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Project ABC: Goodness Gracious, It’s Actually Happening…

abcI’m really excited.

Okay – I’m usually really excited – but today more so than others.

Today, I’m excited to tell you about the last year at Paying for Life, which has gone from an idea to a blog with about 650 people paying attention to it.

This is small potatoes in the blogosphere – but it feels HUGE to me.

Note from Danny: This *is* huge. Megan has grown almost as much in her first year as we did in the first year of Mirasee. And Mirasee was a full-time gig with two partners and an assistant, whereas Megan is doing Paying for Life very much on the side. So way to go!

Looking back as I’ve been working alongside (and let’s be honest – very often behind!) our students in the Audience Business Masterclass, I can see a number of things I’ve done well over the last year, and some things I haven’t.

On the positive side: my list has grown, and I’ve started building some relationships – and even friendships – with other bloggers in my space. I’ve also started blogging more frequently and *very* recently started pitching guest posts more aggressively. I have also made a plan for a couple of bigger campaigns for the next few months – I’ll explain more about all of this below.

On the more negative side, I spent most of the year laboring under the impression that I needed to become an authority in the personal finance space online – and that’s not as true as I thought it was. It won’t hurt – but it’s not the Niche Superhero I really want to be.

The other major thing I’ve done wrong is that I have yet to really prioritize my work for my own business. I care about it, it matters to me – but I also have this incredible day job…

So I’m trying to find a balance right now that lets me do the work I want to be doing AND the work I want to be doing. (What a problem, right?)

Okay, let’s go over some of this in more detail. Hopefully you can learn a little from my mistakes. 😉

Hey Audience! Where Are You?

I spent a good portion of last year doing something a little backwards. Anyone in the Audience Business Masterclass will be familiar with this feeling – where you’re working and writing and networking and you think all is going really well and then all of a sudden you wake up and realize: “What the heck am I doing? My audience doesn’t read personal finance blogs!” (Or the equivalent.)

*head desk*

Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees!

I was going about guest posting and blog commenting the wrong way. The blogs I need to be connecting with aren’t other personal finance or money making blogs – my audience isn’t ready for those yet. They’re politically and socially motivated, not financially motivated – and while I know they see a need to acquire more of the good green stuff – they’re NEVER going to Google “how to plan for retirement” or “the top performing stocks for students.”

They’re going to Google: “I’m broke,” “the millennial condition,” “the economic meltdown,” “make a living…” Things more along those lines.

So I’ve stopped commenting on most personal finance blogs, (some I stay involved with because I like them and the bloggers a great deal) and instead turned my attention to more social and lifestyle oriented ones.

You know how I know this is a better choice?

I’m enjoying it so much more.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

You might remember the coloring book idea I was talking about in the last update I had for you. Well I did charge ahead with it – I reached out to tons of comic and graphic artists that I respect and my audience loves – and got rejected by almost every single one.

Now, this isn’t as brutal as it sounds. Many of the artists I wanted to work with were TOTALLY willing to lend a hand and share their work. But they couldn’t, because they have contracts with agents and publishers. Many offered to do an illustration for their usual bespoke fees – which, while reasonable, were a little outside of my budget. (A lot outside of my budget.)

That put a hitch in my red panda content plans – but not to worry. Necessity is the mother of invention, and because my initial plan failed, I’m taking a page from our own Danny Iny’s book and doing something a little more collaborative, with people who are a little more up-and-coming. I reached out to my network and found illustrators, artists and even someone with a decided passion for pagination who are all interested in getting involved.

I’m not going to spill all of the launch-plan beans just yet – but I’ve got another update coming in April, and I expect to have good news for you then.

On that exact note, I’ve got another new plan to run by you all…

Sending Letters to Famous People

I have been feeling the need for a subscriber bump, and while I’m really enjoying the guest posting I’ve been able to do, in my slow, post-by-post way, I also want to practice hosting an online event.

Do you remember the killer Author Panel Webinars that Danny did with folks like Jonah Berger, Josh Kaufman, Mitch Joel and Guy Kawasaki?

I thought so. I loved them too, and so I’m going to host one of my own. 🙂

Hosting an online event of this sort is an incredible way to both get a ton of subscribers, but also really build relationships with others in your space. Putting it all together will take a good amount of work but (prepare for shameless plug) I’ve got my handy-dandy copy of the Author Panel Issue of the Campaign Mastery Marketing Blueprints Club right here and so it’s all laid out for me step-by-step (end plug).

