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August 2018 Looking Forward - 6 New Experiments, Paying Off The Van & Preparing For Our Impending Arrival

With a shakeup from my largest client in June, July turned out unexpectedly great with multiple new clients and projects. My goal is to continue that trend through August and beyond as the pressure persists in my last leg of paying off student loans.  

Future Debt Reduction

We’ll pay off the minivan this month and begin rolling those payments into our student debt. The beast known as student loans will be slain in 2019 with our upgraded monster payments. 

That accelerated journey begins now. 

While snowballing our debt reduction will involve a large monthly amount ($2,600), the fact all but $1,100 is voluntary alleviates some of the stress of these new large payments. And since the loans are broken up into smaller pieces, we’ll have the satisfaction of knocking them out along the way. 

New Arrival

On the family side, August will be the last month we have four kids. Number five is set to make her entrance into the world in early September. Will this impending change throw us into a tailspin or will we be prepared for managing our new normal? Stay tuned for the answer. 

August 2018 Goal

Outside of sustaining my freelancing work at a high level, I’ve also ramped my blogging back up, and as often as I’m doing it, it’s making it challenging to spend time on the book

I’ve also laxed on my daily disciplines of when I go to bed, wake up, and how I use my time throughout the day. With the kids starting school and my wife needing help getting them going with the new baby in hand, it’ll provide the force to jump start me back in the right direction. But how the baby affects our lives may throw this all out of whack. 

For the month of August, my goal is to finish my editing pass on the book and to add new relevant content I’ve published here on the blog recently to the working draft. 

Affiliations **NEW**

As a serious blogger with intentions to make it part of a financially viable writing career, I’ve been dabbling in the world of affiliate marketing. This means I get commissions for referring you to the software and service of other companies. 

But, I’m not interested in simply pushing products just for the money. I’m interested in finding awesome resources and referring them. If they have an affiliate program, it’s simply encouraging an activity I’d do regardless of the incentive. Here are two new programs I've signed up for.

  • Design Pickle (Practically Unlimited Design For A Flat Monthly Rate): This great service allows small businesses to tap into the human cloud of design. For a monthly flat fee, companies get access to a designer and up to thirty designs with unlimited revisions per month. After learning about this one through a client using the service, and participating in it, I joined their affiliate program
  • Freeeup (Quality Vetted Freelancers): This strong alternative to Upwork allows small companies to tap into the power of freelancing without the risk involved in finding the “right” person who will communicate, deliver quality, and reliably knock out project work. You know when Freeeup assigns you a freelancer, you're getting a trustworthy worker. 

Other Affiliations

The following are affiliations established over the past year.

  • Harpoon (Invoices and finance management for freelancers and agencies)
  • Pipeline Deals (CRM and sales pipeline management)
  • Animoto (easily create compelling videos
  • Timecamp (Tracking your time and run reports)
  • Grammarly (Make your writing better and error free)
  • InMotion Hosting (Employee owned website hosting)
  • Sumo (Collect more emails and grow your marketing reach)
  • Elokenz (Automatically reshare evergreen content on social media channels)

Sandboxing My Life

Life is an ever-changing experience. Each month, I share what new experiments I'm running and check back in on the ones already started. 

New Experiments

  • Hum: we recently bought new iPhones and as part of the upgrade we changed our roadside assistance to Verizon’s new service, Hum. In addition to the coverage, they also provided a unit that connects to my car and a hands-free speaker system for quick access to roadside assistance or emergency service. The Hum unit also communicates with my car telling me any engine error codes and tracking my driving history. Once I’ve collected a good amount of data, I’ll share my findings. With the new Georgia handsfree laws, I've also bought a phone mount to keep that electronic device out of my hands while driving.

  • Google Ads: While I’ve dabbled I’m AdWords over the years, I’ve not spent much time or offered my services to work in this realm because of a preference over organic. In the last six months, I’ve had multiple clients need support in this area giving me the opportunity to become more aware and proficient with the system. 

  • Inside Jaws With My Daughter: Since my daughter loves sharks and dinosaurs, we’ve been listening to Inside Jaws every Tuesday night together before bed. The podcast tells the real stories behind the movie and the making of it. More importantly, this is an intriguing activity, merging something I enjoy while spending time with my kids. My friend launched Your Secret’s Safe With Gus, and I’m planning to listen to it with my sons. 

  • Quip Toothbrush: For a short period of time, I had a cheap electric toothbrush. After getting strep throat, I threw it away. Since then, and for most of my life I’ve been brushing my teeth the manual way, with an electric hand (haha). Thankfully my wife signed up for their program to receive free brushes in exchange for blogging about it. The brushes arrived and I’ve been using it for a few weeks now. The electric brush provides little pulse break nudges to guide me through the different parts of my mouth. It also comes with a holder that easily mounts to the mirror. Wanting an electric toothbrush, this worked out well for me so far. It’s better than the cheap version I had, and I was quite impressed with the written materials and messaging that came with it. 

  • Grammarly For Google Docs: I'm super pumped that Grammarly is now compatible with Google Docs. This makes working on my book during the editing phases much easier and effective. The integration is still in beta, but I'll take any version over nothing.

  • Imagine Impact: This new program spearheaded by Ron Howard invited storytellers to submit their projects for a working mentorship. Interested, I decided to submit the animated film I attempted to make over a decade ago, Agent Fat. One of the thousands of submissions, I don’t expect anything to come of it, but it was a worthwhile exercise to go through and map out my intentions behind the project. 

Existing Experiment Updates

  • Sleep Cycle: I’m continuing to log each night with Sleep Cycle to discover what helps me have the highest quality snoozing. I’d like to get several more months of activity so I have helpful insight into my patterns and how to alter them for the better. 

What about you? What experiments are you running?

What goals do you have for the month of August?

With the year beginning to sunset, have you made headway on that annual goal you set in January? 

There is still time to make progress. If you've not started or fallen behind, now is that time to get the engine back up and running. 

Hero Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Monthly Reflection Point

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