Language Matters: Lessons in Editing from Mr. Rogers

lonely-planet-643027-unsplash_50

I went to see the Mr. Rogers movie last week (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor”) and found it as heartwarming and uplifting as I expected.

If you’re able to see it in a theatre, don’t hesitate. At the screening I attended, everyone applauded at the end. This doesn’t happen much in Portland, Oregon. It felt like we were on a flight landing in Miami from Central America (it’s a thing).

Afterwards I stumbled on an article that details the level of precision that Fred Rogers put into editing the language used on his show. The man was relentlessly focused on connecting with children. He would go back and edit previous episodes if he found they no longer stood up, or if language had changed and required an update.

The article shows how a simple sentence would be deconstructed over and over:

1. “State the idea you wish to express as clearly as possible, and in terms preschoolers can understand.” Example: It is dangerous to play in the street.

2. “Rephrase in a positive manner,” as in It is good to play where it is safe.

3. “Rephrase the idea, bearing in mind that preschoolers cannot yet make subtle distinctions and need to be redirected to authorities they trust.” As in, Ask your parents where it is safe to play.

4. “Rephrase your idea to eliminate all elements that could be considered prescriptive, directive, or instructive.” In the example, that’d mean getting rid of “ask”: Your parents will tell you where it is safe to play.

5. “Rephrase any element that suggests certainty.” That’d be “will”: Your parents can tell you where it is safe to play.

6. “Rephrase your idea to eliminate any element that may not apply to all children.” Not all children know their parents, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play.

7. “Add a simple motivational idea that gives preschoolers a reason to follow your advice.” Perhaps: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is good to listen to them.

8. “Rephrase your new statement, repeating the first step.” “Good” represents a value judgment, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them.

9. “Rephrase your idea a final time, relating it to some phase of development a preschooler can understand.” Maybe: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part of growing.

I so admire the precision of this work. When I write a major talk—the kind I’ll give over and over in a dozen or more cities—I try to think a lot about the words I use, the examples I provide, and so on. Of course, I’m no Fred Rogers. But the point is every word, every sentence, and every inflection matters. Language matters!

To give oneself so fully to something, and then do it over and over again every single day for decades… it’s no wonder the man made such an impact on so many people. This kind of consistency and important to detail is all too rare.

Link: Rules for Talking to Children

Image: Lonely Planet

###

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

168 Hours: What I’ve Learned Tracking Every 15 Minutes of My Week

Time Tracking Bitches

For the past two weeks I’ve been tracking every 15 minute interval of my life. I borrowed this time-tracking practice from Laura Vanderkam, who writes helpful books including 168 Hours, which outlines the practice in a lot of detail.

One of Laura’s principles is that “you have more time than you think.” Through her research, she’s found that most people who claim to work more than 50 hours a week tend to over-report their work hours, sometimes dramatically so. In other words, a lot of the time they think they’re working, they’re not. It’s not just that their priorities are out of order; they also waste a lot of time.

I was happy with my productivity and work habits until a year or two ago. Then I began feeling frustrated, constantly carrying the sense that there were never enough hours in the day—though of course I had access to the same amount of hours as everyone else. Even more, being self-employed I have a lot of freedom in how I plan and spend those hours. I’m careful about commitments that aren’t rewarding, I try to have no more than two meetings or extended phone calls a day, and so on.

Still, like I said, I’ve been frustrated.

I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m pretty sure that some of them will be found through this time-tracking process. (If you’d like to try it for yourself, download a free spreadsheet from Laura’s site.)

What I’ve Learned So Far

A few early observations:

1. Time tracking takes time! But mostly it takes mindfulness.

Learning to monitor what you’re doing every 15 minutes takes some getting used to. I often find myself looking up and suddenly realizing I’m not sure what I’ve done for the last 40 minutes, sometimes longer—which of course is notable in itself.

On the positive side, I like seeing the columns fill up. I can tell there are patterns to be deciphered and improved upon.

*There’s an option to track your time every half-hour if fifteen-minute intervals feels excessive, but so far I’m thinking I’ll stick with fifteen.

2. The mere act of tracking my time helps me be more intentional.

When I know I have to account for my time, even if only to myself, I find myself making wiser decisions. I plan my days more carefully. I started writing this post a few days ago, but I’m finishing it while waiting for a replacement driver’s license at the DMV.

It’s not unusual for me to productively use waiting time. I think what’s different is that today I made this my default state instead of just looking at my phone or zoning out. I knew I’d need to account for what became a 30-minute wait, so I made sure to use it well.

3. Momentum matters.

Week I of tracking my time flew by and I only got behind a couple of afternoons. With a trip to New York City and a few other things that threw off my schedule in Week II, I got much more behind. There’s definitely a sense of momentum or inertia to this process: stay on track and you’ll want to keep it going, lose a few hours and you’ll feel discouraged.

Laura notes that most people have irregular weeks, but you shouldn’t wait for a “regular” week to start tracking. Disruptions happen in every week. I always have different projects to work on and I typically travel every week, so if I waited for a “normal” week at home I’d be waiting a long time. If I continue this discipline beyond another couple of weeks, I’ll need to make sure I integrate it into my traveling life.

4. I don’t feel guilty about intentional time that isn’t spent productively.

I don’t really have hobbies (I’ve tried!) and I sometimes say that relaxing stresses me out.

There are a lot of intervals I filled up with items “reading,” “walking to gym,” “phone call with a friend,” or even “search for mistake fares for post-WDS Asia trip.” And I liked that! I don’t feel that these things detract from my other goals at all. I don’t want to avoid or minimize them; in some ways I’d like to do more of them.

What I want to avoid is wasted time. Almost every day I have numerous 15-minute intervals that I don’t know what to label because I don’t remember what I did. This, at least for me, means that I frittered away the time without doing anything productive or taking time for myself in an intentional way.

***

So what do I do with this info—or to rephrase, if you try it out, what do you do with the info you gain? Well, I’m not completely sure yet. Like I said, simply paying attention to it as I go is helping a bit on its own. I’d like to do more analysis with the data once I have another couple of weeks of good reporting.

In other words, I’m hoping to rally for Week III and gain more insight.

###

Image: Eder Pozo

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Don’t Make Important Decisions Out of Desperation

heidi-sandstrom-120382-unsplash_50

One of the best things about having more than one source of income is that it provides security when something goes wrong. You’re not dependent on your employer—so that even if a job loss would be a major problem, at least it wouldn’t be an all-out disaster.

But what if you don’t have that security set up, and you lose your job… what do you do?

Here’s how a reader is experiencing this situation:

“I am currently in a dilemma and in the absence of a mentor who can give me advice. I do not want to waste your time with my life story; the situation is that I left my full time job to pursue a passion project, which failed.

I’ve almost run out of my savings and my old job is no longer available. While I’m thinking of continuing my job hunt to pay the bills, I also keep thinking if I should give my passion project a few more tries before calling it quits altogether. Your advice on having a side hustle is of course, on the back of my mind, but in my situation, would you recommend having a regular job and a side hustle or is it better to pursue my passion full time?

***

And here’s what I think:

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with continuing the job hunt. Do whatever you can do to pay the bills, and build for the future. In a situation like this, the risk is that you’ll make decisions out of desperation—which isn’t good.

When you’re scared, you tend to make poor decisions. Or at least you make decisions that are focused on short-term results. It’s more important to resolve your current situation so that you’re not desperate. Then, and perhaps only then, you’ll be able to think more clearly about those passion projects.

There’s no need to solve everything at once, in other words. And hang in there—don’t be too hard on yourself. 🙂

###

Image: Heidi

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

What Is Your Personal Moonshot?

ian-simmonds-274494-unsplash

A moonshot, according to the ubiquitous WikiPedia, is a “is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.”

In other words, it’s a long-term goal with the hope of success, but also the awareness that not every outcome lies within our control.

I was thinking about this while reading a series of “moonshot proposals” from people who are working on big projects.

The collection includes a lot of what you’d expect (which is to say, a lot of writing about ambitious, noble projects, especially in regards to science and technology). My favorite, though, is from Tyler Cowen, who often has an unconventional take or just a unique perspective. In his essay, he begins by noting that:

“My goal is to be the economist who has most successfully used the internet as a platform to foment broad enlightenment. As I see it, the internet is changing everything, and most intellectuals (and also businesspeople) still are underestimating the import of this reality.”

He then goes on to lay out a series of deliverables he contributes in pursuit of this goal. Namely, he writes a daily blog (for 14 years and counting!), produces a popular YouTube channel, publishes books every two years, hosts conversations with other intellectuals, etc.

The specific items on that list aren’t that original on their own. What’s interesting is the thematic lens each of them are aligned with, as well as the consistency with which he produces them. (Again: a daily blog for 14 years!)

Tyler’s approach is similar to mine in the sense that I’m not trying to actually go to the moon or otherwise do something that is extraordinarily ground-breaking. The value of it, and in some sense the intangible essence of it, lies in the collective and consistent devotion to craft.

For a long time my moonshot was going to every country in the world. Then I accomplished that goal (without ever getting to the actual moon—it’s not a country, after all) and had to figure out what came next.

I’m still working on my list, and over the past two years I’ve focused on removing some items from it while adjusting others. As a starting point, it includes:

  • The Art of Non-Conformity, my bi-weekly blog and overall online “home” (Note: I’m currently in the midst of a refresh, redesign, and refocus with this site. It needs some changes, and change is on the way)
  • Side Hustle School, my daily podcast that I started on January 1, 2017 (420 episodes and counting)
  • The events I produce and host, in particular the World Domination Summit (WDS), now 8 years running
  • My books, usually published every other year or sometimes 18 months apart
  • My speaking tours and meetups in dozens of cities worldwide, often coinciding with book publications
  • Responding to reader emails, 100+ a day for 10 years and counting (sadly, I don’t get to them all—if you wrote me and didn’t hear back, I apologize)

There are also a lot of other things I do: business ventures, independent lectures, near-weekly travel and so on. But I don’t necessarily see all of those as being perfectly aligned with the overall vision. Also, when evaluating your life it can be helpful to ask yourself “What endures?” Based on that question, many of my other projects haven’t made the cut on the above list.

Long ago I coined the phrase legacy work to describe this distinction. Legacy work, unlike many of the other tasks that occupy our time and attention, either endures or makes a real improvement in the lives of people who interact with it.

As a writer, speaker, and podcaster, I hear stories every day of how the work has intersected with others’ lives. I don’t usually share these stories, partly because I don’t feel they are mine to share, but also because I don’t want to take credit for the change that someone else has created for themselves. They are the ones doing the work!

Still, in those cases I’m glad to have made some contribution. It feels fulfilling and meaningful to make something that other people value, and it contributes to a positive cycle of wanting to do more.

Do you have a personal moonshot? Maybe you’ve never thought of it that way before, but maybe now you will. Ask yourself what your overarching mission might look like, and how that mission could be expressed on a daily basis.

###

Image: Ian

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Join a Supportive Community and Create a New Source of Income

SideHustleSchool-Society

Join the Side Hustle Society and Create a New Source of Income

Link: Side Hustle Society

Short version: my new training program (the first I’ve made in 3 years!) is now available for registration. Join during the introductory launchone week only—before it closes for at least a month.

-OFFER ENDS January 16, 2018-


And here’s the slightly longer version…

It only took me six months to finish what I started.

Last January 1, I introduced Side Hustle School, a daily podcast that promised to show listeners how to make extra money without quitting their jobs. In our first year, Side Hustle School produced 365 episodes that were downloaded millions of times (more than 12 million in total).

I also heard from a ton of listeners. From thousands of emails to in-person meet ups in 40 cities, all along the way I heard what people like you are looking for most of all.

What I’ve heard more than anything else is that you want support. You want to get feedback about your idea, and you want to connect with one another!

You also want a step-by-step process that guides you from start to finish in creating a new source of income.

Well, help has arrived! Side Hustle Society will help with both of these issues. When you join the Society, you’ll get that step-by-step process in the form of 35 short audio and video modules. You’ll also get access to a community of people just like you, where you can bounce ideas off one another and get advice from experts.

Learn more or register now

After one week, we’ll close registration and not accept any new members for at least a month (and likely at a higher price). This is so we can focus on serving and rewarding the inaugural members—perhaps including you.

I spent more than six months designing this program (thanks for your patience), and I know it can help people who are looking for support in starting their hustle.

To your success,

content_CG_Sig_-_Newsletter

Chris Guillebeau

P.S. To be clear, this program isn’t for everyone. I only want people to join who are absolutely serious about making their side hustle dream a reality. If that’s not you at the moment, no problem—you’re more than welcome to continue to enjoy the free show that comes out every single day.

If, however, you do want to take action and create a new source of income in a short period of time…. GET READY!!! This new program will help, and I’ll do everything I can to support you along the way.

###

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

The Limits of Lifehacking: What Happens When You Approach Optimization?

helloquence-61190

I have a weird memory of my dad explaining math to me when I was a kid. I never actually learned real math, at least once it went beyond how to pocket extra lunch money, and still haven’t learned 30-odd years later.

But my dad was a good storyteller, and often taught me lessons using examples. One time he told me how if you stood across the room and moved halfway toward the wall, and then halfway again, and then kept moving only halfway over and over, you would never actually reach the wall.

Practically speaking, after a few moves you might not be able to take small enough steps to continue “halfway,” but technical speaking, if you only moved halfway, you’d never arrive.

As a ten-year-old, my mind was blown. You’ll never reach the wall if you only move halfway, even if you spend 1,000 years moving over and over?

Yep, even then. Furthermore, the margins get tighter and tighter. Once you’ve played your first big moves, any other distance becomes marginal. The first time you move halfway across the room, you’ve made a ton of progress. The tenth time, not so much.

I thought about this story as I thought about my lists.

See, I am a list person. I live by my lists. When I’m at my office, I have two screens: the laptop I work from, and a separate monitor next to it that shows only my list of tasks, nothing else. When I’m on the road, I use an iPad for the same thing. “Work from the list” is a classic productivity mantra.

Writing lists helps me write books.

I organize my thoughts using Scrivener, Evernote, and OmniFocus—the trifecta of tools that I use every day.

I wrote my first book using only Microsoft Word, and seven years later I have no idea how that was possible. It seems that people have been writing books since at least the days of the Palm Pilot, but don’t ask me how they did it.

Writing a list helped me visit 193 countries.

Somewhere around country #30, I wrote down where I’d been so far. This led to a goal: visit 100 countries before I die. Impossible, right? It was actually quite easy. Pursuing this endeavor eventually led to another goal, one that presented a real challenge: visit ALL the countries. (I concede that I can be somewhat compulsive.)

Lists are directly connected to productivity-or at least that’s always been my experience and assumption. But there’s also an obvious problem with organizing and optimizing your life: you can’t do it infinitely.

If you keep getting better at doing things, can you just do more things? Sure, for a while.

But eventually you hit a ceiling, and that’s not even the worst part. The danger in optimizing your life to the nth degree is that you lose the ability to do the things you really should be doing, not just the things that are so clearly and efficiently organized on your lists.

My dad was right that you can’t ever get somewhere if you keep moving halfway. But still, I keep writing lists and keep doing more things. What’s the end game?

###

Hat tip and inspiration: How to Do Everything

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

201 More Stories of People with Day Jobs Creating Side Hustles

Listen to Side Hustle School:

in iTunes or Stitcher
on the website
—somewhere else (it should be available almost anywhere you listen to podcasts…)


On January 1, I began a new project: to share a story every day of someone who starts an income-generating project (a “side hustle”) without quitting their day job.

The project failed and I decided to give up. Just kidding! We are relentlessly moving along, publishing story after story—and it’s getting better and better!

I recently completed the first 100 200 300 days. There’s much more to come, but I’m excited about everything I’ve learned since beginning back in January.

If you’re just joining in, you can also catch up on any recent episode from the links below.

Here’s the list and links to the first 100 episodes.

Download all episodes from each month:

JAN | FEB | MARCH | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT

SH-Episode-101-and-104

Side Hustle School – Week 15:

Side Hustle School – Week 16:

SH-114-118

Side Hustle School – Week 17:

SH-123-124

Side Hustle School – Week 18:

SH-123-131
Side Hustle School – Week 19:

Side Hustle School – Week 20:

SH-145-147
Side Hustle School – Week 21:

SH-149-152
Side Hustle School – Week 22:

SH-157-159
Side Hustle School – Week 23:

SH-163-168
Side Hustle School – Week 24:

SH-173-174
Side Hustle School – Week 25:

SH-178-180
Side Hustle School – Week 26:

SH-186-187
Side Hustle School – Week 27:

SH-191-193
Side Hustle School – Week 28:

SH-199-203
Side Hustle School – Week 29:

SH-205-207
Side Hustle School – Week 30:

SH-213-217
Side Hustle School – Week 31:

SH-219-223
Side Hustle School – Week 32:

SH-227-229
Side Hustle School – Week 33:

SH-235-236
Side Hustle School – Week 34:

SH-241-241
Side Hustle School – Week 35:

SH-248-252
Side Hustle School – Week 36:

SH-254-257
Side Hustle School – Week 37:

SH-262-264
Side Hustle School – Week 38:

SH-269-270
Side Hustle School – Week 39:

SH-277-279
Side Hustle School – Week 40:

SH-283-287
Side Hustle School – Week 41:

SH-291-292
Side Hustle School – Week 42:

SH-296-298
Side Hustle School – Week 43:

***
I’ve been so happy to see the show finding a good home with the right people! A new episode arrives each morning at 6:01am EST. As promised, much more is on the way.

###

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

What If All Your Work Disappeared At the End of the Day?

bench-accounting-49027

Over the past ten years, I’ve thought a lot about building a legacy. In particular, I’ve thought about it as it relates to a body of work that you produce and share over the years. This model has kept me going for a long time.

To me, one of the most attractive qualities of writing the blog, starting in 2008 and continuing until now (albeit in several distinct forms), was the idea that I was building a portfolio of sorts. I could write something today, and it would still be around tomorrow, next week, next year, and so on. It would, as I’ve said more than once, “go on to live a life of its own.”

But is that really true?

As I wrote waaaaay back in 2009 (WTF), nothing lasts forever. In my therapy sessions of late, and in my own reflection while traveling, I’ve been thinking more about the not-so-shocking revelation that everything eventually comes to an end.

And as I learn through experience and observation, I’m forced to concede that there are some holes to this model that I love so dearly.

One of the holes is that much of the work seems destined to be lost, sometimes immediately upon dissemination. It disappears into the void of content overwhelm. Some people do go back and discover earlier work, but there’s a real 80/20 rule (probably more like 98/2) to this. Very few people go back, and very little of the work lives to see the sunlight again… if it ever did at all.

Another hole is that some work becomes perennially popular—which is great, of course—but you can’t necessarily predict which work that will be. My second book, The $100 Startup, has sold 10 times the number of copies that my first book, The Art of Non-Conformity, has. I’m glad that people enjoyed it, but I don’t think it’s 10x better than the first one. I didn’t work 10x as hard on it, and I don’t believe in that book’s message 10x more.

I’m pretty sure there’s an element of luck to some of these things. And if it’s not luck, the point is that it’s outside one’s ability to influence, which means it might as well be luck.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in the model of legacy work. I’m not quitting or going anywhere. I’m just as motivated as when I started, if not more. Perhaps I’m just less confident in my ability to predict and control it. So maybe it’s time to consider a new model.

Let’s call this new model the Etch-a-Sketch practice of making art. Remember those? You could sketch whatever you imagined in a sea of horizontal and vertical lines, but with a quick shake-shake-shake, it was gone. Aside from never using that Etch-a-Sketch again, which would of course render it useless, there’s no way to preserve the work.

16966510239_ff7aa989c8_b

So in this Etch-a-Sketch model, you still have to do your best every day. You put out the show, the post, the essay, the video… or whatever your form or medium. You still get the chance to reach people with it that day.

But then it disappears, never to be seen or experienced again, and you have to start over the next day. The only value is what you make of it today. When tomorrow comes, you have to deliver once more.

In this scenario, there are no archives. There is no body of work. There is only, well, today. This leads to an obvious question: what will you make with your one day of opportunity?

And if you don’t put it to good use, not to worry. Perhaps you’ll have another chance tomorrow, after today disappears into the void.

###

Image: Bench Accounting, Etchasketchariffic

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Final Round of WDS 2017 Tickets Goes on Sale Today

Link: Final Round of WDS 2017 Tickets

For seven years now, our volunteer team has produced a global adventure that takes place every year in Portland. This year will be our best year ever—you should be there!

Hero's Journey

Here’s what you need to know:
  • Our FINAL ROUND of main-stage ticket sales for WDS 2017 begins TODAY, Wednesday, April 26th, starting at 9am PST. All tickets are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, with none being held back for sale at the event itself, so get yours while you can!
  • Because of the increased focus on strengthening our entire community for this year’s gathering, WDS Connect tickets will not be available. It’s important that everyone who attends WDS this year takes part in the entire experience.
  • We operate WDS as a non-commercial event. There are no corporate sponsors, and all costs go toward the event or our new Scholarships for Real Life foundation.
  • WDS continues to expand. This year will have more opportunities than ever before and will last a full week like last year. We’re producing more than a dozen “Academies,” half-day workshops that take place before and after the weekend, and lots of other fun activities
  • If attending, you’ll want to be in Portland from July 11th – 17th, or at the very least from the 14th-16th. We still have a limited number of hotel discounts for registered attendees.

Zach Anner

If you’d like a WDS refresher:

Watch our quick WDS 2016 Trailer
Watch speaker videos from last year
View over a thousand photos from 2016
Read hundreds of independent attendee reviews!

Lewis

Tickets go on sale today, April 26th, starting at 9am PST / 12pm EST, and we hope to see you in July!

—>Get your ticket today!


###

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

101 Stories of People with Day Jobs Creating Side Hustles

Listen to Side Hustle School:

in iTunes or Stitcher
on the website
—somewhere else (it should be available almost anywhere you listen to podcasts…)


On January 1, I began a new project: to publish a story every day of someone who starts an income-generating project (a “side hustle”) without quitting their day job.

The project failed and I decided to give up. Just kidding! We are relentlessly moving along, publishing story after story—and it’s getting better and better!

I recently completed the first 100 days. There’s much more to come, but I’m excited about everything I’ve learned since beginning back in January.

If you’re just joining in, you can also catch up on any recent episode from the links below.

Download all episodes from each month:

January | February | March | April

Week 1 Collage
Ep. 6 (L): Astrology Calendar Hustle. Ep. 4 (R): Pinning for Cash!
Side Hustle School – Week 1:

 


Ep. 12 (L): San Francisco Traveling App. Ep. 10 (R): Saddles for Chickens!
Side Hustle School – Week 2:

 


Ep. 17 (L): Airbnb for dogs. Ep. 15 (R): Digital caricature hustle.
Side Hustle School – Week 3:

 


Ep. 24 (L): Philanthropic Cashmere Hustle. Ep. 25 (R): Pottery Barn Photography Hustle.
Side Hustle School – Week 4:

 


Ep. 33 (L): Handmade State Slates. Ep. 31 (R): Ballpark Sweaters!
Side Hustle School – Week 5:

 


Ep. 38 (L): Astronomy Book Hustle; Ep. 40 (R): TLC Officiant Hustle
Side Hustle School – Week 6:

 


Ep. 45 (L): The SimpleBra; Ep. 48 (R): Next-Level Tarot Hustle
Side Hustle School – Week 7:

 


Ep. 50 (L): Belgian Chocolate Hustle!; Ep. 52 (R): Spa-Grade Face Paint
Side Hustle School – Week 8:

 


Ep. 58 (L): 50 Shades of Grey Hustle; Ep. 62 (R): Gold Panning in New Zealand!
Side Hustle School – Week 9:

 


Ep. 68 (L): Novelty Pocket Shirts; Ep. 65 (R): Self-Published Romance Novels
Side Hustle School – Week 10:

 


Ep. 75 (L): British Pork Pies; Ep. 76 (R): Whimsical Sketch Hustle
Side Hustle School – Week 11:

 


Ep. 78 (L): Jewelry for Social Good in Detroit; Ep. 83 (R): Craigslist Bridesmaid-for-Hire
Side Hustle School – Week 12:

 


Ep. 87 (L): 20,000/Month Cleaning Hustle; Ep. 90 (R): Karaoke League Hustle!
Side Hustle School – Week 13:

 


Ep. 93 (L): Juppy Baby Harness; Ep. 96 (R): Instagram Calligraphy Hustle!
Side Hustle School – Week 14:

 


Side Hustle School – Week 15:

 

***

I’ve been so happy to see the show finding a good home with the right people! A new episode arrives each morning at 6:01am EST. As promised, much more is on the way.

###

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

“We Run Away from Desperation:” Thoughts on Pursuing a Creative Idea

ian-schneider-42238

I recently recorded a Side Hustle School episode about Michelle D’Avella, a designer who spent several years building a blog before turning it into a full-time income. The episode comes out next week, and ever since I made the recording I’ve been thinking about something she said.

The first year she started her blog, she made $0. Last year, after experimenting with a series of virtual workshops and mentoring sessions, she made $50,000. The success isn’t just about making money, it’s also (maybe even more importantly) about finding work she believes in.

Her advice to others is to create from a place of joy.

Don’t put so much pressure on figuring it all out, but make sure what you’re doing is something you can feel good about. When we create from joy, people feel it. When we create from lack, people feel it too. Human beings are attracted to abundance. We run away from desperation. So make sure the thing you are doing is something you believe in.”

I’ve been pondering this because as I look back over the past decade, I can clearly identify the seasons in which I was “creating with joy.” I felt energized and motivated. I worked hard, often early in the morning until late at night, but with a sense of purpose. Alternatively, I can also identify seasons in which I was creating with an intention that was less-than-joyful. In my case, I’m not sure I was doing so out of desperation, but I certainly wasn’t doing so from my true self.

That’s a great way to frame your intentions: choose joy, not desperation.

Looking back, I also realize that creating from a sense of joy often begins with more of a feeling than a well-developed concept. You don’t always know where you’re going or what the end result will be. When I started writing, that’s how it was for me: I felt as though I was guided by an internal compass. Sometimes I got off track, but when I stayed with that sense of joy and delight, everything I did was easier.

What I did during those seasons of creative joy was also more successful in terms of response. These two values—creating something you believe in and creating work that elicits a positive response—are not always so closely interlinked, but it’s nice when you find the overlap.

What project are you working on—and how can you create from a sense of joy?

###

Image: Ian

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

How Do You Know If Your Idea Is Worth Pursuing?

igor-miske-177849 (1)

Creative people usually have no shortage of ideas of things they’d like to do. The greater challenge is: how do you know which ideas are worth pursuing, and which should be abandoned or just put on hold for now?

Here’s one way: consider the amount of time you spend thinking about the idea, even as you go on to other things.

I don’t just mean when you have an idea and you think about it a lot the same day. I mean when you have an idea, and you think about it for a while before putting it aside… and then it comes back to you the next day. Then a week goes by, and you realize you’ve thought about it almost every day.

The more days (weeks, months, etc.) that go by with the same idea coming to mind, the more you know that you should do something about it.

This week I published the 100th episode of Side Hustle School, a daily podcast I started on January 1. It’s been a ton of work, a lot of fun, and I’ve learned so much.

For me, this idea very much fit the scenario I described above: I had the idea last summer, and it kept nagging at me for a long time. I began to explore the world of podcasting and design a working model. I still had room to back out, but at a certain point I could feel that I was committing to it. And it felt good!

There are other ways to know which ideas to pursue and which to abandon. But this way—paying attention to how often you think about it as the days and weeks go by—can help you avoid the pattern of starting many ideas only to walk away from them too early.

Do you have an idea like that?

###

Image: Igor

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

30 Days of Side Hustle School: Cruising for Dollars, Six-Figure Candy Hearts, and Saddles for Pet Chickens

Listen to Side Hustle School:

in iTunes
on the website
—somewhere else (Stitcher, Spotify (mobile only)PlayerFM, CB radio…)


On January 1, I started a daily podcast that will continue throughout the year. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m having a lot of fun.

Best of all, a lot of people are learning from the show and starting their own hustles.

If you’re new to the show, it’s not too late to jump in. You can start listening at any point and not feel left out, but it may help to go back and listen to some of the earlier episodes.

By popular request, we now have a way to download all of the first 30 episodes!

—> Side Hustle School: The First 30 Days

You can then add them to your home library on iTunes, Sonos, or presumably any other player that you prefer.

You can also catch up on any recent episode from the links below:

 

Week 1 Collage
Ep. 6 (L): Astrology Calendar Hustle. Ep. 4 (R): Pinning for Cash!
Side Hustle School – Week 1:

 


Ep. 12 (L): San Francisco Traveling App. Ep. 10 (R): Saddles for Chickens!
Side Hustle School – Week 2:

 


Ep. 17 (L): Airbnb for dogs. Ep. 15 (R): Digital caricature hustle.
Side Hustle School – Week 3:

 


Ep. 24: Philanthropic Cashmere Hustle. Ep. 25: Pottery Barn Photography Hustle.
Side Hustle School – Week 4:

 


 

Side Hustle School – Week 5:

 

***

I’ve been so happy to see the show finding a good home with the right people, and I have a lot of plans for the next 335 days.

A new episode arrives each morning at 6:01am EST. Here’s to your hustle!

###

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Side Hustle Workshops Start Next Week! Join Me in Your Choice of 4 Cities

Link: Side Hustle School Workshops

Next week I’ll be debuting my Side Hustle School Workshop series in four cities: Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix. Come out and join us!

Not in one of those cities? Well, we already have people flying in from several other places, so you won’t be alone… but of course, you can also suggest a stop for your city in the future. To do so, just add your location in the center of that page. You’ll get an email if we schedule something there later.

So anyway, what’s the new workshop all about?

It’s a 2 1/2 hour intensive workshop where I’m teaching a specific method. Everyone who attends will go away with a workbook, a set of tools & resources, and best of all, a specific plan to start their hustle within 30 days.

Specifically, you’ll learn:
  • Discover profitable ideas using the skills you already have
  • Go from Idea to Action: a proven process to get started quickly
  • Master a simple tool to help you choose between multiple ideas
  • Divide your limited time to work only on what’s essential
  • Understand all you need to know about business licenses, bank accounts, and taxes
  • Make more money once you’re up and running (without spending a lot of extra time)

This is a bit different from the free book events I’ve done before. It’s a very small group and everyone will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Not for you? no problem! Feel free to send this on to someone who might need it, and I hope to see you another time.

To your success,

CG-Signature

Chris Guillebeau

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

9 Life Lessons from Starting a Daily Podcast

So hey—I started a podcast! Yes, it’s true: I’m catching up to the technological age of 2005.

And let me tell you: I’m having so much fun. I feel purposeful.

Readers—many of whom are now listeners—are really enjoying it. And best of all, I truly believe it’s going to be helpful to people.

So that’s great! There really is no downside. I’m glad I did this.

But what have I learned? That’s what this 6,500 word post is about. I’ll share my own lessons and observations, as well as my early advice for anyone thinking of starting their own podcast.

clock

1. First, it takes a *LOT* of time to make a daily 10-minute show.

On average I’d say each episode takes me 3 hours from my side to script and record each draft of the show. Then it goes to a production team in Brooklyn, and they do the audio editing and add the awesome music (thank you, DJ Jayson). They ask for recuts of certain parts, then we go back and forth on the files for a bit.

