Thursday, April 05, 2007

Everything Has a Purpose

After reviewing receipts for 2006 yesterday and discussing taxes with my CPA, I realized that I really am focused. I buy books, reference materials, and supplies to truly support my writing and editing habits.

That sounds straightforward enough. I'm sure you're thinking, "how hard is that?"

Let me explain.

A year ago, I attended a seminar about using the Internet to sell books effectively (self-publishing, infoproduct marketing, list building, blogging, etc.) and some of the stuff was pretty new. I mean a year ago, podcasting was new, blogging was relatively new, and self-publishing still had that tarnished "are you sure about that?" look. After Pete Bowerman's latest book, and twelve months later, self-pubbing and infoproduct launches are so common that entire neighborhoods on the Internet are devoted to them. And people are making fortunes.

But a year ago, when I first heard it all, it blew my mind. I had no idea Web 2.0 was going to be so . . . intriguing. But I was afraid. The dot-bombing of the late 1990s and early 2000s did leave me holding the bag, especially because as a writer, I provided content for many of those sites.

Thus, my brain was so not wired to keep up with these "info-preneurs," so I began buying reference materials and books and listening to tapes and cds and dvds to try and figure it out. I got so many emails launching this product or another that I spent one entire Saturday unsubscribing from all those email lists. It was like the waterfall above--masses of information continually streaming into my computer--and I got overwhelmed. I got pulled in multiple directions. I launched an infoproduct section of my corp (it's doing quite well, thanks), started blogging more regularly, and began to draw up plans for more Web 2.0 expansion. I was trying to stay one step ahead of all that information.

Then about last August, I got really tired. I was going in too many directions. I was confused. I left my office and went camping over Labor Day weekend (all those pictures of my beloved House Rock are more than just pretty views) and without Internet and phone, I read David Allen's Getting Things Done. It wasn't really Allen's book that got me back to reality, it was just the fact that I sat that week, in the sunshine, on vacation, smelling the late summer breezes wafting over me, and I was able to put things into perspective. I knew where I wanted to go and how I would end 2006 and begin 2007. I put together a plan.

The plan completely changed course a few more times (what's new) and I had to respond quickly and with decisiveness.

And when 2007 began, I found myself back again at pretty much the same spot an entire year later, wiser, slower to respond to the "infopreneurs," but with a greater understanding of my goals with this business.

And my receipts prove that I kept the course and only bought what I really needed. And I'm really glad. And grateful. There were a few opportunities that came up last year that would have been utter disasters, not because of anyone else involved, but because of me. I had to spend 2006 processing and figuring out what I wanted my business to be. And it paid off. True, 2006 doesn't look very impressive on paper and 2007 and 2008 will be spent expanding and making that year worthwhile, but it was worth it. It really was.

Sometimes to take risks, you have to walk the edge, and that's really scary. I know. But how else are we going to know what we're made of? We owe it to ourselves to step out and try.

No comments: