DS Blogging Schedule Featured Image

Why You Need a Blog Schedule

DS Blogging Schedule Featured Image

When you first start out blogging, you’ll probably have enough drive & ambition to stay focused and produce new content. At least for a while..

question markWhen I first got started, I followed other blogs, especially those geared towards new bloggers. I kept seeing question come up such as:

  • What is the best length for blog posts?
  • Which social media platforms should I be on?
  • How to I get more traffic?
  • and on and on..

These questions are a good start, but they leave out something important.

A Blog Schedule

One of the biggest keys to whether or not you become a successful blogger lies in your consistency. And how do you become consistent? By having a set schedule for your blogging activities.

I’m not just talking about posting on a regular schedule (like once a week, daily, etc.), I’m talking about having a daily schedule of tasks to complete. In my experience, having a set daily schedule makes the whole ‘blogging process’ effortless.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#hustle”]How do you become consistent? By having a set schedule for your blogging activities.[/tweetthis]


Here’s a sample schedule I’ve created, closely based on the version I personally use. It follows a logical progression of creating posts and spending some time improving the blog itself.

Sunday – Brainstorm new post headlines

content machine coverThe best advice I found for creating content came from Dan Norris in his book Content Machine, and he suggests to start with post headlines, rather than just the generic subject you’d like to talk about.

This can be done in as little as 10-15 minutes. All you need to do is come up with about 5 good headlines, and you’re good to go.

Monday – Outline next post

Now it’s a good idea to have your posts scheduled out a month or so in advance, but either way, for Monday’s task, you simply choose one of the headlines and outline that post.

Again, this task can usually be done in 10-15 minutes. I use Workflowy to quickly and easily outline posts.

Tuesday – Write rough draft

If you have a good outline, the post practically writes itself. I use Workflowy and Writebox, opened side by side to effortlessly write the rough draft of my upcoming post.

Mistakes are OK, and the post doesn’t need to be in perfect order; simply get all of the content out on this day, and you can worry about editing on Thursday.

Depending on the post length, this step usually takes 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday – Work on imagesimage editing

Aside from the text component, blog posts need an array of vibrant images to accompany that text. I usually use Pixabay for free images (but there are many other options for images).

Stock images are fine throughout the post, but often (and especially for your featured image) you need to work on them a bit. I mainly use Canva, which lets me add overlays, text, and a variety of other components to the image.

Working on images can eat up a lot of time, so try not to obsess about getting things perfect. I like to complete this task in 30-45 minutes.

Thursday – Finish & schedule post

Thursday’s task is the part I like most; putting it all together. You already wrote the text and created the images, now you just need to work on the layout and proofread the text.

This step is pretty straightforward, and when finished, you can schedule the post. This usually takes me about 15 minutes.

Friday – Email broadcast and autoresponders

Since a big part of blogging is about building your email list, I have a day dedicated to working on those funnels.

ConvertKit Resource ImageI use ConvertKit for my email marketing service, and they make it easy to create & schedule broadcast messages and setup ’email courses’ (which are basically just autoresponder sequences).

I schedule a brief broadcast message that tells subscribers about my latest post, and have it go out on the upcoming Monday.

Beyond the broadcast message, I also spend some time working on my email courses. I have one setup for each of my books, and am working to have a course setup for each topic I cover. This way, the incentive to subscribe is more targeted, and I can give those subscribers information that’s more suited to their interests.

Although this day’s work covers a wide range of activities (from writing the email texts, to outlining the sequence of an email course, and more), I can usually fit everything in to a 30-45 minute time block.

Saturday – Work on website

web designSaturday is the day I work on my ‘site infrastructure’. Things like static pages (about, resources, contact), adding landing pages for new products, making sure the plugins & theme are up to date and functioning perfectly, etc.

Since this step doesn’t usually take very long, I also take this time to update my post links. Whenever I have a 2 part series, I go back and link them together once the 2nd part is live.

Another example would be going back to a post where I mentioned an upcoming post topic, and updating the post to actually link to that topic. This makes for better continuity within your blog, should a reader land on an older post. I also link all of my ‘personal progress update‘ posts together.

I usually limit this step to about 30 minutes.


If you’re a student of productivity, you probably already know about batching your tasks, and how it’s much quicker to do the same task multiple times than to switch and start on something new.

This schedule is setup exactly in this manner.

