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How to set (realistic) marketing expectations

If you spend all the time and energy to properly launch your next product: What can you expect to happen? How can you set realistic and yet inspiring sales goals? Today we're going to cover how exactly to set your expectations for any of your marketing activities. Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast105

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If you spend all the time and energy to properly launch your next product: What can you expect to happen? How can you set realistic and yet inspiring sales goals?

Today we're going to cover how exactly to set your expectations for any of your marketing activities.

Links mentioned:

 

How to listen

  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

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Addition vs. Subtraction to transform your business

More from my goodbye to the Oceanside Pier yesterday, because pretty. (& running though CLT requires pretty).

Whenever we want to make a change, whether it's at the beginning of the year or just in the regular review of our business, it's tempting to focus on all the things we want to STOP doing. Wasting time on Twitter, eating so much cheese, obsessing over a Facebook status update. And even when you want to ADD something to your workday (regular writing habit, eating more greens, making more products), it's easy to turn your attention to what you'd need to give up in order to have more space for the new.

But here's what I learned while going vegan: It's easier to add than to subtract.
I know, it seems like being a vegan is all about what you don't eat: no meat, no cheese, no dairy, no eggs. Nothing that comes from an animal.

But that's not at all what the experience of being vegan is like – I never think about what I “can't” have (because I still have free will, I can eat whatever I want!) I instead plan my meals about what we do eat (and what we want to eat more of): greens, vegetables, whole grains, interesting flavors.

While we were making the shift, it was obvious to focus on what we didn't eat (we were already vegetarians for years (Jay since High School, I have been since reading this book) so all we were “giving up” is cheese + dairy) and try to replace that with soy cheeses, almond milk, and flax eggs. But we found it all became so much easier when we instead found meals that were naturally vegan: spaghetti! burritos! soups! The PPK (and Isa's glorious cookbooks) are full of recipes that don't try to mimic meaty, cheesy meals, but instead revel in the deliciousness of veggies, beans, grains, nuts and spices.

In other words, it's all about focus.

In your business this doubly true – you could focus on where you're “wasting” your time, or you could focus on spending your time on effective, transformative actions. There are definitely things you can (and maybe need to) stop doing – but the easiest way to spot them and stop doing them is to fill up your time with more potent actions. So instead of restricting your time on Twitter, focus on filling up that time with a new experiment. Add the new thing to your daily schedule and just work on making it a habit, instead of trying to get rid of “bad” habits.

It's a heckova lot more fun to add in good stuff than it is to limit the “bad” stuff. Instead of trying to clamp down on what you shouldn't do, you'll be focused on the change you're making with the stuff you WANT to do. It's also a lot more sustainable. You see, we have a finite amount of will to use each day – so don't use it on trying not to “waste time”. Instead, make the new thing you want to add a HABIT, so you don't have to think about it each time. How? Zen Habits has a great path for turning any new thing into a habit.

So what should you add?
Experiment!

Look for the areas of your business that can use improvement (like your marketing system) and figure out what you can ADD to make it more effective. It doesn't matter if you're just guessing – if you experiment with it for 1-3 months, you'll know for sure. And no experiment is a time waster, if you learn more about what works and doesn't work in your business. To learn from the experiment, be sure to follow up with a review and assessment...and then experiment with the next thing!

 

What do you want to add to your business? To your life? 

 

 

 

Feel Good Experiment – Review + Renew

Even though October is long over, I've been holding off on reporting back on October's experiment…because I love it too much and don't want it to stop! And then I remembered: I'm in charge of my experiment! It can go on as long as I want! And just like that, the Feel Good Experiment became a 3 month study in awesomeness. Through the end of December, I'm focusing my scientist microscope on what feels great and how that effects my business (and life).

But before Month 1 of the experiment gets too far in the past, let's look at what worked and what surprised me.

Timing:

It was the best time and the worst time for this experiment. We had two deaths in the family, plus a road trip to visit grandpa before he passed away. Lots of hard stuff, emotions, crying. But feeling good and cozy is exactly what we (not just me!) needed this month. Without the daily reminder of the experiment, I might have slipped into head-down, just-work mode to catch up at work, and just-be-sad mode at home. But the Feel Good Experiment reminded to look around and identify something that would, well, feel good.

The expected good things:

 Homemade Pumpkin Spice Soy Chai

 Following the Enthusiasm. This led to quilting, Project Life, and lots of baking. I'll talk more about this soon.

 Music. My Happy Sparkly Pandora + Spotify playlists are vital.

Reading – especially Quiet and Daring Greatly.

Permission + Attention. Ah, permission. It's the simplest thing: just allowing yourself to want what you want. But it manages to escape me entirely when I'm working. I like to think it's because I get so into the flow, but I have to admit that sometimes it's just because I zone out while clicking. But this month, I tried. When I was tired, I rested. When I was hungry, I ate.  Giving myself permission to feel good meant paying attention to what felt good (and what didn't) and then trying something else, even if was outside my scheduled workday.

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Holiday Sanity. Creating it, writing the Stay Sane course, and now, chatting with the students is everything I had hoped. I'm also smitten with the cute stickers I created.

Writing, using Sarah's prompt: What is most true right now?

Connection: I built in SO MUCH of this into my month, since part of my hypothesis was: “Connecting with people always feels better than disconnecting (even when it’s scary).”  I had appointments to chat live with Brooke, Sarah, Melissa, Rebecca, Amy, Steph and Anna…and it was so invigorating (and felt so good!) that I'm building more one-on-one time into the Starship.

The unexpected good things:

Saying goodbye is never easy, but Jay's family made it a beautiful, holy experience. I was honored to be a part.

Fitness. Who knew? Paying attention to my phsyical body and challenging it was the big surprise this month. I don't know what came over me, but now I'm training for a 5k in the new year. This is so far outside my personal comfort zone (or my life experience) that I never would have expected it.

What's next:

Just listing out everything here is a great reminder to revisit it. But I'd also like to add on an extra reminder, so that I don't forget n to pay attention to what feels good. Each morning, when I start my day (whether it's a workday or not), I'm going to answer the question in my journal: What do I want to feel today? What would feel good?

What about you?

Did you join me in your own Feel Good Experiment?
How'd it go?
What to join me now? Here's a primer on creating an experiment, and here's my hypothesis at the beginning of this experiment.
If so, what are some of the good-feeling stuff you wanna try?

 

Leave a comment to join in!


(Want to publicly express your Feel Good Experiment? Pin the buttons in this post on Pinterest, or put 'em in your sidebar, and link it back to this post.)

Feel Good: Quilting

As part of my feel-good experiment, I'm saying yes to the stuff that feels good. One of the biggest challenges (for me) to doing what feels good is LOGIC. I can logic-away all kinds of fun stuff, insisting that I don't have time, I don't have energy, I really should spend my time on finishing those other projects instead of starting a new one. But this month's experiment is saying YES to something I know will feel good, so instead of saying NO to my newest crazy idea, I fully embraced it.


This week's crazy idea was Elise's Quilts by Christmas challenge. After a recent weekend spent quilting with my mom, I wanted to do it again. I was visiting this weekend and my mom has a great quilting set up: a big table to cut on, two sewing machines, plenty of ideas, so this was the perfect storm of inspiration and opportunity. Before I left I sent mom a link and my new quilt was born.

Love LOVE new fabric store. Unfortunately, didn't have black I needed. #quiltsbychristmas



We spent the weekend buying all the supplies, experimenting with the best way to cut triangles (we settled on this one), cutting, sewing, and ironing.
Part of my feel-good experiment: giving in to #quiltsbychristmas Details on the blog.
It felt great to dive into a new project: the endless Pinterest-searching, the fabric-buying, the cutting, sewing, chatting, charting. And you know? None of the logical reasons I had to not start matter at all. I feel refreshed and inspired for my other projects, and knowing that one of my Christmas gifts is halfway done feels fabulous.

What feel-good activity have you been logic-ing away?

Feel Good: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Soy Chai

As part of my Feel Good Experiment, I'm paying attention to what feels good, and that includes all those tiny wants. You know, when you're in the middle of something, but you think, I would really love a hot cup of tea. Well, now that I'm paying attention, I realize that I crave warm beverages a lot. All day. I want coffee in the morning, tea all day, and hot chocolate at night. But then I tell myself, Ok, just wait until you finish this email. Or, Get one later. And 8 hours later I still don't have my tea and it's time for bed and I say, Oh well, I'll get one tomorrow. 

