BennyEast.Com/Blog The official blog of Kenny West

9Apr/180

Home Gnome

So, I've been trying to stay in more... like a lot more.

Why?

Simple... Saves money.  Every penny I don't spend, is a penny I can then put towards things that generate more pennies...

I need to upgrade my music software, so, that's like the next thing I'll be spending money on.

Or, invest more money in dividend paying stocks!

Also... there's a lot to do around my house.  I've been trying to toss this one carpet for a long while now... It's literally falling apart, so I have to cut it up piece by piece and vacuum up the mess.

I'm starting to clean out things more aggressively.  Just trying to toss junk, and donate things to good will...

The next phase will be to start painting and making the house into a little more home like... Also, I may just sell it... So, it needs to look nice if I decide to do that.

Trying to get my life in the direction that I want it.

Right now I just have too many things that weigh me down... Too much stuff, and responsibilities...

Not enough passive income that I can make in my sleep.

Too many cats.  Yes, they are cute, but... They take up SOOO much time!  Oh well, two of them are old lady cats.

I'm pretty sure in the next couple of years my life is going to be drastically different.

More passive income, less physical stuff... Less time spent feeding and cleaning up after cats.  Don't get me wrong, they are cute and I like them... They are definitely a pain in my butt though... It will be sad when they finally go... But the two older ones are kind of old for cats, it's not like they have lived short cat lives... They have definitely had a nice long cat life.  And a spoiled one too!  I spoil them like crazy.

Anyway... I'm hoping in a few years I'll have just gotten ride of a lot of the things I'm spending my time on and have much more time to focus on... Music!  And other creative things.

I've been going to the gym more.  The gym is great... Flat fee, stay as long as you like.  It's a great way to spend less money.  Plus it's good for you too, so there's always that.

Sometimes I go in the evening, sometimes i go in the early the morning before work.

I've been cooking dinners in more and watching Netflix more.

And trying to work on music more.  I'm getting a little further along in a song I've been working on, and I also have nearly finished the cover art for the song...

I guess I've just been finding that I've been doing all this stuff that isn't really want I want to spend my time doing.  So lately I've just been like... I'm going to spend my time doing what I want to spend my time doing.

And that's what I'm doing.

Staying home more.

The faster I get my dividend salary to the point where it can pay for all my expenses in life, the faster I can just start doing what I want with my time.

Which to me, is the point of life.

When you work a 9-5 job, you work for that organization and those people... When you reach financial independence, you do things on your own terms... Your own life.

AKA, make music all day.

Which is what I've wanted to do since I was a little kid.

I'll get there.

I just have to really start saying no a lot more... Just cut out more people, and more things that waste my money and time.

Add things that let me create music.

My dream is probably to just have a smaller house, or small flat somewhere, eventually no cats... A LOT more dividends coming in...  More music time, more gym time... Just spend my days doing my thing.

That's the plan.

A lot of people save up their paychecks to go on vacations... I say, I'll take vacation after I reach finical independence.

Until then... Just stay in, get up early and go to the gym... Save money, invest.  Invest, invest, invest... The more I make from dividends the more I can plow back in to making even more money.

I watch the HGTV channel though at the gym in the morning and they do these flips and renovations... I'm thinking I might perhaps try that one day too... I feel like flipping doesn't seem al that profitable though.  I mean... At least to me it doesn't.  I'd rather just hold dividend stocks.

But hey, who knows... I don't know what I'll do.

All I know is my current goal is to just keep building my dividend salary... Just slow and steady, month after month, keep pushing to the next goal.  It's hard to believe that at one point I thought 50 dollars a month was a lot... Now I'm WAAAAY beyond that in monthly investment income.

It definitely seems a bit like it's moving in slow motion, but it's going.

My biggest thing right now is that I focus on cost cutting... Just staying in, and growing the investment income and then using the rest to focus on music, which actually also does make a small bit of money too...  So really it's all a step in the right direction.

Just have to keep at it.  That's the thing... Everything pays dividends in the end, just takes time and persistence to get where I'm going.

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8Apr/180

Up Up and Away

So, part of me cares, but another part of me kind of thinks it's almost comedic... Or, maybe comedic isn't the right word... It's more like, interesting I guess?

There are two things going up in my life... The first?  My dividend income per month.  As time is going by, my monthly dividend income stream has been slowly and steadily increasing.  Eventually... We all know where things are going with that.  It's only a matter of how quickly it rises.  They've even implemented new tracking stuff in my trading account to see the monthly performance, so it's now easier than ever to track my monthly investment income targets...

What else is going up?  The number of open tickets we have in our new ticket software.  Just as I predicted... It's steadily increasing.

Why?  It's simple math... We can't take care of the requests as fast as they come in.  It's just math, there aren't enough of us working and enough hours in the day to do all the work.

What's going to happen?  The tickets will just keep coming in, we'll close some, but more will come in than we can close.  We'll prioritize and then the ones we can't get to will just sit there collecting dust.

I guess because it's only a matter of time until I hit the tipping point on my investments and the income over takes my expenses... I care enough in the short term, but in the longer term, I don't really care as much because I'm on my way out eventually.

