Dana Pittman can guide you from idea to print book in one year – but never in 100 days. With more than 15 years of helping others create and market content she purchased The Freedom Journal with a goal of publishing a box set as JaNese Dixon by January 1, 2017.
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3 Key Points:
- Focus on that ONE goal, but be sure to pace yourself.
- Right now is important for my tomorrow—enjoy today, but plan for tomorrow.
- Take action in spite of fear—step OUT of your comfort zone.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:59] – Dana is married to her high school sweetheart and with 3 kids
- [01:19] – Dana realized that the law firm life was not going to yield the lifestyle she wanted for her family
- [01:24] – Dana turned her part-time business into a full-time business
- [01:35] – In 2017, Dana’s husband will manage their website development company and Dana will pursue publishing full-time, which led her to buying The Freedom Journal
- [01:56] – Dana’s expertise is pulling out of people what they’ve always wanted to do
- [02:37] – The ninja move for Dana is that you have to plant the seed that you want to harvest
- [03:24] – What was your goal for The Freedom Journal and how did you crush it? “My goal is to publish my box set as Ja’nese Dixon, which is my pen name, by Jan 1, 2017”
- [03:37] – Dana realized that she needed to have an audience to market it to
- [04:01] – Dana grew her email list and audience
- [05:00] – The Freedom Journal helped Dana realize how she was spreading herself too thin
- [05:26] – “There’s so much to do to reach one goal, but you really don’t need to overcrowd yourself or do too much at one time”
- [05:45] – Dana feels that The Freedom Journal is her own personal mentor and coach
- [06:04] – JLD reiterates that The Freedom Journal is your accountability partner
- [07:08] – How do you define Productivity? “Productivity for me is producing or being capable of producing abundantly favorable or useful results”
- [07:43] – Dana had to learn the 80/20 rule
- [09:25] – Dana shares the way she writes
- [09:51] – JLD mentions the “Win Tomorrow Today” section of The Mastery Journal
- [10:34] – How do you define Discipline? “I define discipline as a systematic method to produce specific behaviors, communication, thoughts and how I engage others and it boils down to getting a handle on the things in my life I can control”
- [11:57] – Dana’s thoughts on the seed and the plant
- [13:02] – JLD mentions the study about 20-year olds and their savings
- [14:08] – How do you define Focus? “Focus is the ability to adjust your attention to a central point, or even more, to converge towards a central point of focus”
- [17:05] – The Mastery Journal has an amazing digital pack
- [17:45] – 3 women from the Facebook group have become one mastermind and created OTED: one thing every day
- [18:20] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Honestly nothing. I always knew that I wanted the life that we created, but I think more than anything now, it’s about using the foundation that we’ve created to build something greater”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Do it scared”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Having daily quiet time and use that time first thing in the morning”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Insta Freebie
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Write, Publish, Repeat has very colorful language
- [21:04] – Find more about Dana’s books at DanaPittman.com and JaneseDixon.com
- [21:40] – Dana uses her pen name for her fictional work and her given name for non-fiction and inspirational work
- [22:27] – Dana’s parting advice: Courage doesn’t mean the absence of fear, it just means that you’ll do it anyway
- [22:58] – Go to DanaPittman.com/fire to see Dana’s offer for her box set and collection of short stories!
Dana Pittman: Yes, sir, I am. Let’s get it rolling!
John Lee Dumas: Yes! Dana can guide you from idea to print a book in one year, but never in 100 days. With more than 15 years of helping others create and market content, she purchased The Freedom Journal with a goal of publishing a boxset as Ja’Nese Dixon by January 1st, 2017. Dana, take a minute, fill in the gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Dana Pittman: Okay. Well, I married my high school sweetheart and we have three kiddos between the ages of 16 and 19. So, I grew up in Austin and I went to college and law school as a wife and a mother with little ones. Somewhere along the way, we realized that big firm life was not going to yield the lifestyle that we wanted for our family.
So, we turned our part-time business into our full-time business. We’ve had ups and downs over the years, but I wouldn’t change anything because it was all for my family. So, now that leads me to today. In 2017, my husband and I have decided that he will manage our website development company and that will pursue publishing full-time and that’s why I bought The Freedom Journal.
John Lee Dumas: Yes! So, I’m excited to talk about that journey, but before we get into it, what would you consider your area of expertise, Dana? Give us a couple of sentences on that.
Dana Pittman: I would consider my area of expertise is pulling out of people what they’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always been a nurturer, but I’m also that person that’s going to push you forward. So, if you do not want a little nice, gentle nudging, then you do not want to work with me. I think that’s one of my strong characteristics.
John Lee Dumas: A little bump in the rump, I like to call it, Dana. You know, we all need that from time to time. So, let’s kind of break down for Fire Nation, what’s something we don’t know about getting that bump in the rump that we really should know as entrepreneurs? What’s a ninja tip, tool, or tactic that you can really share with us, that you think would be interesting for our listeners?
Dana Pittman: Okay, he added the ‘ninja’ in there. There’s the pressure. Honestly, when I started this process, I didn’t realize, but I think the ninja move is that you have to plant the seeds that you want to harvest. It seems like rocket science, right, but when we really look at our lives, that can be your gauge as to whether you’re being productive or if it’s just busywork. If you don’t see what you’re doing on a day to day basis as leading you towards your vision, then that’s probably not the best use of your time.
John Lee Dumas: So true. So, let’s kind of move into what your journey was within The Freedom Journal. What was that goal, Dana, or currently is that goal if it’s still even rolling right now, and how are you crushing it?
Dana Pittman: I am still in my journal and my goal is to publish my first box set as Ja’Nese Dixon, which is my pen name. Honestly, as I began that process, I had that goal, but after my first sprint, I realized that I had not fully counted the cost of reaching that goal and making sure that I had an audience to market it to. So, along the way, I’ve had to revamp the publishing company, revamp social media, grow an email list, and even look at the production.
But I believe I’m crushing it, as you say, because since I’ve revamped, I have my short-story chronical is now in the Top 10 in Amazon and it’s been there for almost two months. I’ve also grown my email list for my fiction work from about 47 people to now it’s nearly 4,000 readers on my list. So, it really did give me a bump in my rump to realize what I needed to do because we wanted to write the book, but it means nothing if you don’t have an audience to market it to.
John Lee Dumas: Did we just come up with a phrase? Have you heard of the phrase ‘bump in the rump’ before, because I never have?
Dana Pittman: No, but if you get any money from it, I want a 10 percent cut. I was there at its inception.
John Lee Dumas: That gets you at least 15 percent, Dana. So, awesome stuff all around.
Dana Pittman: I wasn’t gonna be stingy.
John Lee Dumas: What are some results you’ve seen that you think have come because of your use of The Freedom Journal? What is helping you get to your goals within the use of the structures of The Freedom Journal?
Dana Pittman: It’s so many. I think, in the beginning, it was just the practice of the day, an evening visiting of that goal. For me, the most monumental part was realizing how far I had spread myself out and the importance of focusing in on one goal. As you unpack that one goal, you realize there’s so much to do to reach one goal that you really don’t need to overcrowd yourself or do too much at one time. So, it’s that consistency and also getting that clarity.
I really felt like The Freedom Journal was my own personal mentor and coach through this process and the amazing part was my mentor and my coach was myself. So, I think that’s what will help people as they go through that process.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, and I like how you really phrased that because The Freedom Journal is your accountability partner. It’s your mentor that won’t let you fail because it’s right there. It’s that physical product. You can have a [inaudible] [00:05:31] with humans and a mentor that’s a human as well, and that’s an amazing addition, but it’s good to have both because we get busy as humans, we have other priorities, but The Freedom Journal is just sitting there being like, “Hello? Have you opened me up today? Have you written in me today?” If the answer’s no, then you know why you’re probably losing at that goal. So, definitely combining those two has just really helped a lot of people.
Let’s kind of move into your definition of three of what I consider my greatest strengths: productivity, discipline, and focus. These are three areas I struggled in for years. Discipline was always kind of something I was good at, thanks to the military, but I was having a hard time translating it into entrepreneurship. But I realized the importance of discipline, of productivity, of focus, and I’ve really strived to become a master of these three over the past four years. I’m kinda curious how you, Dana, at your stage in the journey, define productivity.
Dana Pittman: Productivity to me is producing or capable of producing abundantly favorable or useful results. Basically, it’s your ability to create a particular result or have the skills and habits to make it happen. So, for me, as I was going through this process, my struggle revealed itself about halfway into my Freedom Journal. I got sick and tired of writing. I let time get away from me or I failed to stick to my schedule because I realized that some tasks are just bottomless pits, especially if it involves social media. So, I had to learn the 80/20 rule quick.
