I held a webinar yesterday and nobody came. It was the second free webinar I had given in a week and for the first one, I had 67 people. A dozen people signed up for the second one, but no one came. So there I was, talking to myself.
I thought for a moment about ending the show, and going back to my day, but then I thought about everything I had done to prepare. Here is a partial list:
- Designed and developed the course that the webinar was intended to sell – including shooting videos, creating assignments, making worksheets, putting together a sales page and designing graphics.
- Developed a Powerpoint slideshow for the webinar, and practiced it and honed it – trimming it after the first run through to make it tighter and better.
- Developed a handout to go with it that participants could use as they listened to my talk – which I didn’t have for the first run through, and thought was a mistake.
- Studied the top eight webinar platforms, selected three, signed up for trials on all three, tried them out, chose my favorite, set up the email funnels (registration, reminder, replay, thank you), tested the platform, tested again, tested again.
- Hired a graphic artist to design Facebook ads and paid my assistant to deploy them and paid for all the clicks.
- Secured the time and paid my assistant to help me test the webinar and set everything up, and be there on the channel with me to monitor and troubleshoot.
- Set aside the time on my calendar, which included missing my regular class at the gym, cutting a call short with a client, cutting a call short with my daughter, and cutting a call short with my husband.
I thought about that list and I thought, I’m doing this webinar. Even if no one is here, I’m doing it.
Why did I see it through? Because it was good practice, for one thing. But also because I sit here every day urging people to be bold and to put themselves out there and to work outside their comfort zones, and I think I would be something of a fraud if I didn’t do it myself.
I, too, am trying to build something out of nothing, to offer something to the world – and while many days, I am very good at it, on other days, I am not. I’m just a person who has an idea, who has a dream, who is trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and who doesn’t really know what I'm doing
Maybe some day I’ll have 100 people on my webinars or 300 or 3000, and then I can look back on the day no one came and laugh, or use it as a lesson, or make something good from it.
But yesterday it hurt. I was sad and frustrated. I was wondering what I was doing wrong, and wondering if all the hard work is worth it. There are, after all, no guarantees.
In my sadness, I remembered a little piece one of my clients, Kate Spencer, recently wrote. I filed it away to use on this blog some day – and I realized that some day should be today.
Kate is writing here about why we write or create anything – including books and free webinars. She is writing about the intrinsic value of doing it, and her words are moving and beautiful and true. She was writing about something that I did to comfort her, and today her words in turn comforted me. They were a lovely reminder of why I see the hard things through, and why any of us do.
I’m sitting at my computer screen crying, reading in just a single short sentence, the “yes” that part of me has been longing to hear since I was a kid. It’s from my book coach, in response to a new chapter I’m adding about how my mother repeatedly reminded me that when it came to writing, I would never be Shakespeare.
“If she had only lived to read this book, she’d be eating her words,” my coach wrote in her notes.
I laughed out loud at her friendly solidarity and “Atta girl” attitude. And then the crying started.
The stories our families tell us about ourselves are potent, and breaking the spell of those stories takes work and time. And for writers, it takes writing: writing on, writing despite, writing through.
It’s not about getting the six-figure deal, or being the media’s next darling, or really, even about being published. (Not that those things can’t all be wonderful.) It’s about writing yourself into the truth of your own story, your own life. Not the one someone else taught you, but yours.
In the moment I read my coach’s words, I knew that I had written through to the truth and touched one reader with the story of finding it. And no one could have written that story but me. So though I have the hope and the determination that this book will be read, and even loved, it’s enough—the world—to have written it.