Publishing daily for a full year will solve all your business problems.
Urged on by this lofty promise, on July 28, 2020, I set out to create and publish new blog posts daily for a full year.
Although I was skeptical of the promise itself, when I was presented with the challenge, it was almost as if I was waiting for the permission to do it. I got excited and got started as soon as I could.
It’s now a year later, and I can honestly say I barely recognize myself. But I will get to that. Let’s begin with the key details.
Where I Published
I’m a big believer in publishing on platforms I own.
Though you can get more views on trending social media and publishing platforms, the tradeoff is that the traffic you earn for your website is yours to keep, and you can enjoy the long-term benefits of SEO. Not to mention – you mitigate against the risk of changes to said platforms.
Nevertheless, I was encouraged to publish on Medium. And although over the course of the last year I published on my own blog, News Break, Tealfeed, Steemit, and Music Entrepreneur HQ, most posts were ultimately imported onto Medium. I even shared a few dozen unique pieces on Medium.
Some days I published more than once, as I did not count my professional writing duties or podcasting efforts as publishing. Sometimes, I doubled up with multiple platforms, and at other times, I published three or four times in a day.
I did all this while working as founder and CEO of Music Entrepreneur HQ, staff writer for Music Industry How To, curator-host for The Indie YYC, and as a freelancing web and graphic designer, video editor, and ghostwriter.
In summary, I published on:
- My blog
- Music Entrepreneur HQ
- News Break
What I Published
I recently shared on the evolution of my publishing efforts. I would encourage you to refer to that post if you’d like a more detailed look into how my writing efforts have changed during this past year.
Generally, I published on the themes of entrepreneurship, self-improvement, productivity, creativity, and inspiration.
Some posts were long and detailed. Others were short and pithy. Not all posts were of the quality I wanted them to be. I engaged in the craft regardless.
In total, I wrote well over 262,000 words (an average of 798 words per day), and that doesn’t include the unique posts I shared on Medium, or anything I published on News Break, Steemit, or Music Entrepreneur HQ.
I averaged 10,000 words per week with Music Industry How To, so you can add at least 520,000 words to that count if you were to include paid writing activity.
During this challenge, I also live streamed quite a bit, and published new audios (podcasts) and videos I otherwise would not have, which contributed to growth in other areas.
The night I scored $5.55 as a live streamer.
What I Accomplished
Here is what I got out of publishing daily for 365 days:
Total stories: 557 (started with about 100 when I began this journey)
Total followers: 1,404 (started with about 100)
Curation rate: 0% (best to my knowledge)
Total earnings: $149.37 (June 2021 was my biggest month with $29.09)
Most stories I shared on Medium were first published on my blog.
From July 2019 to July 2020, I generated 1,828 visits to my blog. From July 2020 to July 2021, while publishing daily, I generated 3,108 visits. Which means I boosted the traffic to my blog by 70% in a year.
I also started a new email list from scratch and built it to 24 contacts.
Total articles: 22
Total page views: 464
Total earnings: $538.54 (and people wonder why I think News Break is a better use of my time…)
News Break just announced they will be removing base pay for their articles. I’m thinking I will be dropping them like a hot potato. I don’t have time for that.
While publishing daily, I urged my website visitors to subscribe to the Music Entrepreneur HQ YouTube channel. I started with a little over 100 subscribers, and today, it has over 306 subscribers.
Music Entrepreneur HQ
Between July 2020 and July 2021, I sold 174 books. As a bonus, I sold four courses and one coaching session (this side of the business tanked while I was busy developing the new membership platform – coming soon).
Music Industry How To
This is work I would have done anyway, but I wrote over 100 pieces for Music Industry How To.
This is probably where the juiciest results were:
- I got invited to write for multiple Medium publications. Some publications I asked to be a part of. Others I was invited to create for. Either way, when I first started, DataDrivenInvestor was the only publication I could submit to. Now, I have numerous others to choose from – Any Writers, Writers’ Blokke, ILLUMINATION, Content That Connects, Wholistique, Lifework, Get After It Today, Bootcamp, Hackwriting, The Shadow, Advice to Younger Self, Content Grind, Noteworthy – The Journal Blog, SYNERGY, Better Content, CircleOver, Ascent Publication, Woodworkers of the World Unite!!!, and Booxify. I’m beyond blown away with all the opportunities. My thanks to you!