For example, on Monday when I’m outlining my upcoming post, I usually have enough time to outline a 2nd post, either to help me stay ahead of things, to use as a guest post, or for posting to another platform (Quora, Medium, Reddit).

It’s much faster for me to outline 2 posts, than if I were to try to outline and then write 1 post, since I’d have to ‘change gears’.

What about marketing?

You may be thinking that I’ve overlooked social media and other means of marketing my posts, but I haven’t. Based on what I’ve read, a good blend seems to be ratio of 30% content creation, 70% marketing of that content.

I came to the conclusion of needing a ‘marketing schedule’, just like I have a ‘blog schedule’.

blogging board no border


Here’s another sample schedule I’ve created, and this one is closely based on the version I personally use for marketing my blog. It again follows a logical progression, but this time, it’s just a few tasks that repeat twice a week, with a ‘filler’ day in the middle.

Social Media MontageThe tasks are:

  • Posting for Traffic
  • Posting in Social Groups
  • Sharing quality post & articles
  • Outreach (the ‘filler’ day)

I’ll go into more detail on each of these tasks, and then end this section with an example of a schedule you can follow..

Posting for Traffic

When I say posting for traffic, what I mean is posting content to a site or platform (with a link back to your own site), and the whole intent is to drive the readers back to your blog. This is different from sharing on social media, in that the content is a bit longer, and it usually has a longer shelf life than a Tweet or Facebook status update.

Some good examples would be Medium, Reddit, Quora, and maybe LinkedIn. Posts here would be somewhere in the middle, lengthwise, between a Tweet and a full length blog post. (200-500 words)

My personal focus for this task is Quora. I’ll talk about Quora more in an upcoming post, but suffice it to say that I’ve found that answering questions on Quora leads to some good, steady traffic back to the blog.

Posting in Social Groups

facebook groupsThis should be self-explanatory. Posting in Facebook groups, Google+ communities, and the like. These posts typically get a lot more engagement than just a simple social share.

I like to either post a question, share a helpful tool, or leave well thought out comments to help people one on one.

This probably won’t bring in as much traffic as the last task would, but it builds a lot of good will. When you have a question, need help, or come out with a new post or product, you might be pleasantly surprised by how willing the group members will be to help you out in return.

Sharing Quality Posts & Articles

This section could more accurately be titled “loading the Buffer stream”, but let me explain the basic premise. Social media is overflowing with people who do nothing but share their content over and over.

Be different.

Share great articles written by other people. Follow a variety of blogs and other media sources in and around your niche, and regularly share their stuff. I use Buffer for this, as it is simple to use, and takes virtually no time to implement.

Simply install the Buffer browser extension, and then whenever you read a great article, add it to your Buffer stream with 1 click. I’ve actually written a Quora blog post that goes more into much more depth on this.


microphoneOutreach isn’t a big focus for me at this time, but I try to do a little each week. This would include pitching guest posts to other bloggers, lining up podcast interviews, or asking people to participate in a ‘expert round up’ post.

I’ve been having consistent success with posting for traffic and sharing quality posts & articles, so I haven’t spent much time with this.

So let’s see how these play out in a typical week. I’ve put together a simple image, so you can see the pattern I use..

Blog Schedule Image


I’ve attempted to balance the workload out between both schedules. For instance, when I’m writing a post for the blogging schedule task, all I need to do is reload my Buffer stream for the marketing/promotion schedule’s task. This tends to keep both tasks for the day to an hour (or two) of actual work.

Well, that’s about it for the marketing schedule. Let me briefly touch on how to put this into practice.

The Schedules in Action

monthly plannerCreating these two schedules for blogging and marketing the blog was a great first step, but I then needed to setup a system for following through with them.

The two best ideas I found were by either using recurring tasks in a task manager like TickTick, or simply having them in a document that I check out daily.

I chose the 2nd option, and have a nice set of bullet points in Workflowy. I use this tool for a variety of things, and always have it open. All I need to do is glance at it when I’m ready to start working, and I’ll know what to do for that day.

If you’re just getting started with blogging, there’s a much simpler version of this concept explained on the CoSchedule blog HERE.

The Results

working onlineThese schedules have helped me immensely. I’ve been able to increase the length and quality of my posts, get consistent traffic from outside sources, and slowly build up a social following.

