Another big year in the books. 43 Has been a big one for me because I changed careers – like… totally changed. I quit my job as an Engineering Manager after spending around 17 years in IT & Marketing and became one of them there YouTubers. On November 2, 2020, I walked out of O.C. Tanner for the last time (actually, we were working at home so I think I just turned in my stuff) and, along with it, into the entrepreneurial world of self employment. We spent a while saving up money to essentially self fund out little start up. We paid off all debt except the house. We have a comfortable chunk of cash in the bank, just in case things get bad with this new venture. We have our three low mileage cars (see Forty-Two) which are paid off and no other debt to speak of so our monthly expenses weren’t too crazy and we were ready.
I basically told O.C. Tanner that I can stay for as long or as short as they wanted (within reason) – whether that was two hours or two months. I can’t remember exactly how it went down but I think they said we should shoot for a shorter time, like a few weeks but then they asked me to stay longer, like maybe six weeks. My memory is terrible – I honestly don’t remember. Anyway, I didn’t want to burn any bridges and was extremely grateful for the good folks at OCT so I stayed for the requested time. They were also kind enough to get me a good portion of the end of year bonus that I would normally get. I truly enjoyed working with such good people there. It was a fairly stressful role (all things are relative) but I felt like the folks there made it such a good experience. I spent only about 26 months there but it was a great springboard into doing my own thing.
That YouTube Life
Now that we’re 10 months into this new life, I have to say – it’s awesome! I still wake up every day feeling lucky and blessed. I’m not a YouTube celebrity. Nobody actually knows who I am because most of our subscribers don’t care – they just need a solution and my videos provide it. That said, this lifestyle has allowed me to be home all the time, working on my own schedule and kind of just doing what we want. I spend lots of time with Katrina. We even went through a bit of what might have been a too-much-time-together phase for a minute there. We talked through it and all is well but it’s such a blessing to spend as much time as I can with her and being home in general. I really like our house.
Here’s where we’re at with YouTube (this is fun to document for future Nils and Katrina):
- LRN2DIY: 50,499,630 views and 369,481 subscribers. We still typically release a video every week
- The 3D Printing Zone: 2,624,028 views and 45,889 subscribers. We’re releasing 2-3 videos per month now
- LRN2DIY Woodworking: 599 views and 35 subscribers. We’re releasing 1-3 videos per month now (hopefully)
- Buy This Not That: 0 views and 0 subscribers. This one never went anywhere but we keep it around in case it works out that we can. 🙂
As you can see, there’s a lot happening there. I hired a full time editor from the Philippines named Rjay and he’s been doing a great job so far. He has really improved the quality of our videos and allowed me to do a lot more with my week. We realized that things go a lot smoother if I do the online edit / rough edit and he does the offline / finish edit. I can bust out a rough edit in 30-60 minutes and it saves many hours of back and forth and confusion since nobody knows the content like I do.
In June of this year we attended (finally) the Channel JumpStart retreat in Zion National Park. It was a couple of days of networking, learning, brainstorming and analysis. Both Katrina and I went and we learned a ton. We also realized we could be doing a lot more. We decided to take the month of July off from content creation and focus on analyzing what was working, pouring through analytics, researching, comparing and planning. We came up with our channel buckets, our release schedule and hundreds of ideas for videos. I can’t say that doing this has resulted in any immediate success now that we’re implementing it but I think it was a much needed reset. I feel lie we have real direction and real intent for the first time. There’s a lot more to figure out but it’s a fun challenge.
I’m part of a Mastermind group – a weekly video call to discuss social media tactics, what’s working, what’s not – with some talented folks that are all much more successful than I am. That has helped to open my eyes to what’s possible and how much we may be missing out on so we’re working on growing outside of just YouTube.
