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Don’t Quit Your Job To Chase Your Dreams… Until You’ve Read This

“I’m quitting my job to chase my dreams!”

When I hear someone say those words I experience two feelings simultaneously.

1. Excitement. You can’t help but admire someone with that kind of passion. Exciting things often happen when people step out of their comfort zone and make space to go for their dreams!

2. Fear. What if their dreams are not realistic? How will they pay their bills? What impact might that decision have upon their family?

I never know what to say (and doubt there is any right thing as each situation is so different) but as someone who has quit jobs to chase dreams I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts.

Warning: my thoughts don’t all mount a single argument to either quit your job or stay in it. They’re some things to ponder when you’re making the decision.

1. Chase Your Dreams

First and foremost – chase your dream.

So many people stop chasing dreams. They end up looking back on missed opportunities with a sense of regret.

If you have a dream that won’t go away I think you owe it to yourself – and the world around you – to pursue it.

2. Be Responsible

Don’t chase your dreams in a way that leaves a trail of ruin behind you.

You owe it to yourself to chase your dream – but not at the expense of those around you.

Too many times have I seen men and women chase dreams in ways that put their family in the way of harm. I can recount a number of new bloggers who quit their jobs to become full time bloggers only to find that their family no longer had an income stream or health care. I’ve seen marriages break down and tragedy strike as a result of chasing dreams without a safety net or backup plan.

I know ‘be responsible‘ doesn’t sound as sexy as ‘chase your dreams‘ – but it’s important.

I think a lot of it comes back to your life stage and situation. When I started blogging, I was engaged to be married and we had no kids. I was still conservative with my decision-making and always had a part time job until I was sure blogging would pay our bills. If I were starting out again today, as a husband and father of 3 kids, I’d certainly take things even slower than I did.

I personally set up the move between employment and chasing my dreams as a something of a transition.

I started out studying part-time and working one main job and a number of part time jobs. As my dream of becoming a full-time blogger became more of a reality (i.e. as I began to earn more from my blogging) I was able to give up some of the part-time work.

This transition took over a year to complete and even then, at one point I got a part time job when my blogging income dipped for a time. I didn’t want to put my family in harm’s way so I always had a backup plan.

3. Take a Run Up…

Long Jump

My part-time work and study allowed me to transition in this way. I understand that this won’t always be possible for others. That doesn’t mean you have to quit your job immediately in order to follow your dreams.

There will almost always be a way to get your dream started – even while you work a job. Think about how you can get momentum up and to position yourself to make that eventual leap.

When I was in high school I used to compete as a long jumper in athletics. I wasn’t particularly good at it but had a great coach who showed me the basics. Interestingly, a lot of the work he did with me was focused not upon my jumping technique but my running and timing.

He told me that the key to a good jump was getting good momentum going in the run up, and then timing the jump and positioning to perfection.

Yes ‘jumping’ was something I needed to get right but without a good run up the eventual leap (and landing) was never going to be successful.

What can you do – in your current situation – to create momentum and to position yourself well for that time when you might actually make the leap into giving up employment to chase your dreams?

Answering this question might result in any number of things. It could lead you to part-time study. It could lead you to more intentional networking. It could lead you to working in the evenings on your project. It might lead you to creating a business plan. There are many small and achievable things that you can do today – even while working a job – that will put you in a better position to chase your dreams.

4. You May Never Need to Leave Your Job

I can think of many people who actively pursue their dreams while also working full-time and part-time in ‘real jobs’.

  • I know a full time accountant who has set up a charity and who supports orphanages in Africa by using his evenings and annual leave to travel and fundraise
  • I know a lawyer who is writing a novel in the evenings and on weekends
  • I know a teacher who started a craft business and makes her products in the evenings and sells them online and at markets on weekends
  • I know a woman who is a stay at home mother with 5 kids, who also cares for her mother who lives with Alzheimer’s, who has built a blog that generates the equivalent of a 3 day a week job

None of these people wants to give up their work but each is also living their dreams – fairly significant dreams at that.

The reality is that not everyone’s dream is of doing something that requires you to leave employment for it to be achieved. The hard reality is that some people’s dreams don’t end up coming true (at least not in the way that they imagine that they will).

Also, keep the possibility open in your mind that perhaps a part-time job will be enough to sustain you so that you can pursue your dreams. I know that this isn’t always feasible in every industry but I know a number of people who found part-time work and simplified their lifestyle in order to sustain themselves while they also worked on making their passions and dreams a reality.

5. A Job Can = A Dream Coming True

Similarly, I can think of many people whose dreams have come true through employment.

Sometimes I wonder if we put working for yourself on a pedestal as being the only truly fulfilling end result. Why is this?

