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If You Don’t Stop Doing This One Thing, Your Blogging Business Will Never Go Anywhere

This guest post is by Tommy Walker, Online Marketing Strategist and owner of Tommy.ismy.name.

Why are you reading this article?

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it, but isn’t there something else you could be doing?

What are you putting off?

I’m going to be straight with you. You are your own worst enemy.

And you are killing your business.

The curse of the boring business

Putting something off

Photo by Stephen Brace on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

If you’re blogging regularly, at some point you’ll delude yourself into believing that reading every “5 tips to do this thing with your blog” article, and bantering back and forth with industry folks on Twitter, is “work.”

This delusion usually starts at the point where you hit a plateau, and your feedback starts to stagnate or wither.

So you hunt through other people’s work in search of the magic bullet.

Maybe if you read more, you’ll learn the secrets.

Maybe if you talk more, someone else in the industry will take notice and launch you into blogging superstardom.

If you just share more, create more, or interact more, eventually, somehow, you’ll make it.

Take this a step further, and you start buying information products, thinking that might somehow fix the problem. It doesn’t.

Meanwhile, your understanding of your audience hasn’t deepened, your writing hasn’t actually improved, your traffic hasn’t increased, and you still haven’t made a cent directly from your blogging efforts.

And you don’t understand why.

Relationships matter, but focus on your customer

I know this, because I am you.

My blog has been live for a while, and granted there has been some steady growth. But when you’ve seen others rise up from nowhere in literally half the time, and make at least ten times your income, that extra 100 or so visitors isn’t really all that encouraging.

They get invited to speak at major conferences across the country, they get asked to do interviews with popular bloggers, they make six figures on their first launch.

You’re getting rejected from events from your own chamber of commerce.

And when it comes to talent level, their demonstration of knowledge is, well…

Doing more, giving more, and creating more, without having a purpose or an end goal in mind does nothing for your customers, and it does nothing for your business.

When you watch newbie after newbie surpass you in record time, it gets on your nerves.

After a while, it doesn’t make you want to learn more, it makes you want to quit.

For me, the moment came when I thought I was getting tired of working for myself, and considered taking a no-pressure sales position at Men’s Wearhouse selling suits.

But then I remembered,I got fired over a pair of pants in my last “real world” gig, so going back wasn’t really an option. It just seemed safer.

Of course, your customers don’t know any of this.

All they see is you phoning it in.

They see boring, haphazard updates desperate to grab their attention with no mission or purpose in mind.

They’re not sure what to think. You’re not helping them do anything specific.

So why would you expect them to do anything specific (like click the Buy button)?

I knew if I was going to revitalize my business, it was going to take something big.

I needed to prove I could do something impossible.

Legitimate reasons to not make it better

But let’s be real. There are plenty of reasons you can’t take on big projects, right?

For me, I have a nine-month old son.

I’m getting married in a month.

We’re moving into our first house.

I have a full-time client.

I conduct coaching sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I just started working on a collaborative project with seven other people.

While these are plenty of legitimate reasons to not do anything differently, the reality is that if these things controlled my business development, six months from now, I might not have a business at all.

Is this you?

Are you doing the same thing, day in and day out? Do you feel bored?

Have you convinced yourself you can’t do something because there’s too much other stuff going on?

Listen, the world is too small and life is too short for you to not do everything you can to make a dramatic impact.

One thing we have in common is that we share 24 hours in a day. Your impact on the world is a direct result of how you spend that time.

What do you have mentally filed away in the “I’ll get to it eventually” folder in your mind?

Chances are, that’s the best thing you could do for yourself, and you know it.

So really, what are you afraid of? Because isn’t that really what it comes down to?

Is it that that you might get criticism? Or that others’ expectations of you will increase?

Are you afraid that nobody will see it?

So what?!

“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing”—Elbert Hubbard

Critics and downright haters mean you’re doing something right.

“Safe” inspires nothing: you don’t get people to think, or dream or hate.

Not everyone will love you. But consider yourself lucky that you’re able to inspire such a passionate response, even if it isn’t overwhelmingly positive.

And if nobody sees what you’re doing, do it again. And again, and again.

You are the only person in the world with your perspective, and to the right people, your perspective could hold massive transformational value.

Over-commit to a project

So, with all of this in mind, I realized I didn’t really want to quit.

Knowing I had to prove I could do what I thought impossible, I decided to over-commit myself to a project.

Specifically, a project called 21 Days to a More Engaging Facebook Presence.

The problem with the “Facebook marketing” world is that too many marketers are focused on the “get more fans” aspect, and completely neglect how you can use the platform to genuinely learn more about how to communicate with your customer base.

I wanted to put out a free series that wasn’t just about Facebook marketing, but focused on developing an engaging voice that could be woven into every aspect of a business.

The principals really are universal, because it’s about truly connecting and bonding with your customers.

And like Gary Vaynerchuk says, “It’s the message, not the platform”

But here’s the thing: I didn’t plan.

Maybe three days before the beginning I said, “I need to sketch this thing out if I want it to be successful”

But three days came and went…

Plan or no plan, if I didn’t start on pre-designated Day 1, I knew I wouldn’t do it.

With no idea in mind,

I scanned my brain for some of the most common complaints people had.

14 hours later, I scripted, screen capped and released a video entitled “Navigating Facebook to Gather Customer Intelligence” and introduced it as Day 1 in a 21-day series (which I still did not have planned out)

The reception to the video was overwhelming. New people as well as those who I had established relationships with were cheering me on and were very excited to see the rest of the series.

Each day, I thought about the problems that I had heard about, and created a new video.

Most days, I had no idea what I was going to do. But I knew I couldn’t stop.

I also knew that I wanted the information to be higher quality than some of the paid training that was out there, so many days involved a ton or research, and testing and experimentation to make sure that it was a caliber that would make people say, “WOW!”

It was hard.

Some days took 16 hours, other days the screen capture program would crash.

At one point I had to buy a new external hard drive, because I filled my existing hard drive with video data.

The end result?

2 hours, 31 minutes and 4 seconds of video were produced.

My traffic is up 13% , people are taking 42% more actions than before, and my time per visit to my website is up 41%

I see a steady flow of daily traffic that is roughly double what I got before the series, and my Facebook Fan count is about 75% more than it was before.

Now here’s the kicker. I didn’t do much at all to promote the series. Between creating videos, doing client work, coaching, being a father, and being a fiancee, I didn’t have time.

It was pure organic growth, and every day I see inbound traffic coming from new links from websites I never heard of.

What this means to you…

Anything worth doing is friggin hard.

In order to raise the bar, you have to over commit to something.

You’ll never learn how much you can do, or exactly what you’re capable of, until you push yourself to the limit.

Why are you holding yourself back?

Honestly.

Quit looking for dime-store tactics and commit to a project that forces you to level up.

Define a mission.

Develop your voice.

Do the impossible.

Then, and only then will you able to have a business that has any meaning for yourself or your customers.

So do yourself a favor, turn off twitter (after you share this article of course) close your email, and start fleshing out that idea you’ve had that you’ve been “too busy” to do.

Because your blogging business will never go anywhere if you don’t.

Tommy is an Online Marketing Strategist and owner of Tommy.ismy.name. He is about to release Hack The Social Network, the ultimate guide to Facebook Marketing, and is currently developing a “mind hacking” course.

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Comments

  1. Brad Mangas says:

    Thank you, that was inspiring.

  2. Amanda says:

    Great post! I appreciate your fresh perspective on finding my voice and my purpose. It’s all about the service!

  3. maque says:

    That is freaking ground-breaking. Exactly at this moment I had an idea in my mind (about a new project) and now I am way closer with putting into practice. Thanks a lot for all the incentive writing of yours. It just made my day. :)

  4. Excellent, that’s something I struggle with all the time! It’s truly hard to overcome. I also get caught up in the battle between doing something like creating that or getting more traffic. It’s hard to find that balance at times as you have a chicken/egg scenario. You need traffic for it to succeed, but if you make it good enough, traffic could come by itself. Gotta love blogging! Thanks for the post!

  5. Craig Jackson says:

    Very inspiring.

    I’ve got an idea for a blog that I think has a good chance of being a success (if all goes as planned of course). I’ve had this idea for just over a week. It’s not that I can’t write good content or market my blog. What’s holding me back is the coding/more technical side of WordPress. The truth is, the idea of learning all that stuff seems too much for brain to handle, but yet I haven’t even tried learning it yet…

    I keep doing other stuff (unnecessary stuff) and adding it to my ‘I’ll do it tomorrow list’. Yet I think this blog is going to be the next big site everyone loves. I need to pull my finger out and learn the damn stuff.

    Thanks for wake up call. ;-)

  6. Thanks for your article! While I’ve continued to “push” I realize I was becoming numb with the day in/day out of it all. Reading about your experience has helped me to recall WHY I’m doing this … you’ve (also) made my day and I plan on sharing. Thanks!

  7. I have to admit, sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel and the “what’s it all for” mentality sets in. Then I remember why I started to blog – because I love what I’m blogging about. All I ever have to do is go back to that – plus hard work and patience.

    Thanks for the Friday wake-up call.

  8. Atul Malla says:

    This post is very useful for the newbie bloggers who quite their blogging passion and also their blog before it reaches it’s potential. I certainly agree with the customer and reader relationship point. A blog can never attain success without it’s loyal readers but the customers are also equally important.
    I learned a thing or two today.
    Thank you!

  9. Angie says:

    Awesome post. I recently came to a similar realization of how much time I spend essentially procrastinating. Yes, I’m reading others blogs, trying to learn lessons from others, etc. But at the end of the day, what’s really important is JUST DOING IT!! I’ve unsubscribed from several feeds I was following for the very reason you talk about. Now I just subscribe to the *important* ones (like Problogger!) and keep a running priority list so I know what to work on when those bits of time do come along. Thanks for the post, I really enjoyed it. :)

    • Tommy Walker says:

      I find myself doing the same thing every 3-6 months. I think constantly paring down to what is essential on a regular basis is important, otherwise you find yourself climbing the mountain with all sorts of extra equipment.

  10. ferdian says:

    I’m impressed! You’ve mnagead the almost impossible.

  11. Sameh says:

    Very inspiring post. You hit my main problem/concern right on the head which I’ve been fighting it a lot lately.

  12. Emma says:

    Fantastic post all around. I do kind of disagree with your assertion about reading as a time waster, though – at least for me personally, I have the tendency to get inspired by other things that I read. Particularly such brilliantly written pieces, like this one. :)

    When I can’t write, I usually read, but I can see how someone would use reading as a cop-out excuse for avoiding their own work.

    • Tommy Walker says:

      Yeah, there’s a fine line between reading for education, and reading to delude. What’s worse, is unless you’re constantly taking stock of the time you spend, that line can become awefully fuzzy.

  13. Kevin Fawley says:

    Tommy,

    Great post. It’s so easy to spend your time on meaningless distractions all the while lying to yourself that what you’re doing is actually benefiting yourself and your business.

    Congrats on finally pushing through the crap and going after what you really want. I’m trying to push myself past the fear and paralysis myself. This post was exactly what I needed to do that. Thanks!

    • Tommy Walker says:

      Kevin,

      That is so awesome to hear! Funny enough, most people don’t fear failure, they fear success. Don’t fear success Kevin. You’ll do great :-)

  14. Eddie Gear says:

    Tommy, the post should have been created as an email with a little more details. you can write so much more about the titles that I want to know more. I feel its just a gist of what we can expect from you. Is a very good read.

  15. Hey Tommy,
    Great advice and you are spot on. The main thing that we need to focus on is that one thing, that one idea, that one new product that will take us to the next level.

  16. Wesley says:

    I love the article. . .truly inspiring and motivating to achieve the impossible by making all things possible. . .Thank you for sharing.

  17. Iago Fraga says:

    I have to admit that even when it seemed a huge article it really was worth it and focusing on the style, I’ve noticed a lot of single sentences as paragraphs. I enjoyed the content but I think you gave me great advice (or at least a useful alternative) with the writing style. Thanks a lot!

  18. Ouch, and thanks.

  19. Rizwan says:

    I personally think there are no shortcuts, just do it right in legitimate way and your results will be long term

  20. Super appreciate your transparency and great advice. You have given much to ponder from a place of inspiration! Thanks a bunch!

  21. Diana says:

    Thank you for that. Just the ‘pick-me-up” I needed :)

  22. rquiles says:

    Right On! this is the kick i needed today to move in the right direction. It felt as if you were personally talking to me. thank you!

  23. P Thomas says:

    Posts like this are why I need a Blog This button on my toolbar. Thanks Tommy.

  24. Nice article to inspire a newbie and do agree that blogging career is not short term, just do your best and do it in the right way, Its important!!

  25. Buck Inspire says:

    Inspiring post. Some thoughts you pulled right out of my mind. People sometimes get wrapped up in Twitter or email because it’s easier than taking on the big challenge and going up to another level. Here’s to stepping up, taking on harder tasks, and not remaining stagnant. Thanks for the advice!

  26. maddadkeith says:

    I totally agree with you except for one thing. If you don’t think I should be doing something then tell me I should not be doing it and I will do it: ) Yeah, I’m like that.

    Good title. Drew me right in.

  27. Hi Tommy, I’m very glad I came across your post. I’ve been blogging intermittently over the last two years. I say intermittently because I have a travel blog and I don’t travel all the time, so I don’t blog all the time. I’ve only recently started to look into the possibility of trying to make money from my blog and it’s such a jungle out there with all the information on the internet that I find it hard to come across the right information about it all. For a start, I found out that I can’t put any ads/banners, affiliate links on my blog because my host website is Travelpod and it’s just not possible to do this with this website. I’m very happy with the way the blog looks, including photos etc. But I can’t communicate either with my readers who leave comments on my blog, if they’re not Travelpod members, which is not good. I realise that if I do want to even think about trying to make money from my blog, I’ll have to start up my own website.

    After reading your post, I realise that first of all, I’ll have to blog a heck of a lot more. That’s hard if I don’t travel all that often but I’ll just have to write about other stuff in between. Second of all, if I do set up another website, then I’ll definitely need help with setting it up and also with figuring out what’s the best way of earning money from the blog: ads, affiliate links or sponsorship.

    What I’d like to know is if you could recommend or put me in touch with a regular travel blogger who makes money from his/her blog please? I badly need help on so many things as I’m fairly new to this side of blogging i.e making money from it, trying to pitch to editors, trying to get articles published and paid for them. Please, if you can help me, I would really appreciate it. I do believe that my blog deserves recognition and that’s why I’m trying to do something about it.

    • Tommy Walker says:

      Hi Martina,

      Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, I don’t know any other travel bloggers, but I would recommend that if you’re looking to make money from your blogging that you look at an alternative route than the putting up ads and making money that way.

      Though Problogger is able to use the ad revenue on the blog, it’s only because of the high amount of traffic that the site brings in. Beyond that, if you look at Darren’s actual breakdown of revenue… ads aren’t nearly in the highest revenue position.

      http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/03/14/my-january-and-febrary-blogging-income-breakdown/

      My thought would be, if you want to keep going with your travel blog, break away from travelpod because it’s only holding you back for a multitude of reasons. (but you already know that)

      While I don’t know any other travel bloggers, I do know plenty of people who can get you in the right direction. Follow the link on my name to get to my website and send me an email, we can talk further from there :-)

  28. Marynika says:

    Great post. There is so many distractions on the web and so easy to get pulled in a hundred different directions. Yes, we all need to turn Twitter/Facebook off and just focus on one thing and get it done. The scatterbrain approach just doesn’t work and status quo is just not enough.

  29. Sharon thoms says:

    Thanx sometimes a piece of writing feels like it’s been written especially for you. In this case your post has done exactly that for me.

  30. Alissa says:

    I just wanted to let you know that this article inspired me to start a series of posts I have been wanting to write for some time, but have been…basically too nervous to get going. I took your advice and just went for it. Now I have a weekly series called Creativity Solutions for Moms and it has been a stretch each week to write the type of high quality article that I want to write,but I’ve done it! I’m really enjoying the response from my readers and the relationships I’m building. Thank you very much for encouraging growth.