I am a huge believer in the power of false deadlines. Your hopes, dreams, and goals will just float in infinite space until you set a deadline to make them real. The false deadline is my secret weapon to achievement. I’ve used it for everything from starting businesses, to writing books, to having babies. Ok, so I have never actually had a baby myself. But I am a member of a 2-person Baby Cooperative. And the co-op has resulted in 3 babies thanks to false deadlines.
During the Covid Lockdown in 2020 I gave myself an aggressive false deadline. I told myself that I would finish the first full draft of my first book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? by May 25. The book is a collection of 80 life lessons that have had a significant impact on my happiness and success. And lookie here! Lesson 33 is The Path To Great Achievement Is Lined With False Deadlines.
Why May 25?
I chose May 25 as my deadline to complete the rough draft for 2 significant reasons.
It was the last day of the Covid lockdown in Wisconsin.
It was my birthday.
Then I got to work. And just as planned, by May 25, 2020, I had the first full draft of my book completed. Thanks to that false deadline, I pushed myself to create a 50,000-word manuscript in just 2 months.
I then put the manuscript away for a couple months, as I was instructed to do by Stephen King in his book On Writing. This helps you gain perspective and come back to the manuscript with fresh eyes and a fresh mind. (And I assume it helps Stephen King figure out who should die next.)
Then, I set a second false deadline to finish the second draft of my book by the end of 2020. And just as planned, I finished that draft by December 27th. (My parents’ 51st wedding anniversary.)
Finally, I set a 3rd false deadline to have my book published by the end of 2021. And I hit that too. But it all started with the first deadline of May 25th. Because it’s the first step that matters most. (That’s chapter 9.)
Now, to help celebrate this significant book day, and my birthday, I am having a 25-hour sale. Starting at midnight on May 25th and running until 1am on May 26th, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? will be 25% off.
That means that paperback copies will be just $12 on Amazon. You can buy up to 25 copies at that price! (Just kidding. You can buy 25 million copies if you like.)
Even better, the hard-to-find hardcovers are just $19.50. However, you have to contact me directly for those at firstname.lastname@example.org. (You can also get the 1-day discount price on paperbacks from me too if you are in the Milwaukee area. (Otherwise Amazon is just as good.)
What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is a great read of summer vacations. But it is also a great gift for graduates. So if you need to pick up something for that grad in your world, here’s a chance to do it for less.
Thank you for continuing to read my stories, ideas, articles and musings. Thank you for supporting my book and for helping share worthwhile ideas and inspiration. I hope you all have a Happy My Birthday!
Back in the fall of 2015, I knew I was going to launch my own business. It was such an exciting adventure that I decided to document it by starting a blog. But like so many big ideas (and Band-Aids on freshly washed hands), I didn’t know if this blogging thing would stick.
Well, it stuck.
Today I am proud to say I have published 700 blog posts. I don’t know many people in the 700 Club, besides Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker. The whole point of the blog was to share what I have learned. But through the process of writing this blog, I have learned a lot too.
My Learnings From Writing 700 Blog Posts.
To do something big simply start with something small. The 700th post is not really that important. The most important one was the first post. Just like an estate begins with a single dollar put away, you need that first post, or first step, most of all. If you have a goal (of course you have a frick’n goal!) take the first step!
2.I found my writing voice. I started my career in advertising as a copywriter. So I wrote a lot. But I wrote in the voice of the brands I worked on. Writing this blog has allowed me to dial into my own writing voice. Most people who know me would say my writing voice is exactly like my speaking voice. (I am one of those people.) I simply write this blog the way I think and the way I talk. That’s my style. Once you find your style, writing becomes easier. It just flows out of you. Like pee.
2.5 You can write anything you want in your own blog. (See the last 2 words of the last paragraph.)
3. Develop your good habits. I never think about whether I am going to write in the morning. It’s totally automatic. Like that Pointer Sisters song. Writing is a strong habit for me. Sunday through Thursday morning I am in my office writing by 6:10 am. I write until 7 or 8 am. On Friday and Saturday mornings, I write, read or exercise. Studies show that it takes an average of 66 times to create a habit. Then you don’t think about it anymore. You just do. Today I just do. Like Whitney Houston in So Emotional.
4.A blog lets you take control. The world is full of gatekeepers who are trying to keep you out. They are trying to not let you in up in da club you’d like to be in. I prefer to make my own club. I love musicians who put their music on YouTube. Artists who put their work on Etsy. And Dancers who show off on TikTok. Blogs let writers show off what they can do without anyone else getting a veto vote. The most beautiful thing about technology today is that it empowers you to create and share. So, create and share any way you can.
