How do you get back on track after major upheavals?
It has taken longer than I expected to get my life back on course after my visit to the UK in December and then the death of my mother in January.
The unusually cold and snowy winter has not helped.
However on reflection, I know that one of the major causes is a dissatisfaction with what I have been trying to do. A feeling that I have moved off course and that to be more successful and to have a more satisfying life I needed to re-think my activities.
Before my heart attack in 2010, I had been looking for alternative ways to make money from the demanding agricultural work I was doing. I had dabbled unsuccessfully in Network Marketing. Then irresponsibly (with the benefit of hindsight) invested a few thousand dollars and a monthly subscription, in a stock picking computer programme. Invested a few thousand more in stocks, perhaps by luck, making a profit in the first 12 months, then getting smart and losing all the profit the following year.
I had spent more money on courses, programmes, systems, books, spent many hours on webinars and conference calls.
Why all this effort and all these attempts to find a way to produce an income? Because starting from zero again in our fifties after losing our farm in Zimbabwe, I was acutely aware that time was not on our side. Perhaps I had been spoilt by experiencing an above average income in the corporate world and for a few good years an even better lifestyle first with my own business in South Africa and then on our farm in Zimbabwe.
I had tasted the fruits of success and found it frustrating after arriving in Canada to be working harder than ever and earning less than I had 20 years earlier. I was naive, at first, like a country boy being easily seduced by the promises of wealth in the big city. No wonder that I believed in so many “opportunities”.
With the heart attack suddenly and effectively ending my income, plunging me into another period of adversity, I had to get moving in a hurry. I had no network of associates, old school friends or family to help me. No assets I could liquidate to provide cash for living expenses.
My dabbling in Network Marketing and the hours spent learning about the Internet and some reasonable writing skills convinced me that some form of on-line activity would be my best option for financial survival and prosperity.
After several false starts – and more expense I could ill-afford – I started the forerunner of this blog, attracted some subscribers, built up a mailing list and actually made some money promoting an internet marketing system. Necessity being the mother of invention and with no funds to pay others to teach me, I picked up some valuable website building and other skills along the way.
It did not take long for me to realise that, although the system I was promoting did provide value, very few people were successful with it. To my mind, promoting it, while not dishonest, bordered on the unethical. I could not comfortably continue with it.
My involvement had convinced me that this simple internet marketing model worked for many entrepreneurs:
- Find a group of people with a problem to solve or seeking to improve their lives in some way.
- Publish a blog with compelling content to encourage them to subscribe to a mailing list.
- Continue writing content that provides value to them.
- Create or find, products or services to sell to them.
- Email them with attractive offers, take orders, earn profits or commissions.
That is exactly how I made some money selling the system mentioned earlier.
My problem after that was that I listened to too many experts, followed too many ideas that led me down blind alleys.
I became enthusiastic about Social Media, made some money helping small businesses become involved.
Freelance writing seemed like a good idea, I wrote content for business owners who did not have time to create content for their own blogs and got paid well for it.
A year ago, I had a couple of sessions with a business coach who suggested I “jazz up” this website with some colour, not worry too much about posting regularly and focus on finding coaching clients. Her reasons for adding colour to the website were valid for her business and most of her clients who work with a much younger age group than the 45-65 demographic that is the main target for this blog.
The biggest problem, was that I was not comfortable with the flashy colour in the new header that I created, I thought that it might grow on me as time went by, but it didn’t.
Now, after a year, I have gone back to a basic header with a photo. I have kept the red menu bar for a touch of colour. I have also toned down some of the content on the front page.
I am comfortable with the description “Modern Alchemist” that seems to describe what I do. It’s less off-putting to many people than “contrarian” and “eccentric” although those terms fit me at times. I have also removed the advert for my book from the front page and replaced it with a quotation of the week.
Where do I go from here? This blog will aim to bring you Inspiration, Ideas and Tips for a Successful, Happy and Healthy life. That covers a broad canvas, there will be posts on overcoming adversity, goals, motivation, health and wellness. I will continue to work with individuals and business owners to provide a different perspective,overcome adversity, achieve goals and improve systems.
I will also be offering website creation, maintainance and marketing services to small businesses and professionals. The vehicle for that will be my Focused Prosperity website which will be re-designed.
These activities will also be topics that I will speak about in addition to my stories about Overcoming Adversity, Motivation and experiences in Africa.
I will be publishing a bi-weekly newsletter, it will contain some content that will not appear in the blog, I will occasionally promote products or services that I believe are good value and beneficial. However I will not flood your in box with emails trying to sell you stuff every few days.
You might think that this blog is going in a slightly different direction, I do hope that you will continue to follow and read it, but will understand if you choose not to, every email I send you, whether emailed blog posts, blog summary bulletins or newsletters you have subscribed to, have a unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page.
What is your secret to getting back on track? Leave a comment.
Image courtesy of Gregory Szarkiewicz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net