Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Plus1living.org is down!

I've just got notice from my host: justhost, that they are suspending my account due to too much usage of their CPU. I'm using a shared hosting service and this makes all my websites inoperable now.

Fantastic. Dealing with it though.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Quest 7 is under way over at plus1living.org

I have decided on a quest, and will be writing about it over at my Quest journal over at Plus1living.org

Friday, 10 December 2010


I have an idea for something to do. I don't know if this will be profitable nor I know how to test this idea. The only thing I can do is DO it.

Potentially it is very low risk with about £20 investment in money, but more in time. It has potential without testing because it involves becoming an affiliate of products that already sell. 

The thing that is I'm not settled with is the part of this idea which has me creating a YouTube channel specifically for the niche I have in mind that could pick up subjects from forum threads. This is to bring traffic to the e-store.

What I am anxious about is that I need to commit to a month or two of creating those vids without any guarantee. Which means that if I'm not right, this could be wasted time.

I could just make one video, but I'm worried that:
  • I really need momentum that only a series of vids can bring
  • I could lose momentum after one vid and not follow through even if the one is successful
On the other hand when I think of the time that had passed in which I had deliberated what to do, a month seems like nothing. 

Therefore I'd like to commit to this project:
  • spend a month making the vids - three months worth of weekly postings
  • after that build the e-store and promote the vids on forums
  • potentially bring my own products to the mix
  • write about this project on plus1living.org to help grow that community in the same time.
Time to plan these things in. I have everything to start really.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Metrics ideas

When there are metrics and I know which direction I want the figures to go, and I have direct influence over the growth of these figures, then they do improve. Here are some metrics I believe I need to track and therefore would have a chance to improve upon:

Time - what I spend my time on generally

Total Time spent on Quests and % of time spent on each quest

Time spent on doing vs research vs brainstorming - %

Tasks scheduled vs tasks done

% of completion of missions and quests.

Found one time tracking plugin for google calendar: Time & Activity Report for Google Calendar. It works if I use keywords in the google calendar tasks, like Quest1, Quest2 etc 

Monday, 6 December 2010

Why Intelligent People Fail

"I'm not intelligent enough" may be a common excuse for many people that prevents them from going for their dreams, but perhaps this may well be your greatest asset as it is outlined in this article below.

I have found it by chance today at http://www.acceleratingfuture.com and added my comments below

Why Intelligent People Fail
Content from Sternberg, R. (1994). In search of the human mind. New York: Harcourt Brace.

1. Lack of motivation. A talent is irrelevant if a person is not motivated to use it. Motivation may be external (for example, social approval) or internal (satisfaction from a job well-done, for instance). External sources tend to be transient, while internal sources tend to produce more consistent performance.

2. Lack of impulse control. Habitual impulsiveness gets in the way of optimal performance. Some people do not bring their full intellectual resources to bear on a problem but go with the first solution that pops into their heads.

3. Lack of perserverance and perseveration. Some people give up too easily, while others are unable to stop even when the quest will clearly be fruitless.

4. Using the wrong abilities. People may not be using the right abilities for the tasks in which they are engaged.

5. Inability to translate thought into action. Some people seem buried in thought. They have good ideas but rarely seem able to do anything about them.

6. Lack of product orientation. Some people seem more concerned about the process than the result of activity.

7. Inability to complete tasks. For some people nothing ever draws to a close. Perhaps it’s fear of what they would do next or fear of becoming hopelessly enmeshed in detail.

8. Failure to initiate. Still others are unwilling or unable to initiate a project. It may be indecision or fear of commitment.

9. Fear of failure. People may not reach peak performance because they avoid the really important challenges in life.

10. Procrastination. Some people are unable to act without pressure. They may also look for little things to do in order to put off the big ones.

11. Misattribution of blame. Some people always blame themselves for even the slightest mishap. Some always blame others.

12. Excessive self-pity. Some people spend more time feeling sorry for themselves than expending the effort necessary to overcome the problem.

13. Excessive dependency. Some people expect others to do for them what they ought to be doing themselves.

14. Wallowing in personal difficulties. Some people let their personal difficulties interfere grossly with their work. During the course of life, one can expect some real joys and some real sorrows. Maintaining a proper perspective is often difficult.

15. Distractibility and lack of concentration. Even some very intelligent people have very short attention spans.

16. Spreading oneself too think or too thick. Undertaking too many activities may result in none being completed on time. Undertaking too few can also result in missed opportunities and reduced levels of accomplishment.

17. Inability to delay gratification. Some people reward themselves and are rewarded by others for finishing small tasks, while avoiding bigger tasks that would earn them larger rewards.

18. Inability to see the forest for the trees. Some people become obsessed with details and are either unwilling or unable to see or deal with the larger picture in the projects they undertake.

19. Lack of balance between critical, analytical thinking and creative, synthetic thinking. It is important for people to learn what kind of thinking is expected of them in each situation.

20. Too little or too much self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence can gnaw away at a person’s ability to get things done and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, individuals with too much self-confidence may not know when to admit they are wrong or in need of self-improvement.

At any given point in my life I have been, was or am guilty of each one of these points. This article may well serve as a good reminder and a basis for further game development.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Dan Ariely - rational irrational decisions

Scientist Dan Ariely discusses our decision making process and presents certain irrationalities in it. It is worth watching because it touches on the subject of manipulation of our decision making process - what can be done to prevent being manipulated or what can we do to manipulate others (game mechanics anyone?)

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A brain hemorrhage that will positively influence your perception of your place in the world

Are you happy, right here, right now, or do you keep thinking about your past, your future, your business, your worries, you life.

This is not a video about changing your life because you would one day die. Neither it's a scientific look at the mechanics of a stroke.

The revelation of the true differences between our two brain hemispheres that you will find here and how it is presented makes this video worth your precious time.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Another dopamine injection!

Have just finished writing the descriptive version of the plus1living game intro. The full pdf with the beta version will be available next Wednesday.

Friday, 19 November 2010

17 hours over three weeks

One of the projects I've been working on has taken me so far only 17 hours (less than that if we subtract all the time wasters - one day this will be my next task - to streamline my morning work) over a period of nearly three weeks.

This brings me to a conclusion that it's not that these things don't take a lot of time, but the work isn't condensed, therefore in reality it drags out into weeks or even months. 

Another conclusion is that this is all new to me, a learning curve exists. I take time to read a book on the subject I'm working on (like positioning).

Lastly there are doubts and fears that will hold me back. These are probably the biggest culprits to me procrastinating.

The exercise I'm doing now is creating tons of anxiety which I'm successfully mitigating with the use of the ego Shield and the Assumption Assassin, but until I finish with it, I probably won't have much rest.

