Category: Financial

DAY 50: It is the 50th day of 2019; how are you doing so far?

There is absolutely zero significance to day 50 other than it is a nice round number. Also saying we are 13.7% of the way through 2019 did not have the same ring as 50. So whether you like 13.7% in or 50 days in, I thought it would be a good time to take a little inventory of 2019 to date. To see how I have progressed with my goals. To ask where I am seeing growth. To see where I need more focus for the next several weeks. And then, to ask you to do the same.

I am going to start with you my friend, that way if you need to quit reading to take some personal inventory or to do some soul-searching, you can skip the part where I talk about myself.

What FITNESS goals did you set for yourself in the following areas?
  • Financial: did you plan to save more, give more, get out of debt, make more money, start a new business, or…?
  • Physical: did you have a goal of losing weight, running more, going to the gym more, eating better, or…?
  • Emotional: did you resolve to have more patience, forgive someone who has hurt you, end a toxic relationship, deepen a healthy relationship, take more time for your own mental health, or…?
  • Mental: do you have a lengthy reading list, were you planning to learn a new skill, maybe learn a language, write more, read more, or…?
  • Spiritual: did you plan to regularly attend your church (or attend a church for the first time), read your Bible, join a study or life group, pray more, meditate, or…?

WAIT: don’t leave yet. Read this next section at least

The way I see it there are 4 possible answers to these questions, whether considered as a whole or individually.

  1. “I never set goals/resolutions to begin with.”
  2. “I am failing at some or all of these and feel pretty crappy about it, thanks for reminding me you jerk!”
  3. “I have mixed results, I am doing good in some, fair in others, and poorly in a few.”
  4. “I am the most awesome person in the world and I am totally crushing everything I set out to do this year.”
Let me attempt to address each of these one at a time:

Answer #1: No Goals – No area of our life is static, we are always either progressing or regressing. If you didn’t make any goals/plans for 2019 I’d ask you to revisit my above list and consider setting one goal in each of at least 3 areas of fitness. I heard Tim Ferriss say that he likes to have goals or projects he is working on that span a few different time horizons and different areas and one of those areas is always related to physical fitness. This way, he continues, he is likely to be progressing in at least one area so he is not discouraged if other areas are not going well.

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

Napoleon Hill

Answer #2: You Feel Like (or know for sure that) You Are Failing – This can be painful and discouraging. First, you must assess why. Have you experienced some trauma or are you in the midst of a dark and difficult time and just surviving is all you are able to do? Or is it something less dramatic than that, and you either lack motivation or possibly your goals were a little too big?

If it is the first scenario, trauma or an otherwise dark time has you in survival mode, then give yourself a break. This blog post is likely going to fall well short of what you need right now, but I am here to tell you that there will be other days for goal-setting and goal-crushing. What is most important is getting you to a healthy spot where you can breath, and rest, and think clearly. I have been in a spot (more than once) where I did not have the luxury of goal-setting because I was in survival mode. You likely need others more than ever during this time.

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

-Corrie Ten Boom

Pray, read your Bible, cry out to God (He is the engineer). But don’t do this alone. Reach out to a trusted friend, mentor, or pastor. If you don’t feel like you have one of these, it may take all the strength you have left to find one. Go to a church and start asking for help, tell someone you want to talk to someone, anyone, just don’t suffer in silence.

If your situation is less dramatic, then just revisit your goals. Maybe they need some tweaking. Do a google search on SMART goals to help guide you. Talk to a friend and ask for some feedback and accountability moving forward. Lastly, give yourself a break too. The best time to start on most goals was last year, but the second best time is today.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

-Lamentations 3:21-23 (English Standard Version)

Answer #3: Your Results Are Mixed – Congratulations! You are making progress. Take a minute to enjoy your victories. Then a minute to consider your shortcomings. Adjust goals if necessary. Then keep moving forward.

Answer #4: You Are Crushing Everything – It is likely that your goals were too small or you are delusional. IF, however; you are being totally honest and you’ve just had a great start to 2019, then, outstanding, I am happy for you. Now go and help someone else because it is likely that you know others not doing as well as you. And do it without judgement but with kindness, compassion, and the humility in knowing either you were once where they are now or you could be there if not for God’s graciousness that you are now enjoying.

How Am I Doing?

Well, this got long didn’t it? If you are still reading, thanks for sticking with me. I’ll try to make this part short as it is mostly for my own accountability rather than really being that informative to anyone.

Financial: I am trying to run my business by the Profit First principles and I am doing so-so. I am a little behind now and have had to borrow business dollars for personal use. I have not been as generous as I want to be and I have not been able to pay down additional debt. The one success is that I have continued to pay at least the minimums on consumer debts and paid off one small medical bill so there has been some progress.

Physical: My half-marathon training has been going great, so success there. Weight-loss has not been happening though. I just began the Advocare Slim & Trim 28 plan yesterday to address weight loss specifically. Pull-up progression has been a fail thus far. I can still do just one strict pull-up on a great day. Zero on most days.

Emotional: This one is tough to measure. My special needs daughter requires a lot of patience. There have been days when I have done pretty well and days when I have lost it a little. Mostly, I think I am trending towards improvement and my physical and spiritual health are closely related. The running is important to my self-care as is time in God’s word.

Mental: I am bumbling along with this blog which was one of my goals. I have been listening to lots of podcasts and audio books which is good, but I have not been doing much by the way of active reading (pencil in hand reading). I also have neglected one major project that I wanted to undertake to improve my business. This is something that will take deliberate practice in learning a CRM application.