Now the Important Stuff
The family is doing well. Katrina is keeping quite busy these days. She helps me out with our business whenever she can. She cooks our meals. She still exercises every day (I’m on a fairly regular routine of exercising 3x per week, thanks to her encouragement), still reads books voraciously, still handles pretty much all of the kids’ school stuff, still makes time to let me take her on a date at least every week, often more.
In addition, she was called to be the Relief Society President two months ago so that’s a lot of her time as well. She’s a natural fit for that role and I’m excited to see what she does, especially since she’s already slipped right into the role with ease and has made some positive impacts. She continues to sit in with me on our Sunday School class that I teach, for the 15-17-year-olds.
Anders has graduated high school and has also completed his MTech degree in web development. As part of that degree, he needed to do a six-week externship so I reached out to my peeps at OCT and they immediately agreed to let him intern there. He came on as a SET (software engineer in Test) and within three weeks was extended a contract job offer making more money than I made when I had two kids, plus benefits. He’s working there now and hopes to migrate into a front end web development role at some point, whether that’s at OCT or elsewhere. He has had several folks encourage him to apply at their companies and they usually come with a pretty great salary, particularly for an 18-year-old kid.
He has 22 credits at Utah Valley University, should he choose to pursue that, but he currently has no concrete plans for anything. He seems to be still considering serving a mission but I don’t honestly know how likely that is. We don’t push it because I don’t want him to go for anyone but him and the Lord but I sincerely hope he chooses to serve a mission – it’s a 100% one-of-a-kind experience and opportunity. As for college, that’s up to him. I can see where he may not be best served in going but at the same time, I think it could be great for him. We’ll see. In any case, because he has no plans other than to earn money, I have asked him to prepare to move out by November 1st, about two months from now. That will give him time to prepare, save a bit and figure that out. He needs to go and experience life on his own. He’s a very social creature and has found 3-4 roommates that he’ll likely live with. He also bought his first car – a salvage title Toyota Corolla in great shape. I think it’s a 2014? 2015? Anyway, it’s a great first car and he’s trying to pay it off quickly. He’s got a good head on his shoulders when it comes to money. Anders drives me nuts because he’s an 18-year-old young man. Today, there was a baby blessing for our nephew (his cousin) Nate’s daughter at 9 a.m. about 20 minutes away. I woke him up six times. SIX! And he still didn’t get up. He waited until we were all in the car, in the street before he got up and threw on some clothes and rushed out, several minutes after we wanted to leave. I get ticked. I need to be more patient but I suck at that when it comes to our teens. Anyway, I’m excited to see what he becomes and what he does. I have faith that he’ll work things out and be a great man. He has limitless potential and he makes good decisions in general. He stays out of trouble and tries to be kind. It’ll be fun to see what he does in life.
As far as record keeping, Anders has now worked at Noodles & Co, McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, Costco (for about two weeks – they don’t accommodate for school) and O.C. Tanner.
Addie is a junior / 11th grader at Westlake. She continues to play the Viola in Orchestra and is on the swim team. Turns out she quite likes it and stuck it out. She even took lifeguard training and spent the whole summer as a lifeguard at the Lehi Outdoor pool. Tuesday is the last day of the season for the outdoor pool so she’s going to start working at the Lehi Legacy Center, which is notoriously less fun. Addie gets good grades, wakes herself up early (usually before us), drives herself wherever she needs to go, eats out way too much, still loves to draw and listens to less musicals than she did last year. She and Aani have been going through a major anime kick lately. Not my cup o’ tea but whatever floats your boat. She’s a very low-key, low-maintenance kid. I can’t believe she’s a Junior already. I just asked her and she’s planning on college but she’s not sure what she wants to study since the things she likes don’t tend to be all that lucrative. We’ll see.
Addie still loves to spend time by herself reading. She loves Lord of the Rings movies, the aforementioned anime, and YouTube. She’s constantly giggling and upbeat. She’s probably the most naturally upbeat person in our family, and the most easy-going as well.