Some people are just not wired to work for themselves and do their best work when working within a team of people under the leadership of someone else. Some people’s dreams fit very comfortably into that scenario.

I think of a friend of mine whose dream was to have an impact upon global poverty. She used to think that to follow that dream meant having to charity of her own. She tried that and quickly found that it wasn’t for her. This ‘failure’ could have been the end of her dream but she decided to find another way and ended up taking a job working for not for profit organisation. After 10 years of service in that organisation, she’s risen through the ranks and looks like becoming the next CEO of it. Her dream has come true – through her employment.

I know of another friend who took a similar path. He dreamed of starting a business that developed iPhone apps in a particular field but ended up joining another company who did that and working for someone else. Interestingly by taking that job he learned the skills he needed to also pursue some personal projects and ended up starting his own company on the side.

This is a path that many people would do well to consider. It may mean re-skilling and switching the fields in which you work in (and perhaps taking a pay cut to get in at the ground level) but could be a way of following your dream and keeping a steady stream of income.

6. Sometimes You Do Need to Jump

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Sometimes, there comes a time to make the leap. It’s not for everyone and not something to rush a decision into but there comes a point where you’ve created enough momentum and you hit a ceiling of how much you can pursue your dreams while having a job.

Sometimes you also come to a point where you are just too comfortable with a ‘good life’ to do what it takes to create a ‘great life’. You need to put yourself into an uncomfortable position to make yourself fight for your dreams!

Make sure you wrestle with this decision a little. Listen to the ‘fear’ (fear is actually a good thing – it keeps us alive but also is often a precursor to doing something significant!) and involve others who care for you (and who you care for) in the decision and then make the move.

Sometimes you just need to jump and put yourself in a place where you’ve got no other option but to work your butt off to make your dream come true.

What would you add?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who hears people saying that they’re quitting jobs to chase dreams. What do you say to them?

And to those of you who’ve made the leap (or attempted it) – what do you wish people would have said to you?

The Power of Personalisation

A year back, a new cafe sprung up in our area. At the time, I didn’t really pay much attention to it as I was satisfied with the 2 cafes I already went to each week. But last Christmas morning, I was desperate for a coffee and it being Christmas Day, no cafes were open in our area – except this one.

So I went in that fine Christmas morning, ordered a take away latte and went on with the day’s festivities.

The cafe had been bustling, which I put down to it being the only place open. The coffee was great and with it, they gave each customer a free nut slice/biscuit. That made an impression on me.

Here in Australia, many cafes shut down over January as it’s our summer holidays and everyone goes to the beach. This new little cafe stayed open so I went in every day, to get my coffee.

During what is a quiet time of year for most cafes, this little cafe was HEAVING with customers.

I would sit at a corner table, working on my laptop (as I am today as I type this). I’d watch the staff work and customers come and go. As I did, I noticed something.

At least half of the customers who came into the cafe were greeted by name, by the staff.

When I first noticed it I thought it was a fluke, or that the staff member I was observing just had a freakishly good memory. But after watching for a few days I realised that it wasn’t just one person. All the staff were doing it.

They not remembered names, they remembered orders.

A customer would walk in and the staff member taking the order would loudly say, “Hi Jeff, large soy latte again today?”

Over the next couple of weeks, I watched this happen every day. One day I even kept note of how many names and orders they knew. It hovered around the 50% mark. If they didn’t know the customer’s name. they would ask and then write it on the cup along with the order. When they handed the person the order, they always looked them in the eye and used their name.

It struck me that while many cafes write the names of their customers on cups, as part of their workflow/organisation, this cafe was different. They went the extra mile and committed the details to memory.

A funny thing happened to me while I saw their watching them personalise their service in this way… in fact two things happened.

  • Firstly – I felt like I was in a place that cared. I heard other customers comment on this to each other too “Wow, they know everyones name!”
  • Secondly – I wanted them to know my name/order too!

It took me 4 days of going in before they got my name and order committed to memory but boy it felt good when they did. I belonged…. I had been noticed…. I was a ‘regular’.

It’s no wonder that this little cafe is almost always full (in fact many days I can’t work there because there are no tables) and has a line of takeaway customers.

Personalisation is a very powerful thing.

Personalisation on Blogs

Today, I’m sitting here in the cafe watching the power of personalisation in action and I’m pondering how (and if) it could be applied on a blog.

I’m sure there would be many ways and would love to hear some suggestions of how you’ve seen it done.

One that springs to mind was a practise I did in the early days of my own blogging, quite intuitively, and that was emailing anyone who left a comment on my blog. If I saw a new commenter, I would always answer the comment and then send the commenter an email to thank them and to let them know I’d replied.

