In 2006 I resigned from the school district where I had been employed as a classroom teacher for the previous twenty years. My last day was on June 30th, 2006 which coincided with the last day of the district’s fiscal year.
I had worked simultaneously as a real estate broker and residential appraiser for all those years and during the spring and summer of that year I completed all outstanding assignments, closed out open contracts, and began recommending other brokers and appraisers to my long time real estate clients to serve their ongoing needs. At that point in time I was too caught up with making it through each of my busy days than to mindfully create a morning daily routine for myself.
When I started thinking about my current morning daily routine early this morning I realized there are a few actions and activities that are the same in what I do today as compared to what I did each morning long ago. But once you get past those similarities, everything in my life has changed.
My morning daily routine begins the evening before. This was something I never gave any thought to but it makes sense. If you have to get up very early in the morning and be away from your home for twelve hours or longer that day, it seems like the prudent thing to do to gather your belongings and put them near the front door and then get to bed early enough so you are well rested the following morning. My family and friends used to tease me that I couldn’t go anywhere with them on a “school night” because I needed to be in bed by nine if I was to be able to arise by four thirty the next day.
I still get up around four thirty or five each morning, seven days a week, and without the need for an alarm or any kind. Going to bed around nine o’clock in the evening five to six nights each week has never felt like a sacrifice. While I was working as a classroom teacher people would remark at how awake and alert I was at such an early hour. I would tell them that I was not a “morning person” and was only up at the crack of dawn because I had chosen a career that required this of me. It turns out they were right; I am indeed a morning person.
But these days my mornings are my own and represent the time when I accomplish more than I ever thought possible. Instead of showering and getting dressed quickly so I could eat some breakfast, pack my lunch, and fight the rush hour traffic to get to work, I enjoy a leisurely morning where I sip lemon water and do some meaningful reading and thinking. Then it’s time to begin engaging in my morning daily routine of writing, creating products and courses, sharing what I am doing with others via email message and social media, and mentoring one or two of my students.
This lifestyle suits me well and has allowed me to build an online empire where I decide what I will do each day, and with whom I will do it, and from where in the world I will be working at any given time. And it turns out how we spend the first three hours of our mornings every single day are the most crucial hours for our success in both the short and long term.
I mentioned writing earlier. Yes, writing almost every single morning (there are days when I am traveling or have made a commitment to be somewhere very early) has changed my life and become the foundation of my morning daily routine. I figured out that my “prime time” – those hours when I am most awake, alert, and engaged in my thoughts and actions – are the early to mid-morning hours of each day. When I write during these early morning hours, some time between about six and ten o’clock I am able to write blog posts, messages to my community, and books. Lots and lots of books. (View all of my titles here)
Becoming a published author was something I had longed for since I was about twelve years old. I talked about writing and took classes and bought notebooks and purchased an IBM Selectric typewriter and finally a computer and did everything related to writing a writer is supposed to do, except for actually engaging in much writing. Yes, there were brief periods of time where I completed a short story or a one-act play or even a screenplay, but these were typically assignments and projects for a class I would be taking at the time. Once the class was over I would put everything away for months or even years until I was inspired once again to follow my childhood and young adult dream of becoming a published writer. Perhaps I believed there would always be enough time to do this later on in my life, or perhaps I just wasn’t savvy enough to understand that any type of success and achievement requires hard work and commitment on a consistent basis throughout our lifetimes.
As I got older and was more involved in my real estate work and my teaching career I wrote less and less. The last time I can remember writing before I came online as an entrepreneur was two years before I left teaching. The year was 2004 and I had decided to write a children’s book. I was anxious to get some feedback from my own students. They were fifth graders and my exact target audience at that time. I wrote a few pages and after lunch one day told them my “friend” was writing a story and wanted to know what they thought about it. Would they allow me to read a few pages and then tell me what they thought? Yes! They enthusiastically listened and took in each word as I read and then engaged fully with me in a short discussion afterward. I asked them some questions that included:
- Is this story interesting and one that you would read through to the end?
- Do the boy and girl characters seem like real people you know?
- When the boy told the girl about visiting his grandmother did it sound like someone ten years old was talking?
- What do you think will happen next in this story?
Any author would have been proud to be a part of this discussion about their writing. They encouraged my “friend” to write some more and made me promise to read it to them. I did write a few more pages and read it to them the next week. Then I did what I had done so many times before; I stopped writing and did not go back to the story. Even though the feedback had been mostly positive and encouraging I had lost my interest in the characters and the story. My students inquired a few times and then stopped asking me about it altogether. That little voice in my head was at it again, telling me I wasn’t good enough to be an author. And once again I allowed that little voice to crush my spirit and my dreams.
In 2006 I left my previous life behind to come online as an entrepreneur, as I mentioned earlier. Within a month or so I realized that writing needed to become a part of my work and that I needed to get into the habit of writing each day to improve my skills. I challenged myself to write a two hundred fifty word article/blog post each day for the next hundred days. I didn’t do that…I wrote a hundred of these articles and repurposed them into blog posts in just seventy-eight days!
The writing continued and it did improve. It was a slow process but one I was committed to staying with for the long term. In 2010 a series of events and interactions with my mentors led me to writing fifty blog posts on the topic of how I was able to earn so much income with the tiny list of less than a thousand people I had at that time. I compiled those fifty posts, added some additional content, and turned it into a full length book. In the summer of that year this first book was published. The title is Huge Profits with a Tiny List: 50 Ways to Use Relationship Marketing to Increase Your Bottom Line. It quickly became a bestseller and started me on my path to authorship. Twenty additional titles have now been published and I am currently working on yet another book. This piece of my business – authorship – continues to build my business and increase my income. I teach online courses, create information products, consult with three corporations, and mentor others to achieve their goals and lifestyle based on writing and publishing books. This is an extremely profitable endeavor.
The day after this first book was published I took a copy of it to my mother. She had broken her hip a few months earlier and was in an assisted living facility where she could receive physical therapy each day. She was ninety-two years old at that time. When I placed my book in her hands it was as if the angels sang. I can vividly remember her sitting up in her bed and looking at me in a way she had not done before, at least in my memory. I could feel how proud she was and that she finally understood what I was doing when I said I had a business based on the internet.
My mother came from a world of manual typewriters and cardboard bound notebooks. She showed that book to everyone she came in contact with. This included friends she had not seen for years, whom she insisted come to visit so she could show them something special. She and I bonded over my book and she shared stories of when I had received my first library card and the Dr. Seuss book that had been the first book I read all the way to the end on my own. She reminded me of the poem I had written when I was five that represented my first writing that could be shared with others. I had no way to knowing that less than a year later my mother would be gone. Thank God I was able to share that experience with her while she was still alive.
I want to encourage you to add the practice of writing to your morning daily routine. And I’ll add one more item of importance a reader was kind enough to point out to me: Your “morning” is whenever you happen to awaken after you sleep. If you are a night owl this could be at noon or early afternoon your time. The period of time I am referring to here is personal to your sleeping habits and prime time hours. The writing you do at this time may begin with journaling, progress to blogging, and then move on to authorship.
If you want to build an income around your book’s topic, I can help you do that. If you want to write books for children or for people who need help in various areas of their lives, or just to get your message out to the world I can assist you in these areas as well. I would encourage you to start a daily writing practice as soon as tomorrow and see where it takes you on your life’s journey. Becoming a published author opens doors and presents opportunities you cannot imagine, and helps you to serve others with the words you write.
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my comprehensive training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.