So I suppose it’s only fair to let y’all know where I’ve been this last… *date check*… 14 and a half months.
I have been, in accordance with my own advice, failing. Rather a lot, which is kind of getting old, but it is, after all, the price of admittance.
As of my last post, I had started a marketing consulting business, to help small business owners figure out marketing. That one failed for lack of a good business model: in order to make it worth my time, I had to charge amounts that small business owners couldn’t afford.
About 10 months ago, I quit that effort to focus on a board game business I had started with a friend and coworker. Our hope was to move board games out of the geeky closet and into the mainstream by promoting their many awesome advantages: family togetherness, promotion of logical analysis, practice with valuable social skills, etc. We did build quite a geeky following, but were unable to cross the chasm, and we called it quits in January of this year.
Fine, you say. But then what have you been doing for the last 8 months?
Recovering. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was suffering a pretty severe case of burnout. (You’d think that the journal entries titled “Day 1 of Project Not Being A Mess” would have been a hint, but evidently I was in an amazing state of denial). So I wandered around for 4 months, doing nothing, sleeping in, eating too much sugar. Hating myself for accomplishing nothing. Eating chocolate to assuage my self-hatred. Hating myself for accomplishing nothing and eating too much sugar. That kind of thing.
The turning point came in April, when I (more or less) slapped myself on the forehead and said, “Holy shit! I’m depressed. No wonder I can’t get anything right!” And from there started the process of recovery that has… more or less… resulted in a functional human being where a burned-out depressive shell existed 8 months ago.
SO I’ll be picking up a couple of projects that had lapsed during my Intense Failure Program of 2011.
One of them, I hope, will be this blog. During my depressive phase, I believed that I had nothing to say, and that even if I did, no one would care. I of course can’t speak to the latter, but surely contributing two “failed” businesses to the 95% statistic has provided some material for this blog. So I’ll try to pick up on that in the next couple of months.
My other new project is an attempt to find another way to help small businesses improve their marketing. See, most small businesses can’t afford to pay a consultant enough to actually get something done — that’s why most marketing consultants target bigger businesses. But I want to target microbusinesses — the ones that are run by 1-3 people. Because I really think that more people should be starting microbusinesses – it would be better for them, better for their families, and better for the economy (not to mention government unemployment statistics). But marketing is one of the biggest barriers to that decision, and that’s the problem I want to fix.
So if microbusinesses can’t afford one-on-one consultation, what can I offer them? Something that would be worthwhile, a real help to them, but that I can offer at a price they can afford?
Introducing … Bare Minimum Marketing
So here’s what I’m thinking: I’ll write a book. A book written specifically for microbusiness owners. A book not intended to supplant the many extant marketing books available, but to supplement them. Something that will help a microbusiness owner actually take the good ideas out of those books and do something useful with them.
All the details, including the table of contents and introduction, some sneak peeks at content, and video explaining the project, can be found at the book’s website, http://BareMinimumMarketing.com.
The project will be funded (if it happens at all) through Kickstarter, a website that allows artists to “crowdfund” new projects. If enough people like the book to fund the publishing, then the book gets made. If not, no one gets charged anything, and I get to start the failure-recovery process again (hopefully more healthily this time).
So… here’s how you can help
When the campaign goes live, obviously, I would really love some money. I’ll even figure out some special reward for readers of this blog.
But in the meantime (and even if you don’t have money to give), you could really help out by letting people know. The website (again), is http://BareMinimumMarketing.com. I’m on Facebook (search for “Bare Minimum Marketing Book”) and on Twitter and on Google Plus (search for “Bare Minimum Marketing”). So whichever social media site you prefer, or if you just like email (or even — *gasp* — talking to people face-to-face), I would very much appreciate your passing the word on to anyone you know who might be interested.