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A few weeks ago I was riding in the car with a loved one. I was talking about a new project idea and doing a very clumsy job of explaining it. I got a few questions back that I couldn’t answer, and I got frustrated. Inexplicably so. It was irrational frustration and I apologised, and in my mind, decided to regroup on the idea.

Later on, I bounced the reformed idea off another friend in relation to content creation and learning:

50dollar idea

So, with that sort of “idea” in mind, I started taking steps to set up a $50 a week research and development fund.

How I got started

There are a few things I wanted to set up so things were kept separate from my day-to-day.

  • In Australia, ING Direct are currently advertising no ATM fees for their everyday account. The account was quite easy and painless to set up as I already had a savings account. The biggest chore was taking my identification into a post office, which wasn’t that big of a deal. I don’t imagine I’ll be using ATMs much with my R&D fund, but I will with my standard account. So I moved my standard account over to ING, which freed up one of my other accounts to rename to “Business”
  • Tracking spend within that account will be a pain, and thanks to Anthill Online – I ended up investigating an app called Pocketbook – this app lets you track spend across the accounts you choose to sync. I know there are other apps like this out on the market, but I really liked Pocketbook’s clean interface
  • Lastly, I set up a weekly automatic transfer of $50 from my main account to my “Business” account – this will be my R&D fund, where I try and use these funds to learn how to apply myself

What this account is for

The account is designed to take care of my careless spending in relation to wantrepreneurship. I’ve got about 10 books I haven’t even started reading, I signed up for another web host the other day, and I currently have around 8 domains registered:

Domains aplenty

I think there is a lot of enterprising sharks out there that look to profiteer off this wantrepreneurship trend. And it’s easy to piss away a lot of money. I actually remember attending The Unconvention last year from a group called The Entourage. I hadn’t entered the stadium yet and I was already being handed business cards that could build my site for me. The event itself was a mixed result – I met an interesting guy, heard some decent speakers, and then walked out once it became a full-blown sales pitch for my custom.

Enter AppSumo

My first spend with the R&D fund was signing up for a 12-month program with AppSumo.  They run a program ironically called Wantrepreneur that promises you how to start making money online. I’d heard of these guys a lot, and had come across Noah Kagan’s name on this exhaustive guide to SEO. The program had appeared in my Facebook feed thanks to some remarketing, and I coughed up some money and gave it a go.

First impressions

I haven’t fallen in love instantly. The program is broken up into bite-size chunks with a progress bar, and you’re drip-fed bits and bobs of useful and not-so useful information as you progress.

App Sumo first

The first real task was to ask someone for a dollar, which felt a bit silly, but I understand the program’s impetus of getting people outside of their comfort zone. Some of the other things have included trying to contact Richard Branson, and attempting 100 push-ups. I’m hoping to get some meaningful content out of it soon, otherwise there’s a 60-day refund period.

Other things on my radar

There are a number of these style programs online. Including Fizzle and Not So Freaky University. I think the approach I’m going to take is to trial these programs, try and get my money’s worth, and then continue past if I’m not getting value. There are a a few larger programs that are more costly, but for now I’ll keep reading, viewing videos, and learning. At least now I’m a bit more focused and can track my spend and get used to financials (a problem when I was running as a consultancy).

The other benefit of doing this is I can keep score and track value. It’s a fund that I’m keen to grow, and I think without some financial accountability thrown into the mix it’s just going to be me continually signing up to programs without divining true benefits. And that’s frustrating.