30-Day Expense Elimination Challenge Update

With 3 days left in the challenge, I feel pretty good about my chances of succeeding.  I may even have a few bucks to spare when it’s all said and done. 

I’m much more excited about my upcoming 30-day challenge (details forthcoming).  Unlike this current challenge, my next one is more likely to benefit both of us, rather than just me. _______________________________________________________
30-Day Challenge Update – Day 27 (2/21):

Coffee                                         $   3.65
Dinner for 2:                                    12.20
Day 27 Total                               $  15.85

30-Day Challenge Expense Total: $434.28

“Allowed” Expenses Remaining: $65.72

Average Daily Expense to Date:  $16.08 (Target Average: $16.67/day)

My 4HWW Tools: A Quick Look at Elance.com

Elance.com is something I’ve looked into several times, but still haven’t pulled the trigger (Tim Ferriss also mentions it in The 4-Hour Workweek). Its purpose is two-fold. For those of you looking for help to kick off your business and outsource tasks (web design, virtual assistants, etc.), Elance is an extremely valuable resource.  You’d be amazed at how inexpensive it is to outsource some of your daily tasks to a virtual assistant, who can complete the tasks while you sleep.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I still need to write up a full post about virtual assistants, as it definitely deserves more attention.

Likewise, for those of you looking for gigs in whatever area you specialize, Elance is an excellent place to find customers and acquire some side jobs while you build your business.

Once I get around to actually using it, I’ll be sure to post a full detailed review of my experience.


30-Day Challenge Update – Day 26 (2/20):

Coffee                                         $   3.65
Dinner for 2:                                   20.76
Day 26 Total                               $  24.41

30-Day Challenge Expense Total: $418.43

“Allowed” Expenses Remaining: $81.57

Average Daily Expense to Date:  $16.09 (Target Average: $16.67/day)

Quick Tip: Getting Stuff Done

I caught this brief post over at Zen Habits yesterday, and I think it makes some incredible points that are so simple, we often look past them.  This post is essentially about how people often have great ideas, but seldom do they put the ideas into action, and more importantly, arrive at a completed project.

Here are the key principles, quoted from the post:

1. Keep the scope as simple as possible. You don’t need to do everything with this project. In fact, if you can just do one thing, that’s perfect. As small a thing as possible. Don’t redesign an entire city — just work on one building. If the project starts to get complex or seem overwhelming, narrow the scope. Do less. It’ll help you get things done. 

2. Practice ‘Good Enough’. Perfectionism is the enemy of completion. Nitpick and worry about getting it “just right”, and you’ll never get it done. Done is better than right. So if you start to nitpick and worry about perfect, say “screw it” and then just try for “good enough”. You can always make it better in the next version.

3. Kill extra features. Similar to simplifying the scope, you’ll want to try to make your creation do as little as possible. Want it to talk and walk and cook breakfast? Just try for talking. Want your website to publish great content and have social networking and podcasts and news and a newsletter and a membership area? Just shoot for great content. Whenever you find yourself adding new features, see if they can’t be killed.

4. Make it public, quick. Your goal should be to get your project in some working form out to your customers/readers/public as soon as possible. In as few steps, as quickly, as easily, as simply as possible. Remember: don’t worry about perfect, and don’t let this first public release be wide in scope or full of features. Release it with as few features as possible. Releasing it publicly will 1) get you to done faster and 2) put some pressure on you to make it better, quickly.

I almost want to print these out and post them in front of my computer as a constant reminder.  They speak directly to my current ideas – I have plans and I keep trying to generate new ideas, but I’ve done a poor job of really pushing all the way through to some form of a completed project to display to the public.

Do you have any additional simple, yet powerful, ideas for seeing projects through to completion?  Share them in the comments.