But that’s just the production! In addition to the most obvious part of making a podcast, I’ve easily spent at least another 2-3 hours a day working on the show since it’s started. That’s 7 days a week, regardless of what else is happening, and whether I’m at home in Portland or flying around the world like I am now while writing these notes.

We also built a website, meaning that I said “Hey, let’s build a website” and then people much smarter than me went to work. Even though I’m just the manager in this process, AKA the least-skilled person, there’s still a lot of ongoing maintenance and active attention required from me.

SHS Homepage
SHS Episodes Page
Ep. 8 – Cruise Vacation Turns Into Highly-Profitable Hustle
Ep. 8 – Cruise Vacation Turns Into Highly-Profitable Hustle

We have show notes for every episode (and we’re working on improving them), a daily email that goes out, a community forum in the works, a traveling workshop series that starts very soon, and … well, much more. I won’t bore you with a list because the work really should speak for itself.

When I think about the past three weeks, pretty much all I remember is waking up to work on something related to the show, then eventually going to sleep at night.

To be clear, I’m not complaining. I love doing this; I’d spend my time no other way and I’m happy to go all-in. I’m just saying: it takes a LOT of time.


Audience

2. Gretchen was right, Part 1: A podcast really does reach an all-new group of people!

This lesson comes from Gretchen Rubin, a longtime friend who also happens to be the head of Panoply’s new Onward imprint, which Side Hustle School is part of.

First, a quick side note: Gretchen is my hero! I’ve been following her since the blogging dinosaur age when I started The Art of Non-Conformity. Her site, along with one from another friend, J.D. Roth, were early inspirations for me. She is also the only author to have blurbed (written an endorsement for) all four of my books. The fact that I get to work regularly with her now makes me, well, happy.

As for the lesson, when she and I first began talking about the show back in summer 2016, she told me how starting her podcast had brought her a whole-new audience. People had told her that it would, but she was skeptical.

When she told me this story, she was very modest about it, so I’ll translate: her books have done extremely well. The Happiness Project, which I’m proud to own an original advance copy of, has sold millions of copies all over the world. It’s appeared in movies, celebrities regularly share photos of it, and it was on the New York Times list for a ridiculous number of weeks.

Then, she had another runaway bestseller with Better than Before, and she’s gearing up for another big book this fall based on her (also very popular) Four Tendencies quiz. According to the quiz, and to Gretchen herself, I’m a rebel. Shocking, I know! She and I talked about it in this episode of Happier.

Gretchen being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on her show

The point is that Gretchen had very high name recognition before beginning her show, yet the show brought her another highly-committed and engaged audience. It had a magnifying effect that has allowed her to continue to stay at the top despite great saturation in a field she was a big part of pioneering.

So now back to me: except for the part about very high name recognition—since no one can spell or pronounce my name—and except for those millions of copies sold (I’m approaching my first million, but she will always be ahead…), I’m seeing very much the same effect.

Upwards of 150 people a day are joining the daily email list for the show. I notice a lot of social media comments from people I don’t recognize. I’m hearing from passive readers who are now active listeners. My requests for media quotes and commentary are way up.

All of that to say: if you’re thinking about starting a podcast, it really is a medium entirely of its own. And as a result, if you do it right, it really will attract a very different group of people.

Gretchen Rubin

3. Gretchen was right, Part 2: “A strong voice repels as well as attracts.” 

In my early days with The Art of Non-Conformity, and then with The $100 Startup as well, I received a lot of criticism. I used to regularly get hateful emails from people who didn’t like what I had to say about one subject or another.

But in recent years, the criticism I’ve received has lessened in intensity and volume. Isn’t that great? Well, it’s good for the psyche, I suppose. Whoever said that criticism doesn’t bother them was definitely not a writer or artist.

But it also means that my message became a bit more mainstream over time, and that has pros and cons. The risk is that you have the potential of becoming irrelevant or even obscure, which is probably the worst thing that can happen if you’re trying to put forth a message.

With this show, I’m definitely drawing in a lot more people and a lot more commitment from at least some of those people. And I’m also drawing a lot more active dismissal and criticism than I’ve seen in a while.

And you know what? I think that’s great! Well, at least objectively speaking I think it’s great. I’ll always be a sensitive soul, but that’s where Gretchen’s comment comes in, via her podcasting manifesto: “A strong voice repels as well as attracts.”

When it comes to Side Hustle School, I wholeheartedly believe in the mission, both in terms of intent and approach. If someone hates it or just thinks it’s a waste of time (and there are already plenty of people who do), I’m honestly not that concerned about them.

Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying I’m right and they’re wrong.

I’m saying: I know where I’m going with this, and I know who it’s for.

It will be good for some people and not for others, and that’s okay with me. I am 100% committed to the show’s format, the daily practice, and the long-term vision.

4. If You Want to Start a Podcast, Take the Time to Prepare

First: is it worth it? Yes, as long as you have a plan.

It took me about five months of preparation, but not all of that time was active work. Some of it was thinking things through, researching different aspects of the endeavor, working with the partner who handles distribution and advertising, etc.

I probably worked at least two months full-time on it before the debut, but beyond that I’m not sure because as long as I’m working on things I believe in, I don’t really keep up with how I spend my time.

Here are a few things I did:

-Talked with John Lee Dumas and watched his “Podcasting Lessons” series

First of all: super awesome guy! He regularly spoke with me on Skype and texted me advice and ideas.

Much of the podcast series I watched covered topics that were somewhat familiar to me, since I’ve been working online for all eternity more than twenty years. However, it was still very helpful in allowing me to reframe my thinking and approach to a new medium. It also confirmed to me that I was on the right track with what I was planning.

Note: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days with John’s Mastery Journal. The Kickstarter starts TODAY and I am making a pledge!

-Experimented in writing draft episodes four months in advance. 

I scripted out at least five episodes and recorded them using various equipment (full list later on). I hired someone on Fiverr.com to create DRAFT intro and exit music. This cost a whopping $25 and is most definitely not something I’d do for the real thing, but as an experiment, it was very helpful.

Those first drafts sucked, of course. So did the second. Around the fourth or fifth attempt, maybe three or four weeks into the experimentation phase, I began to notice some potential for finding the right format and voice.

I wrote in a few different environments: Evernote, Google Docs, and Scrivener, the same software I use for writing books. I finally settled on Scrivener because it’s easy to work in multiple sections and move things around.

Like most of my other work, the files sync directly to Dropbox so I can work from any computer.

Sneak peak of my scripts in Scrivener!
Sneak peak of my scripts in Scrivener
Sneak peak of my system!
-Began recruiting stories. 