This personalised wasn’t really scalable after a certain amount of readers (without me becoming a full time community manager instead of a full time blogger) but it had a big impact in the early days of my blogs.

I would get many, many emails back thanking me for doing what I did and I know for a fact that quite a few of those people became regular readers.

How have you tried personalising your blogging to take note of individual readers? I’d love to hear your experiences!!!

How we Built our 2 for 1 Sale

You might have stumbled across the 2-for-1 sale we’re currently having on Problogger. We’re also having one over on dPS too if you’re interested in Photography!

As soon as we launched this mid-year sale, we received a heap of requests from people who had picked up a bargain and wanted to know the logistical side of making the sale happen. So today we thought we’d share how we put it all together…

Setting up eJunkie

The idea of a buy-one-get-one-free sale seems pretty simple but the functionality behind it can get a little crazy.

Campaigns like ‘Buy this book and get a free bonus’ or ‘save X% on this product’ are much more straightforward and easier to set up. You have a product, you add the freebie or apply the discount and you’re done! With a buy-one-get-one-free sale, you introduce choice plus shopping conditions. You can select any book, and then pick a second book (of equal or lesser value) for free.

Our first step was to figure out if we could actually do this in eJunkie – the shopping cart solution we use on Problogger and dPS.

eJunkie has a neat function that allows you to combine two separate products into one. However, with over a dozen books on dPS we didn’t want to have to set up a different product bundle for every possible combination. Our only hope was to add two products to the checkout and then apply a discount code, dependent on what was selected.

The discount code

The Problogger products have three different price brackets: $19.99, $29.99 and $49.99 so we set up three discount codes for each value.

Then we had to ensure that some enterprising person wouldn’t use, say, the $50 voucher on two x $19.99 eBooks. Luckily, eJunkie has the ability to set a minimum cart value for each voucher code.

Thus:

  • To use the $20 discount, you must have at least $39 worth of products in your cart.
  • To use the $30 discount, you must have at least $58 worth of products in your cart.
  • To use the $50 discount, you must have a least $99 worth of products in your cart.

For example, If you wanted to grab 31 days to Build a Better Blog ($29.99) and Blog Wise ($19.99) your total cart value would be $49.98 and the only voucher you can use the $20 code – the lesser value book free.

Alternatively, you wanted to grab 31 days to Build a Better Blog ($29.99) and The Copywriting Scorecard ($29.99) your total cart value would be $59.98 and you can use the $30 voucher.

That was hard enough for me to explain in a blog post, let alone asking a user to pick the right voucher! So we used eJunkie’s auto discount apply feature by adding ‘&discount_code=voucher’ to the Buy Now button link.

With discounts sorte,d it was time to attack adding two products to a checkout with one button.

Multiple products

eJunkie has a multi add function. The problem is that it’s unsupported and doesn’t reliably work in some browsers (which is beyond my ability to explain!).

I would like to tell that I found a nice push button solution to this issue, but it took a developer working solidly for a couple of days to actually get it working reliably. I can’t tell you want he did (other than go to JavaScript hell and back) but the code is there for you to see and use if you like.

By solving this problem, we unearthed another.

There is no nice way to clear someone’s cart. So, if you click checkout then close the popup for some more window shopping and then click checkout again with different eBooks, everything broke. To solve this, again with some nifty work from our developers, we added some smarts on top of eJunkie to control this.

Again – I’m not sure how it works technically… but it does the job.

Once this was covered, I knew we could run the sale without having to resort to a new checkout system.

A note about eJunkie: I realise that there are checkout systems that can do all of the above beautifully. But for a one-week campaign, it didn’t make sense for us to change to a new and unproven provider. Our solution isn’t perfect, nor is it elegant, but gets the job done! Some of you will be able to use what we’ve set up here yourself, but others will be confronted with your own set of limits. As long as you’re campaigning the way you want to and seeing these challenges as hurdles not barriers then you should be happy…

Okay let’s move on!

The sales page

So once we proved we could actually get someone to the checkout with the correct items, it was time to put a layer of paint on the sales page. We didn’t have a lot of time as we wanted to run a mid-year sale, not a couple-of-weeks-after-mid-year sale, so I quickly put the copy together along with a wireframe and sent it off to our designer. With little time to spare and a review via my phone, I sent the first concept to be turned into a web page.

The site elements were very simple.

  • A headline.
  • A short description.
  • A dropdown to pick your first eBook.
  • Then a dynamic, second dropdown that appeared to select your free book.
  • An Add to Cart button.
  • And a countdown timer to signal the end of the campaign.

Darren and I were perhaps happier that it was done, that at the page itself, but with not much time to spare we made it live and start spreading the word.

