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.
Last year I was really trying to see if I could get this website to make even a little bit of money. I posted consistently 5-6 days a week for about a year straight and (twice) tried to get an Amazon Affiliate account off the ground.
In the end, I proved what the experts say…
What Do The Experts Say?
I recently received an email from Amazon stating that they were paying me $4.64 for an affiliate account I had previously started.
I was shocked because I didn’t realize that ANY of my affiliate links had ever resulted in sales. I had regularly checked my Amazon Affiliate site to see if I had met the minimum of 3 qualifying sales within 180 days…and I never saw even one. Plenty of clicks…but I never saw my metrics showing a qualifying purchase.
Well…apparently I needed 3…and made 2.
Upon further reflection, I realize that I had proven what the experts keep saying and what various affiliate programs keep emailing me after they turn down my affiliate partner application.
These experts kept saying that I need more volume before anything can really get started on this website. This is true for affiliate links, selling merchandise, trying out Patreon, and anything else.
Again…I posted every day for a year, but the raw website visits are not there…yet.
Volume does not mean volume of posts, it means the attention of more readers who find what I post here interesting, willing to share, like, comment on, or click on what might be an affiliate link. (I do my best to make sure people know that my posts contain affiliate links)
To me that means to keep my posting volume low (for now) and making sure the quality goes up.
Should You Set Goals for a Side Hustle?
Honestly I believe the answer to this question is different for us all. For me…I would say yes but very generic goals.
Make money from this site…eventually
Once I do…make enough to cover basic website costs
However, I am smack in the middle of a full-time career and honestly can’t devote as much time as I might want to my side hustle right now.
For others, your goals may be required in order for you to get any real momentum. If you are hoping that your side hustle can become a full-time gig sooner rather than later…your goals should be SMART.
What Are Your Next Steps?
Ask yourself that question. I did.
For me, I have decided that I want to keep this site going for a long time. I like the format I’m using and I enjoy seeing people come across old posts and like them (thanks WordPress app!). I am one of those people that needs a creative outlet every now and then…and having my own corner of the internet to do that has become a necessity for me.
I am in this for the long haul.
One day I will be looking at retirement. It would sure be nice if my “side hustle” had matured to something more “full-time possible” by then.
If you want to lead better, work better, live better…and help others do the same, then join me on this journey.
One year ago I pushed publish on my very first blog post here.
For some odd reason, that is still my highest viewed post ever. That may be because of the way my site was first set up (requiring a click to view each post) vice how it is now (endless scrolling with full posts). It really doesn’t matter as that is not the whole reason I started yet another blog.
I was quite up front about trying to see if I could make any money from my “side-hustle” site this go around. I’ve tried affiliate links to amazon, signing up for various affiliate services, creating merchandise to sell, and a couple other things. I’ve posted almost every day over the past year and worked towards better SEO…although I wouldn’t say I did so aggressively. (I do have a family and a full-time job)
All of that has resulted in zero money but, more importantly, a few realizations on my part.
1. Creation is One of My Favorite Parts of Starting a Blog/Site
I really enjoy the act of creating a site.
I love pouring through templates, seeing what is new that people like and what is old/classic that I still prefer.
Selecting and testing out fonts and color schemes scratches some sort of artistic itch that I’m not sure I could identify or satisfy otherwise. Serif versus Sans Serif, complimentary color schemes, underlining links that change color on hovering over it (via customized CSS), viewing spacing and sizing of headers and paragraph text. I love it all.
Is that weird?
I don’t know. Maybe.
I enjoy it nonetheless.
2. Volume is Not What I Want to Do Right Now
Coming up with 6 posts a week is not a lot in terms of a normal website volume. Yet, if you’re running your site solo, then it can add up over time.
Don’t get me wrong, I was able to get a pretty good routine that allowed me to come up with 3 weeks worth of material over the course of a Sunday, but that normally excluded my Wednesday posts. I tried to make those Wednesday posts a little more of an “actual post” that required me to sit, think, write, edit, and smooth for publishing.