On top of all that, it’s made blogging quite enjoyable. I encourage you to experiment with these two schedule types and give it a go.

Talk to you soon,


Micro Jobs Featured Image

How to Learn or Improve Skills with Micro Jobs

Micro Jobs Featured Image

This post is a more in-depth look at the way I’ve been using Micro Jobs to both learn & improve my skills, and earn extra income.

What is a Micro Job?

In case you’re not too familiar with this term, here is a simple explanation:

Micro jobs are tasks that typically take 15 minutes or less to complete (but can also be up to a couple hours in length). These are mostly online jobs, so think of them as a task that is too small to outsource conventionally (setting up a job posting on Upwork, then hiring the best applicant).

Some examples might be: having a 500 word article written, getting a voice over for either your voicemail greeting or a short video, having header images created for your social media sites, etc.

Most of the time, these tasks are packaged more as a commodity. You’ll find a few types of sites available. On some sites, sellers list their services, and you choose one that is the best match based on price, ratings, and turnaround time. The second site you’ll likely encounter is one that you post your task on, and freelancers will submit their bids to you.

There are pros and cons of each, but for today, I’ll be sticking to the first type of site. This type of site will usually get your work finished quicker, without having to sift through dozens of bids, and in most cases, you don’t pay (or can be refunded) if you’re not satisfied with the work.

Micro Job StrategiesMicro Job Strategies

I’ve found there to be 2 main ways that micro jobs are used.

  1. as a buyer outsourcing/delegating small tasks
  2. as a seller to earn extra income

For this post, I will be focusing on a variation of strategy #2.

As you may have already read in my Journey Toward Location Independence, I have been in the middle of a huge shift in my personal & professional life. As my business was changing, I realized that I needed to learn new skills, and replace my offline income with online sources.

I started on this journey back in March 2014, and in this time have sifted through many ‘opportunities’ (which mostly ended up being dead ends, scams, etc.), and was able to eventually find some legitimate online jobs.

After much trial & error, I settled on these elements to make up my micro jobs strategy:

  1. I must be learning skills that serve a dual purpose.
  2. These skills must build on each other.

By serving a dual purpose, I mean that my primary reason for working on micro jobs platforms is to learn skills that I can apply in multiple areas of my life.

Writing or marketing, for instance, can both be applied in a variety of areas, while whistling or juggling, on the other hand, have limited applicability in life (for most people).

By having the skills build on each other, I mean that I prefer them to be related and in the same field, rather than scattered all over the place.

Learning Skills

Earning extra income is another factor to consider, but it only plays a minor role. What the income does, is provide motivation and accountability.

A ‘Real World’ Example

For a real world (non-micro) example, I spent a few years working as the Editor in Chief for a community organization and later as the Executive Director for the same group, mainly to learn and improve my skills.

Some of the skills I learned include: design & layout, copy editing, proofreading, desktop publishing, print & email marketing, and payment processing. While those skills came in handy for my offline business, they also help in running an online business and blogging.

Why Micro Jobs for Learning Skills?

Online Platforms ImageThe reason I’m emphasizing Micro Jobs for this purpose, is that the work is in bite sized chunks, and doesn’t require an ongoing commitment. It is also easy to change directions, if need be.

It also has another added benefit. When you become a seller on a Micro Job platform, you will learn how to communicate effectively with your buyers, a skill that will be useful should you become a buyer when outsourcing and delegating tasks.

So that’s a summary of why I feel that working as a seller on a Micro Job platform is a very effective way to learn or improve your skills.

My Journey

Now I’m going to share which skills I want to learn and improve, which platforms I’m working on, and how all of this fits into my overall online business strategy.

First, let’s start with a list of the platforms I’m currently working on, and a few more that I’ve tested out. I’ll also mention which skills I’m learning or improving. Afterward, I’ll cover their importance in the long run..

Which Platforms Am I On?


Fiverr ImageI started on Fiverr in April of 2014, and within 4 months I had turned it into a low 4-figure monthly income. When I initially started, it was entirely for the income, but I quickly saw that this was a big opportunity to learn something new.

I started out by learning customer service, and then added “gigs” in areas where I felt I needed some work. So far, I’ve learned how to sell a service, communicate with buyers, and create & streamline systems for order delivery, communications, etc.

I’ve even gone so far as to write a book, Double Your Fiverr Income, detailing my methods for success.

