Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Time to get soliciting again

In late June I sent out 40 or 50 solicitation e-mails to Columbus area doctors and dentists, following a fund-raising tip from a filmmaking book. Included in the e-mails was a short message and an attached letter containing the information that has become the About Aimless page. I didn't get any responses.

I'm not stupid; I knew it would take a lot more than 40 or 50 e-mails to find the support I'm seeking. But I didn't even receive any responses saying, "Your idea sounds neat. Unfortunately we're currently not in a position to assist." No responses at all. That's when I realized I needed a web site ASAP. A web site would enable me to keep the e-mail messages short, allowing people to look into Aimless at their own convenience, instead of reading a two-page letter they probably never wanted anyway. Also, I believe people would be more responsive if there was a web site to show how much work I've put into this project; to show that I am very serious about it. So I turned my attention to finding a web host.

Right away I sent maybe 15 or 20 e-mails to web hosts I found through a Google search for "'Web Host' Columbus, Oh," and I received responses from a couple people. One of them agreed to host the web site for me, but she was very busy with her existing clients, so I patiently waited a couple weeks for her to set up a meeting with me. But by then I really needed to get the show on the road; I had designed and created enough pages for a complete web site, and there was not much I could do until they were out there for people to see. So I sent my prospective host an e-mail saying I need to get the show on the road, and that I was about to start sending more solicitation e-mails to other web hosts because I just can't keep waiting. I'd been patient, and my patience was only holding me back, taking me off task. One passage from the e-mail I sent her describes the mindset I'm striving to maintain:

Aimless is about going out and getting, like you did when you started your own company. It's about giving and receiving and making fair trades. It's about not allowing excessive patience to continue being such an obstacle. It's about: "Here's what I have to offer. If you want it, act now or risk losing your opportunity to someone more insightful and decisive. If you don't want it, nice meeting you. Good luck." And I have stuck to the framework defined in the last sentence with everyone except you.

So do you want it?

Within an hour or two I started sending e-mails to other hosts, mostly just to find a back-up plan in case my current situation didn't work out. (I'm digressing here. Let me get back on track.)

It was two weeks ago when Glenn Shope from Net Acceleration offered to host the Aimless web site. After thinking about it for a day (or "sleeping on it"), I agreed to accept his offer. And 13 days ago the Aimless web site became a reality. It was still a couple days before I'd uploaded enough material to make the site worth checking out, and I've been doing a lot of tweaking over the last ten days or so. But the site is pretty solid now and I need to face my fears and start begging for assistance again. That starts today.

That is something I could not do before. I couldn't ask people for help when I desperately wanted to open a pizzeria. There are a lot of good reasons for that--about 200,000 good reasons--but there are also plenty of good reasons for me to chicken out with Aimless, too. But I'm not going to.

Aimless could also be called "Fearless." I have been afraid to make important decisions in my life, to ask for help, to go out and get what's mine. I'm a pussy, and that's surely one large reason I worked for $7 an hour at age 32. Well, I'm not going to be a pussy anymore. I have nothing to lose anymore, and that's why Aimless exists. Ideally I want to get back the feeling of fearlessness--of freedom--I had in early June, but right now I'm a little afraid. I'm afraid to face rejection. I'm afraid to ask people for help.

That fear ends right now. Today it all begins again. As soon as I post this entry I'm going to send all those doctors and dentists a follow-up e-mail. Only this time it will be from an official-looking e-mail address and the letter will be short and sweet. Then I'm going to find more people to send short e-mails. Then more. And I'm going to do this for as long as it takes because Aimless is no joke. Aimless is no dream. Aimless is real, and Aimless will become something very special to the American people beginning now.