And shocker…those Wednesday posts tended to be my more popular posts…those and the Saturday affiliate link posts. (according to my google analytics stats)
Remember though…I was attempting to make money this time around and I thought a consistent post a day would translate to something over the course of a year. Which it didn’t. At least not for what I was posting about.
I’ve experimented, learned, and will adjust.
3. I Want “Fulfillment over Victory”
Those Wednesday posts I mentioned I actually enjoyed a lot more. The critical thinking aspect of writing them is often what I look for when I get that urge to share a revelation, thought, or growing concept that I want to process.
That is probably why I enjoy making my Vlog so much…it takes planning, knowledge, experience, experimentation…technical curiosity, creativity, and effort.
The thoughtful pieces are so much more fulfilling that working towards that Google SEO to try and bring in more clicks.
I don’t really want to “win” in blogging…I want fulfillment in what I do and share with others.
Basically the payoff is in the journey vice the destination.
I just started reading his newest book, The Infinite Game, and I realized that I have been expending all this effort on my blog for purely selfish reasons…reasons that I don’t really believe will succeed.
I don’t really think that I will succeed on this blog if I am only doing it to try and make money. That has never really been a driving factor for what I do in life and I’m not sure why I put that as my foremost reason here.
I Am Sorry
I should have known better than to stray from what really drives me in life and work. People who know me, know that I want to lead people be better versions of themselves and to teach them how to help others the do same.
I can’t do that when money is my focus.
In life, at work, or via this website.
My focus should be, as Simon Sinek says, on the “infinite game”.
So should yours.
Why am I doing this?
Do I have an “infinite mindset”? (a just cause that will outlive me)
What drives me to make others better?
This blog will change from here forward.
The name will stay the same for now, and I will occasionally post some of the same things I did before (interesting links, inspiring quotes, vlogs) but my focus here will be to make you better and to teach you how to do the same for others.
Quality over quantity I suppose.
I do not know how this process will play out going forward…but I do know that I am more driven by that purpose and will thus be more likely to stick with it.
If you want to lead better, work better, live better…and help others do the same, then join me on this journey.
This month I clutched 250,000 pageviews. I’m thrilled, but looking at just a few years back it’s crazy how far my blog has come. We all start at 0 and we all have the power to catapult our blogs to help reach our goals.”
I stumbled across this site and got caught up reading a ton of articles. That’s usually a good sign of quality.
We usually camp in national parks or the bush, but we also use caravan parks on extended roadtrips to enjoy luxuries such as power and a pool, and to clean up and do a few days’ work. A good caravan park is a destination in itself, and we’ve stayed in a few for up to a week, enjoying the experience.
A nice read for anyone who dreams of touring the country sometime in life.
Feeling nervous about taking photographs in public can really hold your photography back. I personally can remember at least a year or so of photographing “interesting details” on walls and pavements because I just didn’t quite have the guts to photograph the people and scenes all around me. I wish I’d stopped to think about that at the time, and especially about how to overcome that fear!
As a teenager, you may have once pined over a boy or girl and thought, They don’t even know I exist. Well, it can feel just as bad when you create a new blog and no-one seems to be reading it. In fact, it may be even worse because Google Analytics will confirm your suspicions without a hint of sympathy.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend thousands on your blog to be successful. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of pageviews. Or even a super slick blog design. In fact, you can be extremely successful and barely spend any money. But what you do need is a plan.
The leading theory for why this happens is that the perception of time relies on the number of memories formed in a period, and memories are encoded from new and surprising experiences. The monotony of commuting to work on the same road for 20 years passes without leaving a mark. But every day is a memorable surprise to a child experiencing her first summer camp, or learning how big the universe is for the first time.
Time slowed in March because for the first time since childhood many of us are being bombarded with new and surprising experiences.
I this this article answered a question I didn’t even know I had.
While it’s very tempting to roll out of bed and into the workday still dressed in your most comfortable pajamas, this could be one of the biggest reasons you’re finding it hard to concentrate during your work from home days.