Since I knew I’d be teaching through storytelling, and since I wanted to do the show DAILY, I knew I’d need to work as far ahead as possible. I put the word out saying that I was looking for interesting candidates.

I did this directly on my site (the form now lives over here—please use that one if submitting) and also through HARO, a longstanding directory that connects journalists with sources. I only use that service once or twice a year, but whenever I do, I’ve been happy with the results.

Julie Wilder
Ep. 6 – Single Mom Makes $15,000 from Astrology Calendar

Over time I began to see what kinds of stories would be good for the show. Quirky? Absolutely. Inspirational? Maybe, but not in a fluffy way—I wanted lots of details and specifics.

I also wanted a range of stories. First and foremost, I wanted them to be relatable. As I say often on the show, when you’ve never made money on your own before, it’s a Very Big Deal to start getting an extra $500-$1,000 a month that doesn’t come from your job.

But I also wanted them to be aspirational. Many hustles have the potential to make far more than $500 a month, and I regularly hear $100,000+ success stories.

So I decided to go with a mix: some would be about people making $500-1,000 a month in their hustle. Others would be about people making six-figures a year or more with their hustle. My hope was that the show could become both relatable and aspirational.

I also set some parameters about what a side hustle is. This phrase and concept is in the culture more and more these days, so I wanted to be specific about what I mean when I use it:

  • It’s not your full-time gig
  • You may want to turn your hustle into your full-time gig, but just as often, you may not want to
  • It’s not a part-time job; it’s something you have ownership over
Homemade Gin Kit
Ep. 16 – Homemade Gin Kit Sells 75,000 Units

Side note: Despite what their ads will tell you, DRIVING FOR UBER IS NOT A SIDE HUSTLE. We’ll save that rant for later because it deserves an editorial space of its own.

Oh, and one more thing: I wanted to avoid any sort of spammy or circular examples, where there isn’t any real value in what the hustler is making or doing. With that in mind, there are very few (if any) stories of people making money showing other people how to make money. Instead, there are stories of:

Each story is intended to be interesting and educational. With a few exceptions, I’m trying to focus on classic lessons reframed in unusual case studies.


 -Controversial opinion ahead! I did *NOT* listen to other podcasts while developing my own.

I’ll be honest about something that I’m sure some people will disagree with. There’s something NOT on this list that you’d probably expect there to be: I did not “listen to a lot of podcasts before beginning.”

Why not? Well, I’m sure there are best practices I can learn from, but I really did want to create something unique. And the more I worked on it, the clearer my vision became, and the less I felt like I wanted to draw on anyone else’s work, at least directly.

Here’s how I thought about it: as a nonfiction author, I mostly read fiction. I do read some non-fiction as well, but it’s very rare for me to read a modern “Business & Careers” book like Born for This or The $100 Startup. I want to write original books with my own voice, and therefore I’m careful of letting other, potentially similar voices into my writing head.

I’d also note that I’m very familiar with the other side of podcasts, having been a guest on hundreds of them over the years. So it’s not that I knew nothing at all about the concept of podcasting. It’s just that as I set out to create my own, I wanted to find my own way.


microphone-audio-computer-sound-recording-55800

5. Good equipment is inexpensive, but there’s more to the process than just buying stuff. 

I sometimes go to a local studio for call-in interviews, but I didn’t want to attempt that with this project. There’s just way too much recording to be done!

My work style is to draft multiple versions of each episode while I’m recording the episode. It’s a messy process that works for me because I know what I want, but it would be frustrating (for both me and an engineer) to do it that way in a recording booth. I’m also an introvert, and I needed space of my own to figure out this new medium without the pressure of other people listening in real-time.

Therefore, I set out to create a DIY solution for the recording side. My home recording setup cost less than $1,000, and here’s what I bought:

Jonathan Fields - 1

Shoutout to my dear friend Jonathan Fields, who talked me through this list and made recommendations along the way. Check out his wildly popular show, Good Life Project!

But here’s the thing: just because you can spend less than $1,000 (and probably less than $500, actually—part of my expenses involved trying different things before I found what worked best for me), that doesn’t mean that’s all you need.

There’s also the production side. This is no small thing!

Panoply

For that, I’m grateful to Panoply, a large podcasting network and now my distribution and advertising partner. I began talking with their team last summer following an introduction from Gretchen, who was creating the Onward imprint that launched on January 1. It’s a business arrangement with revenue share on the advertising, which will hopefully be sustainable enough for multiple people to work on the show throughout the year.

Why did I work with a network? Well, for me it was a lot like publishing books. Sure, I could publish books on my own, but they wouldn’t be as good. Even as a non-conformist, I’m somewhat a traditionalist when it comes to books. Without a doubt, I know that my work has been made better through a detailed editorial and production process.

So too with podcasting: I was a complete beginner in this world, and I’m still actively learning every day. I didn’t assume that I knew everything, and I thought I could benefit from detailed knowledge and assistance from experts.

Panoply is clear that they’re in to win it, and they expect their shows to have minimum downloads of at least 20,000 per episode. Presumably many of their shows do much more than that. In joining their team I felt like I was playing above my level, and I liked that.

Remember this lesson for both podcasting and life: you never want to be the proverbial big fish in a small pond. It may feel good for a while, but you’ll always wonder what might have happened if you’d tried harder. Step up!


6. Don’t start a “Tell Me About Your Life” show. No really, don’t do it! 

If you want to go down the well-trodden, life of quiet desperation, abandon-all-hope-ye-who-enter-here podcast path, start a show in which you interview people about their life and career. For best results, invite the same people that appear on everyone else’s shows, then ask the same generic questions of them.

Here are some kiss-of-death starter questions for your script:

  • What inspires you?
  • How did you get started?
  • What’s your biggest failure?
  • How do you handle fear?
  • What advice would you give your younger self?

I assure you, anyone who’s ever given an interview will be very familiar with these questions.

OK, so really—don’t do this. Don’t start a generic “let’s talk about life” show. Step away from the ledge!

If you want to have interviews on your show, that’s totally fine, but design a framework for them that is at least somewhat unique. (Note: “How you became an entrepreneur” or “Interview authors about their new books” is not somewhat unique.) You will stand out so much more with a focused topic, and your guests will enjoy it more too.

If you think I’m complaining… well, OK, I actually am complaining a bit about this. Over the years I’ve done literally hundreds of podcast interviews where people ask me the same questions, starting with “So tell us a little about yourself.”

