Biz Lessons Learned

It all started with me thinking "Let's write a technical book as part of National Novel Writing Month" and has progressed to me recently signing an agreement to license copies of my book to an online tutorial site for a number that is very close to all sales for the first book I ever wrote on refactoring PHP applications to use CakePHP.

Along the way I have learned some valuable lessons about the process, and at the same time have been getting some great insights via Amy Hoy's "I cannot stop telling people who want to build their own things to go plunk the money down for it" 30x500 course.

So has my book been a success? That depends on your point of view. Initially I said I would be happy if I doubled the number of sales of my first book. That would mean pulling in almost $5000. I gave myself a year. With this licensing agreement, I have passed that number in 8 months.

But I always felt that while I was a pretty decent programmer and also good at expressing my ideas to other people, I was missing something. That something is MARKETING, folks. I was confident that I could write a book that people would want, I just didn't have the skills to convince people of that.

In a way, I was partially right.

I built up interest via social media. I promoted the book at least once a week, almost always resulting in sales within minutes of the messages. I gave away copies to user groups, who in turn promoted my book for me and that also resulted in cool conversations AND book sales.

I don't mind putting in the effort to promote my book this way. How else are people going to know about it if I don't share? Yes, making money off of it is good. I was more concerned about making sure people knew there were ways of making their lives as PHP programmers easier. Testing doesn't have to suck.

It felt good, and money was coming in. While I slept, and it was cool to wake up every morning to emails from my publisher telling me that someone had bought my book.

But it wasn't enough. I felt like I could be making more money from my efforts. I've been selling copies of my book at a pretty consistent rate since the first big push when I launched, but that got me hungry for more. More books. More courses. More training. More anything that can convert what I know into money that I can then use to work for myself.

That's where Amy's course comes in. If you take it, you WILL LEARN HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. Amy shows you how to find audiences and figure out what's causing them pain or what they need to make more money. Amy also has an awesome collection of alumni who also step up and share what they learned as well.

Here's the catch though: you have to do the work yourself. There is no magic. You are going to work, and work hard. But at the end of it you are going to be armed with the ability to go out there and build stuff that people will be yelling "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!" at you.

Isn't that what you want?