Join the Journey: August '21 Progress Report
It's time for my 8th monthly progress report, published as part of my "Join the Journey" series, available exclusively to Think Better Newsletter subscribers. You can read my previous updates here.
This monthly progress report is an effort to both hold myself accountable to making continuous progress as well as provide insight to anyone else considering self-publishing. It's meant to be the Strava to my book sales...a public record for anyone interested to follow.
My overall impression of August (Month 8!)
August was a challenge. I started a new job and it's, well, a real job. I am working from home for a large corporation, forecasting demand for their products in Asia. I used to work in project management and reporting in support of forecasters, but it's my first time to "own the numbers" so to speak. It's been a crash course in a lot of areas: the products, the market, the partners, and Excel!
On the plus side, the experience gave me some inspiration for some newsletters and is challenging me in an analytical way that I do enjoy. I spoke about this on an early episode of the Go Be More podcast, but I look at a lot of situations in life as if they are a video game, and I try to figure out what I need to do to win. Right now I'm playing the, "be the best forecaster" game. And I do plan to win.
But I also need to keep up with this personal project! Books don't sell themselves!
I didn't do a great job of promoting my book in August. I didn't get any podcast interviews, I only published one article, and we only published one podcast. Some of this was just summer vacation scheduling but a lot of it was not maximizing what time I did have.
On the plus side, I received a great review from US marathoner Peter Gilmore and laid the groundwork for two team orders that will close this month. I also got some new graphics for my team packages, which I put up at the very end of August. Still, my month-over-month compares are going to be pretty rough, especially after that very strong July.
My Monthly Sales (units)
I sold a total of 25 books in August, with 0 team orders. That was a -61% month over month for individual orders, and -81% overall. It was roughly in line with my performance in March, April, and May, however, so not terrible.
My reseller (Amazon) sales declined a bit (19 to 12), and my website sales took their own leap...off a cliff. Demand hasn't really returned since the Olympics ended, and I can see in my stats that I'm not getting much traffic from social media, the newsletter, or organic searches. Something stopped working in late July/early August.
My Marketing Initiatives
I published four articles on the website:
- Elite marathoner Peter Gilmore reviews Make the Leap (this includes a story about the impact he had on my career)
- From the Archives: The Bias of Now (a piece I wrote many years ago on determining the GOAT)
- How an Explorative Mindset Leads to Breakthroughs (a PodiumRunner article based on my conversation with Olympic silver medalist in triathlon Katie Zaferes, which was also highlighted by Amby Burfoot in his weekly roundup)
I was consistent with my Instagram feed in June, posting 27 times. I only gained 11 followers. Facebook had no growth. To be honest I kind of half-assed it. In this case, I got what I put into it.
I published four newsletters in August and gained 10 subscribers. Not great results but I enjoyed the topics and writing them.
I forgot to follow up with the Washington coaches, but I do have a couple well-connected people reading the book, and I'm hoping to get an endorsement and/or referrals to some other coaches from them.
My Goals Achieved
My Plans for September
Right now I'm just trying to keep everything going. I'm squeezing in social media, newsletter writing, and the occasional article into some small windows of time, and I'm often tired when I'm doing them. So...my goal for September is to just stay consistent and keep the ball rolling while I get settled into my new job.
It was a crash back to Earth for me, which is a bummer but makes sense. I didn't effectively get myself out there in front of new people and that's what really matters. September should be a little better because of some team packages, but I really need to expand my reach if I'm going to move the needle.
I end every one of these updates with the same message, as much for me as for you:
This is a long journey, and I plan to achieve success by following the same principles I lay out in Make the Leap: high quality work, done consistently, that feeds back into itself to create outsized gains. I'm still at the beginning where growth isn't really visible. But the foundation is being laid.
Thanks for joining me on this journey. If you have any advice or feedback, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go Be More,