1) Working for yourself, especially while traveling, is not as easy as most people think. The fantasy and the reality are quite distinct, and it takes a lot of work to be successful. 2) Working for yourself, even while traveling, is awesome! The freedom is great, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Both statements are completely true, but naturally, we tend to view the idea of self-employment and extensive travel through only one of the two statements. I'd like to look at it a bit deeper.Read More
Image by moal
Marketers tend to deliberately over-hype their products in an attempt to break through a crowded marketplace. In an environment where we receive 3,000 advertising messages on an average day, the idea is to be bigger and better – but if that’s too difficult, the theory goes, we can at least be noisier.
I’m coming out with my second information product exactly one week from today, and instead of trying to sell you on it, I thought I’d tell you why not to buy it.
On Monday I’ll explain how to create an Incredibly Convincing Guarantee. The idea is that most promises of “satisfaction guaranteed” aren’t that convincing at all anymore. Almost everything we buy has some kind of guarantee, but we still end up ignoring most of those 3,000 messages each day.
Since I’m in the marketplace of ideas, I’ve decided to create a guarantee for my own product that goes beyond the usual. I think I’ve found something unique, and I think it will resonate. I also can’t wait to tell you more about the guide itself – which currently runs to more than 55 pages and also includes several 25-minute audio segments.
I was going to write about both of those things today, but then I got worried… what if I’m writing for the wrong people?
See, I want to deliver great products to the right customers, and I am the first to point out that there are usually a number of good reasons to keep your money instead of exchanging it for something else. Therefore, I need to do some disqualification for your benefit and mine.
The next product will be called the Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself. The subtitle is “Creating Freedom through a Very Small Business,” and that’s basically what it’s all about:
Creating Freedom = finding a way to work for yourself instead of someone else, or at least finding a way to bring in additional income that allows you to do more of what you want and be less dependent on a job
Through a Very Small Business = not trying to start the next Google or Amazon.com, but instead building a microbusiness that brings in at least $200 a month, and potentially a series of these opportunities that eventually allow you to quit your current job
Please understand that this is not for everyone. Not everyone values freedom over traditional employment, and not everyone wants to have a business of any kind, even a very small one.
The ever-insightful Tim at Soul Shelter recently wrote a post entitled In Praise of Salaried Employment. Reading it was an affirmation that I (still) don’t want a “real job,” but I see Tim’s point -- and it also served as a good reminder that not everyone wants to work for themselves. Like most art forms, the way people on the outside perceive self-employment is quite different from the way it actually works for most of us who practice it.
Why Not to Buy the UG to Working for Yourself
As mentioned, there are many good reasons to not buy any particular product or service. A few of them for this one are:
If you’re looking for the quick path to riches. Feel free to keep looking for that – but please, not here. If I had found such a thing, I would probably not be selling it in a low-cost ebook. I might still travel around the world, but I don’t think I would sleep on the floor of airports from Rome to Dallas to save money.
If you don’t like to learn or aren’t willing to work. I use a lot of irony in my writing, but there is nothing ironic about this. A lot of people are simply not comfortable with learning new things, and if you have never worked for yourself before, there’s a lot of things you have to learn.
One of the things I mention in the guide is that you don’t have to be especially intelligent to earn money without a job, but you do need to be willing to work.
If your primary goal is to build a huge business. I have nothing against huge businesses for the most part; I just don’t know anything about building them. I’m far more interested in finding a way to pay the rent so I can do what I want.
On a higher level, I’m also interested in convergence and alignment, where my whole life is related to what I want to do for myself and how I think I can best help others. But in a nutshell, this guide is just about starting a very small business. Getting the cash flow coming in. Ready, fire, aim – that kind of thing.
If you are a complete beginner to technology. I write almost exclusively about online business because that’s what I’ve done for ten years. If you don’t know how blogs work or how Google makes money (for example), there will be more of a learning curve. The guide is targeted to the low to mid-intermediate level – not the guru who knows everything, but also not the complete beginner.
Don’t worry too much about this if you’re on the fence – I am a fairly low-tech person. I write on a $500 laptop and don’t do any programming or complex work at all. But I mention this because if you are going to work online in some kind of business, it does help to be fairly proficient with the world of computers. You should know what eBay is, you should probably have your own internet connection, etc.
