Are you curious about a 3-month delay? I explained it in my first income report.
Wow, I went through my journal from 2019 and I got tired by just reading it. I had so many things in the air that I’m surprised nothing hit the ground and crashed.
In December, I joined a group coaching about this productivity system. I set three goals for the first quarter. One of them was to fix my shoulders. I injured them, probably with my pull-up routine because I continued to exercise despite the obvious pain. Anyway, in the first half of January, I had been attending rehabilitation sessions in the capitol, so I was there almost every day. It was like in the ol’ good days when I did a bunch of work during the commute.
Starting a Business
I finally setup an official LLC in Poland. I procrastinated with this and paid taxes as an individual, frankly because I don’t trust our legal system at all. It’s downright oppressive for entrepreneurs.
Paperwork, meeting with an accountant…- it ate a chunk of my time too.
Creating a Real Business
Another goal for my 12-week year first sprint was documenting business processes for Resurrecting Books. Luckily for me, I went through the Scott Beebe’s Business on Purpose training back in 2016, so I had a framework to follow. I hammered out a vision back in December. In January I narrowed down the values and mission for this business and dumped all the activities involved in it on paper, including the ones I want to start in the future. The list was over 100-points long.
The Change in AMS in the USA
Around 10th of Jan Amazon switched the AMS interface for the US store to a new one. It caused some troubles, as the reports generated from the AMS system changed their format slightly.
My father took over ads tracking in a Google sheet and he is not a giant of the digital age (putting it mildly). In the end I had to modify all the sheets by myself for the new format. On the other hand, it made his job easier, as he could now just copy and paste the reports’ summary.
In December I finally established my Profit 1st metrics and January was the first month when I applied this system for all my income streams. It took some serious juggling with 30+ payments and a few different ways money flows into my accounts (depending on the income stream).
I’m glad I adopted this system, but it was another thing that ate several hours of my life in January.
At the beginning of January I took part in a book giveaway. I anticipated great results and I wasn’t disappointed. I got over 1,000 new subscribers. My involvement came down to sending a broadcast to my list, then a follow-up email to those who didn’t open the first one. I also sent a few updates on social media.
I continued my shoulder rehabilitation, which meant I was in the capitol almost every day and I had to keep my practice of working during the commute. I’m glad I developed this skillset, but I work so much better if I can focus on one thing for an hour or three.
I had at least five networking calls in January. I even initiated one of them. Only one was a real bummer, the guy who I talked was late for the call and he was a bit full of himself. All the other calls were terrific. Nothing substantial came out of them right off the bat, but I enjoyed the time spend on those conversation very much.
I almost kept the schedule. I forgot about one email broadcast. But considering that I hammered my list with the giveaway a week sooner than normal, delaying the next broadcast for one week wasn’t a bad thing.
I kept the schedule, but only once I had a blog post really scheduled and waiting nicely for the specified time. Twice, I finished the post on the day of publication.
My best client fired me. Not because he was dissatisfied with the cooperation, but he wanted to experiment with the ads himself.
I always say that my service is for those authors who don’t want to dabble with day-to-day ads stuff themselves. And probably they can get better results, giving their ads more attention than I can.
It was a nasty surprise anyway. Also, a coaching client fired me after long and fruitful cooperation. Well, he rather ‘graduated.’ At the end, he needed only accountability and he found it somewhere else.
I was corresponding with a few new prospects and we moved forward, but none of them ended up as a customer in January.
I lost a chunk of my revenue and my costs increased because of starting the LLC.
Since the very beginning, I built my business activities on a shoestring budget and in a lean way. Yes, you can find plenty of red months in my income reports, but most of the time, I was spending money I knew was coming.
For example, the first few months of 2014 were in the red, but I saw in my KDP dashboard the sales figures and I knew how much I would earn in 2-4 months ahead. The same happened at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 when I waited for payments from Archangel Ink.
I swear I didn’t consciously intend any of my ventures that way nor I chased multiple sources of income as a principle. Yet, losing two clients, including the one that had been providing few hundred $$ every month, was no concern for me.
In fact, I could’ve lost any single source of my income now and survived unscathed. I may lose all of my Resurrecting Books customers now or Amazon can shut down my KDP account and that wouldn’t be a catastrophe for my household budget.
Which, when I think of it, blows my mind. This is a good way to live a stress-free life.
I participated in a group coaching around this productivity framework. Ironically, it’s designed for people who pursue yearly goals.
