My Year of Living Creatively: Six Month Update…
A bit of light reading in Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans gave me hope of my eventual success in making a living from my writing business, but I’m not there yet. Well, I am, sort of…but my definition of success is not entirely based on financials (much to my family’s ongoing, ‘isn’t it time you got a real job, Lin’ – sorry, Byrnsie, I’m getting there, honest:)).
A new definition of success…
Ferriss’ book has become a bible of sorts for my determinedly – some say obstinately – creative brain because it offers all the business savvy I need to succeed (there’s that word again). Ferriss recommends Kevin Kelly’s “1000 True Fans” with a synopsis that reads,
‘”Success” need not be complicated. Just start with making 1,000 people extremely, extremely happy’ (p293).
The idea is that if you have 1,000 people who believe in you, and they spend $100 each on your products, voila, there’s your $100k income. Repeat annually.
And it’s got me thinking that maybe I’m further along the success chain than I thought. You see, I’ve been doing it all wrong. I read somewhere that if I earned $10k a month I’d clear my $100k a year. Some months I achieve this, others not, but it’s not the kind of success I want to measure.
What Kelly’s “1000 True Fans” tell me is that I should be looking at how many of my students know, like and trust me – and keep buying my products, or more correctly, my courses, workshops and books. And therein lies the real success of my first six months.
Six months in…
By focusing on how many students are happy to buy from me over and over again, rather than how much money I’m earning, allows to see clearly how my business is growing. I’ve worked with nearly 200 students and most of them have bought from me more than once.
I started with one-day workshops, then added three-day masterclasses, ranging from $65 to $195. I started with my signature online novel writing course, and added a six-week online mini-course, with four more courses coming online, all at $135. I created an online tutoring program because a parent asked me – that program now sells for $650.
None of these were in my masterplan six months ago, yet they’re the core of my business now. Two hundred students down, eight hundred to go…
Lessons I’ve learned so far…
- The secret of free: not every student pays every time. Sometimes it’s about more than money. Sometimes it’s even about giving more than you get
- Meet the market: I started building the things I wanted, but I soon learned that people were telling me what they wanted if I was prepared to listen
- Overwhelm and overload are real words: watch out for them
- Everything takes more time than you think to build and costs more than you anticipated in your budget
- Sometimes you fail and that’s okay. Letting go of great ideas leaves room for new ideas to appear
- Trying to make something happen by pure willpower is a sure way to know you’re on the wrong track
- Family matters – always, always check that you have balance and that you’re not losing sight of why you’re building your business i the first place
- Educate yourself all the time – read everything you can, attend all the conferences you can afford, and do all the courses you need to be the best you can be at what you do
- Outsource the stuff you don’t do well
- Smile, even on bad days (and there will be plenty of those). There is always someone out there earning more, doing more and growing faster than you. Watch and learn how they do it, then decide if that’s what you want to do.
Trust your ideas and success will find you…
The halfway mark of my year has been a great time to reflect and realign. Where I thought I’d be working with adults it seems that working with kids is what I do best. I have lots of ideas for the next six months but only some of them will work out. That’s the funny thing about ideas, they’re easy to come up with, but only the best ones hang around to be become a reality.
The one thing I’ve learned is that taking the first step is key to making your ideas happen. Without that first step your ideas stays just that. So, if you have a great idea, trust it. There’s no telling where your steps will take you.