If Anyone Has Told You Following Your Dreams Is Easy- They Lied
The purpose of this post is not to complain. It serves a few purposes, actually. One, it allows me to vent... just a little. (It's stressful keeping all that stuff inside!) Two, it gives me a "looking back" point. When I conquer these roadblocks (and I will!) I can look back and remind myself of where I came from. And three, when you hear about people chasing their dreams or reaching for their big goals, you either only hear about the successes or you hear about the failures.
I have decided to present the journey. The good, bad and the ugly. This is real. It's what's happening in my life. And let me tell you, it is testing me down to my fiber.
I consider myself to be a successful author. I have five solid books under my belt, a loyal, amazing, growing following. I will never run out of things to write about or projects to complete and I am beginning to become more known in the "expert" arena in the relationship and teenage motivation fields. I am proud of my accomplishments.
But contentment has never really been my friend, for long. It's good for me to to have an opportunity to "be still" for a bit, but after a while, I get antsy and need to stretch or I become lazy... and need to MAKE myself stretch.
The majority of my income has been designed so I can create and earn from anywhere (coaching is on google hangouts, my books can be purchased on-line, my e-courses will be available soon on-line, I can write, communicate and dream from anywhere! )so, I've steadily been working up to this adventure, but sometimes, I want to be face to face with people. And in my past, workshops and camps, and seminars were always my favorite thing to do! I love making learning fun. I love meeting people and being able to help them immediately. And I love seeing "the lightbulb" go off when they realize something I have introduced that can ultimately change their life.
My first book in the Leading With Love series Love Begins With You had just been released in November, and I had just revamped a full-day workshop into a shorter more time-friendly four-hour workshop. (The Leading With Love Workshop)
The plan was to present these workshops and promote the books and be able to get out and meet the people, support local businesses, share some love and happiness and see the country.
Brilliant, right? And if things would just have cooperated and did as I wanted, I would be having no issue. Lol.
Nothing has gone as planned...
On the very first day, I didn't get more than an hour away before I had to pull over. The camper was swaying SO hard, it almost pulled me off the road. The problem: The hitch was not level to the truck. Got that fixed, and back on the road.
Next problem: The wind was blowing SO hard, the camper still swayed but there was nothing I could do about it other than just keep moving forward. I white-knuckled that steering wheel for the next ten hours.
Next problem: My drive was SO slow that I got to the "campground" after midnight and didn't know where my site was. The temps had dropped to the 30s and we had no heat, no electric. I pulled over at a construction site to try and sleep for a few hours in the camper, but it was so, so cold that we just got back up and waited for the office to open.
Next problem: Suffering from lack of sleep, sore muscles, hunger and just wanting to get settled, it turns out the "campground" was mostly a mobile home park with a few RVs thrown in the mix. They didn't have a bath house, and the streets were so steep that I scraped the back end of the camper at every turn. (Ended up doing some damage to the camper itself!) I had to decline staying there and find another REAL campground.
Next problem: (Mind you, I'm still not even two full days into this adventure!) I need to find a way to tell my fancy-schmancy GPS system that I am towing a thirty foot camper!! On the way to the other campground, it took me through the historic downtown district!! And while I would have appreciated this any other time, I AM TOWING A 30' CAMPER!!! Then, (yes, I know this is getting hard to believe!) THEN, there was an accident and I had to be re-routed. A 15 minute drive ended up taking 48 minutes.
I did make it to the other campground, got hooked- up, took a shower and a nap, and all was well.
Next problem: I had to cancel the workshop in Birmingham, AL because of lack of attendance. (Silly me, didn't realize that I was competing with a major drinking holiday... St. Patrick's Day)
Good news: Sold some books, met some great people, had some new sign-ups for the newsletter thanks to the book signing events... Yay!
Next problem: Advertising and marketing.... I'm really not very good at that so I like to hire out for those things. Lesson learned: Figure out ALL the rules and learn the process myself first before handing the responsibility off to someone else. I was trying to cut corners and assumed that anyone I hired would have my best interest at heart. I somehow got myself blocked from using Facebook ads because some of the guidelines were not being followed. My fault. I should have known what the guidelines were and I should have taken more interest in what was being done on my behalf. I lost a lot of money and have gotten zero return. But that's not the worst part... however.
Facebook marketing was my main source of promoting because it can specifically target my location and the audience that would most benefit from my books and services. And now I have none of that. No marketing, no promotions. I have had to cancel another workshop.
Good news: I am heading into "home turf". I have a large following in both Arkansas, and Missouri, where I am from, and hopefully I can salvage some of the events scheduled for the cities in those states.
And that pretty much brings us up to date...
I am using this "extra" time to do some renovations on the camper, to try and distribute the weight a little better so it won't sway as much when I get over 55mph. (So frustrating!!) And fix the back end and making it a little more suited for me.
I am sad because I am not teaching or even writing at the moment, and since I get myself into this funk, I barely go out and see the sights- the things that I set out on this adventure to do. Write, teach, explore then write about it.
I am completely caught up in the business side of things- looking for new ways to promote, create a new income stream if I can't teach, social media postings, and pleading with Facebook for another chance... And now I have to take the time to learn the things I was farming out: email automation, landing pages, links, adwords, amazon ranking, upselling, SEO, photoshop... yuk, yuk, yuk! I just want to create! (Okay, that was a little extra whiny... sorry 'bout that!)
I apologize for the length and I'll try to update more often to keep them concise, but I guess this is really the first time I've had a chance to communicate with you. I've been battered around a bit... but I shall bolster and keep moving forward. I'm not giving up just yet...
I guess this post does a fourth thing as well, it allows you to come in and share my world with me. And while I mention my struggles, I am not looking for you to "fix" anything, but your prayers and words of encouragement do help and feed me and keep me moving forward. And while these are my dreams that I am chasing, I am so excited that you have taken an interest and decided to tag along. The good, the bad the ugly... and when we meet you can reflect with me... ("Remember that time when... I was really worried for you...." or "just look how far you've come.")
Thank you for hanging with me!
Until next time... hopefully a happier post...