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Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

Also known as: Why I Fired My Email List Provider

Link: Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

For more than 8 years I used the same email provider. At one time, long ago, they were the best in the business. As the years went by, they became… well, definitely not the best. I had countless frustrations, including one time where the whole system was down for several days and the company only acknowledged the disaster after people complained.

Still, I resisted change, because change is hard—or so I thought. Over the past few years, a good friend of mine named Nathan Barry has been developing a new service that promised to fix many of the frustrations I had with the larger company that slowly declined over time.

I was skeptical at first, because, well, change is hard. But I finally decided to give Nathan’s service a try, and I was impressed right away. It’s much, much better than every other service I’ve seen, and depending on how you use it, it can be cheaper too.

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Build a Business Where You Can’t Get Fired

Link: Webcomic Entrepreneurs

A while back, a friend of mine who worked in publishing was laid off. He was at the height of a career and by all accounts had done an excellent job for his employer. He lived in New York City, perhaps the center of the universe for many things, but definitely not known for being affordable. Oh, and he also had a large family, with at least two kids who would be going to college soon.

When he was laid off, I thought, “Wow, if that can happen to him, it can happen to nearly any employee.”

Thankfully, he’s landed on his feet and now works in a senior role with another publisher. Still, what if there was a better way?

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Being Able to Ask “What’s Next?” Is a Sign You Are Happy in Your Work

During the Born for This tour, people would occasionally ask how you know when you have your dream job. It was an easy setup for a joke: “If you have to ask, ‘Am I happy?’ you probably aren’t.”

Still, even when you’re satisfied in your work, it’s nice to get reinforcement of that fact from time to time. There are several big and little signs that can provide that reinforcement:

Here’s another one that I’ve been pondering lately. When you finish a task or project, do you experience a sense of accomplishment—or do you only feel relief?

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“I Write To Create Something That Is Better than Myself”: Reading Karl Ove Knausgaard

Like a lot of people outside of Scandinavia, I discovered Karl Ove Knausgaard's epic, extended memoir series a few years after it was a huge bestseller in his native Norway.

So far in my reading, the six-volume, 3,600 page (!) series has covered the extremely intimate and granular experiences of childhood, burying his alcoholic father, leaving a marriage and entering a new relationship with a woman who suffers from bi-polar disorder, all in a kaleidoscope of words and paragraphs about what could be termed the joy and trauma of ordinary life.

Yep, I'm a fan.

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Be Careful of Telling Your Origins Story Over and Over

The time came for the interview and I logged into Skype with my headset. After a few minutes of small talk, the host pressed the record button and began with the usual question: “Tell our listeners a little about you… how did you get started?”

It’s a fair question. The only problem is that I’ve answered it over and over—and over and over. Whenever I have a book out, I do at least 50 podcast interviews and usually another 50 radio interviews. At least 30% of the time, this is the first question that’s asked.

When you tell the same story over and over, two things happen. First, you get really good at telling it. You know what to say and how to say it. Second, because you hear the same question and give more-or-less the same answer each time, you rarely deviate from the course.

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“The Beauty Is That It Could Fail”: A Real-World Story of Risk

The new host of Prairie Home Companion steps in after forty years of someone else running the show.

Toward the end of the meeting, Thile suggested a new idea. He wanted to perform a live request every week with his new house band. The rules: A minimum of two of the players should have heard the song, but none could have previously played it.

Rowles liked it. Hudson looked wary. Someone else said, “It could fall flat.”

Thile pointed out that its flopping could be entertaining as well: “It’s Evel Knievel.”

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Is There a Hole in Your Bathtub?

Imagine that you’re filling your bathtub for a nice relaxing soak. You’ve got the water on full blast at just the right temperature, and the soap suds are perfectly proportioned. Yet there’s a problem: the water rises to a decent level, but never quite tops out to where you’d like it. Despite leaving the water on and stepping away for a while, nothing changes.

Then you realize the source of the problem: there’s a hole in the drain. It may just be a small one, but it’s a hole—water disappears down it in one direction only, never to return.

What do you do? You could leave the water on full blast for the entire soak, which might not be that relaxing. Or you could try to fix the problem by plugging the hole.

