#FinishWhatYouStart case study

A few months ago, I started a huge project with a client. The experience nicely coincided with my blogging about finishing what I start, so a lot of what I’ve been learning is feeding the project and vice versa.

From October through the middle of December I wrote furiously to create my part of the project. And then, in the middle of December, we hit the hard part. The project will be complete in mid January but for now, we’re in that part that I’ve been writing about — the point in which the baton is passed from start to finish, when the easy starting stuff is being replaced by the hard finishing stuff.

It’s actually the reason why I haven’t been blogging as regularly for the past couple of weeks: Because my client’s project went from being filled with fun starting activities to being filled with arduous push-through-the-middle-toward-the-finish activities. I’m NOT complaining. It’s been great for me to apply the skills I’ve been writing about.

Last week, in fact, was the most difficult of the project yet. I worked LONG hours doing very detailed work that was not always fun. There were many times when my frustration level rose and I wished I was done. There were even a few times when I almost quit. But what kept me in the game was my desire to see the project through to success.

And I’m glad I did. The project isn’t done yet but the hardest part is. There will still be challenges but the hardest part is over and things will get easier as they move forward.

Here are some tips that I learned while working through this hardest part of the project:

  • When the project moves from fun/easy/starting toward the finish, it becomes very detailed. The details suddenly matter. The details can kill the project or make it successful.
  • There is a light at the end of the tunnel even though it doesn’t always feel like it.
  • Take the time to be patient and exacting. It’s worth it. If you don’t take the time, you’ll have to do it over again.
  • Don’t go through it alone. If at all possible, find allies who can help you.
  • Laugh a little.
  • The longer this tough part lasts, the more willpower is needed to even just get out of bed. So make sure that you’re prepared.
  • This part of the project requires sacrifice. Your perception of the end result (when the project is finished) will determine whether you’re willing to pay the sacrifice right now.
  • Chances are, your life isn’t entirely made up of this project. Somehow you have to find time to think about all the other things.

Friday and Saturday were the worst. By yesterday (Sunday) I was absolutely exhausted, feeling sick, and decidedly UNfestive. But I kept pushing because by Sunday at 1PM I had completed everything I needed to do for this part of the project… at least for now. I can put this massive project on hold over the holiday season and pick it up again in January, rested and ready to push more.

Pushing pushing pushing #FinishWhatYouStart

Hey! We’re nearing the end of the year and I’ve been so focused on a few things that blogging has, sadly, taken a bit of a back seat. I hate it when that happens (see The most commonly blogged phrase and how to avoid it) but it happened.

So here’s what’s up with me:

I’ve been trying to finish up a whole bunch of projects, just to wrap them up as the year ends. As well, I’m starting up a few projects — for myself and for some clients — that is taking up a lot of time and has me fully booked through 2015.

I’ve been fully booked for a year or two out for a while. And I haven’t yet gotten used to saying it! I love it… but it’s also weird because it totally changes how you work and how you market yourself. You still need to market yourself, of course, but it’s a very different type of marketing.

Along with these changes is another change: I usually keep a couple dozen clients in a regular rotation but right now I have one client that takes up 8 to 9 hours each day with a MASSIVE project that will last for more than a year. So that is a different dynamic too. It’s good for me because it forces me to finish what I start even when there’s one start and a whhhhhoooooooole lot of finishing. :) This same client brings some other benefits to my business: I work with a team of other writers (which is a nice break from working by myself) and their various deadlines and meetings force me to be a bit more disciplined in my approach to writing.