With the sale going well, we couldn’t silence the little voice that kept saying, “This could be better”. So, a couple of days after launching the sale, Darren and I spent the day together throwing around ideas around how we could improve the page.

The problems we identified were…

  • The page was selling the sale not the benefits of the eBooks.
  • The page was visually a little boring.
  • There was nothing more than a title to help you choose your eBook.
  • The page wasn’t helping people make a decision about the book you needed.

Our web guys agreed and had some great ideas of their own!

We then had to make a call on whether or not we invested time correcting this, with a few days left on the sale, or we just kept this in mind the next sale.

Given the fact that we had another last minute push of the deal in mind, and knowing we could extend the offer if need be, and our web developers hating the idea of leaving a job half done we agreed. Three day’s later we released an updated version. A version we’re all much happier with.

Perfect no, but vastly improved yes, and now ready for our final hoorah for this campaign.

The lessons

While the campaign isn’t over and I haven’t really reflected in full, there are already a few lessons I personally took from this experience.

Worrying about what’s possible will hinder your creativity. I decided which campaign I wanted to run long before I knew it was possible. By focusing on what needed to be done, not on what could (or couldn’t) be done, we were able to find a solution that many wouldn’t have bothered seeing to the end.

Let the little voice in your head guide but not paralyse. I’ve never hit publish on a sales page I was 100% happy with. If I waited until it was perfect I’d never publish a single page. You need to find the balance between ship at all costs and perfection.

Your customers don’t care about how hard something was to build; they care about how well it works for them. I was so impressed with the functionality we created that I forgot to stop and objectively think like a customer. Time may have got the better of me, but you should always take a breath and look at what you’ve done through someone else’s eyes.

So that’s a behind the scenes tour of how we put this campaign together, the challenges we faced and the lessons we learnt. I hope some of you can put them to good use! If there are any other apsects you’d like to know how we did that then please let me know in the comments.

As for me, I’m off to dream up the next impossible campaign!

An Offer that isn’t too Good to be True

Recently, Darren shared an amazing bundle of blogger training available for just 72 hours.

As someone who is very selective about what training and personal development I participate in I wanted to put my own perspective forward as to why I think is something very much worth considering.

Blogging is hard

It takes effort, commitment and determination. As a blog owner you need to master multitasking, a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get things done. You need to be able to cop your fair share of criticism and be willing to make peace with the fact that your To Do list will always be longer than time permits.

Because blogging is hard, it’s a great opportunity for people to create products that make life easier. Some of these products would have you believe you can simply sit back and watch the page views, and profits, roll in. The copy is compelling, painting a picture of the vast green pasture on ‘the other side’.

We all look at them and think… I must be doing something wrong if it’s all that easy! I better find out what.

You put your hand in your pocket with high hopes. Sadly, more and more of these products are being sold exceptionally well but delivering nothing on their promise. Of course, it could be worse.

And then there are the other products

Why I particularly like about the latest collection of Problogger courses for bloggers is that they don’t prey on your dreams. It’s a collection of courses designed to make you a better blogger in a bunch of different ways. They are all very practical and real, and it’s refreshing to see.

Unlike Darren, I don’t personally know any of the people behind these course. I do know Darren and he only has respect for those who truly deserve it – so some points are instantly awarded right there.

But more importantly let’s look at the topics covered.

Breakthrough Blogging

I love that this course is aimed at people who have started a blog and then stalled. At one point or another we’ve all felt that progress isn’t what we’d hoped for. That we’re not moving forward, fast enough. This is when many people give up. Through this course if you can find the inner motivation you need to get to tipping point of your blog. This course is worth the $200 on it’s own!

How to Connect with Anyone

This might be more personal to me, but I envy people who seem to be able to network and connect in their sleep. I walk into a room of people simply hoping that someone will talk to me. It’s been said that your worth is driven by your network, and I this course could help me with that. It would be a lifelong weakness of mine conquered!

Better Web Videos & Rapid Video Blogging

We all started blogging because we like to write and like to share. Then, there was video to add to the mix and all of a sudden we were movie producers as well as writers. We can make videos I’m sure, but it takes too long and they lack polish. Both these courses change that. Videos done right and done easily — Yay!!

Publish Your Book on Kindle

7 out of 10 of the questions I get asked are about getting an eBook published. I would have loved if this course wasn’t specific to the Kindle but you cant win them all! Knowing how to get your book on a Kindle is a major barrier and the rest comes pretty easy after that.

Podcasting

Postcasting was cool, then uncool, and now it’s cool again. There are some small but very important things you have to when you’re podcasting. I really like the post that was shared here quite recently and I know this course kicks it up a level.