What I hope to get out of it is not a working business (the exercise is in product design and marketing), but the lessons in conquering my own fears, assumptions and unlocking myself (I must keep reminding myself of this...).

This is my second full project I intend to bring to fruition after the photo competition. What I hope to learn is a better understanding of product creation from choosing a target market first >>> then creating a product for it. I usually went the other way round.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Multitasking vs singletasking

I can't multi-task, I keep trying, but it just doesn't work for me.

When I multi-task, I can't concentrate properly and fidget. I end up multitasking every time when: I hadn't planned my tasks ahead and when tasks are put on my desk in front of me against my will.

If, on the other hand I decide in advance what I ought to be doing in time free from outside input (or at least reduced input), then time disappears and I'm in the zone (or flow). It only happens when I'm doing one thing only.

Therefore for me at least, the challenge is not in concentrating, but in planning ahead single tasks and allowing time for them.

What I do these days is plan my mornings (outside input free zone), and try to limit the 2 - 2.5h sessions to one to three related tasks max. This way I have a feeling that I know what I'm doing, I know where to start, and when my job is done with full accountability.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

"The world is all perception anyway" - sounds familiar?

This line comes from a short marketing book - "22 Immutable Laws of Marketing" and in full it reads: 
"Keep in mind that the world is all perception anyway, and the only thing that counts in marketing is the customer's perception"
 There must be something in this sentence if we agree with this genius who said:
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one"
 For me at this particular time it is something that helps me stop worrying about any of my marketing projects. I worry, because in the back of my mind some pressure to make money (to free myself from full time work and be independent from one person telling me what to do) seems to creep in from time to time.

The key (perhaps - since I've never produced anything yet) is to create something of value and test my worries within the advertising copy itself, by acknowledging certain points that may turn potential buyer off. According to the book, candor is usually well received by people. I can see it in one to one encounters with other people, especially when an argument is brewing. In a potentially explosive situation, it's better to give the other person some space by agreeing to own weaknesses. 

There's another great book, not a marketing book, but one that speaks about interpersonal relations. It was written in 1934 and is as valid today as it was then: Dale Carnegie's - "How to win friends and influence people"

That's it for now, I've emptied my brains

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

I get a dopamine rush each time I have an idea

I will feel good every time I have an idea. I'm smiling now because not only I had an idea, but realised that the idea came in the middle of proper (I hope) research. Which means that I can without worry allow time for research and be sure that I will still be getting my drug :D

Monday, 8 November 2010

New business idea? Crucial post!

Today whilst having my morning shower, an idea for a product popped into my head (as they do). This time I am determined not to let my Ego get the best of me. I will speak with the Assassin and ask him to vigilantly guard the information channels coming to and from the Ego Shield and immediately slaughter any doubts and draw blood from my assumptions so I can easily test them.

Can Do pill will be taken close to overdosing in order to make sure I have enough push to endure a week or two of proper work on the idea.

I'm sure other Superpowers and Equipment will come in handy along the way.

Jane McGonigal Sermon on Productivity - school of life

Jane's awesomeness made it to London. Shame I wasn't able to go and see her. Next time.

Jane McGonigal - On Productivity from The School of Life on Vimeo.

Boredom vs Frustration

There is another post vaguely referring to what I wish to address here: defining the two action stoppers - boredom and frustration.

This doesn't fortunately require a lot of deliberation, simply stating the following :

Boredom - occurs when I know how to do the task, but would rather be doing something else

How to deal with boredom - eliminate the task if possible, if I can't and HAVE to do it - try again when I see some meaning again in the short or/and long term

Frustration - occurs when the task is new and there is a learning curve, but the show stopping thing is not the difficulty, but (what I think it is at this point in time) having no belief in the idea - or seeing no meaning, I'd rather be doing something else, and a combination of both

To deal with frustration - is there an alternative solution to the same problem? Am I not able to answer the questions: Why, what, how, etc? Have these answers lost their meaning?

What would be a good representation of both of these states in the Plus1living game?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

What Leads to Success - Richard St. John on TED

Whilst getting stuck on Task 1 of Challenge 1 and pretty much giving in, throwing my towel without much trying, because I just can't see anything that way, I remembered the slide I have saved to my documents after watching this TED talk:

The slide is this:

1. Passion - I have lots of it, but it seems that it's not for making money. Getting myself to sell stuff on ebay is like sliding on a barb wire to a pool of acid. When I do things I'm interested in and passionate about, time disappears, I'm in state of flow and things can move forward. I believe there are things among my passions that could bring money as well, but the fear of losing my job (and the resulting pressure on making money) is a show stopper. The other solution would be to allow myself time for a week of mornings as a test, and mitigating fear of losing my job by doing the fear setting exercise. 

2. Work - I'm fine with that when I'm interested in what I'm doing and believe in it.

3. Good - this is my Achilles Heel. It's not that I don't believe that I couldn't become good at anything, but rather not allowing myself time for it.

4. Focus - same as above, but treating time as a currency gives me a chance of focusing my energy on one thing. Then there's just being honest about using that time and slaying my distraction enemies.

5. Push - Don't know how to approach it, I'm not a big fan of push.

6. Serve - Millionaires serve things of value. This I'm comfortable with and believe I can do it, but only if I stop pressuring myself to make money first. Building this blog up and creating tools for me and other people is one idea I can create value (hence going through Challenge 1 seems pointless, when I already have something of value - now it's a case of finding my niche)

7. Ideas - tons of that; only need to allow TIME and energy to test them

8. Persistence - I can do it - I have done it. This comes down to doing it one thing at a time and deciding on short time periods to keep the doubts away

I don't know if me not trying to complete this task comes from the fact that this task is NEW, DIFFICULT to me or just plainly realizing the pointlessness and over-complicating of things (when I already have ideas, and ones I'm quite interested in - what lacks is the decision to test these, calculate potential profit and energy input). 

A friend on Tim's forum has pointed two the second potential reason and I can't help but I agree.

The problem that remains is that I still pressure myself and the reason seems to be fear of losing my day job (based on my job history - I never stayed in a job for long enough to make a career).

Perhaps the fear setting exercise is something I ought to consider but only after dedicating time to some idea testing.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Tool "The Patient" - calms down my anxiousness

I still keep pressuring myself with creating a business, in spite that I'd never done it and don't know how to do it.