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If Your Vision Isn’t Being Understood, Never Hesitate to Change Your Tactics

From Mike Birbiglia’s “6 Tips for Making it Small in Hollywood”:

"I once heard an interview where Ron Howard said that he tests the rough cuts of his movies with a ton of audiences. He doesn’t do it to be told what the movie’s vision should be, but to understand whether his vision is coming across. If not, he makes changes. Your vision is not being conveyed a majority of the time."

This relates to some other things I’ve been thinking recently.

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Should You Perform for the Audience or Just Entertain Yourself?

Link: Sir Paul on Fans, the Beatles, and Himself

When Paul McCartney goes on tour, he plays a lot of songs. A recent set list included 27 songs and stretched for more than three hours. People get their money’s worth, which is why they keep coming back.

You can think of yourself as an artist that seeks to challenge yourself by trying new things, and there’s nothing wrong that perspective. But there’s also nothing wrong with asking, “What do the people want?” and then thinking about how to give it to them.

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8 Ways to Have More Time

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who needs only four or five hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, I’m not—without a consistent minimum of 6-8 hours, and usually on the high side of that range, I don’t perform very well.

If you’re like me and need your sleep, and if you’re not otherwise superhuman, you may need to hack your way to greater time and productivity. Many of us are constantly looking for more time. These 8 tips might help.

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Catch Pokémon for Fun and Money: Lessons in Paying Attention

File under: entrepreneurship is everywhere.

And so are Pokémon hunters. No matter where you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen them—and maybe you are one of them, staring at your phone while walking through the streets in search of winged creatures.

Or maybe you think the Pokémon craze is silly. Personally, I think it’s interesting to see how quickly it caught on, with millions of players all over the world, as well as how it encourages people to get out and walk more, since Pokémon are clustered around parks and other walkable areas.

I enjoyed this article about how some enterprising players have set up digital shop in helping new players “level up” or catch rare Pokémon.

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Three Simple Actions to Increase Your Available Options

Even if you’re perfectly happy where you are, anything you can do to add security and increase your options will help you.

What if you had a different source of income than your paycheck? Then, even if you have a great job and no desire to quit, you’re also earning money on the side. Put it in savings, pay off debt, or put it toward meaningful experiences.

What if you had the ability to travel anywhere? That’s why you should accumulate miles & points, so that you can have a ready-made bank account to get you on a plane and into the immigration line.

Here are three simple actions you can take right now to increase your available options.

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3 Keys to Building a Successful Writing Career

Habit. If you want to be a writer, you first have to write. You can sit down and free write. You can write first and edit later (or "write drunk, edit sober" as the saying goes). You can use a timer and write for 50 minutes every morning or you can plan to write 500 words before going to bed. Whatever works for you is what matters.

Focus. This doesn’t mean “only write about one specific topic” as some people say. If you want to be the world’s leading expert on marsupials in Macedonia, go right ahead. You’ll be a hero to all five people interested in that.

Persistence. You’ve just got to do it! And you’ve got to keep doing it. Over and over. When you find yourself not writing, you have to find your way back. Continuing to work on something for a long period of time is often a strong predictor of success (except when it's not).

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Limited Time: Get a Free Guide to Online Business

Link: Ramit’s “Ultimate Guide to Online Business” (Free)

Every day I hear from new readers who pick up The $100 Startup, especially around the world as it continues to be published in more and more languages (22 at last count).

The world of people interested in creating personal freedom through entrepreneurship continues to grow. And as it does, many of these people have questions about the best next steps to take.

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Just Because It’s Supposed to Work Doesn’t Mean It Will

Dan finished his education degree without ever stepping into a classroom.

After he graduated, he realized he didn’t like teaching and wasn’t good at it. The very first day of student teaching, where the goal was to serve as an intern before accepting a full-time position, he knew that this was not the career for him.

You’re probably thinking: hey, that’s life! He just had to stick it out, and then he’d be fine. And it’s true, sometimes there’s a learning curve on the road of purpose. We’re supposed to challenge ourselves, and it takes time to gain real-world skills.

This was different, though. Dan really didn’t like teaching. It felt uncomfortable and unnatural. He knew he could probably soldier on through the internship, but he didn’t want to go any further.

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