Creating Freedom through a Very Small Business
I do not know how to create internet millionaires because I am not one myself. What I have done instead is find a way to create a lifestyle that works for me and gives me a great deal of freedom. It’s not a four-hour work week, but I spend a lot of time doing exactly what I want to do instead of being tied to a desk somewhere.
For me, the freedom itself is the most important thing – it is definitely the highest goal and most significant benefit of working for myself. That is what I know how to do, and that’s why the subtitle of the guide is “Creating Freedom through a Very Small Business.”
It can sometimes be unpopular to say so, but money and freedom are related to a certain point. Is there anyone who can argue that it’s fun to be poor? Let’s be honest: it sucks.
So you have to do something to avoid that, and if inheritance or litigation is not an option, then you either have to work for someone else or work for yourself.
I have chosen to work for myself. And if you’re interested, I’ll tell you all about what I do and how you can work towards creating your own freedom, doing it your own way, creating your own rules. By popular demand, I’ll include a lot of personal stories (especially “big mistakes” I’ve made along the way) and a lot of specific, actionable items you can take to get started right away.
The time for that will be Wednesday, October 8, at 10am EST / 7am here on the West Coast.
On Monday I’ll tell you all about the unique guarantee, what you’ll get, how it works, how much it costs, and so on.
For Everyone Else
I needed to address the fact that the Working for Yourself guide is not for everyone – which will hopefully be clear now. If it’s not for you due to any of the reasons mentioned above (or something else), you won’t be left out of the party entirely.
I write three times a week and will never charge for that. I’m currently writing the sequel to the World Domination Manifesto, which will be released in January. I have more plans for the next 6-9 months that all involve scaling up the project without putting ads on the site or selling anything other than a few more teaching products like this one.
And as we did last time, I’ll also post a detailed analysis after the launch with what went well and what I could have done better.
Here is the launch schedule:
Friday, October 3: Working from Any Country in the World
Monday, October 6: The Incredibly Convincing Guarantee
Wednesday, October 8 (10am EST): The Launch
Thursday, October 9: Chris retires! (Wait, probably not yet. It may take a few more days.)
Thanks for listening, and see you all next time. Feel free to share your feedback in the comments section.
Did you enjoy this article? Please pass it on to others at StumbleUpon, or share your own thoughts in the comments section.Read More
Image by Planetina
I came back into Seattle last night after two weeks traveling around the world. In the morning I went up to my local Starbucks, on 45th Street in Wallingford. These two corporate guys were sitting there, wearing suits and carrying briefcases.
In Seattle, you don't see people dressed like that as much as you do in other cities. Over here, a shirt with a collar is considered “dressing up.”
As they were talking, one of them said, "Well, we should go. Time is money."
I looked up from my nearby table. Time Is Money, hmmmm.
Have you heard that one before? Hold on, we'll come back to it.
First, think about something. Amazon.com has at least 270 books on time management, but most of them fail to consider a basic question:
How can someone actually manage time?
When you manage people, you give them tasks to complete and check in on them once in a while.
When you manage a project, you make neat little spreadsheets, break out the Getting Things Done book, and chart your progress along the way.
But with time, none of those things apply.
You can't tell time what to do.
You can't give time a raise when it performs well and fire time when it doesn't meet your expectations.
Nope, you can't manage time. Too bad about all those books. Someone should have said something before the 270th author started writing.
Like it or not, time just marches on.
More Bad News
Unfortunately, there's more bad news about time. (Sorry.)
Like money, time is limited. But unlike money, once time is gone, there's no getting it back. You can't earn back what has been spent.
Time is closely related to the concepts of regret, inaction, indecision, and wistfulness.
All those things we left behind at some point.
Damn… don't you hate that?
Time can not be managed, and when it's gone, it's gone forever.
But if you're waiting for good news, you won't be disappointed.
Here it is:
THERE'S STILL ENOUGH TIME FOR WHAT YOU NEED.
There's still time to start that business, take that trip, start running those two miles that will help you run the marathon six months from now.
Or better yet, fill in the blank for yourself based on what you've always wanted to do (but have kept putting off for some reason).
“There is STILL TIME for me to ____________________”
If not, you may need more than a few seconds to think about it. It's worth your full consideration, even though time is money.
Whatever you choose, hold it close to you. Make it your focus, and don't let anyone take it from you. (Any number of people will try to.)