Fiverr Clones

Micro Jobs Platforms

I started expanding onto a few new ‘Fiverr like’ platforms once I become successful on Fiverr itself. I basically just cloned my Fiverr account onto many of these sites.

They don’t get nearly as much traffic as Fiverr (even combined), but I didn’t think it could hurt to cast a wider net. I still get some sales from them, usually whenever the site owners do a big marketing push, but they almost aren’t worth the time. This next site, however, has been a great addition..

People Per Hour

people per hourI actually came across People Per Hour by accident. This platform didn’t show up in my searches for ‘Fiverr clones’, but I found it through Udemy when I was looking for courses about Fiverr.

What I like about it is that is combines the ‘bid on jobs’ type of freelancing site with the ‘one and done’ gigs from Fiverr (which are called ‘hourlies’). The site feels a bit more professional, and jobs go for a much higher price than you can get on Fiverr, although it is a smaller site.

What I like most about these platforms, is that there is a definite beginning and end to each order. From start to finish, it usually only takes between 2-10 minutes to complete an order.

There’s no hunting for (and then bidding on) jobs, haggling on price, etc. You simply put your service out there, and fill orders as they come it.


iWriter Once I took on the mindset of using these platforms to learn or improve my skills, I realized that my writing could use improving. Although I’ve had good results from the web & email copy I’ve written, it would take me a long time to complete. What better way to improve, than by writing on various topics, with money and positive ratings at stake.

I got started on iWriter, which has this probationary period where you need to write 30 articles and maintain good ratings before you can actually start making decent money. This put positive pressure on me to write faster, otherwise I would practically be working for free.

Once you make it past the first 30 articles, you can actually start making decent money, but at that point I began to put that effort into the blog instead. (This was a case where I was mainly looking to improve skills, and the money was a distant second.)

This Blog is also a Platform

While we’re still talking about writing, I should mention this blog as another platform I’m working on. I’m looking to further improve my writing, and also learn WordPress, SEO, and everything else that goes along with running a blog.

It also helps me to gather my thoughts for future books & courses, and lets me connect with other like-minded people online.

Digital Sharecropper Blog

How They Tie Together

As I mentioned earlier, these skills need to build on one other. Still being somewhat new to the world of online business, there is so much to learn. These platforms provide me with motivation, income, and the skills I’ll need to continue to grow as a Digital Nomad.

In the short term, I’m finishing up my second book, and in the usual fashion, writing this book is another avenue to learn some new skills. My eBook can also be turned into audio book, and maybe even video courses on Udemy.

So there again, building on what I’ve already learned. I’m sure you can see the pattern. Everything I do has a long term focus, and I highly recommend you take this approach too. To the outside world, you’ll eventually look like an “overnight success”, but you will know the truth.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#freelance #hustle”]An overnight success is really built one step at a time, one day at a time.[/tweetthis]

Thanks for stopping by, all the best.


DS 65 25 10 Featured Image

The 65-25-10 Formula

DS 65 25 10 Featured Image65-25-10 = Results-based Action Allocation

In this post, I’m going to share a strategy that has helped me become more productive, and keeps me motivated week after week to continue my work.

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 80/20 Principle (or Pareto Principle) before; the concept that 80% of your results are coming from just 20% of your actions. What I’m about to share is a formula that picks up where the 80/20 Principle leaves off.

The Birth of “65-25-10” asset allocation

Similar to many entrepreneurs, I’ve been a huge fan of 80/20 for years, and I also attribute much of my success to its use. It is quite rewarding to find that vital 20% and put more of your focus there.

As powerful as that concept is, there always seemed to be something missing.. While it shows you what you should be focusing on, it does leave something important out. Motivation.

Shifting the Focus to Results

As important as it is to work on the 20% of your business that is crucial to your success, I’ve found it equally important that you stay motivated to continue on.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#goals” remove_twitter_handles=”true”]Results-based action allocation is about hitting milestones consistently. Think: relay race, NOT a marathon.[/tweetthis]

What good does it do you to focus on the 20%, if the results from that work will take months or years to be seen? Not much.

It was this realization that helped me begin to develop this formula. But what exactly needed to be allocated, and at what percentages?


After much trial and error, I’ve settled into a split of 65%, 25%, and 10%. This is how I divide my working hours. Check out this infographic for an overview, and I’ll explain it in detail below..

