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Blog

Cleaning & Clearing Continues

Hello Wanderers! Ok, that’s something new. Playing around with a way to address those of us who desire to wander and create more freedom in our lives. It is a fight at times so I’m going to refer to us as Wanderers for a while and see where it goes.

This week the cleaning and clearing have continued. In my first post, I spent some time explaining what This Week In Freedom was all about by giving you some of my backstory. I also shared that I was going through a process of getting back to the essentials by getting rid of stuff and being ok with getting rid of it.

I want to share with you these pictures of the shop at my office. The office that I am working on getting out of was where I conducted business for the last few years. I have had three different offices over the past eight years. Though I downsized a lot to fit into the office I am now moving out of, I will need to downsize much more to be completely out of there and not need a large storage unit, which I am trying to avoid. The shop was quite a mess because I had started to go through everything and had moved a couple of storage racks home. Before taking away the racks the entire floor was for the most part clear. Check it out.

So I spent just about all of Saturday going through everything. I wanted to make sure that boxes with personal documents such as prior tax returns or anything like that were removed. Some of these boxes have traveled with me from house to house and office to office. It was time to break that cycle.

I went through all of the emotions while going through this mess. Part of me wanted to throw it all in the dumpster or donate it all on the spot, but I knew that was not the responsible thing to do. There is a lot of equipment here that still has value. I would be shortchanging myself if I did that. I ended up listing about 15 things on Facebook Marketplace and most of it sold that same day within a few hours.

By the end of the day I had completely gone through everything and am ready to sell it all off or donate it. I fired off an email to my CPA last night asking whether it would be more beneficial to sell everything off or to donate it to an organization that would inventory everything and provide me with a detailed list. Once I have that answer I will decide which direction to go. Regardless of what I do, the shop must be empty by a week from now. Though I am in a lease until the end of March I want to know this place is empty. I will regain just a little bit more freedom in my mind knowing that this place is cleared out.

At home, we have also continued to go through our stuff and clear out more. I mentioned having several bags of clothes to get rid of, we have added more clothes, old toys and stuff we don’t really use anymore to the mix. Check out this pile, which doesn’t include a few bags that are in the garage. Now I didn’t know who Marie Kondo was prior to last week, but I think she would be proud. I think we have only begun to see just how much we can get rid of.

So much was done this week in the journey to freedom. Each week brings us one step closer to our summer road trip. To recap, our plan is to travel for the entire summer in our travel trailer. Pending something unforeseen, the only issue that could arise is the finalization of our adoption of Mikayla. We have been told that we could have a court date sometime in June or July but that is something we can schedule and as we get closer, we will have more details.

In the near future, I plan to bring my wife into the fold of This Week In Freedom as she was the one that made that pile as big as it is. My wife really enjoys organization and has had some really good ideas for our travel trailer that will assure we all have some space for the things we do decide to keep and take with us on our trip.

I have also created a YouTube channel for This Week in Freedom, but have not created any video content for the channel yet. I do plan to soon. Ideally, I would like to do these weekly updates in video form and include video from throughout the week.

Dreams don’t come to fruition overnight, nor does freedom. It’s a constant battle of will and the desire for something better. Even last night, my kids were bored. They couldn’t come up with something to do yet they have so many options. It would be much easier for them if they had fewer choices. I really do wish that our trip could start tomorrow, but until then we will keep working toward essentializing and ridding ourselves of the unnecessary.

Keep fighting the good fight Wanderers! What can you cut back on this week to create more space in your life? I look forward to updating all of you next week with photos of an empty shop with nothing in it.

Blog

To Freedom and Back Again

Welcome to Wandering Hills, I’m Jerad Hill, a husband, father, and entrepreneur. I have a bit to break down as to what this is and what I plan to do here so in the first post I will try my best to present a 30,000-foot view of it all and as time goes on I will explain more. The goal is to create more freedom in our family life. Not to be so tied down to the things we get ourselves stuck in. For those interested, I will share how I got here.