The songs words sooth my anxiety when it come to creating a business vs LEARNING how to create a business: "I must keep reminding myself of this"

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

There is something wrong about feeling good about being wrong

This relates mainly to my "wish" to create businesses that don't take up much time and produce enough income to provide a safe buffer and ability to invest or to realize expensive dreams (I love flying airplanes...expensive enough)

Often I will have an idea pop into my head and I will feel good about it. Nothing will happen as I would make an excuse that I lack the time to develop it and that I wouldn't want to commit to something long term fearing that this might be a time wasted (fear of being wrong)

Instead of forcing myself to think that it's OK to be wrong (hate the feeling really - it's unnatural), shift the need to be right to the circumference of the idea.

Simply allow myself to be right every time by learning to be the best at testing my assumptions. Get my feeling of importance from being the best, most effective in defining a target market and it's needs and measuring the response to my ideas.

I cannot be wrong with testing, as it's a science. I can make mistakes by omitting something, but I will be able to keep improving this SKILL.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain

TED on games yet again. It seems to be a topic that's gaining momentum as the worldwide profits in the gaming industry keep climbing without any signs of slowing down. Tom shares his view on how game designers tweak their creations so that the players spend more and more time playing.

I cannot comment the following seven point at this time. I have a feeling of where and how they could be implemented into Plus1living, however I also have a feeling where they would be working against the Self Determination Theory. What I mean by that is that Tom seems to concentrate a lot on how to motivate people from the outside in, but there isn't a lot in terms of evoking interest in the underlying activity.

Here are the 7 ways games reward the brain (with a drug - dopamine):
  1. Experience bars measuring progress
  2. Multiple long and short term gains
  3. Rewards for effort
  4. Rapid, frequent, clear feedback
  5. An element of uncertainty
  6. Windows of enhanced attention
  7. Other people
Watch the vid for details on the above list

Monday, 1 November 2010

Performing a profitability calculation before doing anything else

Here I wrote about a testing challenge for my idea to sell an MLM product on ebay with the company drop shipping it direct to customer.

I spent a total of 12h (over 4 days) on:

  • keyword research
  • competition research
  • profitability analysis 
My assumptions were that:
  • other distributors are only selling single products and not programs which leaves room for premium products
  • I could turn a profit thanks to low costs of ebay
  • I could compete with other featured products by crafting a superior copy
  • I would not have to spend much time on the upkeep of this as the MLM company would handle shipping and packaging for me.
To test these assumption I was getting ready to run some listings with featured first advertising on ebay for 10 days.

The previous three mornings were spent on keyword research and competition research, writing out headlines ideas, copy ideas and differentiators.

Initially this morning was supposed to be the copy writing morning, but I decided to move the profitability calculations from tomorrow in order not to waste time if those would prove discouraging, which they did.

I calculated that for the top program (of the three planned), I would need to be selling 3 per week (each selling for £118.80 !) just to break even after insertion and final value fees, featured first advertising and my value added pack. Which means that I would need to sell 4 programs per week just to turn a profit of £16.00...

Now, I understand that this is my assumption that this is nearly impossible to do, but I am basing that assumption on completed listings by another distributor, who sells the same thing for half price without the featured first ads, and in the span of 11 days sold three sets out of 8 listings, which means to me that the market is too saturated (at least on ebay) to try and enter it with the same product at twice the price no matter how good the copy.

This basically means that I have skipped testing all together.

Another approach that I could test in the future is doing the same thing but outside ebay - with Google or Facebook advertising and with my own store front. The problem is that being a reseller leaves very little margin. Usually (my assumption with some observations over past months or even years) resellers have varied stock, which means that they can generate revenue from cross selling products in the store. There is just too much competition as the MLM business is designed to create marketing through distributors' friends networks.

What I would need (my assumption based on advice in books I've read) is to create a product that would cater to a specific market solving a specific problem. 

Lesson Tokens to take away:
  • perform the profitability calculations early
EDIT: I received a letter today from the said MLM saying that I have violoated their rule of not selling stuff on auction sites as this undermines the personal relationships distributors build with clients. This only is another reinforcement of my decision and a reward for not wasting time deliberating options but cutting them down with my personal Assassin!

The Testing Game

Since equipping myself with the Assumption Assassin I have been thinking more and more about testing my assumptions. There are quite a few areas of my professional life that could use streamlining through elimination or increase of efficiency; even simply setting things up.

Often I find myself procrastinating any changes because subconsciously I think those changes will be forever and I fear that if I make a mistake it will stick with me forever.

This guy has been hovering with his ideas in my head for probably around two years now. I have read his book, salivated with each dream of freedom and owning my own business, but (and I am coming to this conclusion only now) I haven't actually put any of his advice to use - not even the dreamlining - or defining the exact expense of the things we want to do or have.

The more I listen to his point of view the more I see that he has had the same problems (to an extent) as i do now and emulating him in certain areas might be beneficial.

In the past I had implemented GTD for productivity, however I can see now that I only used the parts on dealing with the tasks that come my way from the outside, but not with setting priorities of the things that I wanted to do. These were tied to questions like: what do I want and what is my role in life, but such questions stipulate change and (as I can see now) I have resisted change.

The appalling part is that I had long assumed I had rid myself of that problem by repeating often the words: "zero resistance to change", but obviously I haven't.

Therefore (logically thinking), I should stop attempting to change my life in all areas, all at the same time, forever, but rather try out ideas (don't have to be mine, could be other's as well) one at a time for a limited period and see how it goes.

Quests - Archived

Depository for completed and deleted Quests:

Quest 1: CarpeDM Photo competition

Mission 1: Get canvas printers on board for the main prize - complete
+1 Networking

Mission 2: Get charity on board - complete
+1 Networking

Course Plotting: Waypoint set: decided on business structure: She will be self employed, all consequences will be to deal with as they come, I have set all the worries aside, am aware of all challenges and will deal with them as we go. I have set the waypoint and now for the mission: bonus mission 2: register as Self Employed - complete
Bonus mission 2: Small Facebook competition done together with a friend's local Facebook group to drive some local traffic to our fan page and increase our visibility. 

Mission 3: Get 5 schools on board, but speak to all school Headmasters indicated by the charity - current, but will start after 5th September when schools reopen after summer break.
22 sep 10: On Hold  
17 oct 10: deleted as impractical

Bonus mission 1: involve the local gallery to display the images taken by participants.
8th September: In progress 
17 oct 10: deleted because the poll showed people chose to display photos online only

Bonus Mission 3: involve the youth organisation in our town using known contacts. Do it by Friday 3rd September.
8th September: That deadline has not been reached, but it was reached today. It's still in progress, but contact has been made.
13th September: The local YMCA is on board! Mission complete!

Mission 4: 22 sep 10: Organise a group of young people to run the competition. They would effectively take all aspects of the competition under their management. To start with, contact the group leader of a recommended group.

26 sep 10: cancelling this bit due to increasing complexity.

