There's a great scene in the movie Office Space, where efficiency consultant Bob Slydell (John C. McGinley) leans across the desk, looks right at Peter (Ron Livingston) and says:
"What would you say... you do here?"
That movie has nothing to do with StevieSnacks, but my own answer to that question is clearer to me now than ever before.
My latest series, Albert's Influence, began as an idea in late 2010. After several months of part-time planning, I was ready to begin shooting the videos sometime during the spring months of this year.
Except I couldn't.
I had volunteered for a project at my church, also in late 2010, and that project's only requirement was due the very same week I was supposed to begin work on Albert's Influence.
The frustration I felt that week was cleansing. Trying to finish a project that was nearly over, burning with motivation to start the next.
During that week, I had a moment of great clarity.
I always get frustrated when other projects keep me from working on new lessons, but I never get frustrated when lessons keep me from working on other projects.
What I Do
I make lessons. That is what I do.
StevieSnacks is about lessons, and that is what I make.
Obvious? Probably. Especially looking back at 3 years of failed side projects that went nowhere.
There have been several months in the past 3 years that my premium lesson sales dipped uncomfortably low. Rare, but it happened. But during those dry weeks, my reaction was predictable. "What am I doing wrong". Or worse "What else should I be doing?".
To an immature businessman, that logic made perfect sense. If the lessons aren't selling (this month), than logically, there was something else I should be doing. Of course, history has shown that during dry periods, the wisest investment of your time is in your products. Make them better. Make new products, create momentum.
But rather than run back to the premium lessons, I would start looking for other things 'to do here'.
The problem with most of these projects is that as soon as they'd get off the ground, sales would pick back up and I'd be excited about making new lessons again. Predictably, anything I had started in haste, would wither.
I hate that.
It bothers me to see things on this site that I've started, but never finished. It's embarrassing to know that some of you have seen various things start, and go nowhere.
I don't like doing things halfway, and the only thing I ever do 100% every single time, is make lessons.
Soon I'll be writing a post on this blog detailing some things I'm officially dropping. Not to apologize, but to give them a proper ending.
It's a celebration of focus. Like spring cleaning, only this time, in fall.
I make lessons, that is what I do. The frustration of being unable to do that, reminded me of how important it is to never forget 'what you do here'.