Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post is from Dream Save Do success story Beth Hayden, who’s new book on Pinterest marketing for small business is available online and at bookstores this week. Read on to see how Dreaming + Action = Better Than She Ever Expected. And get her book – it’s really good!
For four years, I led a double life.
During the weekends and evenings (and on my lunch breaks), I was a hustling entrepreneur. I ran an online marketing consulting business. I built WordPress websites for small business owners and taught them how to use blogging, social media, and email to increase sales. I loved my clients and the business I was creating.
I hated my day job. It was boring, repetitive, stifling, and every day got harder and harder as I worked for a company who underutilized my skills and kept me locked into an administrative role that I had outgrown years before.
As my own business grew, I held on to the day job for the health insurance benefits and the steady income. As a single mom, the security of having a steady paycheck every month was appealing, especially when the nightly news was filled with a steady drumbeat of reports about the lousy economy.
I talked about quitting the day job and making the leap to full-time entrepreneurship, but I always had a ready excuse why I couldn’t let the job go — the bad economy, not enough cash in the bank, insurance woes, etc. Weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, and I continued showing up every day at my job, wishing that things were different.
Then in October of 2011, of pair of fairy godparents came into my life. Their names are Betsy and Warren Talbot.
At my day job, I followed Betsy and Warren’s story online. I loved reading about how they saved up for their trip, how they jettisoned all their possessions, and how they left on the trip with nothing but backpacks, their love for each other, and a desire to accomplish something remarkable with their lives. I felt awed and inspired at their courage and tenacity.
Since I was already such a big fan, I ordered their book, Dream Save Do, as soon as they announced their sales page was open. As soon as I downloaded the book, I sat down at the kitchen table and started reading it. I tore through their story like a starving woman, knowing deep down that I was looking for a way to save my own life — a way to stop feeling dead inside every day when I trudged into the office and sat through endless meetings discussing things I didn’t care about.
The Free Bethy Project
In Dream Save Do (for those of you who haven’t read it) Betsy and Warren recommend creating what they call “dream porn,” — a large visual reminder of your dream. The Talbots’s dream porn, for example, was a huge map of the world they placed in a really prominent location in their home.
I finished Dream Save Do in under three days, and immediately created my dream porn — a giant collage of images that I knew would inspire me to stick with my budget and keep taking steps toward reaching my dream.
The goal I set was to quit my job on March 1st. I had a financial goal in mind, too — a specific amount of money I wanted to save in order to make quitting possible.
I had a vision for my business. I wanted to teach entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses, help women find their voices through social media, and make the world of technology a little less scary by being a voice of calm in the chaos.
I made steady progress on the “Free Bethy” project from October through December. I built my business, added new classes, socked money away and paid down my debt. Every day I still reported to my admin job, but I went to work with a much lighter heart, knowing that the end was in sight. I was saving money more slowly than I expected, but I was making progress, so I figured I was doing just fine.
Then at the beginning of 2012, things started to get really interesting.
As a blogger and a social media coach, I knew the importance of doing guest posts (like the one I’m writing here, for Warren and Betsy) for getting new readers and growing one’s online audience. I had written a few guest posts for other social media sites in the fall, but in early 2012, the Dream Save Do book inspired me to aim a little higher with my guest blogging ambitions.
I had taken a class with Jon Morrow about guest blogging. In that class, Jon taught us how to approach popular bloggers for guest posting opportunities, craft great posts that would draw lots of social media attention, and inspire our audiences with our unique messages.
A blog post I wrote for one of the class assignments caught Jon’s attention, and he passed the post on to the editors at Copyblogger, one of the biggest and most influential social media blogs in the world. The editors liked my idea and published my guest post shortly thereafter.
But honestly, my initial guest post didn’t take off the way I hoped. The Copyblogger editors were happy with the post, but the article didn’t really get any real traction. I was disappointed.
Somewhere in my subconscious, I think I believed that on the day of my first Copyblogger guest post, the sky would open up and the heavens would rain money down on me.
When that didn’t happen, I thought, “Okay, I may not hit my March 1st quitting date. But that’s okay — as long as I’m making progress, I will get there.”
So on the night my first Copyblogger guest post went live (after I got past my disappointment), I pitched the Copyblogger editor with ten additional post ideas. He liked several of them, and invited me to develop one particular idea into my next guest post. This second article was called 56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest, and it was published on the site on February 14th.
To my amazement and delight, this Pinterest post on Copyblogger went viral. To date, it has received nearly 4,000 retweets, 3,000 Facebook shares, and over 350 comments.
Beth’s ‘Overnight’ Success
Was I interested? Are you kidding? Of course I was!
The editor’s goal was to be the first to market with a book on Pinterest marketing. But that also meant that she needed a book proposal in five days, so she could take it to an important in-house pitch meeting.
I started working on the proposal as soon as I could, reaching out and asking for editing help from some author friends (who I knew through a local women’s networking group). Through that same group, I had become friends with a wonderful book agent. I reached out to her and she offered to help me write a killer proposal.
As I was writing the proposal, the editor at Wiley asked me how quickly I might be able to write the book. I thought it over and came up with the most aggressive timetable imaginable: four months.
The editor replied, “Could you do it in six weeks?”
Six weeks is an insanely short amount of time to write a book. But I thought to myself, “If a book editor asks you to write a book in just over a month, you say yes. And then you figure out how to do it.” I told her that six weeks would be just fine.
I finished the proposal, and the editor’s in-house pitch meeting went well. A week after my guest post had gone live on Copyblogger, I had a signed book deal. It was absolutely amazing, and completely terrifying (truth be told)!
Even more amazing was the fact that the book deal Wiley offered me included an advance — and that advance was for the exact amount that I had wanted to save before I quit my job.
Things moved really quickly after that. The day after I got the offer, I quit my day job. The date of my resignation was February 29th — one day short of my goal date to quit my job. Better yet, it was Leap Day!
After a whirlwind six weeks, I somehow made my deadline with Wiley. I handed in a 35,000-word manuscript.
Wiley immediately put the manuscript into an accelerated production schedule, and the book was published on July 3rd. It’s called Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest, and I will always think of it as my miracle book.
What I learned from this experience is that there is incredible power and genius in:
- Dreaming big and aiming high
- Setting an intention
- The Art of the Ask
- Continuing to move forward (even in the face of disappointment and setback)
- Relying on community
- Saying yes to crazy things
I feel like my new life started the moment I finished my Dream Porn collage and posted it above my kitchen table. From that moment, I set my intention and worked incredibly hard until I reached my goal.
I’m so grateful to my two fairy godparents for starting me on this magical and miraculous path.
So what kind of intention can you set today? And what first step can you take toward reaching your goal?
Editor’s Note: Beth was able to quit her job one day before her deadline and now makes her living doing just what she dreamed of doing. She has more time to spend with her son and new opportunities to pursue because of her willingness to take action on her dream instead of just thinking about it. Will you be the next Dream Save Do success story? We’d love to hear from you.
About the author: Beth Hayden is a social media expert and author of Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest. To learn more about Pinterest marketing, download her free Pinterest e-course . (And check out what we’re doing with what she taught us on our own Pinterest page.)