My first business was in retail. It started as a brick and mortar store and quickly went online. As I added product lines and services both instore and online, I found myself working insane hours. I would get to the shop around six in the morning to get working on online orders that came in overnight and work on customer repairs that still needed to be completed. I had food delivered or picked up for me every day and often didn’t leave the shop until around eleven at night. Sometimes I had so much work that I just slept at the shop. The shop was open six days a week and closed on Mondays so I could catch up on orders and service work. I did this for several years. Retail was also very stressful because I constantly had to worry about my shop getting broken into by kids who wanted free skateboards and scooters.

Fast forward to the summer of my 2005, I was 25 years old and I knew I could not continue working like that. I had closed my shop down at the turn of the year and was considering the closure of the online store as well. I decided to sell off my remaining inventory and start developing websites as I had been doing some web design and development on the side. I had taught myself how to code out of the need to grow and add features to my online stores over the past five years. I had some money saved up so I thought I would give freelancing a try.

I knew that if I wanted to have a family, I needed to change my lifestyle.

When I decided to sell off the remaining inventory I knew that I could not go on like I was. I had ruined a relationship I was in which was largely due to the amount of time I spent working. I knew that if I wanted to have a family, I needed to change my lifestyle. There was no way I could be a good husband and have any relationship at all with my children if I worked twelve hours each day.

Shortly after starting my freelance website design business I got into photography and quickly turned that into a business as well. By mid-2016 I was shooting weddings and in 2017 I photographed 32 weddings on top of my already growing workload with website design. I still had a lot more freedom than I did when I had the shop, but I was getting busy again.

The housing market crash caused me to rely more on both of my businesses because people were not spending as much money as they were. I booked fewer weddings and businesses were holding on to their money to see how things played out. Thankfully I was diversified enough with my businesses and clients that I was able to stay self-employed. In 2008 I married the most amazing women I had ever met and I continued on my path to create more freedom from being locked down to my businesses.

In early 2008 I had started blogging on the topic of iPhone Apps. The iPhone had just received an update allowing support for third-party apps and my immediate thought was that it would soon be just as hard to find good apps in the Appstore as it is to find good music in iTunes. I turned out to be correct. Within a few months, I had a new business reviewing apps. I called it the DailyAppShow because I produced a video app review daily which was published to our podcasts, YouTube channel and a variety of other places. Back then there were a lot of sites trying to become what YouTube is today. Now I had three businesses I was running at one time.

In 2010, we had our first child and I decided it was time to get an office so I could keep work at work and be fully present when I was at home. My wife quit her job a few months before delivering our first child. For the next eight years, I would go from a small office to a large office and back down to a small office again. During that time I had ten different employees, five of which were employed at the same time. By this time I had transitioned from a freelance style business to an actual agency which I named Hill Media Group. I also had two more children. Things were getting complicated.

In July of 2018, my last employee quit to pursue different work and I found myself working all alone again. By this point, I had cut back quite a bit on the wedding photography and videography because I wanted to limit the amount of time I had to work on weekends. My kids were in school most of the week so the weekends needed to be for them. I was so busy during the week with other work that I had to start turning wedding clients away. In 2017 I photographed and filmed a small handful of weddings and in 2018 I took on none. Though I haven’t really kept this website up to date I am still receiving multiple inquiries for wedding photography each week. I still do a lot of photography work but it’s mostly commercial work that I do during the week which keeps my weekends free.

After emerging from the cloud of work that I found myself in after my last employee quit I sat in my office realizing that I had created exactly what I was trying to avoid which was a business that I felt tied down to. I also realized that my daily routine has become toxic. I felt the need to get out of the house immediately in the morning so that I could accomplish everything that I wanted to get done and be home by 5 PM. Though I was spending a full eight hours a day at the office I didn’t feel very productive. Once again I knew something needed to change.