Mission 5: Create a poster / flyer design or delegate it. Deleted after creating the blog

Mission 6: Create blog for the photo comp. Complete

Mission 7: Promote, promote, promote - cancelled

Quest 1 closed:
  • due to a realisation here
  • due to lack of interest proven with testing on Facebook

Epic Win: I want 5 people to submit a photo and donate money to the local charity. Before Christmas this year!

Superseded: participants, their school friends and parents visit the _________ gallery to view all photographs on display printed by our partner printers, there are reporters from the local media, officials from Woking Hospice, etc. The winner is announced and awarded with their prizes, the Hospice gets a big cheque handed whilst the reporters take pictures throughout the event. We get interviewed and introduce ourselves and create our image in the process. Our status and visibility in the town and county increases dramatically bringing visitors to our website and customers through our doors. The income from these customers is twice as much as we need to supplement my normal work income which gives us a positive outlook to the future. Our Facebook fan base increases which allows us to run our own little competitions, promotions and otherwise engage with our fan base.
Added 04 Sep 2010:
I'm doing this because it feels awesome to get to know new people and to bring them together to work on one great cause. The Hospice is non profit and can only work if people like me support it. They pay they great full time staff to look after people who already know they are at the end of their journey. It is sad, it's imperative these people get the best and the Hospice can do it, but it costs a lot to run.

Challenge 1: Learn to create a business UNDER CONSTRUCTION

I've never done it properly before, how long will it take me to identify a viable business idea?

What do I want to learn? Tim Ferriss method of creating a product and selling it
What is it? A series of tasks that allow anyone to create a business
Why am I procrastinating? They seem unexciting or difficult at the same time because I've never done it before and my brain freezes trying to gather it all at once AND pressure myself to start making money NOW.
Why do I want to learn this? I have been going round in circles for a few years now and I have finally became aware of this. I have been a fan of Tim's book; have watched interviews with him, read his blog and frequent his forum, but have NEVER implemented (or at least tried) his tips and recommendations.
I promise to thoroughly follow the layout of his method and see if what I learn will allow me to progress.
What are my assumptions:

  • why do I need magazines, can't I find same info on forums, ebay, etc? My assumption is that it would be a terrible waste of time. This is also supported by the statement that Tim puts later int he book that if he'd be doing it again he'd use something faster to market than magazines: newspapers, websites etc.
  • got the point of creating business status - this is scary, as it again implies doing it in the long term - what if I want to create many businesses in my life? Will I be labeled and won't be able to reposition myself? Perhaps limiting myself to using another expert might help. Dan Pink comes to mind with his many books about the works of other people.

Mission 0: Pick an affordably reachable niche

  • task 1: Make a list of groups I was, am or may have been a part of according to guidelines in the book
  • task 2: Which of these niches have their own magazines; choose ones according to guidelines in the book

Mission 1: Brainstorm Products - preferably information products

  • task 3: pick two markets I am the most familiar with that have their own magazines with full page advertising that costs less than $5000. There should be no fewer than 15000 readers
  • task 4: choose one of the three options:
    • create content myself, often via paraphrasing and combining points from several books on the topic
    • re-purpose the content that is in the public domain and not subject to copyright protection
    • licence content or compensate an expert to help create content. Fees can be one-time and paid up front or royalty based (5-10% net revenue, for example)
  • task 5: Use the following questions to brainstorm potential how to or informational products that can be sold to my markets using my expertise or borrowed expertise
    • how can I tailor a general skill to my market (a skill that can be applied by more people than my market only) or add to what is being sold successfully in target magazines (think narrow and deep)
    • what skills am I interested in that me and others in my markets would be willing to pay to learn? Become an expert in this skill for myself and then create a product to teach the same. 
    • Ties to the above question too: What experts could I interview to create a sellable audio CD? These people need not be the best, just better than most. Offer them a digital master copy to do or sell as they like and /or offer small upfront or ongoing royalty payment. Record to PC and send to a transcription service.
    • Do I have a failure to success story that could be turned into a how-to product for others? Consider problems overcome in the past - private or professional 

Mission 2: ADD LATER

Saturday, 30 October 2010

My reason for taking a Quest

I live very close to the Infinite Loop Wormhole, the place pulls me in quite regularly making time fly by, and then spits me out in the same place where I'd started.

The way I'm starting to see it, it all comes down to two things:

  • I'm trying to come up with the best solution in my mind and thus constantly playing with assumptions
  • not tracking my time; just like money leaves me when I don't budget it in advance, the time slips through my fingers when I don't know how long does it take to complete a task.
Awareness is half of the solution they say, and here is mine:
  • budget time in advance, and keep a record of the spend to see how much time is needed for future projects
  • agree that the first idea will not be perfect
  • live test the idea with the Ego Shield firmly on and gather data
  • alter the variables and re-test to seek improvement
  • analyse the new data
This morning I was working on selling an MLM product on ebay and have it drop shipped straight from the company warehouse to the customer (which is a service they conveniently provide). There are plenty of ebayers selling the same products and at discounted prices. My goal is to sell a selection of premium sets at full price. 

IF my assumption is correct and there is demand for such sets then it will set me on my path of creating recurring income with minimum upkeep and hassle. 

The real challenge here is with my own assumptions. I could sit here all day ASSUMING this and that (this headline is better than that one, this guarantee is the best, that product set will sell best) and never listing even one auction, ever.

Fear is the biggest show stopper for me I think; but one of NOT producing profit, but one of not producing ENOUGH profit.

This had me jumping from one method to the next without ever testing any of them when I was learning to trade Forex for four years. You can see my failed experiments here.

It is time to understand this fear and settle with what I CAN receive from every venture, take up that venture in the form of a test of demand, make calculations of profitability and THEN decide to continue investing my time, effort and possibly money or to divest and start looking elsewhere.

The solutions thus for dealing with this state of Infinite Loop are as follows:
  • record where my time was spent and decide on future time brackets so that an honest tally is possible
  • use the Ego Shield to allow testing of assumptions
  • use the Mind of an Oracle to get testing under way
  • limit Uber Vision to step away from the Infinite Loop

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Budgeting my life

I guess this ought to be sensible as life is the only finite resource.

A decision needs to be made: What do I want to do with my time? I have many interests and obviously doing everything at the same time is not possible. I should also give up the hopes of becoming the best in the world if I never choose something.

Since I've decided to test all of my assumptions, I will do the same with my interests. Simply doing them will provide me with enough feedback to know how it feels in the process and whether the activity provides enough satisfaction.

