Funemployment Report: November 2014

I finally feel like I accomplished something this month! I finished a deliverable: my personal finance for grad students presentation, which I gave on November 13. I said earlier that I thought Grad Student Finances was my passion project for the fall, but it turned out that this presentation was.


I’m noticing that my priorities at the end of a month don’t match well my priorities at the beginning of the month. That’s a major component of why my goal reports have had a low GPA. I’m not doing less than I wanted to, but just different things than what I wanted to. I think I might do better by setting week-by-week goals, but I don’t want to bore you guys with such frequent updating so I don’t think I’ll put them up here.


I’m definitely going to be more distracted by personal stuff over this next period with traveling, moving, shopping for Christmas, and spending time with our family and friends in California, so I’m going to keep my stated goals more modest. 🙂





Goals for November 2014


1: Finish thoroughly preparing for and deliver my PF-for-grad students seminar. Grade: A+


I gotta tell you guys – I think the presentation went REALLY well. Similarly to my defense last August, I rehearsed many, many times and delivered the presentation I wanted to. Of course going back over it there are things that I will change for next time, but I’m happy with what I delivered this time around. My friends who were in attendance and the anonymous feedback said that the presentation was very good.


The reason this goal gets an A PLUS is that we recorded the full presentation. I had low expectations for the quality since we had never done it before, but you can see and hear things reasonably well! Check out the clip below of me answering a question. I had just finished outlining my passive investing philosophy (with the caveat at the start that you should develop your own investing philosophy), and an audience member inquired about actively managed mutual funds.



2: Pin down dates for two local PF-for-grad school presentations and pitch one non-local. Grade: C+


I have a firm date, time, location, host, etc. to give the PF-for-grad students talk at one of the other local universities. The other university closed the door on booking me this year because they already had brought in a financial professional to talk about personal finance. I am working on preparing pitches for a few non-local colleges and universities, but haven’t actually approached any yet (see goals below).


3: Outline and start building spin-off presentations. Grade: D


I have broadly outlined the presentations I have in mind but haven’t started building any of them specifically.


4: Finish writing the core content for GSF. Grade: F


My focus just wasn’t on GSF this month. I did take a look at how far along I was in writing the core content and added to a few of the pages, but there is still a ways to go.


5: Ask for content submission for GSF from other grad students. Grade: 0


Nope, didn’t do it! I think I’m going to finish writing the core content and get the site online before doing this so it’s a bit clearer what I’m asking of them and where their stories will fit in.



Extra Money Paid in November


My personal income in November was just from my contract job (earned in October). No online income was paid out.


personal: $582

online: $0


My goal for December is to earn $1,000 at my contract job. I was able to do this in November, but as I anticipate a major slowdown around Christmas this will still be a big challenge. I did see a slowdown over Thanksgiving as well, but thankfully I had paced myself so that I reached my earnings goal by the beginning of Thanksgiving week.



Goals for December and January 2014


I’m going to lump my next funemployment period together between December and mid-January. I know I’m going to have a big interruption over Christmas as we are traveling for two weeks, plus in mid-January I am moving to DC for the next phase of my funemployment, so my goals will look different after that point. So given all the personal stuff going on I know I’ll need a bit of a longer period to get this stuff accomplished!


1: Create a website to advertise my personal finance for PhDs (at various career stages) talks.


I have a mission statement. I have the suite of talks I want to give. I have video clips. Now I just want to put it together on a new site.


2: Put together my three prioritized presentations.


Instead of outlining and working on all the presentations at once, I have three talks that are my priority. Two are comprehensive talks for other audiences and one is a more in-depth topical talk. I want these presentations fully together by the time I start my fellowship so that when they are booked all I have to do is rehearse them.


3: Pitch my presentation(s) to target institutions #1, 2, 3, and 4.


I’m going to put myself out there and try to sell one or more of my presentations! I have specific institutions in mind but I’d rather not publish them now. I’m starting out with ones I have some kind of connection with.


4: Launch Grad Student Finances.