Homemade soy pumpkin chai & pumpkin oatmeal. Yum.

 

Putting off a cup of tea might not be a big deal…once. But my daily deprivation, my unfun do-this-before-you-get-what-you-want game is a sign of something bigger. It's a failure to really listen in to what my body wants, and it's a symbol of all the other things I don't listen to (stretching a cramped leg, getting that Dr's appointment, a feeling that this project isn't quite-right).

So a cup of tea is the perfect place to start listening in to what feels good. It's small, it's risk-free, it's delicious and warming. And taking the time to make a perfect cup (and then enjoy sipping it) is a lovely reminder that I'm allowed to feel good, that I'm allowed to bring more good things into my life.

 

Yesterday I posted the above picture to Instagram and got a few requests for my recipe, so here it is, my guide to make the perfect cup:

 

Sharing pumpkin soy chai on the site today!

There are two steps to making this tea: make the pumpkin spice + brew the tea. The first step can be done way in advance – I make pumpkin spice in bulk every week and then add it to everything: smoothies, oatmeal, coffee, apple pie.

I started with this recipe, but tweaked it to fit my put-it-in-anything plans.

Pumpkin Spice for Anything:

1 cup of pumpkin puree
2 tsp cinammon
1 tsp ginger (I love it freshly-grated, but dried will work too)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (you might want more, but I don't really like it)
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 cup soy milk *

Mix it all up with a fork. It'll still be a bit thick, but that's ok, because you're going to add liquid any time you blend it in to anything. Seal it up and keep it in the fridge for a week.

 

*Important note about non-dairy milk substitutions:

I prefer almond milk (and hemp milk) for just about everything: baked goods, on my cereal, smoothies…but NOT for this. Other milks get weird when you heat them up…almond milk gets bitter, hemp milk starts to curdle and rice milk heats fine, but it's just way too thin for a creamy drink. If you're going to mix this in hot tea or coffee or oatmeal, use soy milk.

(Could you use milk? Sure…but why would you? The soy milk has a sweet nuttiness that really plays well with chai)

 

Making the tea

2 Tbl Rishi Tea: Masala Chai (loose tea)*
1 cup soy milk
1 cup water

Bubbling soy chai;

Put the tea and liquids in a little pot and bring it to boiling. The directions tell you to boil it for 5 minutes, however! If you keep it all the way up at High for 5 minutes, it gets a little bitter. So I turn it down to medium (still boiling, but less angrily) right after if it comes up to boiling. Set your timer and enjoy the chai-y fumes.

While the chai is bubbling, scoop a big spoonful of your spiced pumpkin into the bottom of your cup. If your drinking cup has a narrow mouth, use a wide mouth bowl or measuring cup for the next step. I want the hot liquid to hit the pumpkin to dissolve it, so scoop the pumpkin into whatever you're going to strain your tea into it. While you're at it, get out your strainer.

 

Straining the chai

 

When the timer dings, pull the tea off the stove and strain it. The pumpkin should dissolve nicely, but give it a quick stir just to be sure. If you've strained it into something else, pour into your mug.

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There you go! Delicious pumpkinness!

I love it in my oatmeal...

And if you've got a little tea left over, pour it into your oatmeal.
(Go on and add an extra scoop of the spiced pumpkin to your oatmeal while you're at it.)

 

A few other ideas:

  • The spiced pumpkin recipes all call for sweetener. If your tea isn't sweet enough for you, splash in some maple syrup. The soy milk I used had some sugar in it, so I didn't need any, but when I add the pumpkin spice to coffee, I usually do.
  • If you don't have loose leaf tea, use a tea bag (I like these) steeped in 1/2 soy, 1/2 water, then mix in the pumpkin.
  • If you've got the chai liquid stuff, mix it with soy as directed on the box, heat it up, then scoop in the pumpkin. (I like the Oregon Chai brand.)
  • When you're all warmed up (or sipping this butternut soup), make a pumpkin smoothie! 1 frozen banana, 2 scoops of spiced pumpkin, about a cup of almond milk, 1 Tbl of flax seeds: blend it all up.

