Motivation Equals Change

One of my jobs in Vietnam was at a communication center.  I repaired various equipment and, while I may not have been the best technician, I was fast and my repairs lasted.  While there I started smoking, mostly because it was easy to get breaks during the day.  In fact, on some days, I spent more time on breaks than in the repair shop.

When I came back to “the World” I started working at a TV station.  The chief engineer did not smokers because, at least according to him, smoke residue got into the equipment and made it hard to maintain.  At the time I was smoking two packs a day.

After a week on the job he called me into his office and gave me a choice.  Stop smoking or be fired.  I liked the job and the money.  Guess what choice I made.

Change doesn’t take place unless there is a reason to move in a new direction.  In a very real sense, its changing one habit that isn’t appropriate for one that fits the new situation.

I am considering a change.  After nearly sixty years living in the Puget Sound area, I’m faced with the real possibility of moving to a much smaller community in eastern Oregon.  The change brings to mind lots of questions.  How will I make a living?  Will I be able to fit into the community?  Will I be accepted?  Can I deal with a community that doesn’t have all the amenities I’m used to in a larger city?

Most important, how will I have to change how I express myself.  In a large city, I can be somewhat eccentric.  I am also anonymous for the most part.  Living in a smaller community negates those two benefits.  In a smaller community I am definitely visible.  Can I be accepted as a local?

I am reminded of a standing joke on several of the islands, here.  If you want to be considered a “local” wait thirty or forty years.  I’m 72, but my family tends to be long-lived.  I just might make it.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

What Makes A Habit Bad?

I’ve been reading websites by hypnotherapists, lately.  Almost all of them make some reference to “bad habits” but they don’t explain what makes them bad.  Is smoking bad?  From the point of view of how it impacts personal health, I could say yes.  Is drinking coffee black a bad habit?  I like black coffee and, aside from a caffeine rush, I see it as a good habit.

A bad habit is something we do that negatively impacts the quality of our lives.  At some point, however, the habit was a good thing because it helped us cope with a life experience or challenge.  As we age, however, we outgrow things from our past.

As a personal example, before going to Vietnam, I coped with the stresses of my life by working sixteen-hour days and drowning myself in work.  After Vietnam I developed a love affair with Vodka and Rum.  After giving up alcohol, I became a corporate employee.  At 62 I did the best I could to retire, but ended up working in a hotel.

The point is, as I moved through my life, I developed new habits to cope with each new experience and, where I could, I let some of my old habits go because they weren’t appropriate for what I was doing.  I guess I’m heavy into self-development and personal evolution.

Some habits, however, tend to be persistent.  I have a friend who moves every few years because things will be better in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bangkok, China.  Once he gets to his new home everything is great.  A year or two later, however, the stuff he was running from starts to surface and yet another move is planned.  I know the cause because we’ve had long conversations about it, but he isn’t ready to face the cause and resolve it.  (To change a habit, especially when it negatively impacts a lifestyle, its necessary to confront and resolve the cause or nothing changes).

I bring this up because I’ve used self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy techniques throughout my life to make changes.  In fact, I even studied to be a hypnotherapist and was registered to practice in Washington state.  I never practiced because, at the time, I was working in the corporate world and had other priorities.

Now, at this point in my life, I may return to the practice of hypnotherapy, teaching self-hypnosis techniques and skills.  I haven’t made a clear decision to follow through, yet, but it is a point of consideration.  Darn, time to change habits again!

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Books As A Loss-Leader for Something Else

A book, from a marketing point of view, is a loss-leader.  In other words, it opens doors for other products like workshops, seminars, lectures, book signings, and a whole host of other money-making opportunities.  Depending on the story, the book can also lead to that sale of play, movie and television rights – rare, but it does happen if the story has a strong emotional connection to its readers (the Harry Potter series comes to mind.)

Its rare that an author makes a living on royalties from book sales alone.  Most authors sell an average of 500 books and even if its self-published with a royalty of $17 (70% of the gross cover price of $25) at 500 sales that’s only $8,750 or so.  The actual return to the author may actually be around $3.75 (or less) for a whopping $1,875.

Even more rare is reaching best seller status.  Using some of the numbers in the previous paragraph, an author who sells 35,000 books, may realize a return of $122,500 ($3.75/book.)  Selling that many books, depending on the story, can lead to movie deals and more.