80 percent of my time now is focused on planting what I intend to harvest and the 20 percent activities, I usually designate them for a specific time so I can chase that trail if I want to, but I don’t let it take over my day. It’s all about being fruitful and not just busy.
John Lee Dumas: So, Dana, you were talking about how you were struggling just getting started with writing and Fire Nation, the hardest part about doing any task is the starting of it. It’s so hard to get initial momentum. Once you can get that little tiny ball rolling, then it’s so much easier to keep it going and that’s why I’m so passionate about having actual sessions of work that you have committed to and that you know exactly what that focused task is.
Something that Hemingway used to do, Dana, that I love is he used to finish his writing every day halfway through a sentence. Now, he would know how to finish that sentence. He knew how that sentence was gonna end. So what did that mean? The next morning when he woke up, he could just finish that sentence. What did he do? He started writing and that was so much easier to start writing than to be like, “Okay, I finished this great chapter in my book. Now I have to start that next great chapter.” No! That’s too much pressure to start. Just have that halfway finished sentence and then just finish it and just see how the flow just keeps on going.
Dana Pittman: The other thing with that is I’ve found that even if you don’t – because I think it would drive me nuts, I would be awake at night wondering how I was gonna end that sentence.
John Lee Dumas: Well, that’s the point, though, Dana. He knew how he was going to and that’s why he left it halfway finished because he just knew that he could just get right into it.
Dana Pittman: I would wake up. What I find too is that as you’re going along and you’re writing or you’re creating a project, you can do like Hemingway, or you can also get to a point where you create prompts for yourself. That’s the way I write. I know when I sit down at my computer exactly what I planned to write for the day and it makes it so that I don’t need to be inspired, I don’t need to be motivated, all I need to do is write.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, I love that. Within The Mastery Journal, my favorite part – because I’m actually going through my first 100 days with The Mastery Journal because I have, obviously, an early copy of it, it’s the Win Tomorrow Today section where, at the end of every night, you win tomorrow today because you’re not gonna rely on the groggy morning person to set your daily schedule.
You’re gonna set it the night before so you’re gonna win tomorrow today. You’re gonna wake up knowing exactly what the next day is going to accomplish and what your tasks are and what your sessions are gonna be so you are off to the races. You don’t have to worry about spending time, energy, mental bandwidth trying to decide what the heck are you gonna do. Now, that does, Dana, take discipline.
Dana Pittman: It does.
John Lee Dumas: How do you define that word?
Dana Pittman: I define ‘discipline’ as a systematic method to produce specific behaviors, communication, thoughts, and how I engage others. It boils down to getting a handle on the things in my life that I can control. So, this really showed me, as I was going through this process, that I didn’t notice that I don’t always realize that right now is important to my tomorrow and to my vision. Meaning that each minute, each second, each day, each decision should build that momentum to move towards where I want to go in my life. That really connects us right back to that productivity and it’s the heart of discipline and why it’s so important.
John Lee Dumas: I love that phrase ‘right now is important to my tomorrow.’ Think about that, Fire Nation. Your right now is important to tomorrow. It’s so easy to love yourself in the moment. That’s why we love eating ice cream because it tastes so good in the moment. That’s why we love watching our favorite T.V. because we can just enjoy it. But you gotta love yourself tomorrow, you gotta love the tomorrow you, and that is maybe going for a 20-minute walk instead of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, which I’m apt to do either or any given day.
Dana Pittman: [Inaudible] [00:11:03] for an ice cream man.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, big time, it’s my nemesis.
Dana Pittman: I think that’s another reason why I always keep in mind the thought of a seed and a plant. Sometimes we want things and a plant doesn’t just sprout overnight. It really, as it’s planted, it supports the structure. The roots grow, the trunk grows, then the leaves and so on. But we have to see that that’s the process in our lives. You can’t bring to harvest what you didn’t plant and you plant today for what you want to come later. So, if you want cucumbers, you’re not going to plant tomatoes today. You’re going to plant cucumber seeds.
So, we need to think about that as far as our lives, our lifestyles, our family, our relationships, and it will show us when we look back that we were doing those the best that we could to move closer towards that designation or that place in our lives.
John Lee Dumas: See, this is really an important topic because, again, it’s going back to are you going to just do what needs to be – are you just gonna do what feels good today and what you want to do right now, living in the present, or are you maybe going to do a little bit of that, but also do things that are so important to the future you?
