In 2007 I wrote my first ebook with the help of a coach.
I thought it was going to catapult me to a white beach in the Caribbean with a banana smoothie in my hand.
Unfortunately, that did not happen.
I now see how foolish my expectations were.
The ebook ended up failing gloriously. It’s embarrassing how many mistakes I made.
It would take me several years before I had the guts to approach creating my own products again.
I was jaded and I blamed everything around me. I thought ebooks were dead, but the problem weren’t ebooks, the problem was me.
Ebooks = Dead?
I spent 2008 and 2009
avoiding hating ebooks (and creating my own products) because to be honest, they scared me.
I had tried once, and I had been defeated. I didn’t want to do it again, because I didn’t know how, or where to even start.
So I didn’t.
It didn’t help that having actual customers scared me. I was more than happy to hide behind-the-scenes as an affiliate marketer.
I tried to justify my decision by thinking that ebooks were dead, or that there was so much crap out there that I didn’t want to add to it.
But I realized that the fact that there was a lot of bad ebooks out there was the exact reason why I should jump in.
I care about the products I create. And if all the people that care don’t contribute because there’s too much crap out there, where will that leave us?
I launched this blog in late 2009, but it wasn’t until around March 2010 that I launched my first successful ebook.
I had seen others write and sell ebooks successfully, so I thought “If they can do it, I can.”
I was finally ready to conquer my fears.
My First Successful Ebook
My first successful ebook was about how to use article marketing to get more traffic, subscribers and sales.
It was called, Article Marketing Traffic Booster.
It’s no longer available as a stand-alone product, but it is available as a bonus for certain products I offer, because it’s still very relevant and effective to this day.
So, how did I succeed? I listened to my audience.
I wrote articles about my strategies, and people were interested, especially on the topic of how I was using article marketing.
I then looked at the competition. There were plenty of books on article marketing and traffic building, so I dived in and wrote an ebook on the topic with a few bonuses.
I ended up selling 4-figures of the book within just a few days to a small email list of just 700 subscribers.
Just goes to show you how important (and powerful) having a responsive email list is.
I was surprised and encouraged.
So, a few months later I wrote my second book, Passionate Living.
My Second Ebook
I repeated the process.
I listened to my readers, but this time I also surveyed them and asked what their biggest fears and frustrations were.
I then compiled all the answers and took the main problem areas and created Passionate Living.
This time around I knew more about what the ebook creation process looked like, so I got Passionate Living done in less than 14 days.
And the work I put in during those 14 days has kept rewarding me ever since. I started by just selling an ebook at $9.95, and it has since then evolved into a full-blown course sold at $37.
It has brought in thousands and sold hundreds of copies. All this despite the lack of promotion for it.
I have it in my sidebar and in my store, but not much more than that, which has been a mistake, but what can I say. I keep learning and taking action.
But even with two successful ebooks, I ran into a big problem.
Perfectionism, Procrastination and Self-Sabotage
I failed to keep doing what worked.
It sounds so ridiculous looking back, but it happens often.
What I would’ve done differently if I had to do it all over would be to keep creating products that helped my audience.
But I didn’t.
Instead I wrote blog posts, hung out on social media, and took the easy way out. I hid from my fears instead of facing them head on.
But I didn’t do anything. I don’t know why.
At one point I became depressed, because I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, which is funny, because I wasn’t doing the right things, yet I was expecting results.
I’m still surprised at how easy it is to do nothing, then blame all of it on something else and give all your power away.
Running Into Temptation
All of this frustration led me to go back to what I knew: affiliate marketing and advertising.
I started creating niche sites again, but something was off. It wasn’t what I truly wanted to do.
It bored me.
I thought I could keep pushing, make a living, and then do what I wanted on the side, but I just couldn’t take it.
What I really wanted to do was to help people use technology and the web to do work they loved, so they could live the life they wanted.
I kept getting ideas and inspiration in this direction, but for a long time I ignored it.
I wanted to create products that were simple and produced real, actionable results, which many products out there failed to do.
I felt deep down that I had something to share. And if you’re reading this, I’ll bet that you do, too, but something is stopping you.
What was stopping me was fear. Fear of not being good enough. I didn’t think I had anything to contribute.
Luckily, after a while I had enough, so I came back to what I do today. I gave up on building meaningless niche websites, and I decided to take things to the next level.
I was once again ready to move on.
Taking Things to the Next Level
I started thinking about how I could add even more value to the ebooks I created.
How could I help my customers get even better results with even less work? Was it even possible?
I started working with Chris Garrett, and we started brainstorming. It led to me creating a line of online workshops to help people build an online business around their passion.
In the last six months, I’ve created 3 online workshops, which is just using ebooks and bundling them with audio, workbooks and so on.
And there’s more coming, namely one in August on how to write and sell an ebook in 31 days or less. It’s specifically designed for people who don’t think they are an expert or are afraid they can’t write well enough to sell an ebook.
It’s easy for me to sulk and complain, to look at others and wonder why they are so successful. But if I want real results, I have to put in real work.
Now I focus on taking action instead of analyzing too much, because it’s not so much about getting the perfect product out there.
Instead my mission is to help people as fast as possible, then listen to their feedback and improve what I do.
So this is not about coming up with the perfect idea. It’s about starting and taking things one step at a time.
All of this has brought me to the realization that if I don’t enjoy the journey, it’s not worth doing.
I’ve gotten pretty good at writing ebooks. I can do it fast, and I can keep things tight. And above all, I get things done.
If I’m not doing work I love, then why am I doing it? Just to have money in the bank? Or to maybe someday retire?
I’ve become increasingly sensitive to following my passion. And even though that sounds cliché, it’s true.
I’m doing what I love, which is to help you.
This doesn’t mean everything is smooth. I still have to face my fears. I have to work hard, but in the end, I love every second of it.
One of my bigger a-ha moments was that this is not about making as much money as possible. Having a lifestyle business is about having ENOUGH money to live the life you want.
It’s about eliminating the unnecessary and focusing on what you truly enjoy doing.
The Bottom Line
I’ve gone through a lot.
I’ve faced internal demons, but I’ve kept going.
For me, it always comes down to ruthlessly taking action.
It doesn’t matter how I feel or what I do. If I’m not getting the results I want, I have to change my approach and focus on what works.
I have to leave my ego at the door and look at things objectively.
And if I want to speed things up and avoid mistakes, I’m going to work with a coach or join a training course that will help me do that.
Creating the life you want is not easy, but it is possible.
Just five years ago I was miserable, and now I love what I do.