What's your favorite feel-good drink of the fall?

 

How to experiment and feel good

 

This month, things are going to be different.
How often do you say that? This year, this month, this week, this next hour.
But how? How do you make an hour or week or month different?
Do you buckle down and try harder and push more?
Does that make you more productive? Or more tired?

I'm trying something totally different.

For this month's experiment, my premise is simple: do more of what feels good, and less of what doesn't.

Basic math, right? Add in more good stuff, and my life will have more good. If I listen to what I actually like (and not just what I think I should do), I'll be happier and more sure I'm making the right decisions.
But…what's good, what's bad?

What do I mean by feeling good?
Things that feel good…
-bring me joy
-connect me to others
-feed my enthusiasm
-build momentum
-are comforting
-nourish me

My theory is simple: If I say yes to more good-feeling stuff, my work and my days will be filled with good-feeling stuff.

I have to admit that there's a loud voice of midwestern pragmatist that tells me this a terrible idea. If everyone just did what felt good, our society would break down! People would be selfish! I'll be selfish!

But wait, is that true?
My experience with this is that when I do what feels good, it's often the kind thing, the gentle thing. Being truly selfish, or being rude or self-centered actually feels awful. For example, this week my husband's great aunt died. I'll be attending the funeral this week, and while it sounds hard and unfun (funerals are never easy), I know that going and comforting my husband and his family will actually feel good. Not happy dancing, giggling good, but deeply, profoundly right. Connecting with people always feels better than disconnecting (even when it's scary).

The trick is knowing the difference between what I think will feel good (or what I think I should do) and what will actually feels good.

Another example: people often ask to work one-on-one with me. And as much as I love talking to someone and getting to know them, the one-on-one relationship is just too short to be fulfilling + productive enough for me. What feels great is working alongside someone for a few months and seeing the growth in their business. So I've learned that what will really feel great is having them in the Starship, and helping them over time, so I can celebrate the Yays and help them through the Overwhelms. This goes against every bit of advice, and every bit of good sense. But it's true for me, and time has shown that it's good for the people I'm here to help. They get more momentum, which leads to more resutls, and in the meantime we both to know what'll work in the future.

But so far, I've been guessing. I've stumbled onto what works and what doesn't.

That's where the experiment comes in, to see if this is, in fact, something true, something I can trust.

My hypothesis: Doing more of what feels good will bring more good. Period.
The Parameters: At least once a day (before I start making my to-do list), ask myself: How can I bring more of what feels good into the day? And how can I get rid of what doesn't? I hope to remember to also ask myself this before making any decisions (Will I take on this project? What will I eat for lunch? Should I focus on this or that today?)

During the experiment, I'll be sharing the things that feel great, and inviting you to do the same.

Are you experimenting this month?

If this experiment thing is new to you, read How to Experiment right here. Join in by sharing your experiment (make up your own or join me in feeling good) in the comments. And if you'd like to to check in weekly (and ask questions) during your experiment with others, check out the Starship.

How to Experiment: Review

Happy New Month!*

The beginning of a new month means its time for a new experiment! We'll start the new one tomorrow, but today let's review how the last one went (Reviewing is Step 4 of Experimenting).

My experiment

I decided to experiment with asking myself one question every day, to see how that regular, focused attention would shift both the thing, and my relationship to the thing. My daily question was: What can I do to make the Starship more awesome?

What did you learn?

Wow! I know I have this realization all the time, but it's so true! When you turn the sunlight of your attention to one thing, it flourishes and grows. After over a year of steering the Starship, I thought I was pretty settled. I know why people join, I know what they get out of it, I know what works well. Or so I thought. Asking myself the question repeatedly, and forcing myself to come up with at least oneanswer every day allowed me to dig deeper, beyond what I thought I knew. Questions led to more questions, which led to more tiny experiments.

Some examples:

One day, I twisted the question a bit: How can I make the Starship awesome-er on the inside? And that got me thinking: Why do people on the inside like it? What do they get the most out of? How can I increase the stuff I know they love? 
I started asking Captains, and then I realized we have some real success stories. People join and then reach their goals, grow their business and change in a zillion tiny ways. So that prompted me to interview those people, as an encouragement to everyone (those stories will appear in the Early Boarding Party)

I also recognized that relationships are the driving force behind everything  good. It's the reason people come to the check-ins each week, it's the reason they work hard to have something good to share in the check-in. It's the reason they open up and ask their most-scary, most-stuck questions.

