Making it Big: Selling Books, Growing Blogs or Saving the World

stairs at sunset

"I don't want to do small things," she told me.

My daughter was curled up by my side. I held her close.

"You'll do big things," I told her. "I have no doubts about that."

She continued to talk very passionately. She has big visions. She wants to make a difference in the world, in a big way. Not everyone has such aspirations, I explained. She has an entrepreneurial spirit. It's a certain kind of gift.

"But there's a saying," I continued. "It's called paying your dues. There are some exceptions, but most people have to go through the process of doing smaller things in smaller venues before they get the privilege to lead the way in bigger things."

Reading Heath & Heath today, I was reminded of this conversation with my daughter. The authors discuss the issue of Credibility and give an example of a company that wanted a big client in a new market.

How did they get the client? By first having another big client in a market where they'd already earned credibility. How did they get that first big client? I have no idea. But I'm willing to bet they paid their dues.

It's a bit of a dance, this reaching for the next thing. Reach too far too fast and no one is going to pay attention to you. Don't reach at all and... no one is going to pay attention to you.

But one thing is sure, whether you are trying to sell your book, or grow your blog, or save the world, you've got to start by taking small steps in the desired direction. That's what I'm telling my daughter anyway. If she saves the world somehow someday, you'll remember she started small, with the sharing of her dream.


Over at HighCallingBlogs we're reading and discussing Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Want to join us? :)

Staircase photo, by L.L. Barkat.

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Blogger Laura said...

What a sweet moment. Thanks for sharing it here. I'm kind of a back door person this way. Trouble is, I sometimes have trouble finding my way to the front door, even after paying those dues! This is a good lesson to learn, to teach, though.

11:40 AM  
Blogger deb said...

and sometimes the "small" to us , is big to others, no?

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Monica Sharman said...

Beautiful. And the photo, too.

Yeah, who wants to take those giant steps, anyway? I'm likely to pull a muscle.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Cassandra Frear said...

Paying dues is a good way to think of it.

Although gardens work better for me as extended metaphors. There's a lot of work over a period of time that must be done faithfully before the beautiful landscape we dream of is a reality.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Loved this: "...most people have to go through the process of doing smaller things in smaller venues before they get the privilege to lead the way in bigger things."

I'm one of those that likes to jump full ahead into the big, wanting to "get there already." I often feel held back by the smaller steps. I'm learning. I find as I get older I have more time to be patient with myself in the process and enjoy the little steps along the way, wherever the way leads...

"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities." (Luke 16:10)

9:52 AM  
Blogger Doug Spurling said...

Seems I've heard this wisdom before. Oh yeah... "Matthew 25:23
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

11:10 AM  

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