I have been working REALLY hard on my other site and the YouTube channel I run with my wife…and it’s been paying off.
We have been fortunate enough to gain over 2,000 subscribers in our first year and I attribute that to years of me experimenting and the fact that my wife is a Historian…and figured out that people like history on YouTube. (niche down they say…and they were right)
I don’t have it figured out though
What do you mean? 2k subs in a year on YouTube is not easy!? What is your secret?
No secrets, just hard work and being willing to change. Change fast.
I love getting feedback as that is really the only way that you can change yourself or your product for the better. That and learning from others…but direct feedback is something everyone should seek.
“To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.”
We released a membership tier and were pretty aggressive with the pricing at the high end. I worked really hard to make those products and I thought I might be worth more money. But then I saw a friend also release a membership…at a much lower, single price.
It hit me right in the gut.
His YouTube channel is MUCH bigger than our (about 15 times bigger as of writing) BUT he didn’t offer as much as I do. (interactive maps are work to make!)
Personal blogs are a different…no…special…part of the internet.
Has it been a while since you have posted on your blog consistently?
Because it is yours.
Personal blogs are a different part of the internet. Special in my opinion. Some people write long enough (and well enough) to make some money…but many (like me so far) don’t.
Because it is mine
Perhaps it is just my generation (I fall smack in the middle of Gen X and Millenials) but a blog/website that is mine and mine to do what I want with…has always felt special.
I have followed a blog by Greg Morris for some time now: gr36.com. I also follow Greg on twitter @gr36. I don’t remember how I came across his site but I have always been glad I did.
And I follow him for no other reason than I enjoy the thoughts he puts out in to the world through his blog…and I feel like if we knew each other in real life, we might be friends.
He has done things that I have done here: switch blogging platforms, turned ads on and off, tested features, pontificated on whether or not he should keep writing, etc. Greg has treated his blog much like I treat mine…as an avenue for him to write, create, think aloud, seek feedback…and he has done it for quite a while.
Because it is his.
It is ok
The beauty of a personal blog is that (hopefully) people are there for you…not necessarily for an ever flowing feed of information, gear reviews, etc. It’s personal…it is yours….it is you.
And that means it is ok to step away and take a break every once in a while. It is ok to try something new, to write on a completely new and random topic…or to take a deep breath and think aloud…while writing those thoughts down.
Don’t worry about the optimal time to publish and there is no need to sweat the thoughts of how long a post is or if it has too many pictures.
It is ok.
Because your blog is just that….yours.
Let me encourage you my friend…the world is better when you are in it…and in this day and age a personal blog is my favorite way to contribute to the digital world we all operate in.
Start that personal blog…or keep the one you have going…make it yours…hit publish whenever you want to…it is ok.
What I wanted my blog to be changed, and although I tried to rekindle that romance last year, it is now something made just for me. A reflection of myself.
I’ve enjoyed Greg’s blog for a while. Primarily because it’s just what he says…his.
As someone who has started and stopped his own website/blog a couple times, I like hearing (reading) someone else who has done the same. One of the few reasons I didn’t just stick with writing over on Medium was that I wanted my space.
When I find a company that knows what it stands for and it aligns with my own beliefs…I am all in.
I’m not just referring to the couple soft goods companies in this blog post title. E-commerce company Next Jump has a culture I got to experience that changed my life. Simon Sinek has written books and given TED talks that I write about often and that I will buy immediately in the future – no questions asked.
These aren’t just companies or individuals that have social assistance programs to check a box or “mission statements” that sound good. Rather, these are organizations that make moves that stand by their beliefs but often seen as counterintuitive to traditional success…like Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign.
I’ve been a Patagonia fan since I first started reading about how the founder started the company and my affinity grew as I saw how committed it is to sustainability, quality, and family. Living in Ventura, where the company was started and is headquartered, I met people who worked there and loved it. The stories you hear about employees taking surf breaks, child care at work, and the overall quality work environment are not exaggerated.
Are you surprised that my social media accounts are some version of @PatagoniaDad?
The 1% Rule
I came across the below video by YouTube’s very own Captain Sinbad. I encourage you to take the couple minutes to watch it. He’s very good and I can see why he has over 300K subscribers.
If you don’t want to watch the video…
The 1% rule is simple: improve just 1% each day. The idea is that if you do this, the good habits you develop stack over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t be either.
Stop focusing on the end result and start paying attention to the process.