5. You can be read around the world. I publish my blog on WordPress. This platform is read all over the planet. Today, my writings have been read in over 120 different countries. That’s pretty crazy. This past Valentine’s Day I wasn’t scheduled to publish anything. I was just going to enjoy being in love. But I had an idea on my drive to work. So as soon as I got to work I sat down and hammered out that additional idea and posted it right away. Within 2 hours that idea I had on my commute had been read in 30 countries. That’s wild. That’s WordPress. (That should be their new tagline.) (No it shouldn’t.)
6.It’s not about who you know. Before starting my blog and launching The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, I read The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffery Gitomer. In his book, he writes, ‘It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.’ I took that to heart. By writing this blog I have been able to reach and connect with far more people than I could have met on my own. This has brought opportunities my way that I never would have had without the blog. That compounds over time. Like Compound W.
7. I think differently now. I have always been a creative thinker. I have always had a lot of ideas. But by writing a blog and needing to have new ideas to share 3 days a week you begin finding ideas everywhere. When I was a kid Tootsie Roll had a commercial with a jingle that said, “Everything I think I see become a Tootsie Roll to me.’ And the kid in the commercial saw Tootsie Roll-shaped things everywhere. Now, I am like that kid. Except, instead of seeing Tootsie Rolls I see business lessons, creative lessons, marketing lessons, and the ever-popular life lessons, everywhere. My finder is finely tuned to detecting lessons because of the blog. That has been one of the greatest gifts of writing this thang.
8. The Blog Was a Gateway Drug. I didn’t know it in the beginning, but the blog was just the start of something bigger. Eventually, all that writing built into more. I have now published a book, and have more books in the works. I don’t know how far this will go. I guess we’ll find out together.
9. Getting Paid To Write. All the blogging I do is free to read. I have never made any money directly from any of my blog posts. But people who read the blog encouraged me to write a book. So I did. And while writing a 50,000-word book is more challenging than writing a 500-word blog post, it is a natural extension of what I have been doing for 6 years. Three months ago I published my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media. Now I get paid a royalty every time someone buys a book. Which is exciting. Because it demonstrates that I am providing others with value through my writing. Which is rewarding in multiple ways.
10. Getting Paid to Speak Throughout my career I have spoken to many different groups. But since writing my book the opportunities have mushroomed. Despite having written 700 blog posts, it was the next step of writing a book that has made people seek me out for speaking engagements. Today I have paid speaking engagements lined up into August and September. By paid engagements, I mean that I am either being paid directly to speak, or the organization I am speaking to is buying books for attendees, or some combination of the two. The key learning here is that I wouldn’t have these opportunities through blogging alone. But I wouldn’t have written the book if it weren’t for the blog. Which means that first, you have to get started. Then you have to keep pushing yourself to the next level for greater rewards.
A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. And to get to 700 blog posts you have to first write one. But if you create a good habit it will compound over time, leading to bigger and better results and open doors to new opportunities. I don’t know where all of this will lead. But I am certainly glad I started 6 years ago. I encourage you to start that thing you have always wanted to do by taking that critical first step. If you have already created a good habit and developed some positive, value-creating work, ask yourself what’s next? Keep challenging yourself to take that next step. And make it worth writing about.
> For more of my lessons on blogging check out these past posts:
Last week I was on 8 different airplanes. Not at one time of course. On 7 of those 8 planes, I didn’t talk to my seatmate. But on my flight Wednesday evening from Detroit to Columbus I had a great conversation with a fun and friendly woman traveling from Greensboro, North Carolina. When she asked me where I was coming from I said Milwaukee. She replied that she was a traveling nurse and that she had recently traveled to nurse people in Milwaukee at Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital
I told the woman that one of my great friends was an emergency room doctor there named Dr. Michael Brin. She said, “Oh, yes, I definitely know his name.” She probably found it on a list of the smartest, funniest, and sexiest E.R. doctors in Milwaukee named Michael Brin. Because he would totally dominate that list.
After establishing that she lived in Worthington, Ohio (Which is Columbus for those of you not down with the 614) she asked me what I did for work. But as soon as I opened my mouth to answer, the flight attendant cockpit-blocked me by jumping on the mic to make her unnecessarily loud announcements.
So I waited a moment. And during a break in the announcements, I tried to respond to the question. But the flight attendant came right back with more announcements.