All these courses will:

  • give you the motivational kick up the backside you probably need
  • help you be a networking superstar
  • see you producing great video content easily
  • reduce the unknowns in publishing your eBook on the kindle
  • … and if you’re up for it, get in on the podcasting resurgence.

That’s a pretty good piece of personal development as a blogger!

Typically, I keep my thoughts on these sorts of things to myself and Darren had already shared the deal. But this was one was too good to keep quite about — I couldn’t resist!

It’s amazing value for the price. If you didn’t know Darren, you might think it sounds too good to be true, but he’s a generous guy.

So go, check out the courses now!

Blogger to Watch: Torre de Roche talks about her journey to big publishing deal

This is an guest interview by Jade Craven.

It is my honour to share the story of Torre De Roche, and her journey from blogger to author with an impressive publishing deal.

I first mentioned her on Problogger as one of the bloggers to watch in 2012. I was impressed with her self-published memoir and her creative approach to blogging. In 2011, she sold the rights to three publishers and sold the movie options.

Torre is a natural writer. Her memoir, Love With a Chance of Drowing, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. In this interview, I talk with her about her creative process and the books journey to publication. I recommend you check out the blog posts I’ve linked to; her story is really compelling.

You’ve previously said that you put a lot of effort into developing your personal brand. Can you walk us through the process?

Before I sold the book to publishers, I learned through my research that agents and publishers look for authors with platforms, like popular blogs. So I began brainstorming blog ideas that would:

(a) Fit with the theme of the book,

(b) Inspire, or offer the reader take-home value, and,

(c) Align with my voice and my self-deprecating sense of humour.

One day, while touring New Zealand by van, an idea struck out of the blue: the Fearful Adventurer! This theme would allow me to be open about my fears, while gently inspiring other fearful people to take leaps. Once I had that idea in place, I began designing a look and feel to align with that theme.

You write less frequently then most bloggers, but your posts are of a very high standard. How much effort do you put into the average blog post?

I don’t use a timer because that would be like weighting myself after a large, delicious meal, but yes, I always put a lot of effort into my posts. Some of my posts contain illustrations and when there is paint involved, a post can easily take me 16 hours or more.

I don’t plan them out—I let them evolve on the page. Sometimes that happens quickly over four hours, sometimes they’re created slowly over a week.

I don’t call it ‘work,’ though. It’s creative play.

Tell us more about the concept of creative play. How can non-artistic bloggers be more creative with their blog?

I don’t believe in the term ‘non-artistic’! Everybody is artistic. Creativity comes easier to those who embrace that trait in themselves and exercise it daily, but it’s a core part of who we all are.
Stephen Colbert once told a story about an epiphany he had in being able to fully be himself on stage: “Something burst that night, and I finally let go of the pretension of not wanting to be a fool.”
One more thing: ease off on reading How-To guides, and start filling your creative piggy bank with stand-up comedy, art galleries, books you wouldn’t usually pick up, and independent films.
To be creative, you have to surround yourself with creativity. There is no How-To guide that can replace that.

You’ve written about the difficulties trying to blog and travel at the same time. How do you manage to write such captivating blog posts while living a nomad lifestyle?

It’s tough to surrender into a ruminative creative headspace if you’re moving around a lot or worrying about where you’re going to sleep at night!

Travel gives me a lot of inspiration for what I create, but generally I have to wait until I’m fixed in one spot before I can process those ideas into any kind of art. I wrote Love with a Chance of Drowning a year after the voyage was over. By that time, I’d had a chance to process the experience retrospectively and make meaning out of the whole experience.

There’s a lot of value in fully experiencing the moment while you’re in it, and then turning it into art later on when you have the time and the headspace to spare.

Read:  The Problem with Being a Travelling Writer

You’ve talked about how you suffered from creative blocks, something that many bloggers would sympathize with. How did you overcome this?

Art is uncertain. Sometimes, in order to feel the delicious comfort of certainty, you might try to make art while grasping onto some idea or technique that seems safe. If you do that, your writing will come out stiff and contrived because you’re not creating, you’re imitating.

Loosen your grip. Let go of control. Embrace the freefalling sensation of having no idea where you’re going with something.

Good art comes from risk, experimentation, and play. A good way to discover this again is to take up a new form of art, one that you can’t control: sculpture, life drawing, ceramics… Squeeze some clay between your fingers, laugh like a child, and remember what it feels like to play without all that seriousness. Now, create from that space.

Read:  The Trouble With Blogging

The book

You were gaining traction for the self-published version of your book during 2011. What motivated you to accept a traditional book deal?

