I began journaling long-hand in spiral notebooks years ago and noticed how life passed through my pages.
It was exhilarating.
It became an obsession.
It became so important that I forced myself to walk away for breaks.
I had become addicted to forgetting to live my life unless I took the time – hours – to write-up a memorable 15-minute experience.
Today I’m happy to say my journaling is confined to answering one question.
What would Leo da V do?
Not Michelangelo, but Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo kept stunning notebooks which revealed his wide-ranging scientific, artistic and human anatomy curiosities.
Walter Isaacson wrote about Leonardo’s genius, but didn’t gloss over how, due to his unrestrained creative inquiry during the Renaissance, Leonardo left many sponsored projects unfinished.
Musing what Leo da V would do triggers a meandering tour through unconnected feelings, thoughts, ideas, memories and fragments of story ideas.
Or what might be called my Prewrite.
“What would Leo da V do? Relish what the interviews reveal in Judd Apatow’s book, “Sick in the Head”. Like Marc Maron’s WTF podcast interviews, these are people who are in their 40s and 50s who are established in their careers – Gen-X – and reveal what it’s like to keep going, be creative, take newer risks, reflect on what’s going on around them now.”
If That, Then This …
Helen says, “Anything that comes to mind that you don’t want to forget — note it down. Sometimes re-reading your ideas can trigger another idea and it just snowballs from there.”
Leo led to a couple of surprises.
“Two organizing principles – Legacy and Taxes.”
The taxes symbolized a reminder that it is that time of year.
And, working on those taxes points out a need for making money – different business models to explore.
Legacy reminds me I need to return to my tagline – “How to Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy” – and flesh out what it’s like to keep going and developing in the latter phases of artistic lives.
If That, Then This …
I may be cursed.
But, I’m also lucky enough that I recently took time off to trace Leonardo’s footsteps in Italy.
I’ve already identified 12 steps (from the master list of 34) described and illustrated in Volume One of “The Knowledge Path: How to Live. Love. Work. Play. Invest and Leave a Legacy.”
Start down a path with a lifestyle business that you can take anywhere in the world “at the intersection of passion and quality-of-life“:
Choose a business model that brings out the best in you.
Conduct a preliminary marketing study about the best places on your bucket list
Activate a “Brand-as-an-Expert” campaign
Maintain a consistent process of content aggregation, curation, composition, and circulation.
Engage and nurture your audience of followers.Grow to 1000 (2000?) raving fans
Make it easy for them to buy your expertise and advocate on your behalf to others.
Automate the chain of awareness, interest, liking, desire, trial, repurchase and regular use.
Practice daily to master your story telling process to engage your customers imagination.
Cultivate a voice that is uniquely yours and delivers on your “Brand-as-an-Expert.”
Sketch scenarios in five-year time frames to highlight potential risks and rewards, threats and opportunities.
Prepare to pivot and thrive when key moments during your five-year scenarios arrive.
Monitor and anticipate shifts in your environment. Swim with the new currents and clue your fans in to what’s changing.
What are the unknowns?
Building a website that will describe my work-in-process.
Figuring out a way of capturing the knowledge and experience in a way that results in another knowledge product.
I didn’t know how to write and publish a book.
I knew I had a story to tell.
Figuring out what the step-by-step process is for self-publishing, hosting a website and blog, submitting a book to Amazon, determining all the moving parts to a social media strategy and crowdfunding campaign.
If the return on my effort ROE may not be worth the time to master it from scratch. (Or, for you).
Costs: Incurred expenses for registering domain names over two years with additional for confidentiality, hosting my 6 sites
What are the threats?
My learn-as-you-go DIY project takes too long.
Is it analysis paralysis? The research and writing parts vary between the extremes of terror and bliss.
My book content ages by the time it takes to successfully self-publish the series. The perceived value tanks and no-one buys my books.
I lose focus and move on to Volume Two prematurely. I self-sabotage as I near the end – what’s that old song – Slip Sliding Away?
