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11 Tips for Slaying Your Most Insidious Blogging Limiting Beliefs

This is a guest contribution from Ryan Biddulph.

“Should I write this post? I do not know. I mean, it will probably go live in 1-2 months. 1-2 months is a long time. Not worth it.”

These thoughts traveled through my mind a few minutes ago. Honestly.

Limiting beliefs cripple most bloggers. A select few embrace their limiters, listen closely, tune into their nasty little dialog and do it anyway. Which is why I am writing this post now.

Imagine yourself as a successful blogger. Or if you have seen some success imagine yourself supercharging your results. What do you hear? Listen in to the internal dialog and you might hear stuff like:

“I have no time to run a successful blog.”

“I have no friends in high places.”

“I have no talent.”

“Nobody will read my posts.”

“Nobody will promote my posts.”

The list can go on forever. I know, because I created such a list many moons ago. I felt comfortable creating and then defending my limiting beliefs because I enjoyed being comfortable. So much easier to reside in my safe, quiet, peaceful comfy zone.

I mean, if I ventured out into uncomfortable areas I might actually grow. Yikes!

I might be faced with intense criticism. I might actually make real money through blogging. I might become free. I might need to push myself more and hit deadlines and enter into prospering partnerships and write detailed posts and do research and attract ghostwriting clients and publish sponsored posts.

Wow! That sounds like a lot of work. I convinced myself that being comfortable made more sense than growing so naturally I obeyed my limiting beliefs.

As you can imagine, obeying your limiting beliefs ruins your blog. No need to expound on why.

Imagine yourself being free. Imagine 10,000 or 30,000 or more eager readers/rabid fans devouring each of your blog posts. Imagine yourself traveling the world. Truth be told I have nowhere near that many subscribers but hey, I am traveling the world.

I have spent the past 2 and a half years living in places like Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Peru and Costa Rica. I have visited Japan, Taiwan, China and El Salvador. I mean, a guy who struggled to make a dime – literally – 4 years ago learned how to live the internet lifestyle so he could chill in Bali and Phuket?

Are you kidding me? An ex-fired-security guard turned world traveler? How did I do it? How did I go from jobless in New Jersey to swashbuckling globe-trotter? I faced, embraced and released my blogging limiting beliefs. I faced ‘em and did it anyway.

On to the tips!

1: Meditate

A woman meditating

Image courtesy of tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

It seems like 50% of my practical blogging tips focused on meditating but honest to goodness, spending at least 20 minutes daily sitting in quiet accelerates your blogging growth like no other practice.

Most struggling bloggers walk around in a haze. The crowd has no clue why they fail. This makes perfect sense because until you become aware of your limiting beliefs you cannot solve these low energy, success-killing ideas.

Meditating helps you hear the chatter. Like this morning, as I sit here in Kathmandu, Nepal, I wanted to go back to bed. Big league jet lag after spending 23 hours traveling from New York JFK to Kathmandu. I heard the negative chatter shared above, and said, the heck with it; I am writing the guest post and submitting to Problogger anyway.

Meditate for 20 minutes daily. Sit in a quiet spot. Observe. You will be stunned by what comes up. You will feel liberated after listening in to what is REALLY happening in your mind.

2: Submit Guest Posts

Submitting guest posts introduces you to 2 people; supportive types who spur you on to create, and conquer your blocks, and unhappy trolls who criticise you needlessly, helping you to embrace resistance.

The supportive types inspire you. The trolls teach you how to process feedback from a lesser developed, unhappy mind. In both cases be grateful for the experience because you can grow quickly by guest posting frequently.

3: Connect with Inspirational Figures

They can be inspirational bloggers like Darren Rowse or inspiring folks from any walk of life. If these people could crush their limiting beliefs you better believe you can do it too.

If you are deeply depressed, or if you have 4 cents in your pocket, or if you were assailed by your family for making high energy, freeing, courageous choices, I feel you, because I experienced these nightmares too.

If I can experience these nightmares and come out on top you can too. Connect with inspirational figures.

4: Do the Uncomfortable

I admit it; I felt that quick and easy posts were the only way to generate revenue. After creating 50 – yes FIFTY – video posts between my 2 blogs daily for about 3 weeks I came to a revelation; short posts will net you little revenue.

I felt uncomfortable writing longer, detailed, in-depth resources like this post. Sure I saw success writing such posts in the past but I did not experience the rousing results I so craved. So I bailed, and shot myself in the foot in a major way.

I hated sitting down to write a 2000 or 2500 word resource. I felt all of my fears, worries and anxieties up close and personal. I was wasting my time, I was losing money, and nobody is going to see this post anyway, blah, blah, blah. I hated feeling these feelings but new that slaying your limiting beliefs means being uncomfortable, to blast through these blocks.

Do the uncomfortable. Become comfortable with these acts. Prove to yourself that your limiting beliefs die a quick death if you will simply do what you feel uncomfortable doing.

5: Do Crazy Stuff Outside of Blogging

Speaking of ‘Crazy Ideas’

3 years ago I had never flown on a plane. My first trip? From New York to Denpasar, Bali. 23 hours on 3 separate planes. It was crazy for me, kinda scary, a massive challenge, but doing crazy stuff builds a faith in yourself you simply cannot replicate through other others.

Click through to my blog after reading this post. Or now. See me petting a 400 pound tiger in Thailand? His name is Ron. Real gentleman. But I was freaking terrified to step inside the cage. I shook. I said “no” but after seeing my fiancée Kelli walk into the cage with no fear and the Thai guys laughing at me I pushed myself through my terror and sat inside the cage.

This was perhaps the most empowering experience of my life. I felt scared, of course, but I also felt free from the intense fear that I could never step into a cage and actually pet one of the top apex predators on earth.

This faith naturally leaked over into my blogging exploits. I crushed blogging limiting beliefs my proving to myself that my fears were under my control.

6: Meet Fans Daily

Some folks will fall in love with what you do. Some people will promote each post and comment on each post and become one of your blogging brand ambassadors.

Meet more people each day by promoting posts other than your own and commenting on other blogs.

Fans will support you through difficult times. Good friends push you to kill your limiting beliefs. Brand ambassadors will expand your presence, build your blog and help you prosper but of course you need to meet these folks by aggressively networking.

Meet people. Daily. Push yourself to meet at least 10 to 20 new bloggers through commenting on a daily basis to kill your limiting beliefs because many of your new blogging fans will help you succeed and dissolve any limiting ideas that you might

hold.

