Ten years ago, I started a graphic design business. I thought this was great – it sure beat working for other people. I naturally supposed this would continue for the rest of my life. I was wrong. Almost every year since then my business has changed, and now, it looks nothing like 2005.
This is marvellous, don’t get me wrong. Entrepreneurs get bored easily. We adapt, we pivot, we expand, we niche down. We do everything, except stay in the same place twice.
Shiny object syndrome
And, that’s all good. Except when it isn’t. Some entrepreneurs flit from one “money-making” scheme to another and never focus on any one thing long enough. This is known in the game as “shiny object syndrome” and I have it as bad as anyone.
But, I’ve been lucky. I’ve got long term clients for my web and graphic design business and I make passive income selling video courses on Udemy. And still I get sidetracked. And, now another wave of shiny objects will distract me as I feel boredom kicking in again. What does that mean? Just picture a middle-aged man in a Porsche dealership.
What brought this on?
As you may know. I have been publishing quarterly passive income reports since 2012. Hands down, this is the best and most engaging content I have created.
How do I know people like the income reports? Because they’re what everyone mentions when they email me, talk to me and meet me. I’m very pleased to help other entrepreneurs. I know many people are earning extra cash on Udemy that they wouldn’t have otherwise – all because of my income reports.
The problem with my
income profit reports
But there’s a catch. In my desire for greater transparency, I started to subtract business expenses from the income reports to make them authentic “profit reports” rather than just “revenue reports”. And this has started to negatively impact my business.
Why? Male ego.
If you’re publishing income reports, you want them to go up. This has inhibited me from spending money and re-investing in the business. I wanted to show rising figures each quarter. I wanted to impress people with the size of my profit.Profit size doesn't matter Click To Tweet
Why I’ll be re-investing profits from now on
My passive income has been plateauing. My Udemy profits are stagnating. And at the same time, I’ve steadfastly refused to spend any money on marketing.
I was invited to join a panel on e-book publishing at the 4-Hour Workweek Meetup Group in London. We were talking about spending money on book launches. There’s a plethora of sites where you can advertise your Kindle during free and $1 promos.
A lady in the audience asked if the cost of these promotions was tax deductible. Yes, we replied, it is. “So you might as well do loads of them”. Yes, I said, but it depends how much money you’re making from the books.
There was disapproval from one of the other members of the panel. I couldn’t stop thinking about this for days afterwards.
I’d held back from spending money on my most recent book launches because of disappointing figures from my Kindle business. I was thinking that I couldn’t run any part of my business at a loss. Everything has to make money. I’ve got to keep those profit figures up. More male ego.Invest the money from the profitable areas of your business into the areas that aren't doing so well Click To Tweet
Investing profits from Udemy into Kindle
Now I can see that I’ve been so stupid. I should have been investing much more into my Kindle launches and promos. The amount of email addresses I get from them is huge. It will pay off in the long term.
So what if I make no money from Kindle? So what if I run Kindle at a loss? I get new audience to my email lists as well as the kudos and authority of having multiple Amazon bestsellers. I’ve got the money. I’m not going to starve.
I may not be writing a book for a while because that is time-consuming. But I can still do various promos for my 7 books and outsource the work. I’ll spend a bit more on this in the future.
And I won’t stop there. There are other areas of my business that I can invest in.
What have I been up to?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit four different European countries in the last three months. I’ve been travelling through Berlin, Prague, Linz, Vienna and Bratislava, staying in Prague for the longest period – about a month.
I’m back in the UK now but I’m hoping to head off soon to Thailand. 🙂
As you may expect, gadding around Europe in the summer hardly helped productivity. I launched my latest Kindle and … hmmm, that’s about it. Can do better. Expect me to re-double my efforts in this next quarter. Let see how I got on.
Specific business targets
Here are specific targets that I set three months ago and more targets for three months’ time.
|Target||Q3 2015 Target||Q3 2015 Actual||Q4 2015 target|
Both the passive income and traffic targets were missed! However, I actually saw an increase in monthly traffic (sessions). This may have been because I’ve been using Udemy Instructional Announcements to my 60,000+ followers on Udemy. I usually point them towards valuable blog posts on my site.
Also, despite missing the passive income target, I managed an increase against the previous quarter.
General business targets
Last quarter I had three targets. Here’s how I got on:
- Publish a new Kindle âœ“ Target Hit! Free Yourself, Leave Your Job and Be Your Own Boss: A Guide for Entrepreneurs was published on September 15, 2015
- Create a new video course. âœ— Target Missed! I’m in the process of recording a new course on content marketing.
Here are my business targets from now until the end of the fourth quarter 2015:
- Create a new video course on content marketing. I should be able to finish this by the end of October – at a pinch
- Create one other video course. I have a couple of ideas but I want to partner up with others now and split the profits
- Re-publish two Kindles. I’m going to revisit two old titles that sell quite well but can be improved greatly: Running A Web Design Business From Home: How To Find and Keep Good Clients and Make Money with Your Home Business and How To Sell Video Courses Online: How I make $2000+ passive income every month – I can easily add to these two books and get Amazon to make them
- Do three more webinars
So I’m completely backtracking on my plan of book, video course, book, video course, book, video course … until the end of the year. Video courses generall and Udemy specifically are the cash cows at the moment.
I like to keep an eye on these indicators. More male ego: “look at the size of these!”
|Indicator||31st Dec 2014||31st March 2015||30th June 2015||30th Sep 2015|
|My Twitter followers||2959||3071||3186||3309|
|My YouTube Channel, subscribers||2309||2802||3113||3471|
|My YouTube Channel, video views||566,054||639,658||697,134||765,373|
|Facebook page Likes/Fans||1010||1129||1510||3388|
|Subscribers to RobCubbon.com||7511||7910||8429||9059|
Not much movement here. Except for the Facebook Page which is benefitting from the tactics I learned in Steven Aitchison’s Your Facebook Challenge course (affiliate link).
Philanthropy, gifting and donations
I’m still donating to the following charities on a monthly basis:
Yet more of these empty words: “Exercise more”, “meditate more”, “eat more healthily” and “help people” are my usual (not very good or specific) personal goals.
I seem to be doing a bit of running (which is easier to do in Europe than Asia) but my Tai Chi has unfortunately taken a backseat.
I am so grateful to live the ever-changing life of the entrepreneur. The life where you can literally create and improve your own reality with constant applied effort. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of this amazing journey as I plan to invest some of my profits into existing and new areas.