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How to Make Your Blogging Dreams Come True

“ONE DAY I’ll be a full time blogger!”

‘V’ – my wife – must have heard that statement 100 or more times in 2003-2004.

Me posing for my first ever press photo in 2003. Out of shot all my neighbours were watching on and wondering why I was videoing a guy taking a photo of me while sitting in my front yard.

It would usually be accompanied by a spread sheet and/or chart in which I showed her how the earnings from my blog had grown from $9 per month to $11 per month and me excitedly talking about how if things kept growing like that I’d be full time…. in 9 years time.

Back in those days I spent a lot of time dreaming about my future as a full time blogger.

I remember laying in bed at night, hoping  it would happen and wondering what opportunities might open up to make it a reality.

Those of you who have read the ProBlogger hard cover book know the story of how ‘V’ heard me talk about my ‘dream’ one time too many  and challenged me to take my blogging seriously.

In short, she challenged me to start treating my blog as a business ‘today’ rather than hoping it might be one at some point in the future.

Note: I wrote about this in my post ‘The #1 Reason My Blogging Grew into a Business

That challenge changed my mindset and was a huge part of making my dreams and hopes a reality.

We CREATE our Future

I recently came across this quote:

“The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made. And the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.” – John H. Schaar

We don’t arrive at our future… we create it!

I wish I’d heard that quote back in 2003 when I began to experiment with making money blogging.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with ‘dreaming‘ of ones future. I just keep meeting bloggers (and people in other fields too) who seem to be stuck in the ‘dream’ phase.

The reality is that nobody really gets anywhere just by dreaming. There needs to come a time to ACT.

Just Do It

Do you dream of your blog one day being bigger, better, more profitable, or bring you better opportunities?

Just Do It!

Your future isn’t something that will just magically happen to you – you make that future.

So the time is now to begin moving in that direction through action!

Is it All Too Big?

Of course, giving the advice ‘just do it’ might be the kick up the pants that some people need to get moving but many bloggers I meet feel overwhelmed by all that lays ahead in order to create their dreams.

I often here one of two things from bloggers facing this:

  • There is too much to do
  • I want to do it perfectly

Both of these statements can cause paralysis and put your future on hold. 

Here’s my advice to you… (and I’m really writing this for me as well… because I feel both of those things too)…

Start With Something Small

Choose one small thing to start with that will move you toward your dream and do it to the best of your ability (tweet this).

Let’s break that down:

  1. Choose One Thing – if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the many things you need to do, you can end up doing nothing or trying to do everything, but failing. Doing one thing well, and then moving onto the next thing, will take you further than either of those options.
  2. Do a Small Thing – if you’re currently ‘stalled’ you need to get momentum so choose a smaller thing to get the wheels rolling. Achieving that small thing will give you energy to tackle the next bigger thing.
  3. Choose something that will Move You Toward Your Dream - it’s so easy to be distracted by tasks that seem like a good idea but aren’t really important in the scheme of your goals. Choose something that is directly tied to your ultimate goal (I’ll give you some examples below).
  4. Do it to the Best of Your Ability – if you only ever do things  you can do perfectly, you may never do anything! Do it as well as you can now and perfect it later. By starting you’ll learn so much and in the long run will produce something great.

What I’ve outlined above has been a strategy I’ve used many times over the years. Let me give you some practical examples.

Example 1 – Starting dPS

I put off starting Digital Photography School for a couple of years before I actually launched it (I’ve never admitted that before).

I had previously had a camera review blog that did well but I always dreamed of starting a more ‘tips’ related photography blog. I thought it’d be more satisfying to write and would have more potential to grow a relationship with readers.

I had every excuse in the book not to start dPS. I already had too much to do. I didn’t have the money to invest into a custom designed site. I doubted my own ability to write content on the topic. I couldn’t find the right brand/domain name…

The list went on.

However, I had the dream and one day I realised that if I didn’t actually start the blog that I’d never have any chance of arriving at that dream. So I started small.

  • I made a call on a brand and domain name – It wasn’t perfect but it allowed me to start
  • I started on GoDaddy Hosting – I knew it wasn’t the best option but it allowed me to start
  • I started with a free WordPress theme – it wasn’t as professional or customised as what I saw in my dreams but it allowed me to start
  • I wrote a handful of posts – I wanted to have more in my archives but it allowed me to start
  • I started with comments switched off to allow me to focus on creating more content – doing so fell short of my vision for a ‘community’ driven site but it allowed me to get moving

The design of dPS when it launched using a free theme.

When the blog launched I remember looking at it with a mixture of:

  • Dissatisfaction at all the things  I knew I could have done to make it better
  • Immense pride that I’d actually got the ideas out of my head and had finally implemented something

With the ball rolling, I was able to improve and grow what I was doing.

I moved to better hosting (and have done so 3 times now). I moved towards a custom design (we’re about to launch our iteration of the design). I’ve since published over 3800 posts and developed a team of writers. I switched on comments and added a forum area to build community.

The site is now 10 times bigger than any blog I had at the time I started it. It is still not perfect by any means (I have a long to do list) but it is a lot closer to my dreams than ever before.

Example 2 – My First eBook

My First eBook (now no longer available as we updated it)

I shared this story at the ProBlogger Event last year but don’t think I’ve written a post about it.

After a year of starting and then evolving Digital Photography School I began to see the opportunity to create a teaching product to sell on the site. I wasn’t sure at first what format would be best (eBooks, courses, events or something else) but knew there was an opportunity there.

I gradually settled on the idea of an eBook to test the waters with my audience but procrastinated and made excuses on why I should delay doing it for another 12-18 months.

Again my list of excuses was long and I justified my inaction with things like:

  • not having time to write and develop an eBook
  • not knowing how to set up a shopping cart
  • not knowing how to design or format an eBook
  • doubts about knowing enough about the subject matter

I put off the creation of that first eBook for a couple of years but managed to snap myself out of the paralysis and decided to start.

I decided to write the eBook about Portraiture – the topic my readers asked the most questions about and the one that I knew most about.

  • As I was time poor, I decided to get up 15 minutes earlier every day to create the eBook. I would have rather been able to set aside a week or two to work solidly on it but I had blogs to run and a newborn baby at home. I had some major sleep deprivation already so figured 15 minutes less sleep a day wouldn’t hurt! It wasn’t the ideal way to write – but it allowed me to start.
  • I decided to use some repurposed blog posts as the basis for the eBook. I’d rather have written it all from scratch but this approach allowed me to start.
  • I decided to outsource the design but kept it as simple and clean as possible to save on cost. I’d have rather had a beautiful/rich design but it allowed me to start.
  • I decided on a relatively simple and inexpensive shopping cart set up. I used e-junkie (aft) and synced it with PayPal. It wasn’t the most feature rich solution but was relatively east to set up and didn’t hold me back on launching.
  • I hada relatively simple launch. We launched it over 8 days with a pretty simple sales page and sales email to my list. I made a lot of mistakes in that launch and have a much more sophisticated process these days but I got the product launched!

I look back on the creation and launch of that eBook now with a mix of embarrassment at how simple it all was and pride at what I achieved as someone with no experience in creating an eBook.

It could have been A LOT better on many fronts but it was the beginning of something that has transformed what I do.

That eBook sold 4800 copies during its launch (bringing in a total of $72,000) which at the time completely blew me away (in the years after it sold a lot more) but the income from it wasn’t the best bit.

The most valuable part of creating that eBook was the lessons I learned in doing it.

That eBook and its launch became the template for future eBooks. I have now published a total of 12 on dPS, 6 here on ProBlogger and 1 on SnapnGuides.

The creation process of our eBooks has changed a lot (we no longer use repurposed content, now use editors, proof readers etc and have evolved the design quite a lot) and our launches are a lot more sophisticated but it all began with 15 minutes per day and doing the best I could!

More Quick Examples

This pattern of small steps towards big dreams is something that I could give you many more examples of.

Like how I got the ProBlogger hard cover Book published. It started as a draft for an eBook and some content that Chris and I had published on our blogs.

And how the ProBlogger Event was started. This has grown to be an annual event for 400+ bloggers but it started as a hastily arranged day for 100 bloggers in a dodgy suburban hotel.

Like how I developed 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It started as a series of blog posts that evolved into a quickly produced eBook which grew again into the best selling ProBlogger eBook that we offer today.

And how I developed the ProBlogger Queensland Competition. It started as a crazy idea I got while sitting in an airport. I tweeted something and it ended up being one of the biggest campaigns I’ve ever done with a brand.

I’m certain that others reading this post would have more personal examples – I’d LOVE to see them in comments below.

Choose 1 Small Thing…

Let’s return to the take home advice…

Choose one small thing to start with that will move you toward your dream and do it to the best of your ability (tweet this).

I can’t emphasise enough how powerful doing this has been in my own business (and my life in general in other areas).

Give it a go – I can’t wait to see what impact it has for you! Please let me know what you decide to do and how it works out for you!

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. Jason L says:

    Great motivation.

    We all need a reality check that this is a long game and your experience is one of the more trusted ones than the sites that promise overnight success.

    I guess you fall into the 10,000 hours rule too (or thereabouts).

    • rakesh kumar says:

      Very true, our very own experience is the most trusted guide int this journey, no one else can give us the exact path, they can only show us the door. we have to travel through that door. Thank you very much sir for this very helpful article.

  2. Many thanks Darren, This is this type of very inspiring post. Thanks very much for discussing this. Even when you’re inside it and doing it like a business, this so vital that you remember. Cannot believe it took me such a long time and all the excuses on the planet not to do my personal profile. There is one thing we all like to do. We always want an ideal moment to start.

  3. sakib says:

    A great resource, thanks for an excellent guide.I have all your guides and I’m excited to read this.

    i enjoyed your blog. Inspired me to keep at it with my blog. I started writing consistently in January and I can see improvement. My dream is to create a e-book and to blog full-time.

    Great post and thank you!

  4. Cat says:

    I struggle to come up with cheap ways to blog. A lot of what I want to write about involves testing products or trying recipes and fashion based pieces. I don’t have money to do any of these things. What would you suggest? Also I have no confidence in my writing despite having a 2:2 in magazine journalism and feature writing. How can I tackle this obstacle?

    • SarahTea says:

      If you have no confidence in your writing and don’t know what to write about, perhaps you should pick a different field for making money, and not blog? If you care about it though, then get the education you need and do it anyway! Perhaps join a writer’s group through meetup.com.

  5. This post really resonated with me Darren. After discovering my passion of personal development it took me almost two years to finally start a blog. I’ve been writing for four months now and have more than 70 posts in my archives. Traffic is only 15-20 people per day, but it’s grown every month and I expect it to continue to do so.

    In addition to building an awesome blog I also have a goal of becoming the best motivational speaker this world’s ever seen. I’ve spent a long time thinking about how I was going to get started in the field of public speaking, but yesterday I decided to get myself out of analysis paralysis and start a motivational series on youtube.

    Ready–aim–fire just doesn’t work for me. The one lesson I’ve learned thus far in life is to begin shooting and worry about calibrating later.

  6. Hi Darren,

    A person really has to love what they’re writing about. I know lots of people that blog just to make money and it seems they end up abandoning their blogs when they don’t see immediate income.

    Everyone blogs these days, so if you must; choose a topic you love. And I agree, start with something small :)

  7. Helen says:

    Cue Twilight Zone theme music, it always amazes me how often you write a post about the very thing I am struggling with at the time.