Before the book went to auction, I did some numbers to work out what the book was worth to me. I’d already invested a considerable amount into the self-publishing process, so it wasn’t good business sense to take a token advance just so that I could call myself a ‘published author.’ I also tallied up what I could reasonably expect to earn as a self-published author, factoring in all the limitations with distribution, etc. That’s how I got my magic number.

When the first offer came in, it was right on my number. I couldn’t believe it! We negotiated up from there. So I took the deal because the advance was considerably high, and because it was well above what I felt I could earn as a self-published author.

One of the things I loved about your book was that it was extremely polished. I’ve found that this is a rare quality in many of the self-published books and ebooks I read. How important is the design and editing? Was it daunting investing so much without knowing how people would react?

I spent several years writing my book and, while I doubted myself daily, I wouldn’t have written it if I didn’t believe in it. Investing at the end stages was a small price to pay on top of the time and energy I’d already spent writing the book.

Design and editing are extremely important! We live in an era of information overload, and people are now extra precious with how they spend their time. The cover has to immediately communicate one firm promise: This will be worth your time. Your purpose for getting the book professionally edited is so that you can come good on that promise.

You should strive to make your book worthy of the reader’s time from the moment they first lay eyes on your cover, to the moment they turn the final page. Otherwise you’re just creating noise.

 What role did your blog play in getting the book deal?

I wouldn’t have sold the book without my blog. It helped in several ways:

1. A Hollywood film producer randomly discovered my profile on Twitter two weeks after I self-published. He clicked through to my blog, read an excerpt of Love with a Chance of Drowning, and DM’ed me to request a copy of the book. I sent him a copy, and he ended up buying the film option.
2. A UK publisher chanced upon my book in much the same way: through random clicking that led her to an excerpt published on my blog. She also ended up putting in an offer to buy the book.
3. When my agent was pitching the book to Australia and the US, publishers could see that I had a blog and a following. This upped the value of the book. It has since sold to five publishers.

 More about her book:

What bloggers are you watching?

I follow a lot of blogs, but there are only a few that I visit regularly:

Hyperbole and a Half  – I discovered Allie Brosh a few years ago, and no other blogger has since made me spray tea out of my nose like her. It is, without a doubt, the most hilarious blog in the world.

Almost Fearless  – I’ve been following Christine Gilbert’s blog for several years now. Her life story is interesting to follow and she’s also damn good at the business of blogging.

World Tour Stories – This is a blog about a really, really good looking couple who are sailing the world. They are exceptional at telling a story through stunning photography.

A city girl with a morbid fear of deep water, Torre DeRoche, confronts her deepest fears after falling for an Argentinean man with a leaky sailboat and a big dream.

Set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations, Love with a Chance of Drowning is a sometimes hilarious, often moving and always breathtakingly brave memoir that proves there are some risks worth taking.

Are You Balancing Emerging Technology with Effective Strategy?

Last week I was asked at a conference to reflect upon the future of digital and among other things I made a reflection that seemed to resonate with those gathered. It was:

Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

As online publishers we see a steady stream of articles being written about new and future technologies, companies and trends in the online publishing space.

It is certainly an exciting time to be doing what we’re doing with such amazing development happening all around us and some amazing projections being made about what is ahead of us – however in the midst of all this development it is easy to overlook some of the most effective ‘old’ technologies and trends that we also have at our finger tips.

The reality is that while many new and future technologies are exciting and promising the world – that many of them are still either untested or not yet reaching their potential.

The example I used last week was to compare the effectiveness of social media against email in my own blogging.

On Digital Photography School we have

  • around 300,000 social media connections (mainly Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest)
  • around 300,000 RSS subscribers
  • around 700,000 email subscriber

Last week we

  • updated our social media accounts around 150 times over the week
  • published 14 new posts to our blog (and RSS feed)
  • sent a single email to our email list

Which was the most effective for us in terms of driving traffic?

Hands down it was the email we sent. I’d estimate that last week the single email generated well over 10 times the traffic that the 150 social media updates and the 14 RSS updates combined.

Our previous testing also shows that when we launch a new eBook that a short series of emails will generate over 90% of our sales of our eBooks over launch even though we promote it to social media numerous times during the launch too.

By no means is social media a waste of our time – it helps with multiple objectives that we have (it does drive some traffic, builds community/engagement, helps with branding, drives some sales) but my point is that an old technology like email still has an exceptional return on investment in our situation.

I will continue to invest time, energy and resources into developing a social media strategy – however not at the expense of ‘old’ media that is a tried and true strategy.

What about you – have you got the balance between the ‘new’ and the ‘old’ right? I would love to hear how you approach it?

How to Blog Like a Pro: Workshop on the Gold Coast Australia – Next Week

Next week (29th May) I’m running a special workshop at the Internet Conference on the Gold Coast here in Australia.