- I created two Medium publications. I created Music Business Training for all the music business related stories I created, and Abundance Attraction for all the stories I knew would not find a home on other publications. Music Business Training now has 10 followers and Abundance Attraction has 30.
- I got accepted to write on News Break. And it was a fun ride.
- I landed a five-figure ghostwriting contract. I’ve got myself a book to work on!
- I got invited to publish on Tealfeed. It’s a new platform, but I’m grateful to have been invited as a writer on Tealfeed.
- I experimented heavily with other platforms. I also wrote a story about this. In total, I gained 14 followers on Brighteon.Social, two contacts on MeWe, one follower on Gab, four subscribers on Telegram, and one follower on Steemit. I’m not entirely clear on the difference blogging made for my presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube (my other channel), VK, Odysee, Minds, or Parler, but it’s fair to say my online presence remained on a gentle growth curve. My focus on Twitter yielded some results, but nothing to write home about. I also earned $5.55 while live streaming.
- Boosted engagement on Twitter. I started interacting more with a small community of engaged followers, some of whom I now collaborate with.
- My Tumblr following grew. And all I did was use Jetpack’s publicize feature inside WordPress to syndicate posts. I’m not clear on where it started, but I now have 225 followers.
- My blog was added to FactBites’ best content marketing blogs list. And as of now, it’s at the top of the list.
I’m sure I generated other results as well. I just can’t remember all of them.
What I Discovered
Now that we’ve looked at the results generated, it’s time to share the journey with you.
Here are some of the key things I discovered while publishing daily:
It Really is About the Unicorns
Out of the hundreds of stories I published on Medium, only a few were noteworthy in terms of traffic or results generated. Only about one in every 60 posts got over 100 views (and these were generally closer to 200 views). And not a single post published in the last 365 days exceeded 300 views.
I published plenty of detailed, well-written, unique, research rich, entertaining, and inspiring posts, most of which never lived up to expectation. In my view, at least a few of these should have been curated and never were.
Perfect example of a unique, detailed, insightful post I think is deserving of more love.
As CEO of Mobile Monkey Larry Kim often says, it really is all about the unicorns. If you publish daily, you will add to the sea of donkeys in a significant way. But there will be some unicorns. And there are some major takeaways in identifying, studying, and recapturing the magic of those unicorns.
It’s Not a Bed of Roses
The prospect of publishing daily was exciting at first. But I would be lying if I said it was all fun and games.
I had days where I didn’t want to write, didn’t feel like I had anything to offer, or was much too tired to think clearly. Last Sunday night, I had a serious case of graduation goggles knowing I was nearing the end of the experiment, and almost forgot to publish.
And if I’m being honest, there were a lot of other things that didn’t go right. I burned out last September and spent six to eight months recovering. Some days, I published after midnight. There was at least one post that refused to import onto Medium. I did #StrategySunday planning sessions for a while, and then completely gave up on them. My publishing efforts gradually became less organized and more chaotic. Both of my grandmas passed. And so on.
Despite it all, I soldiered on. Because writing isn’t a chore. It’s a pleasure and a passion. But it’s a smaller piece within the greater ecosystem. Sometimes, your global settings are out of whack (you feel exhausted, things are going wrong in life, you’re sick or injured, etc.) and that affects your work.
I would love to say otherwise. Steve Pavlina seems to have had a great experience with his year of daily blogging. Seth Godin swears by it and has kept it up for at least a decade if not two. Jeff Goins saw a breakthrough in his career after publishing daily for two years. I’m sure you can think of other names.
To me, it still comes down to your priorities. What do you want to accomplish? Pick your top three to five goals and leave all others alone. They’re just distractions.
When you say “yes” to something, you’re always saying “no” to something else. This is a blessing when it’s in perfect alignment with your goals. It can become a curse if you later realize you would have chosen something else. Nothing is ever a throwaway though.
Stay in Your Lane
Everything takes time. Most entrepreneurial endeavors require at least two to five years of consistent effort to see meaningful results. Some take 10, especially if you have no idea what you’re doing.
I don’t understand the “six months and you should have results or you’re doing something wrong” crowd. Perhaps you can explain this to me if you are a proponent.
Yes, if you work out daily for six months, you should be in better shape than when you started. But unless you were already in good shape, it’s unlikely you’ll have achieved your ideal weight or shape in that time.
It’s the same thing with publishing. If you create daily for six months, you should have built a bit of momentum with your following, traffic, and earnings. But it would be unrealistic to expect you’d be earning a full-time living by then. You might only earn a few cents in that time, as reflected in my own experience.
What that means is you need to put your blinders on, show up, do the work, and keep digging until you strike gold. Most people get distracted, give up, and/or spread themselves out too thin (I’m guilty as sin). This is not a winning formula.
You will not see results with blogging, podcasting, YouTube, your projects, or your business endeavors immediately. So, plant your feet, put your stake in the ground, build your fortress, and keep expanding your empire. Keep your eyes on the prize. Good things take time.
You Might Not be Off Track
Publishing daily for a full year, for me, played right into soul searching. And in some ways, though I already felt very comfortable as a writer, I also found my voice all over, having tackled many topics I might not have touched on otherwise.
So far as soul searching goes, having invested heavily into my business over the years, I was starting to feel discouraged with the results, not seeing the bigger picture that was forming. That had me reflecting on whether I was on track and experimenting newly, especially with my publishing efforts.
Basically, I ended up spending another year zigzagging across my calling.
Nothing is a throwaway, though, and everyone goes through this. Arguably, it’s essential. We gain valuable skills and experiences we can bring back to our calling for expanded results.
It Might Not Solve All Your Business Problems
It didn’t mine. And to qualify, I will explain what that would look like to me:
- Generating a steady flow of news leads.
- Replacing income from freelancing, ghostwriting, and other writing duties with Medium, book sales, course sales, coaching, affiliate sales, and advertising.
- Freeing up at least five hours per week to work on my music.
- Reducing my work hours to 30 to 35 hours per week, so I can spend more time just enjoying life.
- Growing an engaged following. Yes, my following grew this past year, but the numbers don’t tell the full story of who’s engaged and who isn’t. I don’t care about quantity. I care about quality.
- Increasing my YouTube channel to over 1,000 subscribers. I’ve got hundreds of great videos on the Music Entrepreneur HQ channel – videos I can’t even monetize until I’ve got 1,000+ subscribers.
Obviously, I still got results. I did not fulfill on the above, and that to me would be “solving all my business problems.” But it’s fair to say I made progress.
Would I do it Again?
Yes, I would. But not right away. That doesn’t feel in alignment to me.
What feels right to me now is stepping back, taking a break, and getting my publishing efforts aligned with my goals.
While publishing daily, I sometimes found myself putting something together at the last minute, or posting something random because it was the thing to do. And without question, I ended up creating content that wasn’t in alignment with my goals.
This, as a marketer would say, is the difference between strategy and tactics. If the two aren’t cohesive, you probably aren’t producing desired results.
I plan to focus on my music, books, and music business membership.
In terms of content, I’m thinking about publishing three to five times per week – Medium, Music Entrepreneur HQ, and my blog.
But I’m sure I will start to get a better sense of what this will look like after spending some time in reflection.
If you’re thinking about publishing daily for a year, or even just for 100 days, do it!
I may have given the impression that you need to be perfect with your publishing efforts to get somewhere with it, but the reality is you don’t. Plenty of people have done it and have achieved mind-blowing results.
Even if you don’t create anything extraordinary, there is virtually nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Whether it’s clarifying and organizing your thoughts, documenting your journey, growing your following (even if it’s only incrementally), making a bit of money, becoming more self-confident, or otherwise, you will create fresh results in your life by doing the work.
Now it’s your turn. Go and write!
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In the last couple of weeks, I made a couple of musical doodles to send specifically to my partner in crime, Karlo Keet of Catstar Images. I’ve been sending weekly customized texts to my team members (to keep related and connected individually), so I’ve basically been creating these as an extension of outreach efforts.
So far, the process has basically been (not necessarily in this order):
- Bust out the M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3 and write a keyboard riff.
- Record a vocal line in a ridiculous voice with silly, funny lyrics.
- Add anything else I want in there (like a drum machine).
I guess you could say these doodles serve a few important functions:
- It gets me playing the keyboard. I’ve certainly put some hours into it, but I’m not great at it, so this has been a good opportunity to brush up and develop my skills.