    Thank you for today’s post as I have been procrastinating with what I need to do because it all just seemed too much and it’s good to get a reminder that the blogs we love and look up to didn’t start off as polished as they are now and we shouldn’t expect to either.

    Off to choose that one small thing I can do today.

  8. shamsudeen says:

    Thank you Darren, I don’t know what else to say, but to thank you.

    off to continue with my blog, cause it seems the task are just too big. Now I know small daily actions leads to big success.

    Thank you.

  9. The thing I love about this is your experiences and the practicality of it all. Great thoughts and thank you!

  10. Rick Johnson says:

    Nice article, I found it very inspirational because you said that you worked on the e-book 15 minutes a day; especially since you really didn’t have the time to invest. It goes to show if the effort is allotted, great results will come to the benefactor. I feel the same way, because I also have small children, on top of work, blogging, and college. I admire anyone that does more than their supposed to, hard work built this country. Thanks for the information, I look froward to your next article.

  11. prince says:

    nice post sir, this is really a dream come true article by just reading this post sir i known my dreams have come true

  12. Sahith says:

    My dream is to become a PROBLOGGER like you…:)

  13. Trouble is I have a lot of ideas that I want to run with at the moment. The chore for me is to narrow it down and then do what this post says to do. Narrowing it down to only one is the problem as I like all my ideas!

  14. Rik says:

    I hope you’re right about “just starting!” I started a blog on a blogging site, not my own website, because I figured I’d just get it rolling. I have no clue about websites, so I could have procrastinated forever setting one up. We’ll see where this goes.

  15. Liton Biswas says:

    Hey Darren,
    I found a similarity.
    I’m also dreaming eveyday to make my blog big.

  16. Wonderful post Darren! I too for so many years dreamed of being a full time blogger and had every excuse in the book why I couldn’t do it. Every time I veered off that path, I was always brought right back to it. Blogging full time is my dream and I am making it a reality. I totally agree with everything you’ve posted Darren. You were my inspiration when I started blogging in 2009 and you are still inspiring me today. I absolutely love blogging so it makes sense to do what you love. Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. Jeffer says:

    I would also suggest one MLM network Empower network which allows us to write blog post and earn online. we also have to promote our blogs for getting more referrals and commission from it.

  18. Miss Keta M. says:

    This post is not only inspirational, but honest! Darren, I am elated that you admitted that dPS was a blog years in the making and not some overnight success! To get anywhere in life, you have to go through trial and error! It took me a few years to blog about my passion, music and, although I am not making $$ (yet) I love what I do :-) Once again thanks!!!

  19. Zack says:

    Thank you for some much needed inspiration today! The timing of this post was really great for me, so thanks again Darren.

  20. This is indeed, very inspirational. And inspiration is one of the key factor that contributes to one’s success with enough effort.

  21. John Mathews says:

    Awesome post…When i started blogging initially i was unable to even make 1$ a day but today i make good money out of blogging and freelancing. You said it right darren start from Small and grow step by step to make it Big! Hope i achieve my dreams soon!

  22. Bilal AK says:

    Hi Darren,
    W0W simply bright explanation, choose one small thing >kickstart >move on >innovate it and transform satisfaction You are truly motivating

  23. John Diaz says:

    Very useful Motivation,
    I hope one day my dreams also become a reality through the blogger :)

  24. Chris Jones says:

    Hi, Darren.

    This was really helpful. I feel like I am in the same place you were in and this gives me a good guide.

  25. I’m not a blogger and don’t proclaim to be but I’d love to be. Thanks for the tips!!!

  26. Great post and advice on how to get started! Thanks for the tips.

  27. Veera says:

    Hai Darren,

    I am start my blog on December 2010. At that time I not get a any such of traffic. I not have any other source of income. Still i continue my blog and then search for the traffic, I saw this blog and follow and read almost every articles of this blog, its boost my blogging. Now i have a lot of dreams in blogger. Step by step of hard work the dreams comes true. thanks a lot for helpful information.

  28. Akshat says:

    Darren, you really inspire me a lot. And this post in particular has helped me a lot to achieve on my blog on mobile apps and making money online. You are a true role model.

  29. Faust says:

    maintaining and keeping blogs update to date with content is quite frustrating especially if you have a full time day job and it is also hard work, money comes only secondary.

  30. Thank you for writing this post and putting in steps. I have a tendancy to try to do too many things and then I get so overwhelmed that I end up doing nothing. I have 3-5 different sites and blogs that are only partly done. I run into something that stumps me or takes so long that I abandon it. I need to start focussing on only one thing for awhile and at lest get it going properly. It’s nice to hear that you started and sometimes continue to run into the same ‘challenges’ that some of the rest of us do, but you have reached much success. There maybe hope for the rest of us yet! Thanks again for the kick in the pants.lol

  31. Lalanthi says:

    Hi Darren,

    Great post and what an inspiration. I am dreaming right now and going to start – Just Do It.
    Thanks

  32. Great Post. Thanks a lot for providing positive energy to us.

  33. Jakub says:

    Hi Derren.
    I started reading your articles in 2005 when I was living in the UK for couple of years, so I’m probably one of your most dedicated fans ;)

    It makes me smile and willing to get up early tomorrow, when i read posts like this one. You are an inspiration. Congrats!

    Also, after 3 years of being a full-time blogger (or internet marketer to be exact) I had to pinch myself, as I forgot what should blogging be about. It should be about passion, consistency and giving your audience GREAT tips on the subject (As Corbet used to say- EPIC S**T). And as of tomorrow morning, I’m starting from scratch on something I was thinking about for years.

    Glad you are still providing amazing content. Wish you all the best mate.

  34. Yup there are lots of bloggers who just just into blogging for earning money but failed. Great post, such a inspiration in this post for me, sometimes ago I also do blogging just for earning and don’t know rules don’t know how to blog just copy pasting now I realise copy paste is nothing just a waste of time. Thank you for this post

  35. Kim Hawkins says:

    I could not have stumbled upon this blog post at a more appropriate time. I just participated in a business conference over the weekend and am brewing with ideas. Your advise of one small thing is timely and inspiring. I’m ready to #JUSTdoit.

  36. Sue says:

    Thanks for sharing your awesome advice, Darren! I’ve only started to blog, and I’m learning something new every day. Your posts are very informing and inspirational. Thanks for the help.

  37. Rohit says:

    learn not to stop keep doing be patience and one day you will surely get the destiny

  38. poorblogger says:

    Such inspirational post.. Hopefully my blogging dream also come true

  39. Jon Poland says:

    Darren — that is the best post I have read in a very long time. You hit on what I believe is the #1 thing that is holding most people back — “getting started.” Your advice is truly powerful for those who take it to heart.

    Far too many bloggers and web entrepreneurs wait for things to be perfect before they start. I believe a major reason for this is because they are afraid of what others will think of their “less than perfect project.” Just get started wherever you are — forget about what your detractors will say — and simply focus on creating content and adding value every day. Get serious and treat your business like it’s your “profession”, and in the process you will create a valuable asset and you will separate yourself from the detractors who don’t have the courage to take that step into the unknown and do what you are doing.

  40. Saifi Rizvi says:

    No doubt this post has helped me a lot in defining how to explore ourself in blogging. I used to study about blogging on several sites but after reading such a informative post i will never go to other sites to read. Appreciate on writting and hope will see some more content soon.

  41. Such an inspiring and motivating story! I am hoping that one day I will tell such good stories to my blog readers…

  42. Kalee says:

    This post was exactly what I needed to see. I have been blogging 2 years this month, and I recently quit my full-time “real job” to blog full-time. I have started an e-book in a draft on Evernote, and I am just so nervous. I have always loved Problogger, and it’s amazing to know you had the same excuses and fears. You have done SO much!! :) Thank you for the post and congratulations on your success!