sly : marketing

Without light there is only darkness

I am writing this as I am looking outside watching the rain and the grey skies move fast. I am writing this at a time when I haven’t been able to speak for the past seven days, and I’m still having major difficulties with my soar throat.

It hurts.


My soar throat has made me think about how fragile life is. And my soar throat has made me rethink work. I know there should be a balance between life and work, but it’s so much easier to see that balance when you’re not 100% fit. I have been forced to stop working. And I have been more or less forced to think about what life has to offer. I am so glad that I only have a soar throat, even though it has made it close to impossible to attend meetings and keep hustling as a solo entrepreneur. I started to ask myself that, what if…

Things could have been so much worse

I have been thinking about quitting. I have been thinking about writers block. And I have been thinking about how important money really is. There are so many things happening inside my head on a regular day, and it seems that there are even more things happening when I’m not as focused as I am used to be.

The thing about quitting, writers block and earning money is actually more or less the same. I need a reward to keep moving forward. To me, money has never been a reward for doing great work. And, looking back at why I started my business, money was never even on my mind, other than that I had to earn money to pay the mortgage and to be able to live. Now, not being able to work 100%, I understand that money is actually a very important part of business. I get a little scared thinking about what would happen if I didn’t have the ability to do great work for a month.

The reason I have been thinking about quitting was that suddenly, I felt that I didn’t have the energy to do what I have been used to doing. I started questioning decisions I have made, and I started to look for the reward. It was exactly the same with writing. It was hard to write. I was looking for a reward. Suddenly, it was like the words didn’t mean a thing.

The rewards can be anything

I have always wanted to make a difference to someone. And even though I have never had much money, I have been lending money to entrepreneurs in need via Kiva. I could have donated to charity, and I am sure I will, but so far Kiva has been part of something I continue to believe in.

I love animals. I haven’t done much to help animals other than to smile at them every time I meet them. I am a vegetarian, so I never eat any of them. They are my friend. But I have always wanted to help animals to get a better life. That’s going to be my reward for doing great work. I don’t know how, but I know that it will happen. I will make sure it’s going to happen.

And some day, I know that I’ll inspire someone to do something extraordinary. That’s going to be part of my reward. I just need to keep working on my rewards.

Do you believe in rewards?

I didn’t think that rewards would be such an important part of my business. I really want to accomplish something, and it’s not something based on any details in a marketing strategy. I do my best to help my clients and I love marketing, but in the end, I am thinking about the rewards.

Do you believe in rewards?

43 responses to “Without light there is only darkness”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, I’m so sorry to hear about your sore throat. Have you seen a doctor about it? I want to be sure that it’s not a serious infection. A week is a long time to have a sore throat!

    You definitely inspire with your writing. You are a talented writer for both articles and fiction. Know that you are rewarding your readers by sharing your talents with us.

    Don’t make any decisions when you’re overwhelmed with being sick, starting a business and publishing your first novel. Just rest and heal.

    Hang in there, my friend. (((Hugs)))

  2. Khaja moin says:

    Hey Jens,
    Cool intro buddy!
    Even I`m afraid about writers block but then I thought we can also write what we want like sharing about our places, very general matter about online marketing or about talk of the town. this not only helps to love blogging but also engages readers with your blog more than just informational site.
    Thanks for this post and get well soon


    • I have never had any problems with writers block before, but it seems that the more pressure I get (from being sick) the harder it was to write. On the other hand, it’s only been a few days πŸ™‚

      Thank you.

  3. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens,

    I’m so sorry you are still under the weather. My Mom just recovered from a horrible soar throat too and she couldn’t talk about two days. Hardly ate anything either because it just hurt to swallow. Hang in there though, with your wife being a doctor, she definitely would know how to take care of you.

    I agree with Carolyn, don’t make any harsh decisions when you are in this state. We know that when times get bad is when we start rethinking our lives. You are so talented Jens so I know you will have so much success with your business. It’s just like when you worked at the University. If you were sick you couldn’t do your job but you’d get over it and back to normal and things will keep going in the direction they are suppose to.

    Give yourself this time to heal and then you’re going to have even more stories to share with us. Hang in there, we’re all rooting for you.


    • It’s great to hear that your mom has recovered. I am still fighting the soar throat, but I’m feeling better right now. It’s so hard to keep going like I am used to when I am having problems like this. On the other hand, I don’t really have any problems. I have been speaking much less, and I have been using email a lot more than I usually do πŸ™‚

      I am not going to make any decisions right now. The reason I wrote the post is based upon what I have been thinking while fighting the soar throat. It’s not what I’m going to base my decisions on, but it’s interesting how different I think based upon how I am feeling. What I’m thinking right now is that I need to make all of my decisions when I’m feeling great πŸ™‚

  4. Sarah Park says:

    You must be very upset of your soar throat since it affects your daily routines since you are a very busy person with so much plans and goals. But just always think of the positive side. Be thankful that it is just a sore throat, and not other worse ailment. Just relax a bit more so you’ll get well sooner.