When I said I have a bad habit, that tends to mean that I fall down rabbit holes of learning about these amazing companies…and then buying a ton of their stuff! Fortunately for me, this means that I am buying quality items…usually over a long period of time. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I’ll be writing about a bunch of GoRuck stuff that I might have after Christmas) 😏
One of the many things that struck me in his post was the below chart.
Crazy growth aside…what struck me was those first couple years with $0 revenue. And while the chart displays no data for ‘growth’ for those years…I would argue that they were growing a little bit every day.
Consistency and The “Why”
Simon Sinek is most famous for his talk about the Golden Circle and pointing out that successful companies plant their flag in their “Why” first and their product second.
I believe that the companies I’ve mentioned naturally follow the 1% rule because they are founded on a belief, a purpose, or a mission that speaks them, their employees, and ultimately their customers. As Captain Sinbad pointed out when talking about the movie ‘Money Ball’, Billy Bean shifted his focus to metrics that actually matter.
These companies are focusing on what matters…they know their why. They consistently stay centered on their why and communicate about their products through that rather than vice versa.
People don’t buy what you sell. They buy why you sell it.
When you frame your work life around something foundational to who you are or what you believe…it almost becomes easy to improve by 1% every day. As long as that why is genuine and (in my opinion) not self centered.
“Our findings suggest that the psychological reward experienced from helping others may be deeply ingrained in human nature, emerging in diverse cultural and economic contexts,” said lead author Lara Aknin, of Simon Fraser University in Canada, in a news release.
A great definition I saw for questioning is that questioning enables us to organize our thinking around what we don’t know. So, in a time when so much knowledge is all around us, answers are at our fingertips, we really need great questions in order to be able to know what to do with all that information and find out way to the next answer.
I like the point of framing what you are putting your brain power towards by organizing it via the right questions.
Then there’s memory. Print book readers retain more information.
As a new study from the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology argues, the same goes for writing. Handwriting helps children and adults remember information better. Typing is a shortcut.
The team, led by Professor Audrey van der Meer, hooked 250 nodes to each participant’s head to collect 500 data points per second. Once they were strapped in, a dozen 12-year-old children and a dozen young adults wrote by hand, typed, or drew. The clear winner: using paper, not devices.
This makes me happy.
Because while I do love my tech and productivity apps, there is just something about writing (journaling, note taking, etc) that cannot be matched.
When done right, social responsibility gives back—to the charity and the business. And, as this research shows, something as simple as typeface choice matters.
Donors were one-sixth more likely to give when the typeface matched the message. In this case, that meant “warmth-focused” messages were handwritten while “competence-focused” initiatives were machine-written.
Typeface has interested me for a couple years now. I might be embarrassed to tell you how much time I spent choosing the font for this site…and then tweaking it.
Seems like for some businesses it is time well spent.
I recently surpassed 100 direct followers and I wanted to thank everyone who has commented, liked, and hit that follow button here.
If you see my about page, you’ll see that across all my platforms I am over 8,000 followers…but I’ll let you in on a little secret. I hit a hot streak over on Tumblr a few years back and most of my “followers” are from over there (where I still cross post). That was back when I was climbing and photo focused.
Tumblr’s state of affairs is a whole separate topic, but please know that I consider my followers here much more “present” as I see a lot of interactions via likes and comments from you all.
I remember posting over there once that I was shutting down an old website of mine. Of the over then 7,000 followers I had I got one email.
However, that one email was from someone who told me that my posts had inspired him to start his own climbing inspired website. He even sent me a climbing chalk bag that I have to this day.
I had posted over there as the “caffeinated climber” from my now defunct climbercafe site. A site that I enjoyed creating and building but ran out of time to keep up…but I inspired one person to action.
And that one made it all worth it.
If you take anything away from this today, remember…write for the internet you want…you may just inspire that next one to action.
I know that Father’s Day isn’t until the 21st, but since I’ll be out camping with my family that day…Happy Father’s Day!!
Funny enough I was talking to my mom recently and asked her about the first time I went camping as a kid…thinking we had started when I was about 7 or 8. She laughed and said that my younger brother was still in diapers when we first camped (we are 20 months apart).
My mother told me that she just stripped us both naked and we played in a creek for a whole day in the Sequoia National Forrest. And she got to read a book for the first time in 5 years.
Hearing that just made me smile and realize even more how much a part of being in the outdoors is a part of me.
Being with my mom and dad camping are some of my fondest memories of my childhood, so I am incredibly excited to start forming those same memories with my own kids.
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you know that my handle is @patagoniadad (or a slight variation)…and I’m proud to have that dad part of me out there.
To all the fathers out there that are trying make sure they keep their kids alive, fed, happy, and socially well-adjusted…thank you.