7: Meet Harsh Critics

Image by Stuart Richards

On the flip side of the coin are harsh critics. I remember the first person who blew me out of the water on the ghostwriting front. This person pulled no punches.

I became enraged but responded in a polite manner. The anger festered. I was really, really pissed, which meant I saw some truth in her words.

After thinking through the criticism/feedback I uncovered one of my limiting beliefs; I could only charge for my services if everybody liked my work. After receiving this stinging feedback I went into a shell, stopped aggressively promoting my ghostwriting services and turned down work. But deeper analysis of the criticism confirmed that I simply needed to accept that when you charge for your services you might not impress everybody.

Sure, you might need to improve your writing skills. Or perhaps a miserable, unclear person wants to unload their unhappiness on you. In either case you can learn what you truly believe about yourself and why you might hold yourself back by dealing with harsh critics.

8: Travel

Traveling is one of my favorite ways to address my blogging limiting beliefs. I am displaced immediately from my comfort zone the moment I leave the US.

Example; here in Nepal – after 23 hours spent flying and some major league jet lag agitation – I went online for the first time. Slow internet. I knew this because I have many blogging buddies in Nepal. So I was prepared but still annoyed.

Then after I connected for a few hours I realized each of my comments was blacklisted. Again, major annoyance. Limiting beliefs arose:

“How the heck am I going to blog here? How can I network? I am doomed! I need to work from my apartment to blog effectively.” Yadda yadda yadda.

Then, it took me about 10 minutes to log into my back office. 10 minutes. I was pissed. More limiters popping up. After some VPN magic I could post comments, network and whatever problems occurred with my blog, well they cleared up nicely.

Why? I traveled. I allowed my blogging limiting beliefs to pop up by moving to a foreign land.

Travel. Get out of your hometown and if you really want to succeed through blogging get out of your homeland. Introduce yourself to a different way of thinking and some hairy situations which force you to embrace your limiting beliefs head on.

9: Open up a Source of Income Outside of Blogging

I was so wildly desperate to make money blogging – so I could eat – that I became totally blind to my limiting beliefs for many years. I pushed myself harder and harder and harder and scared away success.

This was because I had no cushion. Blogging was my main means of making money and since I was not making money I desperately did things which hurt my blog. I was completely unaware of one of my chief limiting beliefs; to make money

blogging you need to do more, quickly, than the other guy.

So I posted frequently, and posted more, and more, and more, and patted myself on the back, until I saw my meagre pay checks, fell into depression, got angry at the world and moved into even more self-destructive behaviour.

The cycle continued until I opened up multiple streams of income. I wrote for SEO clients. I opened up a Google Adsense account. I offered my ghostwriting services.

I wrote paid guest posts. I accepted sponsored posts. I became an affiliate marketer. I made money, and most of it was outside of blogging as I earned nice sized pay checks through writing for an SEO company. Once the cash flowed in I relaxed on the blogging front.

I saw the error in my ways. I saw my “I have to do more than the other guy or gal” limiting belief up close and personal.

What a relief! I could actually work less, more intelligently and see more blogging success by thinking through my campaign. It all started when I freed myself from the worry of putting food on my table or a roof over my head.

10: Release Your Short-Sighted Approach

Much of my blogging failure was rooted in taking a short-sighted approach. I checked my ad earnings daily. If I saw $25 I was pretty happy. If I saw .06 I would flip out. On most days my ad revenue came a heckuva lot closer to 6 cents than 25

dollars.

I also checked my page views and subscriber stats daily. Each day was a failure or success. Of course this “everything hinges on the day’s metrics” limiting belief continued until I release the silly approach. Once I relaxed I saw the error in my ways.

I killed the limiting idea by trying something different. I decided to check my metrics infrequently. I moved my attention toward creating value and making connections. I wrote more guest posts and engaged in more joint collaborations. I joined multiple blogging tribes.

I stopped obsessing over daily fluctuations by developing a long term vision for my blog and my life. Do the same. See your blog as a resource. See yourself as a wildly successful blogger, now, by visualising these dreams.

Adopting a long term vision helps you identify any habits which do not support the vision, otherwise known as “limiting beliefs.”

11: Persist

4 years after being fired from my job as a security officer in Port Newark I am sitting on my deck in Kathmandu, Nepal. Watching the hustle and bustle of a developing city I feel floored. I learned what was stopping me – that being “me” – by persisting through tough times.

If you will just keep at it you will expose your limiting beliefs. You can see why you are preventing your success through your dominant beliefs by working daily. It is not easy. Many times I wondered whether blogging was worth it, or if I would ever live my dreams, but by pushing past these uncomfortable points I observed my limiters. I saw what needed to change if I was to succeed.

Keep going. Through persisting alone you will learn all you need to know about your faulty, error-prone beliefs and by releasing these ideas you can become wildly successful.

How do you expose your limiting beliefs?

How do you slay your faulty beliefs?

What tips can you add to this list?

Ryan Biddulph helps you live the happy internet lifestyle by sharing money making tips through his blog. He pets tigers and travels the world in his spare time. You can visit his blog here.

How to Protect Your WordPress Site Before the Hackers Lock You Out!

This is a guest contribution from Caleb Lane, WordPress security expert.

Fool proof lock and chain

I am sure you already have on your to do list that you need to respond to emails, return phone calls, show up for meetings, write more content, and a whole lot more.

But, what if I told you that the effects of being hacked could cause all of your work to be destroyed and you would have to start over?  I bet your to do list would change a little bit if all of the work you have done on your website was gone forever.

That is why WordPress security is very important and you need to add it to the top of your to do list.

For those who use WordPress there are some things that you can do to make sure your site is as secure as possible. Here are 11 things that you should do to help ensure your site is as safe and secure as possible:

1. Create Strong Passwords

This is one of the easiest things to do to ensure your website is secure. Many people make excuses due to it taking too much time, but should be taken very seriously. Each of your sites should have a different password.

  • Every password should be at least 15 characters long, and it’s best if your password does not contain a real word.
  • You should use capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters such as a question mark.
  • Your password is your first form of protection against hackers, so make sure you come up with a strong one.

Once you have secure passwords for all of your sites, you should never just write them down.

The only two places your passwords should be are in your head or within a password manager with a strong master password.

If you are going to use a password manager, LastPass or KeePass should do the job for you. LastPass offers a free version and a premium version for $12 a year, while KeePass is open-source and completely free. If you decide to use KeePass, make sure you keep a backup of the password database file in case the file becomes corrupted or your hard drive fails.

