Chris A. Baird | July 1, 2022
3 HABITS I GAVE UP to win at self-publishing | My Self-Publishing System

You might have some habits that are keeping you from succeeding. Let me tell you the 3 habits I gave up to win at self-publishing.

Dropping Energy Levels

I had gotten to the point where I was completely burning out. As a result of what I was doing with my self-publishing. Along with all of the other hobbies that I had at the same time.

This is one of the reasons why in today's article, we're going to discuss 3 habits I gave up to win at self-publishing. So, here’s the thing, here in Norway several years ago. When I was getting started with self-publishing, things were starting to progress. 

I'd even get books onto the market. I was very excited and it had been going on for a while. At the beginning with every new hobby or everything you start to do, any endeavor you're doing, when you first get started, it's so exciting.

You're seeing things moving and you're starting to make sales. You're getting the books on the market. The motivation levels are very high and you find that you don't want to do anything else.

But at some point, during this journey, you reach a point where you no longer can handle the stress of all of the work. The other things in your life start to take over a bit. I wanted to keep my self-publishing schedule on target where I would just keep going.

Because as I tell all of my clients as we move through the process, the best way to succeed at self-publishing is to optimize your books. Learn as you go and keep on putting more books onto the market. 

Learning from them, we get into a feedback loop between us and our readers. Telling us what exactly they would like to see and hear from us in our books. Then we simply give it to them in the next book. 

Then the next book gets even better as we build our audience. So that's the reason why I usually say it's a three to five-year marker for most self-publishers before you start to see the traction kicking in. 

But the problem I was having was that I just didn't have enough time in the day. My energy levels were starting to run low. So, the trigger was exactly this feeling of burnout as your energy levels are dropping. 

The total time I was giving to self-publishing also dropped to under five minutes a day. Some days I would get nothing done on it. This is something that some of my clients also experience where accountability comes in.

So, I realized though that if I was not continuing to sharpen the saw as Covey says in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was looking back at that by the way. I noticed that I don't agree with some of them and some of them are outdated.

Check out this related article: What I Wish I Knew Before Self Publishing 

But this one here, sharpening the saw is one I still agree with. I remember seeing him in person back in ‘98 and where he went through The 7 Habits. Nowadays, nobody talks too much about him. 

Sharpening the saw this idea of continuing to get better at what you're doing. By practicing continually and with dedicated focus. Practicing, in particular, to make sure we're learning the skills necessary to win at whatever we're trying to accomplish. 

But I knew that with less than five minutes a day, I was never going to be able to do this. I started to doubt that without any time. Everything I was doing during my schedule throughout the day was necessary. Well, was it?

Sometimes, I ask people this very question. I say, what exactly, don't you have extra time in the day? And the answer is I'm just so busy. 

Like you don't have time to listen to music, you're not watching movies or tv shows. I do some of these things but I’m just so exhausted I have to do these things. And so, it goes and then what happens is the things you want to get done, you're not doing.

So, for me, I had some doubts about whether or not I had time available. My first one was I hired an accountability coach. This was a person in France at the time. My first accountability coach was in the US in Washington DC.

The goal was just to make sure I was getting five minutes a day at work. It was funny because she thought it was a little bit crazy. After all, it would only be five minutes. The answer is, sometimes if you get the first five minutes and you'll keep on going.

So that's something that is a true statement if you do get those five minutes in. Sometimes, you'll be tempted to keep moving forward. This is something I do with the Self-Publisher 1-On-1 clients when they're working through the 1-On-1 Program.

We're able to check in on a daily or semi-weekly basis. To make sure that you're making the progress that you need to get done. It has that impact of accountability.

I can tell you just ask yourself how many courses or books have you bought where you never finished what you started? And without accountability, you have no chance of succeeding. So, this accountability coach wasn't a terrible idea. 

But for me, it didn't give me the results I wanted. Because I simply still didn't have the time. It was just one more thing to write down what I had done for the day.

Putting In The Work And Time

But during the five minutes, it took almost as much time to write it down as it did to get the five minutes. The second thing that I decided to do was another strategy which is I just cut back on my sleep.

I remember reading the morning program and remembering the Miracle Morning book. I've read several of Elrod's books on the subject. The thing he presupposes or he asserts is that you can cut the sleep.

You don't need much sleep. Now I completely disagree with that. Because I know sleep experts say you need at least seven to nine hours of sleep for the average person.

Some people can go under seven. But if you're doing that, your energy levels, your focus, and concentration, your ability to learn new things, and your ability to remember and implement those things are going to drop. So, cutting back your sleep is not a good idea.

I do agree though with the miracle morning idea of making sure that you've got your first things. You're doing a lot of the things that matter the earliest in the day and that you're setting aside the time that you need. 

But if you don't have the time, I do not suggest this route of cutting your sleep. Because it started to cause me some serious burnout as I was moving. So, what ended up here?

I was listening to one of my favorite digital marketers. He had some comments that I thought were spectacular. I listen to a lot of people, I read a lot of books and these are some of the things that I gleaned from this.

But this particular person was saying, look you need to be hungry for the win. This whole thing was self-publishing. I know some people and these fake gurus that I'm always continually talking to.

They tell you that this thing is just going to be easy. You're going to be making millions of dollars. Or selling hundreds of thousands of copies of your book.