There’s a great study, Dana, where mid-20-year-olds would go in for their first corporate job and they would ask about what percentage of your savings do you want to put into your retirement plan. On the page, on their document below, there’s a picture of them at 25, they say proportioned like 5 percent of their savings to their future them.
But when they time aged that so it made them look like they were 65, it was kind of creepy of course, but they looked at that and they were just like, “Oh, wow, that’s a weird picture. Why’d they do that?” They’re like, “Oh, you know, we just wanted to make this realistic, and this is when you’re gonna start taking your savings out, so that’s what you’re gonna look like when you’re 65, according to this random aging software.” All the 25-year-olds would donate like 15 or 20 percent because now they’re thinking about themselves at 65 and real. That’s the kind of mentality that you have to have, Fire Nation. You have to enjoy today, but plan for tomorrow and plant those seeds for tomorrow as well.
Now, on that note, Dana, let’s move into focus because for me, following one course until success has been what’s moved me forward in launching EO Fire, Podcaster’s Paradise, The Freedom Journal, now The Mastery Journal, just that one course for me. What do you use for words when you define that word, ‘focus?’
Dana Pittman: Well, before I get to answer your question, you just made us all look like total bums. Oh yeah, we just get up and work on one thing. So, I really had to think about this because I visualize it more than I’ve ever conceptualized it into words. So, for me, focus is the ability to adjust your attention to a central point or even more, to converge towards a central point of focus. I think about that movie, “Karate Kid,” when Jackie Chan told Jaden Smith, “Your focus needs more focus.”
So, I realized, again while I was on this journey that I had an awful habit of lumping my tasks together and that’s not being focused. Through the journaling process and planning on paper – I went back to paper planning after a long time of being electronic, but after doing this journal and the planning process, I’ve learned to get clear about the tasks that are embedded in my task so that I can get a good gauge of time, my resources, when I need to ask for assistance. But it goes back down to being focused.
When you think of it this way, if you ever look straight ahead, it’s very clear. You know exactly what to do as far as putting one foot in front of the other. It’s not that you lose sight of what’s in your peripheral vision. You can see those things, but they’re not clear. They’re fuzzy. The moment that you move to the left or to the right that front focus is lost and you have to think about that as you’re moving on this journey, too. The more that I stayed focused, which is why I can’t wait for my –
John Lee Dumas: Mastery Journal.
Dana Pittman: Yeah, you keep rubbing it in. That’s so not right. But the more that you stay focused and you put one foot in front of the other and you’re disciplined and you’re committed and you’re productive, it’s going to make it so that those things that are to the left and to the right, you see them, but they no longer hold your interest, nor do you want it to because you see success in where you’re going.
John Lee Dumas: Converge your focus to a single point, Fire Nation. I love that viewpoint. Dana, you are actually going to love The Mastery Journal because I actually within the Intro, the first couple of pages, and it’s actually the very first quote even before the journal starts, is a “Karate Kid” quote. Now, I’m not gonna tell you which one, that’s gonna be a surprise for you, but it is a “Karate Kid” quote because I also love that movie for all the obvious reasons.
Fire Nation, if you’re like Dana, if you’re like myself, and you recognize and realize how important these three skills are, productivity, discipline, focus, you just have to at least check out TheMasteryJournal.com. We have an amazing complete digital pack for those people that maybe are not in the U.S. because shipping is, sadly, insane to most parts of the other world. So, we have an amazing digital pack with a beautiful 100-day fillable PDF that you can still rocket out, that comes with the audiobook, the Kindle version, access to the Facebook group, the community, which by the way, Dana, I just love the engagement that you’ve had with that Facebook community. It’s so cool.
We actually just had somebody on the show that met three other women in the Facebook group for The Freedom Journal and they’ve now become one mastermind of four women. It’s called OTED, One Thing Every Day, and they get together every single day in their own little private Facebook group and they just commit to one thing they’re going to accomplish that day. They’ve all accomplished such great things. They’re just like, “We’re lifelong friends. We’re gonna be lifelong friends now because of this,” and that’s just the world that we live in, Fire Nation.
So, check out TheMasteryJournal.com, learn some more, and just give yourself the gift of mastering these three amazing skills. Dana, you are going to absolutely crush the lightning round as soon as we get back from thanking out sponsors. Dana, are you prepared for the lightning round?
