can offer and there’s something that that other person can offer, you bring both of those parties together and you have a nice team and you’re able to get these passive income revenue streams built faster.

The only problem with this, is that passive income comes from a lot of different sources. So it’s going to be tricky to look at all of that and make sure that each person is getting what it is that they deserve based on their efforts. 50/50 split is probably going to be the easiest, but one person may be contributing more to a certain income stream and another persons work contributing to a different income stream, so that might actually become a little bit challenging to maintain. Its definitely something that you can do. Especially if you enjoy more working together with someone then you do by yourself.

For me, and I think a lot of people reading this, you’re wanting to build passive income revenue streams for yourself, to separate yourself from being reliant upon anybody else or a job. So partnerships aren’t going to be for everyone. I know that they aren’t for me, but I wanted to include it because a lot of people like that aspect of working together, and with the right partnerships you can definitely achieve a lot more then you can on your own.

6. Cut Back On Work Hours

Number six is to cut back on your work hours. This is something I have done, and it made it easy for me to do that because when I had my last employee quit, I was used to paying that persons wage, 40 hours a week. So that was an expense that all of a sudden wasn’t there. There was a certain amount of revenue that I was able to keep and that allowed me to scale back on a little bit of work. Because not having to pay several thousand dollars a month definitely cuts back on the overhead. That means there’s less work that I have to agree to take on and then that gives me a little bit more time and flexibility.

Now I’m still playing catch up with all of the work that we had signed on before he left. There’s a lot that I still have to get done but in things going forward I’ve definitely been much more picky in taking on new work, so I’m definitely taking advantage of this one by cutting back on the amount of work that I’m taking on so that I don’t have to be as tied to active income and I can work more on my passive income streams. It’s just tricky because I don’t have a typical 8:00 to 5:00 job where I clock in, clock out or I’m not getting all of my instruction from the company that I work for. I have multiple clients with different needs and every day I have different requests coming in through email and phone calls. So it can be little tricky to actually find that time.

So a lot of times I have stuff in my task list, for my passive income, that I have to keep moving to the next day, and to the next day, but I leave it in there because if I do have extra time come up I want to make sure it’s top of mind, that it’s on my task list and that I’m able to achieve it.

7. Quit!

The last thing is just to go all in and quit. Now, that’s not likely something that most people can do. You can’t just up and quit your job, you need that income, until you build your passive income revenue stream big enough that you can replace your regular income with that. Now if you are a duel income household, you’re married, you have a husband or a wife that’s also working, you might be able to work something out there where you say, “I’m going to quit my job and I’m going to go full throttle into this passive income for six months. We’re going to have to sacrifice a little bit, maybe not take any vacations or whatever … ” You might have an option there.

If you’re a single income household, like me, then it’s a little bit tricky because you have everything on your plate, as far as the expenses go and you can’t just necessarily say no to everything. There is no guarantee that your passive income is going to continue to grow and that it will get to a point where you can replace your income with it. That could take a lot of time. So it’s very tricky, and kind of scary, to do that. The more responsibilities you have, the more caution I suggest, in making decisions like this, because the job that you currently have is guaranteed, so long as you’re able to keep the job and they’re able to keep paying you.

Passive income is going to vary, it’s going to be different for every single person as to how long it’s going to take to build that up. Your idea may be really good but it may take a lot of execution to pull that off before you’re actually able to start selling it and start making money. If you’re building passive income like me, you’re getting paid small amounts from different things that you’re doing, and it’s going to take even longer because initially you’re not going to get paid much. YouTube has limitations and things that you have to meet before you’re actually even able to get paid by them. So there’s lots of things that you have to start working at before you’re even going to have much of a passive income at all.

So, the whole passive income thing is most likely going to be a side project for you for a while, until you’re able to get it to a point where you have enough income coming in that you can replace at least some of your current income. That’s my goal for this year. It’s what I’ve been talking about, is trying to make sure that I can invest enough time, into my passive income revenue streams, to build them up to the point where they are meeting my needs of my household. If I can get to that point, I’m able to cut back on that active income that requires me to do client work and doesn’t allow me any flexibility and of course that’s the goal for this year for me and I hope a goal that I can help the majority of you reach as well.

Put in your email address to the form here on PracticallyPassive.com so that you could receive updates, whenever I put stuff out. I have some cool stuff that I’m working on in the background here that I haven’t talked about yet. A giveaway that’s going to be really cool and interesting. So definitely make sure you subscribe so that I get notified when all of that stuff comes out. I don’t want you to miss it.