What is the 10,000 hour rule? How long is 10,000 hours? Have you blogged for 10,000 hours? How?
This is a “rule” that Malcom Gladwell popularized stating that approximately 10,000 hours of practice are needed to master a skill (in the simplest terms). For now I will ignore the many arguments against this rule. Instead I will focus on the fact that it basically shows that a lot of volume is needed to work towards mastery of anything.
Many circles apply this rule to athletes, pointing to the amount of hours of practice that they need to get to the elite levels of competition or expertise. Volume is not the ONLY factor that contributes towards mastery, but 10,000 hours is widely recognized as a bar that many reach for.
How Long Does That Take?
Some basic math (assuming 2 weeks vacation) showed me that if you put in 40 hours a week, you would reach this mark in 5 years.
10,000 hours / 40 hrs/week = 250 weeks
250 weeks / 50wks/year = 5 years
Is this realistic? Nope.
As a gymnast, growing up, I practiced for 3 hours a day 5-6 days a week (on average). That would put me at about 12-15 years to get to that mark of 10,000 hours.
This lines up well with high school athletes looking to compete in college. If they start young, like I did, they hit that mark just before, or during, college. I won’t go in to the various opinions on whether or not athletes should be multi-disciplinary in their younger years to round out their athletic foundation…I am focused on the raw volume for now.
Applying The Rule to Blogging
Does this mean you should blog full-time?
Why do you think the full-time bloggers are so good?
This was quite a realization for me. Largely because I’m not even close to 10,000 hours of blogging.
However, if you look at blogging as writing, then you can give yourself more credit towards that 10,000 hours. High school was hopefully a time to lay the first building blocks of your writing skills; with college giving you a serious boost towards the reps and volume you can’t avoid when honing a skill.
Let’s assume, for arguments sake, that by the time you have finished college you are at about 4,000 hours. (2 hours/day, 5days/week, for 8 years) While that is very optimistic, you still have 6,000 hours to reach the aforementioned Gladwell benchmark. Seeing as how most successful bloggers start off with a “regular” job and write on the side…let’s say you write for 4 hours per day. (That’s still a ton and probably not realistic for most)
6,000hrs / 20hrs/week = 300 weeks
300wks / 50wks/year = 6 years
6 years post college to become a “good” writer (blogger)!!!
That seems like a lot.
But it’s not. I would bet money that most successful bloggers didn’t find their success for at least that long…if not longer. I wrote about Jason Kottke not long ago and how he was running his website for 7 years before deciding to give blogging full-time a try. He has now been blogging full-time for 15 years and his blog is 22 years old.
Seth Godin…has been doing what he does for almost 30 years. He wrote his first book in 1999…his blog coming later. Talk about volume.
How to Get There
A couple years ago, I was traveling from Memphis to Portland with a connecting flight through Dallas Forth Worth. A cashier in DFW mentioned to me that I appeared to be in good shape and asked if I had any advice for him when it came to putting on muscle.
While the comment and question caught me off guard (because I was in a candy shop of all places), I assumed he was emboldened to ask because of the Crossfit shirt I was wearing.
In an instant, I thought of the thousands of hours of practice and working out I had accumulated for over 30 years. I asked myself, What one thing can I tell this random guy about my lifetime of fitness?
“Consistency man…go to the gym even when you don’t feel like it.”
I said as he handed me my receipt.
I couldn’t tell if the look he gave me said “true, true” or “that was lame” Nevertheless, it was the best piece of ‘gym advice’ I could think of as, ironically, I was walking out with a bag full of gummy bears.
I learned a lot about consistency and self-discipline from my years of gymnastics. Yet, I find I still need these reminders as I work on becoming a better writer:
Becoming a better writer will take time…a few years by my calculations, probably more.
There are no shortcuts…no matter how many Medium articles I read that promise me ‘5 Tips to Becoming a Better Writer’.
Consistency is key…I have to write even when I don’t feel like it.
Now you’ve read this article and learned in 5 minutes what it took me decades to discover.
Knowing these 3 insights alone won’t guarantee your success…but they sure as hell will help.