I mean, sure I have a few years... And at absolute MOST, I have 15 years of working left no matter what.  It's weird, it's like not winning  the lottery yet, but knowing that you will win the lottery and knowing the exact day you will.

My 50th birthday is big lottery day... In the mean time, my already established extra income wins the lottery on average 10 to 15 days a month.  That's how often I get dividend deposits now on my existing stuff... It's small, like my next one will be $12.60 on the 10th... So in 2 days.  I just got a whole cluster of deposits, like 3 or 4 on Friday, totaling about 20 some bucks.

The thing is... It's passive money too.  So, for example, at work, I get yelled at all day by people who are angry because their tech issue isn't working or mostly because they haven't had an answer yet and they submitted their ticket days before... As I type this, we have 90 tickets open.  I bet we'll be up above 100 open tickets by Friday.

Every time people call all upset and angry, I just look at my dividend deposits and say to myself... It's only a matter of time until some other poor sucker is in this seat getting yelled at.

Or maybe not... Who knows... The day I beat it, they may not decide to replace me... And then my coworkers will be the poor suckers.

The thing about it is... There's nothing they can do about it... Even if I make no additional investments, a lot of my holdings are dividend hiking stocks... So that means, they have a LONG track record for paying and increasing dividend payouts every year.  For example, one of my holdings has been paying a dividend for over 100 years and they have been increasing the dividend for 40 some years.

Either way, even if the company decides to skip a year for dividend hikes and hold steady... I'm still spending less money than I'm making, which means I'm adding to my investments.... And by adding to the investments...

You guessed it.  The dividends go up... up... up.... and away.

Everyone at my job hates it.  It's mostly because I do a lot of work, so I think they hate the idea of me riding off into the sunset to greener pastures... Although to be fair, no one wants to be broken up with... Especially when they've found a keeper... And let's face it, I'm quite the keeper when it comes to model employees, but honey... You just don't satisfy my needs like my investment portfolio is starting to... Sorry sugar.

I work in off hours, and right now, I have like half the open tickets on my plate... SO... I'm kind of a rockstar employee.  I don't mean to brag but... I work my ass off.

See, the thing is though, my passion is making music and writing books, and investing, and just being creative... Not getting yelled at by grumpy people because we don't have nearly the staff we need to reposed to their tech requests as quickly as they would like us to.

But it will certainly be interesting if someone in the VP area of things starts to question why so many tickets stay open... I mean, who knows, I doubt it... But perhaps one day they will notice and then be like... "Hey, maybe they need another tech?"

Wishful thinking.

Oh well... Like said, I only care enough to work hard in the short term because I know that each month that goes by, my investment salary inches up higher and higher getting closer and closer to covering all my expenses and then I retire and work on music and other creative endeavors full time.

For now, I watch the number of open tickets rise, and I watch my dividend salary rise... See which one reaches a tipping point first.

 

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6Apr/180

Similar Things

So, I finally started watching Stranger Things.  Kind of late to the party...

It's weird watching it.  Like hair rising up on the back of my neck type of weird.

Why?

Because, it's just REALLY similar to a story tweets story that I wrote and posted on Twitter... That predates when this came out.  It's currently still on Twitter, tweet by tweet, date and time stamped.

Right now I just finished the third episode.

It just reminds me a lot of my own story.  I mean, a LOT.

Almost like the creators of Stranger Things read my story... And then wrote their own based off it.

I doubt this is true though.  The thing is... We live in one world together... A group of people, billions of us, all living together on this planet.  Trapped inside a bubble.

Odds are, we're going to share some of the same thoughts.

It's different enough that it's not plagiarism.  Although, I'm only on episode 3, so I mean, who the heck knows, there would be word for word dialogue later on... If that were the case, I'd be officially freaked out... Because that's not possible.

Obviously if there are any scenes that are exactly the same, I'm calling an intellectual property attorney and having things looked into...

But my stuff was posted on Twitter, in public... not copyrighted...

True.  I never submitted my stuff to turnitin.com... That's fair... But also, I wouldn't sue for monetary compensation if there were actually some lifting of my material from my Twitter account used in Stranger Things...

Why sue then?

Simple.  I already have a million dollar trust fund, what the hell do I need more money for?  I don't need obscene amounts  of money... What's the point?  There is no point... I want something else... I want my book published and made into a movie.

I'd want Netflix to pick it up and turn it into a movie.

Or, I'd want the creators of stranger things to help me start my own creative career.

Kind of a weird thing to sue for.

I'm a weird guy, what can I say?

At any rate, I doubt they copied my stuff, the odds are so low.... But, like I said, humanity is a shared space.

Think about this, if you go out in the world and you tell something to someone, they then have that thought in their brain.  They heard what you said, and it's now in their brain.  That thought... It's inside them.  Even if they forget it... They heard it, and they thought about it... And it's now part of their memory.

The mind is a powerful thing, it remembers things we never thought it would remember.

And thoughts and memories?  Are highly contagious.

People are good at taking things in through their senses... And then sharing that stuff.

Ideas, concepts, language, experience... People absorb it all like a sponge, and then they share it with people, perhaps not by simply re-telling the exact same thing, but it is incorporated into what they say.  How they act.

We sweat experience, and others absorb that and in turn, replicate it out... It's a bit like a whisper down the lane...

You tell someone something that was told to you and they in turn tell others.

