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One foot on the brake and one on the gas (but mostly one on the brake)

[ 0 ] July 10, 2017 |

Have you ever had a goal, something that was really important to you, yet somehow not quite managed to achieve it? Maybe you even knew exactly what to do. Maybe you felt like you were putting everything you had into it. Yet, somehow that wasn’t enough to make it happen.

This used to be the story of my life. I’d come up with a brilliant idea. I’d be super excited about it and genuinely convinced that this would be The One—the idea that worked. And I’d try my eyeballs out. I really would.

tiny men labor to disassemble a strawberry

Berry Hard Work Setup (3/11) by JD Hancock on Flicker.
CC BY 2.0

For example, two years ago I caught on to the adult coloring trend in its infancy. At the time when I noticed it, seven of the top 40 best-selling books on Amazon were coloring books for adults, and all of them were out of print. I knew how to publish books, and I knew how to release them using print-on-demand, so that they’d never go out of print. I decided to put everything I had into creating and releasing a coloring book for adults before the big publishers had a chance to do another print run.

I was convinced that if I got enough popularity for my book during that short gap, it would take off and make me enough money to live on. After a year of debilitating depression, I needed something to work, and soon. So I put everything I had into designing, creating, and releasing my coloring book. It took me about a month, and I got it out there.

At the time when I released my book, the biggies weren’t back yet. This was before every bookstore, craft store, and discount store had a section for coloring books—none of that had happened yet. The main competition was a few other self-published books on Amazon, and based on the previews, they were just slapped together. Mine was much better. In short, I released the book with perfect timing. All I needed to do was get the word out enough to get a foothold in the market, and the ravenous demand at that time would do the rest.

I promoted the book. I asked friends to promote the book—and they did. I asked for reviews. I sent review copies to bloggers and influencers. I did art shows and hosted events. I got the book in local stores. I used SEO in the title and book description (but in a natural way so as to appeal to buyers, not just search engines). I joined HARO (help a reporter out) with the intention of getting quoted about the coloring trend. Everywhere I went, I talked about the book.

I worked as hard as I could. And yet, it wasn’t enough.

The book never really took off.

You might think it was unrealistic to imagine I could make that much money from a coloring book anyway—but you’d be wrong. One of the other books that was released within two weeks of mine went big. Its publishers went on to release others and sell a million books that year. I met them at a trade show last summer, and they were just regular people like me, with no prior experience as coloring-book tycoons. So why did they make it big and I didn’t?

  • It wasn’t that I lacked passion—I put my heart and soul into designing this book.
  • It wasn’t that I lacked vision and a bigger purpose. I truly wanted the book to help people relax and be more positive.
  • It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do. I had studied the crap out of the publishing process and how successful people market books.
  • It wasn’t even that I was lazy. If you saw me hauling coloring books to art shows and events all that summer, charming people and making sales, you’d see one idealistic book designer giving it all she got.

So why didn’t the book take off?

Some part of me that I didn’t even know about was hell-bent on making sure I stayed small and obscure. It felt that having the book take off was too great a risk, so it laid on the brake to keep me safe.

And it was smart about it. To make sure I didn’t notice that anything was up, it kept me busy doing things that take a lot of energy and don’t amount to much. Don’t send review copies to actual celebrities or traditional media; send them to obscure bloggers in the brand-new field of coloring. Don’t approach Barnes & Noble or Michael’s about getting your book picked up in a whole chain; approach individual local businesses one by one to take 10 copies at a time on consignment. Don’t buy ads; spend all your time and energy hosting events and hauling books to art shows. Never talk to multiple people at once when you could talk to one at a time.

See how clever that is? If I had been doing nothing, I would have realized I was sabotaging myself and done something about it.

Instead, I was working as hard as I could, and mistaking that for doing everything I could to succeed.

I was on the gas so hard, I didn’t notice the other foot even harder on the brake.

Looking back, I can see so many times when I fell into this trap, putting all my energy into things that don’t make much impact and wearing myself out so I wouldn’t have to risk losing my obscurity.