- It takes me out of trying to be a perfectionist. I would say the top barrier between me and releasing more music is linked to that. Even though I released multiple singles in 2016 and 2017 and made bad music on purpose with Compuxor projects, I still catch myself trying to achieve some unattainable ideal at times.
- It helps me get stuff done quickly. And that’s a nice feeling.
Long term, or maybe soon, I’m thinking about launching a YouTube channel called DAW’s World where I upload my doodles and other random stuff. Then again, I guess I could add it to Compuxor or our new incarnation of the same thing – Borkmeow (the side project of all side projects). Yeah, that probably makes more sense.
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Much has been said about polymaths. And today, to get anywhere with your projects, you basically need to be one.
You aren’t just a music producer. You’re also a YouTuber.
You aren’t just a podcaster. You’re also a UFC fighter.
You aren’t just a writer. You’re an explorer, traveler, and adventurer.
Or frankly… you’re boring, and your content won’t interest anyone.
I talked a little bit about this in the slash / conundrum, but the essence of it is the inevitability of not just wanting to be, but having to be good at many things.
Which, for the most part, is a blessing and an advantage. But in this piece, I’m going to play devil’s advocate and explain why being a polymath sucks.
You Become the Go-to Person… for Everything
At first glance, being the go-to person in your social circles might seem like a great thing. People ask you to do work in a variety of a capacities, and you can get paid good money to do it besides.
Sure, but you know what the issue is? The work is inconsistent, and because cashflow is also unpredictable, you end up having to do everything yourself. You can only handle so much work, so there’s a limit to how fast you can complete projects. Hiring is mostly out of the question when you’re having cashflow problems, so you can’t reliably scale or expand.
This is coming from personal experience. But as I dive into Nathan Fancher’s Magnetic Micro-Books, I now see I’m not the only one that’s ever been in this position.
Being in demand is a nice feeling. But it’s also exhausting. Revenue is rarely predictable, and as a career path, it doesn’t lead anywhere. It feels like spinning wheels, and it ends up being more limiting than freeing.
Branding Yourself or Your Product Only Gets Tougher
I have passions, sure, but I have such a wide range of interests that my content ends up being a mixed bag. On any given week, readers can expect a bit of everything. They say variety is the spice of life, but sometimes it can make your head spin.
I’m the guy who harps on focus, but my own journey has been so circuitous that sometimes I don’t know if my students take me seriously (“do as I say, not as I do”). I only give them guidance to this effect because I don’t want them to discover later in life that they could have made something of their talents if they’d concentrated on a few key areas instead of tackling a mile-long goal list.
Don’t get me wrong. The journey has been awesome. But if I understood this point well, I think I would be living my dream life already instead of being in the process of creating it. Climbing the ladder only to discover that you’re up against the wrong building is an awful feeling.
When you’ve got a million things to offer, you’re passionate about all of them, and they’ve all helped you pay your bills (often at the right times), how do you even choose? It’s hard enough to serve one audience well, never mind half a dozen audiences, who you end up being mediocre to.
As we continue to embrace the unconventional life as a society, there may come a time when this is completely normal. You’ll say to someone, “I’m an internet marketer-singer-songwriter-podcaster-YouTuber-blogger,” and everyone will nod their head and respond, “oh yeah, I think my cousin’s son does something like that.” But we’re not quite there, and in the meantime, I can honestly say I’ve suffered a great deal.
Suffering is optional, yes, but it would be inauthentic to say there has been no pain and that I regret nothing. I can create completion with that, and that’s what I’m opting to do, but that requires creating an entirely new possibility and being in action as well. Otherwise, there’s no completion.
Regardless, personal and product branding can quickly become a total nightmare as a polymath because you have the added responsibility of trying to connect the dots of your scattered world for people who might be interested in what you’re offering.
You End Up Wondering… A Lot
If it wasn’t clear from the last section, then let me state this in no uncertain terms – if you don’t find what you would consider success on your own terms earlier in life, you will start to wonder what you could have done differently to get you to your chosen destination and whether you can even get there anymore (because you now have a track record of failures proving you can’t).
It’s not as though you don’t know what your destination is. You’ve probably been present to it for a long time. And you’ve been working your ass off to get there. Trying to ignore the six-month success savants who keep touting their $6,000 moths on Medium or Amazon or Myspace or god knows what. Knowing you’ve probably got more talent in your left pinky. Knowing that your work ethic is godlike compared to their care-free, entitled, three-hour workdays.