Dana Pittman: I am. Let’s get it started.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Dana Pittman: Honestly, nothing. I always knew that I wanted the life that we’ve created, but I think more than anything now it’s about using the foundation that we’ve created to build something greater. So, I knew I wanted to do this.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Dana Pittman: Do it scared. I created a mantra for myself and I keep reminding myself that if you’re scared, you’re doing the right thing. It’s not about stopping, but going from there. So, do it scared, don’t wait.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, how I like to kinda phrase that is all magic happens outside of your comfort zone, Fire Nation. So, if it’s comfortable, cool, but all the magic happens when you’re not comfortable, or as Dana would say, when you’re scared. So, do it scared, get outside of your comfort zone, make some magic. Dana, what’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Dana Pittman: A personal habit that I created is having daily quiet time and having it first thing in the morning. I use my time to journal, I have my first cup of coffee, and it helps me to focus in on what is in front of me on that given day.
John Lee Dumas: Dana, whenever I just say, “Hey, I’m gonna have my quiet time later in the day,” like I’ve done that a few times in the past, it never works.
Dana Pittman: You don’t ever do it.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, that’s why your morning routine, you have to crush it. Win tomorrow today. Allow The Mastery Journal to guide you in doing that. Share an internet resource, Dana, like Evernote with Fire Nation.
Dana Pittman: Well, it’s not quite like Evernote, but it’s a great resource, especially for writers or authors, and it’s called instaFreebie. It’s amazing because it connects authors with readers and it also helps you to grow your email list. So, check it out. It’s awesome.
John Lee Dumas: Love it. If you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?
Dana Pittman: That was so hard. I’m a writer and a reader. That was like the hardest question to think of. Again, on this journey, I was listening to the audiobook Write, Publish, Repeat and it was amazing. They have very colorful language, but it is sound advice and it felt as if they were mentoring me through this process of creating the changes that I needed to create in my publishing business. So, I would definitely recommend that book.
John Lee Dumas: Now, how can we find out more about your books?
Dana Pittman: You can find out more about my books by visiting me online at DanaPittman.com. You can also visit JaNeseDixon.com. I’m on everywhere, so you can find Dana Pittman and just look for my little face. I’m on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, but if you go to my websites, it’ll always connect you back to where you can find me.
John Lee Dumas: Now, just quick, in a couple sentences, let’s keep this pretty concise, but why would you choose an actual pen name? What was your thinking and thought process behind that?
Dana Pittman: Because there are two separate paths that I wanted to take. I use Ja’Nese Dixon for my fiction work and I use my given name, Dana Pittman, for my non-fiction as well as inspirational products because I do speaking and all of that. So, I wanted to keep those things separate, but I always let people know about both of them because I’m proud of the work that I do under both areas.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I mean, you want to be known for a brand. You don’t want to confuse your audience, so I definitely love how you’ve done that. But at the same time, when it’s appropriate, co-mingle. So, great thoughts. Dana, let’s end it today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Dana Pittman: Awesome, well thank you so much. My parting advice would be courage does not mean the absence of fear. It just means that you do it anyway. You can think of it as magic dust, you can think of it as doing it scared, but what I encourage you to do is allow yourself the freedom to course correct as you go. It’s about making your best next decision towards getting to your goal.
So, you can connect with me at DanaPittman.com. I have a special offer for the Fire Nation. If you visit my site at DanaPittman.com/fire, you will see my boxset that I did in connection with my Freedom Journal. You will see my debut novel, Black Diamond, and you will also see my collection of short stories. It’s actually No. 8 on Amazon right now.
John Lee Dumas: So cool!
Dana Pittman: So, if you have not realized, you gotta go hard for what you want. It will not be easy, but if you pay attention, you can learn and enjoy this journey because I’ve met so many amazing people, whether it is JLD, who is everywhere – he must do this in his sleep – and the Facebook group. But most importantly, I didn’t realize that it was all going to kick off and that it would go on fire and that I would ignite by buying a hardcover, beautiful journal. So, I’m thankful.
John Lee Dumas: Love that. Well, I’m thankful for you, Dana, and I just want to reiterate that parting piece of guidance and just add a little bit to it. Courage is not the absence of fear, Fire Nation. My addition here is it’s taking action despite that fear. We’re always gonna have that fear when we do something new, scary, outside of our comfort zone. Just take action.
Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people who you spend the more time with, I hope you realize that, and you’ve been hanging out with DP and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type ‘Dana’ in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz, time stamps, links galore to her books; you name it, things that we’ve talked about.
But of course, go over to DanaPittman.com/fire so that you can get the gift and all those goodies that she mentioned. Dana, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Dana Pittman: Thank you.
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