To accomplish this, I need to finish writing the core content, decide on a theme/layout, and get Grad Student Finances online. As I said above, I won’t worry about the supplements from other bloggers/grad students just yet.


5: Write a guest post about PhD Stipends.


New entries to PhD Stipends have virtually stopped, so I need to do something to goose them again. I have a blog in mind to submit a post to that I’m sure will help both the number and diversity of the entries. If anyone has suggestions for grad student blogs to approach I’d like to hear them!



For sure creating the three presentations is going to be my most time-consuming goal, but also the most fun!



How much are you lowering your expectations for your productivity over winter break? Can you predict over the course of a month what you will want to accomplish?


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15 Responses to "Funemployment Report: November 2014"

  1. That’s awesome that you’re able to sell what you know! I know crossing off items from my grad school list is definitely something that brings me a lot of relief.

    1. Emily says:

      Haha I’ll let you know when there is actual selling going on – so far it’s all volunteering! 🙂

  2. Emily, you still have time to keep up with your goals, having almost a month. Good luck on your new website. I’m so excited about what you will post on personal finance for PhDs.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Worst Storm in 30 Years Smashes My Home Town of Brisbane

    1. Emily says:

      I’m trying to avoid making myself feel bad at the end of December! We are going to be out of town from mid-month to the end. I’m sure I will work a bit during that time but not as much as usual.

      I’m excited for GSF, too… I just need to DO IT!

  3. YAY for the presentation going well!!! I’m terrible at setting monthly goals– I’m trying to work on it, though! You are inspiring me! 🙂
    Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties recently posted..How to get a late fee waived

    1. Emily says:

      Ugh, I’m glad my goals are doing something for someone! 🙂 I mean, I guess the only thing worse than this would be not having anything to aim at. 🙂

  4. Congratulations on your presentation. You’ve been putting a lot of effort into and I’m glad it went well! Hopefully it won’t be long before you do it again!
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom recently posted..How To Cut Your Own Hair

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! It was very gratifying. The next one is in January!

  5. The Roamer says:

    I like your idea of giving yourself a grade for each goal. I also think its great how you are pitching to school. Do you have an elevator pitch. I know there are a few different ways to go about it.

    Also how do you set up your new sites look when you don’t have anything published. I’m new to the blogging realm but I found it hard to visualize the site with no content attached. Since I the layout doesn’t look like the example when there is nothing displayed. Is there a hack for that I just don’t know about ..

    Also shout out to California peeps. Are you originally from here

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks! I’ve been in school so long that grades seem a natural way to evaluate. And they are very subjective. 🙂

      Hm, I haven’t had to explicitly develop an elevator pitch yet as I’m mostly emailing people. But I do explain it verbally as well. I should work on an explicit elevator pitch – thanks for the suggestion!

      I have some general ideas for the layout of GSF but I really haven’t worked it out fully so I don’t have a good answer for you! I am lucky that my husband can tweak the CSS of any layout we choose to be exactly what we want (when he makes time!). I would say just find other sites you like and figure out what their themes are.

      My husband is from the Los Angeles area and we went to college there. We want to settle in San Diego but we are still 1-2 moves away from getting there. Where do you live?

  6. Just caught up on your blog – congratulations on the fellowship in DC! I hope you have time for museums on the weekends. 🙂 Also, living apart from your spouse is not ideal, but 3 months isn’t too long. Best of luck with everything.
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted..Our Texas Panhandle Getaway

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! I’m sure I will hit up the Smithsonian at least a couple times. I will probably go to the Koshland Museum as well – I haven’t been since 2007. I’m sure 3 months sounds like nothing to someone who is partway through a multi-year living apart situation – and it is!

  7. […] to when Kyle and I started EPF.) During my funemployment, I developed my first product, a live presentation, which I sold for the first time this past […]

  8. […] has been delivering live in-person seminars and webinars at universities (17 and counting!). The great joy I experienced in creating and delivering my comprehensive presentation on this subject for the first time convinced me to start this line of self-employed work. However, […]

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