A Future So Bright We Had to Wear Shades.
We re-launched Potty Training Power on July 17, one year to the day from when Writer Dad first went live. We grossed more from our re-launch in the first weekend than we had in the entire six months the product had been previously available. At the same time, Ghostwriter Dad was appearing on the front page for numerous search phrases, including the general term, “ghostwriter.”
After a year of plugging away, things were finally starting to pan out and pay off. We were selling a niche product on semi-autopilot and booking regular jobs, each one paying a multiple of what we were making for similar work a year before in both dollars and appreciation.
A year’s worth of stress, fear and defeat; setbacks, pitfalls, and false hopes, were finally melting away like ice under sun. With the future no longer so uncertain, Sean was able to improve his present by chipping away at the debt he had gathered over the last year; the high cost he was willing to pay to make his dreams happen. Dave was soon able to stop his job search, confident that he would be able to make it on the back of his work. More importantly, we were both able to look our spouses in the eyes without feeling like failures.
The relief in our stress made an immeasurable difference in our productivity. Never timid, we were no longer hesitant, now able to fly through paid jobs and personal content creation with a speed and refinement we had never before tapped.
Home life and work life had never been better, each one nudging the other toward something great. It was easier to justify the countless hours at the desktop for the first time in a year.
The signs are sometimes subtle, but it is important to catch them as they come. Here are the five things that let us know our online business was nearing its tipping point.
1) We no longer doubted ourselves. Doubt has a way of hovering over and suffocating you when things aren’t going well. It’s hard to move forward when each step is a shaky one. Having solid footing under us allowed us to venture more bravely into our futures. Every success is an enemy vanquished for the hero. With bodies behind us and better armor hanging from our shoulders, we were ready for whatever lay ahead.
2) Our direction felt natural, allowing us to operate on instinct. Old lessons rose easily to the surface like muscle memory helping to guide us. Athletes, musicians and artists; all spend countless hours in practice refining their movement until it is finely tuned to the key of a sixth sense. Writing and running a business are no different. Follow the same motion over and over, while paying attention to your technique, and soon enough you will gliding through the movement of your day.
3) Work was fun. When we started out, we were indistinguishable from any number of other writers offering their services and unfortunately, the work we got was not of the best variety. However, success breeds success. We were being recognized for our quality work and able to choose the clients we wanted to work with while also commanding a fair price for our work. Our clients are no longer anonymous people but close contacts, parts of our networks, and most of all, happy and satisfied with the care we put into everything we do.
4) Not having to work as hard for a bigger payoff. The first year, for us, was spent like an indentured servant, working for days that rolled into weeks without pay, sometimes for all of daylight, just to deliver quality content to an ever increasing audience while spreading our names as far as we could. Now, every piece of content we put out has a larger return, in both social proof and dollars in the bank.
5) We looked in front, behind, and around us for examples. There is always inspiration available if you are willing to look at the world with all 360 degrees. Yes, there are many fine examples of awesome Internet success if you draw from a pool of people who have been doing it for years. There are also many models to follow from people who ran ahead of us by just a year or so. Naomi Dumford, for example, started Itty Biz just fourteen months before we went online. For a blogger finishing their first year, that is quite inspiring. Eric Hamm, developer of the popular Frugal Theme for WordPress, started at the same time as we did; as did Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity. We were also able to take a look behind and see a fresh wave of noobies cresting behind us.
We were smoking for sure, but we also knew that good enough wasn’t good enough. We cranked the knob to 11, kicked it in the ass, and ran even faster.
Stay tuned. Monday we’ll be publishing the next part in our series looking back at our first year online.