That’s going to do it for now. I hope to see you in the next one.

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3 Questions to Ask Before Building Passive Income

Hey, what’s up? It’s Jerad with Practically Passive, and today we’re going to talk about three questions to ask yourself before you pursue passive income revenue growth. I think the mindset that you need to be in is a mindset of giving. I’ve always been in a mindset of wanting to share and give and put information out there, and it’s always done me well. Because if I’m not in that mindset of sharing and putting information out there, I’m in a me-mindset, where I want to take. And passive income just doesn’t grow too well in that space. Of course, you can get maybe some quick growths or some quick payments or whatnot that happen, but if you’re not continually adding value, if you’re not putting useful things out there into the world, that tends to dry up pretty quickly.

1. What are your goals and objectives?

The first thing to ask yourself is what your goal and your objective is. Your goal of course, I think, is probably to build a passive income that you can use to replace your existing income. That’s been my goal in this year of 2018, is to replace my income that I make from my businesses with passive income. Not so that I can shut them down, but so that I can have more choice, so I can have more options. There’s a lot of good things that come from a traditional job if you have a decent job, and one of those things is healthcare and another thing is retirement. Those are two things that a lot of jobs provide that passive income isn’t going to naturally provide, you’ll have to set those up for yourself.

Now I’ve been self-employed since I was 20, so I haven’t paid into 401ks or I don’t have any of those things provided by a job. I have to actually do my own investing and saving for retirement. I have to provide myself with healthcare and all of that stuff, so it’s a little bit different. So there may be good reasons to hang onto a job, but in building passive income revenue streams the goal there is to alleviate that a little bit. If you’re constantly stressed out or in fear over your job, over changes in your industry and stuff like that, maybe you’re going to be laid off, or you have that fear, those aren’t going to be as big a fears if you have some more income coming in.

Like at the end of this year, my goal is to replace my income, that means that I don’t have to be so scared when it comes to the end of the month and I don’t have any new clients that I got during that month, or business has been a bit slow. I’ve definitely had months like that, and it is stressful, and it is a bit scary at times because I’ve got a family. I have a wife and kids and there’s lots of expenses and different things there. Though I know we can exist on a lot less than we do, it’s just still a stress and something that causes anxiety and I want to avoid that as much as I can.

I’ve taken the time to look at my life and say, okay, where are the different things in my life that cause the most stress and anxiety. And because I’m a sole provider to my household, to my family, a lot of it is wrapped up in that because it’s the most responsibility I’ve ever had in my life. As an adult, it can be a lot at times. So that is definitely one of my goals.

Now, your objective needs to be what you’re actually going to do, what you’re going to attempt to do, to get a passive income. Now, I’ve said in other videos and I’ll say it in this one, it’s best to have passive income revenue streams from different locations. If all of your money was coming from one location, if that location … if something dries up there, if they go out of business, if they sell to another company, or decide not to have an affiliate program anymore, then you’re all out of passive income. All of a sudden that’s shut off, and you don’t want that to happen.

So you need to look at how you can spread that out, and those are things that I’m going to be teaching in future videos. How did I build a YouTube channel up to the point where I was earning $1200 to $1500 a month just from that one YouTube channel? How, at the same time, did I build up another YouTube channel that’s making $500 to $600 per month? All the while getting $500 to $1,000 from Amazon Affiliates every month, and all of these other little passive income revenue streams that I have coming in. How did all of those come to be and how did I build those? I want to show you all of that stuff, and I will do that in future videos, so make sure to put in your email address on the website, practicallypassive.com. And of course, subscribe to the YouTube channel because those are going to be the two places I’m delivering the most content and the most value for you.

Think about what your objective is, what are you going to be building, and why.

2. What Value Can I Provide?

Now, like I said in one of the first videos, the revenue is in the value. When you’re building passive income revenue streams, you’re putting information out there, you’re sharing things with people, you’re creating things to be sold or whatnot, there has to be value in those, there has to be something that the other person is getting. If you’re coming at it thinking me, me, me, I’m going to build this, I’m going to get paid, that’s the wrong mindset to have. You need to be thinking about the problems and the challenges that the other person has on the other end of this.

If you’re creating video content like I am, you have to be thinking about what is going on in their head, what’s the problem, what’s the thing that they need to overcome or achieve and how can you produce content around that. If you’re thinking about a product that you could put out, like an informational product, that has to have enough value to solve the problem so that the other person would decide to actually purchase that. In thinking about what you’re going to do, make sure that you are leading with value, that you’re thinking about what is the value that I can provide.

