Short On Beer

A site by Josh Short

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Author: Josh (page 1 of 64)

Pura Vida

Time check: 11:44PM. I’m (sorta) on vacation. There’s a few hours of freelance projects to get done before heading to the beach in a few days but otherwise it’s errands, packing and resisting doing any sort of other “work” (like writing this).

House Hunters International is playing in a separate Chrome tab. They’re looking for a place in Costa Rica — one of the countries on the short list of places my wife and I may try to go later this year. Currently Costa Rica is at the bottom of that short list but who knows. Pura Vida, right?

Tonight I did my weekly review in OmniFocus. It was with 70% effort as I skipped over some long deferred items and on hold projects. One of the projects I created and set to work on while at the beach later this week was to decide what the heck I want to do with this site.

I’ve been struggling to write ever since stopping “the streak”. Life seemed to get in the way as I no longer made it a priority. There should be a focus though and I’m toying with the idea of changing the name, which is still a secret ATM.

I’d like to use this place to discuss my progress, successes and failures around a topic I’m working towards. Currently those are:

  • Learning Vietnamese
  • Traveling more
  • Build my freelance business
  • Build a side passive-income business

Listen, there are a zillion sites about building businesses. And I did write about building my freelance business on EVF. So those are out. I’m left with the other two.

I don’t have an answer yet. Do I combine them? I could. How would I do that? Not sure. Whatever I do that I want it to have some purpose behind it. I love these random ramblings, and will probably still do them, but I feel the need to be working towards an end goal that’s palpable. Pura Vida, right?

Okay. That’s it from me. Cutting myself off. Not quite sure there are a point to this other than getting back into the swing of things.

– Josh

Side Hustle Update

In the office today. It looks like tomorrow will be the only traditional work day from home for the next couple of weeks.

When I jumped into the #freelancelife I genuinely believed I’d have so much more time for blogging and creating #content for Edit Video Faster. The excitement was palpable. I could finally focus a real chunk of time to this side project because there was no way I’d have a steady line of freelance editing jobs.

Whoops.

Fast forward 13 months and I don’t remember a week where I just had my contract position (3 days a week) and nothing else. This happened maybe twice very early on. Since then though I’ve had “stuff” or paying gigs every single one of those days I originally believed I would have to work on EVF. And to further limit my time I no longer took a bus to work nixing some roughly 7 hours a week I was trapped on a bus with my laptop and no internet.

Hopefully this doesn’t sound like whining. Instead of being upset that I haven’t been able to focus on EVF I’m quite pleased. That means my freelance business is doing well — something I wasn’t 110% confident would happen. Because of this I’ve had to change my thinking around EVF. It won’t be a major time investment because I can make so much more editing videos for people.

Instead of being able to create courses that may or may not sell or coaching or ebooks I’m taking a different approach and going all in. Fizzle calls this the “mediapreneur”. It’s someone with a [side] business based on ads and affiliates. Yeah, I know. This isn’t sexy. This is and feels very old school make money online-y. But you know what? It’s working.

First, there’s no pressure to sell something. Eventually I’d like to have a thing or two (course, ebook, etc.) to put up for sale. But I’m not stressing about creating or rather my lack of creating them. It’s freeing.

Second, my only job is to create and get eyes to my stuff. Eyes = Google Adsense + affiliates. It’s been two weeks since I put ads on EVF. I made $0.01 the first week. The second week, $0.03. Improvement.

I watched this improvement with my YouTube channel. It was a penny. Then two. Then four. Then 10. Then 16. Then 25. Eventually it got up to an expensive 6-pack a month. It hovers around there today except I haven’t created a new video in like a year! It would still be growing if I was creating new content. I feel the same will happen with these ads. Slow and steady.

I was chatting with my mastermind partner last night about this topic. And while all excited about the $0.04 I’ve made over the past two weeks I completely forgot about the ~$25 I made off of various affiliates, most noticeably Soundstripe (that’s an affiliate link BTW 😉).

It’s true that an hour of editing will more than double that income but it’s fun that it happens without me being there. Fun is the important word. My side hustle isn’t stressing me the eff out anymore. It’s just there when I want it to be. The more I put in the more I’ll get out. But there’s no more pressure and that feeling is so freeing.

Alright. That’s enough out of me.

– Josh

Birthdays, Ziplining and NoVa Wineries

Alright. Let’s get back to writing. The past few weeks of my sparse posts don’t matter. Let’s just see if I can write today and go from there, okay?

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday. Us and two of our friends took off work and had some fun.

We started out in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been there. I was probably 8(?) last time I went so my memory of it is very vague. Our journey began at River Riders. River Riders is an outdoor adventure park. They have a rope course, a zipline course, river adventures, and other miscellaneous outdoor fun events.

