Placing Rocks In The Stream

My first successes marketing and publishing on the Internet did not come from some ‘killer marketing tactic’ or a secret ‘push-button profits software package’. Rather, a simple lifestyle shift began a long steady process of connecting my knowledge and experience with people who were interested.

I call the shift I made, “Placing a Rock In the Stream.” The concept is simple, but profound. It moved me passed all the early struggles of trying to find a niche and figure out what to sell. Instead, the system showed me which of my interests and experiences had business potential.

Placing Rocks in the Stream

Photograph by Euan StraitonIt’s not hard to imagine your life experiences flowing like a stream. People you meet, conversations you have, flashes of insight, emotions – these things and more wash steadily past. The essence of your life is dispersed in this river.

You cannot hold onto a river. Grasp at it and you get nothing more than an empty wet hand that will dry soon enough. But, no matter how clear the water appears, it carries with it artifacts of where it has been. Don’t believe me? Put a rock in the stream and wait.

The rock interrupts the flow. Water swirls around it leaving small pools of calmer water behind the rock. As the water slows, a magical thing happens. Those artifacts become too heavy for the current to carry and they settle to the bottom.

Put a rock in your life and the same thing happens. A house is like a rock in most people’s lives. You settle into one, and in 10 or 20 years, its nooks and crannies become filled with the artifacts of your life. Books, photographs, the car seat you bought for the child you just sent off to college.

But rocks can do more than just collect your old stuff…

The Power Of Rocks

I have a wide range of interests. Often, a new momentary passion rises up while I’m exploring another. I also tend to keep coming back to old favorites, but with a new perspective.

The result of my particular pattern of curiosity is that I know a fair amount about a wide range of topics, but never seem to get enough momentum going in any one direction to make much out of it. After years spent in the world of Internet Marketing and selling information, I realize that many other people share similar patterns.

I decided to work with this pattern instead of fighting against it. The Internet provided a perfect tool.

I thought, “How can a person like me get enough material together to write a book, create a business, or shoot a movie?” My mind and body seem to race along from one thing to the next so quickly that good ideas and best intentions get swept away too soon.

My answer was to begin placing some rocks in my life – carefully placed obstacles designed to slow me down a little and let those good ideas have a chance to settle out of the stream.

Placing The First Stone

My personal blog,, was created to be a rock. Every week it seemed that someone came to me for some kind of help or advice. It might be damaged drywall needing a repair or a friend who needed help writing up a quote for a video production project.

When you’ve worked as a in-home sales person, house painter, media producer, hotel night auditor, home theater installer, automotive assembly line worker, website designer, director of photographer, carpet cleaner, furniture salesman, building superintendent, set designer, movie director, and more, the experience builds up. When you add in hobbies, a love of reading, and the random bits of other things that get picked up along the way, it’s no wonder people think I might know something helpful.

In January of 2006, I decided that I would write about my projects, hobbies, and the answers I gave to the questions people asked me.

I installed blogging software on my server (another set of skills) and began writing. Now, instead of my advice fading into silence after the words are spoke, I slow down and let them settle onto the blog website (of course I’ve created additional rocks beside that one blog too.)

So far I’ve written more than 173 posts on The majority are longer pieces, like this one. Printed out at the font sizes and page dimensions of a typical book, that amounts to more than 200 pages. That is a success by my accounting.

Adding More Rocks To My Stream

Just creating a blog site was not enough. I needed a few other rocks placed around me to ensure that I would generate the habits required to easily capture the bits of knowledge and experience I wanted to write about. I bought a small audio recorder to carry with me so I can dictate notes when I’m working on something worth writing about. I’ve also begun carrying notebooks and a small digital video camera.

Each one of these things causes tiny pieces of my experience to settle into a growing mound of resources that I can use and share. It is exciting to see how people from all over the world have found my articles. It is even more exciting that people are starting to ask me questions through my website and I discover methods of monetizing that content. The very existence of this website and my personal blog is helping to inspire new articles and connect me to new people and opportunities.

What Can You Do?

Try putting a few rocks in your stream. Who knows, you may just have a book in you, or the idea for then next big business breakthrough. Whatever it is, you will find great satisfaction in being able to share it with other people.

The cost of action is low, but the benefits can be profound. You might discover hidden opportunities in your passions.

One thought on “Placing Rocks In The Stream”

  1. I agree with you Andrew, too often people look for the holy grail one click solution. That’s why there is such a high failure rate in this industry. It’s a real learning experience that people need to take. Your WP-SalesPage template is pretty awesome. Saves a bunch of time 🙂

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