On writing a novel, one word and $1,052 for $97

NaNoWriMo 2010 is over and…

I finished writing a 5,0270 word novel for NaNoWriMo. I was happy, glad and calm when I finished writing the last sentence of my novel. I knew I could do it, and I did it! To write a +5,0000 word novel in a month was an interesting experience, because it taught me some new things. You can read my thoughts on NaNoWriMo in my previous posts.

What I learnt from finishing the novel is the following.

  • I can write more than 5,0000 words in a month.
  • I can write a novel.
  • I can write a novel without any outline.
  • I have stories inside me.
  • Sometimes characters play by themselves without my directions.
  • I wish I had developed my characters more throughly. I had read Bird By Bird byAnne Lamott and knew it was important, but I think I understood what she meant better by writing a novel.
  • I feel like writing about 30,000 words on different topics every month so I can clarify where I stand on these topics.
  • I need to work on my fiction writing skills.
  • Writing is fun.

In short, it was worth it.

One word for 2010 and one word for 2011

Here’s the Reverb10 prompt for 1 December.

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

I experienced a lot of changes this year. It all started with working on the Artist’s Way, and it seems to me that creativity was a big theme for me this year. Apart from the Artist’s Way, I took the online Ars Amorata program, and it helped me clarify my vision as well. I wonder what would be a word that encapsulates the year 2010 for me. To be honest, I feel like I spent a lot of time preparing myself for the next stage this year. The word ‘preparation’ might suggest something inactive, but what I did was definitely an active preparation.

If the year 2010 was about preparation, then I think the year 2011 will be about blooming. I would like the word ‘blooming’ to capture the year 2011. In 2011, I will explode as flowers bloom.

How about you? What word encapsulates your 2010? Which word would you like to capture your 2011?

$1,052 for $97

Adam Baker and Karol Gajda are doing something crazy. They are putting together 23 business courses from 23 successful entrepreneurs and selling them for $97 only for 72 hours. If you bought these courses separately, it would cost $1,052. It’s an amazing deal if you are interested in running a small, online business and want to learn from those who are successful in this area.

I bought Chris Guillebeau‘s Unconventional Guide to Working For Yourself more than a year ago, and it gave me some good insights on running the kind of business Chris does. So, I can recommend this guide to you. But if you are going to spend $79 for Chris’s guide, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pay extra $18 to get other 22 courses with it.

I was keen on quite a few of the 23 courses and it would cost more than $97 if I bought them separately. The ones I am especially interested are the following:

  • Guest Posting Guide by Chris Garrett – $17
  • Location Independent Lifestyle Guide by Lea Woodward – $37
  • Zero to Business by Johnny B. Truant – $297
  • Write for the Web&Beyond Bricks and Mortar by James Chartrand – $54
  • How to Live Anywhere by Karol Gajda – $97
  • Minimalist Business by Everett Bogue – $47
  • Beyond Blogging by Nathan Hangen – $47
  • Networking Awesomely by Colin Wright – $20

I chose to get on board with this super sale and I believe I made a good decision. If you are curious, check out the sale page here. At the time of writing this blog post, it’s only about 24 hours to go till the sale ends. I hope you can manage to get it if you are interested!


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Photo: aussiegall

Business idea: Argument Clinic (Day 28)

I’ve been learning about entrepreneurship a lot from $100 Business Forum by Chris Guillebeau and Pam Slim, and Question the Rules by Johnny B. Truant and Lee Stranahan in order to build a location independent business and my own empire. But at the same time, I’ve been struggling to find the most important element in this endeavor: products/services.

The problem is that even though I do come up with some business ideas, they don’t really look like what I’m after or there are so many people who do better than me.

Earlier today, Lee Stranahan (@Stranahan) tweeted:

If you had to start a business quickly to bring in a $1000 (one thousand) a month working at home, what would you do?

To which I replied:

Argument clinic. Helping people sharpen their logic&reasoning in what they’ve written. The real Q is: why haven’t I started it?

What I find interesting is that I didn’t have to think hard to come up with my reply to Lee. This argument clinic business isn’t what I’m looking for exactly, but it’s close enough and if it did grew up to be a source of $1000 per month, that would be totally fine.

So, why haven’t I started it yet? It really doesn’t cost me much to launch this business idea. Indeed, it’s hard to think of great reasons against starting this business. So, why not?

I love what Lee said in reply to my tweet:

But you have started it. You started it just now.

Sometimes a little encouragement like this one helps a lot. If you wanted to use such a service, what would want from it?

Doing gets you going (Day 1)

This post is the first post for my 30 day blogging challenge. The idea of this challenge occurred to me as a whim and I know why it came to my mind. I wasn’t happy with what I was doing—or rather, what I wasn’t doing.