I'll entertain the idea that maybe someone who knows someone who knows the creators of Stranger Things might have read some or all of my story tweets, and then they in turn might have talked about it at some party, or out at some bar, and then someone else might have said something to someone else, who was then the person who was inspired to write it.

There's so many works of art though that are inspired by other things.

That's how being creative works, you are inspired to inspire others.

It's definitely a strange thing though to watch the events unfold with the missing kids in Stranger Things, it reminds me a lot of the story tweets story.

To be honest though?  I've had a lot of stranger things happen in my own lifetime so far.  So many experiences that just made me go.... Wow, that was freaky.

Too many to count.

Anyway, I'll keep watching Stranger Things and give an update as I watch more...

If there's anything so similar of a thing that it totally weirds me out, I'll be sure to post it right away!  Or, maybe I'll have to submit it to turnitin.com or something.  Haha...

Anyway, I guess I'll see.

 

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6Apr/180

Venturing

So, I've been kind of kicking around the idea of looking for a business investment.

Right now my investment portfolio is comprised of publicly listed stocks and bonds and ETFs etc. etc.

I think it would be interesting to make an investment in a business.  Take a small stake in something local... Find someone that wants to start something and needs some capital and go part way in... And in exchange I get part ownership and a small say.  Although, I'm not too interesting in being bossy, or any kind of boss.  I mostly just want to be a backseat driver and ask questions and just kind of let the other person run the show.  I just have a small vested interest.

I don't know much about how it would go down.

I feel like that private stuff is a little more risky and nebulous.  Like, there's always the risk that someone could be up to some shady shenanigans... Or there's always the risk that it tanks.

Stocks have these risks too, but, with the SEC regulation and mandator quarterly and annual reporting... Plus, the thing is, with stocks, you get dividends.  Okay, not ALWAYS, but the ones I prefer to own, there's dividends.

Also with stocks you can sell and buy on an open exchange.

Private business is tough, you have to negotiate sales of your stake in things, or purchases.  And who knows if the amount you're getting is a fair amount.

You kind of have to be a little bit sharky... I'm not sharky.

I feel like for now, I'll just stick with my general portfolio management of publicly traded securities.

Perhaps one day when I have enough to divide off where I could risk the loss and it wouldn't be all that painful, I'll step into funding a small business or something like that, or go in on a house flip...

See, that's the other thing too, the barriers to entry is a bit high.  With stocks, I could just get in with only even a thousand dollars to start a position, or sometimes less, depends on the share price.

One stock I bought was at 6 bucks a share when I bought it, so I bought 144 shares and let it ride.

It's hard to make a business deal with that small of a stake.  You have to do significantly higher amounts, and it's a big risk, at least to me...

But, I'll keep kicking around the idea, if I find something, I might be keen to invest.

I'd love to start kind of a mini venture fund and accept business plans and what not and browse through them and eventually invest in one out of 500 business plans that I received in exchange for shares, or part ownership.

Maybe I'll start looking around the Philly area here to see what the venture scene is like, I wouldn't mind going to a meet up or two.  I'm not about to write a check for like my entire savings, but hey maybe I'm wrong and there's an opportunity to help fund a startup with only a thousand dollars and get in as part ownership.  Never know.

Honestly, and I don't know how possible anything like this would be...

I'd love to kind of become an independent investor for specific groups of people...

This sounds weird... Or possible discriminatory?  And I don't know if I can get into any kind of hot water doing this, like legally, which is probably why I will just stick with publicly traded stocks and bonds and REITS and all that good stuff...

But I'm just curiously wondering, can I become an private investor for like... Let's say women entrepreneurs who are seeking capital for their business, you know?

 

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Like there's that meetup group.  I randomly stumbled upon that... And was just like... Hmmm... You know... I wonder.

Again, maybe that's not allowed.

But, I'd love to kind of gear my resources toward places where resources generally aren't as much geared.

Like, there's still a wage gap between men and women, where women are generally paid less on average... So, if I gear my resources that I have at my disposal predominantly in that direction... Help women entrepreneurs.  Again, maybe that's illegal or something, but it's my own personal wealth, so I don't know if that same equal opportunity type lender rules would apply to an independent investor.  I feel like people with crazy amounts of money invest in very specific things all the time depending on their views in life.  I feel like I read news articles all the time about that.

I don't know, I'm just brainstorming here.

What I do know is that I want to eventually branch out my investments from traditional stocks and bonds and what not.

Maybe I could be a passive investor that specializes in investing in specific types of businesses.

Who knows.

I mean, I feel like most business owners don't need investors.  They already have what they need, hence, being in business.  Plus there's a million banks chomping at the bit to lend money out left and right,  So who am I?

I guess eventually the right thing will come along,  for now I just keep the course with my dividend investment plan of generating a solid income portfolio that has growing dividends.

Well, that's the extent of my musings for the evening.  Time to go to bed.

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5Apr/180

Tickets! Get Your Tickets!

SO, we're officially rolling out the ticketing system at work. We've been using it for a little while now. It's great.

Why is it so great? Because if you don't measure something, you can't manage it.

Up until now the phrase people always used was "Emailing Helpdesk is a bit like a blackhole..."

It's terribly true.

