On December 31, I met my friend Jeff Slobotski for coffee at Scooter’s in Omaha, NE. It was a cold morning, but the coffee was warm.
When I ordered, the barista initiated our conversation, “So,” she asked, “Are you ready for the new year?” The question should not have been unexpected—it was New Year’s Eve after all.
And yet, for some reason, I felt ill-equipped to answer. “I don’t know,” I replied, “I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
As I sat down across the table from Jeff, we began to catch up. If I’m lucky, I see him twice/year. If I’m not, it’s only once. There’s always much to share between us—what has happened since we last talked and what projects we are working on for the future.
It was in that moment, as I was still thinking through the simple question asked at the counter, I first made this observation, “This is, by far, the most ambitious list of goals I have ever had entering a new year.”
Those who know me well, both online and off, know I have been very focused these past 7 months. But until now, I have said very little on this platform. Mostly because this website is not about me primarily, it is about us as a community and everyone else who believes their life is too valuable to waste chasing material possessions.
Also, I must admit, I have shared very little publicly because there are some things that need to be in place before an announcement can be made. But maybe now, halfway through August, is the right time.
Here is what I have been working on this past year and what to expect next at Becoming Minimalist. Each update contains some personal information, but also facets that involve all of us. Because, quite frankly, I don’t think any of this succeeds without you.
A Full-Length Book. Last year, I signed a two-book contract with WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of Random House. The first book is going through final edits and will be released in May, 2016. My goal for this book is to “introduce minimalism to the masses” on a larger scale than ever before. In fact, my hope is to put the book on the New York Times bestseller list.
The book argues for owning less, offers practical thoughts on implementing it in your home, and calls the reader to dream big dreams for their life. This book has been a significant undertaking, but I could not be more pleased with it. It shares more about my personal journey into minimalism (the good and the bad) than I have ever shared before and I look forward to telling you more about it in the coming months. I think you are going to find value in it.
A Non-Profit Organization. Our publisher was very generous with their offer—more generous than my modest family needs. I outlined exactly one year ago how Becoming Minimalist supports us, and very few things have changed since writing that post. As a result of our financial needs already being met, my wife and I decided to use the book proceeds to launch a nonprofit organization.
Because the plight of the orphan has always been near to our hearts, we will be launching a new organization this Fall to re-think and re-invent orphan care around the world. The details will be announced right here on November 1. It is a significant undertaking. But I am excited to see firsthand what a community of people who have decided not to buy worthless possessions can accomplish with their money and lives.
Speaking. I am thrilled to see the interest for minimalist living continue to grow. Over the past year, I have spoken to physicians, financial agents, law firms, and highway patrol departments. I have traveled to Stockholm, Boston, Las Vegas, and neighboring communities here in Phoenix. I have spoken at conferences for Senior Move Managers, Sustainable Living Advocates, Simple-Living Enthusiasts, Aspiring Writers, and Young Mothers (just to name a few).
Currently, I receive more requests than I can fulfill. I feel bad turning down opportunities to share this message, but appearing at all of them is no longer possible. However, I work hard to accept as many requests as possible. If the message of owning less would benefit your event or organization, you can request me as a speaker here. Also, you can find my upcoming appearance schedule on the same page. For example, in the next few months, I will be speaking at conferences in Nashville, Minneapolis, and Chicago. If you’re close, join us.
A Do-It-Yourself Program. I am working diligently to create a short, 3-month at-home course to help people make minimalism more of a reality in their lives. Minimalism means different things to different people. But one constant that unites us is the fact that intentionally owning less is a countercultural lifestyle—and people are looking for inspiration, encouragement, and help because of it. This program will provide all of them.
The program will be completed and launched in conjunction with the book as a means to help people move beyond words on a page. But, in order to do it right, I will be offering a pilot course this January before the book releases. You can expect an announcement with details in the month of December.
Social Media Changes. Our social media accounts continue to grow. Our Facebook group is nearing 300,000 people and Twitter followers now exceed 30,000. Over the coming months, I am committed to expanding my reach in two places:
- Pinterest. Some of the material on Becoming Minimalist does very well on Pinterest and I recognize it as a valuable platform to reach others. I will continue to be more intentional about using it.
- Joshua Becker Facebook page. Because the Becoming Minimalist Facebook page is devoted entirely to the idea of owning less, I post very few personal updates on it. However, as my pursuits evolve, some of you are interested in receiving more general updates (nonprofit news, speaking engagements, special announcements, personal meet-ups, etc). If that is you, you can now follow Joshua Becker, Author on Facebook. This will allow me to keep the two accounts distinct.
Email Changes. Roughly 50,000 people receive Becoming Minimalist posts via email. To date, these emails have been automatically generated by Google Feedburner, a service that is free but offers limited control over appearance—I am reminded regularly by those who receive the emails.
Over the past 6 months, I have been testing a new email delivery system that provides greater flexibility in display, appearance, and control. As a result, the emails are far more consistent with the look and feel of the actual Becoming Minimalist webpage. Over the coming months, I will be transitioning everybody over to the new system. If you are already receiving these emails, you won’t need to do anything on your end. You’re going to love it.
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As I mentioned, it’s been a focused year and there are exciting days ahead. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for all of us.
I’ll be hanging around the comment section today answering any questions you might have.