Interview: Pledgehammer

Posted by 9 March, 2009 (2) Comment

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How are your goals been going for 2009? I came across a website that I thought would be beneficial for all of the goal oriented people out there. It’s called Pledgehammer. Instead of just setting goals and forgetting about them, you now have the option of putting your money where your mouth is at. We were lucky to have Andrus Purde, the cofounder of Pledgehammer, answer a few questions and tell us about his website.

Can you tell us about yourself?

I am an online marketer by profession, an avid reader, kitesurfer and traveler and a big believer in setting goals. I’m originally from Estonia but currently live and work in London.

Why did you start the website – Pledgehammer? How does it work? Why should people use Pledgehammer?

Pledgehammer, like many other things in this world, was started because of a personal need. I’d been writing down my various goals and resolutions for years but this wasn’t very systematic and I didn’t have a good way to keep track of the goals made in various times. There was no great eureka moment in creating Pledgehammer – myself and two co-founders just worked the original vague idea into its current shape.

How Pledgehammer works is very simple. You make a resolution, for example exercising regularly or taking up a new hobby, choose a deadline and a financial incentive. You can then share it friends and family to increase positive ‘peer pressure’, they can also cheer you on the site. Pledgehammer sends an email upon the deadline and (nicely) asks to donate money to charity if your resolution happened to fail. This way there is some good in failing pledges, too.

Pledgehammer doesn’t make anybody’s resolutions true, people do it themselves. What we provide is a simple way to write your goals down, make them easy-to-share and provide a financial incentive with a charitable touch. All of this will give some extra help that is much needed for sticking to a resolution.

What are some of the more outrageous pledges you’ve seen posted?

Most pledges are what you’d expect them to be from losing weight to paying back credit card debt to learning new languages. But there are indeed some resolutions I can only assume are jokes, like someone resolving to “choose one of my girlfriends”, “not be a dumbass” and “take better care of my tractor” by a certain date.

What future plans do you have for the website? Is either a Facebook or iPhone application in your future?

No man is an island, and the same goes for websites. We’re of course looking to improve usability and add features but perhaps more importantly we need to make Pledgehammer work on the facebooks, twitters, iphones and other platforms of this world.

I see that most of the charities are in the UK. Do you have any plans for charities in North America?

We’re actually looking for more charities in North America to work with. If you work for a charity there please do get in touch by emailing join@pledgehammer.com

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Firstly I’d like to thank everyone that has made pledges so far and wish them good luck in sticking to them. And I’d like to tell anyone that has failed their New Year’s resolution already that it’s never too late to re-do your resolution and get back in the saddle. Why not start again today?

Again, I want to thank Andrus for his time. In the spirit of goal setting and giving to a charity, I’ve signed up to make a pledge at Pledgehammer.

I will run a marathon by the end of this year or I am giving $100 to Cancer Research UK. Check out my pledge here!

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Categories : Interview,Personal Development Tags : , ,

Goals for 2009

Posted by 5 January, 2009 (13) Comment

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Last Thursday I did a blog post going over my goals and my self-assessment. It’s 2009 and I’m excited about all of the great things going on this year. Let’s take a look at my goals for this year. I’d love to hear about your goals for 2009!

1. Run a marathon this year – I had the goal of finishing a half-marathon last year and that did not quite happen, but we are signed up and training for a half-marathon that we will run February 28th.

2. Complete a sprint triathlon event – I’ve never done any sort of triathlon event so this could get very interesting. I can swim, but I would not consider myself to be a strong swimmer. I have a lot of difficulty with my breathing technique.

3. Earn $10,000 through entrepreneurial endeavors – I am defining this income as income through a side business. As of now, those three avenues could be through real estate transactions, ad revenue through my blog, or through Forex trading. I am not limiting what avenues I can or will make money in, but I suspect that most of it will come from those three vehicles.

4. Earn $1,000 in monthly cash flow by the end of the year – I would rank this as the most difficult or second most difficult goal. I anticipate this cash flow to come from rental properties. At $1,000 in monthly cash flow, that would require us to acquire four properties which would be quite a bit for beginners.

