Learning Your Limitations





I realize that no one really wants to talk about the structural basics of creating an indie author career. We want to dive right into the marketing because “we’ve proven we can do this.”

Have you? Really?

Are you consistently producing? Or are you consistently coming up with excuses? Are you able to schedule your team of service providers out a year in advance? Or are you stuck in the rut of having to “find service providers willing to work with you and your special situation?”

Are you able to pay your service providers on time, and still have a bucket for your marketing? Or are you asking your service providers if they can “work with you on payments” because covers or marketing is more important than their services?

If you answered yes to the first question and were insulted by the second question in each of these, then you are correct. This segment isn’t for you. But if that second question hit a little too close to home, then buckle up, Buttercup. You don’t have a solid foundation yet. You're working harder to go half the distance.

But that’s okay. You can still make one. I’ll show you how.

Habits. Again.

Hey. Don’t get upset. Seriously. I know how hard you’re working. You’re pulling in 10+, sometimes 20+ hour days at work between your job, your writing, your family—because at this point they are work—and everything else you’ve got going on. You feel like you’re working harder and getting less.

Part of that is due to the cycle of failure or the lack of success. When we put in these hours, we expect to have a win at some point. And when we don't get there after a week, or a month, or a launch, or a year, we beat ourselves up and push harder. We try new approaches. We jump on the latest fad, hoping this will be our golden ticket.

And then we burn out like the crazed dreams of lost lovers. We work ourselves into exhaustion.

Habits help to take off the weight of doing. When you invest yourself in making healthy habits, it’s easier to do what you need to do so you’re not as drained. Part of developing these habits is knowing how you perform under ideal, normal, and poor conditions in these five areas:

  • Productivity

  • Schedule

  • Money

  • Health

  • Other Obligations

In the article last week where we discussed metrics, we talked about how we have this altered perception of who we are. We see ourselves as a better performer, a better parent, a better… well, everything.

But only when we’re setting goals for ourselves.

The rest of the time, we typically have a pretty normal or less-than-average view of ourselves and sometimes revert to negative talk which then lowers our productivity, threatens our schedule, ruins our budget, destroys our health, and has a decisively negative impact on our other obligations like family.

That’s the reason we need to document what we do on a daily basis. We’re gathering real-life metrics that we can then use to create a sustainable career plan. These metrics should give us the power to:

  • Meet the expectations of your readers by producing consistently so that you don’t have to constantly rebuild your launching platform.

  • Schedule your books in all phases: writing, edits in all levels, covers, marketing, and more.

  • Budget successfully for our publishing business so that we can pay all invoices on time without requiring special consideration.

  • Manage your business so that it becomes self-sustaining.

With that in mind, I’m going to continue with these articles that talk about developing habits whether you enjoy them or not. I work with a lot of authors and they all struggle in the same areas: project management and healthy habits. These are the building blocks of a successful business. When the sustainably successful authors are asked how or why they succeed continually, they say, “It’s because I treat it like a business.” That means, they’ve developed the right habits to make managing the business easy.

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