Where to go from here

I recently set a goal of creating a new passive income source earning $300 per month by September 30th, 2012. I’ve been considering – or perhaps dithering on – which steps to take next.

Over the July 4th weekend I decided to focus on my squash site first. I’ll create a “passive value” resource there – articles for people looking for information about squash – and build up traffic. Once I get the traffic to a respectable level, I’ll figure out some ways to turn this into passive income.

This seems like a good approach because it builds on the success I’ve had already with my BrickBreaker site. That little test site has been bringing in around $30 per month in advertising revenue. My goal with the squash site is then to just do roughly that same thing, but 10 times bigger.

I’ll be writing about my progress on this blog, if you’d like to follow along.

I might not create that many cartoons while I’m building up the squash site.


Creating Passive Value

Cartoon about passive value

I recently set a goal of creating a passive income stream of $300 per month by September 30th. I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking through exactly how I’m going to accomplish that.

I’ve mostly been trying to identify the right mindset. I find it somewhat odd that I’m working on my mindset, since I’ve already created a passive income stream before — my BrickBreaker site — which makes around $30 per month in passive income. You might think I already intuitively understand how to create passive income…but somehow the lessons of my previous small success are not that clear to me.

After pondering it the last few days while on vacation, I’ve come to realize that the key is first creating a stream of passive value. That’s what I did with the BrickBreaker site. I created some tutorials for how to beat that particular game and posted them online. I optimized the articles a bit so they’d do well in search engines. Sure enough, people found them and, based on feedback I’ve received on the site, found them valuable. This is an example of passive value being delivered to people.

The next step from there — creating passive income — was pretty easy. I just stuck some Google Ads on the site, and soon I was collecting $30 per month without doing any further work.

So, I’m going to focus on providing passive value, and assume the passive income will work itself out. I’m unsure whether I’ll be able to meet my $300 goal by the date I’ve set, which is September 30th 2012. After all, it took 2 years for my BrickBreaker site to build up its current level of traffic. Still, I don’t want to start worrying too much about the income side yet. I won’t get anywhere if I just focus on the income piece. I will keep my energies focused on the value piece, out of necessity, and assume the income side will work out in the end.

Further reading: Passive Value by Steve Pavlina.

Where to Start with Table Manners for Kids

My favorite table manners habit that we have tried to develop with our children (ages 4 and 2 at the moment) is having them ask to be excused before they leave the table. Here are a few benefits:

It’s polite and respectful. Rather than bolting from the table unannounced, they pause to acknowledge their departure.

It makes the meal a discrete event. By doing this habit, the kids learn that a meal is not something that blends together with playing, or with anything else for that matter. When the kids to ask to be excused, they mentally acknowledge that they are concluding the meal and moving on to something else.

You limit food grazing. Sometimes kids will be done with their meal, and then a few minutes later want to eat again. You can use the “may I be excused?” as a clear dividing line between eating and not eating.

You have to enforce this a bit. If they get up and leave without asking, you have to track them down and gently force them to decide if they are excused. This is still sometimes true of our children even though we’ve been practicing this for months.

You also have to stand firmly on the other end and not serve the kids more food after they’ve been excused. This is a bit tougher – it’s difficult to say no to a child that claims to still be hungry. We just tell the kids they can eat at the next meal / snack. They always make it without a problem.

Helping children develop good table manners like this one does take some effort. It’s often worth it though. Establishing ground rules like this can make mealtimes and family life more pleasant all around.

How to keep blogging

There are many benefits of blogging. It’s a good way to reinforce what you’ve learned, because by trying to explain what you’ve learned to someone else, you come to understand the thing better yourself. It’s a good way to connect with other people, because part of the fun of blogging is being able to link to other Websites and be linked to in turn. It’s a good way to challenge yourself to try new things, because experimenting on yourself makes for fun blog topics, like breaking up with your clothes.

But sometimes, you just don’t feel like writing. Or rather, you just don’t feel like continuing. This has happened to me at least twice since I started this blog a year and a half ago. So I have some experience in this matter.

Here are some tips on how to keep blogging, after you get stuck:

* Recognize that you are stalled. It may not be immediately obvious to you that your blog has stalled. You keep thinking, “I should post something” but time rolls on and you just aren’t posting. Sort of like that feeling you get when you keep pressing the snooze button. After a while, you don’t even know how much time has passed. If you keep thinking “I should post something” too many days in a row, pause for a second to recognize that something isn’t right.

* Change it up. If you feel a particular topic has gotten stale, try writing about something else. When I stopped my blog the first time, I had been writing about personal development topics. I got going again by switching things up and writing about parenting and home organization, and then drawing cartoons. Just recently, I switched things up by posting a couple articles about the US federal budget. Whoa! Some readers were disappointed. Others wrote in to say they loved the new twist.

The first time I quit my blog, it took me 2 months to realize that I should just switch things up and carry on. The second time I stalled, it took me less than a month before I admitted I was stalled and changed things up. So maybe that means I’m getting better at admitting defeat.

Ultimately, I know that if I don’t change things up regularly, the blog will die. So now you know — this blog may wander a bit, in the interest of survival. Now, watch this video of a Slinky on a treadmill: