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Success [In Blogging] Is Made of Little Victories

small-victories.jpgToday I read a great post by Chris Brogan titled Success is Made of Little Victories (image by lintmachine).

“Everything we do to be successful comes from little victories. When someone takes notice of our success, it looks like something big. It feels like one big moment. But always, and I mean always, it comes from a series of little victories. Look at the successes you’ve had. Did they all come at once? Or did you build up from nowhere to somewhere to somewhere better to a quick fallback to a new success, and then pow? Right.”

Chris isn’t writing specifically about blogging with the rest of his post – but he’s describing what I’ve heard many successful bloggers talk about when they look back on how they’ve grow their blogs.

The Victories in the early days of blogging are often very ‘little’:

  • getting your blog set up
  • writing your first post (and overcoming the ‘this is weird’ feeling)
  • getting your first comment (usually from a friend)
  • getting your first comment from a stranger
  • being linked to by another blogger

These victories may indeed be ‘little’ – but they each are significant and can (and do) lead to growth, opportunity and ultimately bigger victories.

The Toughest Question I Get Asked

I am often asked about the ‘tipping point’ in my blogging – that moment where something happened where my blog went to the next level.

The problem with this question is that there was no such moment for me. I’ve no doubt that other bloggers will identify key events that ‘tipped’ their blog in terms of success – but for me it’s been much more of an evolution or chain of events – a series of little victories if you like.

The key for me has been in using the victories to build momentum towards the next victory rather than seeing them as an end point.

The Key is to Use the Little Victories to Create Momentum

Over the years I’ve learned that each time I have a ‘little victory’ that I need to look for how that victory might be used to propel me forward towards the next one.

This might sound a little ‘new age’ but the way I see it is that victories create ‘energy’. When we have them we as bloggers feel energised and inspired but other opportunities often open up which can be taken advantage of to spring to the next level.

An Example – I remember the feelings associated with the first time I was mentioned in mainstream media. A citywide newspaper here in Melbourne ran a short spot (and it was only 30-40 words) in their tech section about my blog (it was a ‘blog of the week’ type column – a tiny screenshot, the link and a few words).

Despite the smallness of the spot I was completely over the moon with the mention – it was something I could show my parents (to prove I wasn’t a complete lunatic for spending all my time blogging) and it just made me feel good to get that kind of acknowledgement. I was energised and inspired and it gave me a personal boost of momentum to keep growing my blog – however it also created a number of other opportunities.

Here’s what followed:

  • I emailed the journalist to thank him for the mention and to offer any help if he ever needed the opinion of a blogger. This in itself led to being quoted in 5-6 future articles and in the long term a longer feature article about my blog.
  • I used that small mention in the newspaper to reach out to a radio station where I was in the next week interviewed about my blogging.
  • A couple of months later I was approached by someone who had heard the radio interview to speak at a local conference.
  • I used speaking at that conference as an example of what I could do when pitching an overseas conference organiser – this turned into my first paid speaking gig.
  • At that event (in the US) I met 3-4 bloggers who I’ve either entered into partnerships with, employed or built fruitful relationships with.

I could continue to follow the sequence of events to other opportunities that came.

Some of the opportunities were things that came a little out of the blue (like someone who heard the radio spot ringing to ask about the conference) while others were more about me taking initiative (like me contacting the radio station) – however none of them would have happened without the first little victory.

The key is to celebrate your little victories but not to let the celebration of them get in the way of where you’re headed next.

An Anti-Example – a few years back I witnessed one blogger do the exact opposite of what I’m talking about. He’d built his blog up to be a fairly successful blog and was approached by another company who wanted to acquire it. He accepted the six figure offer and was quite naturally over the moon about it.

I remember chatting with him after the sale and him saying that he was going to take some time off before starting another project. I wondered at the time whether it was a wise move. Sure he’d made some nice money from the sale but it wasn’t enough to set him up for life and I wondered whether there was opportunity in selling his blog to announce the next thing. The sale had created some great buzz and talk around the blogosphere – but he then went and took a year off.

When he came back to blogging with his next project the buzz had died down completely and all momentum that he’d had was gone. While I understand the need to take time off I wonder what would have happened if he’d announced the next project alongside the sale of his first blog – if the victory he’d had had been leveraged to bounce him toward the next victory.

Further Reading:

I’ve come back to this theme a number of times over the years. Back in 2007 I wrote about it for the first time in two posts – Blogs as Launching Pads (in which I shared my own sequence of launching projects from what I’d already built) and in How to Leverage Your Blog for bigger Things (some more ‘how to’ stuff).

Early this year I wrote Leverage What You Have and Take Your Blog to the Next Level as part of my Principles of Successful Blogging series.

What little victories have you had recently?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I celebrate each baby step. Looking toward an end goal rather than the next few things I want to accomplish can be daunting. It is also good to look back at the progress you have made thus far, when an opportunity falls through, or a pitch isn’t accepted.

  2. Those little victories are the only thing that really keeps me going. I just wish there were more of them.

  3. Megan says:

    I like your use of little victories. It keeps things simple and humble. I once read in a different blog, he defined success as series of doing the right things and sum of all the right decisions made; alternatively, he defined failure as series of doing the wrong things and the sum of all wrong decisions made. It’s kinda like your concept but I think I like yours better. It’s cute “little victories” It gives you reasons to celebrate all the time.

  4. chandan says:

    I daily check my adsense earning, I really feel happy when someday I get more adsense hits, I also selling text link and ad spot on my blog and again it make me happy if any advertiser contact me for advertising on my blog.

  5. Managing a blog is time intensive and takes a lot of patients and persistence in order to be successful. The small victories feel great. When you get new subscribers and people actually start re tweeting your stuff. That is when you are on your way.

  6. Dave Higgs says:

    I totally agree with the lots of little steps approach.

    And I think everyone who has “fought the battle of the bulge” and heard someone say “hey you looking great” also knows the feeling :)

    D

  7. Franck says:

    Very inspiring post. I’ll start adding small victories myself

  8. It’s the same with everything. Small, attainable goals are the best way to go about it.

  9. Great article, a lil bit too short, but I really liked the “An Anti-Example” part.

    Here is my two cents on blogging:

    Let’s say you are completely new in blogosphere and you start to blog. From 10 things during the year comes 3 victories and 7 fails (I think newbies will agree with me on this). At this moment many bloggers give up their blogs, but those who don’t and forgets those 7 fails and continue to blogging – becomes a successful blogger.

    My point is that you will always have more failures than success at the beginning, but to overcome this you have to believe what you do, learn, use your small victories to achieve the bigger ones.

  10. Nunzio Bruno says:

    This post was soo appropriate for me. All I have had lately are extremely little victories but I am very proud of them! A big one was when I took my blog to a personal next level, out of the freespace (blogspot) and into it’s current home. I was so proud that I decided to jump head first into it and it brought about a new level of professionalism. I was very impressed to see that my readers followed me!! I am very passionate about writing about finance, tech and social media and can’t wait to see what my next little victory will be.

  11. Hi guys,

    Great blog. Unfortunately I haven’t had any little victories yet.

    Kind regards,

    Sam
    X

  12. There is no doubt that momentum is the key to success with blogging (or with anything else in life).

    The “good feeling” you get from that little victory must be used to see the other opportunities around you and take action almost immediately.

    If you let it die down, then you will lose all momentum and will almost have to wait for another small victory.

    And you never know when that will come.

  13. turisuna says:

    I agree with you, we shouldn’t ignore the little victories which lead us to get the success. I started the blog from scratches, changing template for several times, till dealing with maleware.I tried to handle every problem one by one and get little victory in every steps. Every little victory is worth, when we have reached the success, the little victories on the past will feel really sweet :)

  14. Pat says:

    Zahid, to stop people from using your site material you might try Copyscape http://www.copyscape.com it blocks people from doing the right click copy & paste thing.. Guess some people never heard of the Copyright Laws..

  15. irfan says:

    ya, blogging is all about step by step approach to success, I am also seeking for it. hope i will get it.

  16. deejays says:

    Hello All

    This is a great post small victories have kept me going and with each one I just want more and it doesn’t matter how small it is. This is from someone who didn’t even know what wordpress was. It doesn’t matter if it’s tweaking my blog or selling my first ad space they build momentum & confidence.

  17. ordago13 says:

    Like darren says there is no such “one thing that kicked my blog to space” is a lot of things that add up.
    What has worked to me more is:
    TOPIC: Choose a specific topic and stick to it, if you write good specific content is better to end up raking high in google for that topic.
    POST FREQUENTLY: Minimum of 1 post week and if you can 3 posts or 4 posts week is lovely.
    The deal is to get started, get a few links build a small comunity grow your pr to 2 or 3 and get some appearecen in google.
    After that each new post will mean more organic visitors and the ball will be getting bigger each week all you have to do is make all that new organic traffic suscribe, repeat and engage with your blog.

    I´´m not saying anything new just what we all know but it worked for me

  18. Dave Doolin says:

    I’m rereading this article, and couldn’t agree more: the time to start a new project is the moment the current projects ships.

    Take the time off after the next project picks up momentum.

  19. Rick says:

    Little Victory: Deciding to take my YouTube Channel plans and develop them into a full blog. I bought domain names, hosting, and a theme and have started designing the blog!

    PQ – Loving the little victories!

  20. Dave says:

    I like your use of little victories. It keeps things simple and humble. I once read in a different blog, he defined success as series of doing the right things and sum of all the right decisions made; alternatively, he defined failure as series of doing the wrong things and the sum of all wrong decisions made. It’s kinda like your concept but I think I like yours better. It’s cute “little victories” It gives you reasons to celebrate all the time.

  21. Your method is exactly the route I took. Patience was the key. Ideas come from phone calls and interaction with my customers on the sales floor. They tell you what they are interested in and I simply answer in a focused manner.

  22. Rick says:

    Zahid, to stop people from using your site material you might try Copyscape http://www.copyscape.com it blocks people from doing the right click copy & paste thing.. Guess some people never heard of the Copyright Laws..

  23. Tony says:

    Hello All

    This is a great post small victories have kept me going and with each one I just want more and it doesn’t matter how small it is. This is from someone who didn’t even know what wordpress was. It doesn’t matter if it’s tweaking my blog or selling my first ad space they build momentum & confidence.

  24. I definitely agree. In any profession where one is successful, some people think it just happened like that. However, it almost never actually happens like that. It’s not all the sudden you get thousands of visitors (for pretty much everyone); it’s steady growth over a long period of time. Small victories can easily disappear and not even be noticed, but without them, the big victories never could have happened.