I’ve been learning some entrepreneurial materials since the beginning of this year. I now have better ideas about how to do things in the world of entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, I have the most important thing missing from my yet-to-exist empire: a product. The best way would be such that you pay me for being who I am, but that’s not what where one starts, at least in almost every case. I do have confidence in who I am, but that doesn’t mean you give me your $30 for that. So, in short, I still have no clue about my potential products or services.

Even with blogging, I’ve hesitated a bit about what to write. The reason is not because I don’t do anything worth saying. It’s because I have a few conflicting ideas about what to write. It is often advised that if you want to get a good reader base, you better narrow down your blog’s main topics. While I want to focus on one or two topic, I have a wide range of interests that I want to write about. It might be a common situation for someone like me. It would be great if a few of my interests were related to one another somehow so the readers could enjoy reading the majority of my posts. But as I think about it, my role model Chris Guillebeau writes on various topics like traveling, entrepreneurship and personal growth.

I don’t know how the readers (i.e. you) would like my posts on wide-ranging topics. The only way to have a better idea about it is to write on various topics. It’s much better than thinking over what to write anyway. So, this challenge is an experiment for me. It’s an experiment to find out what works for me. It’s also an exercise to keep my blogging muscles.

Yes, this is an exercise of acting anyway. I surely want to hear from you, but the reaction I get doesn’t matter so much. What really matters is that I commit myself to updating my blog for the next 30 days.

Do you have something you want to achieve? What’s the smallest yet most basic action you can take to achieve it today? I want to hear from you and please share your thoughts with me by writing comments below if you like. Thanks!

Review: Question the Rules by Johnny B. Truant and Lee Stranahan

For the last two weeks, I’ve been listening to and learning from Question the Rules, an online course created by Johnny B. Truant and Lee Stranahan. It’s a great course for anyone interested in entrepreneurship and taking an unconventional path to get your business going. Before my review, let me quote the official blurbs for it first.

Question The Rules is packed with content that will show you how to identify your real goals and show you how to achieve them faster than you thought possible. The course includes…

  • 4 Modules created by Johnny B. Truant and Lee Stranahan containing over 8 hours of audio content
  • Special bonus interviews – over 12 hours of in-depth interviews with successful rule breakers
  • A whole bunch of bonuses contributed by Johnny, Lee, and our successful guests

Now, here’s my review. There is a lengthy subtitle to the course, and I love it: Noncoformist’s punk rock, DIY, nuts-and-bolts guide to creating the business and life you really want, starting with what you already have. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that I got drawn into the course for its punk rock taste, because I’ve been into punk rock since my teenager years and punk rock has influenced my life a lot.

You might want me to go straight into the materials of the course and evaluate the good and the bad of the course. But, I want to share a story with you instead rather than going through each material like a proper review. What? You are in rush? If that’s the case for you, here’s a brief version of my review. I’ve listened to 90% of the recordings and I think they are all great. Probably the only down side is that there are so many great advices to take from the course that it will probably take ages for me to internalize each lesson. Does that sound too good for you? Perhaps you should read on then.

I got to know about Johnny via Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit course. Chris interviewed Johnny as one of successful entrepreneurs, and Johnny’s records did look impressive. But I didn’t check his business closely.

On the last day of the special deal for Question the Rules, I happened to see some tweets about this product. I think there were only a few hours left to get it for $97. It is now sold for $397, which I think is still way cheaper than the actual value of the product. But, paying $397 upfront would have been out of range for me at the moment-I’m glad I managed to get it for $97. It’s a bargain, really.

You are not convinced that it’s more valuable than $397, aren’t you? There are some ways to estimate its value. There are 4 modules and 16 interviews with some extra audios like introduction, a wrap up talk, an interview with Johnny and that with Lee. Here’s one way. Assume that there are 30 hours of audio and each audio is a one hour lecture you can attend for $20. So, it comes to $600. Here’s another way. Assume you ask Johnny, Lee, and each entrepreneur featured in the course, for a one hour of consultation. I can easily imagine they would charge you more than $100 for that. So, perhaps it would come to something like $1800. You might say you are not sure if each audio is really worth $20 or covers what you would want to know. All I can say is: Yes, those lectures and interviews were really helpful for me.

If you are not sure about the course yet, I can understand that feeling. In fact, I was afraid that I would flood myself with taking so much information at once, because I’ve been working on Chris’s course as well. But I took the leap anyway and I’m happy for that decision.

I liked the course title instantly, because I am interested in philosophy and ask the rules more often than ordinary folks. But what really caught my attention is the subtitle I mentioned above. There is a sense of punk rock in the course.

The whole tone of this course resonates with me, because I’ve been into punk rock since I was a teenager. But I didn’t see a strong connection between punk rock and entrepreneurship before taking this course, even though it seems rather obvious when we think about things like the DIY spirit and the community aspect of punk rock.

