How did we get that far – 68 podcasts and nearly 150 articles? (A case study)
Our road from the idea to the implementation of the first and biggest online resource on the topic of goal-setting is shorter than it seems.
Today we will show you how we employed “GoalBuddy” to develop the project of the same name. We would take on one element of our vision, and following our own rules, we were making steady progress at 90-day intervals.
This could be an example, motivation, or simply a convincing argument for the practical value of the systematic approach to achieving your dreams.
The first thing to do is to make sure that the vision is clearly defined.
We decided to transform “GoalBuddy” from something for private use into a tool available to anyone. Then we outlined the long-termed objective – to help millions around the planet fulfill their dreams and feel good about it.
Elements of the vision
In order to publicize our methodology, we needed the means to reach as many people as possible. That’s how we came up with the following intermediate targets:
- Mobile app;
- a book;
- a website.
This last target was the one we knew to be a top priority. So, we started with it.
Why the Website?
It was self-evident that getting our thoughts out there on the Internet would give them a global audience.
At the time, we were asking ourselves, “How come there isn’t already anything of the sorts?”
Worldwide demand for Goals
It may sound strange now but back then there was not a single website dedicated to goal setting.
Sure, there were many valuable web resources that covered all the aspects of the field. The emphasis was either on motivation, the habits, or on the action.
Right away we noticed a “market niche”. There was nothing that even resembled a comprehensive approach that could treat all relevant questions and issues. Obviously creating one became the first thing to do.
A system within the system
For this objective, as well as for the rest, we literally followed the principles of “GoalBuddy”.
We already had the vision. Then we continued with the 90-day goals that depend only on us, focusing only on one goal for the given period. Every week we did one step, meeting regularly to support each other. At the end of the quarter, we would do an analysis of what had been accomplished. Last was setting a new objective for the next quarter. Sometimes it was a new one, some other times – a continuation of the previous one.
We began with the “infrastructure”
Before we could start even thinking of our online content, we had to have a platform to publish it. That’s why for the first 90 days we were working out the hosting and domain for the website.
But then we ran into a seemingly trivial issue – we didn’t have a name.
# 1 Giving it a name
We were looking for something that would be appropriate as a legal entity as well as a domain name.
It had to reflect the nature of the system, but at the same time be catchy and easy to remember. And of course, the name should have been unique.
It turned out that we already had it – “GoalBuddy”!
We ran its English version with some friends of ours living in the United States.
The domino effect
Although the name was the result of the first thing in setting up the website, it quickly pushed things much further.
This step produced a “domino effect” and triggered many others during the developing the “GoalBuddy” brand. The logo was next followed by graphics and the main message. All of these made the website stand out in a much better way.
And once it was up and running we started creating its content.
# 2 The goal for establishing the terminology
Almost immediately we ran into the first challenge. “How do you communicate in a clear and easy to understand manner?”
There was no problem when we were talking between the two of us. And the system’s structure reflected that fact. When we were discussing a concept or any other thing we were resorting to our own “jargon”. Of course, it was not suited for the wider audience.
A little bit of pre-history
There were several stages we went through.
We used to categorize the objectives as “small” and “big” (90-day goals and visions in today’s terminology).
At some point, we wanted to focus only on what we can do. Therefore, we thought we could call 90-day ones “action goals”.
All of that was Okay when it was only the two of us. But we needed a clear and simple terminology which could be easily adopted by many people from a diverse cultural and otherwise background.
Although it seemed as simple task as a technical translation into established terms and vocabulary in the field it unfolded into something bigger.
Thinking hard how on choosing the correct words forced us into a deeper and better understanding of the underlying matter. This process, in turn, was beneficial to the development of these same concepts and their better structuring.
That’s how we discovered for ourselves the old saying, “The best way to learn is to teach.”
# 2 A new objective – writing articles
It was an exciting moment when the website came into its first interaction with the world.
But the English articles were taking too much time. We couldn’t manage more than just a couple of them per month. There were two reasons for that.
We were obsessing with perfection
We simply couldn’t accept anything less than flawless.
Assisting people in their aspirations is our mission. We have found a solution after we have struggled with it. That’s why it was very imperative to us not to compromise on it.
We had to express ourselves in a meaningful way which was also excellently communicated and presented in its entirety. There was another, no less important issue waiting for us.
English as a second language
It’s extremely hard work to come with an excellent translation of a novel and original ideas when English is not your mother tongue.