So of course the follow-up is: how do I feed those relationships? And how do I help connect new ones? 
(I've got a whole list of answers that I'm working through, including more one-on-one time with me, offering taste tests to the Early Boarding List, more videos) 

Conclusion

This is the best thing in the world. Take your thing, anything you love, from a product to a service to a relationship and ask “How can I make it awesomer?” every day. Allow yourself to see beyond the obvious, to see beyond what you “know.”

Change does not mean failure. Acknowledging that there are changes that can be made is NOT the same as admitting you did it wrong before. Everything in business is iterative. And things take time.  So making changes is a sign of a sustainable business, not a sign that you messed it up before.
And if you did mess it up? Now that you recognize that and are making changes, this is good news, not bad.
That, that whole change is not failure thing, is maybe the hardest lesson for me, and I learn it a little more everyday.

This is the heart of any experiment:

Permission to get it “wrong”
Accepting there might not be a “right” way
Giving yourself space to be surprised
Embracing change as growth, not a sign of past failure

And now it's time to review your experiment:

What did you learn from this experiment?
Does that give you an idea of what else you might try?
Do you want to experiment with something similar to gather more data or switch to something totally different?

 

Share your results and review in the comments, or on the Facebook page.

 

 

*I had a very rotund 7th grade Ohio History teacher, Mr. Antonopolis, who would start every new month with that exclamation and an explanation that it was customary to greet each other this way in…some country, and I can't say it without thinking of him. 

How to Experiment: Tools + Systems

The secret of epiphanies + clarity? Showing up with pen + paper everyday. (soy lattes don't hurt either)

This week, I'm not really here. I'm in the Pacifica Northwest, admiring beaches, rocks and evergreens. And yet, I'm still here. I'm still experimenting every day.

How?
Systems! And Tools!

Remember that Step #3 of creating an experiment is about gathering the support and tools you need?
For my experiment (and life), I needed tools + systems that would help me collect my ideas (especially since they're multiplying daily), a time + space to write (and write extras), and a way to keep the blog going while I was gone. Here's what's working.

Tools

Evernote: I use Evernote for everything: words, pictures, voice memos. If I want to remember it, it goes in Evernote. I use it everywhere: I have Evernote Clipper on my browser, so I can clip quotes or links I want to remember, Evernote Web for a quick addition while I'm working on something else online, Evernote on my iPhone for ideas when I'm away from my computer. Basically, if it's got an internet connection, it's got Evernote (and I pay for Premium so I can see my notes when I'm offline, like when I'm flying!)

WordPress: My blogging software lets me schedule posts ahead of time or keep them as drafts. All of the posts this week were written as drafts last week, then edited a bit and scheduled. I also use WP on my iPhone to do quick edits (but I don't love it), and I'm trying Blogsy on my iPad during this trip.

Noon: coffee + Starship chat

Journal: You've seen it before, it's by my side at every moment of anything. If I have an idea or even a sentence I like but I don't want to stop my writing flow and put it in Evernote (clicking away from a window can be detrimnetal!), I write it down. When I'm having a conversation with someone and I get an idea, I write it down. It just seems less rude to me to take handwritten notes then to pull out my phone and start typing while someone else is talking. I also use my journal to map things out visually or make connections that don't warrant a whole note.

iPhone: Of course I use it for Evernote and WP, but I also use it as a camera, to take pictures with my iPhone of ANYTHING I see that I want to remember: book titles, a funny sign, something a business is doing right (or wrong). Oh, and I use the voice to text software all the time, to make notes while I'm driving.

Focus Booster: Perfect for making sure I'm doing some writing, even on the busiest days. Just 20 minutes of writing per day adds up! (This post was written in 2 20-minute bursts) I like to leave the ticking sound on, it keeps me focused.

Systems

Catching ideas: This is absolutely the most important system. Without knowing what to write about, I can't write!

