After eight years of searching, I finally found it…
In grad school, I would drive home from night classes and listen to audiobooks.
And any other entrepreneurial audiobook I could find.
I remember listening to one book that contained a short story that really resonated with me, but since then, I couldn’t find it.
I remembered the gist of the story, but I could never remember the details to actually find it.
After years of searching for this short story, today, I decided “I’ll look for it one more time,” and finally came across it.
And I want to share it with you. It’s from the book Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.
It goes like this:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
This is exactly how I felt after graduating from college and grad school with marketing degrees.
I knew all about the marketing theories, models, and frameworks. But when I came to actually marketing a product or service and getting customers… I was SOL.
I spent all my time reading and no time actually doing what I was reading.
Instead, I had to learn all of this stuff after college on my own.
The reason I bring this up is because I often hear questions from beginning copywriters and entrepreneurs.
Almost every one of them wants a huge list of books to read before they start doing a single thing.
They won’t write copy.
They won’t try to find their first customer.
They won’t do anything.
Instead, they’ll spend weeks, or months searching for that perfect book or that perfect online course that will give them the answers.
After all, it’s much easier to read books and watch videos than putting yourself out there and getting rejected 100 times before you even get a “maybe.”
I know… I used to be that guy.
But the thing is, reading isn’t enough. You have to put in the sweat in order to truly understand the skill you’re working on.
If you keep looking for that silver bullet that will make everything easy, you’ll never find it. And you’ll never improve yourself or your business.
Sure, it’s good to read and attend training in addition to getting out there and actually doing the work.
But if you’re not already out there pitching your services, writing copy, or doing something else to get to your goal, put down the books for now and start doing.