By Austin Church, founder of Bright Newt and co-founder of Closeup.fm
Exactly six months ago, I was in Portland, Oregon, for World Domination Summit 2013. One of the speakers, professional photographer and blogger Darren Rowse, shared his hilarious zero-to-hero story and later talked about how he wrote his first guide.
Rowse’s writing process was simple and guilt-free: he gave himself permission to write only fifteen minutes a day.
He and his wife had just had their first child, so the only way he could make time was to set his alarm clock for fifteen minutes earlier each day. Those readers with children of their own will recall being jarred awake by those impossibly loud cries, trying to comfort your child with your teeth gritted, stumbling around bleary-eyed while mixing a bottle of formula. You remember waking up, already bone-tired, with your patience plastic maxed-out. Such sweet times.
But after three and a half months of unsexy, incremental progress, Rowse finished his e-book. A few weeks after that, it had generated six figures in revenue. The numbers are compelling:
- 15 minutes a day
- ~ 105 days
- 27 hours of writing total (and 27 hours less sleep)
- Over $100,000 in profits
Now before we go any further, I’d like to make one thing clear: Rowse didn’t just get lucky. Every morning he had to overcome the temptation to hit the snooze button. He exercised great discipline in making the choice to take another small step toward a lofty goal.
Stop Crushing It.
Darren’s story flies in the face of a popular productivity schema—that is, leaping forward with huge bursts of creativity, burning up the workday with focused productivity, getting drunk on the wine of inspiration, feeling bulletproof with passion, bulldozing through any obstacle. Crushing it!!!
I can just hear Dr. Phil skewering me with his favorite question: “How’s that working for you?”
Honestly, not very well. So while listening to Rowse speak, I decided to try something different and expect different results. I gave myself permission to spend only fifteen minutes a day working on a new app marketing guide for iOS developers.
The Path to Appiness
After two years of developing iOS apps, I’d begun to notice that a major challenge for indie developers is smart marketing. Their apps end up dying a slow death in the App Store, and most of them feel powerless to do anything about it.
I wanted to do something to change that, and Rowse inspired me to write out my story, bit by bit, as well as step-by-step instructions for app marketing tactics that have helped me turn duds into profitable apps.
This project is the epitome of what oDesk makes possible: my programmers who coded the apps I wrote about live in Ukraine, Russia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, and the U.S. My editor-proofreader lives in Colombia. The virtual assistants, who helped with research, live in the Philippines. The designer lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.
What a world we live in!
The guide is finally finished. It’s called Appiness: An Unusual Guide to Doubling Downloads, Minting Money & Finding Freedom. If you’re interested in making or marketing iOS apps, you can check it out here: http://brightnewguides.com/appiness/.
In other words, fifteen minutes at a time works.
Be the Tortoise.
Here we all are at the beginning of 2014 with shiny new backpacks full of resolutions, goals, plans, and projects.
What if you started hitching your creative pursuits to the habit of consistency not flashes of brilliance? What if you invested only fifteen minutes a day, six days a week, regardless of how you felt? What if you gave yourself permission to be the humble tortoise, not the glamorous hare? The industrious ant, not the swashbuckling grasshopper.
Yes, I’m mixing metaphors, but I think you get my point.
For fifteen minutes a day, work on your book, your EP, your new website, or your top-secret business venture. Then move on to your day job.
Try it once. You just might find that being the tortoise leaves you feeling strangely fine.
Want more words of wisdom from Austin? Check out his chapter in the oDesk eBook: “Make It Work: Smart Advice from Real-Life oDesk Clients Who Found Success Using Online Work.”