2. Keep Your Site Updated

When it comes to WordPress, many people do not want to take the time to make sure they have all of the current updates.

Remember WordPress is not releasing these updates just so they can get media attention. The updates are released to fix bugs, patch security holes, and to introduce new features.

Will any solution always remain a step ahead of the hackers? No, but when there are security holes that are known and there are patches available, you need to implement them on your site. There are no excuses for not keeping up with the updates.

You should also make sure to keep your plug-ins and themes up-to-date.  Also, if you have a VPS or dedicated server, keep all of the things associated with the server up-to-date as well.

Now you may be thinking, how do I do this with all my websites?  Thankfully Infinite WP and Manage WP allow you to manage and update all of your sites from within one dashboard.

3. Changing the WordPress Login Username 

Change the username that is provided as the default admin user when you first set up your account.

Since most brute force attacks on your website are automated, they most likely will either use “admin”, “administrator”, “manager”, or your domain name to try to hack into your account, so use a random username instead. Of course the username should be backed by a strong user password using the guidelines that were covered earlier.

4. Guarding Against Brute Force Attacks

Many people do not realise that most sites have at least a few hundred unauthorised login attempts each day.

In addition to the possibility of successfully hacking into your blog, these attacks can also put a strain on your server resources. To guard against these brute force attacks, make sure you have taken the steps listed above. You can install a plug-in such as Limit Login Attempts that will lock out the hacker after a certain number of failed login attempts.

5. Malware Monitoring

You need to have a solution in place that will constantly monitor your site for malware.

A perfect free solution for this is WordFence which will scan your WordPress core, plug-ins, and themes for changes against the files in the WordPress repository. If there are changes to the files it will send you an email notification if you provide an email address within the plug-in options page.

Another malware monitoring solution that includes server side scanning as well as a variety of other features is Sucuri. Although it costs some money, it is well worth it for the additional features it provides.

6. Fix Malware Issues

In addition to your efforts to prevent malware from infecting your blog, it is always a good idea to find a way to clean up any malware issues that are detected. One of the costs that many blog and website owners tend to overlook is the cost of downtime that is associated with security problems and the time it takes to clean up those issues.

A good solution that will remove malware in the event that you are hacked is Sucuri. If you have been hacked already, you can sign up for their service and they will remove the malware even if you were hacked before signing up.

7. Choosing a Hosting Provider 

A substantial security risk comes from having your blog on a server that is shared. Consider the risks of your single blog and then multiply it by the number of blogs and websites on the same server.

If you choose shared hosting, it is likely that you are going to be lumped in with hundreds of other sites. The reason shared hosting is a big risk is because if another website on the same server as you gets hacked, your website can possibly be hacked as well.

While your own VPS or dedicated server may not be the right choice for you due to the knowledge to manage it and the cost, managed WordPress hosting may be a good alternative. They offer hosting that is more expensive, but well worth it considering the risks that comes with generic shared hosting.

With managed WordPress hosting you get better security, a faster site, better support, and full backups done automatically for you. The 3 managed WordPress hosts that stand out are WP Engine, Pagely, and Synthesis.  All of them are slightly different and have different benefits, so look into each one and pick the one that fits you best.

8. Clean Up Your Site

As well as protecting your blog you need to make sure you keep your blog tidy. Get rid of any old plugins and themes that you are not using anymore.

This also includes separating websites that are in production and still being developed by having them on separate servers.  Often times you will be working on a new website, but then forget about it for a few months. This causes the website to become out of date and vulnerable to being hacked. For this reason, it is always a good idea to separate websites on different servers that you are still working on from live websites in production.

9. Control Sensitive Information 

When you are cleaning up your blog files make sure that you are not leaving any important information available for the world to access. Check your phpinfo.php and i.php files. These are like roadmaps to your set up and a hacker will be able to use this information to break in.

Another area of caution: don’t store backups of your site directly on your website’s server.  This is just inviting potential hackers to download the backups and hack into your website without any work!

Disabling directory browsing is a good idea to prevent a hacker from browsing your blog site’s folders and files for information that could lead to them finding a way to exploit you.

You can disable directory browsing by adding (without the quotes), “Options –Indexes,” to your .htaccess file.

The last thing you have to be careful with is using the file manager within CPanel and having it save temporary copies of important files such as wp-config.php. That is why it is always better to use secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) with a program such as FileZilla.

Bonus Tip: Never store your passwords within FileZilla because they are not encrypted. If you were ever to get malware on that computer, it is very common for malware to search for passwords stored within FileZilla and use them for malicious intent.

10. Backup Your Site 

It is always a good idea to backup your blog site in case your site gets hacked or even if you made the wrong change to a file and want to restore a prior version.

The two best solutions for backing up your site are BackupBuddy and VaultPress. If you are using another backup solution already that is fine just make sure it isn’t overwriting the previous backup and that you have backups going at least a few weeks back. It’s also very important to test the backup to make sure it works even if you don’t need it.

11. Be Vigilant 

This is fairly simple to explain. You need to stay on top of everything that is going on in the WordPress security world.

Remember, preventing issues in the first place is better than detecting and fixing them later. While a managed WordPress host will have your back, it is also important that you have your own back as well.

Take the steps that are listed above to help make your WordPress site as secure as possible and keep an eye on stories about website security as well. Never think that the security issues are only affecting other sites… they can just as easily affect yours.

Caleb Lane is the WordPress security expert for Lockdown 2013, where you can learn how to secure your WordPress website.  He spends his time consulting with companies about their website security and keeping his clients updated about the latest changes and news in website security.

Don’t Fall Into This Trap That Could Destroy Your Blog

NewImageLast week I spent time with a young blogger who was completely stalled with her blog (for the purpose of this post I’ll call her Sally).

Sally’s blogging had started with a bang and had put together 3 great months of content and had started to build a readership but then it suddenly all came to a halt.

I arranged to catch up for coffee to see what had happened and see if there was a way to get her moving again and she told me a story that I’m sure many readers will find familiar.

Paralysed by Comparisons

The reason Sally started blogging was that she had been a reader of another reasonably well known blogger. She had been so inspired by this established blogger that she simply had to start her own blog – which she did.

The problem that brought Sally’s blog to a grinding halt started a few weeks after her blog began when Sally began to compare her fledgling blog with her hero’s blog.

It started innocently enough with her noticing that this others blogger’s design just seemed to flow much better than Sally’s. However in the coming days and weeks Sally started to compare other things too.

