Minimalist Google Buzz: How To Simplify Your Social Networking

February 12th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

9 Ways to Apply Simplicity to Google Buzz

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter or Google Buzz

It’s been a few days since the release of Google Buzz, but it’s already very clear that the way we interact with each other on the Internet has changed on a fundamental level.

As with any time of change, we must tread carefully. Social networking can be a dangerous way to waste time online. If we’re not careful, Google Buzz can become the quickest path towards wasting another hour or two of your day.

Google Buzz is different from Twitter and Facebook in a lot of ways. In some cases it’s a far more complicated platform. In other ways it is easier to use than both of the other services.

Here are a few observations of Google Buzz:

  • You can now network with people near your location.
  • You can feed a lot of information into Google Buzz, such as our Twitter streams and Flickr photos.
  • What you publish to buzz influences search rankings.
  • Buzz stimulates conversations very easily.

We’re becoming the digital curators of our world. Each and every one of us has the power to use this new medium for very powerful actions.

I’ve only been on Google Buzz for a few days, but in that time I’ve started to apply some minimalist rules towards using it. I hope these ideas can help you save time, and also use Google Buzz more effectively.

How to stop Google Buzz from putting Buzz replies in your Inbox.

The first thing any minimalist needs to do is stop Google Buzz from putting replies in your Inbox. We get enough messages as it is, we don’t need more incoming messages.

Visit this tutorial at Lifehacker to learn how to stop Google Buzz from putting messages in your inbox.

Here are 9 ways to simplify your approach to Google Buzz.

1, Follow less than 100 people.

You can’t realistically keep track of information coming from more than 100 people. Don’t try to, you’ll end up spending all day reading Google Buzz, and it will destroy your productivity. Right now there aren’t a lot of people on Google Buzz, but I predict the population will explode over the coming months. If you’re contributing useful information, you will inevitably have more people following you than you can follow back. That’s okay, you can’t keep up with everyone.

2, Only publish useful information.

The first instinct for most people on Google Buzz is to publish as much information is possible. I’m not sure this is a great idea. Make sure you’re only transmitting information that helps people. Just like on Twitter, no one wants to hear you talk about your cat. We’ll quickly see people who concentrate on usefulness start to dominate the follower counts on Google Buzz.

3, Only connect programs which contribute useful information.

It’s tempting to just add all of the applications that you use online. Recognize that if you do this, you will create a lot of noise for the people who follow you. Pick one or two ways to contribute information, ignore the rest. I’ve decided, for now, to exclude Twitter and Flickr from my Google Buzz feed, because they’re just filling it with redundant information that isn’t necessarily important.

4, Comment only when you have something to contribute.

It’s very easy to weigh in with an opinion on Google Buzz. Make sure what you’re saying is useful, helpful, and positive. If you’re just posting a comment like “cool!”, that’s one comment that didn’t need to be written. Be useful, or be quiet. Use the ‘Like’ button instead of saying ‘cool!’.

5, Use the ‘Like’ button early and often.

Vote up the best content as much as you can. In fact, if you’re reading this on Buzz, I encourage you to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ this post right now. This will help other people see it, and it can help more people.

6, Unfollow anyone who isn’t contributing useful information.

Google Buzz automatically follows people who email you often. That’s cool, but make sure you actually want to hear what these people are transmitting on Google Buzz. Unfollow people if you find you don’t want to read what they have to say, this way you won’t have to spend time sorting out their information every time you open Google Buzz.

7, Report spammers.

If someone is annoying you, report them as spam. Keep Google Buzz clean, take out the trash.

8, Keep your buzzes short.

You can publish long articles out to Google Buzz, and some may choose to do this. Recognize that it may be best to keep your material simple and direct. Publish what you need to, but no more than necessary. I suggest keeping extremely long articles on your blog, and use Google Buzz to as a funnel to direct people back to your blog.

9, Turn Google Buzz off once in awhile.

Like email, Twitter, and Facebook, you can’t spend all day buzzing around. Learn to step away from the stream of everyone’s consciousness and live your own life. The time you spend on Google Buzz will vary, depending on what you want to accomplish with the platform. Learn to hit the off switch as much as possible. Have a cup of tea, enjoy your tea. Go out side, take a walk, enjoy your walk.

The world doesn’t revolve around Google Buzz, it’s simply a tool.


How are you using Google Buzz?

You can follow me on Google Buzz here.


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9 Minimalist Steps Towards Passive Income

February 10th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink


I wrote this post a long time ago, before I knew many things. Please note that some of the information isn’t as accurate as some of my later writing, because I hadn’t really figured out how to generate passive income on a larger scale yet. For more accurate and complete information, please check out my e-book Minimalist Business.

