“So useless to have to work so hard”

Quick tophat: A client of mine has some availability. She’s a marketer with significant open source experience and has done both product and software services marketing. Job preferred; gig could work. Reply if you’d like me to connect you to her.

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My wife and I were driving back from the Great Sand Dunes National Park yesterday, and Spotify served up a Tom Petty song. This line stuck out at me:

Every now and then, I get down to the end of a day
I have to stop, ask myself why I’ve done it
It just seems so useless to have to work so hard
And nothin’ ever really seem to come from it

—Tom Petty, “Here Comes My Girl”

If you’ve ever found yourself echoing Tom Petty’s sentiment, then the best advice I have is to beg, borrow, or steal the time and energy needed to invest some of that hard work in something that will benefit your future business. That probably looks roughly like marketing.

I’m partial to publishing frequently to an email list, but there are other things that have a good track record:

  1. A weekly email that teaches readers about a niche topic. Here’s a good example: https://resilienceroundup.com
  2. Writing a short ebook that teaches what you know about a niche topic. A good example: https://leanpub.com/kotlindsls
  3. Post videos on YouTube that teach what you know about a niche topic. A good example (Marie Poulin teaching about using Notion): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpzKoBl909Y1s8hS5QpSlamyGqzmMqzDZ

Some things these examples have in common:

  • Keep it niche. If you worry that you’ll run out of stuff to say in a month or two, you’ve got the focus narrow enough. You won’t actually run out of stuff to say or share. Once you get through the entrance to the seemingly small “cave”, you’ll find that your tiny niche topic expands in scope dramatically.
  • Give freely. If your giving creates value, it will open doors of opportunity for you. The world is starving for value, and has a way of turning freely-given value into business opportunity without you needing to squeeze that opportunity out via brute force.
  • Be consistent. Commit to some kind of event-based deadline, like “I’ll publish my weekly email before I go to sleep on Sunday night” or “I’m a night-owl, so I don’t go to sleep without publishing” or “I’m a morning person, so I’ll set a timer for an hour and do something for my business before I start doing client work.” Keep it simple and don’t do a monthly schedule unless you have a lot of discipline. If you’ve kept up regular workouts over the last 4 months of the coronavirus pandemic, you probably have enough discipline to publish something monthly rather than daily or weekly.
  • Keep the production minimal. The content is what matters. The production values probably matter a lot less.

I’ve worked with folks where freeing up this time to invest in your own business seems impossible. It might be the demands of family, childcare, the dayjob, or something else. I feel for you, and as a guy with healthy parents and no kids and a measure of good health myself, I don’t know what advice to offer.

Except to be dedicated to what’s important and be ruthless. Maybe your TV-viewing budget is a good place to start being ruthless? 🙂 Just a thought…

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The Great Sand Dunes National Park is really cool. At a distance, the people walking up the dune look like fleas on a yellow dog. Here’s a pic I made:

- Experiential marketing learning for independent consultants

Full size image: https://pmc-dropshare.s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/DSCF6862.jpg

Oh, and here’s another snapshot showing more of the context, that context being: giant sand dune in the middle of the Rocky Mountains! https://pmc-dropshare.s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/DSCF6869.jpg

-P