5. Limit checking personal and blog related e-mail to 3 times per day – I am constantly checking my e-mail. I feel I spend a lot more time on there than I probably should.

6. Start a pot luck dinner group – I’m pretty excited about starting this group. My wife and I both would like to be more social and we think this would help us to accomplish this.

7. Read 25 book this year – I ended up finishing 11 books last year and I’d really like to step that up in a big way this year so I doubled my goal.

8. Save $15,000 for this year – I think this is very doable. This includes maxing out our Roth IRA’s at $2,000 per account.

9. Continue posting 3 times per week – I currently write two articles and a “Cool Links” feature that highlights great stories from around the web. I was able to sustain that for more than 6 months so I have no doubt I’ll be able to continue that through 2009.

10. Join the Toastmasters – I have always been afraid of public speaking. My stomach gets into knots and I get extremely nervous. I want to face my fear and conquer it.

11. Be more social – I like to be around people, but I feel like I don’t socialize as much as I should.

12. Have a party this year – We did not get around to having a party so we will definitely make that a priority this year.

13. Learn how to cook and be more conscious about our eating habits – I have my standard lasagna dish, but outside of that, I don’t really have any dishes that I cook on a regular basis. I’d like to broaden my horizon as well as put an emphasis on a healthier diet.

Photo by: Wili Hybrid

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Categories : Personal Development Tags : ,

Goals from 2008 – How Did I Do?

Posted by 1 January, 2009 (9) Comment

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Here are my goals for 2008. Let’s see how I did.

1. Tell my wife I love her every day.

My wife has gave me the “thumbs up” for this goal.

2. Fully fund our IRA’s.

We fully funded both IRA accounts. There were actually fully funded as of late October. I’ve since been placing half of the amount that did go into our Roth IRA’s into an ING Direct savings account instead. The other half I left alone because we are still trying to smooth our budget out.

3. Read 1 book per month.

This year I’ve read Your Money or Your Life, Getting a Life, The Bitch in the House, Rental Houses for the Successful Small Investor, Fix’em Up, Rent’em Out, The Magic of Thinking BIG, Letting Go of Your Bananas, The Millionaire Next Door, All Marketer’s are Liars, The 4 Hour Work Week, and The How of Happiness. I didn’t quite make the 1 book a month goal, but I was pretty close with 11 books. I may have to bump this goal up for next year. One issue I had with this goal is that it takes me so long to get through a book since I take a lot of notes all through out the book. I think I may tone my note taking down a bit.

4. Keep posting consistently on this blog through the end of the year.

I am very proud to say that I have completed this goal.

5. Pay off the car and two smaller student loans by the end of the year.

I am happy to report that we do not have a car payment and the smaller student loans are PAID! We only have one larger student loan in addition to our mortgage.

6. Put $10,000 more into our Zecco account by the end of the year.

We had a shift in plans in regard to this goal. We did not place the money in our Zecco account because we thought it would be going elsewhere such as into an investment property. We were not able to quite save $10,000, but we were able to sock away approximately $6000 in additional to maxing out our two Roth IRA accounts.

7. Complete a half marathon by the end of the year.

We have signed up to run in the Fort Worth marathon February 28th 2009 so we didn’t quite make it for 2008. Since we are running in a half marathon so early in 2009, I’m going to make it my goal to run a full marathon by the end of 2009. The farthest I’ve run is about 6 miles to date so I have quite a ways to go, but it’s certainly within reach.

8. Purchase an investment property.

We put in approximately 50 offers or more this year. I had to admit that I was disappointed by our results. I think that a lot of my offers were much lower than the accepted offers. This is an instance where we need to step back, find a person that is currently where we want to be, and do what they do. There is no reason why we should try and reinvent the wheel.

9. Complete a real estate transaction through our direct marketing.

We may have actually completed this goal. I am still waiting to see if this transaction has been completed. If it is the case, I think we will take the consulting fee on the contract instead of partnering with a more experienced real estate investor as this would be a subject 2 transaction.