Test assumptions:

  • demand when it comes to products and services
  • satisfaction from passions
  • money - allocate monetary resources to plan spending
  • time - allocate time to be able to focus on fewer number of activities at one time.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Start of an 80-20 analysis of my life

This morning I didn't do much with food as I'd planned in the previous post. I ended up looking at where I spend my time and how it relates to my money making activities.

Apart from my full time work, anything else I did to create income hasn't been tracked. It appears to me that all the time outside work and sleep is unallocated and subject to pulls from the outside contributing to my unhappiness. I'm not saying that I am particularly unhappy, but I could be happier had I used this time more effectively.

A little more than half of the unallocated time is Saturday and Sunday (32 hours) which gives me two full days every week to pursue anything that might be of importance. The rest is spread out evenly during the week with 3.5 hours every morning and 2.5 hours every evening.

I feel that I have allowed distractions to rule my personal time (which is not uncommon), but the worst part is that I've kept thinking that I am doing something to change my life. Thing is, this is the first time I've ever looked at how I use my time, so really with my propensity to look at a million things in the same time, it would have been neigh impossible to achieve anything (without knowing where I am, where I wish to go and what my problems really are).

Based on this information I have made the decision to leave the evening hours as they are: spend time with my wife and daughter, make a dinner and otherwise engage in the family life. As for the morning hours - these will be my time to think about what I want and how to allocate my free time and possibly running a side business then. Until I decide what to do with the weekends, I will be content with spending my time with my family without fretting about changing my unquantified life.


Monday, 25 October 2010

Food week

How about I make this the food week. 

I usually spend every waking hour THINKING about all the business ideas that pop into my head (not working on them), so perhaps a short sabbatical might help clear my thoughts.

This way - I hope - maybe I will be able to notice my constant fidgeting that I believe I usually call WORKING ON MY (assumed) PROJECTS which lead me absolutely nowhere.

Thanks to working on this game I'm already beginning to think a bit like Tim Ferris - who's book I've read ages ago but have not implemented any of the things therein - and who is a compulsive statistician who tests all of his assumptions with real life testing.

Peter Drucker - the management guru had always advocated that what gets measured gets managed and I am beginning to see the benefits of this philosophy more and more. It requires a bit of a mind shift though. It's a decision that requires the maturity of accepting the truth even if it makes me look bad. I believe the Ego Shield has helped me get to this conclusion. I can't just keep assuming things and hope for the best.

So I'm going to disengage for a week, or actually until Sunday morning when I will decide on the next thing to test, and in the mean time I will work on creating a plan for a healthy low GI diet for the following 5 weeks.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Founder of the BlinkNow Foundation is naive

What happens when a naive 18 year old student from the USA decides to take a trip abroad in search for lost meaning? They are touched by the problems our World Family is faced with and start doing whatever they feel they can at the time. It then grows and gains momentum with the help of other people who follow their lead by the sheer power of the message.

In the words of Maggie Doyne - founder of the BlinkNow Foundation: "If we all had that attitude that we can do anything or we could be anything if we followed our dreams and our hearts... as we get older we start to get more doubtful; we think of all the things we don't have instead of the things we do have. Oh, I could do that if I had more money or if I had my Master's Degree..."

More power to you Maggie Doyle who without the aid of CanDo pills or Excusskill were able to achieve so much with so little. You're a true Life Rider who inspire people around you with your actions.

Here's the video.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Closed Quest 1 as failed

I've decided to close Quest 1 as I haven't been able to answer the question: why am I doing it?

In the post Quest for simplicity I have come to the conclusion that I had been fooling myself in thinking that the competition is for teens and for the charity. The original idea was to promote my wife's photography and this was supposed to be the viral hit that would spread like wildfire (high hopes...)

Testing has proven this assumption wrong. The good thing is that I have learn to test finally. The other thing that I have learned is to find a market first, know it and then to come up with solutions to their problems. This by no means is the key to the mint, but perhaps will make it easier.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Motivation for boring tasks (can be used on the frustrating ones too)

When I am faced with a boring task I cringe and lose focus. However there is a solution. Reminding myself of the reason for doing it in the first place. If the reason is granular, revert to the main reason and regain motivation.

There is no reason to think that this method should fail if I only assume that I have abundance of willpower (and the Spirit of a Bull superpower is there to reinforce it)

The reasons for action come from within me, and were created autonomously or assimilated external ones as my own, therefore I'm in total peace when I remind myself of them.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Running a different ad for the photo competition

I feel scared. That I will offend people. This feels risky.

The ad says Happy Birthday and many, many,many more. And then it goes to the info page which states that there are people who won't live to their next birthday...

It's targeted to people on their birthdays.

I'm scared. It's due to start tomorrow morning.

Can I get away with this?

edit: I've deleted it. It hasn't been properly thought over. I don't feel this is right. It feels desperate. It's not fair. Yes, life's a bitch, but why should I spoil someone's day with my stupid message. I couldn't do it, my heart would break.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Boredom vs Flow vs Fear

Today I've been trying to figure out how to approach the different types of activities: the boring, the stimulating and the frustrating and I found that the boring ones were the least looked after.

The aim of this game is to create an environment of doing. In the first place there were points, but I went against it after getting acquainted with Deci's work and will continue so.

My greatest achievements were identifying two major weaknesses: failure to focus on one project and ego involvements manifesting as a barrier that stopped a project moving forward (composed of being happy with what I had done and frustration with further tasks - both ego driven).

I believe that the fear side of things has been dealt with by using a Pixel Grid approach, but I still find that I could do more. There is still space for a tool, token, superpower or whatever to help cut to the chase and get stuff done.

Two things to consider:
  • time wasters
  • elimination of ineffective tasks (and quests)
I treat money as a finite resource, therefore it's only logical to treat time this way. Therefore a monthly or weekly budget for time can be created with a weekly review and a list of time wasters that could be treated like enemies.

Planning for productive time vs leisure with the family vs full time work will force eliminating ineffective tasks (because very limited time will be available) and then the list of enemies will help identify them as they approach so that I could avoid or kill them.

To do:
  • create a budget for time
  • start a reference of enemies

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The most invaluable lesson

The most invaluable lesson I am learning is that my ideas will not necessarily meet other people's needs, wants or desires.

I also feel that my reach locally is very limited and would take a lot of time and work to build up. Here credibility would need to be built first by giving to the community first.

Perhaps to succeed (if I haven't believed the Facebook tests proving me wrong), I should explore other means of getting through to people who live locally.

Yes, but the whole point of that test was to show if there is a market. If there isn't a market, no advertising or SEO will work, won't it?