65 25 10 Formula Infographic
Click to Enlarge

65% – Results within 30 Days

I usually refer to this block of time as my short term focus. Spending nearly two-thirds of my time on the actions that will yield results within a month’s time seems to be the sweet spot.

This allows me to hit a few milestones each month, which really helps with maintaining focus & consistency with my work schedule.

25% – Results within 30-90 Days

This next block of time is the mid or medium term focus. This block is important for keeping a bit of focus on the future. (I’ve often fallen into the trap of putting too much of my focus on the future, and not enough on the present.)

This block helps keep you looking ahead, rather than just whatever happens to be right in front of you. It also helps build up the habit of delayed gratification.

10% – Results Expected in 90+ Days

While it is important to focus on the short and medium term time frames, it is also good to look a bit further out. This 10% is for time frames that range from 90 Days to 1 Year.

This smaller piece gives enough focus on the longer term without sacrificing the here and now. This can also be seen as your ‘speculative’ time block.

Things often change drastically in a year’s time, so putting too much focus on an objective too far out there can be detrimental. This is especially true if the situation changes before you get there.

How They Work Together

rocks balancingWhat I’ve experienced since allocating my time this way has been nothing short of life-altering. In the past, I would jump around from a mostly short-term focus to a mostly long-term focus, and everything in between. This led to inconsistencies in when I would achieve results and hit milestones.

A short-term focus meant that I was achieving lots of results, but they weren’t actually moving me forward very much. A long-term focus meant that I was ultimately moving forward, but not able to stay motivated long enough to reach my objectives.

It’s easy to stay focused & motivated when you have something to show for your efforts; small wins & milestones being hit week after week, month after month.

Implementing the 65-25-10 formula has brought my life back into balance.

I’ve also found several other areas of my life where this ‘action allocation’ model can be used.

Applications beyond Results-based Action Allocation

In the same way that the 80/20 Principle can be applied to different areas of you life and work, The 65-25-10 Formula has multiple applications.

Income Sources

coins stackedThere has been a lot of value received from applying this formula to my different income sources. Currently, 65% of my focus is on Active Income, 25% is on Passive Income, and 10% is focused on what I call “Experimental Income”.

The Active Income is pretty straight-forward. Anything that I need to do “on-demand” is active income. This could be any freelance work, or any other work that needs my direct input & involvement.

For Passive Income, the focus is on anything that can be created once, and sold more than once with little involvement after its creation. This is mostly Kindle books & email courses at the moment.

The Experimental category is for my more speculative ventures. Maybe I’ll end up getting paid for my efforts, and maybe not. It also usually has a much longer time horizon for receiving any benefits. Since the likelihood of a payoff is slim, it’s vital I limit this slice to 10%.

Investment Portfolio

Most people probably think of investing when they hear “allocation”. The categories here are as follows:

1. Investing for Growth

The majority of my investing is for growth. For me, these are ‘hand’s on’ investments that I have direct control over, and have near complete influence on the outcome. Mainly buying low, adding value, and then selling high; all done with a short-term turn around.

2. Investing for Safety

My second largest category is the ‘safer’ investments. These are slightly more passive, without as much of a ‘hand’s on’ approach. The main focus here is guaranteed returns, backed by hard assets.

3. Speculation

Speculation is simply that, speculation. These are long shots – high risk & high reward. I expect to fail 9 out of 10 times, with that 10th time covering the losses of the other 9, while still bringing in a nice return. These investments are complex & creative, and are full of excitement.


Individual Projects

Another area I’ve been testing this formula on is for individual projects. Not all projects move in a strictly linear manner, so for those that don’t, it’s a good formula to experiment with it.

For me, the 65% portion is typically the part of the project that takes the most time, or is the most straightforward. The 25% is for the parts that have waiting time, or have some back & forth between with a 3rd party. They are more deadline driven. Lastly, the 10% section is usually the finalizing of the project & tying all the loose ends up.

It’s different for each individual project, but it’s been helpful looking in projects this way..

Work, Growth, and RecreationLiesure on Boat

It’s also a good idea to have balance in life; work, growth, and recreation are all important, and life can begin to lose meaning if time isn’t being spent in one or more of these categories.