Thank you,
Everett Bogue

The minimalist journey to manifesting money in your sleep.

This is the second part in my series on how I started my minimalist business. The first part was about focusing on high-impact income.

Don’t miss anything! Sign up to receive free updates via RSS or Email.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

An interesting thing happened to me overnight on Monday of last week (after I released The Art of Being Minimalist.) This was a fundamental change in my existence, one that I had worked hard for. I didn’t think it would be so gratifying, but it really was a good feeling to have.

I started to make money in my sleep.

Not a huge amount of money. But enough that it feels liberating. From that Monday night forward I’ve completely changed the structure of my income.

I hope sharing how I did it can help you start living this life too.

A brief history of making money.

In the past I made income by exchanging time for money: I’ll write an article for you, you’ll pay me one time X. Your company makes any money over that. Or, for instance, I’ll create a photo-illustration for your company for X-dollars an hour, and you’ll keep any money over that.

After I’m done with the project I get paid a set amount, and then all of the rest of the profits to a company that sees me as disposable.

I imagine many of you are still working under these conditions. I hope this article can help you liberate yourself through a minimalist approach to work.

By taking the time to create a scalable work of art that I can sell on the internet, I’ve tapped into a completely different way of thinking about income. You can do this too.

I’m no longer sitting on the factory line banging out one widget at a time. Instead, I focused on creating a work of art that can lead to a number of returns above and beyond my one action.

Why would you want to start running your own minimalist business?

  • You’re tired of being paid a set daily amount by a corporation in exchange for the higher value you deliver.
  • You want to free yourself to spend more time doing research and other far more interesting things.
  • You want to take extended periods of time away from hard work regularly; changing the monotonous daily M-F 9-5 trek towards death into something far more beautiful.

Let me absolutely clear: you can’t take this path if you’re lazy. I spent months learning the skills, writing the copy, and making the layout/design for The Art of Being Minimalist. I’ve worked at professional blogging outlets since 2005, I studied writing intensely for three years at Journalism school at NYU.

Doing this work wasn’t easy.

In a lot of ways keeping your head down at your day job and plugging your way towards oblivion is a lot easier than it is to start your own project.

If you choose to embark on this path, the rewards can be greater. And who doesn’t want to make money in their sleep?

9 steps toward manifesting passive income.

1, Help people learn.

People want to better themselves. If you focus all of your energy on filling a need by producing something that helps people, you will have a much better chance of success. What do you know how to do that other people don’t? (I know how to live with 100 things, work from anywhere, and be free.) Focus on creating a product around that subject.

2, Focus your free time in the important.

I know Lost is on, I really do (but I’m not watching it.) You’re not getting anything done if you come home from your 9-5 and flip on the TV. If you want freedom, if you want to start generating passive income, you have to work on it. For me, this meant saving, quitting my job, and isolating myself in Portland’s Powell’s books while I read the business section and planned for world domination. Maybe you can do this too, but if you can’t, the next best strategy is to destroy your TV and dedicate the hours between 6pm-2am to creating something amazing.

3, Disconnect.

Work doesn’t happen on Facebook, Twitter, and Email. No matter what the three billion social media gurus in the world tell you, there is no work to be done on these platforms. I use all of these tools for connection and communication, but not for work. Unplug the internet while you’re creating, it’s the only way to make real art a reality.

4, Automate.

Make everything happen automatically. I wouldn’t be making money in my sleep if I had to confirm each transaction manually via e-mail. Instead, I’ve hired e-junkie to complete each transaction for me. They take the orders, receive the payments, record how much I owe my affiliates, and deposit it all into my Paypal account automatically. These tools exist to automate your business, use them.

5, Support a community.

I wouldn’t be anywhere without the simplicity/minimalist community. I’ve met some amazing people, I’ve had some brilliant conversations. Check out 15 Minimalist/Simplicity bloggers to watch to meet some of these amazing folks. My interview section is another great resource. Also, Leo Babauta’s list of minimalist links. Many of these people joined my affiliate program for The Art of Being Minimalist. We support each other, we grow together.

6, Opt out of physical reality.

Our culture is changing on a fundamental level away from relying on physical goods. While we will always have to sleep and eat, most of the thriving businesses that cross my radar are focused around digital distribution of digital goods. Why? Because making physical objects is costly and they create clutter. A minimalist doesn’t like spending money on a business before it thrives. A minimalist also hates clutter. Physical products also deplete the world’s limited natural resources. Create a digital business and you’ve avoided all of these potential problems.