Here’s the thing: I try to give a good interview, but my life story isn’t going to change from podcast to podcast. As a result, I end up saying the same things and telling the same stories over and over. After a while it can have the effect of phoning it in—which is terrible, of course, and listeners deserve better—but again, the basic narrative of my life doesn’t evolve from any given Tuesday to Wednesday.

Therefore, if you want to ask interesting questions on your podcast… ask anything other than the usual ones!

Hat tip: of all the podcast interviews I’ve done, The Art of Charm requires the most intense preparatory work by far, and it makes for a show that stands tall above many competitors. When they invited me as a guest, they also sent more than a dozen detailed essay questions that I had to answer before we did the interview. Respect!


Chatty Chris

7. Have a CLEAR and SPECIFIC audience in mind.

Think about who is NOT part of the audience as much as who is. For my show, I am deliberately excluding people like me. If you’re “self-employed for life,” as I sometimes describe myself (or “unemployable,” another term I use), you’re not who I’m thinking of every day as I work on the show.

This doesn’t mean those people aren’t welcome—I’ve already had a bunch of notes from listeners who are like me but still like the show.

Francine Jay

No, I just mean that as you make the show, you create the content and direct your attention to that audience. Everyone’s welcome, but you focus on your CLEAR and SPECIFIC audience.

For me I wanted to direct my attention toward employees who don’t want to quit their jobs but do want extra income. 

This is an important distinction, because with Side Hustle School, I’m not teaching people to “be entrepreneurs.” I don’t think everyone should be an entrepreneur, but I do think everyone should learn to think entrepreneurially.

In many conversations with people over the past year, especially on my Born for This book tour, I began to realize what an interesting and largely untapped market this is. There are many resources for aspirational entrepreneurs who want to build a company. But there are surprisingly few for people who just want to create more security for themselves without rewriting the pattern of their entire life.

Audience 1
In Philidelphia, PA for the Born For This Tour

In some ways, I think some people with jobs even feel judged or shamed for not wanting to quit—which is of course ridiculous! For example, my parents are aerospace engineers who’ve spent most of their careers supporting NASA missions. I’m not entirely sure how these things work, but I’m assuming that if you want to be an astronaut, you can’t do that on a freelance basis.

The same holds true for people working in numerous noble professions: teaching, medicine, journalism, social work, etc. And even leaving aside the question of whether some work is more beneficial to society than others, the reality is that a lot of people thrive in more collaborative networks that only exist in companies and organizations.

So yeah, it turns out that not everyone should go straight out and quit their job to backpack in Thailand. Maybe in some ways I feel partially responsible for creating this dynamic, so now I’m partially responsible for correcting it. Who knows! I’ll ask my therapist about this sometime.

In any case, these are my people, the ones I thought about over and over when creating the show: You’re out there and you want to create something for yourself. You’re smart and can work hard. But you’re also busy, and you need some guidance so you don’t waste your time.

100% of my focus is on people who fit that description.


8. Have a hook! Make your show EASY to understand and explain.

The hook is not just for the sake of marketing—though it helps there too—but also for your own sake. Or at least, that’s how it is for me. I love the specificity of it.

My hook was:

  • Side Hustle School will be short-format, with most episodes less than 10-minutes long. My intended audience doesn’t have time to listen to 45-minute conversations
  • I will be the host and there are NO interviews (see above)
  • It will be actionable and interesting (you’ll learn something in each episode, and it won’t be boring)
  • Oh, and … the show will be DAILY

That’s right, every single day in 2017, bitches!

Please note that not everyone thought this was a great idea. (I wasn’t sure it was either.)

When I did the first call with the Panoply execs, one of them said something like: “Wow, a daily show. Five times a week is very ambitious.”

And I was like, “What, only five? Last I checked, there are seven days in a week!”

As I said, I went back and forth about the idea myself. In the end I guess it just came down to my answer to this question:

“Do I want to really go for it? Is this just another project, or do I want to try to give it my all?”

Producing a DAILY episode with no breaks sounded like going to every country in the world, or self-organizing a 63-city book tour to every state and province. The more I thought about it, the more I thought… Hell yeah! Let’s do this!

That’s my only “secret” to a lot of things, by the way. I might not be the first person to think of any particular idea, but when I find something I believe in, I will work very hard for it. This isn’t a groundbreaking secret, but since so few people follow its wisdom, you’re welcome to borrow it for yourself.

Find something you believe in, then give it all you have!


9. What Else? Oh, right: tactics, not strategy

A number of people have asked about this note from my announcement post:

Short version of why I made the show: this is something that people are looking for that I’m qualified to provide. (Also: forget strategy; tactics are the future.)

Listen up: I am no futurist, but tactics really are the future. Watch and see. People are tired of self-appointed thought leaders who opine about everything. They don’t want to be inspired. They want substance! And this is the substance they want: specific, actionable—and even polarizing—instruction, guidance, or case-study driven stories they can learn from.

Yes, of course the world still needs stories; that never changes. It’s just that you can’t coast on inspirational quotes anymore. You can’t leave out the critical “how did they really do it” details. So step it up! If you’ve been trying to get your message out and are struggling to be heard, this is a path that is worth following.

I don’t think I’ll turn out to be wrong about this, but even if I am, will you be any worse off than when people weren’t reading your tweets?

Go make something that has the potential to change lives. That, in the end, is all that matters.

***

And That’s a Wrap! Only 339 Episodes to Go…

So I started a podcast, and I love it. I’m so glad I spent several months working through the creative, editorial, and logistical issues before the January 1 debut. It made it much better than it would have been otherwise.

We hit the 20,000+ downloads per episode goal right out of the gate, and it’s already much higher than that. Whether that trajectory will continue or not is at least partly out of my control, so I’m focusing on the work itself.

And of course, I still have much to learn, and it will continue to get better. I’m committed!

I’m also so glad that listeners (maybe even you?) have found it. As I’ve said on the show multiple times: If you commit to listening every day, rest assured that I’ll be there every day. I will see this through.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve got another 339 episodes to record.

Huzzah! The best is yet to come. 

CG out.

Special thanks: Gretchen Rubin, Panoply team (esp. Laura, Jayson, Sarah, and A.C.), my assistant Whitney who works on the show almost as much as me, Jonathan Fields, John Lee Dumas, everyone who has rated or reviewed the show in iTunes (thank you!), everyone who has shared the show (you are the best!), Taylor Swift, Taylor’s ex-man with the new girlfriend, and side hustlers everywhere.

###

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.