I joined Danny’s Audience Business Masterclass in 2013 which allowed me to create my own audience business empowering introverts, land an internship with one of my role models, and taught me how to stay disciplined. This post was written shortly after my internship at Quiet.
After a long day at Quiet I received an email from a subscriber: “When is Speak for the Meek launching?”
“2 weeks.” I replied.
That 2 weeks would never come.
There was no launch, just a broken vision of what could have been.
Speak for the Meek (my audience based business) was supposed to be a side-project during the school year and when I was interning over the summer. But each time I considered launching, I hesitated.
“I don’t like how my website navigates.”
“I just need to edit my launch posts some more.”
“I just need one more plugin.”
What was a dream of building a community for introverts to grow their voice turned into a nightmare for me. When people asked me how Speak for the Meek was going, I quickly changed the topic. Each time someone mentioned Speak for the Meek, it was a reminder of how I had let down my subscribers – as well as myself.
The problem wasn’t the Audience Business Masterclass – I will always attest that ABM has one of the best investments I have made. The knowledge I acquired from ABM helped me earn three internships, including the one I was working at over the summer.
Instead, low reader-to-subscriber conversion rates, ineffective guest posts, delayed launches, and inconsistent emails were all just symptoms masking a bigger, 5’6, 135 pound problem: me.
Finding the Root of the Problem
One night, frustrated, I tore out a sheet of paper from my work binder and started listing all the reasons why Speak for the Meek hadn’t launched. As I started listing them, I saw three common themes.
#1: I did more thinking than doing.
#2: I had no one to keep me accountable.
#3: I didn’t make time for Speak for the Meek.
After I saw my own list, I couldn’t bare to type in my own URL, let alone start to fix the monster of a project I had started.
Pivoting to a Solution
That weekend, I texted my friend Elena. Elena isn’t an entrepreneur, or even a blogger, but she is a supportive friend. A few dozen text messages and we had a solution. Instead of viewing Speak for the Meek as simply a failure, I would view it as a learning moment and take the opportunity to evolve my audience business with a new URL, a new approach to ABM, and a new chance.
The next week, I began reaching out other friends who had supported Speak for the Meek from day one and told them about my shift. They understood and were willing to continue supporting and helped me devise a new plan. Three Skype calls and four dozen suggested blog names later, Click With Anyone was born as the evolution of Speak for the Meek.
Defining Click With Anyone
As for my niche, I still cared about empowering others (especially introverts). After going back through my emails from subscribers about their problems, one of the biggest was forming meaningful relationship with people – whether it is with strangers, co-workers, or classmates.
My friends thought I would be great at teaching people how to “click” with others, but my mind couldn’t process the thought of writing new posts that were in any way related to the ones I made for Speak for the Meek. It would remind me that writing was a chore instead of something fun.
I wanted to make writing fun again.
I thought, maybe instead of telling my readers what they should do, I would show them. After more phone calls and lunches with friends, I decided on the idea that each week for one year, I would figure out how to get in contact with and connect with someone I’ve always looked up to; for example, my favorite entrepreneurs, bloggers, and writers. Each week I would document my successes, failures, and, importantly, lessons I learned in connecting with others.
Instead of repeating the same mistakes I made with Speak for the Meek, I learned from them. I changed how I thought about Click With Anyone.
Carrying Forward Lessons Learned from Speak for the Meek
#1: Click With Anyone Is The Highest Priority
Before, I only made time for Speak for the Meek once everything else in my life had cleared (hint: there is always other stuff to do). Now, instead of putting Click With Anyone at the back of my to-do list, I have put it at the beginning.
Just as I have time to shower and brush my teeth, I made Click With Anyone a task that required me to sit down for at least 1 hour a day and work on before I allow myself to do anything else (reading assignments, meetings, essays, and going out with friends included).
#2: I Found Someone to Hold Me Accountable
In my last Project ABC update, I mentioned I had formed an accountability group at school. Our group lasted until summer, when we were away from campus, each of us in different cities interning at different jobs with their own duties. We didn’t meet and I lapsed on my goal of guest posting at least once a week.
When restarting with Click With Anyone, I reached out to my network. My friend Eli, who lives 1000 miles away, responded and asked to be my accountability buddy. Since the first day I met Eli, he has always been supportive of my goals.
He decided that he wanted to take the challenge of connecting with one role model each week for a year together with me. We made our lists, set our meeting time, and started reaching out. Every Sunday, we get on Skype and talk about our progress. As with my previous accountability group, Eli and I continue to push each other each week. When Eli reads my posts and sees I didn’t put enough effort, he will call me on my lack of dedication.
#3: I Am Taking Imperfect Action
With Speak for the Meek, I was so worried that everything had to be perfect. I fell into the trap of creating more and more work for myself, and the launch looked further and further away. My layout was never good enough, my angle wasn’t clear enough, my pillar articles weren’t “meaty” enough, etc.
Suddenly, building a community was more of a chore than a passion.
With Click With Anyone, I made a simple design, wrote my first two posts, and immediately did a soft launch to friends. I realize my first post won’t be as good as my one hundred and first, but as one of my favorite saying goes, every pro was once an amateur. Each week I continue to improve my writing style and add small fixes to my site where I start noticing areas for improvement. I won’t be anywhere near perfect, but I am okay with that.
From Failure to Success: The Evolution of a Business
Two month is a short time for me to say I have turned a failure into a success story. In fact, my subscriber count at the time of this writing is only at 19. I am still pitching guest post ideas, and I won’t be producing any product anytime soon. but, I haven’t felt this excited about owning a blog since I published my first post on a WordPress.com blog, long before I met Danny and found the supportive Firepole Marketing community.
I am learning from past and taking the next steps to get closer to my dream of owning an audience business.
I am currently on Week 6 of my 52 week quest at Click With Anyone. Will you join me and keep me accountable?
Have you turned a failure into a learning moment? How did that change your life – or your business? Let me know in the comments below.