TGM13: Working in Public and the Power of Small Consistent Progress with Nathan Barry

I feel privileged to call Nathan Barry a friend. He’s one of the most generous people I know and the conversation we recorded a few months ago was really great.

I’m excited to finally share it with you here. We talked about so many different things, but I think the theme of the show really came down to Nathan’s commitment to consistent daily progress.

That was a huge takeaway for me because I so easily get caught up in big picture stuff and forget that the only way to actually get better at what I do is to show up every day and do it.

Nathan is the author of three books on design and marketing and the founder of ConvertKit, an email marketing company for authors.

Here are some of my favorite bits from the show:

On Having Enough and Celebrating Small Wins

“I think the biggest thing you can do is just keep slowly making progress and celebrating those tiny wins. Like if all you can manage for a particular day, celebrate that as a win. You made progress.”

“Maybe I only did an hours worth of work today, but it moved my business forward. It’s forward progress.”

“Probably the biggest lesson for the entire year was realizing that I have enough. Revenue doesn’t have to double every year. I don’t always have to be scrambling to achieve bigger numbers and that’s not necessarily going to bring any more happiness or anything.”

“For a long time I wrote 1,000 words a day and I built an amazing business because of it, but it got to a point where I felt trapped.”

On Systems and Working for Long-term Success

“I want people to think beyond tactics. The real point is that you need to be looking at it from the very beginning as building a system. The work that I’m doing now will benefit me for years to come.”

“This is something I’ve had to work on so much. If you’re just chasing short term revenues. then that work you day that might make you a couple hundred dollars or a couple thousand dollars, but it will be one-time revenue. And so if you’re trying to live a balanced life, you’ve got to think in terms of how is this going to help me for years to come and not just this week.”

Get Good and Sell Later

“The very first book I wrote could have been about how to make money self-publishing books, but it would have been the stupidest thing to do because I didn’t know anything. It would have been hypocritical and wrong.”

“The best people are the ones who have already put in the time to become good at their craft and now they want to teach it. You can start building an audience while your still learning and I highly recommend that, but I wouldn’t start selling training products unless you’re actually good at your craft.”

“You should always start very specifically. I find the more narrow the topic, the easier it to sell and grow what you’re doing.”

“I’ve seen major improvements when someone can learn how to design and create their own product and ship better software and all that, but it’s not nearly as life changing as being able to teach someone how to make $10,000 on the side by teaching some valuable skill.”

“I didn’t go into any of this consciously with a master plan. I think those just never work out. What you have to do instead is say, this is the one thing I’m going to do and you do your absolute best at that one thing and then you see what opportunities open up to you.”

On Consistency and Showing Up

“You have to get passed this idea of things have to be perfect before they launch.”

“The great thing about headlines is you can always change them later.”

“You’ve gotta do consistent work and put it out there every day.“

“A habit I think is key is making small consistent progress. Books don’t get written when you get inspired or when you try to run on that initial inspiration. They actually get finished when you sit down make a little bit of progress whether it’s 1,000 words or 10 minutes a day. The key is doing it every single day.”

As always, I had a great time talking to Nathan. Enjoy the show!

Show Notes

  • Min 27: How our creative work can actually affect our health.
  • Min 35: What to accept that you have “enough”.
  • Min 37:49: How to decide what to focus on.
  • Min 54: The importance of living for the “now”.
  • Min 73: Choosing between multiple audiences.
  • Min 79: Why you should always be practicing your craft.
  • Min 86:47: Why you don’t have an excuse.
  • Min 93:35: Why small consistent progress is incredibility important.

Bits & Bytes Mentioned in the Show

More About Nathan


Published by Adam Clark on January 9, 2015

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