For most people, their work takes up the biggest portion of their time. I’ve been fortunate to have found a way to make a good living without sacrificing personal growth & recreation, but it’s still been important for me to spend some time in each category.

I currently spend more time with Growth than Recreation, but it could just as easily be the other way around. If you find yourself frustrated, depressed, or feeling a little ‘off’, it’s a good sign that Work has edged out at least one of the other two categories.

This Formula is Just a Guide

I’m still tweaking this formula the more I put it into practice, but just think of it as a guide. The main theme here is that almost everything we do can be broken down into smaller parts, and those parts can be sorted. By being aware of this, we can plan our actions and execute them better, leading to more effective results.

Putting it into Practice

I encourage you to take a look at the way you spend your waking hours. What areas do you find yourself excelling at? Which ones need work?

Pick an area that could use some improvement, and then look at the way you’re currently allocating your actions. Often, a small shift can lead to a huge improvement over time.

That’s it for now, see you next week.



Digital Nomad's Chromebook

The Chromebook: Secret Weapon of the Digital Nomad?

Digital Nomad's Chromebook

As I started my Journey Toward Location Independence, I began to look at the many tech options available to me. Was there a ‘perfect’ system for my needs?

The 4 Main Choices

To be able to run my business from anywhere, there seemed to be 4 main options available to me: a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or simply a smartphone. What I needed to do was find the option that best fit my online business needs..

Eliminate the Obvious

4 Tech OptionsWorking through this list, I was able to eliminate 3 of these rather easily..

The Desktop Computer

Even though there are some semi-portable options, in general there are several downsides to the desktop computer.

  1. Size & Weight – this choice is the least portable option.
  2. Static Location – even if you bring it with you, it can only serve as a “home base” at best.
  3. You’ll also need a desk. Depending on where you are, you may only have a counter or table, not a proper desk to work from. Also, if you frequently work while standing, this makes it even harder.

The Tablet

While iPads and other tablets can be a convenient way to read, watch videos, etc., they aren’t very good when it comes to creating new content. Sending email, writing, and filming quality videos can be done, but not very quickly or easily.

The Smartphone

Screen size is what really kills this one for me. Add to that the same downsides as working with a tablet, and this option can also be easily eliminated.

So where does that leave us?

The Laptop

The portability and functionality of this option seem to make it the best choice for a Digital Nomad living the ‘laptop lifestyle’. Upon further inspection, though, we are still left with 2 choices..

Either go big, or go lean.


Going Big

Most entrepreneurs I’ve observed have chosen this option. The idea is to get a high-end laptop with the most possible speed, RAM, hard-drive space, screen resolution, and loads of professional software suites.

These, too, were my initial thoughts (more on this in just a sec), but all too often I observed this option being taken more as a status symbol, than as the best choice for that individual.

The next option, go lean, is one that I hadn’t seen too many other people choose.

Get Lean

Going Lean

Philosophically, going lean sounds like a good idea, but the execution seemed like it would be lacking quite a bit. Even though I was sure this would be the case, I still decided to look into this possibility.

As I dug deeper, I came across a device that was quietly growing in popularity: The Chromebook. The more I looked into it, the more it seemed like it could almost be a viable option.

I just needed to find out if it would be possible to run my entire business using only a Chromebook. Here’s how it all played out..

My Journey

This started when it was finally time to upgrade my laptop. As I hinted at earlier, my initial objective was to get the best and most powerful laptop I could find.

I found one that suited my apparent needs, and placed the order. Shortly afterwards, though, I got an email that it was on back order and would ship out in a few days.

Well, a few days turned into a couple of weeks, and I started to get impatient. Did I pick the right one, and if it didn’t ship in another week, what would be my next choice?

The Chromebook

Sample ChromebookIt was at this time that I started entertaining the idea of going lean instead of going all out.

The one thing that was important to me, was to shrink from a 15″ screen down to a 14″ screen. Even though I was planning to go all out, I had wanted an edge with a bit more portability.

In the online comparisons, an HP Chromebook kept showing up. Since most of what I had heard about Chromebooks was negative, I was a bit intrigued. I liked the concept, but wasn’t sure I could make it work for me.

With each passing day, though, I kept leaning more towards this choice. It was finally settled when I got another email that my laptop wasn’t going to be back in stock at all, and I’d need to choose another model. I finally took the plunge.

How does it work?