Spiritual: I am 50 for 50 on my daily Bible reading plan. While this is good and easy to measure it is not the best barometer at measuring where my heart is. My prayer time has been inconsistent at best and while I am reading God’s word daily I am not really studying it. I want to add a day where I do a more in-depth study. Just one day a week. I also want to add in some scripture memorization. Something that may help me with that required patience in the emotional fitness area.

If you stuck through to the end, THANK YOU, and please take a moment to comment. I would love to hear from you. What is one area of success and one area of needed improvement for you?

Side Hustle: How I make a little extra money on the side; successes, failures, and lessons learned

Over the years I have tried several different ways of making a little extra money outside of my day job. This is called a Side Hustle and it is quite a popular term used in the last decade or so. I guess the side hustle has always been a thing, but the advent of the internet has really made it an accessible option for many and the ways in which you can start a side hustle are practically endless. The internet is full of “ideas” on how to start a side hustle and pros and cons of various options. A quick internet search for “side hustle” churned out 75,100,000 results with the following as some of the top results:

  • 99 Side Hustle Business Ideas You Can Start Today
  • Side Hustle Nation: Make Money in Your Spare Time – Part-Time
  • 50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle
  • 10 Best Side Hustle Ideas to Make an Extra $1000 a Month
  • Epic List of Side Hustle Ideas
  • Side Hustle Ideas: 176 Ways to Earn Money Right Now

A similar search on Amazon will load, coincidentally, at last count, 751 books on the subject of side hustle. Some of the top results are:

Full disclosure: I have not read any of the above books nor have I clicked through to any of the above search results. I have, however, researched other money making ideas and schemes over the years and have nominal levels of success and failure. As long as we are being honest, this blog is one way that I hope to eventually make some additional money. I am not naive to think that I can throw a few posts up here, add some links, and watch the money roll in. I know that I will need to provide valuable content, lots of it, and also learn best SEO practices, social media marketing and all kinds of other stuff if I hope to even see $100 in the first year.

Besides this blog, here are some ways that I have either tried in the past or am currently making money with:

  • Auctions: Buying clearance or open-box items in bulk at a local auction house and reselling on websites like Craigslist, ebay, Amazon, and OfferUp.
    • Success 1: Recently I bought an open box kitchen table for $75, brought it home, assembled it, and sold it on Craigslist two days later for $200. Total Profit = $125
    • Success 2: A few years ago I bought 36 Honeywell programmable thermostats for about $2 each. I sold them on Amazon for an average of about $18 each. Total Profit = $500
    • Failure 1: I recenlty purchased 4 cases of construction sealer for approximately $68. After a couple weeks and almost zero interest I sold them for $35. Total Loss = $33
    • There are many more successes than failures, but my profit for the amount of work I have put in has been quite pathetic. I do plan to continue buying and selling though because it is fun.
  • Thrift Store / Garage Sale Flipping: Similar to the above process, I have bought a few things at thrift stores and garage/yard sales and turned around and flipped them for a profit. I have not done this too often but, I have one notable success. I purchased a vintage water ski at Goodwill for $6 and sold it through Craigslist within a week for $80.
  • Day Trading: This one is dangerous and it comes with the disclaimer that it is only advisable for someone who can afford to lose 100% of their investment. I have had varying levels of success doing this through Robinhood. As of the writing of this post I have zero dollars in the stock market. That is not advice as to whether or not you should be in the stock market it is just where I am at as of this writing. I still have credit card debt that I need to deal with and I have no business playing stock broker when I should be using every available resource to attack my debt. I suspect that I will be back in the stock market eventually, but more likely not day trading. I will be looking for long-term holds of index funds and high-dividend stocks.
  • Multi-Level Marketing: A long time ago I got signed up for a multi-level marketing company for internet and long-distance calling. This was early in the dial-up internet days. As I recall I did not spend much on this, less than $50. I put zero effort into it and got $0 out of it. Lesson learned.
    • Fast forward to today and I am currently a distributor for ADVOCARE, which I believe to be a very reputable company. I really like and use their products personally…but I have not actively pursued making a single omission through them as I mostly signed up as a distributor to get a discount on my personal purchases. That said, some folks make pretty healthy amounts of money through them and I may ramp up (or actually start) my efforts with them
  • Consignment Selling: I fancy myself as being pretty good at creating on-line listings and talking to potential buyers. I actually enjoy it. There are many people who do not want to deal with the hassle of fielding calls and do not have the technical savvy to list their items for sale. If I come across a situation like this I may offer to go 50-50 on my selling services.
    • I have one notable success in taking on a consignment. I recently came across two old Honda CT110 trail bikes on a farm property. After inquiring of the owner whether he would like to sell them or not he said he had no idea what they were worth and had just been sitting there for years. Long story short, I loaded them up in my pickup, listed them on Craigslist, and sold them a week later for $500. I kept $250 for my services and sent the original owner the other $250. Everyone was happy.

So those are the 5 key ways that I have made some extra money, side hustling if you will. This blog is an attempt at a sixth way and here are a few more that I have not tried:

  • Offer your services on sites like fiverr and upwork
  • Write an ebook
  • Create an online class for something you are an expert in
  • Start a YouTube Channel
  • Build an App
  • Start and Etsy Site
  • Use a drop-shipper and open an online store
  • Drive for Lyft or Uber
  • Airbnb a room in your house
  • Affiliate Marketing / Sponsored Posts through social media

These are just a few of the myriad ideas out there. And if you have a little money to invest you have a slew of more options, but will safe that for another post as this post is about hustling.

Eventually I may make a video or two. For now here is a decent video of a couple that gives a brief summary of 16 ways that they actually made money. Some of their ideas are good and seem to be fairly practical. Other ideas maybe not so much.