Her hero seemed to blog with more confidence, she got more comments, she had a larger Twitter following, she was more active on Pinterest, she was getting some great brands advertise on her blog, she was invited to cool events…

Once Sally started comparing she couldn’t stop. She told me that she would sit down to work on her blog and end up on her hero’s blog and social media accounts – for hours on end – comparing what they were doing.

On one hand Sally knew it wasn’t a fair comparison – she had only been blogging by this stage for a couple of months and her hero had been blogging for over 4 years… but logic was clouded out by jealousy and Sally found her blogging beginning to stall.

She started second guessing herself. She would work for days on blog posts – hoping to perfect them to the standard of her hero only to get to the point of publishing them and trashing them instead for fear of them not being up to scratch.

Days would go by between posts and then weeks. Sally’s blog began to stall… and then it died completely.

The Comparison Trap

Sally isn’t the only blogger to fall into the trap of comparing oneself with others – in fact I’ve heard this story (or variations of it) numerous times. If I’m honest, it’s something that at times I’ve struggled with too.

I remember in the early days of my own blogging comparing my style of writing with other bloggers that I admired who wrote in a much more academic, heavy style of writing. I tried to emulate this over and over again and never felt I hit the benchmark that they set.

The temptation was to give up – but luckily I found my more informal and conversational voice through experimentation and persistance.

Comparing Is Never Fair

As I chatted with Sally last week a theme emerged in our conversation – the comparisons were simply not fair.

Sally knew this on some levels but needed to hear it again.

Her hero had been blogging for years. Sally had been blogging for months.

Not only that – Sally was comparing herself to tiny snapshots of this other blogger.

She could see her hero’s Twitter follower numbers, how many comments she was getting, how many times she Pinned on Pinterest and the instagram photos of this blogger at glamorous events – but she didn’t really have the full picture of this other blogger.

She didn’t know how many hours that blogger worked, she didn’t know whether that other blogger had people working for her, she didn’t know if that other blogger was actually happy with her blog or life and she certainly didn’t see the instagrams of that other bloggers boring, dull or hard moments of life.

I’m not saying the other blogger is hiding anything or doing anything wrong – just that the comparisons Sally was making were of everything Sally knew about herself (and her insecurities) with tiny edited snapshots of the life and work another person.

Run You Own Race

Sally is a remarkable person. I’d love to tell you her real name and story because she’s overcome some amazing things in her life, has some unique perspectives to share and has an inspirational story to tell.

My encouragement to Sally (and to us all) is run her own race. Yes she’s running beside others that at times seem to be running faster or with more flare… but nobody else around her has her unique personality, set of experiences or skills.

Nobody else can blog like Sally – so the sooner she gets comfy in her own skin the better.

6 Essential Twitter Tools to Find and Connect With Influencers

This is a guest contribution from Adam Connell, blogger at Bloggingwizard.com.

In the following post you’re going to discover a wide range of powerful and useful tools that will help you find and connect with the influencers on Twitter.

There have been a lot of great posts here on ProBlogger, a few of the best ones can be found here, here and here.

I’m going to be taking a different look at what is possible on Twitter.

This isn’t going to be just another list of tools that you can use to manage your Twitter profile – we are going to be talking about how to identify and connect with influencers in within your niche.

Before I dive in, I want to give you some background information on why you need to find and connect with influencers within your niche.

Influence Marketing

Influence marketing is all about identifying who has influence within your industry or niche and market directly to them.

Think about it like this, there are influencers within most niches or industries on the web and they have an existing audience so the ultimate aim of using these tools is that you will be able to tap into that audience and use it to market your blog.

You can use other platforms to find and connect with influencers, but ultimately Twitter influencer marketing is much more straight forward and there are enough tools on the market to help you.

Please note that there are an enormous number of tools available that can be used for influencer research and an even larger number of tools for Twitter in general – this is not an exhaustive list by any means.

Twitter Influencer Research Tools

1. Simply Measured

Simply Measured influencer tool

Simply Measured is a social analytics tool that will give you access to an incredible range of reporting and data collection tools.

At first glance, their subscriber toolset is quite expensive, but they do have an impressive range of free reports that you can have access too. They’re not just limited to Twitter either. Some of them include LinkedIn, Facebook, Vine, Google Analytics and more.

There is even a report that gives you a detailed combination of analytics that incorporates both Twitter and Klout data.

Simply Measured’s reporting tools will allow you to identify exactly who has the most influence among your network of followers.

This will tell you who you need to connect with and build relationships with.

2. Twtrland

Twitterland influencer tool Twtrland is an incredible social intelligence research tool that works with Twitter and Instagram. It excels at allowing you to easily find influencers and find market insights.

There is a free option and premium option ($19.99 per month), even the free account is still incredible powerful but you just won’t be able to export reports and lists.

There are a few other restrictions but one of the reasons why I like this is that you can still actually use the free account, most free accounts are restricted to the point where it is pointless even using (and then you subscribe of course).

You will get some interesting data about your Twitter account, but what you’re looking for here is to look at the follower’s analysis.

There is an immediate breakdown of the demographics of your Twitter followers – top followers, countries, cities and skills of your followers but the real fun stuff happens when you click ‘browse all’.

Twitter Land influencer tool

Next, tick the ‘power user’ option under Typecast, select your metrics, skills and other demographics – this will show you an incredible list of all of the people that you need to reach out to and connect with.

3. InkyBee

Inky Bee influencer tool

InkyBee is positioned as a blogger outreach tool but it also excels at finding market influencers.

Whether you’re doing blogger outreach or influencer research, the process is the same.

Add a ‘list’ and name it as the market you’re searching for influencers in then add a discovery job by inputting 3 different terms that you would imagine influencers to talk about in a single blog post.

InkyBee will go out and find blogs from all over the web that fit your search terms and pull in some really useful data that is outlined in the image above.

You can order them by different metrics and then export to PDF or Excel documents too.

The way I usually use InkyBee is to find influencers but also gather data of other influencers that I have discovered using different tools because you can manually add lists of blogs.

5. Commun.it

Commun.it influencer tool

Commun.it is a great tool that can separate out your followers and people you follow into a number of different categories while giving you the tools you need to help build and maintain valuable relationships.

The influencer research is essentially done for you because one of the categories just so happens to be influencers; along with supporters and engaged members.

You can use this to follow and continue to connect with these users and continue to build powerful relationships.

One of the difficulties that people sometimes have is what to do next, who do you respond to? Who do you follow? Who do you engage with?

Commun.it actually lists these all out in a straight forward dashboard so you don’t need to leave the page and go into another Twitter management tool.

