As I sit in the ER for panic attacks, let’s talk about what I learned about my business in Q1

I didn’t want to write a Q1 review, mostly because they are incredibly boring and self congratulatory.

Yet, here I am in the emergency room, trying to figure out if I just had a panic attack or a heart attack, and all I can think about is how I got here. 

I’m a relentlessly negative human being, but for the first time ever in my life I feel like I understand my company and how to make it work. 

I actually thought I was in a pretty good mood, for me at least. Clearly not. 

I was repressing something bad. Yet there was some good…a lot of good in Q1. 

So let’s look at some things that can actually help you, and I will have a pity party in my own time.

  1. You can’t sell a customer something they don’t want. I see it over and over at my own shows. I get excited about a book and guess what…nobody buys it. They get super excited about something else on the table. No matter how much I try to convince somebody they should like a new thing, if it doesn’t excite them then they will never buy. 
  2. Revenue is good, but profit is what matters. I used to get excited when we had a great revenue month even if we ended up more in the red than when we started…but I learned a sustainable business isn’t about revenue. Business is about profit. If you aren’t making a profit, you won’t have a business for long. 
  3. Get excitement for your product from the audience first… Then make it. To go back to point one, if you can’t convince somebody to buy something they don’t want, you need to know what the customer wants before you make it. In order to know what your audience wants…you have to ask then. You need to talk about your products, see if people will buy them, and only if they will should you go full hog on it. 
  4. You need to get in front of your audience live and in person. Sales is a one on one conversation with millions of people. I order to scale online, you have to know what resonates with people in person. If you don’t go to shows you will never see what makes people’s eyes light up. That twinkle in your customer’s eye is how you know they are hooked.
  5. Passion is everything. If you aren’t passionate about your books to a crazy degree, nobody else will be either. So when you talk to people, you have to bring the positive energy.
  6. Take care of yourself. It’s probably not a fluke that i wound up I the emergency room the day after i ended an eight week stretch of conning every weekend. I don’t take care of myself at all, because of that my body broke down. Don’t be like me. 

I hope you learn from my mistakes. Until next time. 

Russell Nohelty is a writer, publisher, and consultant. He runs Wannabe Press which creates weird books for weird people, and The Business of Art podcast, where he helps creatives build better businesses.