Comparison is the root of all unhappiness, yes, but we all wonder. Again, to say or think otherwise is inauthentic. It’s also gross, but if we don’t face it, we can’t advance.
I have an amazing life in a lot of ways. And I don’t mean to diminish myself or my accomplishments in the slightest.
But if you’re not where you want to be, that can only mean there’s more available. Why would you hunger and thirst for more if it weren’t? The pain of not living up to your potential, and not knowing what’s holding you back, is one of the greatest pains there is.
Being a polymath is awesome. But it’s all about knowing how to channel your passions and energies into the right things. And that’s a decidedly complex issue. Only now am I starting to see.
We’ve got to dig deep, friends. We’ve got to ask ourselves the tough questions. We’ve got to be willing to raise our prices and prune away the things that don’t fulfill us or make us happy. We’ve got to be just selfish enough to make these changes.
And, most importantly, we’ve got to stop lying to ourselves about what we want, and instead get up and go and get it. No more talking about it. Otherwise, we should simply give up and try to be content with what we already have. And that’s a sad life.
Play all out. Play full out. This might be the only life you get.
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Communication is central to our existence. Everything we create, we create with the language we speak.
Some have guessed at my intentions with my daily publishing, and while there’s no such thing as a wrong perspective or interpretation, the truth is, I’m not sure if I’ve ever fully articulated what I’ve been trying to create.
Which is really a funny thing, because if I’m clear, and you’re clear, there’s a better chance we can connect in a meaningful way and understand each other better. In retrospect, I can see that there was something in my own listening of others preventing me from being fully self-expressed in this area.
Which is to say, for the most part, I haven’t talked about my goals, because I made up a story that it was selfish. And that’s on me, and not on you.
So, here are the four key things I’ve been looking to accomplish with my publishing:
Grow a Following
Building a profitable and sustainable six-figure business without a following isn’t impossible. It’s just not as practical as you might think (it mostly revolves around sinking a lot of money and resources into advertising and affiliates).
When you have a following, you have a built-in customer base who shares your work with their friends. So, there’s more organic growth.
Everybody and their grandma are talking about some whiz-bang upside-down sales funnel, TikTok dancing strategy, nonsense Clubhouse NFT conversation, or some other. And the truth is, everything works, and nothing works.
Which is to say, some things work for some people at certain times. A lot of things don’t work for a lot of people a lot of the time. That’s the nature of marketing.
Having spent this past year experimenting in earnest with Medium, Twitter, Mix, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, VK, Brighteon.Social, Minds, MeWe, Gab, Parler, Telegram, News Break, Steemit, and others, I could not be more emphatic about this. And when I say, “experimenting in earnest,” I mostly mean spinning my wheels, because 80% of my results are clearly coming from 20% of my effort.
We’ve got to stay open to ideas, though, right? Otherwise, we’re bound to get left behind in this fast-paced digital age, and we can’t make an honest assessment of anything we haven’t given our best efforts.
I’ve gone off the rails a bit, but the point is, I’m trying to build a following here. Seriously. Not just any following, but an engaged following who wants to follow me on social media, share my content, get on my email list, and buy my products.
As fun and fulfilling as it is to make music, write blog posts and articles, develop social media content, produce eye-catching graphics, record podcast episodes, make videos, create courses, develop websites, and more, it’s all with the overarching goal of building that six-figure business I alluded to earlier.
Some of the foundational steps to getting to that point include:
- Growing the David Andrew Wiebe YouTube channel to over 1,000 subscribers
- Growing the Music Entrepreneur HQ YouTube channel to over 1,000 subscribers (I’ve made some headway with this here in 2021)
- Growing my Spotify monthly listeners to over 3,000
- Growing the David Andrew Wiebe email list to over 1,000 subscribers
- Growing the Music Entrepreneur HQ email list to over 3,000 subscribers
Admittedly, I don’t necessarily need to have all these pieces in place to create what I have in mind. A small, engaged following can honestly go a long way nowadays.
But these goals are easily quantifiable, and they give me something to work towards.
Build My Business
This should be relatively obvious from what I’ve already said. I’m not saying that profit motive is the only thing that drives me. I’m not that kind of human being, and I never will be.
But I’ve lived in basements and driven 10-year-old cars for over eight years straight, and I’m ready for a different kind of life. One where I’m not thinking about which of my guitars, I’m going to sell any time I think I might be under a bit of financial pressure.
