I was sitting and eating lunch at a restaurant last week, and I had a piece of food get caught down the wrong pipe. I proceeded into a coughing fit, which lasted an awkwardly long time.

I finally recovered as I could feel the pressure in my eyes as relief was coming my way, and then the fresh air tickled my nose and I started sneezing.

Sneezing generally comes in sets of two or three for me. Soon, though, this episode was over. I looked at my hands and realized that I was in dire need of a napkin. I located one and cleaned myself up. I thought to myself that, to an onlooker, I must have looked like the most disgusting and pitiable person possible.

As I resumed eating my lunch, i was struck by the fact that anybody in a similar situation would look disgusting and pitiable.

Jeff Bezos in the middle of a sneezing fit? Still Rich, but please talk to me later.

LeBron James choking on a McNugget? Take your talents to Hawaii.

I could go on… but the point has been made. I find it really easy to compare myself with others. However, when I look at this activity objectively, I’m often comparing a failure on my part with a success from the other.

Comparing apples to apples when it comes to successes is very difficult, and is best avoided. For example, I was working in the banking industry a couple years back while using my down time to gain the skills necessary to launch my first business. Meanwhile, I had a few friends that were moving to big cities, and getting good paying jobs, living in cool apartments and living what seemed to be the good life. So while my financial success could hardly be compared to my friends, if I were in their position I wouldn’t have been able to make progress towards my goals- of being a business owner and building my own brand.

The only productive person to compare yourself to is *yourself.*

Write out your goals, and work towards them.

The things that others are doing around you should have no influence on your progress and your goals.

You might fail at things.

You might fall short.

You might choke on some food and make yourself a nasty mess. Just remember that even your heroes are human, and they sneeze too.


So. I have a problem.

I want a lot of things I don’t need.

I want to buy new moleskine journals when my current journal is less than half filled.

I want to buy a kindle when I have a pile of books on my floor that could take more than a year to finish. This is ignoring the fact that I ordered 5 books from Amazon yesterday. It is very easy to rationalize something like this when a guy like Dave Ramsey requires everyone that joins his team read these books in their first couple months of working for him.

A couple of months ago, I was in my car heading to barnes and noble to pick up a sketch pad so that I’d have a big sprawling surface to outline out business ideas, but about half way towards the mall, I realized how needless this was, and I turned around.

The biggest hurdle for me as a guy who likes to build things on the web is my devices. I have a desktop computer, a laptop, an ipad mini, as well as an iPhone (which is having severe battery issues.)

Lately, my MacBook pro has been the latest on my hitlist. I want to get rid of it. I want to upgrade to something top of the line, to something fast, to something that will undoubtedly make me way more productive. After doing tax returns, I am in a similar spot to many Americans: I have more disposable income that I generally do, which generally leads to big ticket purchases. Even though I might make better use out of a piece of technology than the average person, the bottom line is that as long as my computer is still working, still able to connect to the internet, and still able to do the things I need to do to keep Five Espressos and ymLaunch going, I don’t really need an upgraded machine.

Now, it’s very possible that in the next few months, there will be a new models of both the MacBook air and the MacBook pros, each with the high definition retina display that makes a techy like me drool. Ultimately, as long as this old faithful is working, I should be using it!

My business partner is one of the most frugally minded people I know, which is NOT an insult in my book. He’s encouraging me to drive this laptop into the ground. I think he’s more right than wrong.

warning, tech talk ahead!

I decided that if I wasn’t going to be splurging on a new macbook pro, I would at least make a couple quality of life improvements to my personal laptop. I purchased a solid state hard drive to install into my Computer. This hard drive will drastically improve the startup speed of my computer, as well as the speed at which new processes and applications are started.

I will also be cleaning things up with a new backup drive and starting this computer from a new install of Mavericks.
I want to run this thing really lean, keep it going fast, and hopefully be as close to a new computer as I can.

Also, spending less than 200 is a lot better than dropping over fifteen hundred!

Do Great work


I was sitting down to make some progress on a website that me and Brian are building for a client.

This is what it’s all about.





So I left the banking world last summer to start working at a screen printing company, primarily holding a sales role.

It has been quite the learning experience.

At the bank, I could expect to a steady stream of customers. And because I’m slightly gifted in small talk, it didn’t take much time at all to become well-liked by a majority of the customer base.

Being in sales at the screen printing shop was different. I was starting from the bottom: I didn’t immediately have customers that I could call on. I didn’t have a list of people to contact, I didn’t have any sort of customers coming to see me.

Definitely different, but I enjoyed the challenge.

It was always my goal to work in this job, and grow my side businesses (both ymLaunch and five espressos) to a point where they were ready to support someone full time. However, we aren’t there yet.

