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Project ABC Update: Change is in the Air

abcI think that spring has finally arrived in Montreal – and it’s about time, too!

Just a week ago we had snow flurries – but now the crocuses are springing up and the breeze is if not balmy… well, it’s not freezing any more. Short sleeves for all!

This time of year is very hard to sit at your desk all day – even when what you’re doing is exciting!

But work must march forward, so I sit at my desk with the window open, and the sound of bicycles driving by and birds singing in the trees drifting in- and get ever more excited about my growing business, deepening relationships and possibilities for the coming months.

Spring is wonderful.

And busy!

I can’t begin to describe what a delight it is to start getting to know the people who have signed up for my First Impression Incentive, and responded to the different letters in my Engagement Sequence.

If you haven’t done this for your business – may I please recommend it again!

The process of things coming together – all the different pieces of the puzzle – offers, commenting, subscribers, engagement – for someone with their eye on a successful business – it’s exhilarating!

Of course, with new growth comes big change – and that’s something I’d like to talk about today as well…

A Little Necessary Honesty

People start businesses for a variety of reasons – from the desire for independence, to a need to make a difference in the world. No reason for beginning a new project is better than the other, and the time of year has got me thinking about my own motivations for doing this project.

Unlike many of you reading, and unlike many of our students, I’m not looking to replace my current work – not by a long shot. Actually, I love my job. (So breathe that sigh of relief, Danny!)

This means that I have less time to devote to my own project than I initially intended.

Now, because I’ve got the right work and the right order, a successful blog being in my future is not up for debate – but when it’s going to happen… is. To build this kind of business in a year, you need to be able to devote 10-20 hours a week to it.

I can’t, and planning to devote that much time each week is a quick way to become frazzled and despondent  So I’m looking at a longer term schedule – things will move more slowly for me – but the process will be the same.

These are the kinds of decisions that come up sometimes, and it’s better to be honest with yourself then to try and squeeze into a  schedule that just isn’t going to work for you.

Because of this,we’re going to be making an exciting change to these Project ABC updates – but more on that in a bit.

Batter Up – Some of the Pitches

So, despite slowing things down – I’ve been planning and pitching!

I haven’t made all 10 pitches I spoke of last month – although I did write them. For the time reasons mentioned above – should my success rate be high – I wouldn’t be able to fulfil the obligation in a timely enough manner – so I’m staggering them. I also waited until I was home from a trip to visit family to begin. It would have been a crying shame to sacrifice a twilight game of soccer-baseball with my several adorable cousins to write a blog post. (Remember work-life balance? It’s important.)

Here are some of the headlines I ended up going with:

  • The Side Hustle – an Artist’s Way Out
  • One Reason Isn’t Enough – How to Make Financially Sound Decisions (Almost) Every Time.
  • An Open Letter to Hiring Managers – Please Disregard this Degree.
  • An Unusual Path to Frugality

One has been accepted so far – care to guess which?

Speaking of Momentum

I had the honor to be included recently on Sophie Lizards list of 52 Resources for Freelance Bloggers.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I checked my email on a Sunday evening while visiting with family and far away from thoughts of audience building to find 50 new subscriber alerts in my inbox!

After my initial “my-stars-and-garters-that’s-a-lot-of-new-email!” shock – I realized what they were (!!!) but was baffled as to the source. I followed the inbox down – noticed an update from Be a Freelance Blogger – and low and behold – Sophie included me in her wonderful resource!

Since that time, my low subscription rate is increasing – it has moved from a couple of people a week to a couple of people a day – and THAT is why it’s such a good idea to build relationships.

Needless to say – I’m anxious to repay the favor at some point!

Another cool thing that has happened is that I had the privilege to be partially responsible for a new small business starting up in my very own home!

My wonderful and talented room-mate took one of the ideas in my First Impression Incentive and ran with it – starting a scholastic editing micro-business in a weekend – and gaining her first clients! There was much celebrating!

Being able to see an impact based on what you do – that’s a pretty spectacular feeling. It’s a good reminder why this project is worth the time – even if I can’t do 10-20 hours a week – I wouldn’t give up the 5-10 for anything!

Request Letter

Now, as you may remember, I’m hoping to collaborate with some cool comic artists to create a piece of red panda content. I’ve got my list of artists to approach, and wanted to run my pitch letter by you.

What do you think? Does it promise enough value? Make the offer seem attractive? Seem like a bad deal?

Dear [NAME],

My name is Megan Dougherty, and I’ve been a long-time fan of [COMIC NAME]. You really [COMMENT ABOUT SOMETHING I ENJOY IN THEIR WORK], so thank you for that!

I’m reaching out today because I’m planning a project, that I thought you might be interested in being involved in. I’m creating a coloring and activity book for young creative types that will deal with some of the less fun but very necessary aspects of budgeting and personal finance that often get ignored. I would very much like to include one of your comics in it – namely [SPECIFIC CARTOON THAT APPEALS]. With your permission, I would be thrilled to include it (in black and white) in the book with full attribution and accolades, of course.

Your comic really does an excellent job of illustrating [TOPIC] and I think that readers would really enjoy the exposure to your work.

I’ll be promoting the book very aggressively among 18-25 year olds on my blog, through targeted guest posts and to my email list of [XXX]. You’re more than welcome to check out my website [LINK] and some of the other work I’ve done recently [LINKS TO GUEST POSTS].

What do you think? Would you be interested in being included in the book? I’m very flexible on how and where you can be noted as a contributor if you’re interested, so if you’d like to discuss this a little further – I’d be thrilled to hear from you!

All the best,
Megan Dougherty

I think this covers the basis, but I’m a little nervous to send it out – so if you have recommendations or criticisms – I’d be happy to hear them beforehand!

Cool Change to Project ABC

As I mentioned before, I’d like to announce an upcoming change in project ABC.

It’s great that I have a chance to submit my progress and requests for input to you – but the truth is I’m running one type of business for one specific audience, and doing it at a slower rate than is generally recommended. So Danny and I came to the conclusion that it might be a really good idea to expand Project ABC to other audience business builders. We’re going to be reaching out to students in the Audience Business Masterclass to see who wants to join the project.

The exact form that this change is going to take is still being decided upon, but you can absolutely look forward to a wider variety of stories and experiences coming your way – but ALL about effectively building an audience based business.

I’d like to know what you would like to see more of!

Do you want to hear from writers? Consultants? Service Providers? Merchants?

Would you like to see each post devoted to a single business, and going into a lot of detail or a sampling of different ones each month?

Please let me know in the comments. 🙂

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 Follow her on Twitter at @MeganTwoCents.

21 thoughts on “Project ABC Update: Change is in the Air

  1. Megan, I’m so glad I could send some interested visitors your way! Your resource was one of the most-clicked on my whole list – clearly there are quite a few aspiring freelance bloggers who could use some help making a small amount of money fast, as well as a larger income in the long term.

    Your prime position at the end of the list (where people stop scrolling and start paying attention again) was no accident. I thought of all the email I get from my readers who need to pay that bill *yesterday*, and figured yours would be a good freebie to show them. Looks like I judged right!

    Oh, and if you’re looking for a way to return the favour, I’d love to see a guest post from you on BAFB. Given the overlap between our audiences, I’m sure it’d be a big hit. 🙂

    • Hi Sophie,

      True – I don’t know too many folk who can’t use a little extra on the quick now and then.

      That’s a really good point about the end of the list being a prime position – my own inclusion aside – that’s a really good point for all bloggers to remember – beginning and end are where most of the attention is for list posts!

      I’d be thrilled to write you a post! I’ll come up with a pitch and get it too you soon!

      Thanks again!

  2. Hi Megan,

    Honesty and transparency is one of the many things that I appreciate at Firepole Marketing. And I totally understand that you’re not planning to replace your job. 🙂

    Personally, I’d like to hear from writers and life coaches. And I definitely prefer each post devoted to a single business and going in depth with that.

    All the best


  3. Hey Megan,

    Since you asked, just a couple of small thoughts about the letter.

    I’d avoid starting with “you might want to be involved…” They don’t know what you’re talking about yet. Maybe start by describing the project, then mention how it wouldn’t take more than a “yes” from them, and finally actually ask for it.

    I’d also estimate how many people will see the work. And base it on “previous results.” For example, “Based on how people have been interested in similar offers in the past and the rate at which my audience is growing, I’m expecting approximately 2,500 people to read the book in the first 3 months. And the rate number should increase by a few hundred people per month after the launch period.” Without the concrete numbers the request might seem unfounded or even a waste of time. Just mentioning the email list’s size probably isn’t enough to convince people (unless you have a really big list, of course).

    What do you think?

    (Feel free to skip this if you’re not in the mood for nitpicking 😉 In the first sentence of the second paragraph there shouldn’t be a comma before “that.”)


    • Amazing suggestions – as always Peter! Thank you kindly – I’ll definitely use some of this! You’re right about the estimation – it would make it much more powerful.

      And I may not “like”receiving it – but I’m one of those who NEEDS grammar nitpicking. 🙁

      Much obliged!

  4. Hi Megan,

    It was refreshing to see some new resources instead of the same old, same old resources. New blood is always welcomed. Plus, it gives those who are trying to break in to the ‘club’ a chance.

    FYI: I signed up for your “20 No Bullshit Ways to Make at LEAST $30 Tomorrow.”

    I’d like to hear from writers, service providers, consultants, business/marketing coaches, and merchants. I gravitate towards people who can get to the bottom line and give you a formula/strategy you can implement ASAP. It’s one of the reasons why I like working with my current business coach. She’s no-nonsense and wants to help entrepreneurs turn their businesses around ASAP. Of course, we entrepreneurs have to do some work. 🙂


    I agree with Peter. Take out the sentence, “you might be interested in being involved in.” Describe your project to get a resounding “yes” from everyone you contact.

      • You’re welcome!

        …And, I just finished reading “20 No Bullshit Ways to Make at Least $30 Tomorrow.” Great information. My teen nephew could do some of those. 🙂 He’s looking for a new work because working in fast food is getting to him. 😉



  5. Megan, I also love my day job and cannot pour more than 10 hours into my business every week, but that’s OK. I think you are a great example for many of us balancing our passion for our career with our passion for something else.

  6. Megan, life is always having fun with us.
    Glad to hear some good news on ABC, definitely like to learn more from others.

    I always believe in synergy in business.

    Work-life balance is important and sometimes thing just changes without any alert. 🙂

    • I agree – getting more people involved in this project is really exciting! So many people are doing such. cool. things.

      And work life balance is so important – but one of the easiest things to shuffle off to the side.

      Have a great day!

  7. Hi Megan,

    Thank you for your transparency and “permission of sorts”. I, too, have not been able to dedicate Nearly the amount of time I needed to see my business bloom by the year mark. I am so behind, and yet I know that I just need to work at the pace I have right now, in this season. With a new baby in the house, two other kids (in completely different stages-Kinder and High School) and a business with my hubby there is only the time that I have right at this moment. So thank you for reminding me that we will get there, just with a little more time.

    I would love to see contributions by writers, life coaches, stay-at-home mom bloggers, and the single business spotlight would be great.

    Looking forward to Spring’s change:) and awesome job meeting those goals!


  8. I like the idea of hearing from different ABM class members. We have a lot to learn from each other. Plus, I’m sure a lot of people are doing work I’d like to follow.

  9. Thanks for the update Megan!
    I love the idea of expanding the case studies and I think that is a tremendous way to learn and I really think the more the better. My experience so far is that everybody brings something unique and useful. Perhaps you could focus on the most challenging parts of the process?
    From what I have seen these are;
    1) Defining the niche/ getting continuous feedback
    and 2) Building for launch
    Keep up the great work!
    Cheers, Quinn

  10. Hi Megan,

    Great post, good to know you won’t be leaving firepole marketing just yet anyway 🙂

    I’d love to see some if those posts, and I agree with Halina, single in depth posts would be great.

    I’d love to see more from other mothers, be it SAHMs, WAHMs or work outside the home mothers or some combination. Speaking of which two kids are “mumming” me at the same time…

  11. As you reach out to other bloggers for Project ABC, honesty and transparency is my highest value. You *could* find the most *successful* graduate of the class to write for project ABC. But that would not really be very real, unless you disclosed that upfront. Love your honesty!

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