Happy New Year!
Hard to believe, but its been almost two years since I started this blog! I really wasn’t sure what this was going to be when I started. I had begun writing my book in about September of 2010 as a collection of tips and information people might find interesting. I started copying things into a Word document without really formally deciding it was going to be a book, but by December 2010 I had made the decision to start organizing the information into a book format. That was also when I started the blog.
In retrospect I think it is probably better to outline a book and plan a little bit before jumping into it. I kind of threw everything into the document without really recording where it came from or thinking about how it would all fit together. This created a lot of extra work later after I had an idea where it was heading. I had to do a lot of cutting and pasting and quite a bit of rewriting early on due to my lack of planning. Its funny because I was never that way when doing projects, I always planned things out first.
In November 2011 I met a guy at the A-B Automation Fair who had published a robotics book through Industrial Press. I sent a few e-mails back and forth and had a favorable response. I sent out my partially finished manuscript before taking a month-long trip to Central America and it seemed like I had a good chance of getting a publishing deal, but after returning from my trip they seemed to have lost interest. I was kind of bummed out for a while. My daughter Mariko motivated me to get working again and pitched the book to McGraw-Hill, I was ecstatic when they accepted it! The book was finished last month and should be available in April or May.
Meanwhile I have continued to add content to the blog. Sometimes I really can’t think of a topic to cover. When people leave a comment or suggestion that usually creates a theme of some kind, I have also been able to pull some material out of the manuscript and put it here. Last January I had a guest poster , Doug Alward, who put some excerpts from a book he is working on here. I have also been approached by a few people with commercial products and have sometimes let them add a post. I have had to turn a few down also because in my opinion they really weren’t putting any meaningful information in the post, they just wanted to link to their site.
A year ago I left Wright Industries and started my new company. I was able to about break even last year financially and that was while taking off from mid-September through now to finish the book. Now its time to plan the next year and get working again. Its funny, every year people make New Year’s resolutions to quit smoking, eat less, join the gym etc. and business is no different. For the next couple of weeks I will be doing a lot of written planning, making phone calls (i.e. selling) and being motivated. Reading other peoples blogs around this time of year fills my head with all kinds of ideas, but like many other beginning-of-the-year plans most of them tend to fade as the reality of working sets in. Some of the blogs and websites I have been using in my planning this year include:
Firepole Marketing (http://www.firepolemarketing.com/start-here/)
Business Consulting Buzz (http://www.consulting-business.com/)
The Art of Non-Conformity (http://chrisguillebeau.com/)
Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/)
All of these have some excellent tips and planning tools. I have spent quite a bit of time going through Danny Iny’s videos on the Firepole Marketing site, it seems to resonate well with me, being fairly simple in its approach.
I will probably end up doing some more contracting after that even though that’s not really what I want to be doing. Ultimately I am hoping that the book will help me move more into the true consulting arena rather than doing design, programming and debug. As with any planning, the devil is in the details.
Here’s hoping that you all have a great new year!