Are you Picking which Yacht to Buy Today or Tomorrow?
The majority of readers here on the SMR Social blog are business owners looking to take their social media marketing to the next level. So we sometimes find comfort in knowing we can share the highs and the lows of business with you. Because anyone who’s serious about their business will know just how high, and just how low things can go. The sleepless nights, the long hours and the distinct lack of money no matter how well or not so well things are going are all part of our day to day lives…and we probably wouldn’t have it any other way!
Dreams are a funny things when it comes to business aren’t they. No matter what your dreams are, they’re usually:
- The reason you started
- The reason you keep going
- Quite different to reality
*Side Note: If you’re looking for social media tips in this blog post, stop reading now. We’re talking business & lifestyle today!*
When I first came across the idea of working for myself and potentially having my own business, I was sold on a dream that one day I could get filthy rich and live the high life. I was young and had no reason to doubt that it could all turn into reality. I wouldn’t change that, because perhaps if I didn’t buy into the high life dream I wouldn’t have started out as young as I did and I wouldn’t have made all of the mistakes I made so early on when the consequences weren’t as big. The dream I was sold on was apps. It was a time when apps were on the rise, and there were a lot of people out there creating apps and making un-thinkable amounts of money from them. I believed I was going to come up with several chart topping apps, get filthy rich and spend the rest of my life watching money fall into the bank while sitting on a beach somewhere sunny. But deep down, the things that really motivated me were what having endless money could bring, not just having endless money. Perhaps I could treat my parents and siblings to all the things they’ve ever wanted to show how thankful I am for my up-bringing? Perhaps it would mean Abby would never have to work again, or at least choose a job she loved rather than working one just to pay the bills. Perhaps I could help my friends pursue their dreams and help them become filthy rich as well?
So what happened with apps?
The reality of my app venture was that I’d work 4-8 hours on apps either side of my shift work, spend all my wages from my shift job on development and marketing, and never see a penny in return. I had gone from working in a factory while considering a career in Psychology, to thinking I was going to get rich very quickly by starting an app business. Looking back I have to chuckle, but that’s what makes it so great. The mistakes I made with my ‘business partner‘ when we were trying to build this app business were quite something. We had freelancers running off with our money never to be seen or heard from again, apps that simply didn’t do what they were supposed to do…but we still thought we were only days away from having our apps at number 1 spot in the app store, overtaking Facebook and Twitter at the time. I actually went on to try my hand at apps for a second time a few years later, which was a bit more successful in that I had some genuine apps in the app stores but when it came to ROI there was 0!
My first taste of reality
So there it was. My first taste of business reality. All that work, all that money spent, all those sleepless nights and I was no better off than when I started. In fact, in terms of money, I would’ve been better off not doing any of it. What next? Quit my shift job to do this full time, of course! I was hooked. There was something about the sense of accomplishment I felt from what I had tried to do with apps that made me want to look for another similar project.
The next big…author?
So now I’d had my first failed business venture under my belt I was ready to start again with a little bit more experience this time. I was at an age where most of my friends were starting to get their foot on the career ladder, or doing higher education to improve their future. I needed to feel like I wasn’t just wasting my time. The next up-coming thing in the online money making space was self-publishing books to Amazon Kindle. Just like with apps, people just like me were making a serious amount of money by publishing eBooks to Amazon Kindle. There was a system that seemed viable and you could actually get freelancers to write the books for you and just publish them under a pen name. I shouldn’t have quit that shift job, I needed some money! Growing up I was obsessed with guitar playing, and I’d built up quite a big collection of equipment. I couldn’t bring myself to sell my guitars, but I had amplifiers and other equipment that went straight on eBay. It’s the only way I could get any money to fund the project.
I’m not sure how it came about but I decided I wanted to go into the diet niche, and I started to pay freelancers to write books of 20 recipes that followed the rules of certain diets. In terms of my ‘Kindle Career’ this was the biggest turning point. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the diet niche was the perfect niche for kindle books, and there weren’t any other self-publishers in it. I started paying designers to design front covers for the books and I’d write up the descriptions and keywords etc for Amazon and hit publish. While doing these books I was also trying my hand at writing some of my own, but they never really took off because it was the diet niche that saw me get some success. I started seeing sales come in. The more popular the diet at the time, the more sales I’d get for any recipe books I made that were in line with that diet. After a few close calls with copyright I managed to make a system that really worked.
My first big moment
I was dragging my feet on the floor lazily behind Abby as she browsed through the clothes on the rails in a shop in the Trafford Centre. She loves to shop, even when she’s got no intention of buying anything. I’ll never understand it…😂 I got a message to my phone through Skype from a guy in the USA who I’d met through my kindle venture. Unfortunately I don’t speak to him often anymore because after this day he decided to copy all of my book ideas, but that’s another blog post! He simply sent me a link to one of my books and said “Woah dude, is that one of your books?”
I looked at the book on Amazon and checked the Best Seller Ranking, a habit I had gotten into when looking at anything on Amazon. My book was number 1 in one category, and number 2 in another. I thought I was seeing things. I logged into my publishing account to check the sales and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was in shock. I just wanted to get home to my computer so I could see all of this properly. I could’ve cried right there in the middle of the Trafford Centre. Something had finally worked!
The reality, once again…
The reality of my first big moment was that I wasn’t making enough money. I still wasn’t making a wage from these books. But I was making a profit, something I had never done before unless you count the jobs I’d had, which I don’t. But this was a massive turning point for me. Could I actually go through life without getting a job, and still make enough money to live a ‘normal’ life?
Do dreams change reality or does reality change dreams?
My personal experience of dreams Vs reality has been a roller coaster, but the truth is a lot of it has been affected by my age rather than success and failure. There’s a big difference between most people’s dreams in their early 20’s compared to their dreams in their late 20’s, whether they’re business related or not. My values have changed a lot, and I think that would have happened whether I went into business or not.
Quite frankly I wouldn’t know what I’d do now if I made millions, it could ruin the life I’ve got now. Here at SMR Social we’re a small, soon to be family business that get to work from home and provide a service that helps other small businesses grow. We don’t charge high agency prices because we’re not looking to make huge profits and there’s only 2 of us (3 if you include our cat!). We just want to maintain a life where we can work the hours we want to work and work them from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s not about money anymore, it’s about life.