Without any kind of tracking system, for example for packages... How would you know where your order is?  You placed the order... But where is it?  When is it being delivered?

I mean, that's just the start, there's so much more.

Some things that can be done when you start tracking things is... You can now tell how much resources you really need.

Here's an example... Before this ticketing system, I tracked everything in my Outlook tasks.  What was happening?  The number of open tasks just kept going up.

At the beginning of each month, I'd take a tally, and it would keep going up...

Now, those tasks are all going into the helpdesk software... Guess what's happening to the number of open tasks week by week?

That's right.  It's been steadily going up...

It's simple mathematics... The number of new requests, minus the number of requests closed.

In and out.

It's the same with money.  If you make more money than you spend, your savings goes up.  If you make less money than you spend... Your savings goes down.

I've been trying to get everyone to understand that the reason why our task number seems to be level is because we just have people who stop asking for help and find a workaround to their problem.  The problem was never solved... The ticket just kind of... Went into limbo, AKA the blackhole.

I've never liked it.

I feel as though we need another person on our team... It's similar to lines at a grocery store... When there are lots of people waiting in line, you gotta open another check out.

Right now, tickets come in faster than we can resolve them, it's been like that for years.

But we basically just try to prioritize and fix the immediate needs, and then let the others simmer.

One thing that people see now is there ticket number.  So, just by counting numbers up, or asking among coworkers... What ticket number are you?  You can get a general sense of volume.  If the last time you put in a ticket a month ago you were ticket number 100 and today you put in a ticket and you are number 200... That's 100 tickets in a month.

What I did though yesterday is, I put the number of open tickets at end of day on the dry erase board.  So that we can see our real number of open requests.

Why?  Well, because the dry erase board is directly located in front of the door at the back of our office.  SO when people come to our door, they see the board and see the number of requests.

Again why?

Because now, when someone comes to the door and they are super angry and want help immediately, they will see that number directly behind us in a big outlined box...

Hey, don't get me wrong, every request is important... But the reason you might not have been helped isn't because we don't like you or your request was purposely passed over...

It's because, just like you, there are so many other people who also need help, and the wording every person uses is... ASAP.

If you only have a handful of people and you have thousands of people who could possibly ask for help, it's mathematics... You can only help so many people so quickly.... Beyond that, you have to prioritize who gets help faster and who gets help slower.

If you have 100 patients coming into a hospital and only 2 or 3 doctors...

You take the worst cases first.

We'll still do that.  But instead of people waiting and wondering why we haven't gotten to them yet, they can now log in and check the status, and they can look at notes we've made...

In addition, knowing the open request number will hopefully help us to be motivated too... Although we're already pretty motivated, so perhaps, as the number climbs, it will help us to prove that we need to hire another person for the team.

There is an alternative to hiring another person though...

So, another use for the ticketing system is to be able to generate reports that can be analyzed.  Then, we can see on a more macro level what kind of requests happen over and over again.

If there's a way to minimize or reduce the repetitive requests, that can reduce the number of tickets coming in... and then we wouldn't need another hand on deck.

The phrase here is to work smarter, not harder.

For example, let's say people come to us a lot to get their gaming devices on our network... Which people do.  Right now, if you want to connect an Xbox you have to submit a MAC address to us, and we manually put it into a MAC filtered list for the wireless network.

So, one thing we could see from the tickets is the number of monthly or per semester requests that people are submitting the same request over and over again... I want my gaming console on the gaming network.

Instead... We can purchase some kind of software that lets the students self manage that.  They can log in, use their email address, type in the MAC address and add it to their list of devices.  They can add and delete devices as they please, without needing to contact helpdesk to do this.

This is a much better way to manage this, and it reduces the ticket load coming in.

Hire another person?  Or buy a small piece of software that reduces the manual labor.

I've mentioned this many times before and it's been nodded at, but nothing came of it.

But, as the months go by, we can spin out reports and see what tickets and questions are asked most often, and is there a way to reduce those questions.  That's what I'm really interested in, efficiency gains.  Making the day to day operations smoother.

It will be interesting to see that.

It will also be interesting to see what exactly happens as the requests coming in and now being officially tracked as every request has a specific ticket number and can no longer fall through the cracks.

With my previous system, I would follow up with people sometimes more than a year later, and they would still say the issue was unresolved.  I would then mention this to people, and they would respond "If it were really still a problem, that person would have emailed helpdesk again".

That's one way of doing it, the squeaky wheel gets the grease type of method... Personally, I think every request should be tagged and numbered and followed up with until there is confirmation that the issue is resolved.

Relying on the person to email multiple times if a request does fall through the "blackhole"... Is not a good way to manage things in my own personal opinion.

For example, we had students who had reported suboptimal wireless coverage in their residence halls.

They would report it, and for a good amount we could fix it by maybe adding additional access points, or changing the operating channels to account for interference...

But for a few students, they would report it... It wouldn't be addressed, and they would seek out alternative solutions...

One solution is to bring in their own router from home.  This now adds to the interference, and while it fixes the issue for the student, it adds channel noise and makes conditions worse for other students in nearby rooms.

Another solution?  They transfer.

So, a student who had asked to have the wireless signal in their room fixed... Didn't receive assistance from our department... And because the ticket was never tracked and followed up with, and was assume, "If they still had a problem, they would contact us..."