Chromebook ExampleBefore I finish my story, I’ll take a moment to bring you up to speed on Chromebooks, if you’re not already familiar with them.

Basically, it looks & feels like a ‘normal’ laptop, but uses a different operating system (Chrome OS). This operating system is much lighter weight, and doesn’t take as much in the way of resources to run.

Most of the functionality requires that you are online, but there are still plenty of capabilities if you happen to be out of WiFi range.

Rather than full local ‘programs’, it uses lightweight Apps (similar to smartphones and tablets). Beyond that, you can access everything else through the Chrome browser.

It also syncs with your Google account once you log in, and automatically installs your extensions & bookmarks. There are no drivers to worry about, no updates or antivirus to download, and it doesn’t slow down over time.

In fact, you’ll get a couple of tiny updates each month that only add about 10 seconds to the lightning fast 5 second boot speed.

Now I’ll get back to my story and show you how it all played out for me.

Using it as a 2nd Computer

When I got started with Chrome OS in 2013, it couldn’t yet replace everything I needed it to. Over time, however, it has gotten better and better, eventually becoming my primary device.


What MUST it do for me?

Before switching to a new platform, I made a list of everything I needed my device to do. When I had finished, there were about 6 things that I couldn’t do on a Chromebook at that time.

The main things that I originally couldn’t find suitable arrangements for were:

  • Desktop Publishing
  • Audio & Video Editing
  • Screencasting
  • Using my VPN

As each month passed, though, new apps were added, and some of the software I needed began to be offered using the SaaS model.

Chromebook Promo

Now, my Chromebook can handle between 95-98% of everything I need to do for work, and I anticipate the last few percentage points being added in the coming months.

Since ChromeOS is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, I’ve actually installed GalliumOS (a Linux distro built specifically for ChromeOS devices) alongside Chrome, giving me a full range of desktop applications (should the need arise), but that’s a story for another day…

There are even a several competing devices entering the market now that Google has proved the concept of a cloud based laptop, usually running either a stripped down version of Windows or even Android. I expect the number of devices and competing systems to continue to rise, especially as the heavier desktop applications move into the cloud as SaaS.

The Digital Nomad’s Secret Weapon?

To bring the post back to the question I asked in the title, could a Chromebook be the secret weapon for Digital Nomads? I think so.

A Digital Nomad keeps things lean & lightweight. Their tech system must also be easy to maintain, and ideally everything would backed up automatically. Also, if they’re living abroad, they likely only have one computer with them.

You may think this would be the reason to have the end all be all device, but I say that this is the main reason for having a less expensive device.

Which laptop is more likely to be stolen; a $300 Chromebook or a $1000 MacBook? And assuming you keep your laptop secure, what about accidents? I can replace my laptop 3+ times for that price, and with ChromeOS, my new device will be setup exactly like the old one within a few minutes.

This is the definition of simplicity & practicality, and very cost effective to boot. If your interest is piqued, here’s how I’d suggest you go about trying out a Chromebook.

How to Make the Transition to Chrome OS

For anyone looking to try out the platform and possibly make the switch, here is what I suggest

  1. Start using your Chromebook as a backup computer.Acer Chromebook C740
  2. Begin transitioning to cloud based services. Start with data storage, then begin trying out SaaS options & apps for the software you use.
  3. Embrace “good enough is good enough”. Just because the program you use has 100 features, doesn’t mean its replacement needs all those features. Find replacements for things you actually use.
  4. List any “must haves”, and start researching your options.

Other Considerations

Most early Chromebooks only came with smaller screens (11-13″), but now you can find models with the display sizes ranging from 10-15 inches. Try choosing one that has a screen size closer to your existing laptop, or maybe just an inch smaller.

Also, many devices only have 2 Gigs of RAM, but I’d strongly suggest going with 4 Gigs if you’ll be using it for your primary device, and it’s truly a must for power users.

With it’s main use case being in the education market, the trend used to lean towards longer battery life rather than raw performance. This is changing now that mid range and high end devices are now available for the consumers outside of the education market.

Some quick research will point you to the Chromebook that best suits your needs. To check out the current Chromebooks on the market, go HERE.

You can learn a lot more by reading the blogs dedicated to Chromebooks & Chrome OS, watching YouTube unboxing and review videos of each device, and checking out the Amazon review.