The content business isn’t sustainable and you can’t really make a living following this business model.
Even though it’s a cliché I hear frequently from almost all of the mentors I’ve recruited over the last decade, I too want to give back.
And, I wanted to learn something new by testing the process for creating new knowledge and innovation – called knowledge banking.
How you can choose the right resort community just for you in the Western Region of the United States – all you needed was fast wifi connection and a method.
Write Volume Two as a new series of books – selecting the type of organizations with talent cultures as clients or employers – that bring out the best in you. Optimize the entire process by applying what I’ve learned so far.
Integrate a project plan. Test what works and what doesn’t. Grow your reading audience by igniting a marketing plan and social media campaign.
Pick the best crowdfunding platform.
Publish on Amazon – give it a way individually and as a five book series to experiment with pricing (Volume One) – creating a bucket list of best places attracting people like you in quality-of-life communities.
Offer exclusive reports and bucket list updates.
Conduct a laboratory. Bank new knowledge and expertise mastered. Package and repackage your deposits into new products.
“Hi Steve, I first noticed your name as a good friend here in fort Collins, now a local judge shares your same name.
Then I started reading your bio and saw some really interesting overlaps in our work.
Notably: 1. I have been applying new economy skills since 1990 and the lessons learned are still lessons corporations have yet to figure out today.
2. I have been toying with a great AI platform “Shaping Tomorrow” and love how responsive it is and its range of cognitive search.
But I already theoretically shaped 2 major uses that would put AI in a very positive light by enabling millions.
One connects education and industry on an even keel so students graduate with current or advantaged skills. The other provides startups with a far better option than incubators or accelerators by creating a complete online support ecosystem.
Love to at least chat with you by phone. I am in Fort Collins, CO and was strongly advised by digital guru and author Brian Solis to hold off retirement as he says the brightest people out there are trying to figure out,
What I experienced between 1990 and 2002 for my last 12 years leading a more conscious marketing effort for HP. Have advanced well beyond that now.”
What the … ?
It took me awhile to read and reread it and to double-check Akismet.
“Looks legit,” I concluded.
Wait, if it is, then I’ll have to respond, right?
All I could think of was Amy Poehler’s description of improv work.
To whatever you acting partner throws out at you in the scene, you come back with “Yes and …”
“Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Sometimes I feel it’s like that old joke that if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all – only in my case it’s spam comments.
Yes, I agree we traveled some of the same paths with many overlaps. For instance, I’ve been a member of Shaping Tomorrow for years and recently rediscovered a cache of emails from Michael Jackson which updated me with major leaps in their service and access to their AI robot, Athena.
Your two initiatives sound fascinating, timely and very worthwhile, Bill. Oh, and Fort Collins is one of my favorite places in Colorado.
Or maybe I chose a path that required me to cut back on meals – at least on a regular basis.
But one that AnyWired inspired.
“Work online, work anywhere, live free’ … will be a blog for anyone who works through the web (freelancers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, webmasters, telecommuters etc).”
Here’s where the blog’s message inspired me:
Work at home, but live where you want instead of where you are forced to.
You are in demand, but you don’t know where.
Customers, clients and consumers all over the world are searching for the insight you have accumulated.
It used to be that you had to be local to work with clients or an employer in a specific location.
I figured that there were more than enough detailed instructions for earning a living online.
If you are already making money as a freelancer or an internet entrepreneur, why not move to where you will find the most inspiration?
How do you find the highest quality-of-life communities with people who are just like you?
Those that offer everything you enjoy?
Plus affordable real estate, shopping, dining and entertainment with award-winning schools?
Wait, maybe Jellystone Park is relevant after all.
For Day Eight AnyWired said:
“Include your current location, any relevant qualifications you have, previous work you have done in the industry and previous clients you have worked for (don’t worry if there are none).”
“This is particularly relevant if you’ve been working in your field before going freelance.”
