Growth is all around us, look at the trees and the grass, they never grow in huge spurts! They just keep at it, day in and day out, and that slow growth from season to season, year to year, is the very thing that makes the trees strong and beautiful.

When we try to artificially stimulate growth by borrowing money – or keeping with our analogy, by adding some fertilizer to get a fast response – at first it looks like a great deal. Eventually though things get out of balance, and before long all the gain that was made will be lost and usually more.

A tool that helped me get some balance and much needed education in this area is budgeting software called YNAB, which stands for, You Need A Budget. I tried other budgeting software before and I could not make them work for me. YNAB finally got through to me because it is built on clear principles and has great resources available like an eBook, training classes, and the software itself is really great as well.

3. They Don’t Always Come if You Build It

The next epiphany is one that was very hard for me to embrace. My beliefs about this topic were deeply ingrained. I’m not sure where I got these ideas, but I was willing to sacrifice everything for them.

I’m referring to the idea that if you make the best product in the world you will be successful. Unfortunately, there are many incredible products out there that go totally unnoticed. The world at large may completely and tragically miss out on these products because the person who created them, like me, had the notion that if their product was that good, it would simply have to be a success.

Once I began to understand this truth, I had to restructure my time and efforts to incorporate set times for working on ways to help people become aware of my guitars and their unique qualities and true value.

In order to be able to build my guitars and find ways to communicate their value, I first had to learn to organize my time. The biggest help to me in this area was a book called, ”Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Since time was the issue here, I just listened to the audio version of this while I worked on my guitars and stopped to take notes as needed. This book laid the foundation for the systems that I still use today.

For those of you who use an iPad, I also use two apps; a “to do list” app called Omnifocus which is expensive, but definitely worth it, and a Gantt chart app called SG Project Pro which is really powerful and that I really enjoy using. The head programmer who designed SG Project is a guitar player too, so it must be good. 

4. Making Friends is More Fun than Marketing

When it comes to marketing I don’t advocate throwing money around to build up some flashy tricks or gimmicks, but I have seen great results in the slow, hard, diligent, and very rewarding work of being genuine and connecting with people in a meaningful way. It really isn’t marketing, because there isn’t that much of a strategy, essentially it is just making friends with people, getting to know them and understand what they need and want from your product.

Once I know someone, I can better understand how to express the true qualities of my product. If they have needs I’m not currently meeting, then I can try to redesign my product to incorporate the needs and wants of my potential customers. The best part is that making friends is not only more effective than marketing, it’s more fun too.

Simply taking the time to communicate with people via email has been the best tool for this aspect of connecting with people. In addition to regular emails, I use a free email list service called Mailchimp which helps me easily send out a newsletter to the rapidly growing list of people who subscribe to my blog. Building a list of subscribers is a fun way to interact with people who are interested in your product. I even give away a free download of my eBook to every person who subscribes! This is great because it’s a win-win. The book helps me in that it gives people more insight into who I am and what my product is about, and it gives them something of value that they are interested in for free.