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Chasing “There”

Chasing There

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vlog

5 Tips for Managing an Attention Deficit + 1 Game Changer

5 Tips for Managing an Attention Deficit

As far back as I can remember, I have had a problem focusing. As a kid growing up in the 80’s, people often equated a kid with lack of attention to someone who wouldn’t amount to much later on in life. If you can’t focus in school you won’t get into college and you won’t get a good job. That was beaten into me by teachers throughout my years as a student. I carried that baggage with me into my adult years which included shame because I didn’t measure up to what society deemed as normal.

It was not until the last few years that I realized I have developed somewhat of a method to deal with an active attention deficit so I could accomplish tasks. I am not sure if I would end up being diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) or not, it would probably depend on what I told the doctor. I just think that the medical field is too quick to diagnose someone as having a disorder when they simply need a framework for accomplishing tasks.

In this video, I discuss five things I have found help me focus on accomplishing things when I am able to implement them correctly. These 5 Tips for Managing an Attention Deficit have helped me a lot. In addition to that, I discuss one game changer that I think is a huge factor in being able to focus on something at all, to begin with.

This book was eye-opening for me: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
This book helped me become more self-aware: Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life
This book gave me some tips on how to get un-stuck: Why You’re Stuck: Your Guide To Finding Freedom From Any Of Life’s Challenges

Blog Income

December 2017 Side Income Report

December 2017 Side Income Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YouTube

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

Amazon Affiliate

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

Google Adsense

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

Jerad’s Courses

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

Udemy.Com

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

Other Income

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

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

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

Blog

Education Problems in America

There are many problems that plague the education our youth is receiving today. Education is being more standardized which is taking away the creativity and passion our teachers have for educating and the cost of higher education is so expensive it is pricing out those who are not willing to go into debt to acquire what is still referred to as a “formal education.”

I don’t agree with everything said in the video below but it makes some good points and the video ultimately led me to blog about the topic. Hopefully some interesting conversation becomes of it.

Being relevant is important. There is value in an education but considering the costs, you need to look at the ROI of that education. How long will it take you to make back that $50k in student loan debt? Yes some professions require an education regardless, I get that. You are not allowed to teach yourself medicine or law, but 95% of the rest of the professions of this world can be learned faster and more effectively on your own if you have the right ambition and drive. Not all have the right ambition and drive to self educate, which is where education outside of k-12 comes in, unless of course you want to become a doctor, lawyer or do something totally valuable like major in some weird niche of history. #sarcasm

Back to the topic of relevance: Being relevant has never been more relevant. I know that sounds stupid but if you look at society and the way information moves these days, I am sure you agree. Young people these days want to learn from and look up to relevant people. Earlier generations never looked up to CEO’s of startup companies. Just look at what they talk about and share on social media to see what their true interests are and what they find most relevant. This is not to say that a college professor can’t be relevant, it’s just that there are not many that are.

Below the video player I will break down my thoughts on quotes from the video. I apologize for the few bad words in this video, but I think it is a discussion starter if anything.

“It has never been less valuable to be smart about information than today.”

I agree. Those who know and understand the information that is relevant to whatever discussion, job or project they are involved in are more likely to succeed. Information is at the core of everything. What schooling does do, or perhaps used to do, is teach you how to learn. Today kids are being taught the answers to the standardized tests they need to take because our government is taking away our teachers ability to be creative and relevant.

..They’re making them memorize facts that are at their fingertips.”

I believe we should all have a basic education that is similar. This is what k-12 is. We learn a lot of information that not only gives us somewhat of an understanding of the world we live in but also teaches us how to learn. Do I agree with everything that is taught to our k-12 students? No. This is why I have decided to sent my children to a private school. It has nothing to do with the teachers, it has everything to do with what is forced to be taught.

“Most kids are learning more on their own because they have more information than they do in the classroom.”

Kids are learning more outside of the classroom than they are in the classroom because of the information that is available to them. That does not mean that all kids are learning valuable information outside of the classroom. Some kids are, such as the growing population of iPhone App Developers under the age of 16. However there are even more kids who are learning hazardous information because of the media and television shows that are available today. Parental controls are almost impossible to enforce.

Should kids be allowed to choose the information they wish to ingest and replace that with school? No way. This is what parenting is. Parenting does not stop when you drop your kids off at school nor does it stop when you put a laptop or iPad in the hands of your kids. This is what happens in a world where there are far too few households with a parent present throughout the day. Properly parented kids are much more likely to choose to ingest information of value and not waste their time fantasizing about what the entertainment industry glamorizes.

“The internet is the biggest culture shift in the history of human beings.”

What about the fall of man, or the birth and death of Jesus Christ? Perhaps the internet is the biggest culture shift in our history of the last two hundred years. That I might agree with.

“We are teaching our children to memorize &*%^, and regurgitate it.”

