15 October 2007

Why I left AJmarketing

I wasn't going to talk about this, because it's not a "happy" topic. Then, when someone asked me about it this morning, I realized that I probably should explain why I left AJmarketing.

I'm reminded of the book The 4-Hour Work Week, in which author Tim Ferris talks about a challenge that he offered to his classes at Princeton. Anyone who completed the challenge would receive a free, round-trip airplane ticket to anywhere. And, it was a very simple challenge.

He didn't have to award the prize, because not one student--of 60--even tried. (He told his next class about that, and they did scramble to win. Six completed the challenge within 48 hours.)

But anyway... at AJmarketing, I recently raved about--and shared the link to--a free, 44-page marketing report that gave me some great ideas for improving my art marketing efforts. (It's been taken offline now, and replaced by a similar report that the guy charges money for. The freebie was just to get a buzz started.)

I was up-front about the fact that I'd earn $1 for each person who downloaded the free report. (I'd have recommended the report whether I got the $1 or not.) But, this $1 "reward" showed me exactly how many people followed my advice.

The result? Just four people were willing to follow my rave recommendations and look at a free report that they could download within seconds.

Hmm... what about the other people at AJmarketing who were griping about how hard it is to earn a living as an artist? (That's a rhetorical question.)

I spent about two hours on related posts at the AJmarketing list. In those same two hours, I could have written at least one article (and probably two or three) for my websites.

Let's see... I can spend two hours and reach four people, or I can spend that same time (or less) and reach between 700 and 20,000 people per week, depending upon which of my websites they visit. Hmm....

This isn't rocket science. And, it's not just about the free report. That just happened to be an easily measured response to my last --of many--attempts to help people at AJmarketing.

So, that's why I quit AJmarketing. It's all part of how the Internet changes, and how we also change as individuals. I've accomplished the goals that I set when I created the online identity of "Aisling D'Art." I'm proud of what I've achieved using that pen name.

But now, the audience has changed and so have I. It's time for new and different projects.


Blogger Dindrane said...

Why do you think we *don't* get off our collective arses? You've been nothing but supportive to me, for example, and while I am working, I've still not put anything up hardly online. It's not just paralyzing anxiety and fear of criticism, it's ... I don't know what. Sheer old-fashioned laziness?

3:47 PM  
Blogger Aisling said...

I think that it's the opposite of laziness, really.

We're living overloaded lives and don't have time even to pause and look at what's really important. And still we load on more, out of a sense of responsibility ("shoulds") or to keep our jobs/careers, or plain ol' "ooh, shiny!" syndrome.

We have too many choices and not enough time to evaluate them. It's not just good/bad. It's more like great/good/okay/not too bad/bad/horrendous. Who has time to thoughtfully choose, and then sort them into can/can't do?

So, we use hours on the mediocre, and end up too exhausted to spot what's really important.

Our personal resources are overstretched and most people don't even know it.

It all snuck up on us. Ten years ago, I'd be amazed to get three emails a day. Today, I get about 300 per hour. It's not as if it went from three to 300/hr overnight; it was gradual and--like many things that suck the time out of our lives--insidious.

Right now, I'm looking at the apparent time gain of email. Sure, it reaches the recipient in seconds, but I'm spending more time on email now than when everything was sent by snail mail... and less of it is truly meaningful.

(Plenty of it is good, even fascinating, but... not meaningful.)

We've "busy'd" ourselves into near paralysis. And, it's not usually physical exhaustion, though that can be one way that the overwhelm/depression manifests. It's more that our personal RAM is exceeded and we're overwhelmed by input.

Depression kicks in when we measure ourselves against what we think that others are accomplishing, or what people (like our parents or teachers) used to do in the past.

I think that, as a society, we're being forced to make hard choices. One solution is to become a really efficient scanner, grab only the stuff that's great and important, and keep running.

Another is to consciously prune away everything that's not about living a meaningful and authentic life. Find a sense of peace in the madness of everyday life. We need to narrow our focus to what we are here to do, and assign the rest of it "spare time," if any exists.

If any AJmarketing members read my post, I'm simply holding the mirror up to the faces of those who are on that list and whining.

I'm saying, "Hello. Accept that you don't have time to do more marketing right now. You don't even have time to learn new tactics. So, if you're not happy, put down the mouse and prioritize your time better. Whether or not it includes making and marketing art, DO what you do... don't just fill time pretending that text--reading it or writing it--is actually action."

The Internet is largely a reference library and an enhanced yellow pages directory. It's sometimes a place to make great personal connections. The latter are most meaningful. The efficiency of the reference library should--in theory--give us more time for those meaningful personal connections.

There's a lot more that I'd like to say about this... and probably will!

But, I don't think that it's laziness, per se. I think that it's an inability to pause and make some hard choices. And, that inability is caused as much (or more) externally than by any personal shortcoming. Society, at large, just hasn't figured that out yet.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Aisling said...

P.S. For some of us whose careers include writing, I should have modified my comments about text not being action.

Obviously, writing is part of how I support myself. If I stop writing or the world stops reading it, I'm in trouble! *grin*

But, what concerns me is that many of the people who gripe at AJmarketing about not having enough time to market their art (or learn how to), probably read 50 blogs a day, and spend untold hours surfing the Internet.

And then, they write in their own blog for an hour, telling us all about something completely trivial or revealing things about their personal lives while trampling others' boundaries.

Yes, I'm having a cynical week. A lot of this is said, looking in the mirror, too. I've been just as guilty of inappropriate use of my resources, including time. Breaking old habits isn't easy, either.

But anyway, I scanned my previous comment and realized that, hello, writing is what I do for income... and so do many others. And, I don't want to lump that in the same category as text for its own sake, with no other merits.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

Honey babe, we do NOT miss you at AJ Marketing.

You weren't much liked.

And ArtistsJournals was becoming a product promotion venture with very little of substance regarding its original aim...it was about time to shut down.
I am not joining the other group (so don't think to take your rage upon hearing this truth out on me in some fashion) - but I hope they can get back on track. With you not moderating it, they at least have a good chance.

Don't bother replying to this - I'm blocking you from my email. What you say on your blog is your business, of course - but don't expect to shoot back on my space.

Go on and do your "stuff" elsewhere, and good for you. Perhaps you could consider a blog with Lisa Vollrath, with whom you would undoubtedly resonate perfectly. Two such touchy, combative, embattled, eternally paranoid personalities could not help but click.

Yours, Barb

6:15 PM  
Blogger Aisling said...

"Honey babe"...? Ooh, "Barb," I love it when you call me that!

Seriously, instead of creating a Blogger account today just to post this kind of drivel, your time might be better spent working on your art.

And, I'll take the comparison with Lisa Vollrath as a compliment. She's generously shared a tremendous amount of helpful info with artists in many media.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I'm sure her real name isn't Barb, but if it were, I bet her middle initial is "D" and her last name is Wire.

I do not have to say it but I will. Barb's comments hardly reflect the majority opinion over at AJ Marketing. How appalling.

I ADORE you for your frankness and courage, Aisling. All of us need shaking up regularly to reflect on what is TRULY IMPORTANT in our lives and then to evaluate if the time and energy we invest is commensurate.

You go girl!

6:35 PM  
Blogger Aisling said...

Thanks, Stacey! You're someone I admire tremendously because you've clearly taken cues from the online marketing people and turned them to gold.

Initially, I was stung by the "Barb" post, and then I looked around at how many friends I've met at AJmarketing... people who are valued friends, who are growing as artists and eager for even more marketing successes. I like that.

The moment when I realized that only four people clicked to download that report... that was a big wake-up for me, and an important one. I'm really grateful for it.

I'm sure that every person who didn't click had a reason for it, and probably a good one. But, I have to look at where my time is best spent, and where the numbers are... and that's in articles at my websites and in publications such as yours.


5:35 AM  

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