(If you sit down at a blank page everyday, with only the plan “to write”, you will likely be staring for a long time. Knowing what to write about is 80% of the battle (in my highly scientific studies).

Of course, you already know the tool I love for this is Evernote, and so the system is simple: Write EVERYTHING down. Don't count on memory, don't count of weird symbols. Write the idea out, as much as you have, as soon as you have it. Pull over the car if you have to (or turn it into a song until you can pull over the car.) Write out as much as you have, because you will not remember later.

Writing + Publishing: I already spend most of days writing (whether it's for and to clients, or in the Starship, or materials new classes), but writing for the blog needed it's own space and support. No email, no classes, no client work. And it's not enough (for me) to just plan to do it, I have to have it fit into the flow of the whole day (or everything else will take it over.) What this looks like in practice is that almost every morning goes like this:

  • Get up, get ready, go to coffeeshop (so my house doesn't distract me)
  • Sit down with oatmeal, coffee and journal and get out anything that's in my head – usually a To Do list for the day, plus random stuff (ideas for new products, what I want to make for dinner….whatever is asking for attention, it gets out on paper so it'll leave me alone)
  • Check email for important, urgent notes from paying people (clients or Starship Captains), every other email waits for later.
  • Open Evernote to pick an idea (sometimes I have these schedule, sometimes I just go with the one I'm most excited about)
  • Start Focus Booster (for 20 minutes, followed by a 5 minute break)
  • Open up 750words and start writing. When the time goes off, copy my writing into a blog post (if it's nearly ready) or Evernote (if it's a bunch of scraps).
  • Get another cup of coffee, answer emails (or hang out on Twitter) during the 5 minute break.
  • Set time for either another 20 minutes, or just 9 minutes (depending on how many client calls or commitments I have scheduled) and edit the post so it's ready to post (either the post I wrote that day, or one from the day before), add photos, links, and schedule it RIGHT THEN. (Even if this takes me over the timer, it's important I finish it)

And that's it. If it's a client-heavy day (Tuesdays) or a Starship filled day (Wednesdays) or if a client is doing something big (like releasing a new video, or going to a trade show), that might be the only personal writing I do all day, and I'm done with it by 10am. If it's a Monday or Thursday (Sacred Writing Days), I'll set the time for another 20 minutes later on and write posts for the future, or work on class materials. I write for clients, so Sacred Writing Days also include 20 minute chunks of writing for them.

I've laid it all out here nice and neat but the fact is, life is messy.

Some days a client email distracts me for an hour. The important thing isn't the time I write (but having a structure and a normal time is super helpful) but that no matter what, I write for 20 minutes everyday, 20 minutes that's prompted only by me. Not a Starship question, not a client project, just 20 minutes of writing what I've synthesized from all the other projects.

Why? 

Because building a business has to include building something of your own. Reacting to outside stimilus is tempting. It shows up and it begs for your attention. As long as you're looping through responding and reacting, you're not building something of your own, something will last beyond that email, or that one package. Whether your art is your writing, your designing, your drawing or your knitting, you have to have time to express what's in your own head, not what other people are asking for.

And lest you think 20 minutes isn't enough, it's how I wrote the book in 6 months. No matter what your experiment is, it only needs (your equvilent of) 20 minutes.

What are the tools and systems are supporting your experiments?

Experiment Report: Week 1

“What you appreciate, appreciates.”

I think I first heard this from Sarah, but it's one of those things we just all know to be true. When you turn your attention and intention to something, it flourishes like flowers in the sunlight.

Whether it's starting a business or learning to knit, anything you give your time and effort to, improves.
I knew this…but yet, somewhow, everytime it happens, I'm surprised. When I started the experiment, I didn't expect what happened: a flurry of new ideas. My idea bank appreciated.

Within a day of just setting the intention to write here daily, I had a rough outline of a schedule and a small list of real posts. Those first few ideas were difficult. I had to reach for them, to really think about it. But within two days of actually writing, I was brimming with ideas. I was recording them via voice note on Evernote, scribbling them down in my journal while cooking dinner, even waking up thinking about it. Where there once was a dearth, now there's an abundance.

What changed? 
Me. I started to bring attention everywhere I looked. I began to turn stray thoughts into full-fledged ideas.  I opened my eyes, and suddenly I can see the possibilities.

