What a long strange trip it’s been
I’ve had this blog, in one form or another for 4 years this coming Fall. FOUR YEARS people!!
Frankly, it hasn’t been a wild success. I’m not saying I haven’t had my moments, but I do think I’ve reached a turning point recently, regarding effort.
A big part of those revelations are listed below, and are meant to save others a LOT of time and effort if you’re “all of sudden” raising your finger to the sky and pronouncing to your partner “I SHALL START A COMPREHENSIVE BLOG RESOURCE ON THIS TOPIC!!”.
(que the eye roll and the low mumble of “Oh God…” from said partner)
Lean on your life experience
2 big points
- I’ve done successful things in my life before.
- I’ve been a “successful” investor over the course of my life.
This is really for those who are “thinking” about starting a blog or those who get it in their head that “I can do that!”
There’s a good chance that you can’t…or more accurately, you won’t.
I had a friend one time say to me… “I’d love to start a “Mommy Blog””, after she had her first kid.
I had been working on my blog for a year or 2, so I felt qualified to, quickly, verbally list all the things that might require.
She quickly looked at me with her mouth agape and said…. “Oh, no, I don’t have time for that”. She quit before she started. Maybe that was the best decision she made.
I don’t want to discourage people but you really need to be realistic, especially if you think you’re going to make money doing this.
After you’ve had some success in the real world, or the “more structured” business world, you might not want to “put yourself out there”.
I mean…”why try?” right?
As my last few jobs were winding down, I used to think to myself… “Hell, if I’m going to work this hard, I’ll do it for myself!”
Well that’s fine. Having a goal of “Wanting to be your own boss” is fine and admirable but at the end of the day, you actually have to do it.
Don’t expect others to do it for you
While the blogging community CAN be supportive and you can find good resources and BUILD relationships, you’re going to need to figure a lot of stuff out on your own.
That’s ok, that’s fine, but that takes time. Do you have that time? Not only do you have the time…do you WANT to have the time, or do you have other things you want to spend your time on?
Also, there is a whole LOT of cliquey HS shit going on in the blogger community and on social media. Managing the nuances of the politics in the community and on social media can be tricky.
You don’t just roll up and say.. “This is my megaphone and the world will listen!”. (actually, I really thought that when I started…lol)
My polls on Twitter don’t get a ton of votes, but this particular one struck a chord:
Think about those results for a minute. Almost 54% of the respondents said they wouldn’t “Like”something, because they had a problem with the author.
HECK, the poll itself only garnered a single like, yet it received 26 votes.
Hmmm….Maybe I need to work harder.
Fear of failure
This really becomes of “self fulfilling prophecy”. (see life experience above)
This can also really start to mess with your mind. Making a half-hearted, bullshit attempt will only get you to question your past successes.
Don’t do that to yourself.
Either do it, or don’t. Realistically, I’ve been in the “hobby-zone” for the last 4 years. However, during that time, I have been evaluating what it might take to make this work as a business.
- Time management
- How much REAL money do I want to invest?
- Managing remote teams and holding them accountable
Each of these are potential blog posts in and of themselves, but you get the picture. You’re going to need time, money and effort.
It has to be about the content
I jokingly call myself the “young old”, and that’s true to a certain extent.
Heck, at 54, I really still look and feel like I’m 34. Ok…not so much the “feel” part.
Entire industries are built on exploiting that “mental gap”.
In reality, this blog isn’t about me feeling 34, it’s about the challenges and changes that people experience at mid-life or pre-retirement. (this is one of them)
You need to focus 100% of your effort on the audience you intend to serve. I’m not saying I can’t throw a “wisdom bone” to a younger audience, but it should ultimately circle back to my core cohort.
That might sound “simple” and maybe it is for some people, but not me.
There are LOT rabbit holes to get lost in when you’re blogging. Some of it is good quality but it’s ultimately a distraction.
I was going to make a short list of topics that I waste time on in the blogosphere, but I’ll just pick one. Suffice it to say, I’ll probably NEVER RV across America. If I eliminate that SINGLE blog category, I can probably save a lot of time.
Nothing personal….it’s just not practical.
You get the picture, and if you’re a budding blogger or a floudering blogger (like me) you will hear the mantra “focus on content”, “focus on quality content”, over and over again.
But if you’re also like me, you will summarily ignore this advice and go off on tangents.
When you finally get through that period, sit down and ask yourself this question:
“If I were looking or searching for resources for what I am going through right now, what topics would I be looking for?”
Then you have your endless supply of topics. Then focus on creating something that might be helpful to someone else or even yourself….Like a blogger manifesto.