Did you ever start a simple project, and somehow it mutated into this huge, drawn-out BEAST?
Welcome to the story of my life!
But sometimes the simple project that turned into a beast became something beautiful, i.e. my recently launched ebook, “How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business.”
Backstory? The most popular question asked by biz owners started out as a blog and quickly became the most previewed article on my website. It still is! But the blog (which I updated a few months back) lacked a TON of information.
I wanted to share statistics, discuss the unique cultures in-depth, and provide an action plan for readers to tackle because you all are smart!
Hence, ebook. But it was supposed to be a 10-15 pages! However, as I wrapped up the Facebook section, it was obvious we (the book and I) were in for a long ride.
This was my first time ever producing such an epic little project on my own, and let’s just be honest – I had no idea what I was doing.
To prevent you stepping into the same muddy waters as I, here’s my top takeaways from this endeavor.
Lesson #1: Research those processes.
This does NOT have to take hours and is NOT an excuse to procrastinate on your project. It’s a 3-hour max time period spent learning how other wiser (more experienced) people did it, so you make the most of your time.
From my days as a journalist, I knew how to outline my sections and plan my mini-sections. But the fancy girl in me thought formatting my book as I went along was a good use of my time. WRONG.
Which leads me to,
Lesson #2: JUST DO IT.
I’m not yelling, promise. But instead of making things pretty or choosing the right font, get down to business. Pour it out, throw down your muck and care about grammar and spelling after it’s done. Because I can guarantee the time you spend doing anything else besides writing until it’s finished, is wasted!
Annd that takes me to,
Lesson #3: Wear the right tool belt.
Meaning, in the midst of researching how other more mentally enlarged people went about writing their book, don’t forget to ask which tools make it easier. Because this. is. HUGE.
My complicated wreck of a process included writing on Mac’s TextEdit, transferring the copy to Mac’s Pages, exporting to PDF and then incorporating other formatting fun with Adobe Acrobat.
Wow, is right.
Next time, I’m gonna stick to TextEdit and/or Google docs and then kick it over to Acrobat.
I released the second iteration of my ebook yesterday thanks to some awesome feedback from friends (BIG love to Till Carlos, Michael Smith, and Kiersten Bogush) and we. do. not. have . time to go over the process of HOW MUCH TIME it takes (is wasted) to incorporate small changes.
Plan ahead, folks! (i.e. be smarter than me)
Lesson #4: Don’t forget about you!
So I finished my book, wrapped it up, launched it and hey – totallyyyy forgot to include a bio, a copyright section (to protect ALL that hard work), and (this is embarrassing) my social media channels so people can stalk me online.
Don’t do this. Just don’t. Readers want to know who the author is and what makes them such a voice of authority on whatever subject they write. And the lack of copyright? Oh, Ahna.
So finally, on the day of truth, I shipped it out to my email subscribers first (cuz they ROCKK!), and a storm erupted.
Among glasses of ruby red wine with friends, my cell phone began sounding as alerts came in with news informing me that my email sign-up forms were failing. And then, website blackout.
Enter panicking, controlling, frustrated Ahna. I freaked! And then started changing settings, updating software, and my fabulous friends tried to help (but I was FIXING IT). Sorry, ladies.
Which brings me to,
#5: When in doubt, fagetaboutit.
Life is short. And as I sat there becoming more angry, obviously destroying the happy mood at the table, and probably clicking ALL the wrong settings on my website, I made a decision to FIX IT LATER.
Why? Because I neglected sleep, friends, food and glasses of wine to finish that little sucker – and dangit, I wanted to relish in the moment, congratulate myself and keep things in perspective. After all, I did it!
We can spend our ENTIRE lives producing, working, creating, developing, running, and miss out on the most precious moments – the present. And we can lose track of being proud of what we accomplished.
The truth is, schizz goes down in the most important moments, so why stress?
I closed my computer, rejoined the conversation, enjoyed the evening and tackled it when I got home. And of course, it was a simple fix.
End of beloved story.