My goals for 2016 will be a bit different than for a couple of years back. On 7th of December, I’ve got a coaching call with Scott Beebe, who usually coaches millionaires how to scale their businesses from 1-5 $m to 20-50 $m.
He gave me homework to set a deadline on my dream and outline a roadmap to get there.
Much of what you will read below is the effect of that call and the result of my homework.
1. Email list.
In the past years, I wanted a specific number of people on my email list. I won’t get into details of my failure to reach those numbers (you can check them here and here), but overall my approach didn’t work very well.
I don’t need people on my list. I need people opening my emails, people who get value from my messages, people who interact with my content and who trust me.
I guesstimate I need about 10,000 people opening my emails to be able to sustain my lifestyle from my writing. My last broadcast has been opened by 147 people.
In the past, I grew my list mainly via my books. The level of engagement I have (about 30% open rates) proves that it was the step in the right direction. Unfortunately, my current process got me my current results. I would have been keeping it without change for the next 150 years to get to those 10,000 subscribers opening my emails.
So, the main goal for this year is:
Figure out how to grow my list at a rapid pace.
I need exposure. My writing is, at least, decent, if not better. It was compared to Robin Sharma’s, Stephen R. Covey’s, Dan Millman’s and John C. Maxwell’s. Many times people who hadn’t read previously any of my books after reading one got awesome results (like here, here or here). They were drawn into my stories and compelled to take action. I simply have a knack for writing. My blog posts from late 2013 and early 2014 got thousands of views when I repurposed them for Quora answers.
I tried many different methods in the past, the methods I know work for others. None of them worked for me very well.
But I’ve found my key at last: Quora.
The same day I’ve talked with Scott Beebe, I’ve posted my first serious Quora answer. In 32 days my answers have reached over 100,000 views. My blog traffic increased.
My book sales elevated a bit. This is especially crucial. Amazon (and I’m sure other retailers who has their stuff together) rewards external traffic. If I can bring some buyers to their platform, they will promote my books more.
And thanks to Quora my sales bumped a bit first time ever. I was able to increase my sales temporarily using promo sites or Facebook ads, but:
-98% of the time I was losing money on it;
-it took my time and mental bandwidth to organize.
Quora is my natural environment. I love to write. I love to teach. I love to help people. Plus thanks to self-publishing journey I have now basic marketing skills that allow me to stand out among Quora writers. 95% of people don’t format their posts, don’t think about headlines or don’t add their bios. It’s all my second nature now.
I’ll measure my results and wait with the final judgment another month or so, but I think Quora will be my main marketing vehicle in the nearest future.
I will also try to get on more podcasts.
Publish one answer a day on Quora (Ha! daily goal, I love it!).
Get one podcast interview a week.
Sales are the function of the two above points. If I do my marketing properly, if I grow my email list, the sales themselves will not be a problem.
The only direct action I want to take is organizing some $0.99 promos and that is only because my elder son is started to help me out with my publishing business. He did some assistant’s jobs for me, like collecting all the links from my books or creating the index for “99 Perseverance Success Stories.” If he helps me with a grueling work of finding and booking spots on promo sites, I’ll happily use his time.
By the way, it looks like promo sites did their homework. They actually sell a few/ several/ dozen copies of promoted books almost every time. A year ago it was a hit and miss, and most of the times it was miss.
The final goal is to sell about 90 copies of eBooks a day. This will allow me to maintain our lifestyle without jobs.
I will be happy with anything above 20 copies a day. Since about October 2015 my sales were 2-digit with an occasional probing of 10 sales a day level, which I observed with a dread. I’ll be fine with 89 a day too 😉
Scott helped me to realize how crucial the feedback from my audience is. First of all, I need to ask them what they want me to create. So far I created only my ideas. This led to about 40% miss ratio. Some of my books simply don’t sell. If they don’t sell (and never really had been selling) they don’t help. It’s as simple as that.
I have a few titles which need more marketing (for example Trickle Down Mindset had a fabulous launch, but sales trickled down to several a month), but I also have at least two for which there is a very little need on the market.
The next time I’ll be starting a new book, I’ll ask my subscribers what do they prefer.
Do a survey in January about my subscriber pain points.
Perform at least 4 surveys in 2016.
That’s all about business goals. This is another takeaway from my call with Scott: anything outside the scope of above four should be ruthlessly eliminated. I don’t have time for chasing shiny objects. I barely have time for my family, so…
Speaking about the family… I’ve got a few kicks from life in the past weeks and it helped me to soberly realize that I suck as a head of the family. I’ve described how my marriage lapsed to near oblivion talking about goals for 2015.
But I also had a couple wake up calls about my kids. I don’t know where I’ve heard that, on the podcast or in the Community, but someone said that he really missed his dad in his teens. The father was constantly absent (work, work, work) and it caused a lot of anxiety and future life perturbations in the guy telling the story. I reflected on my life, on my days and noticed how painfully little time I have for my sons.
When I took my daughter for some sledding last week, we haven’t walked even 100 yards when she said with all sincerity 9-year-old can muster: “Thank you, Daddy, that you’ve found the time for sledding with me.”
She cherished that moment because we had so few of them.
It was my fault. I could excuse myself if it were just December, which was really crazy in my job. But it has been the whole year like that.
Thus, I have two SMART goals regarding my family this year:
- Spend quality time with my kids.
S. Starting from one hour a week with each up to 5 hours a week with each.
M. Measurable in hours.
A. Well, I have 168 hours per week.
R. See above.
T. Starting this week; verifiable during the year.
- Regularly dating my wife.
S. One date a week.
M. Measurable in dates per week.
A. Sometimes it seems impossible; you know I need the cooperation of my wife.
R. Heck, if this is not realistic, what is?
T. Starting from this week.
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