Altogether there has been some interest from group leaders, but it seems that without constant chasing, hassling, cajoling they will not act on their own accord. In my original idea, if I remember correctly, this was supposed to be viral and just simply spread on it's own (not without the initial push of course)

So I'm back to square 1. Just as with Quest 2 which I put on hold due to time constraints and because the lack of testing in the first place, here I'm drawing the same conclusion: an idea needs to be tested before time and effort is put into it.

The question is: should I test my wife's photography to look for a market? I think there is a market, we've had clients with minimal advertising - from friends mostly - and the service is just as any other photographer would provide - nothing revolutionary about it.

There's already a Facebook page and will upgrade the website. All it needs is effective advertising

Going back to the point in the beginning of this post, being part of the market I'm trying to reach, listening, asking questions, understanding it seems to be the way to being able to come up with ideas that this particular market would be interested in.

Trying to connect with the FB page fans

No-one has voted on the latest poll, so I decided to try and connect with these people. Sent a message asking whether this is an overkill and should we simply cut to the chase; set up an entry fee, a justgiving page and ask them to post images.

This is the first time I'm running ads on Facebook so I don't know what the benchmark is for click through rates, but I've been getting between 0.004% and 0.018%.

Spent £26.50 and gained 7 fans on the page, which gives a cost per fan of £3.79.

If all those people took part in the competition, then I would achieve my goal. I am worried that they won't, but I'll turn up my Ego Shield and move on.

Two things that discourage me from continuing to run these ads is that they have been declining in effectiveness - I ran the same ad today as I did last week and the number of impression has dropped by half (I guess FB cuts the under performing ads) and in the mean time I have tested two different versions of the ad and after speaking with a friend, decided to open the competition to all age groups and ran the ads today like that. I had also decided that these ads are a good test for the competition concept itself, and because of the poor response I should limit my investment of time, and money into it to bear minimum .

Perhaps one should agree that my testing hasn't been very extensive. Maybe even totally insufficient to reach any meaningful conclusions. What could I learn from this and what's the next step?

Lesson token:
  • Facebook ads require several weeks of testing and an extensive budget to be able to choose the best ad variant
  • Always run a test of concept before investing time and money into producing i. Facebook is a good platform for it because it's cheap.
I feel that what I have learnt so far I'd rather put to work in getting my wife's photography services off the ground - something that I have been failing at (mostly due to inaction) for the past three years (SIC!)

Monday, 18 October 2010

testing going sloooooooowly

Testing on Facebook reminds me of the time I spent trying to learn to trade the foreign currencies. It's very time consuming and money grabbing...

  • fast set up and no maintenance
  • shows fairly quickly if there is interest in my idea
  • costs money - could milk me dry if I let it
  • feeble results (although the only results I've had thus far really)
Must keep reminding myself that this is testing, that my idea could be wrong and I may not reach even the low goal I have set out for this challenge. An idea popped into my head originally and this is means of seeing if it's valid. If it's not tough luck, I refuse to go against the grain and waste time and money.

I am testing the validity of my idea; testing of facebook ad versions is a test within that test. Facebook ads allow for the exposure of the idea to people potentially interested in it.

The idea may be wrong in many ways:
  • no photographer would be interested in helping a charity through a photo competition.
  • perhaps there are people interested in the photo competition for charity, but not in the age group initially targeted. Maybe removing the age constraints would make a difference - an idea for testing there; like looking for a market for a product - a lesson token?
  • I'm not a part of any photo club, maybe they don't run competitions at all? Maybe it's "awards" or just simply displays - I've not done due dilligence, I didn't know the niche I went for. This facebook testing is showing all that.
 I know more about weight loss that photography, and perhaps should have just made a follow up to the challenge I did earlier this year -  http://wlcc2010.blogspot.com/    

...must keep reminding myself of this... (tool)

Pending Facebook ads

I wanted to test some ads on a very small budget today but all of my 4-hour £1 campaigns have not been authorized by Facebook.

Created a whole day one for tomorrow with £5 of similar content to the ones running (supposed) today.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Quest 1 thoughts again

My ego is safely behind its shield which means that my results urge me for review of my actions.

I chose age group of 16-19 and the most effective way to target them would be to use Facebook ads that allow specific area and age targeting. Set up takes minutes and the cost is minimal. Much more effective to meeting with group leaders. It's hard to get them to act.

After identifying what my aim was: 5 people to participate and donate money to the charity, next step would be to find the shortest route to it. Currently I'm running polls which were supposed to get people engaged in the challenge, but the polls are a link click away. I've only now discovered that there is a poll app on Facebook, and everything could have been done on FB alone saving the click and the changing of platforms (FB to blogger)

No or not much work had been done in various areas: optimising the experience of visitors and converting visitors to participants. Neither there has been any research done into interests of the target group or the validity of the idea. Preparation was very poor and based on intuition only.

I've not done much to make it look attractive to the target market. I should spend more time on the product, then advertising (including reaching out to group leaders). Even when running the polls on how to run the competition, everything around it should be made to sell the experience: graphics, copy, etc.

What needs to be done is improvements to increase conversion = make it more attractive and include selling techniques. Articles could be written in the form of a masked copy, and even video presentations can be like an ad or long copy (not that I plan on using the latter in this particular Quest). Point is that everything I've written so far was just plain English, no copy, nothing that would get people to act.

To make it more attractive:
  • improve the look of the Facebook page
  • at least brainstorm which parts of the competition - the prize, the process, the part where they're helping the local charity - is attractive and highlight it in selling points.
To include copy and selling techniques:
  • include a landing tab with blured out "hidden" content and Like Us call to action
  • fashion the about tab in the form of long copy
To streamline the process:
  • run next poll on Facebook, not on Blogger

There are two options after a plan is made (of what needs to be done in order to make it attractive and increase conversions):
  • I make all the graphics and copy (learning curve)
  • I find students (?) who would be willing to do these things for free (to include it into their portfolio).

The positive side to this is the learning curve.

Update this post with further thoughts.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Quantifying Quest 1

Regardless of my propensity to complicate things, I still decided to continue what I have started because it's been proving to teach me a lot. I've managed to put some numbers together. Here goes nothing (literally):

What I have done:
  • set up blog for the competition (no editing, just chose one of available templates and found a poll plug-in)
  • sent 41 friends a message on FB about it. 5 responded - 12%. Sent the messages on the 3rd of October. There were 18 page views on the blog on that day, and 16 the following day, nothing on the 5th.
  • Met 5 group leaders, some of them more than once - one has acted
  • posted 2 updates on FB asking friends to vote - There were 19 page views of the blog on the day of the first update and 7 page views after the second.
  • 10 people voted on the first poll, 2 have voted so far on the second (still open until Sunday)
The post for Current Quests was written on the 8th of August. Today it's the 13th of October. This means that the above has taken me 9 weeks and three days (63 days - two full months).