This pattern repeated comically for quite some time. It reminded me of that scene from Austin Powers when he goes to the bathroom for the first time after being frozen for 30 years. And he keeps interrupting the voice declaring ‘Evacuation Complete’ with more tinkle noise.
After awkwardly trying to share what I do for work for about 2 minutes with no success, I noticed the copy of my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? that I had tucked into the seatback pouch in front of me. I reached down, slid the book out of the pocket, opened it to the author bio page on the inside back cover and handed it to my seatmate. I said, ‘Read this.’
My seatmate questioned, ‘Is this your book?’ I nodded ‘yes’. Then she proceeded to read the efficiently crafted story of me on the About the Author page.
I quickly recognized that having my book bio handy was the most efficient and effective way to introduce myself to a seatmate. In fact, we should all write an airplane bio, and have it added to the airline’s app. It should be accessible to the people sitting adjacent to us on our flights so that we can know who we are sitting near, what we may have in common, and whether they are on the sex offender list.
My seatmate asked if she could read the reviews on the cover. Which of course I encouraged her to do. I said, ‘Read anything you want. In fact, flip to the table of contents, find a chapter title that interests you, and read that. It was a fun experiment for me to see what someone who stumbles upon my book may find interesting.
The first chapter she picked out was ‘Fill your attitude with helium.’ Which is a great chapter. Within 10 seconds of flipping to that page, she laughed out loud. I asked what made her laugh. It was the reference to all the painstaking research I had done to discover that life is hard. She LOLed several times during that chapter. Each time I asked what made her laugh. It was fun primary research for an author on what kind of humor works in a book.
The next chapter she explored was very important. Chapter 63, Everything changes when you exchange names. This chapter is about how we transform from strangers into friends when we exchange names. Which was odd, because we hadn’t yet exchanged names. But during the reading of this chapter, she stopped reading, and she told me her name. Suddenly, she was no longer my seatmate. She was my new friend, Leslie, from Worthington, Ohio.
Leslie and I spoke the rest of the flight. We talked about our shared experiences. Our travels and our spouses. We took a selfie, just in case I would need it for a blog post. Which of course I do.
After we deplaned like Tattoo from Fantasy Island we walked through the CMH terminal together and decided to take another selfie by a Columbus sign. She then shared, that she would like to buy a copy of the book, and asked if Amazon is the best way to do it. I said that was a good way (and for most people around the world Amazon is the best way to buy my book.
I then said, ‘But, if you are interested, I have a couple extra copies with me, and I have a QR code that you could scan to pay instantly.’ She said, ‘Yes! Let’s do that!’
I handed her a new copy of my book. She scanned the QR code, which popped open a simple payment field. Then Leslie asked if it would be awkward to ask me to sign the book for her. I said, ‘That’s not awkward. Everybody asks that. It’s like signing a high school yearbook.’
So I pulled out my trusty non-smeary-smudgy Sharpie pen. Because I always carry one now for such occasions. I grabbed a nearby seat and signed my new friend Leslie’s book. After I handed her the book, we hugged. Then she headed to the baggage claim and I headed to the rental car shuttle.
As I sat on the shuttle bus, waiting to leave the terminal I was thinking about what a fun experience that was on a random Wednesday night flight to Columbus. Then I got an alert on my phone telling me that Quickbooks received payment for a book. Imediately after that, I heard a voice say, ‘Hey stranger!’ It was Leslie and her baggage claim bag. She once again sat next to me. This time it was by choice because we were friends. I took another pic to chronicle this chapter of the story.
Apparently, the universe had us well magnetized that day. Because we ended up walking to the same rental car counter too. (I rent from Hertz, because of OJ). But soon, we were in our rental cars and separated for the first time since Detroit. And I was thankful for the whole experience.
The greatest thing about writing a book is the new people I have met as a result. From the people at Ripples Media to the people that I meet at book talks, signing events, or on planes. It is the people who reach out to me because they have read the book, or got it as a gift and plan to read it. Writing a blog a book or a good social post can help introduce you to more people around the world. And at the end of our days, the only thing that will matter is the impact we had on each other. So put more good into the world, and more good will come back to you. And much of that good is likely to be good people. People like my new friend Leslie. From Worthington.
*If you know someone who would benefit from this message, please share it with them.
When I sat down to write my first book, I believed it would be pretty good. After all, I planned to fill it with some of the most valuable life lessons I have learned so far. I planned to make it positive. And I planned to sprinkle humor throughout the pages as a reward for readers who invested their time in my book. Because Bezos knows that readers have a lot of other options.