3. Be In It For The Long Haul

And then the third thing, which I think is just as important, if not more important, is to be in it for the long haul. If you’re not in this for the long haul you’re never going to see enough growth to have it really blip the needle, when it comes to your income. Now, everything that I build didn’t happen overnight, it took a lot of time. Some of these channels, these YouTube channels that I have are several years old. I’ve been putting content in them for a long time. It’s just that in the last year here have I really been focusing on it and thinking about it as a thing that drives revenue towards me.

In the past, I’ve always just put up videos when I found them useful and just to share information, to put it out there because I found it fun and interesting. I was adding value but I wasn’t looking at it as a way that I can actually earn income. Then when I did, it was cool if I got $100 here, $100 there, that was great, but now that I’m really wanting to take it serious and make it replace my existing income I have to be in it for the long haul.

I can’t be wishy-washy, I can’t jump in from time to time, I can’t not reply to people’s comments and stuff like that. I have to be active. I have to not only show up and be there, but I have to play in that space as well. I have to be involved in that community, and if I’m not, people are going to go elsewhere and they’re going to find somebody that is. You have to be in it for the long haul, there is no quick rich scheme here. There’s no way to build this overnight, it takes time and it takes effort. And it’s not something that’s going to happen immediately, so you need to have persistence also.

So those are three things that I think are extremely important when considering to get into passive income. Just like you show up for work every single day and do well and are consistent so that you can get a promotion within a year or so, you definitely need to have that same approach when it comes to building passive income revenue streams. You need to show up as often as possible, you need to provide value, you need to do a good job. You can’t give it 50%, you have to give it 100 or 100 plus percent so that it actually starts to build something for you that can turn into something that replaces your existing income.

Like I said before, subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you get updates when new videos come out. It’s the best place to consume the video content. And, of course, head on over to practicallypassive.com and put in your email address so that I can send you news, information and updates whenever I find it extremely useful and relevant. So make sure to do that. Thanks so much and I hope to see you in the next one.

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Your First Passive Income Revenue Stream

Hey. It’s Jerad with practically passive, and I wanted to talk about how to find your first passive income revenue stream. Now the reason I titled this video this way is because people are going to be searching for this, but in reality, you’re going to need multiple passive revenue streams because you’re going to want to make sure that you’re diversified and that you don’t have all of your income coming from one source.

Now, right now, you probably have all of your income coming from one source, which is your job. You’ve got to work. You earn an agreed upon wage and you get paid at some agreed upon time, so you know what to expect and you know that you’re going to receive that wage because that’s what you signed on for. It’s what was agreed upon. But with passive income, it’s something that you’re going to be doing a lot of work initially and kind of growing, and you want that income to come from multiple places.

My favorite thing is to have it actually come at different times as well. So, for example, when I get paid from Google Adsense for the views on my YouTube videos, that ads were displayed before and stuff like that, that comes sort of towards the middle, end of the month. My Amazon affiliate payments come at the very end of the month, which is great because a lot of bills are due at the beginning of the month and some of my other affiliate programs, I can actually choose to pay out when they either reach a certain threshold or I can set a custom date, and then they pay out to my PayPal account.

It’s nice because I’m getting paid at different times throughout the month and it’s all different amounts, but it’s something that I’ve grown to be able to rely upon because it’s been consistent enough now. When I wasn’t really putting a lot of focus on my passive income, I was just kind of creating content, and if I got some passive income out of it, that’s great, I couldn’t really rely upon that because may one month I would have a video that did really well. So the next month I’d get paid pretty good on it, and then maybe that video was like super time specific topic, and with it being a time-specific topic, that content just wasn’t very relevant the month after. It kind of died off, and so I didn’t really know kind of what to expect there.

But as I started to build content that was more evergreen, stuff that I knew people would find useful for at least a couple of years, even in and around the subject of technology, I started to see growth in my passive income. So, don’t necessarily be thinking about how to get your first passive income revenue stream. Be thinking about the topics and the content that you’re going to be creating.

Now, in and around that, you want to decide on something that you can add value to. In yesterday’s blog and video, one of the things that I talked about that I learned building passive income revenue streams for myself is that value, the passive income follows the value. If you’re putting value out there, then you’re going to be able to earn passive income from it. If you’re not adding value, then you’re just adding to the noise and it’s not really going to ever result in anything. It’s not going to be very fulfilling for you either.

