The Royal Historian of Oz Illustrates the Power of Focus

mocha momentswiz-of-oz-book-coverFound myself the most wonderful present: The Classic 1900 Edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum with Pictures by W.W. Denslow.

Lyman Frank Baum was 44 years old in the fall of 1900 when the book went on sale. He had quite a bit going on: newspaper reporter in New York, manager of a chain of theaters, playwright and actor, owner of a variety store in Aberdeen, South Dakota, editor and publisher of Aberdeen’s weekly newspaper, road salesman of china and glassware, founder (in Chicago) of a national association of window trimmers and editor of their official organ, *The Show Window*.

In *The Show Window*, October 15 1900, Baum wrote his valedictory editorial. “The generous reception by the American people of my books for children, during the past two years, has resulted in such constant demands upon my time that I find it necessary to devote my entire attention, hereafter, to this class of work.”

According to Martin Gardner, who wrote the Introduction to the Dover Edition in June of 1960 “In the remaining 19 years of his life that’s just what he did. He rote more than 60 books for children, many appearing under pseudonyms. ”

Mrs Baum also had a different experience following her husband’s decision to focus on writing books for children. She recalls asking her husband for a hundred dollars during the Christmas season of 1900, and to her astonishment – he produced a royalty check for $2500 – about $69,444.44 in today’s currency.

Baum was a typical entrepreneur. He was involved in so many activities, relying on different streams of income to make a living. But look at what happens once he channels all his efforts into one line.

As entrepreneurs we feel that the narrower our focus the less we’re going to earn. This is simply not true. 

When you clearly define what you want to do and who you want to work with like Baum did – Write books – FOR children,  here’s what happens:

  1. You can command premium fees
  2. You elevate your profile – you become the “go to” person for ‘X’ – you’re seen as the expert
  3. You go to events that your ideal clients are more likely to attend
  4. You become aware of who you CAN’T help
  5. You use the right language in all your marketing materials that will attract your ideal clients
  6. You OWN who you are
  7. Your clients KNOW that you “get them”
  8. You can design the most perfect solutions for your clients
  9. You will know HOW to maximize the amount of money you’re making
  10. You get better and better at what you do, building capacity and mastery
  11. You operate more efficiently using your time, energy and money more effectively
  12. Your clients recognize that YOU are the perfect person for them
  13. You clearly identify who you DON’T want to work with

If you’ve been struggling, doing many different things and spreading yourself too thin trying to be ALL things to ALL people – consider narrowing your focus on one area. I know it’s difficult when money is tight but think about the surprise that Mrs Baum got when she asked for the $100! This is what’s going to happen to you too when you manage your energies and focus!


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