But now that the book is published, it doesn’t really matter what I think anymore. What matters now is whether or not the people who read the book like it. I first announced that my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? was available on Amazon on December 20th, 2021, just days before Christmas.
Friends and family immediately began telling me they ordered the book. They sent me pics of their order confirmations from Amazon. Then, as the books were delivered, I started receiving pics from all over North America of people with their books in hand, ready to read.
As people began reading the book I felt as if I was in that scene from the movie Ratatouille when the kitchen staff presses against the window to the dining room to watch the diners try the soup that the rat made. The staff all desperately wanted to know how the diners would react. Only in my case, the soup is a book. And I’m the rat.
Then the feedback started coming in. I received texts and emails, phone calls and DMs. Today, it has all become really real as reviews have begun popping up on Amazon and GoodReads. For authors, this is the moment of truth. (Or perhaps I should say the moment of non-fiction.)
I couldn’t be more pleased to know that people have been enjoying the book as much as I hoped they would. Which is really important. Because as the author you can’t possibly reach all the potential readers yourself. So you need readers to become advocates for your book. The reader-reviewers become the champions offering social proof to the rest of the world that they tried it and liked it. Like Mikey and his Life Cereal. Reader-endorsements give people confidence that others like them enjoyed reading your book. So it is highly likely that they will enjoy it too.
Seeing these initial reviews gives me confidence that there are good things ahead for this book. But enough of me talking about people talking about the book! Here’s what real readers who have read What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? are saying about the book.
An excellent job Adam. There are so many important nuggets (cookies) that show us how to focus our efforts and make use of our most valuable resource (time). This book will never be far from my desk and will be dog-eared in short order.
I highly recommend “What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?”! I originally bought it for my Kindle, but am also going to buy the paper copy to fill with post-it notes and underlining. The life lessons Adam Albrecht passes on in this book are simple, doable, and applicable to people of all ages. As a 51-year-old mother in the twilight of my mothering career, I am eager to bring this information into the next chapter of my life – “Why Not Me? (Chapter 37)”. I am taking Adam’s advice and am going to “let my brain run and play” (Chapter 53), find the secret language that I was born with (Chapter 75), forget my limits like Phil Knight of Nike (Chapter 29), take action and apply The Paper Principle (Chapter 53). Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Adam! The ROI on this book is definitely worth it! (Chapter 70)
Whether you are looking to reignite your fire, find motivation/hold on to motivation, find ways to improve (personally and professionally) or jumpstart your goals, this book will get you there. It’s an easy/fun read where every chapter leaves you with actionable items that you can implement in your daily life. The book is so well written and people of all ages will find value (currently reading out loud with my 10-year old!). I’d give it 10 stars if Amazon would let me! Read it, then read it again!
Saw this book posted on LinkedIn by a colleague. Ordered it on Amazon and read the entire book on January 2. A very motivational way to start off the new year. I would highly recommend picking up your copy today. No matter where you are in your career or life, there are tidbits, fresh insight, new perspectives and pearls of wisdom that either open your eyes, provide you with your own “aha” moment, or simply reaffirm your thoughts that need confirmation. #BadgerAlum
Adam has written an amazing collection of stories and pieces of advice that can help anyone focus in on what they can improve about their careers, hobbies, and lives. From talking to strangers more to orienting your schedule to be more productive, you can find some aspect of your professional or personal life to change. Perfect for early-to-career people.
There is no better marketing for a product or service than the endorsement of a happy customer. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to tell others about the book. It is a great reminder to share good news about good products, services and experiences. It helps put more good into the world. Which makes the world a better place.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
I dreamed about writing a book for a long time. But I never had the time or focus to make it happen. Then came Covid. I quickly recognized that the Covid lockdown, which began in March of 2020, was a golden opportunity to write something significant. So I did. I emerged from the lockdown with a 50,000 word first draft of a manuscript. And a Boo Radley-type of tan.
Today the book that only existed in the back of my mind before Covid is now all of the United States. Just as the baby bird learns to fly and leaves the nest, my paper baby has left the printer and learned to hitch a ride with an Amazon delivery driver.
I realized during the fun interview with podcast host and entrepreneur Jeff Hilimire that I hadn’t answered most of the questions he asked me before. No one had ever interviewed me as a published author before. No one had read my book and asked me about the details. No one cared about my inspiration, because they didn’t know I was inspired. And no one knew about chapter 56.
I am happy to have my first interview complete. But I recognize that I will become better at telling the story of my book and of me as an another as I do more interviews. I am preparing now. So if you know a podcaster, blogger, vlogger, reporter, or a student who needs to do an interview for a school project, send them my way. I’ll be ready.
Don’t worry about not being great when you start something new. Simply start. Learn. Then get better as you go. Each attempt will teach you how to prepare better for the next time. Stack your learnings. And let your accumulated experiences make you greater and greater as you grow.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them. If you would like to read the first few pages of my book from Ripples Mediayou can do it here.
I am in the final stretches of publishing my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And there is still so much I don’t know about publishing and successfully promoting a book. However, I know how to ask for help. And I know there are a lot of published authors in my universe. If you are a published author I would love to have you join an Author’s Zoom call.
We’ll talk about your author’s journey. Which is like a hero’s journey if authors were heroes, fighting for those in need with word processing software. We’ll discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what you would do differently next time. You know, the basic advice you would give to pre-published you with the wisdom and experience of authorized-you.
The Author Zoom will be author-to-author education. It will also be a chance to promote your book. Which is reason enough to attend. #amIright
The preliminary discussion guide:
Tell us about your book?
How did you publish it?
What was the best thing you did to promote it?
What did you do wrong?
What were your most important learnings?
If you are a published author and would like to join, please leave a comment, or message me directly here or at email@example.com. I plan to have this Zoom call in December so that we can all hit the new year with actionable new knowledge.
If you haven’t published a book, but have been thinking about it, and would like to join the Zoom as a student, please let me know. And please pass this along to any authors or aspiring authors you know. And if you know any Arthurs, let’s get them there too.
In 2015, with the enthusiastic support of several former clients, I decided to create my own advertising agency. During the planning process I started this blog to help share my entrepreneurial adventure. I called the blog The Perfect Agency Project. I wanted to write about what I was doing, learning and thinking as I was launching, improving and growing what would become The Weaponry. That way, if I made huge mistakes, and wondered, What was I thinking!?!, I could simply go back and read what I wrote.
I Didn’t See THAT Coming.
However, in an unforeseen turn of events, creating this blog has become as significant to me as creating the business. The simple act of writing about my experiences has taught me even more than I have been able to share with my readers. And the feedback I have received from readers has made it one of the most rewarding elective projects of my life (even better than the 3 inch goatee I grew in college).
When I turned 40 years old I made a commitment to start my own advertising agency. I did it by the time I was 42. And as I continue to build and grow The Weaponry, I have added new goals.
I have another startup business that I would like to launch soon. I want to write a book. Ultimately, I hope to write more than one book. But before you can write many books you have to write one. Kind of like, before you become a porn star you have to first have sex, on camera. #pleasedontdothis
Broadening My Horizons
To share my various business experiences, my book writing adventure, and all of the other life lessons, insights and humorous experiences along the way, it is time to expand the scope of this blog. For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know that I have regularly wandered far from topics related to The Weaponry. In fact, one of the great things about having a personal blog is writing about whatever you want. Like A strange encounter at the Piggly Wiggly. And I find myself wanting to share my broader experiences, learnings and observations.
As part of the broadening of the blog I am changing the name of the blog too. It will no longer be called The Perfect Agency Project. (#audiblegasps #CallCNN #WeInterruptThisBlogCast) I also want to make my writings easier to find, by humans and search engines alike.
So I am changing my blog title to… wait for it… The Adam Albrecht Blog. I know, this sounds crazy, like rich Asians. And you will never believe the new URL I will be using. So I will tell you. It is… AdamAlbrecht.blog. (However, theperfectagencyproject.com will still direct you to the blog. Because a rose by any other name may not immediately smell as sweet to Google and Bing.)
The rest of the blog will be totally the same. I will still share what I am learning. I am committed to humorous asides and totally random pop culture references that separate insiders from outsiders. (Use Google as your secret decoder ring for random references.) I will keep hashtag-style commentary. And captions will be written to make you giggle.
Thank you to all of you who regularly read my blog. Thank you for the comments, likes, emails, texts, phone calls, proofreading help, and in-person feedback on my writings. I know your time is limited. And I appreciate that you take the time to read my posts. But if you like what I have written in the first 412 posts, you will like what I write over the next 4000. And if you like this blog, I expect you will like the book. Which I look forward to spending more time writing in the year ahead. Thank you for reading all the way to the end of this post. Which is actually not here. Or here. It’s right here.