I don’t need a physical office to conduct business so I made the decision to get rid of the office and set up a small home office. The problem with having a home office in our current home is that there is no room for that. My new office in our home is in our bedroom, which is a room only slightly larger than our bed. We had to get rid of our dresser to make room for my desk.

Now having far less overhead and the freedom of working from home, I have started looking into other ways I can cut back. I had a lot to get rid of by closing down my office. My 1400sqft office was pretty full. By moving into a small home office in our bedroom, I could only keep the essentials. Though I have downsized to my small office space I am still noticing items I rarely use that I could get rid of.

It is so easy to end up with more than we really need to operate on both in business and in our home. I often feel anxiety over all of the things we have and we don’t have as much as most in our community. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time to accumulate. Eventually, you need more storage and that leads to a larger house. It’s the American way and nobody will question your logic over it. We are great at justifying our actions.

On December 7th, we brought home an eleven-day-old baby girl we named Mikayla making us a family of six.

Early last month, we purchased a travel trailer and I started outfitting the trailer with new items. Amazon boxes were showing up daily. I wanted the trailer to be ready to go at any time. My logic seemed sound to me, but we already had enough stuff in the house to take from to outfit the trailer. I was once again accumulating more stuff.

Over the holidays, I started looking at what else I could get rid of. My wife went through her clothes so I did as well. I ended up getting rid of about 70% of my clothes which filled three garbage bags. I could get rid of about half of the remaining 30% and still have plenty of clothes. I have also started looking at other things I have that I have way too much of and plan to downsize even more. I am not downsizing to make room for more, I want small to be my new normal.

This summer we plan to travel in our trailer. The goal is to travel for two months while the kids are on summer break from school. Our trailer is a 28-foot town behind trailer which doesn’t have a ton of storage space. If we are going to spend as much as two months in this trailer, we are going to have to be very intentional about what we take with us. I am going to have to run my entire business from a backpack. My kids are only going to be able to take a few toys. We only have enough closer space for a few outfits. It’s going to stretch us quite a bit.

Two months of traveling in our trailer with limited stuff will be a reset for all of us. We will quickly learn what we can and can’t live without. By the time we return home, we will be used to less and my hope is that we can continue living a more minimalist lifestyle. I just want true intention for everything in our home. More does not bring happiness, it actually produces unrest.

My kids have a lot of toys. I have contributed to that as well as the rest of our family. When we travel, the kids are allowed to take a few toys with them and the rest stay at home. With less, they constantly play with their few toys. When at home, with all of their toys, they complain of being bored or not knowing what to do. I realized that in myself when I would get to my office and have a hard time figuring out where to start with my work. I had so much going on and so much stuff, it was overwhelming. It’s hard to decide what to do when you have so many options. You end up doing nothing.

We are getting excited about our road trip this summer. We will explore more than we ever have before and do more with less. As we move closer to our I will share more about how we are able to pull this off. Sharing our plans with others has generated a lot of questions such as:

  • How we are going to live as a family of six in a mid-sized travel trailer?
  • Where will we stay?
  • How will we wash our clothing?
  • How are you able to travel for two months of the year and run a business?

The concept of breaking free from the normal has never left my mind but I have taken some detours along the way. I could be a lot further along in my quest to be as free as possible, but we are here now and are working toward getting back to the freedom lifestyle I imagined having for myself and providing for my family. It will not be met without some resistance, but it is work we need to do. There is so much more out there and I need to experience it with my family. We have created a comfortable home and surrounded ourselves with things that make life more convenient, but that has not brought happiness.

If you are interested in following along as we make these changes in our life and travel as much as possible I would love to notify you of new updates when we post them. You can easily subscribe to our blog for free here.

What are your thoughts on living with less and creating more freedom in your life? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Here’s to Freedom and the Wandering Hills!

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 Income

November 2017 Side Income Report

November 2017 Side Income Report

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

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

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

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

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

YouTube

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

Amazon Affiliate

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

Google Adsense

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

Udemy.Com

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

Other Income

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

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

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

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