I’ve now completed 4 months of working on my new business for just 2 hours per week and here are the updates:
- I am still focused on building my audience through authentic content — that’s the focus of the whole first year, especially when I have such little time to work on it. See my 10 year plan.
- Facebook tells me I now have 1,800 individuals who have engaged with my content (on my brand new page) in the past 90 days!
- Since I began in July, I have spent exactly $746.64 on Facebook Ads for this new business, only on promoting native content (mostly long text-based blog posts that people read right in FB… since I don’t have a website yet.)
- I’ve begun making videos for this audience again, and since they’ve now been seeing my writings consistently for a few months, they are now engaging with my videos unlike when I did it months ago. Lesson: it takes time for an audience to warm up!
- I decided the change the name of the business and Facebook Page (I’ll say more about this in the future.)
- I’ve finally bought a domain name and will start working on the website soon… all of it (Content creation, Ads, Brainstorming, Website etc) needs to happen in that 2 hours per week.
Here are the key lessons for this month:
We humans are extraordinarily good at self deception. We will brilliantly make up a large variety of creative excuses to stop us from doing our creative work. Any creative project that is deeply important to us is scary… because we don’t want to screw it up!
I experienced excuses in full force again this past month:
I had to travel to see my mom who had recently been injured. I knew it could easily be an excuse to skip my content creation that week. Instead, I set a boundary and carved out an hour to do my content and ads anyway.
It’s up to us to set that boundary, especially with family, even while we’re traveling or having some other interruption to life.
It was also a month where I got food poisoning that changed how I was physically feeling for a whole week. Still, I kept my creation rhythm.
Also, I decided to change the name of this new business, so I felt in limbo for a few weeks, waiting on the new logo and graphic for my Facebook page.
While waiting those few weeks, I wanted to procrastinate on content and audience building, thinking:
“I can’t really build my audience on this old name and old graphics… why don’t I wait until the new thing?”
What a brilliant excuse. But I continued my rhythm of content creation and running ads anyway.
Don’t wait for anything to create content and grow your audience, because there are always many reasons why it’s supposedly “smarter” to wait.
I often use Focusmate to get things done. This past month, while working on my side business, 2 of my Focusmate appointments were canceled last minute. I could’ve easily let that be an excuse, a “sign from the universe” that I should do something else today.
Nope. I created content anyway.
In fact, right now I am feeling tired — didn’t get the best sleep last night — but right now is when I have scheduled to write this blog post for you, so I am writing no matter what. (See the section below about creating on schedule…)
Are You Creating Drama?
I once knew someone whose mind was so powerful that whenever she decided to work on her creative project, some family tragedy happened (for example, a relative dies)!
She eventually admitted that it was a very weird coincidence that this just kept happening, again and again. Deciding on creative work led to occurrences of tragedy that “required” her to step away from her creative work.
I’m not saying tragedies don’t happen — of course they do, and those who experience it need to be supported and loved.
However, I am saying that we humans are absolute geniuses at creating excuses to avoid our creative work.
While one person may still deal with tragedy and get creative work done, another will allow himself to get so caught up in the drama of the tragedy, that no creativity is possible.
When we stop allowing excuses to get in the way of our creative work, something strange happens:
Life becomes remarkably calm… drama free.
“Bad” things might still objectively happen, but it doesn’t register in our consciousness with the same emotional charge as before. Why? Because we give our energy, intention, and focus to our Purpose, rather than on what can take us away from our purpose.
Things that happen can be interpreted as “signs from the universe” to stop our creative work… or it can be reframed as the universe testing us on our resolve: “How much do you care about your creative work?”
We get to choose.
Creating On Schedule vs. “When I’m Inspired”
The feeling of not wanting to make my videos never goes away. I make video on a schedule, rather than “making it when I’m inspired.”
It makes life much simpler: When I create on schedule, I have a great work-life balance.
If instead I keep waiting until I’m “inspired” to make the video, I will keep thinking, even worrying, about whether I’ll get the inspiration, and when I do feel inspired, it’ll take me away from whatever thing I’ve planned to work on.
Life becomes chaotic when we “go with our inspiration.” Life becomes prolifically creative when we instead practice creating on demand, creating on a schedule, to create inspiration rather than wait for it.
The key is to be willing to create something “mediocre” or “uninspired” — knowing that those are your self-judgements, and what you need to do instead is to put it out there and let your audience tell you what they think.
Another key is knowing that once I get into making something, creativity starts to flow. Again and again, I keep learning this.
Same thing with writing:
The feeling of “I don’t know what to write” (at the beginning of a writing project) never goes away either.
I just have to make myself start writing. “Don’t be fancy,” I tell myself. Just write whatever I am already thinking. Can I write imperfectly? Why yes, I can.
And once I get going, it is miraculous that something comes out if I just keep writing. No frills. Just write whatever I am thinking.
That’s how this blog post has been written!
I wish you a deep connection to your vision, and the willingness to live a “no excuses” life, so that you can create on demand / create on purpose.
Originally published at www.georgekao.com.