5. Followerwonk

Followwonk influencer tool

Followerwonk is bundled in with Moz Pro so it does mean that is a paid tool starting at $99 per month but it also means access to some really helpful tools that go beyond Twitter and even social media.

You can do a bunch of different things like compare users, track who is following you, analyse and sort followers but where this really helps with influencer research is the search function.

Just search for a phrase that is particular to your market and you’ll get a huge list of Twitter users that you can export to Excel and then filter by social authority and the number of followers they have (along with a bunch of other helpful data).

6. Twellow

Twellow influencer tool Twellow is essentially a database of Twitter users arranged by a variety of categories and then by the number of followers a user has.

You can then dive deeper and view a user’s profile which pulls in social profiles along with their website.

There is a search function too so you can find users that talk about the exact topic that you’re looking for.

This platform does revolve mostly around the number of followers a user has, the metrics aren’t much more complex than that but it’s still a huge database that makes users easy to find in various niches.

The important thing to remember is that just because someone has a lot of followers, doesn’t mean they get a lot of engagement; this is why I like to search Twellow for users with websites and add them to InkyBee to get some more comprehensive data.

Summary

You may have noticed that I haven’t listed Klout or Kred as one of the Twitter influencer research tools, and I have my reasons for that.

I have found that these tools are better at monitoring my own influence within particular verticals, rather than finding other influencers. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but as bloggers we only have a finite amount of time to spend on certain tasks so we need to focus on using the right tools for the job at hand.

There are a lot more tools that you could use for this too, but the idea of this post is to make things easier for you, and I haven’t found every tool on the market yet.

So I’ll put the question to you – which influencer tools are you using right now?

I’d love to hear more in the comments below, whether you use them for Twitter or any other social platform.

Adam Connell is the operations manager at UK Linkology. He can be found blogging over at Bloggingwizard.com, where he talks about marketing, social media, SEO and a few other topics. Follow him on Twitter @adamjayc.

Is Blogging Still Relevant in a World of Social Media? [6 Reasons Why I Think It Is]

“How relevant is blogging for today in a world of so many types of social media?”

I must hear this question – or a variation of it – at least once a week. So I thought I’d open it up for some discussion to the wider ProBlogger community.

What do you think?

My feeling is that blogging is a very relevant option for developing a web presence but as the question states – there are other legitimate options too.

Each option has their own pros and cons and depending upon your goals and your resources (including how much time you have) you may choose to do all of the options available or just choose some.

Why I Think Blogging is Relevant

A few of the main arguments why I keep blogging as opposed to just using social media include:

  1. if self host your blog and use a blogging platform like WordPress.org you retain full control over your blog and what it looks like, how you monetize it and what kind of content you can put on it
  2. a blog allows you a lot of freedom in terms of length of posts (as opposed to Twitter/Facebook which limit length) and the design of your posts (i.e. inserting images, sub heading, bolding etc (G+ does give you some of this control) etc
  3. As long as you maintain it and pay for your hosting your blog can stay up forever and is not there as long as the social network may operate or be a relevant medium for people
  4. For me a blog is a place that I archive and showcase my best longer form and meaty stuff – social is an important place for researching what I write, sharing it and building community with my readers
  5. Much of what is shared and discussed on social media is links to longer form content – I want to be a creator of that
  6. In my experience it is easier to monetize and make sustainable a business based upon a blog over a social media account

Note: there will always be exceptions to the above. For instance G+ does give you some formatting options, I do know some people who monetize social media well etc – but in general I think the above stands up well.

Note 2: I’m certainly not arguing blogging is the only way or that you need to choose between blogging and social media. I use both but if I had to choose just one (which none of us have to) I’d choose blogging.

Why Others Think Blogging is Relevant

When I asked on my Twitter account yesterday for why my followers blog when they could use social media I got some great responses along these lines like:

I call it “share the message own the destination” – from Gavin Heaton

because sometimes thoughts should be developed beyond 140 characters or less – from James Woods

most of the value I get reading anything online still comes from longer format – from Reuben

I blog because it gives my voice and content a home. #SM platforms can delete anything I say if they so choose. – from Jessica Cue

Because the content is owned by me, not subject to the fine print of the legal text of a socmed service.Scott Fitzgerald

I SM to support my blog, I like the fact my blog space is my own to be me in. SM has it’s own rules depending on platform. – by Jessie Reid

Add Your Thoughts

The above thoughts (both mine and others) are just scratching the surface of this topic – I’d love to get your perspective on the relevancy of blogging for today in comments below!

10 Hurdles I’ve Faced as a Blogger and How I Got Over Them

Last night while speaking at a small event here in Melbourne I was asked to identify the most common hurdles that bloggers face in building profitable blogs.

It was a tricky question to answer – not because there are not many hurdles… but because there are so many and each blogger seems to face their own unique set of them.

Here are a few of the hurdles that I’ve faced and some further reading on how I got over them.

Super Track and Field Meet

1. Technical Know How

When I started blogging I was using the web for email and occasional research for essays for the study I was doing. I’d used IRC chat but had never created a web page, had never ‘coded’ anything, had no understanding of how to register a domain or get a site on a server and had no ability when it came to designing a blog.

As a result I made a lot of mistakes in those early years with poor choices of blogging platforms, domain names etc.

The big lessons for me in this was that while there was a lot I didn’t know about blogging and there was always something to learn (and there still is 10 years later) you really don’t need to know it all at once.

Start simple and grow your knowledge and skills as you need them – and as you’re able you might also like to look at partnering with others or outsourcing to people who complement your skill set.

Further Reading: I’m not technical enough to blog: Misconceptions Bloggers Have #4

2. Fear of Looking Stupid

As a result of #1 one of the earliest challenges that could have held me back was looking stupid. I have distinct memories in the first few months of blogging where I would compare my very poorly designed and badly written blog (at least that’s what I saw) with other bloggers who seemed to know what they were doing – I remember wondering if people were reading purely for a laugh.

Luckily I got past this fear and kept working on developing my blogging voice and skill set and in time the fear subsided.

I think the other key for me in overcoming this fear was to focus my energies on creating content with my blog that attempted to solve tangible problems that I knew people had. I think by taking this constructive approach you create a useful blog that is pretty difficult to critique.

3. Finding a Focus

My first blog was one in which I talked about many many topics. It started out focusing upon my work (I was a minister) and so I used it to talk about Church, Theology and Spirituality but over time it broadened to talk about my other interests (movies, politics, photography, life in Australia and later blogging itself).

The more topics I wrote about the more I enjoyed blogging but the more push back I got from readers who didn’t always share my eclectic mix of interests. It wasn’t until I started new blogs for different topics that I began to find my groove and my readership really began to grow.

Further Reading: How to Choose a Blog Niche

4. Bloggers Block

A few years into blogging I had my first bout of bloggers block. The creative juices were not flowing and I would sit at my computer staring at an empty draft of a post and wonder if I’d ever come up with something to write about. The first time it lasted a week or so but I had numerous other bursts of it periodically over the years that followed.

Following are some tips on how I overcame bloggers block.

Further Reading: 11 Tips to Breaking Bloggers Block Through Solving Reader Problems

Also Check out: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog to help you kick start your blogging if it has lost motivation.

5. Bloggers Burnout

Similarly I also went through times when I almost burnt myself out with the amount of work I was putting into my blogging. At one point I had over 20 blogs running at once and was trying to post to them all each day. It was a recipe for disaster and the quality of my blogging suffered – as did my health.

The solution? I had to scale back. I decided that in order to be able to sustain my blogging I should have just a couple of blogs that I enjoyed writing and could throw myself into. This raised the bar in terms of the quality of what I was doing but also gave me more energy for those projects.

6. Personal Attack

Blogging has always been a medium where you put yourself ‘out there’ with your ideas and will from time to time get people critiquing what you do and write. This is all a part of blogging – however there have been a couple of instances over the last 10 years where the ‘critique’ of others began to feel more like a personal attack than a constructive and genuine dialogue or critique.

This takes its toll and you do wonder whether it is worth it all. This particularly was the case on one occasion where the attack became quite personal and physical in my ‘real life’. Not a nice situation but thankfully one in which things worked out in the end after a frightening encounter.

There’s no real ‘solution’ to this one – I guess you get thicker skin over time when you blog for years but you also develop positive connections with others that help to support you when times get tough!

7. Building Readership

When it comes to building a profitable blog there’s no escaping the need to build a decent sized readership. Every blog monetization strategy I can think of relies upon having people read your blog in order for you to make money and so this is something we all face the challenge of as bloggers.

This is a particularly frustrating challenge and I remember many times where I almost lost hope after many many hours of writing the best quality content that I could only to find that nobody was reading it.

Further Listening: Listen to the ‘Finding Readers for Your Blog’ Webinar for everything I know about finding readers for your blog.

8. Finding the Right Monetization Model

Having readers is not enough. I know of many bloggers who have built amazing readerships only to find that what they thought would be the right monetization model simply doesn’t work in their niche and with the type of reader that they have attracted.

For me I’ve found I’ve needed to be constantly experimenting with new ways of making money from what I do. I started with using ad networks and some basic affiliate marketing and as my blogs grew found that new opportunities would open up (such as selling ads directly to advertisers and creating my own products to sell).

Further Reading: Here’s my 12 blogging income streams and how I added each gradually over 10 years.

Further Listening: Listen to the ‘Monetizing Blogs’ Webinar

There is no one way to monetize a blog and over time what works might change. It can be a real juggling act!

9. Time Management

There are just not enough hours in the day some days!

Coming up with topics to write about, writing content, editing it, promoting it, answering comments, engaging on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn…. and more), commenting on other blogs… the list goes on of things you feel the need to do as a blogger.

Add into this mix having a ‘real life’ and the challenge of doing all this between your ‘day job’, family, social life and the logistics of running a household and it is not easy.

Time management is the #1 struggle I find most bloggers have – and it only gets harder as your blog grows!

Further Reading: Check out BlogWise – our eBook on becoming a more productive blogger that features advice from 9 successful bloggers.

10. Scaling Yourself

Related to time management is the challenge of trying to scale yourself.

With the right server set up a blog can pretty much have unlimited readership and reach and still keep running. The challenge of growing a blog isn’t so much a technical one – it often is more about how keep your blog personal and to stay accessible to your readers.

In the early days its relatively easy to answer every comment and reply to every email and tweet while also creating blog posts… but as your readership grows it can become more challenging and something usually needs to give.

The choice is either to just let some reader engagement go, or to bring someone on to help you manage it (and loose some personal touch) or to work longer hours (not sustainable in the long term).

I still don’t feel like I’ve got this challenge right – but keep working at it!

Further Reading: Making Yourself Accessible to Readers

What Hurdles Have You Faced as a Blogger?

As I wrote this post I realised just how many more huddles and obstacles I could have come up with (in fact I may just publish a post with 10 more).

Which of the above resonate most with you? What would you add?

11 Characteristics I Look for When Hiring Writers for My Blogs

Two months ago I went through the process of hiring a small group of writers to write weekly tutorials for Digital Photography School. I’ve written about the process of how I hire writers previously here on Problogger but today want to share some of the qualities I look for in the writers I hired this time around.

My hope is that it might both help those who are hiring bloggers but also those who are applying for blogging jobs.

Of course it is virtually impossible to find a blogger who is perfect in each of the following areas – however the more they have the higher the chances of me hiring them.

11 Characteristics I Look For When Hiring Bloggers

1. Expertise and Experience in the Blog’s Topic

This is fairly obvious but needs to be said. When I recently hired bloggers to write for my photography blog I of course needed them to show that they were experienced in the area of photography.

My blogs are ‘how to’ type blogs so in order to be able to teach one needs to understand their topic.

This does not mean I only hire highly experienced and trained experts – I have hired less experienced writers who bring other skills to the table – but expertise certainly helps.

When I invite applications to be submitted I always ask applicants to share their experience and to submit previously written work and to show their photographic portfolio. It is usually pretty evident from this as to whether the person understands what they are talking about.

2. Passion for the Topic

Experience is one thing – but being able to write with enthusiasm and passion for a topic is one thing that can add a lot to a blog post so I’m also keen to find writers who LOVE the topic.

In many ways I’d sooner hire someone with an intermediate experience level but who was very passionate than someone who was an expert who writes in a way that makes the reader wonder if the person cares about what they’re writing about.

Passion comes through in the way an applicant communicates in their application but also in previous work and also in the test posts that we have our applicants submit.

3. Quality of Posts

Another no brainer but you’d be amazed how many application I receive that show a lack of attention to detail in the actual application. If you’re applying for a writing job you need to demonstrate some quality control in what you submit and the examples that you give of your previous work.

Our hiring process invites short listed candidates to submit a ‘test post’ (which I pay for) which helps me to see if the person has the ability to write at a reasonably high quality.

