How I Ended Up Traveling The U.S. Getting Paid To Draw, Write & Teach: Part 8

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Part 8. Trying (Failing) to Start Up my Own Business

After leaving my old company, I took six months to prepare my own business. I might have started sooner, but I was contractually forbidden. My plan was to offer a one day intensive course on Photoshop for $79.

“Come in knowing nothing and leave knowing Photoshop or your money back.”

Exus Training was a fantastic deal.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know the first thing about marketing, and I learned the hard way that business is marketing. Anyone can teach a class, but getting butts in seats? That’s a skill. I put up a website and as many free videos on Photoshop as I could. I talked with dozens of people who voiced interest. The videos got thousands of hits, but I ended up with only one person signing up. It was embarrassing.

There’s a hundred things I could have done. I know that now. Marketing, I discovered, is hard.

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I gave up on running my own business, saying I’d only get back to it if my youtube channel passed 100,000. I regressed a bit as my day job slowed down in terms of both hours and excitement. I’d fallen into a “What are you doing? Same Old, same old” situation. I was spending a lot of time writing in coffee shops, and watched as my bank account got closer and closer to zero.

I decided, more than anything, I wanted to be a writer. It’s what I talked about becoming when I was growing up, and I’d been off that path for far too long. If I was going to become a writer, I couldn’t keep juggling two main jobs, a smattering of freelance assignments, and two other very aggressive hobbies. It left no time for writing. I needed a sustainable source of income that took up no more than two weeks a month. Training made a lot of sense, but I couldn’t just return to training. Just returning with my tail between my legs would destroy me. I couldn’t keep teaching the same class over and over again. I’d done that. Instead I gave myself a challenge.

Next week: Challenging myself by teaching classes I knew almost nothing about

Next Week: Part 9. What Am I Doing Teaching this?

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