Too Cheap to Succeed ?

This is going to sound like a whinge of a post but I assure you it is not, it is, rather, a warning to anybody starting or attempting to start a blog as a way of making money spurred on by the many articles on the internet (usually other blogs like this one) claiming that it is a good way to turn spare time into a passive income, as I move further forward in this journey to what I am still convinced is achievable, the realities of this are becoming more and more obvious, and it isn’t rosy I can tell you.

I started this blog and all my activities at the start of this year, I have had many distractions and issues along the way but essentially the outcome is completely my own doing, I was too cheap with both time and money and spent too much time trying to find a way to post more and more content cheaply believing that quantity would alone see me through to a success, when in fact the opposite is true, we have all seen the constant posters re-cycling the same blog posts a few days or at most a week apart hoping that nobody would notice or that at least the views would attract more readers and hits and ad revenue, I wonder sometimes how successful they really are, now I can almost hear the cries of “but I do not do this for the money simply for the art” or the expression or to educate, in fact any lofty ethical reason they can hide behind shielding themselves from the fact that it really hasn’t made any money or even shows a glimmer of hope of doing so, preferring instead to keep hoping for that one article that goes viral or that captures enough people that they will do the advertising for them by sharing the post and exponentially increasing the reader numbers.

Anybody that wants to make money will add advertising to their site in one form or another, either through the annoying ads in the sidebar that you seed displayed all over this site (lol) or through their own affiliate links or simply through the promise of exclusive content for the exchange of a mailing with a Paypal donation link, it is all advertising as it is designed to illicit money from the reader, when people actually want to convey a message or provide a service (in whatever form that takes) to the general public completely free of charge and simply to educate and help they do not advertise as there is no need to add a distraction, they do not include garish advertisements for the reader to click on as this would detract from the message they are trying to impart.

But putting the advertising on the site is far from enough, in fact it is not even enough to be counted as the beginning, the beginning is the idea it is the focus of the blog, people will spend money this is not a surprising fact and with the reach of the internet there are a lot of people that can spend a lot of money with you and make you very rich but they aren’t going to give it away, you and your corner of the internet are not a charity (unless you are of course) and you cannot expect money for nothing.

Real Money

I am so fond of the phrase “Real Money” that sometimes it even gets under my skin, I say it nearly everyday in nearly every conversation that I have about money and for the sake of repetition I will say it again here, there is money and there is MONEY and to be honest very rarely shall the twain ever meet, what I mean is that when we say somebody has money we are invariably saying this in response to the visible assets that a person has, their car, house, clothes and to a greater or lesser extent their leisure activities, we evaluate based on a surface reflection of a snapshot of their life, and when they have a nice car and a big house and we wave them off on the next international adventure or follow their Instagram posts with green eyed envy we see what we want to see, success and money, but it is at night when these people are alone that the real story is told, you see money has a way of taking control of thoughts and feelings, it squeezes out loved ones and relationships and ultimately it chokes the life out of us and we find ourselves drowning in a sea of debt that there is no escape from, at night when the car is parked outside the house or the holiday activities are over and the rest of the family are asleep is where the dread of the next credit card bill comes in, the feeling of that slow march toward retirement with no savings starts to suggest that it is time you stopped spending all this money on interest payments to credit providers and started trying to master money, after all people do it and you are no different right? having money actual money under control and working for you as opposed to the other way round is all of the above without the feeling of dread and fear creeping in at night, it is the handing over of the debit card instead of the credit card for holidays and luxury goods, it is the sitting down and studying your money at the end of the month with a smile and a coffee just to see how things are going and how much you can invest this month rather than sitting down with a Gin and a Valium and hoping there is enough to stop you having to borrow more just to prop up the nice car and house, it is the enjoyed kiss from a partner at night and whatever may follow as opposed to the awkward good night and rolling over with both of you wondering what you have done to upset the other, it is the tolerance with children as they learn and grow breaking things and making mistakes along the way, as opposed to freaking out and going way over the top at every pen mark we find on the couch that costs us £150 a month is finance payments, money has the ability to help us grow and provide a life for future generations long after we have gone or it has the power to pull a family apart and destroy the future for generations, remember ultimately we become the product of our parents, If you think about a lot of your habits and personality traits now you will realise that most if not all stem from learned behaviour in our childhoods.

Other Peoples Blogs

Firstly a word about mine, I have been doing it for around a year now and am coming up to nearly my 100th post, the maths itself does not add up to a whole load of commitment does it ? so far it is earned me the princely sum of $0.38c, I am not going to retire on this and I do not expect it to grow much more without some kind of catalysing event, but I do have faith, I have faith in numbers and the numbers on the internet are huge, it is true that with the internet age ANYBODY can make a million, but it is also true that very few ever will.