7, Don’t try to game the system.

There are no easy ways to the top. There is no way to cheat the system. There is no way to fake your way to success. You have to create something brilliant to succeed. You have to spend a lot of time and effort doing it. Did I say this would be easy? No, it’s not easy.

8, Do your research, learn everything you can.

Study people who have found success in your minimalist business. How did they find success? Read a lot of books. Seth Godin is a god, ignore him at your own peril (I just re-read his classic Unleashing The IdeaVirus, you can get it free.) If you’re into blogging, Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch’s A-List Blogging Bootcamps is starting in a couple of days, they’ll teach you blogging basics and put you on the path to success. Darren Rowse’s Problogger is a huge resource. Chris Guillebeau is the master of the minimalist business, consider reading everything he has to say about success online.

9, Create art.

People are sick of mundane products doing mundane things. The last twenty years were about televisions selling us mediocre products, now we’re past that. A product that is remarkable, that is crafted with the personal hand of an artist who cares, will be successful. Mundane mediocre products will fail in most situations, so don’t create them. Choose to create something beautiful instead.

Here are some other resources that I hope can help you:

Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself

Glen Allsopp’s Cloud Living

Johnny B. Truant’s Zero to Business (in Just 7 Days)


If this helped you, I’d love if you’d hit the retweet button. Thanks!

8 Ways to Focus on Minimalist Income

February 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

In Your Minimalist Business, High-Impact Income is Everything

This is the first of a three part series on my experience starting a minimalist business. Don’t miss anything! Sign up to receive free updates via RSS or Email.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

The difference between high-impact and low-impact income.

The most common way of working, and the one that most people choose, is low impact. You trade an hour of your time for a little bit of money. After a day, you’re a little older, but you’ve made enough money to pay your electric bill.

These jobs are very common. In most cases the employees are highly replaceable and the pay is just enough to survive.

I’ve worked a few of these jobs, up until August, when I decided to break out of the 9-5 and start exploring new ways to make a living.

So far the decision to do this has been very rewarding.

How I chose to create a high-impact minimalist business.

I decided early on that I wanted to start earning a high-impact living. This is the opposite of the direct trade of time for money. The results are a lot less tangible, but far more rewarding.

This is a minimalist way of working. I spend most of my time doing complex creative tasks. Seth Godin refers to this as emotional labor. I read a lot of books. I research better ways to help my audience. I try out new tools. I make all of the calls on which stories run and which don’t.

To generate high-impact money, you have to create something that is actually valuable. There are no buttons to push. There is no boss to blame the failures on. You are responsible for your own success.

Actions that generate high-impact income may not pay off immediately, the key is that they are scalable in the future. Your 40 hour week today, might bring in $1000 in three months. Your one hour workday might bring in $1000 because of work you did in the past.

I don’t recommend this way of working for everyone. It’s much easier to just sit down and be told what to do. It’s so much harder to trek through the woods, searching for your legacy project.

But, as I said, eventually the rewards are greater.

Here are 8 ways to pursue high impact income.

1, Explore uncharted territory.

High-impact income doesn’t come from well trodden paths. No one can give you the magic combination which will lead you to success. You have to trust your instincts, and most importantly, your heart, and travel to uncharted territory.

2, Follow your passion.

Everyone has there one super power. This is the one thing that they are so much better at than everyone else. You need to put all of your resources into that passion. We are witnessing a point in time when everything is changing. You have the power to build and market the one thing you always wanted to create. Focus on that, nothing else.

3, Ignore everybody.

There’s no payday if you follow everyone else. You can’t ask your mom or your best friend for permission before you start exploring uncharted territory in search of high-impact income. Why? Because no one has done this before. They won’t be able to consult their past experiences to tell you if it will work. If you wait until you get approval from all of society before you take a risk, you’ll be waiting a long time.

4, Focus on your priorities.

When you pursue high-impact income, there will be tasks that yield more than others. Focus on the important moves, and spend less time with unimportant ones. For instance: I know that this blog only works with insanely helpful content. So, I spend 80% of my time developing helpful content. Everything else can wait until I have awesome content for the week.

5, Minimize your expenses.

You cannot start your own high-impact business if you still spend like you’re working a low-impact 9-5. Eventually you will earn a lot more money, but for now you don’t. You need two things: food and shelter. All else can wait until your first payday.

6, Watch your metrics (but not too much.)

At some point you have to check to see if you’re making any progress. Find a way to measure your high-impact income. I do this by tracking your blog visitors and book sales, but this will change depending on what you’re doing. The trick is not to check all day long though. After the first two days of excitedly tracking sales for The Art of Being Minimalist, I finally had to just archive all the emails I was getting. I was spending 80% of my time waiting for new emails, instead of working towards actual goals. Now I check once a day to see how sales are going. Eventually I’ll move that to once a week.