At a high level, I’ll invite a well-known author in my space to join me on a call to promote their book, and have a panel of other bloggers in the space present as well to make the discussion lively, interactive and hugely valuable for everyone listening. The panelists I invite will also be encouraged to share information about the event to their lists.

I have a few people in mind to ask on as Panelists, but I haven’t decided on who to ask to be the main featured author yet. Any suggestions? Ideally, this will run in the spring.

And Finally – She Writes Regularly…

I’ve run my first content calendar campaign over January – The Art and Artistry of the Side Hustle – a 4-post series explaining why a side business is a good idea, how to come up with ideas for one, how to put them to the test and what to do with your first side hustle dollars.

It’s been a lot of fun, and making myself stick to a weekly schedule has been challenging and rewarding. Now to just keep it up forever …

Starting in February, I’m going to be sharing some Side Hustle Success stories: my own from back in the day, and those from some people I know. If the response to them is good, I’ll make Side Hustle Successes a regular feature. (So hey – If you have a Side Hustle gone right story – let me know!) It feels kind of cool to be thinking about regular features.

Okay, I’m winding down on updates to share – but I have just one more thing to say …

The Magic Number

It’s looking like I’m going to be hitting that wonderful 1000 subscriber mark pretty soon – and I’m trying to prepare for it in terms of having content ready, campaigns, and ways to keep the momentum going.

But I’m a little anxious because I know that giving this project the time it deserves is my biggest weak point, so I’m trying to set some “ground rules” for myself to help keep on track, like trying to devote the first couple of hours of each day to Paying for Life work, and publicly making deadlines.

I’ve set overall goals for the year – launch with Red Panda content, make my first offer for sale (watch out summer – here I come!), and blog regularly – I know how to do these things, but will I?

So I ask you, dear readers of Mirasee – how do YOU make something a priority, and make sure you hit the goals you set for yourself?

I’d love any advice or input that you have.

Thank you!

About Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is an alumnus of Mirasee and is passionate about online education, small business and making a difference in the world. You can find out what she's up to and how side-hustles will take over the world at PayingforLife.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganTwoCents.

65 comments

  1. Katharine ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hi, Megan!

    When my kids were coming up, I kept a daily to-do list for us all. Love ’em!
    However, I kept these lists in a notebook, so we could see the record of what we’d done. We’d also write comments, list other to-do’s that came up unexpectedly, and even added graffiti.
    In the end, we had a sort of yearbook that had done more than make us work. It made us excited to do the next thing. It showed us how much we could accomplish if we just did one thing. At a time. It chronicled the craziness that makes us unique. Mostly, though, it made us excited to do even more, when we knew we’d be looking back on it someday. 🙂 I love that I kept them.
    So file those lists. Just a little something to occupy your spare time, eh? 🙂

  2. Exciting times!

    To answer your final question, when something’s “important but not urgent” I often put it into my online calendar with instructions to email me about it Every. Single. Day. Maybe even more than once a day. Until I’m so sick of the damn emails I get the job done.

    Yep, I use email to nag myself into action. This is also the reason I sometimes drown in my inbox — too many calendar reminders — so probably best to do it for only one task at a time!

  3. nyaran says:

    Hey Megan!
    – Accountability through groups! I am not very much a “group” person nor a “facebook” person, but sharing my struggles with many ohers made me stick to my priorities.
    – Sticking to it by lists! I am glad to read that I am not the only list-addict around here.
    – And something I learned recently: The necessity of revision! What was my priority this month? Did I meet it? Why and why not? Is it still a priority?

    1. Megan says:

      Hi Nyaran,

      Great point about revisions and taking stock! I find these updates are a really good chance for me to do that – and publicly no less!

      There’s a big consensus for lists and accountability groups here – so I’m going to take in all of this advice – make some changes and be ready to report back!

      Thank you!

  4. Vicky says:

    Hello Megan,

    First of all thanks for sharing such a wonderful post, Secondly you are absolutely right about the word ” you win some and loose some’ I also believe the same.

  5. Mel Wicks says:

    Hi Megan,
    Thanks for sharing. It was a very honest and helpful post for me. I started my own freelance writing business (not online) on January 1st and was lucky enough to hit the ground running with clients who came with me from my previous life, so I’ve hardly had time to draw breath as I’ve been trying to set up all the disciplines and processes you need in a new business as well as do the actual work. At the same time I’m doing Danny’s masterclass (slowly, but with determination), and my one concern has been how to fit it all in. You’ve made me realise you don’t need to achieve an audience of a gazillion devoted followers in the first 12 months, you can do it just as effectively at a more realistic pace, as long as you just keep moving in the right direction with small steps rather than trying to take huge strides. So thank you. As for advice on how to fit it all in, I’m not in a position to be able to share anything constructive on that level yet as I’m still trying to work all of that out for myself. But I’ll get back to you as soon as I’ve found a formula that works! Cheers, Mel

    1. Megan says:

      Congratulations on your freelancing business, Mel! Please do keep me updated on how things go for you – from ABM to time management. 🙂 I love knowing that “we’re all in this together.”

  6. Christine Sang ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hi Megan! I think you’re doing a pretty good job as it is. When you have much to accomplish, sometimes it just takes longer than if you had one thing. So, patience seen as a reality, would be first for me. It’s also helped me to know how I tend to work, and then try to take advantage of my own habits (bad or good)! For example, I like working up against an outside deadline, so I look for ways I can agree to them, without triggering my independent Maverick side. That leads me to my last trick I play on myself. All I need to do is remember working all those side upon side upon side upon side hustles myself, and my motivation rises. It’s wonderful to see your work, Megan.

    1. Megan says:

      Thank you Christine!

      Self awareness about working styles is a really good point. I think there are probably lots of us who are far more efficient (among other things!) in our minds than we are in reality.

  7. Sandra says:

    HI Megan,
    I have written to you many times but did not realize the extent of your “side hustle”. I am trying to think if you have posted this information and I just missed it. Anyway, what I would like to see first of all is all that you are working on in some form of list. (yes, I work best from lists). Also, I believe you may be missing an entire audience, not suggesting you change your titles or anything else: but there are MANY people out there of all ages that are having to start over because of job layoffs of all types as well a some sort of money reduction related to the economy. They, and that includes me, could use some of these tips as well. I am not sure why I only thought it was for young people, maybe the title, but for what ever reason I never even attempted to find the blog.
    Ok, so long story short, I love the suggestions listed by others and you might even make your next blog about these suggestions.
    I used to use a timer ALL of the time. It did keep me on track and am going back to that. Also, I list all the night before of what I want to accomplish the next day.
    But here is one I don’t think was mentioned. When I have been interrupted with something that needs to be done that I had not listed I put that on the list an cross it off. There is nothing worse than to get to the end of the day and feel you have accomplished nothing. Also, it shows me where I might be wasting my time and if really important either schedule it in or delegate it to someone else. It gives me a very clear picture of what I really do each day.
    But most of all in this blog, I appreciate you candid openness. It gives me the impetus to get going again.
    Thanks,
    Sandra 🙂

    1. Megan says:

      Hi Sandra,

      Paying for Life is a case study in the Audience Business Masterclass, and I run updates, along with a few other students on FPM.

      You’re right that there are tons of people who are changing careers and starting new endeavours right now – and that’s part of the reason I’m focusing so strongly on younger folks – not because the market isn’t there among other ages – but to help me build authority more quickly within a narrowly defined market. Once I see more growth and success in that arena, it will be a good time to expand into other demographics. 🙂 Anyone is, of course, welcome to subscribe and be a member of the community – but my ideal customer for whom the messages are all crafted is a small subset of the total possible market.

      I love that idea of adding interruptions to the list – some days there are so many of them I can see how it makes a big difference to be able to cross them off and sort of “tally” them for the end of the day.

      Thank you so much!

  8. Melisa says:

    Oh this is a good story! I love reading your blog, Megan, and your side hustle book! This is good advice because it’s hard to see where your target audience is and it helps me understand where my blog needs to go, too.

    1. Megan says:

      Thank you Melisa!

      Knowing who my audience was was always so easy – I assumed that finding them would be equally so – and I’m glad to have learned differently. Audience building may be simple – but it’s NOT easy. 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  9. Mary Beth Caffey says:

    My best way to stay focused is using a list, which has already been mentioned. This week alone it has kept me on track during a week full of distractions. I have blocks of time in my schedule to do the ABM course, and I’m really trying to stick to that. Priorities, priorities, priorities…(I will probably need you folks to preach that back to me several times in the near future!)

    I’m new and this is my first introduction to your journey. Looking forward to watching it grow with you.

    1. Megan says:

      Sometimes you really do have to hear or tell yourself something MANY times before it really sticks. I’m so glad to have you on board, Mary Beth – for everything!

  10. Davis Nguyen says:

    Congratulations on your progress, breakthroughs, and failures (I can tell you learned and were more motivated).

    As you know, I like to have people hold me accountable for my goals. 😉

    1. Megan says:

      Oh I know you do Davis – I can’t wait to share your next update with everyone. You’ve got everyone beat, I’m pretty sure in terms of accountability!

  11. Thanks for booking this article into your schedule. Your insight about what types of blogs you should be commenting on and guest posting on was really helpful.

    My audience niche is similar, not necessarily out looking for the solution I’m offering. Really helps me clarify my direction.

    1. Megan says:

      I’m glad this helps you clarify your direction, Kathleen! It can take a lot of tries to hit the right strategy – but it is out there, for everyone!

  12. Jagoda says:

    Megan, you’re an inspiration. I too am building my audience business as a side hustle (love that phrase) and it is challenging. The truth is that both my day job and my online business have priorities that are important to me. I deal with this by allocating time each week (rather than daily because my day job doesn’t have regular hours) for both. I also write down both long-term (annual) and short-term (weekly) goals. If I miss one in a week, I try not to beat myself up (for long) and add it to next week’s list. Keep on keepin’ on.

    I love Barbara’s idea of a shared accountability group. I might explore that.

    1. Megan says:

      Thank you Jagoda!

      I like the idea of weekly v. daily – I’m finding it really interesting reading these comments and seeing how different timelines for goals work for different people. I guess it comes to trial and error for the one that works best for each individual.

  13. colleen says:

    Hi Megan,

    Thanks so much for sharing this! It’s so encouraging to hear that you’re finding your way despite some uncertainties and detours. When that happens, it’s easy to wonder if we’ll ever “get there”. I worry about “wasting” 6 months on the wrong business idea/angle and having to start all over. I suppose the main thing is to just start, dang it. As a writer, I assume the first draft won’t be the final one, that I’ll need to go through many revisions before it’s ready. Those revisions aren’t “wasted time,” they’re getting me closer to where I need to be. I need to start thinking this way about my online business.

    The most important thing I’ve learned about freelancing in general has nothing to do with expertise. It’s this: we need to find ways to stay motivated despite a lack of resources (time, money, knowledge, energy, you name it. work-at-home mom here :). As long as we stay motivated enough to keep at it, we’ll eventually work through all of the what/when/where/how-to’s.

    I hated hearing you wonder if you would actually do the work – you will! Of course you will. You’re smart, dedicated, knowledgeable…and having a thousand people waiting for your next update doesn’t hurt 🙂 Good luck! Looking forward to hearing how it goes.

    1. Megan says:

      Thanks Colleen!

      I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll be making sure to get things done now – especially with all of this fantastic advice I’m getting!

      I like your comment that the first one won’t likely be the final – that’s true in so many areas.

      Thank you!

  14. renee baude says:

    Megan,

    I think you are amazingly talented at both “jobs”.

    To answer your question, for me I make time each day to work on one thing. As you know my time is limited but my passion and desire are not! Each day that I reach my goal of one thing–I celebrate.

    Slow and steady with intention wins the race!

    I can’t wait to see your Red Panda project!

    1. Megan says:

      Daily celebrations – I can get behind that!

      Thank you for the kind words, Renee – and I look forward to seeing the red panda content, too!

  15. Lynn Silva says:

    Hi Megan! : )

    You have such a rare, but powerful quality that I see in both your personal blog, as well as your work at Firepole. It’s what I like to call ‘focused passion.’ It’s dual – sided because it encompasses 2 separate businesses with admirable balance. Amazing Megan.

    You boldly dismiss any pressure of thinking that you have to succeed because you’re Danny’s ‘right hand’ and you go about your days and just DO IT! I’m excited for you, and respect and admire you very much. I cannot wait to see the next update.

    I have just one favor to ask…can you give me some of that ability for writing such amazing content in a short amount of time? Just pass it right on through the computer, because I really need it!

    1. Megan says:

      Aww, shucks, Lynn! You’re making me blush. 🙂

      I think writing content quickly is about 40% having an idea and 50% practice. The other ten percent is just technique. 😉

      Thank you!

  16. Don Karp says:

    I am trying various “side hustles” with hopes one takes as regular income. Getting my memoir out after 18 years made me excited to learn online marketing, at the young age of 70.

    I like your ideas and presentation. For attaining goals you might do well to look at Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Have a mentor to check in with regularly, or another type of cohort. Not achieving each goal (numbers/dates) is not an invitation to trash yourself, but to look at what went wrong and correct it. Maybe the goal was just too big and needs to be broken down into pieces.

    Finally, I think you should look at what Rebecca Tracey is doing with her site about “Living the Uncaged Life”.She’s a kick-ass young woman like you!

    Best wishes!

    1. Megan says:

      Hi Don,

      I know of Rebecca Tracey – definitely an inspiration!

      Congratulations on your Memoir and tackling online marketing! Both big achievements.

      You’re right about seeing failures as learning opportunities rather than reasons to feel bad – thank you for the reminder!

  17. Roy says:

    Hi, Megan. Great to hear you’re moving forward. Thanks for the overview. As a newbie to the world of small business enterprise, I really appreciate this glimpse into my possible future. I want to earn a living writing freelance.

    Regarding productivity, however, I practice best I can all the goal-setting advice offered here; but, given the unpredictability of my business (I’m a Tattoist), I’ve learned that flexibility is equally important. It helps me to adjust faster, as needed, minimizes resistance, and ultimately helps me accomplish my initials plans.

    Good luck with all!

    1. Megan says:

      I’m glad it was useful for you Roy – and I really appreciate your comment about flexibility – that’s something good for all entrepreneurs to keep in mind. 🙂

  18. Krista Low says:

    Yeah Megan how exciting for you! I’m glad to hear that your blog is growing, I love the feeling of watching your numbers steadily rise. It’s such a feeling of satisfaction knowing that what you say is making a difference to someone! I love the idea of your panel, I hope it goes off phenomenally for you!

    1. Megan says:

      Thanks, Krista! It’s definitely a pleasure to watch the list grow – and even better when people respond to messages. 🙂

      I’ll make sure to include the panel details in my next update.

  19. Wyatt says:

    It’s great to hear your success Megan. Best part is seeing the truth of it all. You may not have a list with thousands but it’s a lot easier to relate to that.

    My advice: “Whiteboard Wednesday”

    Every Wednesday I will put all my tasks up on a whiteboard and look over what I have on my plate. A lot of times just seeing my task up on a whiteboard is enough to make me do it. Other times, I’ll find myself writing the same task over and over again until I realize “I just need to sit down and finish this task I’m dreading”

    This works great too with partners, with everyone’s tasks up on a board a lot of times one will realize they can help the other one by taking one of their tasks.

    1. Megan says:

      Interesting idea about the whiteboard! I like how it helps you identify really clear that one task that keeps getting pushed – I know that feeling!

      Thank you very much!

  20. Carole says:

    Hi Megan,

    Thanks for sharing your story. It really helps others when we can see what’s really going on in the trenches.

    One thing that has always worked for me is making a list of 3 business related tasks that I want to get done the next day. This has to be hand written and on top of your desk. The key to this is making the tasks reasonable. You have to make sure you are setting mini goals that you actually can achieve. It can be things like make a call, write a post, learn a new plugin…

    The last thing is when you finish the task, cross it off with gusto. Not just a check mark. It is a subconscious gesture of accomplishment. Maybe weird, but it feels good. We need to feel like we are accomplishing things in order to keep up our drive.

    We’re rooting for you!

    1. David Eberhart says:

      Hi Megan,

      AWESOME post and incredible feedback from all!

      The one little tidbit I’d like to add is my own little tool that keeps me on the straight and narrow: I call it my “GamePlan.”

      It’s a one sheet wonder that keeps the top 13 goals in my life in front of me any time I need them.

      It fits very neatly into a recess in my wallet. Three times a day at work I go to my GamePlan and look at it, pray, smile, and remember that although I’ll “still be here” at the main gig for at least nine hours, that I got the chance in the morning to work on the GamePlan and in the evening I’ll get to work on it some more.

      I call it “GamePlan” because we used that back in the day in High School football. The coach reminded us on a regular basis that the reason we had a gameplan was so that we would remember what to do once we got punched in the mouth on the opening kickoff.

      Life has a habit of punching us in the mouth, doesn’t it?

      But when the dust settles, once we’ve recovered our breath, once we can once again consider what’s important to us and what we need to work on, isn’t it great to have a resource to go to and remind ourselves what’s the “next right thing” we can do to get a little closer to our dreams?

      OK, enough about the GamePlan. There will be more on that later when it’s my chance to guest post here.

      Megan, absolutely LOVE your progress, LOVE your work ethic, LOVE how you’ve personally helped me through my own ABM experience, and LOVE what you’re doing with your life. If me and my bunch of “redneck incubator, entre-manures” can help your core audience start side hustles, we’d LOVE to help!

    2. Megan says:

      Glad to be of service, Carole! A nice thing about being in my situation is that at least I can use my mistakes as teachable moments.

      What a great insight about crossing things off a list with gusto – I will definitely be trying that. Thank you!

  21. Karleen says:

    Megan, sounds like you’re doing a great job at the 2 jobs you love! I also have an outside job that I love, but it’s kind of a physical job and I know I won’t be able to do it forever. So I’m trying to build an online business too, because writing is something I love to do as well.

    Like Bo, I also do my best work in the early morning and really try to get it done before checking my email (doesn’t always work) or reading blog posts (doesn’t always work). Oh, oh. Sounds like I have a little trouble with priorities too! But I’m working on it!

    I’m fairly new to FirepoleMarketing and am really interested in the ABM course. I’ll be reading more about that and hoping to sign up in the near future. I’m going through another course right now, though, so it might have to wait.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing where you’re at with you side business.

    1. Megan says:

      Thanks Karleen – morning people unite!

      It’s nice to have multiple passions so you’re options keep expanding instead of narrowing down – good luck with your online work and the course you’re taking!

  22. Valeria says:

    Hi, Megan! Priority has been a problem for me for years. I knew the importance of knowing if I was working on important stuff or urgent one. And I was always working on urgent one. Urgent for me and important for others. So, this year, I began to decide what was important for me, first. Not for my family, my mate, my friends, my peers. For me. And I prioritize each week with ME first, and My desired outcomes, first. Then, I put any other things in my calendar. I recommend reading “gettin results the agile way”” by J.D. Meyer. For me it was useful for clarity on decide what my priority was.
    I hope this help! Anyway, congrats!

  23. Bo says:

    I’ve just recently signed up for ABM, and love your input in the modules.

    One of the best ways for me to get a priority done is to do it first thing in the morning, with my coffee, before opening any social media sites, checking email…anything! If it’s a priority that takes days/weeks to finish, I allot a specific amount of time first thing every morning, and follow the above advice.

    It’s hard, but – you know, worth it.

    1. Megan says:

      Hi Bo – thank you!

      Ahh, the first task of the day. I love my “coffee task” already – and it is a quick overview of email and student questions for ABM so I can prepare myself for the day to come – but then I usually transition into Twitter – maybe I should re-organize my morning…

      Thanks for the idea!

  24. Matt Whitcomb says:

    Megan,

    Congratulations on your progress. It’s a continual challenge to optimize your time with all the things you need to do, and want to do.

    Two key time management principles I rely on are –

    1- Everything counts. All the things you choose to do impact your life, and those around you. When you waste time, it counts. When you help others, it counts. When you work on your business, it counts. Keeping the phrase “Everything Counts” where it’s a visible reminder, serves to prompt you to always be moving forward.

    2 – Always work from a list. This is a method where you make decisions about what should be on your list, and then to work on those most important actions you’ve chosen. Didn’t do well today? Start fresh tomorrow.

    Hope this helps.

    Matt

    1. Megan says:

      “Everything Counts” – I love that! I might just stitch it onto a sampler for my desk. I do rely pretty heavily on my to-do list for Firepole-related tasks – I’d better start including my Paying for Life items. 🙂

      Thank you!

  25. Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg says:

    Megan, thanks for letting us into your world today! It was really inspiring. My online work is also a side hustle, and your feelings about what you were doing help me understand my own. I think prioritizing this alongside my regular gig is also my weak spot, but part of that was that my first year I was learning, learning, learning (still am but I’ve also learned that I have to stop this madness and take what I’ve learned so far and actually “DO IT!” Thanks for the update, Megan.