So I did a simple Google search for successful WordPress blogs, and found a fantastic site here that has an almost unique field within their table of success EXPENSES seriously take a look, the information on here is worthy of just being posted out as a link rather than just as a part of this longer article which I am not sure anybody will have made it down to this point anyhow, and this is literally the reason why my blog sucks ass and (although I cannot speak for anybody else) the reason why a lot of people struggle month after month make no money and give up, the sites listed here make enough money for the people to do it as a job, sit at home or wherever they choose, write and then let the Internet take the strain, and the magic ingredient is EXPENSES, they are all spending money to make money, an example is Pat Flynn, 8 years he has been at it and his reported income for December 2017 ? $167,553.31, his expenses for this month $39.647.21 and his profit (before the dreaded Taxman obviously) an amazing $127.906.10 and when you see the website it is obvious why, the attention to presentation, the fact that his courses are available in both video and written on the blog, this probably means that he has a reasonable income from YouTube as well, They are all on there, Cookery Blogs, Entrepreneur blogs and of course Affiliate Marketing Blogs, and here I am with my 38c, I do not even have a business plan subscription and due to lack of activity my Amazon Affiliates account is suspended, this is because I failed to invest in my own project and my own future.

How to Invest ?

Investing comes on many forms, and most of these we are unwilling to do, we have to spend time researching content, or trying new things out so we can report our findings in a manner that provides value to others, as something of no value has no value and how can you expect to get paid for something that has no value?

You need to invest money, the plan I have does not allow plugins, so I cannot carry out any SEO for my site, none, I write articles like this and hope that people will stumble across them through reader or something like that, and they do, I have an amazing (for my investment level) 162 followers , but with the correct SEO and the ability to get hits from Google organically there would a thousand times that if not more just based on the sheer numbers of people searching for the subject matter I write about.

And you need to invest commitment, if work obligations dictate that you can only do one or two posts or articles a week then commit to that and make those two articles the best researched that you can, go into the ins and outs and the ups and downs and provide a real body if information or guidance to your audience that they can connect with and more importantly that they will want to bookmark and come back to, or even better subscribe.

And finally invest YOU, don’t write about something just because you think it is going to be popular or because it seems lucrative for the moment, writing is about more, it is more personal, and if the words come from a genuine passion or a genuine desire to help others and impart information people will listen.

Conclusion

I have ranted on at length about a lot of failings within blogging and trying to make a passive income on the internet through blogging, the fact is there is no such thing as a passive income through blogging unless you get somebody else to do it for you, but the is a massive difference between having to start writing at 5am before you go to work and being able to sit down at home after dropping the kids off at school and writing what you want in an unhurried manner, or if you don’t have kids fitting your writing in around going to the gym or whatever it is that you can now afford to do, Blogs are still way of making a very good income, you just have to rpovide something worth buying, and never fall into the trap of thinking that “If you build it they will come” cos they may turn up but if they leave without buying into your message you will be just as skint as you were yesterday and a lot more tired.

Procrastination is the single biggest hurdle most of us face, in this quick post I found an interesting article on how to avoid it, essentially my plan is for the foreseeable future to make sure that where practical I put action into thoughts, instead of trying to find ways to put thoughts into action.

Time to Build Tuesday

Tuesday today and I wonder how did your Monday go? did you get up and recite a mantra about how you can succeed or did you go for a swim around your private island followed by a nutritional breakfast?

I ask these questions because I was watching a video about morning rituals last night and it got me thinking, when we watch self-help videos or we search for ways to change our lives we are essentially looking for help, help to understand what we are doing wrong, why we are not millionaires, and how can we change this, and YouTube and Instagram come to the rescue, but only some of the content of these messages is worthwhile, not because the content producer is malicious but simply because they have risen to a point that they can no longer relate to the issues and problems when they started out.

One of the points that was made was with regard to Barack Obama’s morning routine, and how he always does a 45 minute workout, he will, reportedly not entertain anything until this is played out and this makes him a better president (this was at the time he was president of course) the point was that no matter how busy our lives are we are not as busy as the president of the united states, however I take issue with this because time is a constant regardless of who you are or how much money you have, to say that one person has less time than another due to their status is wrong we all have 24hrs in a day, so if you need to take care of two children or take the dog for a walk this takes your time, and does not allow you to lay down and enjoy a coffee enema.

