Tending to the Forest of Entrepreneurship

It’s 11:50pm here as I sit at my desk with a turkey sandwich (mayo only), a slice of cheese (on the side), and a mug of milk (2%).  I just finished watching a couple of great interviews on the subject of being an author and an entrepreneur by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant with Joanna Penn as the host.

After watching these interviews, I couldn’t help but think about what I would like to be doing in the coming months and well into next year.  This year has been a year mainly focused on and dedicated to my Bluegrass Guitar Essentials course (soon to be completed and released in a DVD version), with little room for much else besides running the many aspects of my business (website admin., YouTube videos, marketing, Social Media, bookkeeping etc.).

As a result, major burnout and overwhelm has occurred for me, and I plan on taking a totally different direction for myself in 2015.  Yes, there have been major milestones and achievements, many of which will most likely be posted in a future blog post here on this site, but I’ve been driving so hard to achieve success in the past three and a half years (April of 2011, when I first began work on Texas Blues Guitar) that I’ve lost sight of what it means to enjoy what I do simply for the sake of doing it rather than for the sake of making a buck.

I’ve come to realize that marketing ain’t easy, folks.  You have to be out there constantly promoting yourself and your products, so it takes a big chunk of your time, energy, availability…and soul.  At first, you start out on the entrepreneurial journey with the belief that you have something to share that can make a difference in the lives of others, but once the money gets tight with all the expenses of running a business (see above, 2nd paragraph) and monthly bills, you find yourself falling in the trap of “Sell, sell, sell” and it’s no longer fun anymore.  Your passion has become your master, and that’s the kiss of death for any entrepreneur.

On the other hand, I also realize that to be successful at anything you need to make yourself available to the public and promote your products.  Best-selling authors go on book tours and do book signings and readings all the time.  Musicians create albums then create tours around those albums to give their fans a chance to be a part of the experience and interact with them.  And now with all the technology available to more people than ever before, anyone can go on Google+ and have a Hangout with anyone, anywhere, at any time; be it customers, fans, business collaborators, or family members.

But I feel it necessary that I must take a step back in 2015 and see the forest again.  There are too many trees (big and little) in the way of my vision.  I may have to chop some of them down to see things more clearly; trees that are becoming more of a burden—a liability—than an asset.  I’m sure there may be some trees which will be worth saving and may need fertilizing to grow the right way.

Above all, I can see that I’ll need to enlist the help of my team of virtual assistants as well as possible other friends or get involved in a community or network of people who I can count on to aid me in maintaining the forest I’ve built for myself.  Most of that work will come later, after I’ve had a chance to sit back and focus on my goals for 2015.

Your passion has become your master, and that’s the kiss of death for any entrepreneur.

Though, I’m not really sure whether to call them goals or pursuits.  The main thing I desire for next year is to work on my writing.  I’ve been working on many journal entries, articles, even book ideas that I would like to see turned into products eventually.

But for now, the goal is not to create more products, though some of them will most likely turn into products.  The goal is to enjoy the process; to learn as I write how to write.  The toughest part of it all, I believe, will be maintaining the attitude of process over profit.  Thankfully, I now have this post available to me to refer back to whenever I’m spending too much time looking at trees—or worse, leaves!

There will be instances where I will need to promote my products and courses in 2015; I can’t just abandoned all I’ve worked hard to achieve since starting my “Guitarpreneur” journey in 2011.  For instance, I plan on having at least one (hopefully two or more) workshops/seminars based on my Bluegrass Guitar Essentials course next year.

It will be a live event that will give others a chance to see what I do and learn how I do it at the same time, as well as interact with a Q & A session at the end.  If it’s successful, there may be spin-offs, such as webinars and exclusive, high-end products.  I haven’t even begun planning it, but I can see it in my mind’s eye just waiting to happen.  This is what spurs me on to make it so, and for this reason, more likely than not, it will be so.

There will also be students whom I’ll continue to teach privately, not only as a means of income to fund my many other project ideas but also to help the students themselves grow up to be accomplished musicians knowing the joy of creativity by virtue of playing an instrument.  I also play lead guitar in a Gospel group which has been very busy this year with lots of bookings and will continue to be in 2015.

But these are not the main focus I intend to pursue in 2015.  What I really want is to see how far I can push the boundaries of my creativity in other outlets besides guitar, mainly writing.  As you can see (if you’ve read this far already), I like writing quite a bit; I only wish to see if it’s something I can love and pursue as an addition—an asset—to my current business.

The important thing is that I must keep going.  That’s what will build a solid foundation for all that is to come in my business.  Keep plugging away at whatever pursuit or goal it is that swells up inside me for the moment, like a rushing flow of water that’s nearly ready to burst the dam of self-condemnation, doubt, and fear.  I can see the cracks forming in the walls of the dam, trickles of water leaking down it’s towering height.  And I say “Let it fall, let it fall!  Let it tumble to the ground and be washed o’er by its prisoner; in its wake forever drowned!”

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Question: Have you become a slave to your passion? What steps are you taking to remedy this situation?  Leave a comment below and tell us all about it. 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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