Last week I was laid off from the screen printing shop because of how slow we had been for the winter. Screen printing is a very seasonal industry- as many orders for t shirts go from April to November. This winter being both very cold and very very long, didn’t do much to help, so the owner was forced to lay off all of the office staff in an attempt to cover the overhead. The boss said that he’s hoping we’re back within the next month, however there’s no definitive date.

That also means that it’s really unclear what direction for me to head. Filing for unemployment was very strange, however I need to be actively searching for new jobs, and not just actively searching for new work for 5e/ymLaunch. However, discerning the proper balance between these two choices– as well as taking care of my customers from the screen printing shop — has been a pretty paralyzing process.

Unpacking some options.

When I was notified last week of this situation, I took some time to walk out to one of my favorite locations in West Michigan. There’s a house that overlooks the Grand River, and if it wasn’t owned by the county, I would expect to live there someday.

I sat on the deck and started writing down my options on a small legal pad I had brought with me. I had a few options:

  •  ignore the situation, and keep drumming up t shirt business.
  •  new jobs
  •  new work for 5e/ymL.

What struck me as I spent some time fleshing out what each of these might look like, the ideas for my own businesses and possible new opportunities with that just seemed to flow out.

Non stop.

Ideas that I had previously shelved because I didn’t have time were suddenly vibrant and extremely viable options. I’ve actually been taking the steps to make some of these happen.

So yeah.
That’s that.

day three: i didn’t get a chance to do much work, but the work i did do, was important work. sleep earned


Hustle Month Day 2

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I’ll get to the chase with this. I’ll end the day not feeling like I really earned my sleep. But that’s largely due to it being a wednesday night, and being a worship leader at my church means that a significant amount of my time is chewed away on wednesday nights. I love doing it, but it does take quite a bit of my time.

What did I do?

I played some with danhefferan.com, I worked some on a new client site, and I tweaked a site for my sister-in law.

Why does it matter?

I’m always trying to be better, so making danhefferan.com better is important, making progress on a freelance project is always good, and getting closer to completion on a site for an artist… it’s important!

Earn your sleep?

No, but I didn’t have enough time to myself to say I earned it– Also due to giving up certain things in lent, i’m strugglign through a bit of a caffeine headache right now… Not having pop is huge for me!



Remember hustle month?

Perhaps you do. sometimes it’s a faded memory for me as well.

Hustle month was a period of personal productivity that I came up with when I was starting to get into web design. My first experiment with it was very successful, and caused me to want to involve other people in with it.

That july, I hosted a hustle month program on hustlemonth.com, though July turned out to be an awful time for me to be trying to host a community project — I was even on vacation when the program started. Don’t do it!

Brian and I just finished up with our busiest stretch of time we’ve encountered as business owners, and while the last few weeks have been hectic, i would really love take some of the more flexible time i have available to me over the next month and really do something about it. Tomorrow being the start of lent doesn’t hurt to be a time to make some changes to habits.

So i’m going to make March a hustle month.

What is hustle month?

Hustle Month is mostly characterized by the attempt to use your free time for things that are productive and will further your goals. I would also attempt to reflect on each day’s progress by answering these three questions:

  1. What did I do?
  2. Why did the the things I did today matter?
  3. Did I earn my sleep?

I may have missed the first two days of this, but I think i have plenty of time to make this a successful month.

It is also the start of lent.

Lent is a time where many Christians give up something as a reminder to focus on Christ. Growing up I didn’t often give up much for Lent, but I see the value of it now that i’ve grown a bit older.

I was reflecting today on the things that I can give up, here are some things that came to mind:

  • Giving up playing video games alone ( there’s just not that much value to it. )
  • Giving up ice cream ( my family has a penchant for a sweet tooth)
  • Giving up Pop
  • Giving up fast food (which also would mean i need to be better about waking up on time to pack lunches.
  • Giving up sleeping in. // the snooze button.
  • Giving up buying things
  • Giving up personal facebook/twitter

I might try to do all of these things! Not only will they certainly be a sacrifice, but but some of these might be very healthy to give up… (pop ice cream and fast food are a no brainer that they are healthy. )

If i do end up giving up personal social media stuff, I would be doing what I can to write on this website as often as I can. That’s not necessarily a bad thing :)


Hustle month check in:

1. What did I do?

I worked all day, I came home, for dinner and then met with Mike to discuss the design behind dauntless.co. We also devised our plan for the website as it goes through it’s first official month, and also our plans as we go into April of this year. We have some big things in the works for dauntless! I spent the remainder of the night working on the early version of the dauntless blog– using a wordpress theme called Jumpstart.

I also hashed out some ground work for a client site for five espressos.

2. Why does this matter?

Because I’ve been wanting a platform that doesn’t hae my name attached to it for quite some time, and I’ve always wanted to work extensively with entrepreneurs and other creative people. This project will be just that.

3. Did you earn your sleep?

yes. If every day this month can be like this i’ve done well.