My (business) life has changed fundamentally since I started doing this blog late November of last year. Up until then, I was a basically a paint dealer. I always wrote “on the side” and did some consulting on a pretty regular basis but none-the-less I was a paint dealer, first and foremost. My days were defined by the store hours and my travel defined by the job locations.
What a difference a few months can make! While I am of course still a paint dealer, the content provider side of my business experience is demanding it’s fair share of my hours. It seems each day; I must deal with the conflict of what I need to get done for one “obligation” and what I want to get done for the other. I suspect both sides are suffering a little bit (though I’m happy to say that despite my lack of effort, sales are up nicely so far this year).
There have been other times in my business life I’ve given an “outside” project enough attention that it took my focus off the stores. It did not go well! One time while on what ended up being a five-year consulting gig, an employee conspired with several customers and robbed me blind. I had always treasured the experience of owning my own business but on the day we figured that out, I remember wishing it were someone else’s money that was missing.
Things are different this time. Our POS system does a pretty good job of keeping track of things as they go in-and-out and I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about where to look for trouble. I’m also happy to say that at the moment I have a terrific crew of guys working for me. I trust them and believe them to be people of character and that (plus a good verification and auditing process) keeps me sleeping at night.
Unfortunately, time away from the stores is the only way that I can get to the job of creating content. A paint store where I am the center of attention rarely allows me the time to get creative.
But creative I have been. You are reading this on my own blog site but I’ve also been busy creating content on LinkedIn. The cool part is that if you’re following me on LinkedIn as well as here, you’re seeing two very different styles.
Blogs allow for deeper dives. With my only restriction on length being my own views on how long you are likely to read, I can let me inner teacher out. I love sharing what I’ve learned and that’s why you get the types stories that you often do here.
On LinkedIn I’m a bit more restricted: in two ways actually. One is by the actual post size (limited to 1300 characters which is generally around 300 words). By comparison, my blogs generally run around 800 words. The other way I’m restricted is by the very nature of how people use LinkedIn: generally more a short scan than a long read.
But that type of platform creates it own opportunities. I love the challenge of writing to a different sort of script. I feel like more of my personality can be put into those shorter and less formal posts. I was probably in college that last time I wrote as much as I’m writing now, but it was never this satisfying.
Instant feedback is the reason writing now is more satisfying than it was in the past. When I wrote in the magazine the only way I could even gauge if a column hit it’s mark or not was anecdotal: my own estimate of the quality of the piece and some measurement of the emails or letters (yes…I used to get letters IN THE MAIL) I received! Sometimes the only feedback I would get would be at a trade show: face-to-face people are often more willing to say what’s on their mind.
Now when I put something up, I get reports back on all of your behaviors. Of course it starts with the basics and that’s: How many read what I wrote? But then it goes on: How long you read it for (go all the way to the bottom….I’ll know it if you don’t), what pages you visit on my site other than the blog, what kind of devices you are using (65%+ Apple last month), what browser you use (Google Chrome wins by a nose) even where you are reading (more desktop than I would have expected but still overwhelmingly mobile devices) as well as WHERE you are reading (mostly the US obviously but I actually have gotten readers for some far-flung corners of the globe. I think Japan is about the furthest away).
For me, little of that detail really matters. The only detail that does matter is that you ARE reading. And you are! Last week alone, over 11,000 people clicked on something I wrote or otherwise created. Eleven thousand!!! It still has not sunk in yet. Thank you to each of you that interacted with anything I created. I’m having a blast doing this and am grateful to you for your support.
There WAS a reason I wanted to tell you how busy I have been and that was to explain for those who have asked and anyone else who was wondering: Where did the podcasts go?
Podcasting is not like writing. It’s creative work and uses the same side of the brain BUT it has one significant other aspect: For the types of podcasts I want to make, it generally requires another person! And that’s where I got stuck. My topics were limited just to the people who were in my proximity. A blog or LinkedIn post can be written on my deck with a cigar in one hand and slice of pizza in the other! Podcasts were more challenging.
But all that has changed! I finally made the time to research and purchase equipment so that I could produce a podcast over the phone without having to fly to do a face-to-face interview. I’m excited for this upgrade. I already have one scheduled to tape on Friday and I hope to get to two next week!
So, thanks for following along and thanks for your patience as I get this thing ramped up! I continue to be appreciative of all of you for your support and interest.