Back to Starbucks
The guys in the suits have left, but I'm still thinking about what they said: "Time is Money."
According to the time-is-money people, I've been wasting a lot of time this year.
- I traveled to Iraq, Mongolia, Pakistan, and 20 other countries -- all without an agenda, or anything really important I had to do there
- I spent an absurd number of hours standing in line or sitting on park benches waiting for train or bus stations to open up all over the world
- I opted out of the next phase of graduate school and worked toward building a career as a full-time writer
But wait. Maybe I've got it partly wrong too.
Time is not the same thing as money, but it does have tremendous value. I don't want to be like the Ozymandeus that Percey Shelly wrote about:
"Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair."
Nothing beside remains: round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Nope, don't want that.
Instead, I want to treat valuable time with the respect it deserves. I WANT TO DO SOMETHING REALLY GREAT with the valuable time I have.
How about you?
The Best Strawberry
Oh, and by the way -
Research shows that the average user clicks away from blog posts somewhere around the 300 word point. Since you've broken the curve and made it further than that, here's an old story that always makes me smile.
Image by myriorama
The story is about a Zen student who is running from a tiger in the forest.
The tiger is catching up to him, and the only way out is to jump over a cliff that leads to certain death on the rocks below.
With no real options, the Zen student jumps over the cliff, and just manages to grab on to a branch halfway down.
Beside the branch is a bush of wild strawberries, and the student reaches over with one free hand and takes one.
With the tiger above him and certain death on the rocks below him, he slowly eats the strawberry.
And as he does, he thinks, "This is the best strawberry I have ever tasted."
Thank you for your attention. Now, get back to work.
Because Time Is Money… right?
Did you enjoy this article? Please pass it on to others at your favorite social networking site, or share your own thoughts in the comments section.Read More
Image by nibag
Today’s (short) update comes to you live from DFW, also known as the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. Last night I slept on the floor here after flying in from Seattle prior to a 6am connection this morning.
There’s not a whole lot to say about sleeping on the airport floor, at least in Dallas. Anyway, it’s over, and now I’m flying to Miami and beyond. At the moment I’m posting this, it’s 5:12 a.m. local time, and we’re boarding in 10 minutes. Eventually I’ll get to Cairo and tell you all about that.
But first, I have an important question for you.
In early October, I’m going to launch the next Unconventional Guide. It won’t actually be about sleeping on the floor of the airport – as mentioned, that would be a pretty short guide – but instead, it will be all about money and freedom.
Specifically, I’m writing an extended series of strategies and tactics about Earning Money Without a Job. So far I’m up to 45 pages, so I need to wrap it up soon… but I’m also going to include a series of audio teachings to complement the written materials.
Over the next week I’ll be outlining those audio segments, and I thought I’d ask you this important question:
What do you want to know about earning money without a job?
On any given day, we have a broad readership over here. Some people are already successful entrepreneurs, some people are in the process of starting something for themselves, and others aren’t really interested in that at all.
But for all those differences, a key similarity is that most people, at least those who have sent feedback somewhere along the way, are interested in freedom. For me, having the freedom to set my own schedule and focus on the things I enjoy is by far the greatest benefit of working on my own. As any self-employed person can attest, it's not always easy, but I think it's safe to say that it's always worth it.
I’ll tell you more about the guide in a couple weeks, but one thing I want to make clear is that creating a small, online business is not especially difficult. There are a lot of people doing this who aren't necessarily smarter than any of the rest of us.
It does require a fair amount of work. If there is a 10-minute secret to wealth creation, I haven’t discovered it yet. I know this project won’t be for everyone, but I do want everyone to know that creating a life of freedom is not an instant process.
If you'd like to contribute, please let me know any or all of the following:
1) Do you have any specific questions about starting an online business?
2) If you currently work at a “real job,” what is confusing to you about people who work for themselves?
3) If you currently work for yourself (in some form or fashion), what were the biggest challenges to getting your cash flow going?
Finally, if you think of anything else that is relevant, send that along too.
You can comment below and I’ll consider using your question or general feedback in the audio materials. RSS and Newsletter folks, that means you have to click through to the site.
(Note that I’m traveling today, so if comments aren’t posted right away, that’s why. They should be up within 24 hours.)
Alternatively, if you don’t want to comment on the site (less than 1% of readers do, but everyone is welcome), then write me from the contact form.
