I’ve had this thought so many times over the course of my life, I’m sure I’m not the only one. It came up again this morning, so thought I’d write about it in my blog today. It came to mind because, as we’re reaching the end of the year (and my birthday!), I always tend to do an assessment of my life around this time of year.
I ask myself: Where have I been this year? Where am I now? Where am I going?
For the most part, I’m satisfied with what I’ve accomplished this year. But the thought, “I wish I’d started a long time ago,” came up because of an important lesson I learned this year.
When I started teaching at Colorado Free University, I thought it would launch my career. But what I discovered over the years was that it didn’t so much launch my career as provide a launching pad. I still needed to do the work of getting my career off the ground.
Then I thought that when I got discovered by the New York publishing industry, that would launch my career. So I put all my focus into writing novels and getting published. I don’t regret those efforts because I’m a much better writer now, and the discipline of writing has changed me. But I’m now on my fifth novel and haven’t yet been “discovered”.
It was a kind of black & white, win-the-lottery thinking. What I’ve learned over the years is that success occurs in the Here & Now, now in some distant future when I get discovered or win the lottery.
It’s the choices we make on a moment-to-moment basis.
You can look at what you’re doing right now and ask yourself if you are satisfied with the moment. I can honestly say that I am. Although there’s room for improvement, certainly when it comes to my career, I am far more satisfied with my moment-to-moment experience than I was when I was working a full-time corporate job.
But I’d still like to see more success.
I’ll give you an example of what I mean when I say, “I wish I’d started a long time ago.”
Earlier this year, February to be exact, I received the same message from three different sources within the same day. The message was: monetize your website, turn it into an online business.
The third time I heard the message, a friend who was interested in monetizing a website suggested that we meet consistently three days a week to work on monetizing our websites, developing them, building traffic, and increasing sales and revenue. So we began. We started off with a BANG! It was awesome. I felt so good, so empowered, so inspired.
Then he gave up and we went our separate ways.
Why did he give up? I don’t really know, but it had something to do with needed to make money. I didn’t see that as a reason to give up and urged him to stay with the consistent effort, even if it was only one day per week, but his anxiety around money was too overwhelming. I also think it may have had something to do with not seeing immediate results. He wasn’t committed to the long-term.
I flounder at first, but then I got back on my feet and kept going.
In a way, I understand why he gave up. It seemed like too much effort for too little reward…. and no guarantee of reward. But here’s what I discovered:
After upgrading my WordPress and crashing my website in the process, losing all my past work, and having to rebuild my website from scratch, I started building my email list for a monthly newsletter. I took a while before I got in the habit of posting to my website daily, but once I did, I started to see the traffic increasing (DUH!).
As the traffic increased, the revenue from ads began to increase. As it stands right now, my website is not only paying for itself, it’s producing a small income.
Not only that, but my first monthly newsletter has produced $225 in sales revenue…. enrollments to my workshops, which have $0 in overhead.
All of this income is in addition to what I was already earning.
Since my first post on my new upgraded website was on March 17, 2013, and today is November 19, 2013, I count that as 8 months.
I’ve had this website for 10 years. If I’d been focused on content, increasing traffic, sales, and revenue for the past 10 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d be earning today what I was earning as a full-time patent paralegal.
Our efforts build exponentially like a snowball rolling down a hill.
Well, it’s too late now to go back and re-create the momentum of 10 years of daily blogging, but I can take the lesson and move forward.