Knowing how to live frugally is not a bad thing. It’s a skill, and I’ve learned it well. And I’m not saying I’m planning to inflate my lifestyle the moment I reach my goals. I probably won’t. But it might be nice to own some furniture again. Have a decent sized bed. Be in a place where I can set up an office and recording space where I feel inspired to get up and work every day.
A six-figure business is what I’ve aspired to for eight years. Honestly, I can see now that this would just be a starting point, but I’ve kept that goal in mind because I figured it was well within my wheelhouse.
Now I recognize that, so far as the universe is concerned, numbers make no difference. You can ask for six-figures, or you could ask for nine-figures, and one is not better or worse, one is not easier or harder. You can ask for whatever you want!
Either way, having tried and failed seven times to get to six-figures, I can admit to my own insanity. Which is one of the reasons I opted to take a yearlong leadership and management program. I wanted others to contribute to my world and gain access to the hivemind, which is surely more intelligent than a lone wolf or solopreneur could ever be.
$100,000 in revenue would be a wonderful place to start. But I want to hire an awesome team and give back to the world too, you see. And $100,000 doesn’t go as far as you might think.
Case in point – according to Numbeo, it costs roughly $6,326 to live as a single person in New York. That’s $75,912 annually. Just to live a relatively normal life.
There are cheaper places to live, obviously, and I don’t live in New York. But I can’t imagine $100,000 doing a whole lot more than offering a slightly better lifestyle while helping me expand my team by one or two. Especially when I consider taxes.
For now, $100,000 is my goal. To get to the point where I can sustain a team and be able to contribute to worthwhile causes at the level I want to, $500,000 to $1,000,000 is more in keeping with the vision.
Some people have it that a certain amount of money is “holy,” but crossing a certain threshold sets you afire with the flames of hell. I’m sorry, I’ve just never had it that way. I can’t relate. I believe money is a tool, and it’s a matter of how you use it. But you are entitled to your opinion.
I work tirelessly to inspire and equip creatives and creators. This comes from a genuine desire to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. I don’t know that I would have been able to complete even half the work I have to this point if not for the central theme in my life, which is summed up in this classic Zig Ziglar quote:
You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. – Zig Ziglar
Of course, I have failed to measure up to these lofty standards at times. I’m human. But you should be able to tell from the work I publish ongoingly, that my heart truly is in making a lasting difference for you and for anyone I meet. If it were all about the money, you would have been hit by relentless series of daily sales pitches.
As author Todd Henry so eloquently said, “no money, no mission.”
There’s a lot you can do without money, yes, but financial resources broaden your options considerably. And an enterprise is not sustainable without money.
But driving deeper to the core…
Just as education was a passion of my father’s, it’s one of mine as well. And I would love to see a world where there isn’t such a thing as underprivileged children, a world where everyone who wants a quality education can get one. Not just 1 + 1 stuff, but also the personal development stuff I constantly harp on, that in my estimation makes a bigger difference in one’s life.
As much as we might hate to admit, money is often the difference maker in this regard. Personally, I could maybe equip a few hundred students over a lifetime (something I’ve already done as a guitar teacher), but with the right resources, thousands, maybe even millions could be impacted in a meaningful way.
I see my business not as a win, not as a win-win, but as a win-win-win. It’s an opportunity for my team and I to win, the audience I’m serving to win (in this case, creatives), and underprivileged children to win. It’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about it.
Benefit My Future Self
Publishing daily is ultimately in service of my future self.
This is what a lot of the online stoic gurus talk about, and while I don’t identify as a stoic through and through, I can see the merit in living life that way.
By documenting my journey, I can look back and see a variety of things – ideas tried, ventures failed, projects succeeded, the outcome of habits embraced and not adopted, where I traveled, books I liked, and so much more.
And publishing is not about whipping myself up in a frenzy as much as it is delivering the best I can on a given day. And, on some days, that means not much.
But I’m on a yearlong journey of publishing daily. And this experiment will come to an end in just 24 days (wow). At that point, I’m more than willing to reevaluate. I’ve benefited greatly from publishing daily, and I can see myself keeping that habit. But not to the determent of the quality of the content I put out. It’s a fine balance, and I don’t think I’ve figured it out yet. I need to think more on this.