OK, I’m out of time – AA 925 is boarding right now. See you on Friday.
As a self-employed writer and entrepreneur, I don’t normally have much to do with resumés. I do maintain one of my own, but it’s more of an academic CV that gets used only for academic applications. Otherwise, I’ve never really applied for a job or had a use for my own job-applying materials. I don’t do much hiring either, but every once in a while I get the chance to sort through applications for non-profit jobs. I got that chance last week, and I learned a lot through the experience. More than anything else, I learned a few things not to do if I ever apply for a job. And if you’re in that position, pay attention to this essay – I can’t guarantee that everyone will process resumés the way I do, but I’d expect that a lot of these principles will be universal.Read More
I read an interesting article about Applebee’s last week. Personally, I don’t like Applebee’s or its numerous imitators – not eating burgers, chicken tenders, or something they call “riblets” kind of limits the menu of the average Americana-themed restaurant for me – but I enjoyed the analysis of how these kinds of places are trying to survive in an economically challenging environment.My favorite part was when the CEO was asked why Applebee’s and IHOP (also owned by the company) don’t have healthier choices on their menu. People are more health-conscious than ever, right? “What people want and what they say they want are different,” she said, and as much as I wanted to disagree, I couldn’t. Read More
Image by Armel
None of this is tremendously helpful in business, and in a lot of ways, it's made things more difficult than they are for other, more balanced people.
Instead, I trace my success at survival to two key skills: first, I am a decent copywriter. Writing well really does help you do a lot of things. Second, I have a fairly good understanding of the twin concepts of price and value.
There are some other "life skills" that are also important -- notably, persistence -- but in terms of specific business skills, that's pretty much all I've got. And for the most part, it works just fine, if a bit haphazard at times.
Today I thought I'd tell you about the second skill of understanding price and value, and I'll do so with a real-life case study from the launch of my first AONC product. I'll tell you what I did wrong, what worked well, and why I chose to market the product the way I did.
First, all understanding about the whole subject of pricing comes from one critical principle:
Whenever we spend any amount of money, we undertake a complex, emotional analysis of price and value.
This process is hard to overstate, and few of us are immune. In fact, it is pretty difficult to buy much of anything without going through the process. It's often subtle or even subconscious, but it's definitely real. We often have expectations for how much something should cost, and when our expectations are unmet, we respond with emotion.
- BAD Feeling (skepticism, uncertainty) - "Wow, that's so expensive. Is it really worth it?"
- GOOD Feeling (happiness, fulfillment) - "Wow, it's on sale! I'm getting a great deal!"
These feelings are not always rational -- have you ever known someone who will drive 30 miles to save a couple dollars? Or someone who uses coupons to buy products they don't like?
Like I said, our expectations of value are not entirely rational, but they are very real nonetheless. From a $4 latte to an $8 movie to a $15,000 car, we evaluate purchases based on the expected emotional benefit in exchange for the money we give up to receive it.
When we go to Starbucks, we complain about the $4 latte... but then we go back the next day or next week. Apparently, the latte is worth the price even though we feel a little guilty about the $4.
There is a lot to this - the great book Influence covers the topic in far more detail.
The important thing to understand is that buying something is not simple. There's a lot going on, and that's why it's critically important for businesses to get the pricing right.
If you price something too high, you alienate buyers. People will kick the tires, but most of them won't take the car off the lot without more persuasive selling. That may seem fairly obvious, but the opposite is true as well.
If it's priced too low, this is also a big mistake, because perceived value is directly related to price. People are skeptical of advice on the cheap. Free is good, and reasonable-to-expensive is good, but cheap is bad.
What if you heard about a consultant who works for $9 an hour, would you think, "Wow, what a deal?" I suspect that most people would think, "Wow, they must not be very good."
Again, this may not reflect reality -- perhaps there's an awesome consultant out there who just likes pricing at the low-end -- but true or not, it reflects how we perceive value. When you hear about a $300 an hour consultant, you might not be able to hire her, but you usually respect her. The perception is that a $300 an hour consultant is much better than a $9 an hour consultant.
For another example, say you walked into Best Buy and saw a $99 iPod killer on the shelf. Would you buy it right away?
I suspect not. You'd automatically think it couldn't possibly be as good as a real iPod. You'd be very suspicious, because you expect iPods and even iPod knockoffs to be more expensive because they're worth more.
Those are somewhat hypothetical examples, but you get the idea. Let's take a look at a real-life, recent, highly-personal example.
As many of you know, last week I released my first commercial product, the Unconventional Guide to Discount Airfare. This was definitely a labor of love and an emotional investment for me, because I've spent a lot of time working on the AONC site and building an audience over the past five months.
For anyone who believes that bloggers shouldn't sell things, let me assure you that there are a lot easier ways to make money. But on the other hand, I passionately believe that artists should be allowed to make money. (I wrote that post in part to preempt complaints about creating an online shop in addition to my free essays and other content.)
Since I've been an online entrepreneur for ten years, I'm not normally indecisive with pricing. I can usually look at something and know fairly quickly how much it should cost. But since this was a new market and my first "branded" product, I was a little nervous.
Before the launch, I sent off some emails to people I know and trust to get their advice on pricing. Unfortunately, there was no consensus.
My internet marketing friends, who sell ebooks every day for $67, $79, or $97, took a look at the guide and said I should price at $49. "Look at what you are giving people," said one.
"You're telling them how to get access to airline lounges, the truth and lies about upgrades, how to get elite status without flying, and on and on. This is worth hundreds of dollars."
Yes, that's all true. But I felt uncomfortable pricing at the $49 point -- I really wanted it to be more accessible. On the other hand, a few other respected experts said I should price lower than I expected.
$14.95, said one. $18 max, said another.
Yikes - I was equally uncomfortable with that idea. There is real value in the information I provide, and if I was selling it on the cheap, I'd rather just give it away. I'm not a mass-marketer; this is a niche product, and the average airfare costs $413 in North America. If someone can't afford $25, I don't mean to be insensitive, but they probably don't do much flying.
Thus, I had to make my own decision, and as much as I dislike the middle ground, that's what I went for - $24.97. I might sell more copies at a rock-bottom price point, and I might make more money selling at a higher price, but such is life with pricing decisions. You just have to make a decision and see how people respond.
So, how was the response?
Well, I won't be retiring to Monaco anytime soon, nor can I rely on this as anything close to a full-time income... but I think I have the potential to build a nice little business over the next year.
There were a couple people who complained about the price, and a couple people who said after reading the guide that they gladly would have paid more. I can live with that kind of healthy tension.
Oh, by the way - social proof is another important part of the price and value correlation. We'll have to cover this later, but in short, social proof is the public display of what other people think about your work.
Here are the early reviews, from real-life people:
I feel like I’ve stolen the book for that price. Well worth the investment. -Elliot Webb
And here's another, from Naomi who writes from Ontario over at Ittybiz:
"While I admit it takes a shotgun to my head or a hefty handful of Xanax to get me on an airplane -- I seriously considered taking a boat to Bali for my honeymoon -- sometimes it has to be done. This book actually makes flying seem kind of fun. Very informative, value packed, no fluff. The guide to airport lounges alone was worth the cover price. If you don't save money after reading this book you are quite frankly too stupid to be allowed on a plane without a chaperone."
(You may have noticed that Naomi is quite a direct person. Don't be offended. She's a friend.)
I have a lot more feedback like that, and I'll publish some of it on the product page over the next week or two. Elliot wrote his note to me at the same time someone else (who did not purchase) sent me a long rant telling me how expensive the guide was and how I was doing a disservice to the world, all marketing an evil, etc. I appreciated reading Elliot's note right after hearing from the unhappy person.
Despite the fact that the launch went well, there's always a few things you can learn from any success.
Here's my list of what-to-do-better in the future:
- I should have included a 2-page sample. Someone said that they would like to know more about what they are getting. You guys are correct, and I've fixed that. Here's the sample. The sample is representative of the practical information included on each page of the guide.
- The length could have been extended. This is the ultimate pricing paradox, and I've thought a lot about it. I've bought a few dozen ebooks over the years, and about half of them have cost me $49 or more. Almost all have provided good value, but almost all have been a bit too long for my taste.
There is inevitably a lot of good content but also a lot of fluff in the average ebook, and I wanted to avoid that with mine. I focused entirely on practical strategies and tactics, and left the fluff out. (There's no blank pages for notes, for example, or long checklists that take up extra pages.)
However... I now realize that some people decide on value based on a price-per-page basis.