OK, so I have come to the conclusion that I have overcomplicated the original "goal" of advertising our little business with going for this competition, but now that it's in preparation and so many people have been involved already, I want to finish it. Besides the benefits of all the lessons I'm learning outweigh any negatives. To finish I need to know what really is the goal. Quantifiable goal that is. I want 5 people to submit a photo and donate money to the local charity. Before Christmas this year!

One side note: We ought to engage people this way once we build a pool of fans of the business (my wife's photography) and not the other way round. What gives??? Make a living first, then grow it by making it really special.

Lesson Tokens:
  • Keep the path to the goal short
  • Don't undervalue myself, believe in myself - otherwise I take longer routes or feel bad about taking money for goods and service that really bring value to the customer.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Quest for simplicity

Bloomin' Flowers! I really ought to sort my head out in this matter. Initially I wanted to advertise my wife's photography, but in stead of advertising I came up with this competition, and to make it more complicated, I've tied it with a charity, and then to make it simpler I went for the Youth market with its problems and to keep myself out of trouble I'm running polls on how the competition ought to look like. Maaan!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Quest 1 Thinking page

To do:

Before doing anything else: sum up all of my actions so far and all of the results.

Make a list of all people I've met so far with short notes - complete

Make a list of friends on Facebook who have replied to my email - complete

Send email to local college photo teacher - complete

Create a new poll on the blog - complete

Promote the new poll on Facebook - complete - testing ads as of 14th Oct

Create a Facebook page - created, need editing - completed editing, but very basic. Will probably need improving content.

A thought:

Measuring is key right after dropping ego.

One can drop ego after reaching true limits.

To reach true limits first one needs to try hard.

Trying hard means going past the state of flow, into the state of frustration, and that is where we grow.

Dropping ego allows not to rest on laurels, but agree that to go further, one needs to get out of the ego loving comfort zone.

Agression as a result of living in a limiting environment

It occured to me that living in a limiting environment might lead to frustration and even aggression. This would not necessarily have to be directed outwards, but could lead to destructive behaviour.

I'm only thinking of this as I have experienced this myself from shooting paper models that took me a month to put together to burning bridges and giving up any projects I'd put a lot of work into just before they could produce any fruit.

This is an open post and might get back to it.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Being nervous again, but successful

In spite of trying to think about this in general terms, as in: "the task is to speak to many group leaders regardless of the outcome" and not: "I'm going to see this one person and will make them love me" I was still a bit nervous when meeting the photography teacher at the local college.

The solution I used is an old trick learned from Seneca and his mates the stoics. I started imagining that the person says to me that the college in no ways will get involved, that she doesn't like me and asks me to leave. This took the load of initially.

Then during the conversation, I didn't try to "sell" MY idea, but rather tried to learn as much as I could; I stressed a few times that I'd never done it before and if this fails it's OK, because I plan to learn from it and could relaunch next year.

This way I reinforced the image of such meetings as little pixels of a bigger picture, learned a valuable lesson and actually came out wiser from the meeting rather than feeling like I had been fighting an uphill struggle.

The success here lies more in learning from the person I met and getting more contacts that open even more doors rather than the added bonus of getting my point across and interesting the speaker enough to get their involvement.

Lesson Tokens:
  • Imagine each event with an uncertain outcome as a pixel in a large mosaic, and looking for ways to understand(, see, complete?) it in the most effective way
  • If anxious before such event, imagine the worst outcome I can come up with and become comfortable with it
  • Try to learn from each new person rather than forcing my view on them

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

How it feels to be on the other side

It feels very light. I've released all pressure and am trying very hard to define; put into words how I've achieved it.

Writing The breakdown post helped, but apart from that:
  • choosing the more probable audience for the competition (people already interested in photography instead of everybody) took a lot of worry off
  • thinking "what would be the most effective thing to do that wouldn't cost any money that I still could do over lunch or in the evenings" and looked at people I could contact.
  • deciding that this is too much for me to bear and that it's OK to ask for help. I also tend to think that leaders bring people together rather than impose things on them, so if there are people who get inspired by the concept I'm pursuing, then I will ask them for help and support their efforts
  • really embracing the concept of internal motivation and switching to reasons like: solving a really meaningful puzzle and just going for a challenge I've never done. Once I've accepted that I can fail, my ego's detached itself and now I'm simply curious
Being on the other side of the breakdown point filled me with new energy. The current strategy for the competition is:
  • speak to relevant people and get new contacts from them
  • work on getting some coverage in the local media using the known contacts
  • working on reaching the target audience as soon as possible
  • keep improving my efforts, see what's possible and keep pushing my assumed boundaries
This wouldn't have been possible if not for Edward Deci and his fantastic book: "Why We Do What We Do" which I intend to review here for any future readers and as a summary for myself. I am currently reading it for the second time.

    Sunday, 3 October 2010


    After changing the link in the messages I was able to send it to the remainder of my friends on Facebook.

    It's starting to occur to me that there isn't much time left for promoting. One of the Hospice's other events had been promoted for 9 months prior to it happening and it was a great success raising £20k, but there had been resources used for promotion. So Far I have not spent a penny on promotion and would like to avoid it as I haven't got any and that this is a charitable event.

    There's also another way to look at it. I could spend some of my credit on a card for fliers and posters, but perhaps something in me doesn't believe this would work. That I'd never get a return. Maybe this lack of belief stops me from acting, I don't know. What I do know is that when I remove all pressure on myself, as in "this will work, because it has to work", then I personally have more motivation to act. The focus then is on finding solutions and trying them out.

    So today I sent messages to my local friends on Facebook directing them to the competition blog and asking for help and one person responded positively.

    Lessons learned:

    Don't expect that everyone will go with me, but concentrate on those who will. Could also measure the rate of reaction like a proper marketer would.

    When I don't pressure a result on myself I am more focused on work and solutions. Results happen as a bonus. Perhaps a review of the Epic Win should be in place


    Facebook treating my private message to a friend as spam and doesn't let me send it.

    I was trying to send the same message to all my friends asking them to look at the competition blog. How annoying.

    Friday, 1 October 2010

    Quest 1 breakdown

    I think I've had this in all of my past projects. I reach a certain point and then breakdown and don't know why.

    There was one project I finished on purpose to prove I can finish something: a papercraft Teddy Bear and not even that because it was supposed to be with a bride, flowers and it's cute little hat. I still treat it as a symbol of patience and achievement for me as this was my desired outcome.

    The outcome is definately something to keep in mind, but the why is even more important. I could force myself to go through adversity, but I need to have a reason to do it.

