The Sparkline — a blog for independent creatives and entrepreneurs building matterful things.

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Six and a half years ago I started a company that would become my first success. In less than two years, it allowed me to support my family without any other income. The business was a simple meal planner called Paleo Plan. It was my 6th attempt at an online business. After several years of fizzled ideas and false peaks I had finally quit my job and truly become my own boss.

Small businesses live and die by what our customers think of us. Staying intimately connected to your customer base isn't just advised, it's essential to your very survival. On The Fizzle Show, we often recommend talking with customers frequently, through both in-depth one-on-one interviews, responsive and frequent email conversations, and through surveys.

If you consider yourself a generalist, here's the good news: doing great work in the future will require the skills of a generalist, especially if you work independently or on a small team. And more and more of us are working independently these days. 40% of American workers will be freelancers by 2020 (and according to Freelancer's Union, 33% of us already are) and freelancers need to be generalists to be successful. You have to know a little bit of everything.

Below is a blog roadmap that not only attracts a thriving audience, but also has the path to a product built right into the strategy. The video below is one that many Fizzle members consider the most helpful video in our entire library. (Fizzle has over 430 lessons at the time of writing.)

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