If you think about it, this is highly irrational. If someone drew you a treasure map, would you worry that it was only on one page? But as noted previously, most purchase decisions involve more emotion than rationality. Thus, even though I offer free lifetime updates and will be adding more to the guide in the future, I probably should have had a few extra pages in there. Point noted.
- Lastly, I couldn't do it this time, but in the future we'll do a better job with segmentation. I got emails from the U.K. and Australia asking for localized versions. I got emails asking for a higher-priced, higher-end version for business travelers most interested in flying First Class. I got emails from India and elsewhere asking for a bare-bones (but cheaper) version.
We're working on these ideas. I have to find the right balance there (i.e., I don't want 10 different guides for the same subject), but it's on my mind. For now, I have a makeshift solution for those international readers who are interested. If you're one of them, write me and I'll give you the details.
For the next guide, I'll take each of these lessons to heart and see how to make it even better. I'm working on it already, but it won't be coming out for a while. Like the first one, it's better to do it right than to do it quickly.
Getting Back to Basics
There's no way to eliminate the emotional process of buying something, but I recommend taking the process into the open. Asking serious value questions - not "What color is it?" or "How many pages is it?" but "How will this improve my life?" helps reduce the tension and ensure better choices. Another good question is, "Do I value this item (or service) more than I value the x dollars it will cost me?"
When I started thinking more about this, I started making different life choices. I made my decision to visit 100 countries by thinking about price and value. I entered and completed a Master's Degree program by thinking about price and value... but then I turned down a Ph.D. program by thinking about the same thing. It wasn't the right time for me.
Your mileage, as they say, will vary. You might not do the same things or make the same choices - in fact, I hope you'll do whatever it is you want to - but when you think carefully about price and value when buying (or selling), you'll usually make wiser decisions.
Good luck out there.
Did you enjoy this article? Please pass it on to others at your favorite social networking site, or share your own thoughts in the comments section.Read More
Image by Jblndl
Andrea Scher writes over at Superhero Designs, where she also sells homemade jewelry and does commercial photography. For five years and counting, she’s provided regular inspiration for a hyperactive community of women, fellow artists, and self-proclaimed superheroes.
So anyway, last week Andrea announced that she would be doing a site redesign, and the new site will include a few spaces for sponsors in the right column. This is the normal protocol for full-time bloggers – build a community, write for free, and have some advertisers on the right-side that help pay the bills. That’s not my plan here, but I have no problem with people who do it that way.
No big deal, right? Well... in the comments section of an otherwise tame blog, a few people felt like the world had ended. Here’s what some of them had to say:
- “it is not right to put an ad on your beauty. it is not healthy for everything to be for sale. this is a cultural sickness.” -kelly
- “I really never thought I would see ads on your Superhero Journal. I won't read it anymore because I am tired and sickened by the selling of America. You can paint it and dress it in pearls but that's what this is. ADS. Ads. ads. I feel so sad.” –penelope
- “i am opposed to advertising impacting every aspect of our existence and I wish more of us would keep boundaries around our creative space and say ‘this is not for sale!’" -katie
Someone even compared Andrea to a cocaine dealer and email spammer – yes, seriously. It reminded me of this article in my favorite non-newspaper, The Onion.
Really, putting an ad on a blog is as bad as selling cocaine? It seems that the hyperbole of the internet takes over in full force with some blog commentors, who strangely enough don’t usually provide links to their own blogs.
Of course, most people aren’t that silly. There were dozens of positive comments posted on Andrea’s blog supporting her decision, with 95% of the people expressing their appreciation for all of the free inspiration she continually brings to her community. In the end I have no doubt that she will benefit more from the exchange than if no one had complained at all.
But most of us tend to focus on – and worry about – the complainers who want to hold everyone down to the level of average.
I talked to someone from San Diego the other day and mentioned the singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, who lives there. “I really like his music,” I said.
“Yeah,” he said. “Although now that he is all famous and everything, he no longer plays coffee shops, so I don’t like him as much.”
You hear this kind of attitude a lot about musicians. Now that he can afford to have a house and buy health insurance for his family, Dave Matthews sucks. Coldplay was cool before they started selling out arenas, but now they are the band everyone loves to hate.
(The funny thing is that Coldplay’s new album has been #1 for weeks in most countries that track record sales… so if everyone hates them, who is buying the album? Hmmm.)