I’m not so interested in the style of writing (we hire writers who write in a conversational tone, those who write more technically etc) but I’m looking for posts that communicate clearly and deliver value to readers.

4. Understanding of the Reader

The very best writers that I’ve hired have an incredible ability to understand, have empathy for and connect with readers.

This is a quality that is difficult to describe or teach – but it is something I’m always on the look out for.

I think part of it comes down to putting yourself in your readers shoes and understanding where they are coming from. I also think there’s a real skill in being able to show your reader that you know that they are there and that you want to help them in some way. Maybe it also comes down to writing with a more personal tone or in a way that injects a little of your own personality in your posts.

I’m not sure exactly what it is – but I know it when I see it – and so do readers!

5. Problem Solvers

This comes into a couple of the points above but I’m particularly looking for writers who solve readers problems. This again comes down to the fact that I have ‘how to’ blogs but every post that I write needs to solve a potential problem that someone reading might have.

Being able to teach and communicate in this way is no easy so when i see it I get excited!

6. Ability to Use WordPress

This one isn’t a deal breaker as it is relatively easy to train somebody to use most blogging tools but it certainly is an advantage when I get an application from someone who has experience with the blogging tool that I use – WordPress.org.

Again – it’s not going to stop me hiring you if you have other qualities listed here – but it does help a little!

7. Proven Track Record at Sticking at Projects

One problem that I’ve suffered from a couple of times now when hiring writers is that they start out hot but soon disappear – never to be heard of again.

A little digging into their history online in both of the cases that I’m thinking of reveals that they have a history of starting projects and not sticking at them (with a long string of inactive blogs, sites, social media accounts that started with a flurry but didn’t last.

Of course people chop and change what they do a lot these days but I’m particularly interested in hiring people who will be around for a while to develop relationships with my readers – so these days I do check to see if they’ve stuck at their own projects for long.

8. Applicants Agendas

I want the interactions that I have with those I hire to be win/win. This is why we pay those we hire but also why we give them generous bylines and allow them to do some promotion of their own projects to our audience in those bylines and occasionally in posts.

However every time we open up applications to hire writers there are a handful of people who see the job as an opportunity to promote themselves above anything else (and at the expense of the site and readers).

These are the applicants who use their test posts to link back to their own blogs, eBooks and social media accounts in every paragraph rather than using the post to showcase their expertise and helpfulness – which in turn will make our readers want to check them out.

I have no problem with our writers building their profile by writing for our site – but when that is the clear #1 agenda of an applicant and the usefulness of their submissions suffers as a result I’m unlikely to hire them.

9. Meeting Deadlines

I’m a little lenient with our writers on this one because I don’t want the quality of posts to suffer as a result of them being rushed – but it certainly helps your chances of getting hired if you submit your application and test posts when or before you say you will.

10. Proven Engagement

One thing that makes a writer stand out above the rest of those who submit applications is when you can see that they have a proven track record of community engagement on their own blog and when they answer the comments of those who interact with their test posts.

In this last round of hires there was a couple of great writers who submitted quite good posts who didn’t acknowledge any of the comments that they got. Contrast this with a writer who didn’t write a post that set the world on fire but who answered every single comment left and who showed a willingness to learn from the commenters. I hired this last writer because I could see he was genuinely interested in our readers.

On a similar note I also look to see if writers promote their own content to their own social networks. While writers don’t need to have a big social media following (although this can be a bonus) demonstrating that you’re willing to share what you write with the network you have helps.

11. An Understanding of Writing for the Web

The last thing that I’m looking for in applicants are those people who have an ability to write content for the web.

If you write content that can be scanned, that uses images well, that is well optimised for SEO, that uses great headlines, that is the kind of content that people will share on social media etc – then you’re going to be in with a better chance of being hired.

What Would You Add?

While I’ve never hired a writer that scored a 10 out of 10 in each of the above areas these are the types of characteristics I’m looking for when hiring a blogger.

What would you add to the list?

5 Intellectual Property Laws about the Internet Bloggers Need to Know

This is a guest contribution from  JT Ripton, a Freelance writer from Tampa.

An image depicting IP Law

Image via Flickr by auggie tolosa

Intellectual property law protects much of the content that you enjoy on the internet. Though you aren’t always required to pay to enjoy this content, that doesn’t make it free for all types of use. Since many intellectual property laws haven’t yet been adapted specifically for the Internet, here’s a rundown of the basics you can use to safely guide your decisions.

Photos and Images are Not Free for Use

Quick and simple searches like Google Images make it seem like the Internet is overflowing with free photos and images. However, copyright law protects most of these photos. If you’re looking for images you can post on your blog, you need to look for those with a Creative Commons license. You can also pay for rights to use certain images.

Creative Commons Licenses Come in Different Forms

Creative Common licenses give you access to various forms of intellectual property. There are many different types of Creative Commons licenses. Before using something that’s protected under this type of license, you must carefully look at it to decide exactly how you can use the image. Some licenses allow commercial use while others do not. Some allow you to alter an image while others stipulate that it must stay in its original form. Attribution is typically required.

Most Movies, Music, and Television are Protected

Although there are many sites where you can get access to movies, television shows, and music for free, these downloads are typically illegal. Though the sites themselves are not violating any laws, you are if you share or download copyrighted material. You can legally view some movies and shows online, but you cannot download them. Network sites often show recent episodes of popular shows and sites like Netflix and Hulu offer access to movies and shows with a paid subscription.

Plagiarism Isn’t Just for School Papers

You undoubtedly learned about the dangers of plagiarism in high school and college, but these laws’ importance doesn’t end when you’re finished writing term papers and dissertations. Whether you have a blog yourself or you write for others, you cannot reproduce another’s intellectual property and take credit for it as your own. Cite your sources, use quotation marks when needed, and try to limit your works to your own unique ideas as much as possible. Referencing another article and quoting from a book are fine. Reposting an entire article or chapter of a published piece are not.

Permission Trumps All

When in doubt about a work, simply ask for permission to use it. Just as the Internet make it easy to find works, so too does it make it easy to contact creators. Many will gladly give you the necessary permissions when requested.

The Internet is a great forum for sharing everything from thoughts and ideas to your original photos, films, and musical works. However, it’s essential that you always think about who has the rights to the content in question and act so that you do not violate them.

JT Ripton is a Freelance writer from Tampa, FL, he’s been using the internet before most people even knew what it was.  JT writes about several of his interests including, blogging, all things tech, and useful tips and idea’s for a myriad of things. He likes to write to inform and intrigue.