If we keep letting the government have their way, this is exactly what will be the case for education, especially public education. Teachers need to be given the freedom to teach. Teaching is not just a process of cramming information into the heads of our youth, it’s about taking that information and making it real. If you hated history, it’s not because history isn’t relevant or interesting, it’s because your history teacher sucked.

“I hope my children are D & F students because that gives me the time to teach them the real $%^# because they won’t be working on their homework.”

So what he is saying is that he will be an involved parent but he won’t embed the importance of being able to learn from others into the minds and personalities of his children. How communist of him. I want my children to be able to learn from anybody who has something worth learning and I want them to be able to differentiate between what is worth learning and what is a waste of their mental capacity. I am a more hands on learner who likes to learn by example. I don’t excel learning by textbook. Textbooks today are evolving but the textbooks of the 80-90’s were horrible. Paying attention in school, doing homework and meeting deadlines so you can get a good grade prepares you for the future as you will most likely be required to do work and meet deadlines as an employee. I think that it takes schooling and hands on parenting to grow children into adults who will add value to society and be able to provide for themselves. I do believe that this could be taught outside of school but it would require just about as many hours as you put in at work each day and most of us are not going to be able to afford to retire by the time our kids reach schooling age.

“There is eye rolling and checking out in classrooms across this country.”

I think this is a less of a problem with education and more a problem of how children are being raised. Most children are more interested in their Angry Birds score than they are interested in getting a 100% on a test at school. This is a parenting problem which ultimately results in an attention span problem as kids age. However, there were many classes I took in college where I knew my professor was teaching us at a snails pace and was teaching information that was no longer relevant. This led to much eye rolling and checking out from me and ultimately led to me dropping out of college.

What are your thoughts about education today? Is it the fault of the government, our teachers, professors or parents? What can fix it?

Blog

New Course: 4 Steps to Starting a WordPress Blog Website

4 Steps to Starting a Wordpress Blog Website

4 Steps to Starting a WordPress Blog WebsiteOver the years I have spoken with a lot of people who just want to build a simple website to start their idea. They either do not have a budget to have a designer build them a website or they want to do it on their own. Regardless, I have created a free course that teaches just how easy it is to setup a WordPress website. In 4 steps, or about 20 minutes, you can setup a WordPress website and start posting content. Whether you are wanting to start a blog to post about something you are passionate about or you want to build a new website for your business, this course is for you. It gets you up and running in no time.

To sign up for the free course, visit this link: https://www.udemy.com/4-steps-to-starting-a-wordpress-blog-website

At the end of the course, I provide 20 minutes of bonus audio discussion on building a successful website. From there, you will need to learn how to use WordPress. Well, I have a course for that as well and it’s also free titled “Getting Started With WordPress – A Beginners Guide.”

To sign up for the free course, visit this link: https://www.udemy.com/getting-started-with-wordpress-a-beginners-guide

These courses are free to take.

Blog

Ditch Auto is 35,000 Students Strong

Screenshot 2014-07-07 22.29.09

Ditch Auto: Start Shooting in Manual is a photography course that I put together and published online in January of 2013. I created the course because I often got asked what I did to make my photos look so good directly out of the camera. Most people shoot in auto mode on their cameras or in a mode that has the camera doing most of the work when it comes to exposing a photo properly. The problem with letting the camera do the work is that the photo turns out exposed right in terms of whatever kind of math the camera was doing to decide what was exposed and what was not. I prefer my eye because my eye is what is looking through the viewfinder. I don’t want the camera to do anything that I didn’t tell it to do and that is where the idea for this course came about.

The course took off from the start but I never imagined it would have reached 35,000+ students. When it broke 5,000 I was beside myself. I have big plans for Ditch Auto Part 2 and hope to start filming it shortly. I just have to get some client projects taken care of first.

It’s a free course and it’s free to sign up. If you know someone who has been wanting to learn more about their camera, send them a link to the course.

Screenshot 2014-07-07 22.29.09

Check out the course here: https://www.udemy.com/ditch-auto-start-shooting-in-manual

Blog

Caring Hearts In Our Schools

I love reading stories like this. It’s great to know that there are people out there still trying to make a difference even though our society makes it more challenging to do so. The Modesto Bee did a great job on this piece featuring a teacher I had as a P.E. Teacher in high school. Here are some quotes that stuck out to me:

I don’t think our community realizes how many of our kids in Modesto live with homelessness as their main challenge.

Fewer students come to the campus with a “vision.” Many lack the affirmation as a man or woman. They don’t see the importance or value of working for something.

We agree that publicly coming together and praying for our country, our leaders, our schools and students is one of the most important things we can do. Not just on this one day, but daily.

I was nothing short of a challenge to teachers during high school. Now as an adult, I wish I had paid more attention to the adults who were trying to shape me.

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2013/12/29/3110653/monday-qa-teacher-at-modestos.html