There's a profound impatience for those of us who are building our own platforms. We want what we want — and we want it now. But we sometimes fail to see what it takes to see a dream through to the end.
- We see Seth Godin fund his Kickstarter project in hours.
- We watch Michael Hyatt launch a book, WordPress theme, conference, and community all in the same year.
- We see a quiet guy named Jeff get hundreds of people to sign up for his online course and sell tens of thousands of books without leaving the comfort of his home.
So how do you do that? How do you and I get what those people — those successful influencers and authors — have? How do we successfully launch our dreams?
We can read the books and buy the courses (and I suggest you do), but at some point we must take responsibility for creating our own art. Because it's not enough to dream; we must do the work.
Do what they do… not just what they say
Dave Ramsey says if you want to be rich, then you should do rich people stuff.
I want to grow my platform, so I’m doing what people with larger platforms have done. I’m following the advice my teachers taught me: not just taking the tests, but doing the homework.
In other words, I didn't just study; I applied the concepts. And it worked.
Here was my dream for this year: Self-publish a book in every format imaginable for my readers — and do it four more times in the same year. I've already done it once (and am excited to do it again). Here's what it took:
1. Decide to do it
No one picked me. No one said “You’re a writer.” I had to choose myself. I didn't ask permission to make my work matter; I had to take it. And after years of reading books, I finally decided to act.
Convinced I could create my own art, I decided I wanted to write a book. And I did.
2. Fall in love with 5 a.m.
My friend Jon built a powerful personal brand in a short amount of time. How did he do it? By being selfish at 5 a.m.
There are no excuses before sunrise, nothing holding us back from writing a book or working on that business plan. Nothing other than our own laziness, of course.
I get up early, because I have three young kids. For me, this is the best time to get my work done and still be a good dad and husband. It's a matter or focusing on the right priorities at the right time.
Look. I know you're busy, and I'm sure you've got responsibilities like me. And you need to honor those, but you also need to honor your dream. The secret to not flaking out on your friends and family while still pursuing a dream is going to work before your world wakes up — that's what I've found, anyway.
3. Follow a process
Success is not an accident. Not for those who build powerful platforms. It's a result of consistency and following the habits of those who have come before.
A little course called Tribe Writers helped me identify my worldview, build habits to become more consistent in my craft, and determine the best route for publishing a book. I wouldn't have written this book otherwise.
Without an intentional process, we can't succeed; it just won't happen.
4. Be transparent
Admit it: In an age when everyone has a voice, we're drawn to people who don’t have it all figured out. It pays to be transparent — and that’s part of the beauty of building your own platform.
You don't have to pretend to know everything; in fact, it's more interesting when you don't.
The best part about being transparent is you don't have to fake who you are. People want heroes, but they also need sojourners. Not just idols, but fellow travelers.
If you're honest and humble about your process, you can be both.
5. Be generous
When Michael Hyatt launched his book, Platform, he gave away a ridiculous amount of content to his readers — just for buying a $25 hardcover. I know I did. Most of us love to consume abundance, but we're afraid to give it. It’s human nature.
In less than a month, over 600 people signed up for free copies of my new book. It took me three years to build an email list to that many subscribers, and in three weeks, I doubled it.
What's more, the most common feedback I get from those who've downloaded my book is they love it so much they're planning to buy another copy.
The lesson? Generosity wins.
6. Ship your work
If you're hesitating to ship something — and “shipping” means it’s in the world, not on your hard drive — then post a public deadline.
I’d never written a book before, but I put out a deadline of mid-January for my book. And I stayed on schedule. Not because I tried to be perfect, but because I shipped.
Perfection is a myth and more often an excuse to not ship. Thankfully, I’m not a perfectionist; but unfortunately, I’m not a great finisher. Publicly declaring a deadline has been exactly what I needed to ship. And it caused me to finish.
Maybe following these six steps will allow you to do the same.
Note: Andy just released his first book, Early to Rise. You can join him on his publishing journey (and learn more about how he self-published) here. Or you can jump straight to the Amazon page (affiliate link).
What's your dream? How have you launched it? Share in the comments.