Whether or not a Chromebook may be right for you, the concept of going lean with your tech is definitely something to look into. Even if you have no interest in switching platforms, learning more about Chrome OS and Chromebooks will give you better insight into where computing is headed.

To quote my good friend Sherlock Holmes:

[tweetthis]Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.[/tweetthis]

That’s it for now. See you in the next post!


Learn About Airbnb

How Airbnb Lets Me Live Rent-Free

Learn About Airbnb

A New(er) Business Model

sharing economy infographicThis week I wanted to share a technique I’ve been using that allows me to live ‘rent-free’. It has to do with a company that’s been around since 2008, but has seen exponential growth these last couple years: Airbnb.

It’s not the newest member of the Sharing Economy by any means, but it, along with companies like Uber, are shaking up their respective industries and giving consumers more choices & value.

This is a stark contrast to the traditional ‘top-down’ model of business used by governments, big business, and other institutions. Their model often employs ‘one size fit’s all’ solutions and carries the mentality that a central authority can make the best decisions, irrespective of the local situation.

The Sharing Economy turns this concept on its head. It allows the free market to make decisions; in other words, individuals can make their own individual choices at the local level, eliminating bureaucratic inefficiencies.

This brings us two excellent benefits: more choices and lower prices.


Airbnb embraces this new business model. Rather than researching what cities would be good locations to build a hotel in, they’ve simply created a platform that lets individuals offer their available room(s) or even entire properties for rent by the night.

This is how you can find a place to stay even in a small town, even one that’s too small for a hotel or motel to build in.

Now enough of the back story, I’m sure you’re more interested in how this lets me live rent-free. Let’s start with an infographic I pulled from Jumpshot that shows some basic metrics, and then I’ll talk about how this helps both the guests and the hosts..

airbnb infographic

How This Benefits Guests

Aside from Airbnb helping create rooms for rent in small towns, there are more benefits to guests that choose to stay with an Airbnb host vs a traditional hotel, motel, hostel, or bed & breakfast.

For starters, you typically get more for your money. Often, you’ll get access to a full kitchen, rather than a mini fridge. Full as in real plates & flatware, small appliances, and maybe even some food for your breakfast.

How about an actual bedroom and not the ‘studio apartment’ feel of a typical hotel room? Done. You may even have a laundry room with a washer & dryer available.

How Hosts Benefit

The main benefit to Airbnb hosts is income. At at average of $80 per night, this can add up quickly.

Do you have a spare bedroom? I’ve read estimates that more than half of homeowners in both the US and UK have at least one extra bedroom. That bedroom could be bringing in several hundred dollars (or more) each month.

There are some other benefits such as meeting new people and the social interactions it brings, learning about other cultures, running a small business, and so on. Most hosts, though, simply utilize Airbnb as an income source to cover their living expenses and supplement their other income.

Living Rent-Free

I first heard about Airbnb and the idea of hosting on a Side Hustle Show podcast episode and decided that I would give Airbnb hosting a try. I was already planning to travel in the future and thought: “How better to learn what to expect as a guest than to start out as a host, right?“.

In just a short time, I was able to go from earning a few hundred a month up to making low four figures monthly as a host, which covers our housing costs. If you’ve read the post about my journey toward location independence, the income from Airbnb was very helpful as I was shifting from offline to online income sources.

Airbnb Kindle eBook CoverMy New Book

Once I became an Airbnb ‘Superhost’, I thought it might be a good time to start compiling everything I’ve learned as a host into a little guide or book.

Having hosted well over 100 guests while maintaining a 5-star rating in all available categories for my listing, and having done all of this with just a few minor changes to my life, I finally felt credible enough on the topic to publish my system.

I’m calling it The Airbnb Superhost’s Field Manual, since this is the exact system I used to become an Airbnb Superhost and live rent-free.

I’ll be releasing it on the Amazon Kindle platform soon as the 2nd book in my Double Your Income series.

What’s Next?

I tend to follow a pattern of learning a new skill, mastering it, teaching others what I’ve learned, and then moving on to a new skill. In an upcoming post, I’ll explain how I can work on several projects like these without chasing too many rabbits and accomplishing nothing.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#success #hustle”]The Success Formula is Simple: Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust.[/tweetthis]

Next week, though, I’ll be giving you a ‘personal update’, where I’ll tell you about my progress towards becoming a location independent digital nomad. Until then..