    • Yes, I am fairly upset with the soar throat right now. It’s been 7 days, and I can hardly speak. But, on the other hand, I feel fine, I need to find alternatives to speaking with my clients. So, I have been sending them many emails instead πŸ™‚

      Thank you.

  5. Ruth Zive says:

    Hope you feel better soon Jens – I am also fighting a cold/sore throat! It stinks!

    In my opinion, there are ‘tangible’ rewards like money and intangible or ‘feel good’ rewards that come from the relationships that we have and the decisions we make. And personally, I think that both types of rewards have their place and serve a purpose.

    I’m also vegetarian. I could never eat an animal. I’m actually struggling with my use of leather products for that very reason (I’m also a luxury handbag addict, so it’s a real moral dilemma for me!) That said, the feel good reward that comes from being a vegetarian motivates me to continue being a vegetarian, but doesn’t inform all aspects of my life. Sometimes, I need something much more tangible and material to feel motivated.

    And this is certainly the case with my business. On the one hand, I want to grow my reputation as the BEST content marketing firm in Canada (or North America perhaps?), but I also want to make boatloads of money. Why not???

    When I hit that point, I’ll donate a big chunk to an animal rights organization – then I’ll be reaping all of the rewards across the spectrum :-)!

    • I am not saying no to money. I’d love to be rich so I can give to charity and donate to animal rights organizations, don’t get me wrong. And that’s a reward. But it’s not about the money, it’s what I can accomplish with the money (not what I can buy for the money).

      I am so glad that you’re a vegetarian. I haven’t met that many online. We need to stick together πŸ™‚

  6. Hajra says:


    I am so sorry about your sore throat. Hope it gets all better soon. One thing that does happen when we are ill is that we think too much about things that don’t really make sense and confuses us further. I always have a similar feeling when I am sick. Maybe it is the health issues playing with our minds. But don’t make decisions when you are in such a state.

    Wait when you fine and the head is all cleared out. You get to be in a better position to sort things out and make so much sense!

    Get well soon!

    • Thank you Hajra. I do feel much better right now, but it will probably be a few more days with the soar throat until I am 100%. I am not going to do anything other than relax, and I am not going to make any decision, it’s just very interesting to think about life and work when you’re having a problem with your health πŸ™‚

  7. Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Jens

    I hope your sore throat is getting a little better.

    I always find ice cream can help a sore throat :-).

    I definitely believe in rewards. They can help you achieve things. You mentioned a while back about getting a new computer and that you would buy one if you got 3 new clients. That’s a goal to really go for and then you can give yourself that hard-earned reward.

    Take the time to get better now. Don’t make any hasty decisions as you’re definitely inspiring people with what you do. You will see things in a different light once you are back on your feet Jens, I promise.

    • Hey Tim,

      I am feeling a little better today, but that soar throat is still keeping me from doing my best work πŸ™‚

      I’ll add ice cream to the top among pizza.

      I am still waiting for my three clients, I have two more to go, and at the same time I am waiting for Apple’s announcement on October 23 on what type of updates they are doing. I am going to buy an 11″ MacBook Pro. I can hardly wait.

      Thanks a lot for the support Tim, I really appreciate it.

  8. Stacy says:

    Hi Jens,

    I hope that you feel better soon. It seems like the time of year when people always get sick. Things always seem bleaker when we don’t feel well.

    I was listening to the self publishing podcast today and they touched on the topic of what to do when you don’t feel like you can write. They shared one idea that I thought made a good point. They said to write a short story every week because nobody can write 52 bad stories in a row. Start small until you get a success and then move on from there.

    Hang in there!

  9. Les Wallack says:

    Three weeks is not a long time to full recovery…follow your doctor’s advice. The wives are usually – always right!! I wanted also to comment on your “Bird” image…excellent. As a 45 year veteran of Professional Photography – I love a great image to stare at. Great Job!

    • I have never had a soar throat like this before, and when I combine it with having two kids and a baby and being a solo entrepreneur, it’s hard to keep things going for 3 weeks without talking πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the picture. I have just bought a new camera and I’m learning something new every single day.

  10. Josh says:

    Hi Jens,

    Sometimes if I am having trouble coming up with ideas I like I start writing about nothing. I just start writing and let the words take me wherever they will.

