In the past few months, I’ve creates a bunch of ebooks, blogs, and websites. This has gone against both my prior pattern of activity and the general advice of everyone saying to just focus on one thing at a time. Here’s why I’ve been doing it.
It pretty much just boils down to this: I was unhappy. I’m an idea guy; I have tons and tons of ideas about things I want to do, and focusing on just one or two things (like The Backlight and Amazopia) was driving me crazy. It got to the point where I was doing things I didn’t really want to do (like creating podcasts) rather than doing what I really want to do (like creating new sites and products).
I then thought to myself, “Ah, screw it. I’m just going to do whatever I want and see how it turns out.”
What I’m doing
I wrote 101 Blogging Tips because I wanted to see how the whole Kindle publishing thing worked. (And by the way, I’m going to increase the price from 99¢ to $2.99 starting April 1. Go get your copy now before the price increase. Also, I’m considering offering the book as a PDF for those who aren’t on the Kindle wagon. Would anyone be interested in that?)
I created fkb.me, which 1) I love updating, and 2) is making me a lot more money than I thought it would (like it’ll make me $400 or $500 in profit just this month, its second month in existence).
I created eBook Coverage because I was seeing how incredibly bad so many people’s ebook covers were.
I created my 101 Rock Climbing Tips and Tricks ebook, and it’s sold better than I expected.
I created TradClimbingVideos.com because I thought it would be something other people would like and that it would help sell my rock climbing products. I was right on both accounts.
Just a couple days ago I published a book that helps people quickly increase their Spanish vocabulary.
I created the automatically-updated Just Show HN because I wanted to focus on my favorite part of Hacker News.
I created FreeZombieBooks.com because I found out that I enjoy reading zombie fiction (who knew?) and guess what, so do a lot of other people.
I united most of my websites, blogs, and products under the Long Range Media banner.
I created Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and Pinterest accounts for various sites that I’d been neglecting. The result has been a traffic increase across the board and with a minimal expenditure of time and effort on my part.
I created cuteAWESOME.com because I freaking love pictures of cute animals and awesome… things.
Not everything has been successful. I created a site that highlighted free vampire books for the Kindle. I hated writing about vampire books and very few people subscribed to the blog, so I canned it. I still have not managed to relaunch Infographic Academy, which I consider a massive failure on my part. I’ve been neglecting The Backlight a little bit (I will get to responding to all of the past comments, I promise!). And I’ve been neglecting my personal blog, though this isn’t a huge deal.
But let’s recap here and focus on the positive, since the positives do overwhelmingly outweigh the negatives. Since I started implementing and acting on my ideas, a number of things have happened:
- I’ve been happier.
- I’ve been having more fun while working and am working longer hours because I enjoy it so much.
- Since I’ve been working so hard and getting so much done, I don’t feel bad about taking time off to rock climb and do whatever else I want. Before, I felt bad about taking time off because I wasn’t getting as much done. So I’m actually “playing” more now.
- I’m making more money.
I feel superhuman and am having the time of my life. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
How I’m doing it
So how did I manage to do all of this without any help? (I don’t outsource or anything like that.) Here’s how:
- I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m scatterbrained and that I need to implement my ideas in order to be happy. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
- I’m incredibly excited about what I’m doing and I don’t mind working long and hard. This is the big one.
- I have systems in place that help me save time. For example, I don’t spend much time designing because I generally only use one theme in WordPress (Thesis, heavily customized by me) and one theme in Tumblr (Effector, also usually customized by me). I’ve been using both of these themes for a while and can get my sites to look just how I want them.
- Going along with the previous one, I know my tools well. I know Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I know WordPress and Tumblr. I know Word. I know Twitter and Facebook and how to not waste too much time in their alluring black holes. I know where to go to get good images to use in my products.
- I quit working on the projects that either weren’t working out or that I wasn’t enjoying. The great thing about trying and failing is that it still gets the ideas out of my system. I’m not being weighed down by that idea anymore and can move on with a clear conscience. That is definitely worth the $8 domain registration fee any day.
- I stopped focusing on all metrics except for how much money I’m making. I don’t care how many times my blog posts are retweeted, how many likes something gets on Facebook, how much traffic my websites get, or how many comments a blog post has. The more the better, of course, but obsessing over statistics while missing the big picture is a really huge drain on your time, energy, and other resources.
I’m not saying that you should go crazy and unleash all of your ideas on the world right now. In fact, for most people it probably is a bad idea (part of the reason I’ve been able to do this is that I’ve spend the time building up readerships and followings on my existing blogs and social media profiles). But it’s something to think about. At the very least, I’ve found that it can be great to have a little side project or two, even if your main project is itself a side project.
Now it’s just on to the next one.
Oh, and be on the lookout for an inexpensive how-to-run-multiple-blogs ebook from me in the near future :)