If not, then you’ll have to fake it until you make it.
Or, on Day Eight, “You should spend at least 1 hour per day just developing your skill.”
And, on each and every day going forward.
So what lies ahead over the next seven days according to AnyWired?
“Day Nine: Create your Contract Form.
Day Ten: Design your invoice template.
Day Eleven:Set up your home office space.
Day Twelve:Create a logo OR commission a logo OR work more on your skills.
Day Thirteen: Start work on a portfolio item – you will have 5 days to complete this.
Day Fourteen: Add a page to your portfolio describing your one service.
Day Fifteen: Read Freelance Switch’s guide to Getting Started as a Freelancer.”
So, back to Pages in WordPress.
You are supposed to write your About page.
Being such a clueless DIY bumbler I didn’t understand the differences between “Posts” and “Pages”.
Here’s what I found out.
What you are now reading is called a post.
Like your resume they appear in reverse chronological order, unless
You know what you are doing
You change the default setup
You can see I don’t and didn’t
But we’re not here to wax poetically about posts.
We’re after those non-chronological and often hierarchical content on pages.
According to the WordPress Codex:
“Pages live outside of the normal blog chronology, and are often used to present timeless information about yourself or your site — information that is always relevant.
You can use Pages to organize and manage the structure of your website content.
In addition to the common “About” and “Contact” pages, other examples include “Copyright”, “Disclosure”, “Legal Information”, “Reprint Permissions”, “Company Information” or “Accessibility Statement”.”
Pages don’t change dynamically. They aren’t time-bound. Their content doesn’t perish or become outdated like in posts.
More sophisticated themes may provide a wider range of adjustments or display options for individual pages.
It’s quite possible to make a website using WordPress which only contains pages.
So with that cleared up, what about, well, The About Page?
Here’s what I found buried in my dashboard that came with my Twenty Seventeen theme.
“Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors.
It might say something like this:
Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my website. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)
…or something like this:
The XYZ Doohickey Company was founded in 1971, and has been providing quality doohickeys to the public ever since. Located in Gotham City, XYZ employs over 2,000 people and does all kinds of awesome things for the Gotham community.”
So how do you arrive at your About page description?
It flows from your site’s mission statement.
Your answers to each of the following question will provide a summary you can fine tune.
What am I going to do with this?
Who is going to read this?
What kinds of information will I be posting?
Who am I doing this for?
How often am I going to be posting and adding information?
Here is a draft that I’ve been working from which will be my bio displayed on the inside cover of each of my five books in Volume One of The Knowledge Path Series:
Steve is the founder of the Knowledge Laboratories and its network of enterprises.
He’s been mooning for years. Mostly in the dark.
Write. Write. Write.
Before first light.
Crafting messages “literally bottled and set adrift from KnowWhere Atoll.”
It’s taken him eight years just to bring Volume One: The Knowledge Path Series and its five books into the light of day.
Is it because he’s ADD? Maybe.
While he doesn’t see ghosts in the dark, he sees patterns. And opportunities. And, well, ways of tying people, places, things, ideas and trends together in new and original ways.
All of which come in handy during his day job in the Executive MBA program for The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.
He advises millennial, midlife and empty-nest executives pursuing new career, entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial opportunities. Helping them get unstuck by seeing their situations differently.
“How to Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy.”
Oh, and if you come to a fork in the road at Jellystone Park, be sure to take it!
Here’s what WordPress describes when they say a theme is a system to “skin” your weblog, but so much more.
Luckily, the new WordPress theme, Twenty Seventeen, was announced and launched just in time to make my progress less like 3 am and more like 2 am.
Anywired’s Day Seven: Choose a WordPress Theme.
Stealing time from here and there causes major disruptions in concentration.
The next morning or at lunch you try to pick up from where you left off.
What did you have in mind when you wrote that?
Where did you file your draft?
And, as any writer will tell you that’s the nature of the beast.
It comes with the territory.
However, you don’t unnecessarily over-complicate things like I do.
Only those with the same Myers Briggs tendencies – ENTP on a good day and INTP on a bad day will recognize the problems.
Oh, and in my Volume Two set of books I’ll reveal similar but different coded temperaments.
For figuring out those internal organizational cultures made up of competing tribes.
ENTP is also known (in my original research) as PMBI which is short-hand code (actually this is the code – 101HDIHHS) for Paradoxy-Morons, Breakpoint Inventors.
The disrupters, usually found in tech companies.
Or possibly, INTP aka SPURCs, the Systematic-Professionals (113MEKHIMM) who are typecast as Unbiased Research Conceptualizers.
The people antidotes for the fake news disease, aka knowledge workers.
And running Knowledge Laboratories as a way to grow and learn through short trial and error, experiments.
See I can’t help myself.
Where was I?
Right off the bat I was confused.
Pluses and Minuses, Discuss – Talk among yourselves.
And, on top of the confusion I recall AnyWired recommended showcasing your portfolio.
Shouldn’t that be in the mix as you try to choose which theme will make your life easier while giving you a solid platform to add more functions and features?
One last note.
You know when you wake up at night and you look over at the clock and it displays 2:00 am?
I feel some comfort in knowing I can get up, turn the lights back on and jot down the brilliant flash of insight or fleeting dream sequence, turn the lights back off and climb back into bed for pretty well- rested continuation of blissful sleep.
Contrast that with 3:00 am.
That, to me, presents a no-win proposition.
No win set up for an exhausted nights sleep and the energy depleted next day.
So my trick.
I began noting comments about where I was when I left off in a running journal under the heading of “2 am”.
It helped me pick up where I left off at zero dark thirty, or at a faux breakfast meeting before work or at an extended lunch during work.
And, where I felt the bottom had been pulled away from my floor and I fell free fall into Dante’s Inferno, as “3 am”.
The gawd awful technical issues that prolonged the progress on my goals I clearly tagged as “3am”.
And, it began with a pretty reasonable first step.
A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software.
Themes may include customized template files, image files (*.jpg, *.gif), style sheets (*.css), custom Pages, as well as any necessary code files (*.php). For an introduction to template files, see Stepping Into Templates.”
But, even today, some of WordPress instructions are hopelessly out of date.
“WordPress currently comes with three themes: the default Twenty Fifteen theme, and previous defaults Twenty Fourteen theme and Twenty Thirteen theme.”
Now four (Twenty Seventeen theme).
“You can switch between Themes using the Appearance admin panel. Themes that you add to the theme directory will appear in the Administration Screen > Appearance > Themes as additional selections.”
Of course I didn’t know it at the time.
I felt I should record this under “2am”.
Here’s where “3 am” drained me:
“If your host offers the cPanel control panel, and the Theme files are in a .zip or .gz archive follow these instructions.
Note: This assumes the Theme you download is a compressed (.zip) file containing a folder under which all the Theme files reside.
1 Download the Theme .zip file to your local machine.
2 In cPanel File Manager, navigate to your Themes folder. If your WordPress is installed in the document root folder of your web server you would navigate to “public_html/wp-content/themes” and if you have WordPress installed in a sub-folder called wordpress, you would navigate to “public_html/wordpress/wp-content/themes”.
3 Once you’ve navigated to the Themes folder in cPanel File Manager, click on Upload file(s) and upload that .zip file you saved in Step 1.
4 Once the .zip file is uploaded, click on the name of that file in cPanel, then in the panel to the right, click on “Extract File Contents”, and that .zip file will be uncompressed.
5 Follow the instructions below for selecting the new Theme.”
Again, where was I?
Choose a theme and showcase your portfolio.
Seems simple enough.
Here’s my initial strategy.
Realizing I’m an associative thinker I needed to discipline myself.
I’d only worry about activating the first few of the websites in my network of enterprises.
What I didn’t know about publishing a book could, well fill a book.
I found almost 200 articles in my knowledge bank for “WordPress.org” beginning in July of 2016 and ending more recently in January 2018
Day Six: Set up WordPress under your freelance business domain.
Every freelancer should have an online portfolio, even if it’s very simple.
If you’re a designer with time to spare you can probably take control of this step.
And, then as if it is as simple as just saying it (to me):
If you want a quick solution that is quite effective, download WordPress <http://wordpress.org/download/> and install it under your domain name.
What does that even mean?
It wasn’t clear to me what the difference between a domain name and a website, let alone download, install and host your own.
This whole day (Day 6) felt confusing and bewildering to me.
First of all I’ve cheated – I’m not really planning on freelancing.
I’ve undertaken this hugely time-consuming project called dumping everything you know into a manuscript
What you know (or you think) is true and helpful based on the kudos from your clients.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I didn’t know where to start.
I didn’t know how to get smart quickly.
My one hour a day devoted to practicing my writing had already expanded to four or five hours a day before work, at lunch, after work and into the early evening.
And that was purely using a template for “Pages” that made it easy to write and publish a, well, self-published ebook.
In my ignorance I felt I couldn’t answer what came first, the chicken or the egg.
So, my egg-product is a book manuscript and my chicken is a website to attract potential audiences, right?
What I didn’t know about publishing a book could, well fill a book.
You need a name, a title.
Better check the first place I could think of – Amazon.
A year ago I couldn’t find a name that came close to what I thought the book was about, when it was completed.
Not as I had conceived of it and outlined it.
“The Knowledge Path”
The only variations I came across seemed esoteric.
Mine was practical.
On to GoDaddy.
What about domain names?
I typed in variations.
As soon as I found one with a .com in it I reserved it and followed Daddy’s directions for buying it.
I had to pay two years worth.
Falling into a techno hell, I couldn’t figure what came next.
Nobody recommended GoDaddy as a host.
AnyWired, and a bunch of internet marketing types I found in my knowledge bank, recommended WordPress.
If I didn’t know how to download WordPress.org under my domain, then what?
Just dipping into my knowledge bank I found 80 different research articles over a five-year period beginning in June 2012 and ending in July of 2017 for “WordPress” alone.
WordPress com or org?
Then, I discovered I had a choice to make “.com” or “.org”.
Did that mean “WordPress.org” forced me into a non-profit “business model”?
Doesn’t it make more sense to choose “WordPress.com”?
Made sense to me.
But know, oh I mean NO.
“Org” provides many more choices which should have been a warning.
But, being clueless I expected smooth sailing.
Is more like it.
I nearly drowned.
I found almost 200 articles in my knowledge bank for “WordPress.org” beginning in July of 2016 and ending more recently in January 2018.
Top 3 Hosting
And, what don’t I know about hosting?
Which criteria should I use to make my decision?
Again my knowledge bank.
From the summer and winter of 2012 and then a more urgent jump to the winter and spring of 2017.
WordPress.org smartened me up:
Minimum requirements, and choosing one from the crowd can be a chore. Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment.
We’ve dealt with more hosts than you can imagine; in our opinion, the hosts below represent some of the best and brightest of the hosting world.
If you do decide to go with one of the hosts below and click through from this page, some will donate a portion of your fee back—so you can have a great host and support WordPress.org at the same time.
Single Site Installation or Multisite?
You need to find a host.
Well, I’ve just paid for six domains in a just-in-case protection of my potential intellectual property.
Do I really want to find six different hosts?
What are my alternatives?
Beginning in March and continuing until July 2017 I discovered 78 expert articles and YouTube videos producing eye-glassy technical overkill to a simpleton like me.
Just about the time I gave up trying to grasp multisite, domain mapping, plugins and codex the newer version of WordPress. org included it.
Sigh of relief.
My choice simplified.
Choose one of the three hosts that supported multisite at a reasonable cost.