The workshop is titled – How to Blog Like a Pro – and you’ll get 4 solid hours of teaching in it – all delivered by me in a workshop limited to 40 people only.

The workshop has only previously been available to those signing up to the full 3 day conferences as an add-on but there are a few tickets still available and so I asked the organisers if we could sell them as a stand-alone ticket (i.e. you don’t have to come to the full 3 day event).

I’ll share how to get your discounted ticket ($75 off) below.

The Training will Cover

My goal with this day is to pack in as much information as possible – so come ready to learn!

1. My Story

  • How I got started and what can be achieved with blogging
  • 2. Introduction to Blogging for your Business

    • Why starting a blog is good for your online business
    • Recommended tools and platforms for blogging
    • Setting goals for Your blogging
    • Identifying Your Blog’s Reader – the cornerstone of great blogging

    3. How to develop a content strategy for your blog

    • How different types of content will help you achieve different goals
    • The Power of adding a Personal Touch into your blogging
    • The 3 ‘I’s’ of creating effective blog content
    • 9 types of compelling blog content
    • Developing an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog
    • The power of storytelling and how to collect them

    4. How to build a readership for your blog

    • ‘Build it and They Will Come’ doesn’t work
    • 9 Steps to finding readers for your blog
    • How to create content that people will want to share for you
    • How blogging fits into your overall social media strategy
    • 20+ techniques for finding new readers for your blog

    5. How to deepen reader engagement and build community on your blog

    • Why building community around your blog will take it to the next level
    • How to convert first time visitors into long term readers
    • 19 strategies for building community on your blog
    • How to deal with Trolls

    6. Monetizing blogs

    • An Introduction to 37 ways to monetize blogs.
    • 7. Questions and Answers

      • I’m happy to take any questions through the day and after the workshop – I’ll hang around for an hour after if there are any questions you don’t get the chance to ask during the actual workshop.

      Note: while #2 above is more focused on those who have an existing business that they want their blog to support – the rest of the workshop will be more general and relevant to all types of blogs.

      Also note – this workshop is focused upon teaching beginner to intermediate bloggers. We won’t have time to get too advanced but instead my goal is for you to come away from our time together with a good grounding in the key areas you need to go away and work on to build a successful blog.

      Other Details and How to Get Your Ticket

      Date of Workshop: Wednesday 29th May
      Time: 10am – 3pm (we’ll break for an hour for lunch)
      Lunch: is included in your ticket price
      Price: The full price of this ticket is $350 but for ProBlogger readers it is $75 off that price – so $275 AUD.

      To get your ticket simply head to this page, add your details, add ‘How to Blog Like a Pro’ to the Pre-Conference workshop field, choose the ‘Pre-Conference Workshop’ ticket option and enter the coupon code of ‘prop1375′.

    How Many Posts Should a Blogger Post? [Pros and Cons of Daily Posting]

    Almost every time I do a Q&A at a conference I’m asked this question – How many posts should I post?

    The frequency of blog posts is something that gets talked about a lot and there is no perfect answer for all blogs – but here are a few thoughts on the topic.

    The Pros of Daily Posting

    I’ve heard many people answer the ‘how many posts’ question with the suggestion that you should aim for a daily post.

    While I will name some reasons why this may not be ideal below there are certainly some benefits of posting on a daily level including:

    Daily Posts Can Help You Get into the Groove

    I’ve had a variety of approaches to blogging frequency over the years and I have to say that getting into a daily blogging frequency has helped ME, as a blogger, make writing part of my daily workflow.

    I find that if I post less often than ‘daily’, writing begins to slip off my radar as I fill my day with other tasks – and once I stop, I find it hard to get going again.

    The more you practice as a writer the better you get (hopefully)!

    Daily Posts Help with Reader Expectations and Engagement

    It is amazing how readers will adapt to your posting frequency and will even look for your content to be published at certain times. I find that the less you post – the less engaged your readers will become.

    Of course this also depends on how and where else you’re engaging with your readers. For example if you’re tweeting every day, answering comments every day and answering emails every day then this will certainly increase engagement.

    I guess more regular content builds your brand also (if the content is good content).

    More Posts mean More Doorways into Your Blog

    I’ve spoken about this over the years many times on ProBlogger. The more posts you publish over time, the more doorways you present readers with to enter your blog.

    1 post a week means you’ve got 52 doorways at the end of the year – daily posts means 365 doorways at the end of the year. This means people are more likely to see your content in RSS readers, in search engines, on social media etc. Over time this adds up. For example, here on ProBlogger today I’m publishing our 7001st post! That’s a lot of doorways!