Aani is growing up fast. She’s a freshman this year! Due to the school structure here, she’s not actually in high school but is still at Lake Mountain Middle School. She’s a talented violin player and just recently decided to join the swim team as well, which is pretty cool. She also gets good grades on her own, gets herself up for whatever is needed, is a talented artist and seems to be enjoying her first year of seminary. Aani is easy to raise – she’s generally obedient and always good hearted. She thinks of others and wants to be good. She’s the first to answer questions we ask in our nightly Come, Follow Me sessions. She’s more into clothes, makeup and that kind of thing than the other girls. She has a lot in common with Anders in many ways, as far as social behavior and enjoying “stuff”. They get the “stuff” cravings from dear ol’ Dad.
Aani is also a giggler, a snuggler and a goofball. She enjoys reading and anime and we’re not sure how she hasn’t yet asked to be on social media but we’re not going to bring it up 🙂
Ava, da baby, has turned into a young woman! She’s almost 12 and has been a part of the YW program at church all year, which seems bizarre. She’s also pretty easy going and it’s fun to see her personality develop over the years. She still enjoys crafting and is still the Glue Stick Aficionado. She’s still in Tumbling every week and she’s quite the little gymnast. She stopped cheerleading after one year, to my delight. I didn’t love the idea of these 3-10 year old girls putting on makeup and little skirts. Call me old fashioned but that seemed weird to me. I like our little kids to be able to be little kids. There’s plenty of time later for makeup and show if that’s what they want.
Ava has recently discovered Harry Potter and is tearing through the books like a mad woman. We offered all of the kids $5 for each Harry Potter book they read. Most of the kids haven’t been interested but Ava is hooked. She just finished book 6 and has been trying to watch each movie after finishing the book. She also loves hanging out with her BFF Kendal.
Pip, the dog. Pip is now 8, so 56 in dog years? She actually seems to be more energetic than she used to be. She’s also a wreck. She’s so needy when it comes to her people. She gets super distraught when we’re gone and she destroys things and acts crazy. This makes vacationing rather tricky. I am mostly at peace with Pip but she still drives me nuts sometimes. She pooped in the basement the other day, which she does whenever she can, and she loves to pee on the carpet in front of the home theater (also in the basement) whenever she can, especially if it helps her to avoid going out in the cold. For this reason, she is now banned from the basement. I expect that in my “Seventy-Three” post, she’ll still be alive and kicking. Aye aye aye.
We had a vacationy year this year. We went to South Carolina and Georgia for the Raggy Reunion in July. It was fun but HOT and SWEATY. We were able to fly, which was generally great, especially as compared to driving for six days.
We also spent a couple of days in Mesa Verde seeing the cliff dwellings. That was pretty cool.
We drove to Arizona because we realized we had never really been through the state. Anders stayed home and worked but the rest of us went to Flagstaff, Sedona and Phoenix and then to the main destination: Seguaro National Park, where they have very cool Seguaro Cacti. Did you know that they don’t grow arms/limbs until they’re around 75 years old? Crazy. Sedona was a really cool town to pass through and Flagstaff was beautiful and mountainous. We also went to the Grand Canyon since it had been a while and even recreated the image of Addie being held by Katrina with a murderous look on her face from about 15 years ago.
We went to Bryce Canyon with the girls and met Saren, Randy and fam. We enjoyed the park and surrounding area. There was horseback riding for the ladies, quads for the gents and some good food and good times. It was super hot at home during this time but super comfy in Bryce – 70-75 the whole time.