This is only a quick post but I want you to think of this, when you look at these things understand that you do not need to follow the advice to the letter, and as I want to make money from advertising on my blog and my blog is about helping people, there is at least one person out there that is rooting for you, me!

So if yesterday you meant to start the week all positive and go out for a run before eating half a grapefruit and swallowing a handful of herbal medication, then setting off to work with a smile on your face, but when you got up the Kids weren’t feeling well, the dog had shat in the kitchen and you ended up running late eating toast as usual and driving to work wondering if you left the iron on, don’t throw away the rest of the week, today is Tuesday, if your Monday sucked ass, try again today, you can do that can’t you ?

Should Privacy Be a Right?

A bit of a departure for me, but something that is very close to my heart, Privacy I don’t mean people not knowing what I look like on here or the fact that I choose to put pictures and my opinions on the internet for all to see, I mean the data that I do not choose to share, the buried tracking cookies, the carefully worded “terms and conditions” that essentially boil down to you agreeing to being tracked and profiled in order to use a service, and when that service is Google or Facebook, it is difficult to make the decision to not agree and to walk away from the service because they have become so ingrained in our society, life can genuinely be difficult without them.

I want to deal immediately with the first argument that people come up with when faced with this point “if you have nothing to hide what is the problem?” the problem is that I do not want to share ever aspect of my life and if you think about it I bet neither do you, secondly I want to choose what I allow people to know about me and my family, and third I want to know what information is being gathered about me and how much care the organisations that have that data are taking over it.

I work in network security and as such have always been one of the “tin foil hat brigade” because when you understand the nature of a thing you see just how powerful it actually is, that said the event that triggered my latest rant had me baffled as to the mechanism in the background that allowed the transfer of data, and it concerns the setting up of an account with the same avatar that I have on here, I like a lot of people run Plex media server at home, it is run on a local server not in the cloud and has three accounts on it, I will not name the site that this happened on and have only named Plex as it is important to understand that this was a local server, I created an account on the other site and added the avatar, the next time I went to log into Plex it had updated my profile picture (previously blank) to the new avatar, there is no discernible connection between the two and to this day the way it pulled that information is a mystery.

The Giants of the tech world log and track our lives By Default removing our ability to be in control of our own information, they use this information to shape the world we see and as we become more and more dependant on social media and devices to run our everyday lives algorithms are working in the background make sure we never see something that doesn’t interest us, but think about that for a minute, if we never see anything that they think would not interest us and the knowledge they have is only built from things that we have searched for or looked at previously then where is the diversity? where is the random nature that makes humans so interesting, all our visual cues while online will be similar and our browsing experience will be shaped to appeal to what the system thinks we want.

Computers like uniformity, they thrive in a binary predictable environment where an action equals a programmatic and logical response, and of course it is a marketers dream, consistent advertisements, news stories suggested feeds and search results that all point to a single direction will ultimately push an individual into a course of action even if the only reason is frustration at the seeming lack of options.

The boom in devices for children that require an account to tailor the results and media to the younger audience simply means that this cataloguing of the human race begins earlier, and our children provide information without a care in the world, a slightly more sinister way of looking at is with the ability to shape the content that they consume it is not a major stretch before you arrive at the ability to condition and influence an individual or in the case of YouTube and Facebook, a generation effectively allowing tech companies to provide the generation of the future, and the Best case scenario for this is that they shape consumerism, the worst case doesn’t even bear thinking about.

So the question really isn’t about privacy being a right, or about the ISP knowing what websites we are going to, it is far deeper and more fundamental than that, it is about the right to live your life as you see fit, to have the ability and the information at your hands that makes you equal to your fellow man both in freedom and opportunity, it is allowing your children to grow and choose their paths through their own experience and curiosity not through a pre-programmed journey based upon an unseen authorities view on what they should become.

I guess that for the most part this post is really “my two cents” but I urge anybody that has even a passing thought that I may have a point, to just look at the videos and content that is popular among your children, or take more notice at the lack of deviation in advertising on social media that you see as well as the difficulty in trying to search for a topic outside of your normal interest on Google, look past the inconvenience and think about the long term consequence.

Jeez what a day!

So I am all set now for the start of the Holiday Challenge and one of my brain waves was to go to the local swimming pool to get some widths in to provide a kick start to my cardio for the week, but I could not have been more wrong, if you imagine being stuck on the London underground in rush hour, up to your waist in warm water semi naked (as is a swimmers want) that is exactly what we walked into, I can assure you however close the analogy there are a lot more awkward moments when you are wearing a swimming costume in close proximity to others than when you are in a business suit!

