Last November, my good friend Kyle and I inadvertently wrote a book in 30 days (whoops!). We didn’t set out intending to write this book, and we certainly didn’t think anyone beyond it’s original intended audience would read it. But here we are, nine months later, with a fully edited and self-published book which I’m now excited to share here (actually I’m pretty uncomfortable talking about this but…I need to get over that).
I think I should start all the way at the beginning and explain how I met the people involved in writing this book and how it came to be.
When Mike and I first moved to London, my US employer at the time graciously agreed to keep me on as a remote employee (geologist). This set-up was wonderful for many reasons. It offered me some semblance of stability as we transitioned into a whole new life together in a foreign country. And it removed the otherwise added stress of finding a local job and income as soon as we moved here. I was close with my co-workers, so it was added bonus of comfort to have my connection with them stay consistent.
But working remotely can be lonely, especially when you’re in a brand new city in a brand new country. Mike would get home at the end of a long day at work and I would excitedly bombard him with conversation, eager for human interaction, musing that the only other humans I’d spoken to that day were the bank teller and the barista across the street.
Finally, after several months of enduring my hyper nightly chats, Mike suggested that I look for a weekend position at a bar or coffee shop so I could meet new people. Coincidentally, the local coffee shop where I’d been hanging out and teleworking a few days a week posted a job notice on the door seeking part-time baristas. Without any second guessing, I submitted my resume, and three days later I had a job at a southeast London coffee shop.
To say this experience was transformative would be a massive understatement. I immediately made incredible friends with my new co-workers and customers, and developed a passion for brewing artisan coffee. After several months of juggling the weekend barista job with my remote “proper” job, the position of the business manager at the coffee shop opened up, and suddenly I found myself running a small business in lieu of being a remote geologist. If you ever want to learn accounting, food management, customer service, and people management [i.e. widely varying personality demands], run a coffee shop. It was incredibly demanding, but fun and rewarding.
In the midst of my journey up this massive learning curve, I became good friends with a frequent customer, Kyle, who I learned was a successful serial entrepreneur. I also found out that several of the baristas I worked with had their own “side-hustle” businesses that they were trying to get off of the ground (photography, handmade furniture, floristry).
One day over my coffee break, Kyle and I were discussing the challenges of starting a business (his wheel-house) and running a business (what I was learning to do). In particular, we noted the difficulty of going at both of these alone (what our barista-friends were doing). We thought it would be fun and impactful if we gathered together as a group and supported each other through our individual journeys.
Kyle and I suggested this meet-up / support group idea to our friends. We offered to set and run weekly meet-ups, and write and send them daily email prompts about starting and running a small business. Off the cuff, we decided we’d trial the group meet-ups and daily prompts over a 30 day period, with the idea that anyone can commit to anything for 30 days straight. Our friends were excited and eager to participate, and thus 30 Days of Doing was born.
Kyle and I identified which tasks we thought were essential to getting a business up and running (defining your product, identifying your customer base, pricing your product, building a website, etc.) and wrote 30 email prompts about each of these identified topics. The idea was that each of the prompts and their associated tasks could be completed alongside a normal working schedule. The group committed to reading our prompts, completing the tasks, and attending the weekly meet-ups for the month of November.
The prompts and meet-ups were so impactful for our friends who participated that they encouraged us to keep the idea going after the 30 day period. As we progressed farther along, we realized we were coming up with a fairly substantial amount of content. We thought about turning the emails into a book so that more aspiring self-starters could have access to the content we’d created. We took the group’s suggested changes for the prompts, edited the emails into book-text, and self-published the book through Create Space (Amazon’s self-publishing company).
We clearly did not set out to create a book, but this exercise has really highlighted for me that with a bit of commitment and consistent effort, you can come up with some pretty surprising results. We didn’t overthink the process, we just committed to doing something (for others who we felt accountable to) and followed through on it. By self-publishing 30 Days of Doing and making it accessible for others, we’re hoping to encourage more people to stop talking about an idea or passion they have, and start doing it!
You can check out the e-book and print-on-demand paperback books by visiting:
And you can read more about what we’re doing with 30 Days of Doing on our website!