Here’s an update of my #FinishWhatYouStart projects…

  1. I will have developed a strategy for one of my brands (which I started up a year and a half ago but it stalled out and has a couple of false starts since but no real progress). Update: Done! The strategy is developed. It’s ready to deploy. In fact, I would deploy it right now if it weren’t for a few other projects I want to finish first.
  2. I will have published 100 articles (which is a project I started — I’m 10% done — but then got busy doing other things). Update: Bah! Nothing more on this. This one won’t be done by the end of the year. But I also don’t want to just leave it completely untouched.
  3. I will be doing 3-set high-intensity circuit-training workouts 6 times a week with 30 pound weights. (I keep getting stuck at 3 circuits with 20 pound weights or 2 circuits with 30 pound weights). Update: I found that the 30 pound 2-circuit workout was my absolute limit and I was hurting my joints. So I decided to focus on 20 pounds weights for now and maybe push myself a bit more with those. And there’s been another change: With my new client (mentioned above), I’ve had to change my workout times because they conflict with a meeting. So a benefit is that I’m getting up early — 5:30 AM! — and I’m working out then. But I haven’t been able to get past 2 circuits of 20 pounds… because that’s all the time I have for the workout in the morning. It’s a little discouraging to feel like I’ve regressed.
  4. I will have finished putting together my US corporation (which has been a long and painful process to set up since I live in Canada). Update: Done! The paperwork has arrived. Everything is done and official. There’s money in the bank. It’s good.
  5. I will have completed a copywriting course. (I’m always taking courses to improve my skills and I’m currently taking one on copywriting, which I started last year but which has stalled). Update: Things have been going good here, even though they took an unexpected turn recently. I don’t know if I’ll be FINISHED by the end of the year but I’ll be pretty close. Keep pushing!
  6. I will have published my Sales Funnel Bible book (which I finished writing in the spring but the editing has stalled). Update: Yeesh. No farther ahead than I was.
  7. I will have finished the first draft of a book I’m co-writing with a friend of mine (which is actually going well but is right at the precipice of falling into an abyss of delay!) Update: Done but not in the way I was expecting. We decided to shut this project down because it wasn’t going to deliver the benefit we anticipated when we started the project.
  8. I will be marketing each week to a joint venture list and earning a minimum amount of weekly income from that effort (which is something I’ve been doing off and on with mixed success for the past couple of years but which I’d like to have consistent income from). Update: Done! (Although by “done”, I mean: It’s going well as a continuing project).
  9. I will finish deploying a new brand that I’ve just started. (See? not everything is stalled. I want this one to do well before I let it crash!) Update: Done. I’m happy with where this has gone and I expect to do more on it in the new year… but it’s done for this year!
  10. I will develop a plan for an internet television brand I put together a couple of years ago (which I put aside for a while to focus on my Sales Funnel Bible book). Update: This is going well. The plan is being worked out and I’ve done a fair amount of research, although haven’t nailed down any decisions yet.
  11. I will drywall and paint the recroom in my basement and install a bar (which is something that I’ve be ready to do since the summer but haven’t got around to yet). Update: Nope.
  12. I will have finished a client’s book (which we’ve been planning to write for a while!). Update: Done.
  13. I will finish a year’s worth of newsletters for a real estate investor (which we’re in the process of doing — everything is going well there. Again, I don’t want to let it fall). Update: My client had a few things come up in his business and this was delayed. We’re tackling it again but it won’t be done by the end of the year.
  14. I will finish a book for a real estate investor (which, again, is going okay so far, although the timeline is starting to alarm me). Update: Same as above.
  15. I will have a plan in place to start marketing one of my brands (which is going well but I’d like to push it forward more). Update: Done.
  16. I will have a plan in place to take one of my brands to a new level (which has done well but I want to take it in a new direction). Update: Done.
  17. Proprietary project #1. Update: This one is going well. No complaints.
  18. Proprietary project #2. Update: This one has fallen short but I’ll keep pushing anyway.
  19. Proprietary project #3. Update: Still pushing.
  20. Proprietary project #4. Update: This one will keep going almost right up to the last day of December. So far so good!

So far: 8 done out of 20.

The end of the year is just around the corner… and this is when it’s time to step on the gas and not let up! Keep pushing pushing pushing!!!

Financial advisor article published at Agent eNews: “Hello” to “Yes” – Become a Professional Persuader

I’m co-writing a series of articles for financial professionals, along with my colleague Rosemary Smyth, an international coach to financial advisors.

One of our articles was posted at Agent eNews. The article lists the components of building a relationship and how how each component builds on the next to enable financial advisors to effectively sell to their prospects and clients.

Check out the article at the link below:

“Hello” to “Yes” – Become a Professional Persuader

Financial fiction review: ‘Boiler Room’

Love financial fiction? So do I. And I review them for you!

In this post I’m reviewing…

Boiler Room

Great financial fiction movie.

Boiler Room is about a young, aggressive kid who joins a firm in the hopes of hitting the big time as a stock broker… and maybe winning the approval of his stern father at the same time. He is quite successful in his first few weeks of the firm and his wealthy peers flash around their money. But soon he discovers that not everything is as it appears at the firm and he struggles with the growing gap between what is expected of him and what he believes is right.

Boiler Room is today’s Wall Street and the references to the 1987 groundbreaking financial fiction movie are made obvious in Boiler Room.

Giovanni Ribisi does a great job as the main character, and there are surprisingly good performances by actors that you might not expect such good performances from: Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck, and Scott Caan. If you like Financial fiction books, you’ll love Boiler Room.

(Note: The video contains language that might not be suitable for all viewers).

Find more financial fiction reviews here.

Aaron Hoos’ weekly reading list: ‘David Ogilvy, Steve Jobs, SEO, and social media’ edition

Aaron Hoos: Weekly reading list

Here is what I’ve been reading this week.

  • The David Ogilvy memo. This post at Business Insider reveals a memo written by famous copywriter (and founder of the marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather). The memo lists ten short tips on how to be a better writer. This list is great! You should read it. It doesn’t matter if you define yourself as a writer (as I do) or if you define yourself as anything else. It’s a great list of writing best practices for anyone who has to write a blog post, an email, a PowerPoint, a memo… you name it. It’s still so relevant today.
  • 5 of today’s problems that need to be solved. If you were next the Steve Jobs, what problem would you solve? Umair Haque wrote an article about that at Harvard Business Review. The article uses Haque’s experience in a coffee shop to reveal 5 of the big problems facing us today (you might be surprised at what they are) and he calls on the next Steve Jobs among us to solve these problems.
  • Stop thinking keywords, think topics. Easily my favorite article of this week’s reading, the good folks at Moz inspire marketers and entrepreneurs to stop getting so caught up in keywords but rather to focus on topics (and, in particular, searcher-centric topics). Great stuff here and a huge opportunity for anyone starting an online biz!
  • The Planet’s 24 Largest Social Media Sites, And Where Their Next Wave Of Growth Will Come From. Although this article ultimately points to a larger report that is accessible with a trial subscription, it still provides some really interesting value for marketers wondering about the value and opportunity of social media. It’s filled with facts that I find quite motivating as marketer — there really is a lot of exciting places to promote a brand.