Choosing Between Publicity and Productivity

We've all experienced that unpleasant feeling that comes upon us when we see someone doing much less than us getting more glory than we think fair. 

Until this month, I used to be immune to that feeling. I grew that immunity like we do to measles. I was initially overwhelmed by it. I knew lots of people getting more for less, compared to me. And a few that made me feel God was unfair. Then I got used to the unpleasant feeling, and took consolation in comparing myself to much more unfortunate fellows. And after a few years, I hardly notice the feeling. Until last week.

Before resigning my job, I had a simple plan: To be the best Excel consultant in Nigeria. I never bothered to think about how people will know that. I felt if I could just quit my job and focus on Excel full-time, everything will work itself out. People I have done Excel projects for will refer their friends and families. Then their enemies (competitors) will get jealous and hire me too. And I'll only pick the most interesting projects and charge as high as I want. A simple plan, and one I have seen work for some entrepreneurs.

Since resigning I have been having a tough time following that plan. I'm torn between publicity and productivity. To make myself visible or to make myself extremely good. At first I thought I could combine both. And I have attempted that this past two weeks, and the stress is almost killing me. A 2 hours networking event ends up taking my whole day. I have struggled more to update my blog daily than I have in the past 6 months. I've been writing articles at midnight more frequently. And some of the feedback I get from people are very discouraging, I spend a large part of most days trying to get over them. And still write a good blog post. None of those feedback are on the quality of my job or my qualification, they are all focused on how I present myself to the outside world. Publicity.


Now I'm forced to make a choice between publicity and productivity. And it's becoming a choice between fighting discouragement and doing what I enjoy. If not that my earning a living is tied to this decision, I won't even think twice before going for productivity. After all, when I was working full-time and did almost zero publicity, people were calling me for Excel training (companies and individuals) and I was getting freelance Excel dashboards and programming jobs. I even turned down most because I was already sleeping for just 3 hours on most days. Unfortunately, it seems everyone who needs my service is on vacation. But I know they'll call someday and mail me again. Just that till then, should I focus on being better or being more visible. Especially when being better means learning the hardly touched part of Excel, the part that almost no one will require my service on because they don't even know it exists.

Since 2010, I have never been this confused.


  1. Bro, I do understand your predicament.
    You might want to hear the exact opposite but I must tell you the truth, which is this: Right now, publicity should be your primary aim. Not just publicity, but 'HERE I AM, SEE ME!' publicity. Because if you don't blow your trumpet, noone will do it for you - at least not as well enough as you alone can do it.
    The good news though is that you can do that while doing what you love. Rather than go to a 2-hour networking thing where you get bored to death holding a tea cup and flashing teeth, pick events which give provisions for people to make presentations. At such events, you can marvel the public with some of your Excel magic, or just tell them your story of self-development (that by itself is interesting enough, trust me). You could also attempt some interaction with your blog readers: like fix up a meet at some place and invite those of your readers who are interested in learning a few things to meet up with you there. I know I would come! These are ways through which you could work on the much-needed publicity and have fun doing what you do best while at it.
    I hope this helps.
    For the record, I am thankful for your blog; since I stumbled on it a month ago, I have recommended to about a dozen friends. Keep doing your good work. A light can't stay hidden for too long as it's lit and not shrouded.
    Cheers, mate.

  2. Wow! Thanks a lot for these practical tips! You're right about the need to actively reach out, blow my own trumpet. I'll start working on our to slowly incorporate your suggestions.

    And God bless you for the recommendations. Thanks!


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