7, Learn when to quit.

If a project isn’t working after a month or two, you need to be able to kill it, or at least approach it from a new angle. Obviously this depends a lot on the business. I stop writing about subjects that don’t resonate with people, and direct my attention towards ones that do. This is about refocusing on what works, and killing what doesn’t. Don’t cling to a topic you love if no one cares about it.

8, Don’t stop doing the work.

No matter how much temporary success you may achieve, or how much failure you are forced to endure, don’t stop working. It’s so easy to just give up, and believe me, many people will tell you that you should. “You’re going to fail, go do something that is normal.” Don’t stop, don’t give up. Do what you have to do until you find success. Eventually you’ll get there, trust me.

How do you pursue high-impact income?


My new e-book, The Art of Being Minimalist, is on sale now for only $9.95 for the first 1000 people who download it.

More info | Buy now

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7 Simple Ways You Can Disconnect

February 5th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

This weekend, take a moment to turn something off.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

In the modern age we think we have to constantly rush from this to that. We think we have to wake up and work every morning. We think we have to constantly respond to e-mails.

I’ve had so many interview requests to respond to about The Art of Being Minimalist, it’s humbling to know that so many people care, but overwhelming. I love doing interviews, and it’s exciting to have so much interest. But I’m tired!

I imagine your work week could have been equally as exciting and busy as mine was this last week.

That’s why I’m going to take some serious disconnect time this weekend. I’m going to pull the plug, so to speak.

I hope that you’ll join me.

Here’s a couple of great ways to disconnect:

1, Take a social network hiatus.
Don’t Tweet, Facebook, or engage with people on any social networking platform that you may use. It’s really fun to Tweet and hear all of the amazing people respond. Do you really want to spend all Sunday morning glued to Tweetdeck though? Cook someone a good breakfast instead!

2, Ignore all calls.

Don’t answer the phone at all this weekend. It doesn’t matter if it’s your mom or your boss calling, just choose not to pick up the telephone. In fact, turn it off. Go to the beach instead, if you live somewhere that’s not as cold as it is here in New York. Otherwise, maybe just grab a coffee and watch people walk by.

3, Don’t check your email.

Just let it sit there, trust me, it will be there come Monday morning. Too often we spend hours of our lives hitting the refresh button on e-mail. Take the exact opposite approach and don’t check it at all.

4, Spend a day in silence.

Just go about your day without speaking to anyone. Observe your thoughts. Read a book. Be sure to let anyone who might be offended know what you’re doing, so they don’t get mad.

5, Refuse to buy anything.

Take a break from consumerism and don’t go shopping or eat out for one day. Make sure you have enough food to prepare before you start this. Leave your credit cards and cash at home if you go out.

6, Don’t use any electricity.

Unplug all of the appliances and lights in your house (don’t do this to the fridge, your food will spoil.) Pretend you’re no-impact man for a day, and see how it is. You’ll notice that you won’t have any light after a certain hour, so either light a candle or sit in silence until it’s time for bed.

7, Don’t use transportation.

Don’t take the subway, don’t drive your car, don’t even bike. Just walk if you need to go anywhere. I love walking into Manhattan on weekends to take Yoga. It makes me appreciate my surroundings so much more. A two hour walk somewere can be very meditative.

How do you disconnect?


My new e-book, The Art of Being Minimalist, is on sale now for only $9.95 for the first 1000 people who download it.

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How Anticipation is the Least Minimalist Emotion

February 3rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Why your futuresense is handicapping your success.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Around two million years ago, we humans evolved the absolutely stunning ability to see things that were going to happen in our heads.

Two million years might seem like a long time, but as far as evolution goes we’ve just developed this miraculous ability. We’re still trying to grasp how to use our pre-frontal cortex properly.

This ability to project experiences upon ourselves can be quite useful. It allows me to try out blog post topics in my head before I write them. If they bomb in my head, there is a good chance you won’t want to read them either. This saves me the trouble of writing (too many) bad blog posts.

I like to call this our futuresense.

No other animal has this ability to anticipate the future quite like humans do. It’s hard to compare it with any other ability. I trust you can do this, and you know what I’m talking about.

This ability to futuresense is cool, but the problem is that it doesn’t always work right. In fact, a good deal of the time our futuresense is completely off.

We don’t know what will make us happy.