When you are a starving artist that lives by donations, that’s cool too. But when you become successful enough that more people want to appreciate your art, all of a sudden you become the target of jealousy and resentment from less successful people.
Unfortunately, it’s not only the critics who feel this way—some artists have a similar complex of their own that holds them back.
I usually end up meeting artists whenever I travel, and I've noticed that some (certainly not all, but a significant minority) seem to have a fear of letting money come anywhere near their art. They think that selling something, anything, is the same as “selling out.” They worry that people will criticize them if they decide to go commercial – and as we can see from Andrea’s recent experience, they’re probably right.
Paradoxically, by not taking the next step in their art, they are severely limiting themselves. Bill Cosby said once, “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
Being 100% non-commercial is safe and easy – no one can complain, because you work for free. To take it up a level, you have to enter the marketplace.
My Upcoming Cocaine Dealership
Talking about Art and Money is not a hypothetical discussion for me. I won't be putting ads on the site because that’s not really my style, but as I have said from the beginning, I have no objection to people earning money from their art form.
With that in mind, I’m creating a series of Unconventional Guides that will be offered for sale here on the site. The guides will feature 100% practical information focused on specific topics related to Life, Work, and Travel. In the guides I’ll explain exactly how I travel around the world, pay relatively little for airfare, earn money without a job, and so on.
More importantly, I’ll explain how you can do the same, or even better—how you can use the strategies to do whatever it is that you are interested in.
The first report is called the Unconventional Guide to Discount Airfare and will launch on Wednesday morning. I’m pretty excited about it. In 31 pages of specific strategies and tactics, I’ll tell you exactly how you can become your own travel guru and pay a lot less for plane tickets than virtually everyone else out there.
Of course, the guide will be professionally designed, include free updates for life, a complete satisfaction guarantee, coffee refills at Starbucks, etc.*
(*The coffee refills may not happen. But everything else will.)
I already know that some people will love this. I get emails every day asking for this kind of information, and I spent a lot of hours writing the Discount Airfare guide. I'll be surveying the readers who purchase it to determine which guide I should write next, and to keep it as accessible as possible, I'll price the guide a lot lower than market value.
Other people won’t love it or just won’t need the information, and that’s fine too – that’s why it’s a paid product, so that those who can benefit from it will buy it, and those for whom it is not relevant for can sit it out. No problem. Assuming this guide is well-received, I’ll be making more of them, and maybe something else will be a better fit for you. Or maybe not, and that’s also OK, because my writing on the site will always be free.
But if someone thinks I’m as bad as a cocaine dealer for selling products that improve people’s lives, well, they’ll just have to think that, because I could probably not convince them otherwise.
For everyone else, I hope you like it. I’ll see you on Wednesday with more details about the guide, and an order link for those who are interested.
Did you enjoy this article? Please pass it on to others at your favorite social networking site, or share your own thoughts in the comments section.Read More
Image by fensterbme - Click to enlarge
- A nice chair
- Inbox for your GTD system
- Nearby coffee maker that is as simple or as fancy as you like
- Nice lamp
- Cell phone charger
- Dual monitor system
- Laser printer
- Wireless router
Let’s say you have a decent little business going. Something on the Internet, perhaps—since that’s the way an estimated 24 million of us earn our living these days, just in North America alone. I’ve found that there are two sets of Big Challenges faced by most Small Businesses. The first challenge is getting some initial…Read More
My friend Jonathan Fields wrote a post once about how the road to blogging success is paved with insanity. Being a conventional blogger is not only boring, as Jonathan noted, but it also fails to lead to much attention. The same is true in most small companies and organizations. If you’re running Proctor & Gamble,…Read More
Last year, Sean Aiken from Vancouver, Canada, graduated from college with a business degree and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next. Like a lot of us of all ages, Sean had a good work ethic, but was uncomfortable with being locked into a career that offered little variety. Sean was also a bit…Read More
First of all, welcome to my new readers. Many of you are coming over from Zen Habits in response to a guest essay I published there yesterday. The essay is called Three Truths to Creating a Life of Gratitude, and I am grateful for everyone who is following along on my own journey of gratefulness.…Read More
I realized recently that it’s been about 90 days since I started this web site and committed to the publishing schedule of three essays per week. I thought it would be good to summarize what I’ve learned, including the mistakes I’ve made as well as the things I’ve done right. Even if you’re not a…Read More