Two friends got in touch recently.

They want to sell their creative work online.

We’ve discussed different formats: text, audio, and video.

It doesn’t matter what the format is.

Whenever friends ask me how I do what I do and where they should start, I freeze, overwhelmed by the sheer complexity.

I spend much time trying to return to a beginner’s mind.

To get back to basics.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

With so many options, I must think deeply about what works for my business.

The bare bones that drive success.

Not tactic A versus tactic B.

That’s too shallow.

It’s too first-order thinking.

The cliche often spouted in business circles is that only 20% of your effort or actions generate 80% of your profits.

It’s known as the Pareto principle.

It is more, 5% -95%.

I keep asking myself.

How do I teach thirty years of experience and nuance in a way that is simple and easy to understand to a novice?

In a way, my eleven-year-old granddaughter would get?

Yup, she’s bright as a button, and that’s not me being a coochy-coochy grandpa.

I once explained the inner workings of my mind to a TED lecturer friend.

She looked at me in a gobsmacked way after I had finished.

You know, Robin, you are one of only three people I know who could explain how their mind works so clearly.

I was surprised.

I thought everyone knew how their mind worked.

That aside, my mind goes from a single focused idea and rapidly expands outwards, like a space probe leaving our solar system.

Suddenly, within seconds, my field of vision is filled with a trillion stars (connected and unconnected ideas).

Where most see a haze or blur, I connect the dots.

I spot patterns amidst the noise of data.

I’m neurodivergent.

We’re good at this stuff.

Now, try and reverse the process, and I want to bang my head on the ground and weep.

I have to get back to basics to help my friends in any meaningful way.

Teach in a way that liberates them so they become autodidacts and eventually encourages them to head out into the world under their own steam.

No need for a teacher.

To do this, I have to teach principles.

Which principles have I discovered or learned that have stood the test of time?

Technology, platforms, tactics, shiny, wobbly things come and go.

Yet, if you learn specific principles, you can apply them to anything in self-publishing.

And yes, they might need tweaking to adapt to a future scenario, but they should stand you in good stead.

We can describe a principle as follows:

A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.

Oxford Dictionary

Principle #1: Talk to a human.

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