    It has always been an effective way to get the creative juices flowing.

    But I have to agree with everyone else, when you are sick it is always harder to come up with material.

  11. I do believe in rewards. There is one review of my book that I go back and reread from time to time. It was a reward when I first read it and now, over a year later, it still makes me feel good.

    I recently went through an 8 week period of writers block of cheese. It wasn’t writers block in the truest sense, as I still wrote every day, but I was writing rubbish. Everything I put out was flat. I kept at it though and now I’m back in my old groove. Today, I’ve written close to 2500 words. That is a solid outing for me and motivates me to get back at it, tomorrow.

    Hang in there. I hope you feel better soon. And keep writing, it is the best way to break through the cheese.

    • Hi Brian,

      I’d love to read that review. Send me a link if it’s possible and if it’s published online.

      2500 words, that’s a lot. I am not sure how many words I have written, but usually I believe it’s a lot less. But, on the other hand, I keep writing on so many different projects so I might be over 2500 words, but not on a single project πŸ™‚

      I’m still fighting the soar throat, but I’m feeling better. Thanks.

  12. Jeevan Jacob John says:

    I do believe in rewards and they are needed. I believe that every action we take (or we do not take) has a reward attached to it (or we wouldn’t take action/would have taken action).

    But, reward would be different. Rewards doesn’t have to be materialistic. It could be a feeling. It could be the enjoyment getting out of procrastination. It could be anything.

    Soar throats. Oh, yes I have had a lot of those (the only thing I liked about sore throat is that I didn’t have to go to school when I had it).

    Hope everything gets better.

    Thank you for the post, Jens!

    As with light and darkness, I think that there is always light (We just don’t see it). Absolute darkness – maybe an impossibility.

  13. Maja says:

    I think sour soar throat have dished up you a new orientation of life. This is the way how researcher thinks and proceed.
    According my knowledge most of the scholars are vegetarians.

  14. Ziad Yousif says:

    hello there,
    Thanks for sharing this story with us. Your writing styles prove something you do possess. Yes without reward it is really hard to keep ourselves in the track. It is the fuel to walk though our daily life and to achieve success.

  15. Abhishek says:

    Hope you get well soon, Jens. I completely agree bad health leads to a lot of negative thoughts in mind and we see more darkness around than light.This is just a phase and it will pass and you will start it afresh. Good luck :).

  16. Rupom Khan says:

    Hope everything will be better within soon,all the best

  17. Mys Palmer says:

    Hey Jens! Cheese and rice (my no swear word, swear word). I hope you feel better really soon. I know how it feel to be forced to not work.

    I think it’s in the air or something. thinking about the rewards. They come in various forms depending on your idea of success. The money thing that’s a crucial one. Even if you’re not “into” money it’s required. We need it. So we strive for it. Sometimes, we get more than enough.

    I think about rewards. I think a lot about life work balance. Likely because I’m in a new place without family or friends so I have a lot of time to think. My consensus is that we need to take rewards and balance as seriously as we take our blogs, writing and/or business. They’re vital. Get well soon Jens!

    • Thank you. I am still not feeling well, but it’s only been about 11 days so I probably shouldn’t complain πŸ™‚

      I also have a lot of time to think even though I have both family and friends close by. I am not sure why, but I always seem to be doing more thinking when I’m not feeling well.

  18. Emilia says:

    I believe that if you push forward and believe in yourself, you are already claiming a great reward. The journey is better than the goal, they say. Never give up, because there is hope.

  19. Felicia says:

    Hi Jens,
    Hopefully your sore throat is gone by this time. Writers block is something all of us encounter and each of us have different ways of enduring it. I also recently had a writer’s block until I saw this campaign on save a cat. This charity organization creates a multitude of cat-related greeting cards and everything that they sell on the web goes into the US Humane Society. Being fond of cats myself, I wrote an article about their campaign and promoted their advocacy on my social media network. Here’s the link in case you’re interested:

  20. Carolyn says:

    How is your sore throat, Jens? I have been thinking about you and hope you are feeling much better.

    • I am much better. It’s not perfect, but it’s not as soar as it was a few days ago. Thanks a lot for asking.

      Right now I’m thinking about if I should buy the 13″ rMBP or the MBA. It’s a difficult decision πŸ™‚

  21. richa says:

    Hey Jens
    I love reading your blog and I am sure there are many others too… All this is a temporary phase which I am sure will pass soon. There is always a ray of light in every darkness which we all need to find out. Mind works with double force in the negative direction when we are not well… I will hope n pray things get well soon :)….
    And forgot to mention.. I am a veggie too… I don’t even have eggs..and I agree with you on that one..

  22. Softphone says:

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