10. Market to 50 probate records per month.

I did not keep up with this and I’m not sure it’s worth the reward. My wife and I need to put together a plan for our real estate investing business. To be quite honest, I think we both feel lost in terms of our direction with that business.

11. Starting in July, distribute door hangers once per month.

I designed and ordered the flyers, but they are still sitting next to me in a box. Again, my wife and I need to design a plan for how we are going to enter into the real estate investing game.

12. Have a party by the end of the year.

We did not have a party by the end of the year. This will need to happen next year!

13. This is not a SMART(specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goal, but I want to make sure I hang out with Jason, Matt, Charlie, Jesse and Howard.

I have not hung out with many of these people as much as I’d like to, but I am happy that my wife and I have increased our effort towards our friendships in general. For instance, we joined a Kick Ball league this past fall and were able to meet a lot of people through that team. We plan to start a pot luck dinner group for 2009 to strengthen our current friendships and make new friends in the process.

14. Join the Free Mason organization.

I did not join the Free Mason organization. I went to breakfast with one of the members at the central Mason temple, but I placed it on the back burner after that breakfast. I think it’s a fine organization. The big question mark in my mind with the organization was the time commitment required. I’m really trying not to overload myself. I want to make sure I enjoy the activities I am in and that I have plenty of time for them.

What do you think of my goals? What were some of your goals for 2008 that you completed?

Photo by: Wili Hybrid

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Categories : Personal Development Tags :

Three Essentials for a Banana Free Living

Posted by 10 November, 2008 (6) Comment

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I’m currently reading Letting Go of Your Bananas. Bananas in this instance, are the positive and negative things in your life. Like life, there are good bananas and rotten bananas. This book aims to help you become more successful by getting rid of everything rotten in your life.

The first piece of advice is to:

1. Maintain a willingness to be coached

I think this holds true in all facets of life. Of the successful people I know, many of them have mentors (similar to a coach). If someone isn’t willing to take the advice of others and learn from other people’s successes and failures, they may find it difficult to obtain the type of success they desire. I think in general, the intent of this statement is for individuals to keep an open mind and be willing to learn from others.

2. Develop a consistently powerful work ethic

Nothing is going to come easy. If you want something, you are going to have to work for it. Michael Jordan didn’t become the best basketball player of all time overnight. He had to work for it. On the other hand, you don’t want to end up on the extreme other side of the scale where you are putting your health at risk as has been the case in Japan as reported by the Washington Post. Zen Habits has a great post about Balance Between Life and Work.

3. Always be crystal clear about the direction of your life

If you want to know where you are going in life, you need goals. Goals are great, but they need to be manageable or else you’ll get frustrated and quit. Steve Pavlina has a great post on How to Set Goals You Will Actually Achieve. One thing I have done to help me achieve my goals is to start a blog. Here are My Goals for the Remainder of 2008. There are a few reasons why I started a blog to help achieve my goals.

1. I want you, the reader, to help keep me accountable. I don’t want to look like a douche bag for not completing at least most of my goals. I’ll admit though that most of my goals for this year focus on being consistent. In my opinion, that’s probably my biggest problem.

2. My goals are written down on my blog. I look at them from just about anywhere in the world and I don’t have the opportunity to lose another piece of paper :).

3. My blog helps me with my biggest problem, consistency. There have been a few night where I have really not felt like putting up a post. The recent work travel has really limited my time spent at home where I usually type up my post. However, I have consistently posted 3 times per week (2 posts and 1 Cool Links of the Week) since June so I am very happy about that.

Photo by Pamela Heywood

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Categories : Personal Development Tags : ,

6.1 Key Steps to Success

Posted by 15 September, 2008 (3) Comment

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Photo by Chichacha

1. Believe in Yourself

You have to believe in yourself and your ability to be successful. If you don’t believe in yourself, you are going to have a difficult time visualizing being successful. If you don’t believe in yourself, how is anyone supposed to believe in you? If you don’t believe in yourself, I think you are going to have a difficult time convincing a bank to support your business. Believe in yourself! Visualize your success!