However my daughters loved it, and managed to thoroughly enjoy the slides and chutes as well as the wild water section where an artificial current drags you round a circular pool, one thing that made me laugh was given the close proximity of parents and children funnelled into a whirlpool you really had to look twice to make sure you still had hold of the same child at the end as at the start! but I finally made my way from the play pool to the main boring square one that had no slides, chutes, flumes, whirlpools or plastic dragons firing water at me from varying angles, and so despite the odd cannonball from an over excited child ( usually my eldest daughter ) I managed to get some swimming done before setting off back home for a family barbeque.

I have cooked on a barbeque previously but only for us and relatively small quantities of food, so the prospect of cooking for the in-laws as well was frightening, I was further shaken by all forums and instructions on the NET stating that the charcoal was ready to cook on when it was covered in grey dust and the grill could maintain a steady temperature of 250 degrees, nowhere and I mean nowhere did it make reference to the charcoal being 50/50 black and grey and the temperature a good steady 300 degrees (largely because that was as high as the gauge read) while being put under pressure by a line of people with plates of raw meat, so I just took a chance and cooked on it open, and despite having slightly thinner eyebrows and a stronger facial tan the whole thing was a success.

we even managed to get some gardening out of the in-laws, which is a bonus because I am far from green fingered, and the disapproving looks, sighs of disappointment and the more than occasional exclamation of sheer surprise at the wife’s and my gardening skills is a small price to pay for transformation they seem to be able to make in only the time it takes me to cook a chicken breast to the point that I have to identify it to my daughter as she is picking what she wants to eat.

I am having my before photos done tonight as well as the Mrs did point out that for a fitness and finance blog I have only two pictures of me to illustrate that I have made any progress at all! and as yet nothing on finance, but in my defence I still haven’t found any financial that is worth talking about!

So if you read down this far, thank you, and I will catch up again later.

main Photo by Min An from Pexels

Holiday Challenge

In September we are going to Dubai for what amounts to a long weekend, now, I have lost a considerable amount of bodyfat since starting and along the way my research has taught me a lot about how the body works and how if we work in tune with it and support it during the changes we want to make we can achieve some truly amazing things, there are some challenges coming up in my life over the next six to twelve months that will restrict any travel we may have done so I would like to go out with a bang so as to speak on this trip at the end of the year, the aim is to get as close to having visible Abs and good muscle tone and definition as possible before we depart.

As a way to share what is possible and also to keep me on the straight and narrow ( I have found that an audience no matter how small tends to do this ) I will be documenting my progress weekly until we go, starting today ( I have always traditionally weighed myself on a Sunday for some reason ) and for the following 12 weeks.

Week weight
1 17st 13.2lbs

To achieve this I will be following my own routine that has been working for the past year with just a couple of minor tweaks as I have found that despite the internet message of “just go for it” practicalities have to be considered as well, and nearly falling asleep at work is not a good look, believe me!

So here is the program that I will be starting with initially.

  1. Weight Training – every other day, this has always worked for me and I see no reason to change it, it is easily sustainable as I have no issue with training first thing in the morning or last thing at night, I know some people are precious about when they train but in today’s world unless you are a paid fitness star, a professional athlete or just happen to be a millionaire you have to fit training in around work, no point being muscular and sleeping on a park bench.
  2. Yoga – on the opposite days to the Weight Training, this is to continue the work I did to get flexible and to improve my static strength, I find Yoga very productive and have continued to practice it sometimes just because of the mindset and distraction it provides from the chaos of the rat race.
  3. Diet – This will not change from the low Carb high Protein and fibre diet I converted to all those months ago, save for adding in casein protein at night time to assist my protein synthesis as I am now marching on in years.
  4. Coconut Oil – this seems to have worked wonders, I have been using it now first thing in the morning as my first intake of nutrition, remember that anecdotal research tended to suggest that this sets your body up to burn Fat for energy and provides focus, and I have been having the black coffee and Coconut Oil before going to the gym, I have noticed huge differences in focus, strength and endurance from following this.
  5. 5k a Day – this was the routine I started a few weeks ago and it has appeared to bear fruit, while away two weeks ago I put on 2lbs and this weigh in I have lost that and a further 4.8lbs this is good going in my book and probably right at the upper end of how much I want to lose a week, I certainly wouldn’t suggest that anybody try and lose more a week unless the medical benefits outweighed the possible drawbacks, I may however increase this to 7k as you need to adapt your exercise as the body becomes more capable.