    Now I'm facing a crisis. I am at a point where I need to get the attention of young people to get the ball rolling (there are a lot of "I"s in this post, but currently it is all on my shoulders and it is me who needs to find a way to deal with it)

    This is a point where I push my comfort zone

    I need to write this again.

    This is THE point where I push my comfort zone. After crossing this, I will have grown.

    There needs to be some assumptions made:
    • This can fail - target peeps might not like this or there will ne not enough of us; we could elongate the process so much that it will dilute the experience and again fail to deliver.
    • I might look silly in front of everybody I'd met so far and waste my chances of ever doing anything like it again.
    • it feels so blissful to reach this point, assume victory and lead the same life as before without trying. This is exactly "resting on laurels"; but there is no growth
    • I feel limited by the time I have to contact group leaders (wow, here's a problem defined, solutions start pouring in, I already feel lighter)
    • the why behind the contest is clear: to promote empathy and action among youth and to promote interest and creativity in photography; and the goal is clear as well: to help save the Woking Hospice
    There is one solution I see emerging and that is that I need help. I can't do this alone. It's begining to become clear to me that leadership is about NOT doing things all alone. Again, there are solutions coming to me immediately.

    Knowing why I am doing this and defining how I can fail has just now helped me to relieve worry and unlock. My efforts now will be directed towards getting other people to take on some of this challenge of helping a good cause. This cause, which is pure to me gives me the motivation to act. I feel that this is good from within.

    OK, I feel better, what next. I feel that spending two hours brainstorming is unnecessary. The solutions I see is to speak with the people whom I've spoken with already, share the belief in the common goal and ask them for solutions and then to support their actions.

    Sunday, 26 September 2010


    need to simplify Quest 1. it's good to receive input and seek advice, but if I were to do everything I had been suggested then the competition would end next year in April...

    Simplifying. Updated current quests post

    Thursday, 23 September 2010

    Meeting with local Youth Centre rep

    Learned a lot about them and how they could help. They are very open for this and can provide a lot in terms of getting the word out and also in organising the final event. I was also given a fantastic idea, genious in its simplicity. we ought to tell the participants to choose their own theme and just write a few words about their inspiration. Brill!

    Now the best thing to do is to get a group of young people onboard. This is my most important mission ;)

    Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.9

    Wednesday, 22 September 2010

    Quest 1 Mission 4 under way

    Just sent the initial email, now waiting for a response. It's a great idea to get a single group of teenagers and have them run the competition. Not a problem for me to meet up with them and help them steer it.

    My eyes are slowly closing, but I'm still thinking what else I could do.

    If the group materialises, then a list of other groups might get handy. The kids from the 'management' group could get the word out to the others and recruit people interested in the competition.

    The local gallery most probably won't work with us due to a tight schedule, but I'm still planning on meeting two other people from there after speaking with the Events Curator couple of days ago.

    Any more ideas?
    1. Shower,
    2. Sleep

    Thursday, 16 September 2010

    Quest 1 current state

    Quarter way from the start; got a few good souls involved: local town Facebook group, local YMCA, printers (photo); working on the local gallery; started promoting the event.

    What we really need now is people's participation and the involvement of the local gallery. There is no limit to the amount of participants, the more the better.

    What can be done: meeting the gallery people, using Facebook for promotion, creating something viral (comic strip, ARG, building a tower in the middle of the town and taking photos from the top), talking to everyone about it - a lot; going to group leaders - make a list (mission)
    Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.8

    Monday, 13 September 2010

    The logo

    I am so proud of myself today. The logo has been officially put on top of this blog. It was drawn on my tablet using the windows journal and then taking a screen shot and editing it in paint. High tech stuff...

    Here it is for posterity:

    Quests on hold

    Quest 2 will be on hold until I finish with Quest 1 which has a target now of end of October this year. This stems from my realisation that to achieve mastery one needs to concentrate and focus energy.

    The other reason for putting this on hold is that I have not done any research prior which increases the risk of exposure should noone be interested for a lengthy period of time. I can get back to it when I devise a low cost way of testing the validity of the concept before investing.

    Quest 2: Create a partially automated income stream based on my own product

    Mission 1: Find a manufacturer - complete
    +1 Networking (for using an existing contact to find another manufacturer)
    +1 Delegating (for using an assistant to help with mass emails and communicating with potential leads) 

    Bonus Mission 1: Register the business as Sole Trader (simplest form for now). Do it by Sunday 29th August - done, +1 Urgency for doing it within the given time frame
    Mission 2: Find a fulfilment center - current

    Mission 3: Find a distributor - current
    +1 Courage (for phoning a very large distributor)
    +1 Networking (for going to a distributor that supplies a customer who wants my product)
    Update 8th September: Things are happening. I have contacted 5 distributors; phoned and emailed. Follow up with a phone call.

    NOTE: speak to the manufacturer to get introduced to his customers

    Mission 4: Outsource sales, preferably on commission only basis. Course Plotting: Decided to start with sales to concentrate on distribution partners, hold off marketing investment until cash flow is established. Have the sales start by the 10th of September

    Epic Win: The sales of the product bring £1100 per month minimum, the business is over 90% automated with all running tasks automated or delegated so that my work will be down to brainstorming new markets and smoothing out the automation processes. I have no employees on payroll, all work is outsourced and on per unit costs with any and all overheads minimised. Risk is down to a minimum, same for stock with just in time production schedule. The markets are diversified both geographically and by main activities. I can relax on day jobs and concentrate on my family, flying and coming up with new ventures.
    Update 04 Sep 2010
    I need to be able to support myself and my family, so money in our lives is playing an important role, but it's not all that matters in life and time is heavily limited by income generating activities. I believe that I can build this venture into an entity that can be managed with little time involvement in the long run.
    The product is new and untested, I am basing my actions on my own hunch and opinions of friends. As I feel this is not enough, the manufacturing has not begun yet; same with fulfilment. I don't feel comfortable posing as something I am not to potential distributors but I also wouldn't want to lose credibility through looking unprepared. Worrying and postponing action won't bring me anywhere. I need to know if there's anynone interested in buying this idea. I will not know if anyone wants to buy it until I speak to them. The metric for this will be: How many phone calls per week can I make given the time limitations. Another one: Can I do it?

    Improvement metrics:

    Quest 2:

    How many phone calls to distributors can I make in the limited time during the working week:

    Week commencing 6th Sept 2010: Made 5 calls initially, sent 5 emails, made 5 folow up calls; result: got all contact details, one of five not interested, three unreachable, one hasn't had a chance to look at it yet; asked to phone next Thursday

    5 as of 09 sept

    Yes, I CAN cold call potential distributors to help with bringing a new product to the market.