2. Set Goals

Setting goals is like creating a map. If you don’t have a map, how do you know where you are going? You need to set yearly goals as well as 5 year, 10 year, and life goals. It’s great to have lofty goals, but you also have to be practical and allow yourself some successes. I know I’ve had a big problem with lofty goals and then being discouraged when none of my goals were being met. For instance, for 2008 I’ve set 14 goals for the rest of this year. [Goals for the Remainder of 2008] Most of the goals have to do with being consistent. In my opinion, consistency is one of the biggest differences between people that are successful and those who are not. Successful people set goals and work consistently toward them. What sort of goals are you going to set? Ideally, goals should make you feel good once they are accomplished. If they aren’t going to make you feel good, chances are you are less likely to complete them. One idea I read about on Millionaire Mommy Next Door is the concept of a Treasure Map. The idea is to put together a collage of things that make you happy. You should put the “Treasure Map” in a place where you’ll see it often. This is a great reminder to stay focused on your goals so you will one day be able to reap the rewards of your hard work.

3. Develop a System

Make things easy for yourself. You don’t want to be like the guy in the picture below who is struggling. You more than likely already have many struggles in life so don’t add to them! You have to develop a system and you need to stick with it. It needs to be manageable. Remember, it’s important to have some early successes otherwise it’s easy to get discouraged. Also keep your system simple. If your system is complex, it’s going to be much easier for you to want to give up and quit.

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Photo by Randy Son of Robert’s

4. Stop Making Excuses

Excuses are lame. Don’t be lame! People who are successful don’t make excuses. People who are successful define goals, put together a plan to achieve those goals, and they go do it and keep after it until they reach their goal. Remember, take the time to exert effort toward achieving your goals, and stop thinking of all of the reasons why you shouldn’t do something. As Dr. Schwartz would say in “The Magic of Thinking Big”, excuses are something “small thinkers” talk about. Don’t you want to be a “BIG THINKER”?

5. Hold Yourself Accountable

Keeping yourself accountable is pretty difficult. One of my major tools for keeping myself accountable is that I consistently post to my blog. I post twice a week on the same days at the same times. There are a few reasons why I blog, but one of them is that I post my goals on my blog. I don’t have a ton of readers, but the few I do have keep me accountable. I don’t want to have to post an article about how I did not achieve my goals. I would feel badly that I not only let myself down, but I let my readers down. I think it’s easier to deal with disappointing yourself than it is to disappoint others. Some other ways that you can keep yourself accountable to your goals is to ask that your friends and family to keep you in check. You can also search for a Meetup.com group that has members with similar goals. My last suggestion is to find people with similar goals and form a “master mind” group.

6. Tackle the Goals for Early Success

I’ve tried to make sure that I’ve achieved some goals early on. To be honest, most of my goals were geared towards being consistent and keeping to a schedule. As goofy as that may seem, I think inconsistency has been one of the reasons I have not achieved the success I want. For instance, if I post two quality articles per week to my blog, I have no doubt my blog will become more popular. In a different area of my life, I will undoubtedly be able to run a half marathon if I run a few times per week and slowly increase my stamina and distance. It’s really all about being happy. For me, reaching my goals, as easy as they may seem, will not only make me happy, but will give me a sense of accomplishment.

6.1 Create Your Own Luck

A lot of people claim that people are successful because of luck. I don’t buy it and they shouldn’t be selling it. People create their own luck and their own opportunities. I have some friends that are real estate investors that are receiving SERIOUS money by leasing their mineral rights to gas drilling companies. Sure, they are very fortunate that they happen to own the mineral rights to many properties, but they created this luck. They spent a lot of time researching, buying, fixing, and renting the properties. They are certainly reaping the rewards they may or may not have anticipated, but their hard work helped create this luck. Note that I only gave luck one tenth of six bullets!

Categories : Personal Development Tags : ,