I gaurantee at some point in your life you’ve sat awake at night and anticipated a date that was going to change your life — and then it was a boring date. Or you couldn’t wait to get your hands on a new gizmo-gadget, but this didn’t end up solving all of your problems.

If fact, imagine you have this choice: Tomorrow you’re either going to win the lottery, or you’ll be hit by a bus and be paralyzed for the rest of your life.

Which one will make you happier? Easy choice, I know. You want to win the lottery.

Well, you guessed wrong.

Studies have been done on the happiness of these two outcomes. Statistically people who experience these two outcomes end up with the same level of happiness, whether or not they were hit by a bus or won the lottery. Shocking!

What this tells me is that we’re all too focused on a future happiness, and ignoring the fact that we’re going to be the same amount of happy in the future as we are now.

Why don’t we appreciate what we have now? Stop futuresensing, start enjoying this moment.

We can’t futuresense most outcomes.

Then there is the fact that of all the possible outcomes that you’ve been futuresensing, the chances of anything close to what you futuresense coming true are slim.

Many of us sit for endless hours pondering outcomes. ‘Well if I do this, x will happen and it’ll be a disaster.’

How many times has your futuresense told you that everything was going to be a big mess, and it wasn’t? Probably most of the time. The world isn’t really that scary a place, but your futuresense still thinks there are sabertooth tigers.

You can’t anticipate the future.

So we spend hours upon hours ‘making plans’ before we do anything. If what I’m telling you about the inaccuracies of our futuresense is true, then making plans is about the most absurd thing you can do.

By making a plan, you’re just sitting around contemplating a future that isn’t going to happen. Your end product is zero. This doesn’t mean you can’t have objectives, priorities, goals.

I’m just saying that playing out the final act in your head before you start working is a waste of time, and yet we spend so much time doing it.

Nothing actually happens until you take an action and do something.

You can’t futuresense outcomes at all, you can only waste your time. It’s the least minimalist emotion.

You have the power to decide to opt out of using your pre-frontal cortex before you do every little thing. This is not easy, but it helps once you recognize what you’re doing. You’re working yourself up into a big old panic attack over 75 futures that won’t happen.

Turn it off, start living your life.


My new e-book, The Art of Being Minimalist, is on sale now for only $9.95 for the first 1000 people who download it.

More info | Buy now

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How to Get The Art of Being Minimalist for Free

February 1st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Download your free copy today for 24 hours.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

[Update February 2: Thank you so much everyone. The free link is now closed.

The last 24 hours has been a quite a day! I’ve received so many emails and tweets thanking me for the book. I’m continually amazed at how many people downloaded and enjoyed reading The Art of Being Minimalist.

You can purchase The Art of Being Minimalist here.]

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished my first ever e-book, The Art of Being Minimalist.

And I’m releasing today, for free. But only for 24 hours.

About The Art of Being Minimalist

I’ve been working on this The Art of Being Minimalist since the start of this blog in October of 2009. It’s a real privilege to release it to you now.

Long-time readers will notice that I’ve incorporated some of the best material from Far Beyond The Stars in the e-book along with brand new material about living a simple minimalist life.

The Art of Being Minimalist tells the story of how I was able to leave my job successfully during a recession and set out on my own. It explores how living a minimalist life can help you achieve your own ideas of success. It explains how being minimalist can help you live a life that revolves around activities that you enjoy.

Here’s how you can help spread the word:

I hope that you will take 10 seconds or more of your time, in exchange for receiving this copy free, to help me out today.

  1. Retweet this on Twitter, so the amazing people who follow you can have a free copy.
  2. Share this on Facebook, so your friends can have a free copy too.
  3. Write a review of my e-book on your blog.
  4. Become an affiliate seller and put the link on your blog (earn 50% commission on every e-book sale.)
  5. Write a review of my e-book on your blog and sign up for the affiliate program with a link to the book.
  6. Interview me about the book on your blog or media outlet.
  7. Invite me to do a guest post on your blog about The Art of Being Minimalist.

(Please don’t do anything sketchy or spam people with links please.)

I’m an independent writer, and this blog is my primary source of income. Your help is the only way that readers find my blog, as always your help spreading the word is greatly appreciated.

If this e-book helps you, considering giving a small donation to support my writing.

Thank you.

Download The Art of Being Minimalist for free. [Update: the giveaway is now over. You can purchase The Art of Being Minimalist here.]

This link will be up for 24 hours starting February 1st 2010 at 6:00am EST.

You can visit The Art of Being Minimalist website here.

[UPDATE: There were a few broken hyperlinks in the initial free version. Please re-download if you’re having any trouble clicking.

You can find Leo Babauta’s A Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life here.]

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