I choose for us to do the Megazip and Quick Jump which ran about $25 a person. We started with the Quick Jump which is about a 40-50 foot fall. All you do is walk off this wooden ledge, free fall for a second or two then the line catches you and lowers you to the ground. It maybe takes 4-5 seconds total max. When you’re standing there on the ledge it’s pretty darn scary. It goes against millions of years of evolution to convince yourself it’s okay to walk off this ledge.

I decided to go first in order to “get it over with.” As someone who gets motion sickness very easily I was just as afraid I’d get sick as I was about making the actual jump. I was out of my miracle prescription patches so it was Seabands and some organic anti-motion sickness tablets from Whole Foods. They did the trick though and I felt as close to fine I think one could.

After we all jumped and survived we changed harnesses and walked back up to the top of the tower. It’s now time for ziplining.

I’ve only ziplined one other time. That was in Korea onto Nami Island. That zipline was at least 3x as long, faster, over water and in a foreign country. So this one should be a piece of cake, right?

Hypothetically yes. However there was one notable difference. Instead of sitting up in a seat and ziplining, at River Riders there’s an option to rider it “Superman style.” TBH I had no idea I actually had a choice between seated and Superman style. If they would have told me I would 100% have done the seated option. But once I found out I was already dangling waiting from them to push me and my wife off the ledge and down the wire.

The main noticeable difference between Korea and River Riders was the initial first 1-3 seconds. In Korea it felt like you dropped 10-15 feet before the zipline really took hold and gradually declined. With River Riders there was next to no drop (which I’m thankful for) and it was a fairly steady decline the entire way. About halfway in my stomach did drop a little but I held it together and was fine. At the very end of the zipline the braking system was a bit rough as you come in “real hot” to the platform. All in all, it was a huge adrenaline rush and well worth the $25.

After River Riders we headed to downtown Harpers Ferry (if you can even call it a downtown). The parking situation was confusing, confirming everything I read online. There’s a small out near downtown with an on your honor $10 parking fee but it’s about a 3/4 mile walk back into the edge of town. After pulling the old man on the hill card, I drove us to the “real” parking lot which is a few miles away. That also was $10 but there’s a shuttle.

The shuttle has one stop then takes you into town. It maybe takes 15 minutes? The stop is pretty pointless as going into town should take less than 5 minutes but hey, I’m not going to sweat it (even though the bus driver was rude).

We grabbed lunch at Bistro 1840. The food was excellent. From my online research it looked like the best place to eat downtown and it didn’t disappoint. The table ordered deviled eggs and calamari and I had a steak and bleu cheese salad.

While we were at the restaurant it began to rain. And not just any rain. It was a straight up downpour. It looked like it was going to rain for the next several hours so instead of exploring downtown a bit we decided a winery was a much better option for us. During a break in the rain we made out escape back to the shuttle pickup. We were almost there when the sky opened up and began monsooning again. Soaking wet we made it back to our cars and started the trek to nearby Breaux Vineyards.

We fought through the rain down Route 671 and arrived at Breaux. After dropping the group as close to the tasting room as I could I made my mad dash through the parking lot. By the time I reached the door my right shoe was untied, both shoes and socked soaked through as well as my shirt and shorts. Wet from head to toe we had a wine tasting of 6 wines and got a bottle of red for the table.

The rain stopped. Our clothes somewhat dried. A few miles down the road is Hillsborough Vineyards. No tasting this time — we went straight for a bottle of red. With my friends feeling good and me, the DD, exhausted I drove us back home.

Ziplining. Good food. Wine. Friends. All on a Monday. I don’t mind that at all.

Recentering

This clock is well past noon this warm June Sunday and I still have a mild-to-moderate headache from the night of cognac drinking at my father-in-law’s Southern Vietnamese Naval reunion last night. As I was laying on my couch trying to shake the hangover, which I realize are way worse in your 30s than your 20s, I decided it’s time to start writing again. I feel like writing, whether for myself or for strangers on the Internet to read, recenters my mind. It helps me focus on what I need to be doing instead of constantly spinning my wheels trying to get a grip on what’s important.

What is important? That’s a question I keep pushing myself to come back to as often as I can remember it. I can go days without remembering. But when I do remember, which writing helps me do, the clarity it brings is second to none.

My Number 1 Thing

What is important? Each morning I write out my “most important tasks” which I stole from Leo Babauta. A few days ago I changed it up. Above the MITs I added “My Number 1 Thing” and “Next Up”. Why? To help me recenter myself back on what is important. The MITs can quickly become a to-do list that gets ignored and never accomplished. In fact that’s where I’ve found myself for the past several weeks and months. I say these things are important on this little digital notepad but I struggle to get them done or I get them done and they ultimately don’t move the needle and don’t get me to where I want to go. So I’ve simplified it — “My Number 1 Thing” is it. It’s what my whole day needs to be centered around. I won’t always get to my number one thing first thing in the day. It just doesn’t happen sometimes — like being hungover on your Sunday morning then having to take your wife and mother-in-law to the Vietnamese shopping center that is 45 minutes away. Or when your number one thing has to happen after working a full day with a long commute. There’s a zillion other things I could do and want to do. Some could be beneficial like working on a blog post for EVF or running or whatever. Or they could be chilling watching House of Cards. Regardless they aren’t my number one thing. That’s why right away in the morning I have to say, “okay I’m going to do my number one thing at this time and it’s non-negotiable”.

One could ask, “But Josh, if your number one thing today is doing a thorough review why are you writing this instead?” Well, my head is not right to start working on my number one thing. My number one thing today requires my mind to be 100% there as doing my thorough review structures the next week+ of my life. Anddd at my current state I can’t do that.

Okay. I think that’s enough rambling out of me for today. I hope you were able to take something away from this.

– Josh

Where This Takes Me

Let’s start writing and see where this takes me.

The reason I forced “the writing streak” for so long (over 600 consecutive days) was because I was so fearful that when I finally broke it that it would be darn near impossible to pick the habit back up again. After nearly 4 weeks it appears I was correct.

I’m not beating myself up though. I’ve needed a break. And it’s been nice. No late night grunting and turning over to grab my phone and writing some half $%#ed thing. I’ve noticed though that at the same time I’ve stopped reading most blog posts too. My heart just isn’t in it. I might scan through some posts on Medium or look at the pictures on some of the travel bloggers’ sites I follow but it’s difficult to concentrate on a blog — mine or someone else’s!

The past couple weeks I’ve been “planning” a lot for EVF. Planning. Writing schedules and outlines. It’s all wishful thinking though. It doesn’t happen unless you act. Unless you produce. Unless you create.

That’s where I need to turn to now. It doesn’t matter if I feel like I wasted time. No sense on dwelling on the past. Begin now and just bleeping create. Ship. Repeat. Which at the beginning was the point of this site anyway. Maybe I was onto something…

– Josh

A Weekend Without Social Media

“Instead of refreshing Twitter, Facebook and the like, how about let’s do something productive with the remaining 20 minutes left in the office for the day while this file export,” he questioned to himself while realizing the previous twenty minutes had been wasted in the black hole of the internet.

Over the weekend I tried to do take a break from social media. Friday night I decided that Saturday would be a day without any Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat. I even decided to limit email. I had work to do so I couldn’t completely cut it out. However I’m just as bad about refreshing email as I am with checking up on Twitter and the rest of the time wasters.

Saturday morning was rough. Anytime I got bored from the work I had to be doing or just in between tasks I caught myself automatically opening up Twitter. I would quickly catch myself and close out of the app. Before Noon I must have caught myself a dozen times — and that’s not an exaggeration.

While I wasn’t get the shakes or anything like that the withdrawal wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. At one point in the evening I found myself just a little bit bored which is a feeling I’m not used to. Instead of flipping open Twitter I did something that’s been bugging me for A YEAR. I changed the theme on this site and EVF. Then I went so far as to try to figure out how to put some ads up on EVF (something I’ve also been meaning to do for quite some time). The theme change not only un-boreded me (yeah, not a word I know) but it made me feel good. I felt accomplished. I felt proud. My websites had a fresh coat of paint on them.

I made it through Saturday so happy with my experiment that I decided Sunday would be a limited social media day. I wouldn’t not check it but I’d greatly limit my time spent. The result? Positive vibes.

I’m back on Twitter and the rest today. I didn’t miss out on anything. FOMO is for real but like most anxiety-producing things nothing bad ever happens. As for next weekend maybe I’ll try this experiment again…

Less Me

A thought I’ve had for EVF has been to remove a bit of how much “me” there is. I feel such a direct connection to EVF as a person. It’s my baby; it reflects itself to others as me. Or at least I believe that. So when I don’t like my website design or feel 1,000% confident in a post or product (which I never do) I feel uneasy. I feel uneasy because it equals me.

What if I could not let it equal me nearly so much?

I want to be “the cover model” for EVF. Sure. In a sense it’s the story of my trials and my learnings as a freelance video editor. But I also want it to just be it’s own thing. When you think of Lynda.com do you think of Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin? No. Maybe Lynda looks like Lynda.com’s logo. IDK. I’ve never met Lynda and will never.

With EVF I do want a more personal touch. However it doesn’t need to be about me anymore.

Maybe I’m just being a sensitive creative artist. Probably. But I need to find a way to break through all this resistance I’m facing anytime I want to create anything for EVF.

Less me.

– Josh

Sporadic Calming

There appears to be a ton of rust on my writing muscle. I’ve had this email drafted to myself open for the past 15 minutes. A cup of coffee, Snapping some friends, a handful of tweets and emailing my wife about something that’s the furthest thing from important I realized what I was doing. I turned on some Japanese rock and now I’m focused back on the present; on this writing.

The meditation app I use, Calm, keeps a calendar of when you meditate. If you meditate on a day the date will have a green circle around it. Something that has got away from me around the same time I took my brief break from writing here was meditation. Are they related? Probably.

It’s one of those things you do and 95% of the time it feels pointless. For me, I want to immediately go to sleep after (and I tend to take a 20-minute power nap which isn’t the worst thing). I guess that’s what happens when you meditate around 4:30pm. Anyway back to my point. 5% of the time I feel an immediate effect. I feel focused or more chill or calmed down. The rest of the time I’m like, “why did I just waste 10 minutes sitting uncomfortably on my couch?”

What I need to remind myself is that the benefits aren’t about those 10 minutes or the minutes that immediately follow. It’s about the practice of focusing back into the moment — like me a few minutes ago realizing I was not focusing on the task at hand, writing this post, then coming back into the moment and going from there. The last little green circle was on Monday. I’m 46ish hours removed from that meditation session. Did that particular session help me today? Not sure. But the recurring practice, even if it’s sporadic, helped. Because of it I got this writing in. And the benefit of that? Ha, well, I’m not sure of that either.

That’s it out of me today. Painters are coming tomorrow to paint some rooms. I have to finish up a video for a client then prep everything for the painters. It’s going to be a jam-packed evening.

– Josh

I’m Back!

Alright, let’s get this writing habit back in gear. I broke the consecutive day writing streak and took off the past 2-3 weeks. The streak was somewhere close to 500 days. But hey, who’s counting besides me? It’s time to get going again. Maybe create another streak or maybe just enjoy the heck out of writing again.

I don’t even remember where I left off and there’s a half dozen written posts I haven’t published. I’ll let those die in digital purgatory never to be seen by eyes again.

Two weekends ago my buddy and I took a road trip up to Toronto. The big stops were Buffalo, Guelph (where a friend lives), Toronto and Syracuse. I outlined a really long post with all the fine details in it already including axe throwing which is a thousand times cooler than it already sounds. If I ever get around to filling in that outline and publishing it is another question.

It felt good to travel. Darn good. That travel bug still has a hold of me. I’m 5+ months removed from my last big trip (Vietnam). I’m 2ish months removed from a small-medium sized trip (Spring Training & Disney). I was getting restless before this most recent trip. Being back is worse. The travel experience is fresh which only makes the bug bite stronger. I’ve spent half the day on Orbitz and Skyscanner searching for flights in October.

Sigh. Alright. Looks like I’m back. Whining about not being able to travel somewhere in my tiny corner of the Internet. I’ll take it though. Maybe I’ll be back tomorrow?

– Josh

Takin’ Care of Business

I’m not sure what I want to write about tonight so I’m just going to start. The Nats are in the 1st inning against the Braves. Pale Rider by Field Report is playing in the Chrome tab attached to the tab of this Google Doc.

Like I wrote about yesterday I’ve decided I want to take on a new project. I do not know what it’s going to be. Which is a good thing because I’m not starting on it yet. I want to start soon; but not yet. Light planning and some soul searching is fine. However I’m putting off doing the work.

How come? Well, with starting anything new you need to build it into your routine. At my present state, even with limiting the amount of time I spend on EVF and CmdEdit, I absolutely cannot take on anything new. Today I spent about an hour going through OmniFocus. I looked at each project in there. Looked at what I need to do for it, if I need to do it and when I need to do it by. And for the first time in awhile I feel remotely organized.

Now that I’m organized I have to actually follow-through with what I said I’m going to do. There’s still a gigantic list of to-dos on my plate. I have to take care of these first. Even if all of them aren’t “important” they’re there and they’re going to weigh me down mentally if I don’t get them done and I start diverting my attention to the new shiny toy (whatever this new project is).

These to-dos are things like finding a financial advisor, setting something up on my grandmother’s computer, returning something to Target, etc. Most of these things I’ve been pushing off for months. And in order to have any calmness of mind I need to get ‘em done first.

Okay. I think that’s all I have in me today.

– Josh