Welcome to my January 2018 Project Report. My goal with these monthly reports is to help other authors, entrepreneurs, leaders, or anyone else who wants to make an impact through their work. Each month I will share how I spent my time as an author and creative entrepreneur and the successes, failures, and lessons I’ve learned along the way.
How I Spent My Time in January 2018
- 14:23 – Keynote Talks (Diocese of Brownsville, TX)
- 15:22 – The Religion Teacher Email
- 9:33 – The Religion Teacher Membership January Kick-Off
- 9:23 – The Daily Learning Log (archive)
- 7:48 – Christ in the Classroom Book
- 8:42 – The Evangelization Stack Online Course
- 5:02 – Daily Review
- 3:14 – The Religion Teacher Newsletter
- 3:34 – Morning Preview
- 3:07 – The Religion Teacher Blog
Total Time Spent: 101:11
Here is what I produced last month:
- Worksheets: 0
- Articles/Blog Posts: 31
- Newsletter Emails: 27
- Videos: 12
- Books: 10,769 words
- Workshops & Webinars: 1
2018 Goal Update
I used to focus only on mission and vision and not specific performance goals for the year. I’m trying something different this year and setting some big goals for myself as a entrepreneurial author. You can find my goals here. This is the progress I made so far:
16% Progress / double the number of members TRTm members
0/5,000 copies sold of Christ in the Classroom (good/great)
0/1 published work of fiction (good)
1/7 paid speaking gigs (expected)
5/50 Read 50 books (Good Goal)
49% Paid Off / Pay off mortgage in 2020 (Good Goal)
0 5Ks / Run a 5K under 23:00 (Good Goal)
January 2018 Highlights
January Membership Kick-Off
Every September and January I kick-off the semester with a series of emails for religious educators to help motivate them to make an impact on their students. I follow this up with an offer to join my membership website.
Writing those emails, which are 5-10x longer than my regular emails, gives me so much more clarity about my mission and vision. This January I clarified the vision of my website even more thanks to an interview I heard with Jim Knight on The Coaching Habit podcast. He said his vision for his organization is “every student every day and every class has excellent instruction everywhere.” I loved that! Except it didn’t quite fit for what I am trying to accomplish. So I adjusted it to:
Every Day, Every Class, Every Student, an Encounter with Christ
I had many people tell me they were going to make it their vision, too. I even had one person ask if it was trademarked and if she could create a banner to post in their building.
Having this vision really helps the planning and preparing of the resources I create for my audience. I have a clarity of purpose and a common mission to share with my website visitors, subscribers, and members.
My First Teachable Course
This was a good experience. I really like the Teachable layout for courses. I created three new videos a week and finally got into a good system to scale the number of videos for this and other courses. I’m looking forward to offering this course again starting in February.
Diocese of Brownsville / McAllen Texas Talk
I had a wonderful trip to Texas and got to speak to a few hundred, very-energized people!
January 2018 Lessons Learned
Christ in the Classroom Editing
I learned a lot from this round of edits to my new book. I shared about these lessons here:
Go All In on Email Lists (and Quit Social Media)
I know it seems crazy how much time I have spent on this Daily Learning Log considering there are no immediate benefits to my books or business. In fact, the only benefit right now has been personal clarity through writing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else that I do now. It is a daily practice. The commitment to act and reflect, learn and teach is something that has given me more clarity and focus in the last month than I have ever had. It has helped me see what is most important. The clarity I have gained about growing a platform has been priceless.
The clarity I have around building a platform to make an impact, for example, came through a series of daily posts.
Here is what I realized:
To make an impact on a large number of people, you need a platform. A platform requires you to get permission to deliver on a promise to people. I summarized this truth as Platform = Permission + Promise.
Today there are so many social networks where people are building platforms. I am tempted to spend time on all of them, but authors like me are spread too thin.
So, I have to ask myself:
What is the one, essential platform for me?
What is the best place I can deliver on a promise to my audience(s)?
The answer is without a doubt an email list.
Two other things happened last month.
First, Facebook significantly changed their algorithm to favor personal profiles.
Second, I realized that every time I went on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., I was consuming, not creating.
I wasn’t helping anyone. I was thinking about helping. I was strategizing about posting, but I wasn’t posting. I didn’t have a clear idea why anyone would follow me. I was “checking” social media to distract myself from the more difficult work of sitting down and creating. With the exception of the Facebook Live videos, I have not established any real promise that I am asking permission to deliver to people.
So, email won’t just be my MAIN focus, it will be my ONLY focus.
I stopped “checking” social media towards the end of the month. I started reaching out to people directly by email rather than tagging them on social media.
I also started thinking of my email newsletters as actual email newsletters. I now send an email every Sunday to help teachers plan their lessons for the week. It has been the best new thing I have done in years. The practice of emailing weekly rather than whenever I have something to say . . . forces me to have something to say!
I have had more ideas and more opportunities to get my message out there than when i emailed every once in awhile.
The difference? I am delivering on a promise. I am providing a service. I am not “growing an email list” to grow my business. I am growing an email list to help more people achieve our common mission.
So . . . email for the gold!