When you’re thinking about what you should choose as your topic, start by thinking about something that you have an interest in. For example, when I first started my website, it wasn’t necessarily passive income, but it was definitely a side income business, it was when the first iPhone came out. Now I already had some knowledge in that space because I was playing with Palm Pilots and pocket PCs and things like that. I was super into pocketable technology.

Then when the iPhone came out and they talked about allowing third-party apps to be installed on that phone, and that those were going to be available through the iTunes store, I thought to myself, wow. I can’t find good music in the iTunes store. I can’t discover anything there. How do I know what’s good? How am I going to know what’s good in the world of apps when you can’t download a demo or you can’t install a demo and try it first? You either have to buy it or that’s it.

So I started writing reviews. I started producing content around apps. Later on, that turned into creating content around mobile technology. How do you use those new features in the iPhone or the new Samsung phone or whatever it is that you got? How do you make the most out of your iPad. It’s those things that are really interesting to me, and when I was teaching people how to do those things, that’s where the real value was being provided and I was actually getting passive income coming from that.

So when I put out content on YouTube, those videos, if you go and look at the top videos for State of Tech, it’s all basically tutorial videos. There’s a few product reviews in there, but they’re all video tutorials on how to do stuff, and those videos have resulted in decent passive income over the years. It’s been growing and growing. The more that I focus on them, the more that those incomes grow, because I’m adding value.

State of Tech YouTube Popular Videos

If I don’t add value, and I’ve definitely put up some videos where the value is questionable, those videos don’t do well. They don’t end up getting shared. They don’t end up getting liked or commented on or whatever. So the search engines and YouTube’s search engine doesn’t recommend it to other people and so the video doesn’t get a lot of traction. When you’re thinking about what topic you should start tackling, think about something a little more niche that you find interesting, that you have maybe some more information on because maybe you’ve been involved in this space.

For example, if you’re a photographer and you’re thinking about how to grow a passive income revenue stream, be thinking about what you unique aspect of photography you could bring to the table and how you can teach other people about it. If you’re a hairstylist or a makeup artist, there are so many different things that you can do there, especially around the topic of products, because there are so many products out there. Really, what it’s going to come down to is you showing your techniques, teaching people how to use these products and then giving them affiliate links so that they can buy those products because they’re the ones that you’ve recommended. I will have more content on specific ideas for passive income in future blogs and videos.

Just think about what topic it is. Maybe you are more kind of a handy person, handyman around the house, and you just know how to work on things because you’ve always done it or you grew up knowing how to do those things. Maybe that’s an idea for a YouTube channel or for a blog, teaching people how to do stuff that a lot of people just aren’t being taught these days. I know for me, I like getting out and using tools and getting out from behind the computer and the camera and just reconnecting with the earth. So any chance that I get, I want to do that. I tend to consume content from people who are doing that because it’s inspiring to me. If you’re one of those people, you can create content around that.

If you look at what you can provide value by doing, that’s where you’re going to be able to grow your passive revenue stream. It doesn’t matter whether you’re blogging, YouTubing, creating an eBook, doing a course, whatever it is, all the different mechanisms for generating the passive income. Just be thinking about where you can add value. That’s where you’re going to find actual true growth and the ability to earn passive income from whatever different methods there are that are out there, which of course I’m going to talk about all of them and I have talked about some of them in the first video on this YouTube channel and on the blog.

I showed you my main passive income sources for the last year, and you can see all the numbers there. I posted screenshots so you’ll want to make sure to check those out as well. With that said, I think that as long as you go about it, trying to figure out where you can add value, and typically that’s going to come from somewhere that you have some additional knowledge, maybe a little bit more than the average person would have. All of us have that. All of us have something that we have been kind of a nerd in that area around, even if it’s not a nerdy thing. I like the phrase nerding out because there are a lot of things that I’ll nerd out on, even if they’re not typically like technology nerdy type of things.

If there’s something that you nerd out on, something that just really gets you excited and you have some additional knowledge in that area, that is a perfect example of something that would make for a good, passive revenue stream, if you can start creating content in that area. Make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel because I’m talking about how to do this, how to do that, how to grow these things and how to come up with ideas, but I’m also going to be teaching how to create this content. How do you start blogging? How do you start creating videos? How do you do these things? That’s all part of the process and it’s all part of learning how to create passive income revenue streams.

Put in your email address so you can be notified when I put out new content. Because all of this stuff is going to help you get to the point where you are growing passive income revenue streams, having more control over your income and having to be less reliant, or maybe even completely free of the income that you’ve been just traditionally accustomed to, which is probably your job. With that said, thanks so much for checking out this video. Let me know what you think down in the comments section below and I’ll see you in the next one.

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