I'm telling you that's probably not going to happen, okay? I'm just going, to be honest with you. It's probably not going to happen. What can happen is you can get those sales but you've got to put in the work.

You've got to be hungry for success when it comes to self-publishing. And if you're not hungry, you're not going to get much out of it. This would be true if we were doing woodworking.

Check out this related article: Top 3 Reasons Why I'm Self-Publishing My Books

Or if you were going to try to become a professional runner or something. And you're just not willing to dedicate the time that's necessary which is not one minute a day but getting some time in on this.

My thing is around 30 minutes a day. But I like two hours by myself, that's my goal. But for you, 30 minutes is reasonable.

If you're doing days that have no progress at all, then 5 minutes is a way to go. What I discovered was that I have habits that need to be cut out of my life. One was binge-watching TV, in fact watching TV for the most part.

Number two, not playing any form of video games. They had to go. I know this is painful and I'm telling you what it takes if you want to win at the self-publishing game.

Some of these habits need to go, they're sucking too much time. The third thing was I found other hobbies that I was dealing with like survivalism. A lot of these other hobbies that I had on the side that I thought were very interesting but I needed to cut.

But there were some habits and some things I had that could not be cut and maybe even needed to be increased. One of them would be exercising. So, I do like taking pictures and stuff and I can do it while exercising.

Hiking up and down the mountains in Norway is a perfect opportunity to get the exercise you need. To keep your energy levels at your top. And your brain is thinking clearly through all of this stuff.

So, it uses time but it gives you that energy back. The next thing was healthy eating. It is worth the time to make food that's healthy for you.

I know it's like a crazy concept of exercise and diet. But the fact is eating a healthy diet will give you more energy. Lots of plant-based food and proteins to make sure that we're getting the energy that we need.

In the form that our body is going to easily be able to digest. To give us this clear thinking. So that when we do use our time on writing and self-publishing, we're going to be able to make the progress that we need to make.

Turning The Ship Around

The next thing is you don't want to cut back on your family and your relationships with your friends. These need to stay in place. I'm not talking about toxic relationships but healthy relationships.

If you do not build them, they will fall apart. It seems like a lot of people think that your family and friendships are going to stay together. You know, even if you don't like it.

We don't think about that with our car. It requires proper maintenance and cares if you want to keep things going. So, you're not going to want to cut back the time you spend with your family and friends.

When the kids want to do something, I will stop what I'm doing with my self-publishing. We will play a game or do whatever it might be. Does that make sense?

I hope that the final one will be spiritual growth. So, in terms of the church or other activities like that, it also becomes a very priority. That should not be cut out in terms of a person being well-rounded and balanced.

A person is well connected. You're going to make sure these things are all in alignment. And if they aren't, then you need to start developing them.

So, I don't even consider these areas as options. If you cut them back, the problem is that a lot of self-publishers will continue the habits that they have. In exchange for that, they will simply cut back on some habits that are healthy for them.

Habits like their spiritual growth, their family and friends, exercise, and healthy eating. Maybe eating fast food or something in exchange. Then they will do more of these other things.

So, when they need to relax, it'll be video games and binge-watching Netflix. These other things can contribute absolutely nothing to what they're doing. One of the things I found is that sometimes, it's unclear what habits you have.

That's one of the reasons we're able to help you explore this very topic in the free discovery session. If you are not sure what you can do to make more time. We can map it out, it's completely free. 

We just sit down in a zoom session and we work it right on through. So, you'd need to let me know if that happens to be you. The final thing that I faced though was that I started feeling tired all the time.

Check out this related article: Self-Publishing Mistakes To Avoid

Because I was doing all of these different things and had all these activities. So, I started reading about what happened and I discovered a couple of things. I was able to cut down on the TV watching because what I did was something which is a little bit crazy.

But I started reading on Wikipedia and other summary sites about the episodes that happen. So, I could still sort of following along with my favorite TV series. Instead of binge-watching, I would binge-read.

I would read those books because reading with your eyes builds creativity. Which will help you with your self-publishing and your writing creativity. As opposed to binge-watching TV which is simply sucking the creative juices out of you.

It’s probably a bad idea across everything, it's not a good idea anyway. But I mean, I agree it's enjoyable. But sometimes it has to be cut if you want to win at the self-publishing game.

I also understand that you have to decide, you have to motivate yourself. It's going to be only about 5% or less who is going to win this game. So, you have to decide, am I going to be one of the 5%?

The fact that you're reading this article already shows you that you are probably one of the 5%. With regards to winning the self-publishing game. You just need to keep your motivation high and keep these habits.

The final thing was after doing all of these, I was finally able to turn the ship around. Going from 5 minutes a day to getting at least 2 hours a day on self-publishing daily. That was by the time the day was completed.

I still have an accountability coach now. This person works in Turkey, we also had one in Tunisia. So, we've been swapping out over the years different accountability coaches.

But this is something, I think everybody needs the Self-Publisher 1-On-1 Program. It also addresses this exact issue. To make sure you're on the right track and you're being held accountable to achieve the goals that you're trying to achieve.

So, there you have it, 3 habits I gave up to win at self-publishing. There are an awful lot of factors in terms of trying. Even once you do manage to get your books on the market and self-publish and cut these habits out.

But then you're trying to get them to sell. That's one of the reasons you're going to want to check out the Factors That Matter Most When Trying To Sell KDP eBooks. You can check that out and I will see you over there. 

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