Well, they never contacted us... But it wasn't because the problem was resolved... It's because they transferred to another school.

I'm hoping that we can be more hardline on addressing these types of things instead of just saying "Hey, there's only so much we can do".

I don't like excuses in the workplace.  I like solutions.  If things aren't working the way they currently are, get smart and figure out better solutions to solve the problems...

But always... ALWAYS... Solve the problem.  Don't just assume it was solved because the person stopped responding.

After all you know what happens when you assume?

As my first boss at my first job said to me on the first day... "When you assume, you make an ass out of U and ME."

Track it, make reports, show the data... Discuss the data, analyze the data, interpret the data, come up with better solutions, then implement the new solutions, then take in new data... and analyses that new data, and then implement further changes based on that... And repeat.

The keyword there is data... So you need ticketing software to collect the data in order to review and make good data driven decisions based on that data that you've analyzed.

Otherwise?  You assume the problem is no longer an issue, think everything is great wonderful and grand, when the reality is the person just decided to leave your organization and go to another one where they will get the service they request instead of just having their request end up in a blackhole.

 

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22Mar/180

More or Less

Today the stock markets fell... It's a shit show if you ask me... hey, I didn't vote for him.

Anyway... The investments which I have control over, real quick, I have no control over my trust investments, so I just have to trust the bank and let that portfolio manager do his job.

My goal anyway, has always been to grow my own portfolio, which I do have control over, beyond the trust portfolio, so I'm just using that as a benchmark for comparison.

Today, while the markets did fall and the S and P 500 was down 2.5 or so percentage points... My own personal portfolio, which I have control over, was only down .5 percent.

Plus I raked in 2 dividend checks.

Here's the thing that gives me the advantage... I have no boss when it comes to investing.  Most money managers have bosses, either they have people above them in the organization who are pushing them, or they have clients...

For my portfolio?  I'm my own boss, as I'm the person in charge.  I do all the analysis, I do all the buying and selling, and I'm the only client... Since I'm investing all the money, and the only person who's money it is, I can be MUCH more patient with my investments... I'm a one man band, just like the way I make music... I'm the writer, producer, studio musician, engineer... The 10 dollars I made the other day from music streams is actually WAY more money because I have basically no costs.

If you're in a band and you are signed to a major label, and you have a manger, and a PR person, and a digital marketing firm, and studio recording engineers, and the list goes on and on... All those people gotta get paid.

Even if my music isn't nearly as good as professional recording... and I make 10 bucks, my costs weren't nearly what professional musicians are.  What's the difference between me making 10 bucks, and having no costs... Versus a pro musician making a million and 10 dollars, but having a million dollars in costs.

Profit is still 10 bucks.

:)

It's like, if you get a job that is an hour commute and you are making 3 grand more a year when you take that job over your old job that was down the street... Gas, time, car maintenance... Etc. etc.

You're spending that money you made.

It's a net zero gain. might as well have stayed where you were.

Anyway, the same can be said about investing... All these people take more risks... I lost .5 percent today, general money managers lost 2.5 percent.

And on top of that, most professional managers take a fee.  I know my trust fee is taking 1.25 percent to manage the trust.

That means, even if the trust manager is better than me by 1.25 percent, we still have the same batting average.

It's Spring, so, might as well use a baseball sports metaphor.

That 1.25 percent compounds year over year... Making it that I don't have to be nearly as good as the money manager to beat the returns.

Which is part of what I do, my last actual trade was in January when I boosted a position in one of my REITS to increase the monthly income to boost my cash.

Which is another thing I'm doing... I'm holding more cash.  Most people are all in... But.. I don't buy the hype.

I started trading back in 2006... I watched things go crazy town.

So anyway, basically the way I look at things is, you can do a lot of work, to make a lot more... But have higher costs...

This is the NYC/LA/Miami mentality... You work like crazy to afford all this super fantastic lifestyle....

Or, you can work less, and do less, and still reap the same earnings per share.

Personally, I don't understand the glitz and glam.  If you close your eyes and it tastes the same... What's the difference?

Why do all that extra work?

If you're going to make 10 dollars in profit either way, why have a million and 10 dollars in sales if your costs are going to be a million...

Just have 20 bucks in sales, and spent 10 bucks to make that 20.

You still made 10 bucks.

You're doing way more work, to still make less.

As the saying goes... Sometimes, less is more.

 

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21Mar/180

I Don’t Need To Be Discovered

I realized today, I don't ever need to be discovered.

A lot of people go out into the music biz, or, any career really... Looking for a "lucky break".

I don't ever need that.

Today I got another deposit from music streams.  I also got another dividend into my investing portfolio.

See, here's the thing... The way most fame works is... The person starts doing whatever it is they are doing...

Small changes happen...

Then they are catapulted into the craziness that is "big time".

This can happy for any career really.  Someone applies for a job that is WAY more responsibility than what they were doing previously.

That idea of making it... It's all really just a gap promotion... it just depends on how big the gap is...

For most musicians, actors, whatever... you hear that classic story that they were one dollar away from having to call it quits... they were completely broke...

And then... Big time hits.

My thing is, I don't think it has to be like that.