Regardless, writing is a joy. It’s fun. It’s fulfilling. It helps me clarify and organize my thoughts. And though I’m not in the habit of framing it as an accomplishment, to have published as much as I have certainly is.
But I can also see that publishing goes well beyond self. Because whatever I leave behind can live on as my legacy, and countless people can continue to benefit from it. And that’s mind blowing.
One of the finicky things I’m beginning to recognize about success is that while you can achieve it blunt force trauma, it’s never as fulfilling or rewarding as success that was deliberately and intentionally created. Success earned through the hustle and grind is rarely lasting and isn’t generally on strong foundations.
So, where I have been lazy, I plan to be in action. Where I have turned a blind eye, I intend to be more intentional. Where I have been unplanned, I intend to be more strategic.
I don’t know all there is to know about getting to where I want to go right now. But I’m discovering a great deal in the leadership and management program I’m taking, and it’s an opportunity to play in the real world and see where things take me.
Can you help me reach my goals? Of course, you can! And it might be as simple as sharing this piece with a friend who would benefit from it.
Either way, I hope you were entertained, educated, inspired, or some combination thereof.
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So, I could be a smartass and say, “you have but to check the archives, scan the headlines, read a few posts, and come to your own conclusions.”
But when this question was posed to me today, I thought it might be worth addressing in a blog post.
After all, if you’re going to publish daily, as I’ve been (since July 28, 2020), you’d better have something to talk about. Ideas aren’t that hard to generate, but blog posts don’t come out of thin air, as it turns out. They take time and effort to produce. And I have friends who say writing is one of the most grueling things you could take on.
I’ve Been at This a While
Now, it should be noted at the outset that creating content isn’t anything new for me. I’ve been blogging since about 2007 and creating content for the web since 1997.
I first started blogging in a professional capacity in 2011, and since then I’ve taken on a myriad of freelance writing, ghostwriting, copywriting, and “you name it I’ve probably done it” writing assignments.
But then, last year, I was presented with the challenge of publishing daily for a full year, and I said to myself, “why not?” I was excited about the possibility and was eager to get started.
I’d been doing a bit of publishing on Medium prior to beginning this 365-day experiment, but the marketing course I was taking at the time suggested publishing daily on Medium, so I went with that.
I was also instructed to begin by sharing my origin story, so I ended up creating a couple:
It felt a little awkward. I’d written a ton of how-to guides and informational posts to that point, but I’d never written anything that had followed the hero’s journey so closely. It was a great learning experience though.
I spent the next couple of months playing around with the hero’s journey and trying my hand at the type of posts I thought would appeal to a Medium audience, like Advice I would pass onto my 20-year-old self.
After spending years writing in a professional capacity, it was an odd feeling – like I was discovering my voice all over again, and in a new way.
Most of the writing I’d done up to that point had the music business as the central focus. I’d made some detours into personal development, sure, but overwhelmingly, I dedicated most of my energy to the music industry.
I continued to experiment, sometimes returning to the core topics I understood well, sometimes branching out with posts like How to 4x your Medium traffic in 80 days or less.
I even tried my hand at blogging a book manuscript. I’d had some success with it in the past, with The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship, so why not?
It didn’t come together as expected, and it felt a little forced, so ultimately, I chose not to compile those posts and turn them into a book. But they continue to live on as blog posts.
A Brief Detour
In November 2020, I went on a two-week break.
During that time, I made the deliberate decision to write on something I’d never written on before – life transitions. I also had the sense that it would become a rather critical topic in the coming months and years though
Once I got back from vacation, I started going to school on Medium again, and that’s when I finally settled on a bit of a formula for my publishing efforts. It just so happens that it’s on my about page as well, though I’ve deviated from it at times:
The Central Theme
So, the central theme of my publishing efforts, since about December, has been inspiring creatives and creators.
And I’ve primarily been publishing on the topics of entrepreneurship, self-improvement, productivity, creativity, and inspiration, under the main umbrella theme.
That publishing pattern has basically held for the better part of seven months.
I’ve covered a ton of topics, to be sure, be it content marketing, books, burnout, or otherwise.
The focus has shifted slightly to documenting my journey, but that has mostly just been an extension of an established workflow.
Ultimately, it has all stemmed from a desire to be a source of inspiration for creatives and creators.
