Thank you, Arnold.

Hi everybody.

So, ahm, how’s everyone? I know…I don’t write, I don’t call. I post a motivational message full of plans and commitments and then proceed to fall off the face of the Earth. I’m sorry.

I do have excuses, plenty of them. Shortly after that last post my father died, which was a huge shock to my whole family. The Iron Man had a nagging cough that twenty doctors couldn’t diagnose or cure, but nobody expected him to just be gone in a blink of an eye. I wanted to post something when it happened but just couldn’t find the right words. Instead, I jumped into IVF, something that I have meant to do for over a year, but didn’t have the guts. When that didn’t work, I went on a shopping spree – well, not a spree per se, I only bought one house. While the bills piled up, I continued working in my awesome new job, which was slowly killing me with stress.

It shouldn’t come as a shock then, that as of last week, and probably for many months prior, I was not happy. Not the entire time, mind you – I was riding a rollercoaster of ups and downs, the bumpiest few months yet. I’ve done so much over those months, including tons of writing, except none of it was for fun. Plenty of reports, emails, and responses to customers, but not one sentence for the new book or the blog. I have even let the twitter feed die. I have not run a single promotion (except for “always on” Amazon Marketing Services, which I have to write about next). As a result, the book sales have been pitiful, yet my career was going stronger than ever. I could almost see the vortex forming, at the end of which I would be promoted to the next, even more stressful level. That would mean a full stop to my writing dreams, but what options did I have when I became an owner of a house and a mother to a frozen embryo?

The only thing that has been consistently awesome throughout those months was my relationship. Josh has helped me manage all of the above by putting a coffee  into my blind hand every single morning so that I could start yet another stressful day, packing a lunch for me so that I could stay at my desk, and making dinners so that I could crash on the couch.  I do wash dishes and massage him, I’m not completely spoiled, but it didn’t seem enough to show him how special his constant care made me feel. So when I saw that Arnold Schwarzenegger was flying to Melbourne to host bodybuilding events and speak at a business summit, I knew I had to get tickets. I love Arnie too, but mostly for his blockbusters. I didn’t expect to gain anything from the talk, other than a few happy snaps of Josh smiling ear to ear.

It turns out I have a lot more in common with Arnie than our respective, too-easy-to-make-fun-of accents. We have both left our respective countries for the greener pastures of the US. We share the same drive to see how much we could lift, both physically and figuratively. Yet listening to him made me realize that lately, I have lost the lust for life and that spark that would drive me to persist in the face of overwhelming odds. That was the first epiphany of the evening.

The second one came when Arnold mentioned that early on he had invested his bodybuilding winnings into real estate with the sole purpose of providing him with income when he started to pursue his acting career. The steady flow of cash enabled him to only choose the roles he wanted (yes, I know, that means he wanted Hercules in New York. Maybe that was before the rent started coming in). And that’s when I had my second epiphany.

I’ve been working so hard for the last few years, trying to squeeze writing in the few empty spaces in the sleep-eat-work-repeat cycle. I have taken five months off that rat race and it enabled me to complete the second book, but it also wiped out my long service leave (I’m once again sorry to Americans for even mentioning such a luxury). It will take about seven years of spinning the hamster wheel before I can do it again. Other authors have replaced the office work hamster wheel with writing hamster wheel, producing a book each month to make a living, but I just can’t do it. There has to be another way.

Like Arnie, I have invested in real estate. Unfortunately, it only tied me closer to the office desk. I have also dreamed about how I’m going to write a bestseller while on maternity leave, J.K. Rowling style, but that dream is quickly dissipating too. The only answer left is to build some kind of business that would be flexible enough to give me the money I need to continue eating regularly and the time I need to be creative. The only question remained, what is that business?

I thought of leveraging even more debt to buy a franchise, but that idea was quickly poo-pooed by the family committee. I thought of getting a similar but less stressful job, but it seems like more of the same and could be even worse if I got a nasty boss. Then I remembered how much I love to invent stuff. Did I tell you about the time I invented the new and improved Velcro? I used this in Shizzle, Inc, but that did happen to me. One day, about fifteen years ago, I bought two flexible pet hair brushes on sale. They got stuck together in the shopping bag, the rubber bristles perfectly sliding in between bristles on the other brush. When I pulled them apart, I had this flash of an idea to miniaturise them to make new Velcro that didn’t rely on fragile loops. I drew the picture in an idea book I keep to this day, but I was poor and insecure and I didn’t pursue it. About a year or two later, Velcro came out with Poster Strips and made millions. I made nothing, other than the joke for my book.

So what am I going to invent now, you ask? Color Post-Its? Or a new Miracle Mop? Not quite, although it’s a bit of a “better mouse trap” improvement on an existing product. In euphoria following Arnold’s talk, I have already invented a new adult toy. Not the kind you’re thinking! More of a gag gift – it’s funny (I think) and it could take off (I think). I wish I could tell you what it is, but I’m afraid Velcro might find out about it so I will wait until I apply for a trademark, which should be in a matter of weeks. This time around I have a bit of money and a lot more gumption, so let’s see what happens.

Meanwhile, I will be posting blogs on my experience, mainly so that I don’t forget how I did things, and so that I am accountable to myself. I have a lot to do:

  1. Trademark the concept. I have done some research already and will begin by trademarking in Australia via Early Start service, then adding China and USA. No lawyers. Wish me luck!
  2. Develop a prototype – I have drawn up the idea and have contacted several manufacturers via Alibaba, who are willing to develop a prototype for about $150USD.
  3. Market research, for which I need the above prototype. My limited research with drawings has had great feedback – everyone wants this toy! They are my friends, though, so I will need to figure out other ways to understand the market potential. One of them may be via this blog.
  4. Website. I have already bought two domains and I know some basics from running this blog, but this time around I need a website with a shopping cart so it will be a challenge.
  5. Marketing. I already know some basics, but I will need to take it to a whole new level. I have already enrolled in a couple of webinars and will read a pile of books, which I will review here.

So there I go, on a pursuit of passive income that will allow me to write whatever I please. Wish me luck.

40 Comments

Filed under Enterpreneurship

40 responses to “Thank you, Arnold.

  1. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

    Like

  2. Ana!!! Welcome back!!! So sorry that you lost your dad. 😢
    Re the job/writing paradox, I know, it’s terrible. I chose to retire so I’d have time to write, but then my income fell so far I had to give up my car. Sob! But I’ve got two books to show for it. But hardly any sales!! Argh!

    Anyway GOOD LUCK re the toy!!!!! Keep us posted when you can, this exciting – a new venture! Yay!

    Like

  3. Good to see you back! You were missed. Best wishes for every success with your venture… you will succeed!

    Like

  4. nick (london)

    As always, a lovely open and honest post… thanks Ana
    Good luck
    And, of course, I will buy a gag gift from you

    Like

  5. draylward

    Trademark is not as easy as copyright. Call my buddy. http://fayergipson.com/ourattorneys/gregory-a-fayer/

    Like

    • Thank you for the suggestion, but at this point I have lost my trust in lawyers,. Will try to make a go myself, the Early Start in Australia allows a confidential submission for $200 and a full report from an official on the application shortcomings. If I can’t overcome them, will try a local lawyer then.

      Like

  6. Very good luck. I hope you succeed.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Olivia Barrington

    How wonderful to hear from you again!! I am so sorry to hear about your father. It is difficult to lose a parent. I have lost both of mine. You have my condolences. I knew you were working a lot as your accounts were quiet. I haven’t even seen any tweets from Josh. Glad to hear that you both are well and alive. I think your idea to create a passive income is smart. I’ve been looking at that for a long time at several different ways and inventing something is a great way to go. I look forward to you blogging about your progress as I learn a lot from you sharing the trials and tribulations of your achievements. Sometimes life makes us fall off of the world and into a chasm but eventually we get to climb out and see the sunshine, again. You’ll get back to writing in the future just hang in there and get to inventing. I love to give you input on the toy if you want to use me for that. I’m here if you need me. Tell Josh to tweet something funny. I enjoy his humor. I look forward to your blogging and tweeting again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Olivia! And thanks for letting me know via Twitter, somehow I missed your message on the app. I will tell Josh 🙂 he has his own dreams to chase, which are all about comedy, and he is in the same boat with work. Can’t wait to share the prototype with you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry to hear about your loss.
    I’m hoping the rest of your dreams and hard work produce fantastic results! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So sorry about your Dad. I lost mine a few years back and it’s been one thing after another (mostly not good). I hope everything goes well for you. I’m no expert but there are some themes in WordPress (I use WordPress.org) that have the functionality of including a shopping cart, that you can use or not (the them I’m using now has it, but at the moment I’m not using it). I am not sure what you are after, but Alison.com offers free courses (you have to pay some money if you want to obtain the certificate later, but the courses themselves are free), including a few on marketing, in case you’re looking for something to do at your own pace. The very best of luck and take care. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Olga! I will look into Alison courses. Sorry to hear about your dad too, hope things turn around. Oh, and thank you for telling me about the shopping cart, I was sure I had to have a self hosted website to get it!

      Like

  10. Welcome back. I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad. Good luck with your new venture – looking forward to hearing more about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tony

    We all have the one thing we shouldve patented or wrote down before it hit it big. Inline skates was one thing I thought of while walking home from middle school one. That went big for a long time. Nice to hear from you and back from your sabbatical. Its never easy to lose a parent or sibling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh god, I can’t imagine losing my sister! You thought of inline skates? I’m very impressed 🙂 Btw, Dad always claimed he was first to think of music videos, he came up with one for some funny cowboy song back in the day. Hope you pursue whatever you think of next!

      Like

  12. Ana, love your blog and was happy to see you post again. All the best to you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My other life is in the super glam world of electronics contract manufacturing so feel free to message me sometime if you run into any questions. I can’t promise I know the answers, but I will help as I can. Best of luck and, seriously, take care of yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So sorry to hear about your Dad, Ana.
    But good to see you are back in the blogosphere. Maybe we’ll also see you on The Dragon’s Den tv programme. (I presume you have something similar.)
    Good Luck with you invention – not sure I can take as much from that as I id from your writing experiences, but it’ll be interesting reading regardless.

    Welcome back!
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tamara Kulish

    So sorry to hear about your father. That’s difficult. I understand about the stressful job and really understand about wanting to establish a stream of passive income!! I wish you all the best with your new invention! I hope it takes off and you do very well!!

    Peace, Tamara
    http://Www.tamarakulish.com

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Miranda Burski

    I’m incredibly sorry to hear about your dad. That’s a very difficult experience to go through, and I’m glad that you are getting through it.

    I’m glad, too, to hear about your new project! I’m looking forward to seeing more of it–you have me really curious now, and I can’t wait to find out what it is! Good luck with it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Miranda Burski

      Shoot, I just realized that second sentence doesn’t sound right, and I can’t go back and edit it now that it’s sent. I meant that I’m glad that it sounds like you’re doing okay. I hope that’s how it came across, and I apologize if it’s not.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you Miranda, I know what you mean. I’ve had flashes of “survivor’s guilt”, but I know that nothing would make Dad happier than seeing me charging on with yet another project. Thanks for your support and I can’t wait to show you the prototype. Was working on it today and couldn’t stop giggling 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  17. christopherlmunoz

    You got this, I’m sure everyone who has read this is wishing you luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

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