Quest for Simple- 2-month check-in

How have things been going and updates on previous posts

Hello! I can’t believe that it has been two months since I started this quest. While I had hoped to have made a lot more progress (especially making money (;)) my day job and family has made it a little more difficult to keep up with everything. But it was time to let you know how things have been going.

Rowan’s Room- Update

For those of you haven’t had a chance to see just how awful her room was, you can click here to see the before and after pictures, as well as here, to learn about the steps I took to clean the areas.

It has been about a month and a half and I wish that I could say that it is just as clean as it was. But sadly, it isn’t. We got busy with fall volleyball season and we had a good routine in place:

  • Home from school
  • Snack/homework
  • Dinner
  • Volleyball
  • Shower/Bed

Do you see “clean your room” anywhere on there? Nope, it didn’t make the list of the most important things to get done. The weekend would have been a good spot also, but that was my time to get things done. Needless to say, it is probably time to do another deep clean. I may also have to put some consequences on the table for not keeping her room clean, mainly because she is not being respectful to her room or her clothes (see here for our list of non-negotiable rules).

Back to the beginning. Rowan's room is a mess again.

So this is what we are dealing with today. I can still see all the bowls from the kitchen, and I can’t tell (and neither can she) what clothes are clean or dirty.

Our next step with her is to really make sure that every night before bed, the dirty clothes are in the basket and the garbage is picked up.

Liam’s College Application Process

We are in the final week before applications need to be in for those early deadlines. He has submitted his application to his first choice and now we will be working to get the rest of the applications in. He has decided to stay close to home, which is really within about a 2 hour radius. Plenty of schools to choose from within that zone. It has been a huge push, just to get him to apply to that one school, let along any others. But, he can’t just assume he will get in where he wants and he will be applying other places. (He just doesn’t know it yet).

I ran across a great article this morning in the NY Times that talks about the growth that your children go through during this entire process. I am really hoping that I start to see some of these changes before we end up arriving next August and Liam not going to school anywhere. Does anyone else think that getting their Seniors ready for college is more stressful for the parents than the kids?

Waking up early and making the bed

OK, so I am 50/50 on this one. Any guesses to which one I am doing everyday? If you guessed making the bed you would be correct. The waking up early is really tough. I have tried so hard to get up early and some days I succeed, but gosh, hitting that snooze button is so easy to do. My success ranges from getting up with the alarm, to staying in bed for a bit checking out my phone, to hitting snooze and going back to sleep. The least favorite option, is actually setting the alarm for later. I don’t do that very often, and if I do it is on the weekends.

The making the bed is a much different story. I have done that every day! I love how the room looks and when I go to bed at night it is nice that I don’t have to clean off the bed first.

Making (or losing) Money

Am I losing or making money on the blog. I know what I would prefer. How hard has it been for you to make money?

This as I said was one of the main reasons for setting up the blog, in addition to keep on the path of simplifying things. So here is an overview of the start-up costs that I have incurred and what I have made so far.

The biggest costs were related to getting the blog started-$472

  • Website hosting for the Year $240
  • Legal templates to put on the blog $160
  • Email address integration via G Suite $72

I could have done cheaper hosting, and cheaper templates, but after looking at what I needed for the year and wanting to be covered, these were the ones I chose.

Next are the supporting costs to get things done, organized and trained.

  • Ultimate Bundles- The Genius Blogger’s Tool Kit- $97

How about the ongoing costs. I use canva.com to do my images. I like it because with the monthly paid option I have access to many other images all in one place.

  • Canva.com $12.95 per month

Finally some promotional costs. I opted to boost a post on pinterest and pay for google ads. My daily maximum is $1 on Pinterest, so when that is hit, then they don’t show my ad anymore. On Google, it is a bit different, but my monthly max is about $20. Between the two, I have spent $60 in the first two months.

Total spend for the first two months: $655

OMG- That is a lot. I think I will have to put a hold on some of the ads that I have been placing and try to get a more organic search/traffic going by posting and networking with people.

What has that spend brought in?

Since this had just started, we can say that everything was at 0. No followers on Facebook or Instagram, or visitors to the website. Now I did something that I didn’t realize wasn’t a good idea until after I did it, I converted my personal account into my business account because I didn’t want to lose my pins. However, I also had a ton of boards that weren’t focused on what I wanted my blog to be about. I started to delete the boards, but I realized I still wanted that information for myself, so I made them private. I still have a lot of clean-up to do. But here is the breakdown.

PlatformStarting 8/262-Month Data
Facebook (followers)070
Instagram (followers)020
Pinterest (followers)2090
questforsimple.com Visitors0877

Not the greatest, but I only spend about 4 hours a week on the blog, and it shows. I really need to get planning further in advance and also networking more.

Making the money…slow going

There are a many different ways to monetize your blog. Some aren’t available to newbies like myself. So I started with a couple of the easiest.

  • Adding Ads to the website- you see this all over the internet. Pretty much every site you go to has some sort of ad on the page. The person who runs the site (in this case me) gets paid by the number of people that see an ad or by when they click on an ad. Income in 2 months: $1.35
  • Affiliate marketing- I am sure that you see the posts where I reference items that I like with a link to Amazon. If you click on any of those links and order something, doesn’t even have to be that item, I get a referral fee. $0.67

So the grand total is: $2.02

Next Check-In Goals

Alright, we have a baseline. I have identified the things that I need to do differently and have been researching the ways to make that easier.

Things to keep doing (this is a short list):

  • Make the bed
  • Keep the organized parts of the kitchen organized
  • Focus on the successes

Things to do more of:

  • Wake up early
  • Support Liam during his college selection and application process
  • Set goals with Rowan to keep her room clean and organized.
  • Engage with Facebook groups to generate followers, likes and comments.
  • More posts on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Things to do differently (this list could be huge, trying to keep focused)

  • Keep the kitchen clean
  • Organize the rest of the kitchen
  • Find the right motivation for Rowan to keep her room clean
  • Optimize my time better for the blog. Write more posts and schedule in advance, make them more interactive.
  • Focus on the free things to grow my blog and followers vs. paying for them.

Final thoughts

Overall this is a quest. Quests take a long time and at every step there are hurdles and things that need to be overcome. So I feel pretty good about what I have accomplished. I know I probably could have done better if I had planned in advance. But just like with the Cameo machine, I jump right in and figure it out later.

I can’t wait to see what our 6-month anniversary brings!

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