Building an online business is a lot like writing – it takes a long time to build success in both. This week we get an interview from someone who is building an online business focused on writing and see what he’s done to stay patient while pushing forward with all his dreams.
Who: Sean Platt of Writer Dad and Collective Inkwell
Sean Platt is a father, writer and businessman who longs to craft things of value and live a life that inspires others, as well as himself, while continuing to make his wife and children proud.
Name one moment in your life when you threw a pity party for yourself and the reasons why you felt you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Were you feeling stuck? Had you felt you failed? What wasn’t working in your life?
Earlier this year, I believe it was around March, I was feeling about an inch above the gutter. I’d spent a good half year prior to that working as hard as I know how, but had yet to turn more than a fist full of dollar bills. I felt like I was jeopardizing both the present safety and general future of my family. Nothing I had set out to do had yielded any tangible results and my last few experiments had led nowhere. I didn’t feel stuck, nor did I feel like I had failed, as I still believed everything would eventually come to fruition. But I did feel frustrated and perhaps a bit irresponsible for the gamble I was forcing my family to take. At that point, I had yet to financially justify even a fraction of the time spent trying to make a living online.
Even our lowest moments fulfill a need in us or express our desires. When you threw yourself that pity party, what did you hope to gain? What need did you fulfill?
In that moment I just wanted someone to tell me that everything was going to be okay. I felt lonely. Despite all the comments and emails and tweets, working online can sometimes feel void of the deep connections that keep us properly wired. I wasn’t looking for any platitudes or cheerleading from the blogging community, though that is where I vented, I needed someone who knew what makes me tick to help me oil my machinery.
Tell us what you did to break up the pity party. What actions did you decide to take? Did someone help you buoy your spirits? Push you along?
I kept on going. My eternally supportive wife, swept the hair from my forehead and pet me for an hour or so as I lay on her chest and cried. She just kept repeating that I was her brilliant man and that everything would eventually happen. My partner, David Wright, said, “You’re the real fucking deal, dude. It’s just a matter of time.” It sounds so simple, but it meant the world to me that day. I knew I was on the right track, just letting the hunger growl in my belly a bit too loud.
Can you look back on that moment and tell us how you felt when you did decide to take action? What results came about from your decision to take charge and move on?
I felt mostly great, though a bit melancholy. I had a crippled horse of a blog that I had to put a couple bullets into. Even though that blog had offered little profit or reward, I still felt the sharp sting of defeat by letting it go. But I also felt the power of making the right decision and then digging both feet into the dirt behind it. About two weeks later, Ghostwriter Dad rose from Google’s sandbox and the phone finally started ringing.
Everyone has a Someday problem hiding deep inside, even little ones. What variety of the Someday Syndrome do you currently harbor? What would you like to achieve but haven’t yet?
The biggest Someday Syndrome bobbing in my bay is that I want to really write. Fiction, non-fiction, anything really, so long as it doesn’t need grooming for social media traction or SEO or any other unwelcome palpitations to the steady beat of my ideal muse. I don’t care about seeing my name in a bookstore, but I do care about writing those things I truly long to write while cultivating an audience of eager readers.
Examining your Someday Syndrome problem, what are you currently doing to resolve it and eliminate it from your life?
Right now I’m building my business so that I can crush the debt I’ve invited by stepping out into the unknown this year. Once my financial needs are met, I will have more time available for creative pursuits. I do try to tuck in as many moments as I can for my purely creative pursuits. The book Available Darkness, which I am co-writing with David, is, for me, a present day thing of beauty.
Many people suffer the same problems you do. You’re not alone, and neither are they. What would you tell people in your situation right now to help them avoid what you’re going through?
We all make our own luck and it’s important to believe that diligent work does eventually pay. It is better to be an indentured servant for a sentence than a prisoner in perpetuity. If you want to be your own boss, go out and make it happen. But be prepared for the shit storm, because it’s part and parcel for the plan.
If you could ask for one thing, right now, to help you overcome your Someday Syndrome, what type of help would you ask for? You might be tempted to provide a cheeky answer, but stop and think a moment about what would really help you.
I flew through the other questions. Trying to answer this one though, I realize now, I’ve been staring at the page for maybe 10 minutes. I guess I should pause and thank you for the question. Taking 10 minutes to think is a good thing.
Time is my biggest need, but it’s everybody else’s as well and nobody I know of is handing out any extra hours. So if I could ask for anything, I suppose it would be an unguarded conversation with someone in the publishing industry. I have a lot of questions, and it saddens me that the direction I wish to travel most is also (likely) the least lucrative. I would love to be convinced that isn’t so.