Now for the bigg’un. The event that wasn’t to be. We promised Anders a trip to Hawaii as a family before he went on a mission or by the summer after his senior year. That was 2021. We came into a lot of Sky Miles thanks to the company formerly known as iGlobal (now Zonos) – the startup that Clint Reid and I founded some years ago. It was very kind of him to give us those miles and it was enough for our whole family to go to Hawaii twice… or to Europe once. Everyone agreed that Europe was the clear winner. We booked an 8-night cruise through the Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Spain and France) with an eight hour layover in Amsterdam and it was going to be amazing. Until they canceled it due to stupid Covid. Then they opened up cruising again and we booked a 7-night cruse to Italy, Span and France, still with a layover in Amsterdam. That was going to be pretty great until they cancelled the Amsterdam layover. And France. And wouldn’t let us do anything in Italy except the official cruise excursions. And we would have to wear masks the entire time unless we were in our room. Bleh. Not worth it. We just decided this week that it was time to cancel. So we don’t know what’s going to happen there but that stinks. We’ve been wanting do this for over a year and it just isn’t working out.
- I got an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset for my birthday (and for my 3D Printing channel) so that’s pretty exciting. It’s super cool and I try to use it a few times each week.
- Anders hasn’t crashed a car in about a year. He literally hit another car/object either five or six times in his first year of driving so we took his license away, which was a nightmare for all involved, but at least nobody’s life was in danger.
- Addie, as mentioned above, is driving now. Girls tend to be more chill behind the wheel. It’s always scary teaching teens to drive but it’s such a blessing to have them drive themselves around. Hooray!
- The Saratoga Springs Temple is coming along nicely – they just put up the Angel Moroni a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been filming the progress on my Mavic 2 Zoom drone to do a cool aerial time lapse of the construction. My drone is currently out of commission due to a fluke crash landing last time I filmed so I need to figure that out.
- I got released as EQ President a while back – I can’t recall exactly when. I enjoyed serving in that role and forged some strong friendships. I was then called as a Sunday School Teacher with Katrina, which is my dream calling. Working with Katrina, only teaching every other week! Woohoo. They took her away from me, obviously, when they called her as RS Pres. but she still goes to class with me and helps. I also serve as the Stake Communications Director, which can keep me busy at times.
- We’ve been renting out our drywall lift / hoist that I bought when we finished our basement. I paid $150 for it and we used to rent it out for $50/week. That went on for months, probably earning about $400 but then people stopped calling so I lowered it to $25/week and now it’s gone most of the times. We must have made at least $600 or more on it by now.
- Covid is still around. We wear masks to church at the moment, even though we didn’t for a while. It’s an extremely divisive topic. We have friends and family (including a son) that are firmly anti-vaccine and anti-mask. We have friends and family that are firmly pro-mask and pro-vaccine. It separates folks. It divides. It causes contention. This is mostly due to the fact that most people tend to feel the need to convert anyone who disagrees to their side of the issue. Do what you want, I suppose. As for me and my house, we’re just doing what we feel is right, which is to be vaccinated and wear masks when required or suggested. I hate masks. They’re a pain. They’re annoying. But if it helps to get rid of this mess we’re in I’ll gladly wear one. Or two. Or three. Most importantly for me, the prophet has asked us to wear them and to get vaccinated. That’s all I need to hear. I pray that this scourge will be out of our lives sooner than later. Like, really gone. Not lingering like it is now. I want to take my family to Europe!
- No one in our immediate family has had Covid.
- We had sheep in the field next to our house this year – hundreds of them. That was really pretty cool. Unfortunately they kept escaping so they were removed.
- I’ve been slowly working on the trailer. I’m finishing building all of the cabinet doors now and then I need to build the kitchen sink cabinet. Most of the appliances are bought and all of the insulation, floors and walls are done. Yay! We likely won’t be able to use it this year but hopefully next year.
- I just bought a 24mm F1.8 lens so that I can get wider shots in my studio downstairs for the 3D Printing Zone and for in the shop, where it’s a bit tight. That’s my second most expensive lens at $500.
- Star Wars Room – I’m planning on turning the studio into a Star Wars room with cool Death Star backdrops. We’ll see how it goes.
OK, I’ve been typing all night so I’ll wrap this up. I’ll do my best to get some photos in now. Hasta Forty-Four!