We quickly realized that this is an uphill battle. And we acted by taking a page right out of the book of our system.
# 3 Finding help
We applied the “Who can help” strategy. In just a couple of months, a team to do the texts in both languages was assembled. For the translation, we hired a professional in the US, and we don’t have to worry any longer how our thoughts sound in English.
Everything was going well. Then an unexpected opportunity presented itself to us.
# 4 The goal to apply for a grant for our website
We’ve learned about a way to fund our project. It was a Google program for nonprofit organizations to improve their visibility on the web.
We ran that goal through the “Why” test and liked the outcome. If we wanted to reach out to more people, we needed to explore any possibility.
Yet another action goal
Note that we didn’t define it as “get funding”, but instead we made it depend on our actions.
We dedicated the following months on the application process. There were meetings and consultations that lasted for hours. We put in a lot of effort and the result didn’t disappoint.
Our project got approved! We were quite happy and even proud because Google appreciated the social value of our work. It seemed that things were happening for us!
An idea that became a weekly routine
At that time Ivan suggested an experiment.
He wanted to start a podcast series as a basis for the articles. This soon grew into something bigger.
After the first several recording sessions we got a good handle of it. So, we had audio and text resources which considerably enhanced the site’s quality. It was a straightforward decision to continue and make it permanent.
Getting up to speed
It took us a while to figure out all the nuts and bolts of our strategy. After a while thinking carefully and in detail, Ivan laid it out on a sheet of paper. His plan changed everything. It looked like this:
Podcast episode à Article in Bulgarian à Translation of the article into English à Automatic podcasts to iOS and Android feeds à Automatic emails to subscribers à Automatic posting of podcast news and articles on Facebook.
We agreed from now on to follow that workflow which vastly simplified the process for us.
We implemented a protocol and a procedure for creating and uploading the content to the website.
We told you how much we like to achieve more with less effort. This is accomplished by automating and delegating some activities. That’s exactly what we did in this case.
We’ve set up as many tasks as possible to be executed automatically by default.
Some others have been delegated to the team. Maria assists us with the graphics and audio as well as the podcast episodes. Milena and Jordan help with the articles in both languages and then the publishing to the website.
Our main responsibility is to come up with new ideas and then put them into practice.
Well, not everything was smooth and easy in the beginning…
Speaking of the podcasts, it might sound like we knew what we were doing. Not at all!
The first couple of times we used our smartphones. The audio was too loud and you can hear much of the background. That’s the reason we decided not to upload these few podcasts.
It was a good lesson for us.
“Getting something out of nothing”
We had no experience, equipment or the technical expertise of how to get it done. But we had a clear goal and we felt that we were on the right track. It was a matter of time before all the pieces fell into their places.
This is a good example of how someone can start acting without waiting for the right time and circumstances.
So, we went on with our efforts. It was time to set up the platform. We had to find a way for audio of higher quality. Another issue we dealt with was to adjust the process so that when the episode was uploaded to the site, it would automatically appear in the appropriate places for our subscribers.
# 5 The 90-day goal for fine-tuning the process
For the three months, we had set as timeframe, we went through a classic “trial and error” process.
We tried different microphones, routers, internet providers until we found out why Ivan would start sound like a robot in the middle of the podcast. Eventually, the background noise and interruptions were taken care of.
There were many other issues we had to overcome but today the podcast is done within just a few clicks.
“To start and never stop”
We like telling ourselves that again and again but it also helped us running this project for a second year in a roll. Against the odds we haven’t missed a single podcast or an article.
Having followed our own advice we managed to avoid any interruptions by making a small but regular weekly step forward.
How far we got
It all started with a vision – to popularize our ideas and make them accessible and free of charge. We didn’t have much in terms of past experience, a team, or any equipment.
And now we have a great website with 68 podcast episodes and over 150 articles regularly updated with the latest news. We do a podcast episode every week. It serves as a basis for the corresponding article as well as for the book we are publishing soon. We keep experimenting with various tactics while resolving any issues “on the fly”.
How success becomes inevitable
There are two main forces that play a role in this:
- We follow the principles of our system while improving it.
- We are Goal Buddies in life as well as on the project. We do things together and we support each other.
Nothing is better than a structured approach. But it has to be based on rules, accumulation of action over time and support from your partner for goals. The fact that we practice daily what we teach others is the best proof. And it is the greatest reward to get closer and closer to our mission every day!