    The Negatives of Daily Posting

    There are definitely some positives with daily (or at least a higher frequency of) posting. However there are also some costs including:

    Blogger Burnout

    Perhaps the biggest danger with setting your posting frequency levels too high is that you run the risk of burning out as a blogger.

    Posting something new, engaging, compelling and helpful every day over several years can, over time, begin to feel like a chore – particularly if you have competing pressures of life (family, work, social life etc).

    Reader Burnout

    There is a fine line between giving your readers too little content to be engaged and overwhelming them with too much content to be able to digest it all.

    I subscribed to a blog recently that I thought would be great to follow but they posted so many posts per week that it was too much and so I ended up reading none of it.

    Some topics and styles of blog will sustain a higher frequency of posts than others. For example, some technology blogs have been posting 10-20 posts a day for several years – but their posts are usually short, sharp and easy to consume (and they are read by content hungry, tech savvy readers).

    Decreases Reader Engagement

    Related to this, I’ve noticed when I slow my posting frequency down that comment numbers often go up.

    Fewer posts means that your most recent post sits on the front page of your blog longer which increases the chance of people seeing, engaging with and even sharing it.

    Traffic might be lower overall to your blog – but hopefully each post will be read more!

    Advice on Posting Frequency

    Ultimately you need to decide what is right for you as a blogger. Your blog posting frequency should come out of a variety of factors including:

    • How much time and energy do you have for blogging? Remembering that there are other tasks that need to be done on top of writing
    • How much time do your readers have to read content? How thirsty are they for content?
    • How big is your topic/niche – how much is there actually to write about on that topic?
    • How long are the posts you write and how much time do they take to complete?
    • How old is your blog? (sometimes in the early days it can be good to have archives that are a little fuller so there’s more for new readers to explore)
    • How much do you have to say right now? Most bloggers go through bursts where they just naturally have more to write.
    • Is the quality of your posting suffering because you’re posting too often?

    Keep in mind that over time your posting frequency may change. For example, here on ProBlogger I have been as high as 18 posts a week but these days we’ve slowed to 5-6 (with a change in the length and focus of the posts). Slowing our blogging frequency down has led to a higher engagement, higher quality of posts (at least that’s our intent) and steady (if not slightly higher) traffic.

    Also remember that YOU as a blogger are probably a lot more worried about your posting frequency than your reader. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves as bloggers. Slowing down to increase quality of your posts and to look after yourself won’t be the end fo the world!

    The last piece of advice I offer is to aim for regularity rather than daily. Readers will adapt to your posting rhythm and they will begin to expect that what you do one week is not too far different from what you do the next. So be consistent.

    Here on ProBlogger we never switched from 18 posts in a week one week to 5 the next – it’s ebbed and flowed very gradually over time.

    How often Do You Post?

    I’m interested to hear how many posts you do per week on your blog?

    Is that the same amount of posts each week or does it change?

    Has that frequency changed over time?

    What factors come into play for you in deciding how many posts per week is right for you?

    Unlock the Power of Email To Grow Traffic and Profit: Melbourne ProBlogger Event

    Next month on 24 May we will be running a day long workshop in Melbourne for bloggers on the topic of using Email to grow traffic and build profitability to your blog.

    There are only 12 10 9 tickets left – grab yours here.

    Over the last few years we’ve run an annual training event for bloggers that helps hundreds of bloggers to grow their blogs. These annual events have been for up to 300 bloggers at a time and are held over two days covering many aspects of blogging.

    One of the pieces of feedback that attendees have given us is that they wanted us to run day long events that dig deeply into a more focused aspect of growing a profitable blog.

    As a result we’re running this Email Marketing Workshop next month in Melbourne at the Melbourne Business School.

    Photo 2The workshop will be capped at 30 attendees (there are 12 tickets left) and will be run by Shayne Tilley (who runs all my marketing, including our email marketing) and myself.

    Email has become the biggest driver of both traffic and sales of my eBooks over the last few years and in this day we’ll be sharing with you exactly how we do it.

    The day will focus upon 3 main topics:

    1. Building Your List of Subscribers (how to grow your list)
    2. Nurturing Your List (how to keep subscribers engaged)
    3. Getting Subscribers to Take Action (how to get them to visit your blog and buy your products)

    Because the group is small we’ll be able to make this day interactive and tailor it to the level and needs of the group (so far we have a fairly intermediate level group).

    We are also aiming to have some time for us to workshop and review attendees specific email strategies at the end of the day so hope it will give you plenty of things to put into action.

    The cost of this day long training is $299.99 AUD (including lunch).

    You can see the full rundown of the sessions and buy your ticket at our Eventbrite page.

    PS: to those asking about when tickets go on sale for our annual event – we’re looking to release the last round of those tickets early next week.