It's not that it's easy to write five things worth publishing each week. I still have to set aside the time, sit down, block out the time from other client work. (I'm scribbling this in the Dr's waiting room.) Honestly, I feel a little behind on everything else.
So it's not that this is easy – turning your attention to one thing necessitates that you're turning it away from something else.

But it's also encouraging: if you want to improve something, give it some attention.

That's it.
Just focus on it, a bit everyday or in one lump of uninterrupted time…and you will get movement or learn something.

Where could your business use some appreciation?

How could you give it some attention this week?
If you've joined the Experiment, how's it going? Are you seeing an appreciation of your skill, interest or ideas?

How to Experiment (and scare yourself)

how to experiment

Confession: during this session of the Effective Blog class, I've been following along with the students and doing the homework myself. You see, I'm kinda ambivalent to blogging, but I love experimenting. But how I feel about blogging is old stuff. It's not new or based on the current reality. I need to experiment, to see if everything is true or not. The other day in class, Diane mentioned that she likes to do 30-day experiments to see if something works or not. That, combined with this post from Elise, combined with the excellent stuff I learned during our live discussion, inspired me to get started now.

So I'm doing a public 30 day experiment, right here. And I'd like you to join me.

I didn't plan on saying anything about it, but I'd like to have some company. And experimenting is better when we do it  together. I'd love for you to join in with me, to hold your own experiment!

Before we get in to it, let's talk about what makes a good experiment (you can find full How to Experiment instructions on page 100 of the book.)

How to Experiment

1. Set a thesis. What do you want this experiment to do for you? What do you think will happen?

2. Set the parameters. How long is this experiment? What will it entail? (You are so much more likely to stick with something if it has a clear end date. You'll also get better results if you plan a time to stop and reassess.)

3. Put the support system in place to hold it. What will you need in time, space and energy to do the experiment? How can you set up your day, week and life to make that possible?(Hint: if you're not writing every day now, something will have to change for you to be able to do that next week. Time, space, tools, etc.)

4. Review the results. What worked? What didn't? At the end of the experiment, make notes about the results, how you felt, and what you learned. Use it to set up your next experiment!

You can use this to experiment with anything (going vegan, trying a new marketing channel, increasing sales, etc). The really important thing here is to experiment with things that you expect a clear result from in the time allotted.

For our experiment, we're going to start today, and stop on 9/3. That's not very long, so pick something do-able for that long, and set your goal small. Very small. Even smaller than that. Got one? Ok!

Here's mine:

1. Thesis: blogging every weekday until 9/3 will increase my connection with the community or readers and explorers. How will I know that happened? People will join me in creating their own experiment, and even more people (let's say, twice as many) will join me for the next group experiment in September. (This will probably also result in more emails, Twitter conversation, etc, but I'm not measuring those.) This all serves my Big Goal for more connection (via vulnerability) in my life + work.*

2. Parameters: The experiment ends 9/3. It includes sharing something publicly here, in this space, every weekday. Something useful, entertaining or inspiring. At least once a week I'll hit “publish” on a post I'm a little afraid of.**

3. Support systems in place: Time to write every morning, creating a list of possible topics to carry me through the whole month, scheduling the ones I feel inspired to write. (In other words, my classic non-planning planning.) I'll talk more about the tools I use later.

*This goal isn't that business-y, because I'm plenty busy with current clients. But what I've learned through building the Starship is that there's an amazing private, deep community there, and I'd like to supplement that with a broader, more public community outside the Starship, so that everyone can experience at least a bit of the magic of exploring with others. In order to do create that, I have to stop doing all my stuff in the privacy of one-on-one and Starship work, and start bringing it here. That's the reason for this experiment!

**This week, that post would be this, right here!

That's my experiment. Would you like to join me with your own?

You can experiment on absolutely anything! (Blogging regularly, blogging about different topics, using Twitter, FB, Instagram or whatever in a new way…the possibilities are endless!)

To join in, just leave a comment with your experiment (including thesis, parameters, etc), and we can check with each other using #experimentFTW on Twitter or Instagram. Prefer to keep it private? Email me! On 9/3 we'll be back here with a new experiment!