One of my mentors shared with me that my recent publishing activity has resembled sharing knowledge and wisdom as opposed to marketing and peddling infoproducts. Which is probably true.
It’s not that I don’t have things to sell. It’s just that I’ve always put relationship, connection, community, and exchange at the forefront.
But to an extent, I think this has been a journey of reaching and hunting for things, experimenting with different approaches and ideas to see if there might be another way of achieving my overarching goals.
I think the conclusion I’m coming to is that I wasn’t off base prior to beginning this journey. Maybe bored or frustrated with the process at times, but well within the ballpark of what I’m meant to do in this world.
I’ll have more thoughts on this when this experiment comes to a close but suffice it to say it has been a journey of discovery for me, too, and I want to thank you for coming along for the ride.
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How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
I don’t know anyone who would literally eat an elephant, of course. But as a creative or creator, you’re sure to take on projects requiring significantly more work than a blog post – newsletters, eBooks, whitepapers, reports, books, and more.
I don’t know about you, but this is where I find most of the money is made. It’s all well and good to get nickeled and dimed by the Mediums and News Breaks of the world, but I would argue that your ticket to establishing a steady income as a writer is usually on the other side of ghostwriting, staff writing, creating products (like newsletters, books, and courses) – basically, something you can put a higher price tag on.
The challenging part, of course, is in gathering and organizing your research, writing, editing, and sustaining your attention and energy long enough to finish the project.
Setting deadlines can help, but at times, even the pressure of a looming completion date isn’t enough.
This is where prototyping content can help.
I’m not necessarily talking about anything revolutionary here. There are several practitioners who create infoproducts and books this way already, and I share several examples below.
But the idea is to use the time you typically spend writing blog posts, prototyping the content that will ultimately go into your eBook (or other product) in bite-size chunks.
You can still publish what you write, because that can create opportunities to double-, and even triple-dip into the same asset.
One of the most famous examples is Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, who wrote a blog series called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog and turned it into an infoproduct.
Rowse was initially worried that the eBook might not sell, because all the content was available for free on his blog, but it turns out his audience appreciated having it all in one convenient place.
Content marketing authority Joe Pulizzi made it his goal to write a new book every two years, and he basically followed the same process Rowse did, breaking down the project into bite-size chunks, and writing the content that would ultimately go into the book week by week.
And by the way, Content Inc. (affiliate link) by Pulizzi is one of my all-time favorite books.
When I was working on my third book, The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship, I also decided to create a table of contents first, and then tackle the topics one by one, publishing 1,200-word blog posts on Music Entrepreneur HQ.
Of course, I added an introduction and conclusion, additional resources, and even edited the content a bit before publishing. But that book went onto become an Amazon best-seller.
I’ve also been prototyping membership content lately. This post and this post are great examples.
Some of the content I’ve prototyped never went anywhere. But that’s okay. That’s the great thing about prototyping – if it doesn’t live up to your expectations, you can scrap it, or just publish it as a blog post.
Am I Cheating My Audience if I Publish the Content I’m Planning to Sell to Them?
If there’s anything we can learn from Rowse and Pulizzi’s examples, it’s that no one felt cheated when they repurposed their content.
Even marketing god Seth Godin did this with his book, Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? (affiliate link), compiling the blog posts he wrote between 2006 and 2012.
Even if you don’t have a massive audience, there are probably people who wish they were able to hold your content in their hands. And that’s easy to do with platforms like Amazon KDP.
My first experience with this was my second book, The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship, which was originally a free, long-form guide I published online.
All I did was take the content, edit it, add a new section, compile a few blog posts, and voila! I had a new book.
I was concerned about response, but since I’ve released it, I’ve received nothing but praise.
So, there’s a good chance you could be leveraging your content in ways you haven’t already thought of, and not get any backlash for it.
And don’t forget – whatever you publish is just a prototype. You can further edit, improve, and refine the content before selling it.
Since I’ve started publishing daily, not prototyping content seems like utter lunacy.
When writing for sites like Medium and News Break, the article is the product. But that’s not much fun unless everyone and their dog is reading your stuff. There are other ways of creating an income writing, and they might prove easier besides.
I’ve never been accused of not knowing all my possible revenue streams, and I’m constantly thinking about how to leverage and make the most of everything I’ve got.
So, if you’ve ever wondered whether you can do more with the content you’ve created, now you know the answer is “yes.”
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