Ten days ago I had a conversation with a good friend of mine. Knowing most of my activities and plans, he suggested I should proceed with opening a vegetarian restaurant, something I intended to do one day, most likely in a horizon of few years (he himself started the vegetarian diet recently)….
“Eating well and being healthy are the most important things,” he said. “You should focus your efforts on this rather than philosophy. Vegetarian restaurant is something realistic, tangible, a place where you can see the results of your work immediately, in people coming and trying something new, potentially changing their eating habits. And that will result in an improved quality of their life. You should go for it now.”
(Note: There aren’t any vegetarian restaurants in my city, or in a bigger city nearby. We combine together for nearly 100,000 inhabitants.)
Philosophy, the queen
I thought about what he said for a second, and gave him my reply:
“In my point of view, philosophy, especially if focused on helping people opening their minds and thinking independently, transcends things you can achieve with opening a vegetarian restaurant, or with any other tangible effort for that matter. Because, if your philosophy, or artwork, helps people to get rid of their prejudice, and to break their inner slaveries, if it motivates them to try new things and to questions their own ideas and beliefs, then they will find the right answers themselves. They will start thinking about their diet and lifestyle, and about all the other things they do, and question themselves whether it really is the best for them and humanity in general. That’s hundred times more than you could ever achieve with a vegetarian restaurant, doesn’t matter how good a place you’d make it.”
Illness tested my conviction
Walking home from our meeting, I felt convinced and motivated to work hard and try promoting the University of Solitude to the world, something I found difficult so far. But what didn’t happen … I got very sick. My sinuses got infected from an eye tooth that suffered from bacterial infection for a long time, without me noticing the seriousness of the issue. It quickly got worse, and I suffered terrible headache and eye ache all day, unable to focus on any work or activity. I found it very difficult to simply exist.
It took a few days until I addressed the issue with the dentist and special doctor, and another few days until the antibiotics kicked in and I started to feel better. That actually happened just yesterday.
Seeing things in a new light, I recollected the conversation with a friend about the vegetarian restaurant. After all, he was probably right. Being healthy is the most important thing. If we struggle with serious and painful illness, we can hardly think about our lifestyle, ideas and beliefs. Thinking itself becomes impossible in such a condition, let alone making any changes. . . .
But, saying all of that, I won’t quit my efforts to promote the book and my ideas. I still consider philosophy and art the best “tools” for someone who tries to touch the heats and minds of his audience, pursuing some worthy ideal along the way. I know how to do that, but I don’t have audience yet…
And I haven’t progressed much since coming back from Switzerland. I felt too bad to do anything. So, how did my inactivity influence the traffic to our websites? Let’s have a look at the reports from Google Analytics:
As you can notice, the number of visits did not drop. Actually, when we compare the traffic on a monthly basis, numbers indicate that we are progressing, getting more visits every month.
On the other hand, the number of monthly visits is still terribly low. If we are to have a realistic chance to make a breakthrough with the University of Solitude, we need a minimum of 3,000 monthly visitors to the main website, plus at least another 1,000 for a blog, and another 1,000 views on our YouTube channel I started just recently.
We are far from that, and lot of work awaits us. But considering the progress, we’re on the right track.
How to get “so many” visitors?
The answer is simple: working. Working on the SEO of our website, trying to grow our YouTube channel, writing new blog articles, trying to work on my own presence as a thinker (commenting on philosophy forums, relevant blogs and videos), and most importantly, doing all these tasks week in, week out.
Quick way towards success doesn’t exist in my case, and most likely it doesn’t exist in yours 🙂. So, it’s time to get back to work…
Writer-reader meetings, discussions
A month ago I received an invitation to speak in front of a group of fathers and their sons (in the age of 12-15 years). The event aimed to strengthen their mutual relationship and transform the boys to men, in terms of taking responsibility, learning to survive on their own, but also being able to express their thought and feelings towards their own fathers and towards other people. They asked me to talk about reaching the mental bottom in Iranian prison, and about the personal transformation that followed.
The event took place last Friday—one of the days I felt the worse with my sinuses. I had a terrible headache and my nose was running like crazy. Taking a pain killer and considering all the possible benefits and risks, I decided to go and speak in front of the fathers and sons anyway. I didn’t feel like cancelling three hours before, and the event took place just 20 km from my home city, so I hoped to somehow drive there.
The speech was a success. I somehow managed to overcome the struggles and delivered a good speech that led to many questions from the audience, and eventually to a good discussion. The level of attention was pretty high as well. At the end I even sold a few English copies of University of Solitude, since I had just two Slovak prints with me.
The best marketing strategy
Reflecting on that Friday evening, and many other occasions when I had a chance to speak about my story and philosophy of life, whether it was in front of students, seniors, readers in libraries, or prisoners, I came to a firm conclusion that it definitely is the best marketing strategy for me, and the goals I try to achieve. Nevertheless, I can’t really benefit from it for the English edition of University of Solitude, since I live in Slovakia, and can’t deliver speeches in the USA or in England.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t! If you experienced something interesting, something people can learn from, and published a book about your experience, you should definitely try this strategy. If I lived in the US I know exactly what I would do:
- I’d make a presentation website (or a section on the actual book website), posting pictures from the events and places where I’d been already invited to talk, and describing the topics I’d speak about, and how listeners can benefit from my experience and speech.
- Then I would locate relevant institutions in my neighborhood, schools, universities, prisons, libraries, and other places. Contacting one after another, I’d offer speaking there for free.
I’m sure many of them would be interested, since that’s what happens to me here in Slovakia. And I even do not need contacting anyone, they contact me….
So, that’s something for you to thing about. On my side, I’ll try to fully recover from my illness, and then I will continue working on my campaign, with a set of tools and strategies available to me. Have a great time meanwhile, stay healthy, and hopefully see you soon with another post!