Why am I brining this up?  As I said earlier, I want to write fiction and find a way to make a living doing it.  I have no illusions that I will write a best seller or end up with a movie deal.  I won’t even try to focus in that direction.  I will concentrate on creating relatable characters with challenging plots and sell the stories to a market that wants to explore along with me.

Along the way, I will create side projects and products that will give me the financial resources necessary to make my dreams come true.  More on this in later columns.  Stay tuned.  Let’s learn something together.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

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Combining Writing Styles To Create A Lifetyle

One of the biggest challenges to moving to a smaller community is deciding how I will make a living.  I’ve been an employee for most of my professional life, working as a technician, TV director/writer and a variety of other jobs.  I have ventured into the world of freelancing from time to time, but only as a side gig, nothing serious.

In my heart, I am a writer.  I especially enjoy fiction because I can be anyone, explore social issues through the characters of the story, and explore the past, future and even different dimensions.  Where I go, what I do and what I explore is limited only by my imagination.  Making a living at it is something entirely different.

That’s where the study of direct response copywriting comes into the picture.  Both styles of writing are an ongoing, lifetime study.  Writing fiction is fun, interesting and creative.  Copywriting pays the bills.  Both styles have their own techniques and disciplines which, once mastered, can compliment each other nicely (and profitably.)

My challenge is combining the two disciplines in a way that will let me create a comfortable lifestyle wherever I happen to be living.  The idea is to use the power of direct marketing to achieve four goals:

  1. Location Freedom:  I can work anywhere I can connect to the internet.
  2. Time Freedom:  I have the time necessary to write.
  3. Association Freedom:  Interacting with like-minded, creative people to share ideas.
  4. Financial Freedom:  I am my own boss, managing my personal and professional life as I see fit.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

The Development Monster Is Coming!

What do I want to do when I grow up?  I’m nearly 72 years old and I still don’t know.  I did make a few decisions in the past week, however, that may define my future with a bit more clarity and create a new, more creative direction for my life.

Recently, I’ve considered moving to a smaller community in eastern Oregon.  The change will be a challenge, since I’ve lived in or near major cities all my life (Seattle, Boise, Los Angeles, etc.)  I like the energy of a big city and the variety of experiences it affords – however …

To give you an idea of the motivation to make some life changes, my Uncle’s house in the Greenwood district of Seattle was purchased in 1950 for about $45,000, give or take a few dollars.  The street outside the house has a thirty-degree downward slant and parking is nearly non-existent.  In June of 2018 that same house sold for well-over $800,000.  Crazy!

I moved from Bainbridge Island to my current home for the same reason.  Homes on the island average $300,000 to $500,000, well out of my ability to buy, so we moved further west.  At first I wanted to return to Port Orchard, but were out bid by the demands of the market.

Now, the same issues are following me to my current home because people who can’t afford to buy in Seattle are moving further west, according to our realtor.  I can still afford to live here, but I have a sinking feeling that the development monster will move into this small community and start chewing up trees.

If I do move to an even smaller, eastern Oregon community how will my life change?  How will I earn a living?  How will I cope with the local community expectations?  More to come…

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Basic Subscription Project Math

One of the challenges to explaining the math of a subscription project is taxes.  Every state, county and city have their own point of view..  Then, of course, there is the Federal stuff.

The chart below is a GUESSIMATE of the general costs of operations and taxes.  It is NOT ACCURATE since, as noted above, there are lots of variables. 

Base $50,000 Lifestyle and business expenses
Taxes @ 40% $20,000 This is an average, not a total.
Cash Reserve @ 20% $10,000 To cover any overages
Total needed $80,000 Total operating budget for a year (approximate.)
Annual Subscription Price $240  
Subsribers Needed 333 Subscribers needed to meet expenses.

What this chart establishes is a starting point using some very basic math.  In order to set a goal, its necessary to have some idea of the end result and what it can cost to sustain the project.

The beauty of a subscription project is its ability to be scaled up to a level that is comfortable for the owner.  The number of subscribers can be capped at one-thousand, or the subscription rate can be increased to improve cash flow from fewer subscribers.  It all depends on the end product and its value to the subscribers.

My advice, here, is for you to run your own numbers to determine the viability of a subscription-type project (like a subscription newsletter) might work for you.  Please note that the calculations in the chart above are based on a subscription project that has already been established.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC