Being a successful author or thought leader is not easy. It’s incredibly rewarding on many levels yet it’s getting more and more difficult for many to be able to effectively monetize their content. The quaint old days of getting a nice advance from a publisher and then going out on the speaking circuit a few times a month to make a living are pretty much a distant memory for most. Running for Vice President or having served as Vice President seems to work pretty well but that’s another story. It’s changed a bit since Mark Twain’s time and it seems that most of the changes have occurred in the last five years or so.
What I find intriguing in my conversations with authors and thought leaders is that many don’t think enough about the landmines that have and will impact their practice or business. The publishing business (is that term an oxymoron?) is changing and in a state of flux. Boom! The speaking business is off over 50% and it doesn’t look to be coming back any time soon. Boom! Corporate training budgets are being cut. Boom! Consumers have far less discretionary income. Boom! Get the picture?
Now for every landmine there are an equal or greater number of opportunities – self publishing, social media, digital content, coaching, licensing, assessment tools, consulting engagements, etc. The reality is that it’s hard enough to stay on top of your game as a thought leader from a content perspective add to that the ability to master social media, community development, branding, marketing and so on, and the probability of success is reduced drastically.
My suggestion? Spend some time and come up with 5 “landmines” that are currently or will in the very near future affect you. Determine what percentage of your annual revenue is at risk for the next year, two years and three years. It’s a bit scary to make the assumptions and projections but it is also a motivator. Now you need to be open to ways to replace (and hopefully wind up with a net increase) to your annual revenue. Chances are you won’t be able to come up with all of the answers on your own so engage others in the process. Once you come up with a few options take the time to consider what it would take to execute any or all of them efficiently. Again, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to execute many on your own so find trusted resources that can help you in the process.
The landmines are out there. The opportunities are out there as well. By coming to grips with the landmines you will actually force yourself to find opportunities.