How I Stopped Waiting to Become a Writer, Quit My Job & Launched My Dream

This is a guest contribution from Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer.

It took me six years to become a professional blogger. And four and a half of those years were spent waiting.

For years, I read blogs, bought books, and watched videos about ordinary, everyday people making the colossal shift from day job to living their dream. I seethed with envy and bitterness as I saw friends skyrocket to success, living out their passions.

What were they doing that I wasn’t?

All the while, I waited. Waited for someone to pick me. Waited for permission. Waited to be good enough to start.

And guess what? Permission never came. Until one day, when everything changed…

The Conversation That Turned Me into a Writer

A few years ago, a friend asked me an important question:

“What’s your dream?”

“Don’t have one,” I said.

“Sure you do. Everyone has a dream.”

“Ah, I dunno… I’m living it, I guess.”

“Really? Hrmph.” And then a long pause — “Because, well, I would’ve thought your dream was to be a writer.”

As soon as I heard those words, something in me stirred. Something that had been there all along.

“Well, uh, yeah…” I gulped, “I guess I’d like to be a writer… some day. But that’ll never happen.”

I sounded so sure, so certain that at 28 years old, I knew where the rest of my life was headed. Shaking his head, my friend smiled.

“Jeff… You don’t have to want to be a writer…”

And then he said nine words that changed me life:

“You are a writer; you just need to write.”

Turns out that was all I needed. It’s really all any of us need: to believe we already are what we want to be.

So that’s what I did. I started calling myself a writer. And I started practicing.

Practice Makes Better

After that conversation, I started blogging, guest posting (despite my fear of rejection), and sharing my work with the world. At first, nobody noticed or cared, and that was just fine with me. Because I was finally doing what I was born to do: writing.

It was good to blog in relative obscurity, good to practice without the whole world watching. This is a foreign concept in our world today. Everyone wants to be awesome now, but the road that leads to mastery is rarely a densely-populated one.

At the same time, I had a daily routine. I was, as Seth Godin says, practicing in public. Putting myself on the line. Forcing myself to be creative. Every day by 7:00 a.m., I had to post something. Seven days a week, 365 days a year. And this expectation I placed on myself was just what I needed. It made me better, helped me find my voice.

That one year of intense writing taught me more than the previous six years of writing when I felt like it. The lesson I learned was this: frequency, not quantity, is what counts in getting to excellence. Some days, I wrote for 30 minutes, while others I wrote for two hours. But the amount of time didn’t matter.

What mattered was that I showed up.

And that’s what turned a hobby into a discipline — and eventually a profession.

“This is the… secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight.” —Steven Pressfield

How I Built an Audience of 100,000 Readers in 18 Months

Initially, nobody knew me. So I interviewed influential people and A-list bloggers, people I wanted to learn from and associate with. And after awhile, I became friends with these folks, some of which invited me to write on their blogs.

Still, there were no overnight successes. It took me six months to get a mere 75 email subscribers. But something amazing happened around that six-month mark: The week I released a free, 900-word eBook for writers, I had over 1000 signups in seven days.

There was power, I learned, in giving more than taking, being generous instead of greedy.

Eight months in, I had amassed an audience of a few thousand followers (through guest posting and my free eBook), and a book publisher asked me to write a book. Within 18 months, those 1000 emails had turned in 20,000, and I was regularly receiving over 100,000 unique visitors to my blog each month.

I wasn’t making much money yet, but I believed that if I helped people, there would be a way to make a living.

From Side Project to Full-time Income

That next year, my wife and I were expecting our first child, and we weren’t sure how we were going to afford it. She wanted to stay home and raise our son, and on my salary it just wasn’t possible.

Someone told me that once you had over 10,000 subscribers, you had a six-figure business. So I decided to give that idea a try, throwing together an eBook in a few days. I sent an email to my subscribers, telling them I was offering the eBook at an early discounted rate. With that first eBook, I made about $1500 in a weekend. At the time, that was about half a month’s salary for me, an entire paycheck. In two days.

I couldn’t believe it. The next few months, I played around with affiliate products and started making a couple hundred bucks a month doing that. The side income was nice, but I knew I had to do another launch.

My second eBook, which was just a rewritten version of the first one, made $16,000 in six weeks. After that, I knew there was something to this whole “make money blogging” thing. Buried in my blog was a business; I just had to find it. Later that year, I released an online course, starting at a low price and gradually raising it with each new class. Every time I launched it, I got more students than the last.

By the end of my second year of blogging, my wife was able to stay home to raise our son, and I was preparing to quit my job. When we did our taxes, we were amazed to see we had not only replaced our income, but tripled it.

What It Takes

Although I’d read all the success stories and heard all the tips, I didn’t realize how much work it would be to build a popular blog.

In my first year of blogging, I wrote over 300 posts for my blog plus 100 guest posts for other websites. To do this, I had to get up every morning at 5:00 a.m. and often stay up well past midnight. I quit most of my other hobbies and focused all my free time on writing.

It wasn’t easy, but I was committed to the dream. Having spent so many years in frustration, unwilling to do the work, I was ready to invest the time — even if it took years — to get the results I wanted.

People often ask me what one thing I did with that made all the difference with my blog. And of course, I can’t think of one. Because it’s a process, a whole hodge-podge of things I did that made it work.

No single strategy can help you to get to your dream. No solitary experience or choice will lead to your big break. Well, except for maybe one:

Don’t give up.

Don’t quit. Keep going. Never stop. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t let go of the dream. You can do this. You will do this — if only you don’t stop.

That’s what’s missing with most blogs and with most writers. Every great story about some legendary entrepreneur I’ve ever read was rife with failure until one hinge moment when it all changed.

What made the difference? Why did Steve Jobs succeeded while thousands others in Silicon Valley didn’t? Why did J.K. Rowling become a worldwide phenomenon while many of her peers never will? And what can ordinary folks like you and me do to live extraordinary lives?

Don’t give up.

If I had to boil it down to three steps, I would say here’s what you need to do:

  1. Own what you are (i.e. writer, blogger, entrepreneur, etc.).
  2. Commit to the process. Do uncomfortable things, make friends with influential people, and keep practicing until people notice.
  3. Keep going. When it’s hard and scary and nobody things you’re any good, don’t give up. Persevere. In the end, we will be telling stories about you, but only if you don’t quit.

So what do you say? Isn’t it time you started really pursuing your dream?

You bet it is.

Jeff Goins is a writer who lives in Nashville. You can follow him on Twitter @JeffGoins and check out his new book, The In-Between.