Welcome to Digital Homesteading.

This collection of resources from 9 Clouds helps you build your business and community.


Today Is Your Birthday (and Mine too!)


Birthdays are a day we have permission to ask for what we want. Yesterday was mine.

I’m 34 and celebrate with my wife and daughters. I also celebrated by writing.

As I reflect on years gone by, (as one does on their birthday), I think about the words I’ve written and the moments that inspired those words. The inspiration is what’s most important because it naturally forces me to create.

On my birthday this year, I don’t need anything. I only ask that you pretend that today is your birthday.

Do the thing you’ve been wanting to do, ask for the thing you’ve been longing to ask for or connect with the person you’ve been waiting to contact.

If we live each day like a birthday, we have a foundation of experience upon which we can build incredible businesses, relationships and ideas.

The One Lesson Learned from 13+ Years of Blogging

I started my first blog on Blogspot way back in 2003 as I traveled to Tanzania for a semester abroad. (I later archived it here and the photo is of my birthday there.) The electricity was not very reliable, so a couple of times a week, I would pay money to use the Internet café. I would type my posts on a Word document and save it along the way in case the power went out. Then I would copy and paste it onto Blogspot before posting.

The technology improved as I documented four years of adventures living above the Arctic Circle in Tromsø, Norway. With no sunlight for two months, I would look out at Stakkevollveien and search for words to capture the dusk-like calm of midday in Norway.

Later, I would have 45 minutes of recess when I could type up posts during my one-year stint as a preschool English teacher in Spain. If I was quick, I would head outside and immediately become a human jungle gym.

Finally, I returned home to South Dakota and started writing this combination of business strategies, community-building ideas and reflections on the entrepreneurial journey.

I’m now entering year three of writing a weekly newsletter article, and I have you to thank. The fact that you are reading, sharing and commenting on the vast array of thoughts that are posted on this blog encourages me to continue to write.

You are the reason behind the ritual, and the ritual forces me to stretch my mind and improve my personal discipline.

After 13+ years of writing online, over one-third of my life, I’ve learned one important lesson: writing is the outgrowth of experiences.

Seek Adventures to Create Opportunity

The most important aspects of one’s life are the result of our adventures. Our businesses, relationships, personalities, interests and worldviews are informed by what we have done.

Too often during my adventures around the globe, I was busy thinking about when I would start my “real life.” Now, looking back, it’s all too clear to me that those adventures are what enable me to run 9 Clouds, write this newsletter and enjoy relationships that are inspiring and supportive with friends around the globe.

If I could do it again, I would live each day like a birthday, asking for what I want, seeking out the adventures I wanted to have and sharing my time with those I care most about. The diverse experiences from this “birthday living” would create the path for the “real life” concerns of work, relationships and more.

There is no degree or course to tell you how to richly live life. Fortunately, every year on our birthdays, we get a little closer because we have permission to reflect on what we want and actually ask for it or pursue it.

Pretend that today is your birthday, too. What will you do to celebrate?

Join Me for the Next 13 Years

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