Start a new chapter

Start a new chapter

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 35.

BTW: does this make me older than you?

We measure our time on earth in birth years, which feels more significant to me than New Years. Each year that passes reminds me: I don’t have infinite years on this planet. My development to this point is what I’ve been able to accomplish in 35 years. How can improve myself in my 36th year?

My favorite comedian is Louis CK. In this iconic HBO special, he reveals his attitude towards his old material:

Louis: “I throw away my act every year. I do a new hour, I throw it away, and I never go back.”

Chris Rock: “Me too: I like to create [a new show every year]. I grew up with Woody Allen, and Prince. Every year Woody Allen has a new movie, every year Prince has a new album.”

Louis: “There there’s a huge challenge in not having your old act. But I think you rise to the occasion. You won’t rise to the occasion if you don’t put a void there: you have to take away your old material from yourself.”

Jerry Seinfeld: “You see this attitude here? That’s how [Louis] got so good.”

I love this idea of pruning away the old to make room for the new. Right now I’m trying to focus on writing this book, and it’s hard. Yesterday, I procrastinated by writing an update for another book I’d written. The old stuff can be a distraction.

My craft is making things on the Internet. This includes digital downloads like books, templates, plugins, courses, and software. I want to get better at this craft.

Normally, the idea is you create something, you put it up for sale on the web, and then you let it sit there forever.

Today I’m thinking: it’s time to leave my best stuff behind. To get better, I’m going to force myself to come up with a new “act” every year.

So I’m trying something new. Tomorrow (June 19th), at 7am Pacific, I’m going to put everything in my store on sale.

Then, the day after the summer solstice (June 22nd), I’m going to remove everything and start with a clean slate.

I’m hoping this will become a yearly ritual:

The best artists, writers and creators often have volumes. It’s time for me to close this chapter, and start a new one.

Just had a great question from a reader:I was thinking a bit further about it when applied to the concept of passive income. For many people (including me) this is something like the holy grail. Having a bunch of products prices between $10-$195 that are making money while you have time for other things. Do you feel like you haven’t found that one big hit/money maker yet? And is that why you are forcing yourself to keep trying new things?Answer:

This experiment won’t include my subscription based businesses (Product Club, Network Effects, etc..). Those do provide a good passive income, and it makes sense to continue to iterate on those platforms and make them better.

For this experiment I’m thinking specifically of downloadable products. These are one-off sales that do provide a passive income of sorts, the sales cycle generally looks like this:

Product Launch sales chart

Also, I’m not saying that I’ll never re-visit any of these old products. In fact, that’s the idea: to approach things I’ve done in the past with a fresh perspective, and to re-launch some of them as really progressive version 2.0s.

Of course, all of this is evolving. Stay tuned. 😉

Justin Jackson

PS: If you want to be notified about the sale, join the mailing list.

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Published on June 18, 2015