    One of the things I have implemented recently is a 500 words a day rule. I try to write at least 500 words a day. I am actually working on a manuscript and want to get the first draft done within six months. It’s helps me to have a solid goal rather than something like (I will write enough words each day to get it done in 6 months).

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Megan says:

      That’s Geoff Goins’ challenge, right? the 500 words a day? I’ve seen a bunch of people participating and I think it’s an awesome idea – how are you doing with the daily “allowance?”

      1. Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg says:

        Hi Megan,

        Yes…that’s Jeff Goin’s challenge and I am actually exceeding that most days because I am working on a manuscript and I get carried away. It’s a memoir!

  26. Barbara says:

    Hey Megan, it sounds like things are very exciting for you – all over the place! I’m amazed you have time to respond so carefully to us ABMers as you do:)

    And I can totally relate to the ‘doing what you like to do while making time to do the thing you like to do’!

    The way that I make things a priority for myself is through a shared spreadsheet with 3 other people (thank you GoogleDocs). We each put our goals for the week in one column, and then in the next column we write in what happened with each one – if we did it, we just put ‘done’ and if not, well we write why. We add anything else that’s relevant. Then we get on a hangout together and do a round-robin, with an occasional ‘deep dive’ into one of our businesses if something isn’t working or someone needs help with something specific.

    That really keeps me on my toes!

    1. Megan says:

      I’m getting a sense from Many of these comments that an accountability group is a good, reliable way to get things going.

      I particularly like the Googledoc idea – thank you!

    2. Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg says:

      I love that Barbara! I belong to a writers critique group (where we are responsible to critique each other’s writing weekly…two a week) and also a couple of mastermind groups (psychotherapy) and this helps me stay accountable as well. I recommend these types of groups (and one like yours!) to everybody who wants to stay focused and on track with their goals.

  27. Lyn says:

    Greetings Megan,

    I am a recent inductee into ABM and Firepole so am just learning about you … I loved reading about your target audience (in one of the training modules) I think?

    I am a little old to be your target but definitely understand what you are driving at – I think the big reminder for me in this post is that you took the reality check on what your audience would be googling and adjusted …

    A great read … sorry I do not have any constructive advice for your routine other than most likely the same old … one thing I do like to do is set an egg timer for a couple of hours a day with a 10 minute break in the middle – head down, no distractions – I like the sound of the timer as it keeps me focused … and journal my accomplishments through this time.

    Also, I learned a new word … “pagination” … had no clue what it was!
    Now I do ..

    Cheers & Thanks

    Lyn M

    1. Megan says:

      Hi Lyn,

      Thank you! Yes – my customer profile is in Lesson 2 as an example I believe. 🙂 Iterations just keep happening – so often! But better earlier than later. 🙂

      Pagination is a weird one – I had no idea it was actually a field someone might be interested in – but there you go!

  28. Razwana ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What awesome progress, Megan! For me, I make it a priority by focusing on 3 things I want to happen per month. No planning for the year, no stress about to-do lists. Just 3 things.

    And they’re the 3 things that will help in achieve a bigger goal (in your case, hitting the 1k reader mark).

    It takes the pressure off and keeps me focused.

    I also add the time to my diary for when I will be doing the tasks to achieve those three things. This means that if I’m invited to dinner and have scheduled to work that evening, I’m busy, so say no to the dinner.

    It’s tough – but rewarding!

    Keep going Megan – we’re cheering you on !

  29. Devi says:

    Hi Megan,

    Sounds like you are doing great, and in the right kind of company to keep learning and growing.

    I am interested in your approach – building your business while holding down your job too. I wonder if you would record a podcast for my audience on this topic. I provide coaching and resources for ethical career changers, some of whom are ethical entrepreneurs. Many are scared at the thought of gonig it alone, so your approach is a way to reduce the risk of having no money, but I’d also like to ask you about how you balance the workload and manage your time. If you’d be interested, do drop me an email. My interviews get sent out monthly to my list and advertised on social media.
    Thanks!
    Devi

    1. Megan says:

      Hi Devi,

      Thank you for your kind words – and I’d be thrilled to record a podcast with you. I’ll definitely send you a note. 🙂

      All the best,

      Megan

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