So, one of the most important things I learned from this course is simply – yes, I’ve already had my punk rock education and I can do something with it. I can totally start with what I already have, as the subtitle says.

What I like about those modules and interviews is that most of them, if not all of them, deal with something much more broader and deeper than entrepreneurship – they deal with life, really. It’s more like Johnny and Lee are talking about life and just applying life lessons to running businesses. Or perhaps that’s one of my realizations from the course: entrepreneurship, at least the kind Johnny and Lee are doing and the kind I want to do, is all about how you live.

If you are an entrepreneur in training and have a punk rock spirit burning in you, then by all means go for it. It will be worth it. However, if you want bullet-proof step-by-step lessons on how to run your own business without taking an unconventional path, I think you should look for something else. The things Johnny and Lee discuss in the course can be abstract at times, although what they talk about is based on their experiences and what worked for them; I don’t consider being abstract to be a bad thing and they are not being fluffy either.

Are you interested in questioning the rules about running a business and walking your own path that you create for yourself? If so, check Question the Rules!  *Disclosure: This is an affiliate link. Please note that I don’t advertise what I consider to be worthless.

Some remarks on $100 Business Forum

The first week of $100 Business Forum is over. Here are some remarks about this course so far.

The format of the course is as follows. Each day, either Chris Guillebeau or Pamela Slim posts a lesson. Each lesson focuses on one topic and covers key concepts or ideas related to that topic. Lessons are brief and straight to the point. If just reading texts or watching a video posted for a lesson, it would take you only 5 minutes or so to go through one lesson. At the end of each lesson, you get to work on some exercises. By completing these exercises, you’ll understand better what you read or heard in a lesson. The exercises we did so far have been quite reflective in the sense that you get to evaluate yourself and your business ideas.

Even though the information taught and covered in the first week per se is not so much, it feels as though there were a lot of things going on. Perhaps one reason is that this course is more exercise-oriented than lecture-oriented, which I think is a strength of this course. Another reason is that there are 150 participants (including myself) in the course and there is so much going on in the discussion forum.

Everyone in the course comes from different backgrounds and has some great ideas. Some people seem to be quite experienced in the way of entrepreneurship. But then, there are people like me who are just about to start up. Getting to know some of the participants, if not all of them, can be great advantages for you and your business. I’m somewhat overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many people, but I suppose I can work on my own pace and do what I can do.

It’s amazing that there are three more weeks to go. I’m curious about and looking forward to the rest of the course.

How would you use your $100?

One of my goals for this year is to create extra income streams. I aim to make these streams location-independent as much as possible. That way, I don’t need to fix myself to one location and can earn enough financial resources from wherever I am. I do work from home as a translator, but extra income streams would ensure my income to be stable. Achieving this goal will be a good step towards my long term goal of having a nomad lifestyle.

To those who know me: No, I haven’t given up philosophy yet. (And to those who don’t know me or got to know me only recently: I submitted my master’s thesis on metaethics/philosophy of language last year) In the long run, I want to design my life in such a way that I can spend time on what I like: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, philosophy, other creative activities and the like. I think it is highly advantageous for one to have skills for launching a small business and running it successfully. No one hires you? How about you hiring yourself? Or you can’t find a job that you like? Perhaps you can make one?

Do these sound too unconventional for you? Whether you take a shot or not is totally up to you; I’ll take it.

Chris Guillebeau has been inspiring me regarding this entrepreneur path. He is a writer, entrepreneur, and world traveler. Chris shares his knowledge, thoughts and ideas with us through his website The Art of Non-Comformity. If you fancy an unconventional way of living, you should check out Chris’s articles. There are a number of intriguing articles on his website. The one I would like to introduce to you for this occasion is the following: The Case for the $100 Business.

In this article, Chris remarks that it’s possible for one to launch a small business for $100. Then he talks about the fundamental principle behind running such a business. He also lists some $100 business ideas suggested by his followers on twitter.

Chris recently launched a 28 day online course on running a $100 business, in collaboration with Pamela Slim, the author of Escape from Cubicle Nation. I was quite surprised when Chris announced that the price for this course is $100. Considering what a student will get out of this course, I say that’s a bargain. The first round of the course will start from 1 February 2010, but it has been filled up already. I was one of those people who waited in front of a computer for the registration for this course to open. How could I resist such an offer after all! I am looking forward to the course and getting to know other 149 participants as well as Chris and Pamela.

I will write about how I go with the course and my not-yet-in-existence small business once the course has started. Posts on these matters may be useful if you want to consider whether it’s worth taking the course. You can certainly wait for my posts, but note that the second round of the course may also be filled up soon and that the third round seems to take place later in the year rather than soon after the second one. If you are interested in running a small business and want to take action now, I suggest you read Chris’s articles and measure for yourself what Chris can possibly offer through this course. If you are not in rush, wait and see how I go with it.