Having an entrepreneurial spirit at heart, I like to shake things up now and then. Sometimes out of necessity (whatever I’ve been doing isn’t working anymore) and sometimes just because I want to try something new.
I’ve been self-syndicating my movie reviews and previews for the past ten years — to editors and publishers needing content for their own websites, newspapers and magazines — but now that Reel Life With Jane has grown into a full-fledged entertainment site with an editorial staff, I just don’t have time for all the administrative stuff involved with syndication – the contracts, invoices, bookkeeping, emailing reviews out, and so on and so forth.
So earlier this year, I decided to move the syndication business to this site as a pay-and-download system. No sweat, right? Sure. Except it took several months to 1) figure out exactly how to do it (thank you, Woo Commerce, for your awesome e-commerce system); and 2) go about setting it up. That last sentence involved not only me, but also my amazing tech guy (who came along at the exact right moment in my career shift), writer-friends and family who patiently offered feedback and agreed to be test subjects (thank you, my son, for being my first “customer” and letting me use your PayPal as a test account), and even my longtime syndication partners who checked things out and offered suggestions. It takes a village to reinvent yourself! Don’t let anyone tell you different!
Anyway, the new system is finally ready to go, and I’m slowly launching it out there and getting some good responses. But it’s never easy doing this stuff – even WITH an entrepreneurial spirit. It takes guts and determination and faith in your ability to make it happen. You can check out the new shop here (if you’re an editor in need of entertainment stories and reviews, feel free to buy something). I also offer a Premium Membership which lets you download anything in the shop, only in a restricted members area for a monthly fee.
Here are four important things I learned during this reinvention:
1. Trust your instincts. When you’re building something new, always ask for feedback from trusted friends and colleagues. They’ll tell you if you’re on the right track or need to re-work things. But that also means you’re going to get a thousand suggestions, so don’t feel like you need to implement all of them. Evaluate all of the suggestions and then dig deep in your heart to decide which ones are going to work for you.
2. Don’t let fear hold you back. It’s ok to be scared. You’re doing something new and going outside your comfort zone. Just remember that’s how growth happens. I support my family of four with my income, and there’s always that element of, “Am I putting my family at risk?” and “What if this doesn’t work out?” and “Will we end up homeless?” Well, the syndication system wasn’t really working before, so I knew I had to make a change. It’s ok to be scared, but don’t let that hold you back. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Have faith that things will work out.
3. Keep moving forward, even amidst setbacks. When the new system was ready to go, I wrote up a press release and sent it out through PR Newswire. Of course, I expected customers to come flocking in. After all, I’ve got all this great content — fresh movie reviews, entertainment features, celebrity interviews and more — all new in the shop every week. Busy editors with dwindling staff NEED that content, right? And yet … I didn’t get one sale or inquiry from that first press release. Not one. So then you start wondering if this is such a great idea, and maybe you’re off your rocker for trying it. But “launching anything new takes time,” my friends said, urging me to write up a marketing plan and start working through it — which is what I did.
4. It’s never officially “done.” Even now that I’ve got the system set up, sent out the press release, created a marketing plan, and started building media lists, there’s always going to be ways to make it better and flow more smoothly. It’s not only ok to keep tweaking things, it’s an absolute necessity. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Just keep moving forward.
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