30-Day Challenge Update – Day 25 (2/19):

Movie Rental                       $   4.68
Dinner:                                     0.00  <– Girlfriend paid!
Day 25 Total                       $   4.68
30-Day Challenge Expense Total: $394.02

“Allowed” Expenses Remaining: $105.98

Average Daily Expense to Date:  $15.76 (Target Average: $16.67/day)

Review: MyLikes – An Easy Way to Make Money Using Twitter

Every once in awhile, I like to take a break from my usual ramblings and review things that I find useful or offer an opportunity to make money (like I did with my review of Lending Club).

I assume many people who read this site have sites of their own and probably also use Twitter.  For those of you who do, or plan to, I think this is something you’ll find interesting.  The site is called MyLikes.  Basically, you get paid for simply tweeting about websites you like (or writing blog posts about them).  The catch is, you can’t write about ANY website.  There is a list of pre-picked sites for you to choose from, based on information you input.  When you write about a site, you’re paid anytime someone clicks on the link to check out the website.

For example, my site is about business, income generation, etc.  I would probably get to choose from similar sites (and you will soon see which ones I look at if you follow me on Twitter – or I may post them here as well).

Here are the basics you need to know, and further down I will show you step by step (with screen shots) of how to set this up:

  • You can create and publish relevant “likes” to your website or Twitter
  • The money you earn via MyLinks is paid out in PayPal (it’s very easy and free to set up a PayPal account if you don’t already have one)
  • You only need to accrue $2.00 to trigger a payment, and payments are made weekly on Friday.  This is an extremely low threshold and fast payout if you’re familiar with other affiliate-type deals.
  • Alternatively, you may donate your earnings to your charity of choice – I think this is a really cool feature if you’re feeling charitable.

My Step-by-Step Guide to Starting

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started.  It seems like a lot because I break it down into so many steps, but this entire set-up process should take no more than 5-10 minutes:

1) Visit MyLinks here.

2) Either click “Sign Up” in the top right corner, or if you have a Twitter account, click “Sign in with Twitter” (an extremely fast and simple way to set up your account).

3) Input the required information.

4) Once you’ve created your account, click on Settings.  Be sure to fill in all information (especially your PayPal email address, so you can get paid!).

5) On the top navigation bar, select “Sponsors.”

6) Click “Become an Influencer.”

7) At this point, you will need to have a Twitter account so that you can sign in with Twitter.  Note that even though you link this site with your Twitter account, you can still use it to post your “Likes” on your blog.  MyLikes reaffirms: “Don’t worry we won’t post anything to Twitter without your explicit permission.”
8)  Once you sign in with Twitter, you’re given a variety of input fields, mainly regarding the content of your website/blog/Twitter.  The purpose of this is so that you’re provided with potential links that may interest your readers.
9)  Once you fill this out, they will tell you what your initial earnings will be per click (it usually starts low, but can be readjusted higher as you use MyLikes).
10) Now, you’re ready to begin browsing potential websites! Click the “list of campaigns that you may create Sponsored Likes for” and you’ll see suggested sites that may fit the content you usually discuss on your Twitter or Blog.

My Commentary

Hopefully, you’ve made it this far.  Now, it’s time for my commentary.  First off, I think this is a great idea, but I also think that there’s a fine line between suggesting sponsored material and flat-out spamming your audience.  I can see people running crazy with this – posting random sponsored links without adding any value to your audience.
I think it’s extremely important to only write reviews and display links for the sites that you actually like.  This site is called MyLikes – this is the intention.  It’s a way to share websites that you think others might enjoy, while earning a little bit of money each time someone clicks the link.
I’m new to this too, but if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.  Chances are, you’ll be seeing me try this out on my Twitter and blog in the days to come, so feel free to click the links if they interest you.  Also, create your own account and give it a try with your Twitter and blog.

30-Day Challenge Update – Day 24 (2/18):

Day 24 Total                       $   0.00

30-Day Challenge Expense Total: $389.34

“Allowed” Expenses Remaining: $110.66

Average Daily Expense to Date:  $16.22 (Target Average: $16.67/day)

Automation: An Introduction

We covered batching yesterday, so it’s time introduce another key element of your redesigned lifestyle: automation.  It’s exactly what it sounds like, and can apply to everything.

