“It’s less than two weeks until the next ad runs. If I make a new video, do you think you can switch the webpage by then?”
I was asking my long-suffering webmaster and technical expert. After recovering from my despair over the failed advertising campaign…
I stepped up to “get shit done mode”
The awful results were the perfect cold-water-in-the-balls moment to realize several things:
- The fear I felt in my gut over the last few months was perfectly justified, and a darn good warning of what was brewing.
- There was no reason for me to farm out my expertise to an unproven entity.
- Throwing money at fear really sucks. At least when you bribe a human, sometimes it actually works. Bribing an emotion? Not so much.
Fortunately, this situation wasn’t a total loss. I had a back-up plan: Put in place the advertisement I had originally crafted myself – the one the esteemed “expert” pooh-poohed.
Around the time I informed him of the ad campaign disaster…he disappeared
However, after pondering this for a while, I don’t believe he snuck away to avoid the stench of failure. I honestly think it was one of those intriguing energetic events where I was meant to witness idols crash around me. And I hold no ill-will against him.
Fortunately, my webguy determined there was a chance everything could be transferred in time. It wouldn’t be perfect, but with another thousand bucks on the line, it was better than nothing.
Days went by. I created the new marketing video for the product. It looked like everything was going to work out…
Which wasn’t much solace considering it was New Year’s Eve and I was poor, alone, with a failing business
While sitting in my apartment, a random thought came to me in a moment of subtle awakening: I’d often fantasized about the simple things I’d enjoy, once I became wealthy. One of them was eating delicious, gourmet pizza at a local Denver restaurant, without a care or worry of the cost.
“Why not enjoy that now?”
Good point. So, I sauntered over to the grocery store. Instead of buying a gourmet pizza, I’d make one. Using a gift card (thank you again, Jim Anderson) I bought a pizza cutter, flour, yeast, more than one kind of cheese, whole tomatoes, spices, and mushrooms.
That evening, I spent New Year’s Eve alone, poor, with a failing business…
But I created and baked my own damn pizza, and enjoyed every last bit of it
Soon after, the day came for the new ad to launch. Once again, I got up and prepared for work. However, unlike the previous time, I couldn’t even wait until the evening – I booted up my computer and checked my stats right then and there. My excuse was that I just wanted to make sure everything was working.
By that time in the morning, six orders had been placed, for a total of almost a couple hundred bucks. Okay, cool. These results already laid the smackdown on the other ad campaign, that was for sure. I breathed a sigh of relief, and focused on my workday.
Outside, the weather was nice. I listened in fascination to the Steve Jobs biography audiobook, and genuinely forgot about the marketing campaign for most of the day.
As I drove home, admiring the yet-to-be-taken-down Christmas lights, I wondered…
“Hey wouldn’t it be amazing if the ad brought in over $1000? Nah, there’s no way… but it would be cool…”
Once I got home, I settled in front of my computer, logged in…
…and the stats revealed it brought in over $1,000.
The warm glow of brain chemicals swept over me. There was a brief wrinkle where I quickly checked to make sure there wasn’t some error with the software, or someone hadn’t accidentally ordered five times (you wouldn’t believe the crazy stuff that can go wrong). But it was legit.
I sat, basking in the results. The best part was…proof of concept. This wasn’t about the thousand dollars. I could have thrown it all away right then and there without caring. The real gold was…my marketing worked. And if it worked here, it could work elsewhere.
It could work all over the place.
So now it was just a matter of mathematics:
Find where to spend money…and get back more money
Then scale up.
Just for the sake of something to do, I walked to the grocery store, striding up and down the aisles in a daze.
I could barely get to sleep that night, and didn’t mind a bit…
…until the next morning, when I got up feeling a little under the weather.
I calculated I should leave half an hour early, so I could swing by the post office before work, to fulfill on the orders I received. This turned out to be a gross underestimation. There was a line when I got there. It moved slow. Post office slow. Then, when I finally made it to the front, the machine broke. Of course it did. Post office. I gaped at the postal worker there.
Finally, I mailed the packages, bolted outside, and said, “excuse me” as I nearly ran over a little, old lady.
By the time I barged in the door seventeen minutes late for work, I was fuming
The snowy weather didn’t help. While bracing myself against the cold wind, my mind kept looping on my lateness… my foul mood… and why the heck did I feel so angry anyway?
It seemed so bizarre:
Nothing that made me feel so blissful the evening before, had changed. Nothing. The successful marketing was still real. So was the money. I couldn’t figure it out.
Only a couple years later did I realize the truth. What made me feel bad that morning was exactly what made me feel so good the evening before: Hormones. First, dopamine surged my system, as if I were binge drinking on the stuff.
Then came the inevitable morning after, and very real withdrawal
Ever since then, when I feel a blissful power as the result of a sudden success, I remind myself of what’s truly going on. And to see myself with understanding eyes, when the power seems to evaporate the next day. I refer to the dynamic as ebbs and flows. As a result, I’ve witnessed how, instead of my life ebbing and flowing like an ocean tide… and ultimately remaining at the same level… it’s steadily risen. As if the tempering allows the system to upgrade.
Like I said, it took me a couple years to claim that realization. However, it didn’t take me nearly as long to realize the sudden success of my advertising… would not last.
As I kept stumbling forward, investing money, and measuring results…
I learned many things about marketing and business that I never read in books
And I certainly never heard them from any grinning man promising “you’ll achieve financial freedom when you attend my meetings and use this turn-key system!”
I’ll write about them next, and why my struggle was far from over.