My thing is... Why not just start at basecamp and climb, slowly, and steadily.

Why try to jump from the bottom of the mountain to the top?  Who has legs that long?

Maybe a handful of people... But the thing is you can get just as far just going slow and steady.

Most people are just too impatient.  They want it all now.

If you are able to make that happen, more power to you.  That's great!  But, the thing is, for most people, success doesn't happen.  And if it does, it's mediocre at best.  Or, you end up with a lot of bad blood.  Or, you end up falling back down from the top of that mountain.

Why risk all that?

So, my method of success is pretty simple... Build something slow and steady that flows on its own.

Right now, I have about 10 ish songs out there in the world.  I get a small amount of plays... It's slow and steady.

The thing is, it's just out there in the world, for people to find.  And, I'll just continue to upload more songs... Let people find them.  Let them be curious.  Let them say, who the heck is this guy?  He's not famous, he doesn't play anywhere live, he's not signed to any label...

Good.

That's what I like.

Right now, I get plays in France... But I also still wake up and go to my 9-5 job.

I don't have to worry about if my next song will flip, or flop... I won't have to worry about if my book will flip or flop...

I can make what I want, at the pace I want to make it... and there's no stress to worry about contracts or managers or labels.

Today I got a dividend in addition to a payment from music streams... Sure, it's not much now... But, it doesn't have to be.  I also went to work.

And I'll be getting a paycheck in about a week.

I also am not spending all of that paycheck.

I stay in a lot, or just do things that don't cost much money.  I go on coffee first dates... and never hear back from her.

I go to the gym.

I watch Netflix movies...

I don't really spent much money.

I then take the extra money that I didn't spend on bills and living expenses and put that into buying more shares in dividend income stocks.

I also use that money to pay for credits to upload new songs.

The thing I'm most focused on really are the dividend deposits rolling in.  I look at the 90 day deposit history and compare that number to the same number 12 months previous... 24 months previous.... 36 months previous.

My only goal is to keep that number going up.

As that number goes up, and my expenses stay flat...

I can then invest more of that free cashflow either into music related expenses, or book writing related expenses... Or, I can invest it into more shares of dividend producing stocks.

This in turn boosts that income number.

With this method, I don't ever have to make it... I can just keep making what I want, and do things how I want without ever having to be thrown into some overnight success category where I was at the bottom of the mountain the day before, and then the next day, my life is turned upside down.

Slow and steady...

And the thing is, that salary isn't going anywhere... Now that I've started that dividend income salary, it just keeps rolling in.

I've had some companies cut their dividends, or slash them... I've had some companies go bankrupt...

That's why I don't invest in any one investment more than once.  I diversify out horizontally.

I buy a set amount in any one stock, and never buy any more than that.

It probably sounds like a terrible idea to most money managers... but that's because most money managers aren't interested in the income... They want valuations... Why?  It all comes back to the same thing that I started with... They are trying to "make it".

It's impressive to take x number of dollars and double the value of the account.

It's not impressive to take x number of dollars, and keep the value of that account the same, but double the cash income coming off that investment every year, or 6 months...

The problem is, and I know this, because this is how my trust management fees are, is that they charge a percentage of the account value... If they charge 1 percent of x dollars, they get 1 percent of x dollars... if they grow that money to x 2 or x 3 or x 4...

They get to charge 1 percent of x 4, or 4 times the original 1 percent.

With my investments, I don't have anyone to answer to but myself.

All I care about is that cashflow every month coming in to cover expenses.

The more cashflow that comes in, the more I can buy and do...

I can use that money to "make it".

Isn't getting discovered basically getting a salary to then use to do the things that discovered people do?

If you can create the salary in a different way...

You discover yourself.

And this is why I don't ever have to get discovered.

I'm slowly discovering myself.  It's the same end result, but... You know, without all those strings attached.

Discovering yourself is a stringless experience.

When you get discovered... There's all sorts of strings from the person or group, or organization that discovered you.

And nobody likes strings... Unless you're a cat.  I guess cats like strings.  But I'm not a cat.  So... I'll just discover myself... Slow and steady.

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19Mar/180

5 Year Plan

So, right now, most of the things in my life, I don't really want in my life...

Such is life.

All the shit... None of the shine.

5 years from now I'll be 40, and I'll get another 50k from my trust... It's just going to go to add to my dividend salary, so I'll buy another 50k in dividend producing income.

My brother and sister are like... "We're going to Disney World!"

This is why we're different people.

To me, it's capital to be used to make investments... to them, it's spending money.

I look at money in a different way... I see it as investment capital and something to use to create and make... Most other people are just like... Let's go shopping!

Anyway...

My plan is to continue to, one by one, get rid of all these little things in my life that I don't want.

5 years from now, I'm pretty certain a at least one, or possibly two of these 4 pets I currently have, will no longer be taking up time in my day.

Sure, they are cute, but... They are just a lot of work.  I promised my mom I would take care of them, so... I'll let them live out their days.

My basic plan is to just say no to the stuff I don't want, and yes to the stuff I do... What do I want?  More time to make music... More income... More dividend stocks.

What don't I want?

Basically everything I currently have.

I'd love to travel more... I'd love to have less responsibilities.

I'd love to sleep in more...

Cats don't let you sleep in.