Automation: The technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process with minimal human intervention.

At first, we need to focus on automating pieces of our life.  This includes, but is certainly not limited to:

  • Paying bills
  • Responding to email
  • Budgeting/money management
  • Keeping up with social networking

All of the above contain at least one element that can be automated – it wouldn’t be possible to fully automate everything without a personal assistant (which we will get into later – virtual assistants are remarkably affordable and growing in usage).

Ideally, we also find a way to automate income.  This is one of the largest focuses of The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim Ferriss does a great job providing methods and examples of automating income.  It may not be as easy as he makes it out to be (my opinion), but it does seem to be extremely possible with enough up-front work.  It’s just not as easy as planting a money tree.

By no means would this immediately replace your current job, but I think it begins by giving you a little bit of extra cashflow each month.  The upside is unlimited – there are tons of people now making six or seven figures who spend very little time working on those processes that generate the income.

Workaholics will always be workaholics though.  Chances are, if you could automate your current $50,000-70,000 per year, you wouldn’t sit at home and watch TV.  You would still be out doing some form of work, trying to push that income higher and higher.  At the very least, automated income helps those people take a few more vacations.

Automating pieces of you life will give you more free time to work on ways to automate income.  Now that we’ve covered an introduction to batching and automation, I’m almost ready to reveal my new 30-day challenge (sometime in the next week or two).  Stay tuned. ____________________________________________________________
30-Day Challenge Update – Day 23 (2/17):

iPhone screen protectors    $    2.98
Day 23 Total                       $   2.98

30-Day Challenge Expense Total: $389.34

“Allowed” Expenses Remaining: $110.66

Average Daily Expense to Date:  $16.93 (Target Average: $16.67/day)

Batching: An Introduction

You may have heard me mention batching before, and if you’ve read The 4-Hour Workweek, you are certainly familiar with it.  Even if you haven’t heard of it, you know about it (almost instinctively).  Allow me to formally introduce it to you as a key 4HWW concept.

Batching: The act of grouping together the performance of identical or similar tasks in order to, as a whole, complete the tasks quicker and more efficiently than if each task was performed separately at different times.

The examples are endless.  Here’s a few in case you’re not sure you understand:

  • Grocery shopping once per month to buy groceries for an entire month instead of four separate, weekly trips.
  • Responding to email once per day instead of ten times per day.
  • Waiting until your car’s tank of gas is nearly empty to refill it completely, instead of refilling it after only using a quarter or half the tank.

Why does batching work?  It’s simple.  In nearly every task, there is time spent getting ready to do the task and time spent unwinding from completing the task.  Take the grocery store example: Picking out food for a month may take you exactly four times as long as picking out food for a week (unless you are buying in bulk – another recommended form of batching).

The 15 minute drive to and from the grocery store amounts to only 30 minutes per month when you shop once per month.  However, it’s TWO HOURS if you shop once per week.  Right there, you’ve saved an hour and a half for the month.  Depending on how you value your time, this is no small savings.  And this is only one of many examples.

For an example as it relates to blogging, a guy at ProBlogger wrote this great article about how batching greatly improved his life.

There are always exceptions – if your primary job is to answer email all day, you most likely won’t be able to batch your responses and only respond once per day.  If you’re at half a tank of gas and you’re near a gas station with a good price, it makes sense to fill up before going on a four hour road trip.

There will be a lot more to come on batching (this was just the introduction).  Next up, I’ll introduce another key 4HWW concept: automation. 
30-Day Challenge Update – Day 22 (2/16):

Day 22 Total                      $   0.00

30-Day Challenge Expense Total: $386.36

“Allowed” Expenses Remaining: $113.64

Average Daily Expense to Date:  $17.56 (Target Average: $16.67/day)

The owner of this website, Eric, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking http://www.my4hrworkweek.com to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.

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