“In general, the more frequent a measure is, the more useful it is.” – Brian Moran, The 12 Week Year
I pursue daily goals. It’s hard to have a more atomic focus on a goal. But I suck a bit on anything long-term.
I got some benefits out of it. Contrary to the framework’s author intentions, 12WY serves me more as a tracking tool than a planning tool. Yes, I do plan 2-3 days ahead… and I almost never fulfill those plans. I shuffle and move around pieces of my day all the time. The main trouble is my “boss” – my wife, who simply doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Well, she usually doesn’t even ask a question 😀
She interrupts me all the time. She pushes her ideas (hanging the bookshelves in my home office or reserving AirBNB for a trip in May RIGHT NOW) into my schedule.
Thus, rigid work hours are absolutely out of question for me. And I tend to get extremely frustrated when I create a plan and cannot hit it.
Another problem is that I got used to the hectic way of working on bits and pieces of this in that throughout the last 6.5 years. It’s a shift in thinking and it’s not happening quickly.
However, thanks to following this framework I became more productive. I moved forward with documenting business processes for Resurrecting Books. I caught up with my emails (some people were waiting a few months for my replies!). I caught up with my many tracking activities. I got back to editing a pile of raw content, which was very handy because…
Back on Medium
At the beginning of January I was browsing Medium for one of my old articles. Google showed me a strange result – one guy’s plan for creating a self-publishing empire. My income reports were mentioned there. I noticed that Ayodeji has plenty of articles behind the paywall. I also checked his two books on Amazon. They weren’t very alive.
So, I sent him an email offering an exchange of expertise – Medium Partner Program for Amazon ads.
It took Ayodeji about 10 days to respond. Once he set a date for our call, I got back on Medium. I joined a group on FB focused on MPP. I imported a few answers from Quora into my Medium drafts. I also figured out how to get paid. Medium pays writers via Stripe, and Stripe is not in Poland yet. Fortunately, my parents live in Ireland…
After the call, I decided to try MPP and Ayodeji decided to try Resurrecting Books.
There was one huge obstacle for me – I already was spread too thin. I couldn’t start another project without support. I talked with my wife and she agreed to help me out. I started the first week on my own. It took me about 8 hours to prepare several articles. I published the first post behind the paywall on 27th of January.
I also exchanged a few tweets with the founder of The Ascent publication. He give his consent to republish all of my income reports in his publication. My idea was to make them a free magnet for the readers that haven’t yet known me and my journey.
I applied to a few new Medium publications and I got promptly accepted. I guess one glance at my Medium profile with 3,400 followers was enough for them to invite me as a writer.
The Juggernaut Smashes Back
On 22nd of January my new KDP account broke. It was just two months after I created it and migrated all of my books there.
I got the exact same error telling me that there was a problem and I cannot create new ads.
KDP Support was exactly as inept and useless as for the first time when that happened with my original account.
I was buried with all of my other projects so I just opened the ticket and ignored the matter. I had no time and mental bandwidth to even create orders for new ads.
My parents visited us for 10 days. My father dealt with the initial paperwork in Poland to get his retirement.
It was great to have them around. Kids started their winter holidays in the middle of my parents’ stay which was nice. I spent some time with them. I also trained my father a bit more in Google sheets.
In January, I went to a cinema several times- with my wife, with my kids and once we also took my father for Aquaman. I noted a few TV evenings with my wife in my journal. I was able to have 2-3 serious conversations with her, including the one about going back on Medium.
I almost flawlessly executed my plan of spending at least one hour with each kid a week.
In the busy-ness of January 2019 the one undisputed good news were book sales. I sold over 1,200 copies, including a nice bulk purchase of 50 paperbacks at 29th of January. It resulted with over $3,000 gross revenue (I needed to pay for ads…) on Amazon. And I earned some bucks in other stores and over $100 with audiobooks. I had more days netting $100 than not making it. Checking my sales every morning was definitely something I looked forward to every day.
The Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €1600.42 ($1824.48)
Coach.me fees: $256.3
Draft2Digital royalties: $22.21
Audiobooks royalties: $137.49
PWIW personal coaching: $289.86
AMS service remuneration: $2649.93
$49, Aweber fee
$82.53, royalties split with co-author
$635.38, Amazon ads
$500, ISI mastermind
$282.1, RAs’ remuneration (RAs = Real Assistants; my team)
$1017.45, a podcast agency fee
$188, PO box & virtual address for my LLC
Net Result: $2821.59