Eventually I'll sell this house... I'll take all that money and put it into dividend producing stocks, that will just keep boosting my income.

I just want more income.  Less stuff, more flow of money...

More music.

Music and travel and income.

I go out too much.  I need to stay in more... I need more leftover capital at the end of each pay cycle to then buy more stocks.

Everyone's saving for their next vacation... I'm saving to boost my income from dividends.  The faster that goes up, and the less I spend, the more I can buy even more shares in dividend stocks and the more I can boost my dividends income...

Feedback loop.

The faster you make money the faster you can make money even faster.

And then, all my expenses will be paid for and I can stay in and work on music and books full time.

That was my dream since day one.

Now, of course no matter what on my 50th birthday I get my trust... And that's a lot more money that can just all be plowed into dividend income.

But anyway, here I am at home... Trying to spend less money.... and work on some music more.  I do have to run out to the store because it's apparently supposed to snow again...

So, I need to get supplies and what not.

But the more I stay in too the more I can sort and throw out and lighten my burden load.

Too many responsibilities.

Too much junk around this house.

The only thing I want more of is dividend producing stocks, and musical instruments.

But not too many instruments, I only need enough to get what I want done.

Anyway, so my 5 year plan is to keep pushing things in the direction that I want them, and steering away from the direction I don't.

I'm building up my second salary in the form of dividends.  And I'll just keep plowing more money into shares in dividend stocks that pay even more dividends... How much is enough you ask?

One can never have enough.

That's what I say.

Ideally, I'd like to get it it to the point where I'm spending only half of the money coming in and covering all my expenses, then the other half is going back into build up even more capital.

Anyway, we'll see... Just have to keep plugging away.  I'll get there one day.

But for now, it's a life full of trudging through the crap.

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18Mar/180

Resident Assistance

Last night I was at this annual charity even thing for a coworker.  I go every year.  They have one in the Fall and one this time of the year.

It was alright.  My only issue with it is that EVERYONE is married, or has some kind of significant other...

And then there's me... Always single.

But other than that, it was alright.  Drank beer, ate food, played the raffle stuff, didn't win... But to be honest, I don't ever need to win anything ever again in my life... I've already won... When you have a trust fund, you don't need to ever win anything else.  That's just kind of a given.

Nobody with a trust ever says... "I'm SOOO upset I didn't win that".  You already won.

Anyway, so... Yeah, the event... It's put on by the resident assistant director at work...

The resident assistant theme is a weird one with me... All my exes were RAs.  I don't know why.  Just seems to be a thing.

So the event is basically almost setup like a wedding is... You walk in, there's tables, people sit at tables... There's a DJ, there's the bar... It's in a firehouse banquet room.

There's speeches made... And then the Cupid Shuffle comes on and people dance.

While I was waiting in the beer line, I kind of started talking to this one girl behind me... We just chatted some.  But then I was off in another direction.

The next time I saw her we were dancing on the dance floor to the cupid shuffle...

Then off in another direction.

Then the next time I saw her... She was running with a rescue bag of some sort that she had retrieved from the firehouse next to the banquet hall.

I think I was just taken aback because, it didn't seem like the same person who I was talking with in the beer line.  She went from sort of... This random stranger to... Whoa, wait, what?

I guess you're expecting that when people act professional, they wear the getup.  They wear the proper clothing, the matching uniform to that job or task...

So, to see someone change their personality or demeanor, without changing their attire... I don't know, it's just kind of jarring I suppose.

But also sort of awe inspiring.

After the event there was a middle aged gentleman who was having either a cardiac event, or a second medical event related to an event he'd had a month before.

I wasn't really sure, and they didn't really want us to all stay and be onlookers.  It wouldn't have helped the situation anyway.

But just kind of watching her, I was just like... there's someone that doesn't take a break or clock out from their career.

If the duty calls, they are there...

That's kind of the resident assistant type of personality, which is like, they might not actually be required to be on duty, but they always are anyway.

I feel like there's just something attractive about that characteristic.

Well anyway, if I ever see her again at a future event, I'll just be sure to point out how I thought she should be recognized for what she did.

I just think when people do good samaritan type of things, they should be recognized for it.  I mean, sure some people don't care... But, I don't know, if you do a good thing, I think a thanks is in order.

I guess that's just my view.

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16Mar/180

Tickets!

SO, we've finally started using a new ticketing system at work.

I love it.

It's SOOOOOO awesome.  I love metrics and tracking things... And ticket numbers.

Here's my thing.  For years now, we never had a tracking system.  I've been using my own personal rudimentary ticketing system to track things.  It was just outlook tasks, and an autohotkey script.  It was trash.

We recently hired a new guy at my job as a new position, a net admin/sys admin.... Oh gosh, he's AWESOME.... Like, all the projects we've had on our list to get done for years... He's already started working his way through some of them.

And he just cuts through them like a knife through butter.

The thing is, he's just a super smart guy, and he's super nice too.  I like working with him a lot...

One thing he did, is he has a dry erase board in his office, and he has like notes and lists on the board in a project management based layout.

I love that crap.  It's just so awesome.

Oh and we've started having 2 meetings a week... Also great.  It's helpful to have the meetings.