If you’ve ever read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, one of the fears he mentions is the fear that your genius is fundamentally flawed and not good enough. When I read that, I thought, “It’s not just that it’s flawed, it’s that it’s dangerous, and if it was unleashed, it would bring the curse of the universe down on myself and others.”

Then I thought, “Holy shit, where did that come from?”

Then, if you can believe this, I set it aside and didn’t think about it again.

! ! ! !

Seriously, that’s what I did. So no big surprise my coloring book didn’t take off. After all, what’s a little money compared to the curse of the universe?

It makes a ridiculous kind of sense when you look at all the pieces, but I didn’t know that at the time. All I knew was that I was working really hard and continually falling short of the results I was trying so hard to achieve.

Why am I telling you all this? I’m sick of seeing the same pattern happen over and over all around me, and I know it’s all but impossible to break through these blocks by yourself. Even if you’re the smartest person in the world and a phenomenal coach, the fact remains that you still can’t see through your own shit. Nobody can. And until you see through it and release it, all you can expect is more of the same results you’ve always gotten.

I’m launching a new program to help people with exactly this. The content is about business: how to set everything up to systematically bring in clients and manage your work, so you have all the money and time you need to do what you want to do.

But what it’s really about is breaking through your old shit so you can align with yourself, get the other foot off the brake, and get the results you’ve been working so hard for.

On the business side, we’ll cover:

  • Picking YOUR ideal way to get the word out about your business
  • Picking YOUR best gift to offer for a memorable first impression
  • Picking YOUR best way to build relationships
  • Picking YOUR best product or service to offer
  • Getting crystal clear on your ideal client and what makes your business unique (if you aren’t already)
  • Designing your ideal client’s journey in working with you
  • Creating the free gift you’ll offer to start the relationship
  • Writing the sales copy that will engage your future clients and entice them to take the first step
  • Setting up everything you need to begin turning website visitors into the fans who will become your clients—including your landing page and mailing list
  • Creating a clear, step-by-step plan for your next steps beyond the program

By the end of this program, you will have your complete system set up to automatically attract potential clients and start building relationships with them. This is the foundation to creating a steady, predictable flow of clients so there’s more money and more time for you.

More importantly, I’ll also show you the keys to the inner game. We’ll cover:

  • How to identify and overcome counter-commitments that keep you from going all out toward your goal (curse of the universe, anyone?)
  • How to beat overwhelm and never get stuck in it again (really!)
  • How to create positive, inspired energy at will
  • How productivity really works, and how to stop wasting time doing things that don’t matter
  • A stronger way to build your strengths
  • Secrets to overcoming fear
  • How to love yourself, even when you hate yourself (and why it’s so important)
  • My favorite mental shift to make a world of difference in your actions and results

This program includes one-on-one coaching with me to help you unlock your inner blocks. It also includes weekly group calls. In the group calls, we’ll start with accountability for the first 15-20 minutes. (Research has shown that accountability is the #1 factor in taking action.) Then, for anyone who needs help, I’ll answer questions or coach you through whatever you’re stuck on.

The program also includes my feedback and suggestions on everything you create, from sales copy to your freebie to your landing page design.

What would it mean for you to have a steady stream of new clients with ease and flow?

What would it mean to stop wrestling with yourself?

What would it mean for you to put all of your energy toward achieving your goals instead of holding yourself back?

The program will be 9 weeks. The investment is $2997.

This is an opportunity to build something that will change your life and your business forever. If you do the work, the program will pay for itself many times over. (What is the cost of selling 527 coloring books instead of a million? It’s a lot more than $2997. Just sayin’.)

If this sounds like something you want, click here to apply.

If it seems like a match, we’ll get on the phone and get more detailed about what you need and where you are. If it’s not a “hell yes” for both of us, then it’s a no.

The program starts Monday, so now is the time. (Who am I kidding? Now is always the time!)

Love and acceleration,

About Cara Stein: I'm a Breakthrough Coach and Creative Director On Demand. I'm also an idealist who has stopped trying to play it cool. I offer alignment, clarity, and unshakeable belief in yourself—and then I help you bring your vision to life with great sales copy and graphic design.

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