Today I have an interview with Kathleen, of various online hustling fame. She is behind Frugal Portland, For Profit Blogging, Stacking Benjamins and several other projects. I am in love with her latest project, and I bet you will be too, called The Remarkable Year, which is currently live on Kickstarter.
Tell us the story of The Remarkable Year.
My to-do lists used to be epic.
I’d roll over all the unfinished to-dos from the week before, and I’d add to them:
- Run ten miles! I didn’t run last week, why do I think I can do ten miles this week?
- Write 10,000 words! Last week, I wrote 5,000 words. Maybe I can double it.
Then, inevitably, the week would end, my workout clothes would still be clean from last week’s laundry, and my writing would be… undone.
I was frustrated.
How am I getting to the end of the week without actually accomplishing anything?
The next week, I thought I’d look at the problem in a different way. I took a blank piece of paper, and every time I did something, I’d write it down.
I grouped things together, and by the end of the week, I loved what I saw.
I was doing things!
The problem wasn’t my ambition, the problem was my to-do list!
I kept it up for a few weeks, and realized… I was onto something.
What if I could create a calendar/planner/goal tracker that kept track of the “to-done list” for the entire year?
That’s how The Remarkable Year was born.
So what does the product look like and do for me?
It’s an 8.5” x 11” hardbound book with a charcoal colored vegan leather cover. It sits on your desk and as you write in it, becomes an heirloom for your family to refer back to. There’s a goal setting section at the beginning with quarterly check-ins to see if you’re still on pace with the goals you set, or if your path has changed.
There are monthly reflection pages with plenty of blank space to fill in however you see fit. The bulk of this, though, are the weekly pages. There are boxes with different headings so you can track everything you did (NOT everything you wanted to do but couldn’t get around to) weekly.
One thing that really stands out to me is the Finances section in the book. I’ve only ever seen planners with budgeting in them, never a place to note down or think about the emotional impacts, which we know is the core of finances. Can you tell us more about how this section came to be and what it’s about?
Sure — I mean, if finance were as easy as math (“spend less than you earn!”), we wouldn’t need the personal finance industry, right? But of course, it’s not as simple as that. I’ve found, in my years of screwing up, then fixing, my finances, that we need to celebrate quick wins. The small things, like, “passed up a new pair of shoes that were adorable but I didn’t need” or the big things, like, “talked to my spouse about our savings plan” are important to track.
Do you have a favourite section or part of the book?
I love food. Love love love love food. So, my favorite section is the “best meals” part, which will serve as a reminder of meals to make again, or as a reminder of where all your disposable income is going. Probably a combination of both, but I’m excited to have that to refer back to when I inevitably get into a cooking rut.
I can really see the value in this for people with side hustles. When it comes to blogging, I feel like my to-do list grows at an exponential rate. Do you find The Remarkable Year pushes you to acknowledge and remember the achievements in your projects?
Yes! There’s a “projects” section so you can track your hustles. That section is great for non-bloggers, too, because the word project can mean different things to different people. That’s where I’d track my word count for the week, if that’s something I’m trying to increase.
It all sounds amazing, how do I get one?
Thanks! Head to bitly.com/remarkableyear to check out the Kickstarter and if you’re so inspired, become a backer.
What steps are involved in launching a Kickstarter? Specific to Kickstarter, as the product development is a whole separate thing!
- A video
- A lot of images
- A great story
Short list, right? But of course, creating the video takes a lot of work (even if you married a guy who went to film school!), crafting the images is no small task, and writing the story in a way that resonates with people takes a lot more work than simply writing a blog post!
Do you think that you would be more efficient at setting up the Kickstarter, if you were to do it again, or is it an iterative process, no matter what?
Maybe? But I think I’d probably only save a few hours if I were to do it again. I think Kickstarter is super awesome, but I don’t think it’s a long-term strategy for business funding, simply because they take 5% of the campaign. It’s a cool way to test an idea without having to use a credit card, but I wouldn’t do it again for this project.
Do you feel like the work is mid-way, or just starting on this project?
It’s funny you should ask, because my sister called when it launched and said, “you must be so excited to be done!” and I thought, no way am I done. Launching the Kickstarter is step zero. Getting to the point where it’s funded is step one. Then comes ordering and shipping and fulfillment and am I really going to do this from my home? and such. So, let’s say “just starting.”
Have you always had entrepreneurial blood?
Yep. My best friend and I had a baseball card shop when we were kids that we set up in his tool shed in his side yard. We made enough money to buy Jolly Ranchers to get more neighborhood kids to come buy baseball cards.
Do you feel like Kickstarter made bringing your projects to fruition easier than it would be otherwise? Would you recommend people consider utilizing it for their projects?
I would! So far, most of my backers have been strangers. That is, people who have come across The Remarkable Year from outside my network of family and friends. I was surprised by this, actually, because I thought the first few backers would be people I knew. But I can get people I know to give me money (or at least I can ask!), and Kickstarter allows me to expand my network.
It’s also awesome for idea validation. Just because I think The Remarkable Year is neat does not in fact make it a viable product. So using Kickstarter helps answer questions like:
- What is the size of the market?
- Is there a market?
and lets me know how many I should order.
If you’re interested in learning more about my project, visit my Kickstarter page: http://bitly.com/remarkableyear. Thanks!