Anyway, so one of the tasks this new guy did was help setup this ticketing system.  Now we're tracking everything using a ticket numbering system.  Which I've wanted for years.

I love the idea too that we'll be able to show reports and trends, we can see repeat issues, look at things in a more fundamental way and figure out how to prevent problems in the first place.

We can hopefully respond better and be more informed.  I like that the system shows history for people who have submitted before, so you can see if someone just keeps having the same issues over and over again.

We can build a knowledge base... It's just really good stuff.

We can also assign tickets to one another... and see who has what ticket.

It's just so much more organized.  I hate when things aren't organized and are chaotic.  I like when there's processes and procedures in place and things are done according to the processes.

This guy is all about designing and implementing things better... He came from a corporate environment, so he kind of gives a different perspective.

One of the best phrases that was said in one of the new weekly meetings by a different guy, not the new guy, but one of the people who has worked with us at the college for over 10 years is "Accounting is accounting.... Best practices are best practices... An accounting department is run the same at every organization, so should an IT department".  I agree.

This other guy (again, not the new guy)  is kind of part of our IT team now too.  He didn't really used to be... But now through some restructuring he was kind of thrown into IT off of administrative software...  I've known him since the first day I started working at the college... He's pretty good peeps.

His ideas are good too... He basically interacts with other colleges a lot because he runs our portal software so he talks to all these other colleges and the other portal admins, so he's along the line of thought that is... There isn't a "personalized" way to do stuff.  I agree.  It's universal.  Air is air.

An IT department is the same no matter where you work.  Best practices are best practices.  Just like an accounting department is an accounting department.

If you don't have a ticketing system, it's not best practices... You need a ticketing system.

It's not "that's just the way we do things around here..."

Instead... It's just, wrong.  Basically.  It wasn't that we were doing things all along with "our own flair"...

No.

We were just doing them wrong.  All along.

Plain and simple.

And I basically was just like.... Oh my god FINALLY someone else agrees with what I've been TRYING to say for YEARS...

But no one would listen to me.

Sigh.

No one ever listens to me really... it's okay I'm used to it.

Haha.

Anyway, I don't have to be an unheard voice anymore... There's no subjective way to run a helpdesk.

There are global IT standards and best practices.

We're brining in this IT auditing company too to go around and look at every part of how we do things....

Again... FINALLY.

Accounting is accounting...

Anyway I love tickets.

Here's why.... People can basically say anything they want.

So, I mean, someone can state any fact.

With a ticketing system, we can then say... Okay hold on, let me go look that up.

SO, someone could say... "I have had this same problem with my PC 10 times in the last year!"

We've had people say stuff like this.

Before, we couldn't really say much because we never tracked anything... So, we just have to kind of react to that person without any solid data driven based decision.

It's a terrible way to work.

Now, we can say, okay, let's look at your ticket history.

And now you can say... "According to this, you had 2 requests... and one wasn't related to your PC at all..."

Accounting is accounting.

It's all really coming out of the portal systems.  So, the guy who we now have within IT has some really fancy reporting where he can look up things like vendor billing...

Someone the other day actually pointed a bill at us and said... "You guys have always paid this..."

The portal admin was just like... Let's have a look!

He made a report, and... We never paid it.  It had always been paid by someone else.

Data.  Facts.

There's no "personalized way"...

Track it.  Run reports.

Show people that the statement they made is either correct, or incorrect.

Accounting doesn't lie.  People do.  I have no time for people who don't cite their statements with a source.

Again, accounting doesn't lie.

Neither does a ticketing system.

Anyways, so it's amazing.  I look forward to more of this... My only hope is that we keep going in this direction.  I hope that we don't start to go back to how things were before where it was just like... everyone kind of running around not knowing what the left hand or the right hand are doing...

HOPEFULLY, it's a change that sticks around for a while...

Everything gets entered in the ticketing system.  Everything gets tracked.

Nothing is done "on the side".

It's not a "personalized touch"... It's just wrong.  There's a right way to do IT, and a wrong way... There's no, "this is just how we do things around here".

It all starts with a ticketing system and tracking every request that comes in and logging it all, and then running reports to analyze the reports.

Anyway, so I'm excited!

DATA DRIVEN DECISIONS!  TICKET HISTORIES!  REPORTING!

Yes.  Doing things in an industry standard way.

Oh, back to the new guy real quick... I'm also learning a LOT of new things from this new guy... He's just an all around really knowledgeable guy and he's also really cool to be around.  He's very empirical.

Like, he won't say... "I hate that".  He leaves his personal opinions at home.

He just states facts.  I love that.

As far as I'm concerned he was a solid hire.

Especially now that the new ticketing system is all setup.

I think one of the VPs at the college had the best wording the other day when she was commenting on the ticketing software... "You're finally coming into the 21st century".

I was just like... "Yes we are.  Yes we are."

What's sad about it is when I worked helpdesk when I was a student in college, we had ticket tracking software... at that college...

In 2004.

It's 2018.

Soooo, 14 years later just to get back to where I already was 14 years ago.

But hey, better late than never.

My only fear is that we have some friction and resistance to trying to make things better.

People don't really like change.  So, it's hard when change happens.

Just have to stick with it and show that there are benefits to doing things best practices and industry standard instead of the previous way.

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