And that really is it, any changes to the routine and I will outline why this has been done and what they are, and hopefully it will be “Abs for Dubai”

End of an era

Ok so possibly a little over dramatic but I think that as time has gone on the purpose for the blog has changed somewhat and the updates on what I am doing no longer really fit, I want instead, to concentrate on helping people as much as possible to access information and motivation to live the best life they possibly can, in the short while that I have been doing this I have spent time researching many different things that I had never taken notice of before, I have practised Yoga, I have tried intermittent fasting and have learnt a lot about the sheer amount of predators in the online money making game.

However I have only just scratched the surface and I feel that the Practice the Preaching is probably more in line with my Instagram than anything else, as a result I am going to expanding the website side of this and adding things like my passion for photography as well, I am currently to be found on 500px.

But importantly I am looking to start trying out money making schemes, and recording my progress, this may well be slow at first as there is a certain amount of financial outlay involved but I can start with the “free courses initially” to see if these are actually worth spending the time to watch or is it an hour you will never get back!

So it is onward and upward, and hopefully I can really make something worthwhile.

Practice the Preaching ep17

So after my rant about money, the Mrs felt that I should do something a bit more lighthearted, so I thought that I would share some of the highlights from our recent holiday.

We went to Chania in Crete, Agii Apostoli to be precise and stayed at the amazing Seaqueen villa, it is a family affair and so we were with the in-laws, I know daring right? well these in-laws are cool so there was no issues and absolutely no mother in law jokes!

The place is awesome, it is huge and easily accommodates the three couples and our two girls, the pool is perfect and it has restaurants and shops in close proximity, so it is perfect for us.

As you know I have been changing my diet and working out over the last year and one of the reasons behind this was that, when we were there last year I was in such a state physically that I couldn’t join in anything with my girls and spent all my time sitting on the sidelines, I was determined not to have that issue this time.

Pictures of me a year apart

Me a year apart, the first picture was taken in Chania Bay at around 25.7 st and the second was this year at 18.4 st

As you can see above I was much more able to move this year and the heat did not get to me as much, being able to do things with the girls and play without puffing like a steam train was priceless to be honest, and made every hour of effort of the last year worthwhile.

The pool is awesome and last year was something that I could not use, partly through embarrassment at how I looked and partly because at 42 years old I still had never learned to swim, and nobody wants to try and lift a wet fat man from the villa pool, it just ruins the overall good atmos!

So we arrived on Saturday, and by Sunday night I had fashioned a swimming technique that to be fair looked more like controlled drowning but was functional, as confidence grew by Monday I had a reasonable stroke and was swimming up and down with the girls with relative ease, so fast forward to Wednesday and the private yacht that we hired between us, this was an experience like no other and has really fired me up for the financial side of my traineesuperhuman journey.

View from back of the Yacht

All was going very well until the first stop at a beautiful secluded bay to do some snorkeling, the problems I was about to encounter are best described as “Character Building”, everybody else jumped in and set off toward the shore breathing through their tubes and enjoying the view of the fish while I stayed on the yacht, after all I learned to swim one day ago and this was the sea and not a small pool with no current, but I felt bad as they all disappeared into the distance and when the Mrs came back to get me, claiming that the beach was only a short swim away I thought “why not” after all the water was very calm.

However I didn’t consider two three things, one, I had lost a lot of weight since the swimming shorts I had on had been purchased, two, the sea is salty and tidal, and lastly, three, breathing through a snorkel only really works if you stop using your nose and breathe through the tube, So I jumped in and set off with the wife, about half way across I realised that I was losing my shorts, now that would ruin everybodies holiday and I really didn’t want to have to climb back onto the boat with no shorts on, but as I say I had only just started swimming so as I put one hand down to pull the shorts up I started to swim in a circle, to correct this I would change hands and swim the other way, eventually we reached the beach and spent time in the warm lake on the other side of it, when it came time to come back I chose not to use the snorkel as I had swallowed my bodyweight in salt water already and wasn’t ready for any more, but what I hadn’t banked on was that the water had changed and was now a little choppy and the waves were against me, I am convinced I spent five minutes paddling like mad just to stay still, then the boat started to move away from me as I got close to it just to really finish me off!

It was (despite the near death experience) an amazing day, and I feel very privileged to have experienced the whole private yacht thing, as it turns out I spent most of the holiday in the water one way or another, either in the pool or at the water park that we took the “little fun train” to.

All in all an amazing time that I was able to enjoy so much more due to the hard work that I have put in over the past months, and a huge boost to me continued efforts, which will now include swimming!