This guest post is by Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger (formerly Boost Blog Traffic)
After all, that’s the dream, right?
Forget the mansions and limousines and other trappings of Hollywood-style wealth. Sure, it would be nice, but for the most part, we bloggers are simpler souls with much kinder dreams.
We want to quit our jobs, spend more time with our families, and finally have time to write. We want the freedom to work when we want, where we want. We want our writing to help people, to inspire them, to change them from the inside out.
It’s a modest dream, a dream that deserves to come true, and yet a part of you might be wondering…
Do you really have what it takes to be a professional blogger, or are you just being dumb? Is it realistic to make enough money from this to quit your job, or is that just silly? Can you really expect people to fall in love with what you write, or is that just wishful thinking?
Sure, it’s fun to dream about your blog taking off and changing your life, but sometimes you wonder if it’s just that: a dream. This is the real world, and in the real world, dreams don’t really come true.
Well, let me tell you a little story…
How I quit my job
In April of 2006, I was hit by a car going 85 miles an hour.
I didn’t see him coming, and I don’t remember much about the accident, but I do remember being pulled out of my minivan with my shirt on fire. The front end of the van was torn off, gasoline was everywhere, and my legs were broken in 14 places.
For the next three months, I had nothing to do but endure the pain and think about my life. I thought about my childhood. I thought about my dreams. I thought about my career.
And overall, I decided I didn’t like the way things were going.
So I quit.
I sold everything I owned. I stopped paying most of my bills. I turned in my letter of resignation, worked my two weeks, and then disappeared without saying goodbye.
Hearing about my insanity, a friend called and asked me, “Well, what are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know,” I told him. “Maybe start a blog.”
And so that’s what I did.
For the next three months, I didn’t just tinker around with blogging. I dedicated myself to it. I started work at 8 AM in the morning, and I kept going until 11 PM at night. I didn’t watch television. I didn’t see my friends. From morning till night, I was writing, reading, and connecting with other bloggers. Nothing else.
Within a month, I had On Moneymaking off the ground, and within two months, it was getting 2,000 visitors a day and Performancing nominated it for the best business/money blog of the year. A couple of months after that, Brian Clark asked me to become the Associate Editor of Copyblogger, and so I sold On Moneymaking for five figures and went to work at one of the most popular blogs at the world.
And amazingly, that’s just the beginning of the story.
How I moved to paradise
Have you ever woken up one day and realized you secretly despise everything about where you live?
The weather is horrible. Your neighbors are jerks. You don’t like inviting anyone to your home, because it’s always a wreck, and you’re ashamed of how it looks.
Well, that’s exactly what happened to me in January of 2009. I was sitting in my pathetic apartment, wrapped up in blankets to keep warm, trying to get some work done on the computer, when it struck me how monumentally stupid it was.
I was a full-time blogger, for God’s sakes. I could do my work from anywhere in the world. Why on Earth was I living in this hellhole?
The only problem was I had no idea where I wanted to go, but a couple of weeks later, the telephone rang, and it was an old friend who had retired to Mazatlan, Mexico. As usual, he was calling to gloat about the weather and the food and the general superiority of the Mexican lifestyle, but instead of just suffering through it this time, I stopped him and said, “No, don’t tell me any more. I’m moving there.”
“What? When?” he stammered.
“I don’t know exactly when,” I told him, “but I’m starting right now.”
Two months later, I took a one-week trip to scout it out and look for places to live. When I got back, I started selling all of my stuff, packing the rest of it into storage, and saying goodbye to friends. Almost one year to the day after our phone call, I hopped in the car and drove just shy of 3,000 miles to my new beachfront condo in the finest resort in Mazatlan.
As I write this, I’m sitting on my balcony with my laptop, watching (no kidding) dolphins jumping out in the Pacific. It’s a sunny day, there’s a nice breeze, and I’m thinking about ordering a piña colada from the restaurant downstairs.
Lucky me, right?
Well, what might surprise you is I left out a piece of the story. It’s the part where I have a fatal disease, I can’t move from the neck down, and yet I essentially get paid to help people. Let’s talk about that part next.
How I get paid to change the world
You know what’s funny?
The worst part about having a disease like SMA isn’t how everyone treats you like a charity case. It’s not the frustration, anger, or depression. It’s not even the inability to reach over and pinch a cute girl’s butt when you want to (although that’s pretty bad).
No, the worst part is the freakin’ bills. The doctors. The medication. The nurses.
I added it all up, and the total cost of keeping me alive in the US was $127,000 a year. That’s not rent. That’s not food. That’s just medical expenses.
Granted, I didn’t actually have to pay all that. I had private insurance, Medicaid, other government aid programs, but all that support comes at a price: they control you. The government allotted me only $700 a month to live on, and I had to spend every single cent above that on medical expenses, or they would cut me off.
So for years, that’s what I did. If I made $5,000 one month, I set aside $700 for living expenses, and I spent the other $4,300 on medical bills. Nothing was left. Ever.
And eventually, I got sick of it.
I wanted to make money without having to worry about losing my healthcare. I wanted to take care of my family, instead of them always having to take care of me. I wanted to actually live somewhere nice, not some ratty little apartment built for folks below the poverty line.
The only problem was, it just wasn’t possible for me in US. No matter how I played with the numbers, I couldn’t make it work. So, I did something crazy:
I quit Medicaid. I moved to Mexico. I stopped worrying about myself at all and started a business based on one simple idea:
I found up-and-coming writers who wanted a mentor, and I trained them. I found businesses who wanted to cash in on social media, and I developed their strategy. I found bloggers who wanted more traffic, and I created a course on how to get it.
In exchange, they paid me what they could. Some folks gave me $50 an hour and others $300 an hour, but I treated them all the same, and I dedicated myself to making their dreams a reality.
Within two months, I was making so much money so fast PayPal shut down my account under suspicions of fraudulent activity. Today, not only am I making more than enough to take care of myself, but a couple of months ago, I got uppity and bought my father a car.
Do you understand how precious that is? For a guy who can’t move from the neck down to buy his father a car?
And the best part is, I’m not making money blogging doing mindless drudgery. I’m changing people’s lives.
Every day, I get emails from readers who say my posts have changed their thinking. Every day, I get emails from students who say my advice has changed their writing. Every day, I get emails from clients who say my strategies have changed the way they do business.
I can’t really believe it. Normally, a guy like me would be wasting away in a nursing home somewhere, watching television and waiting to die, but here I am speaking into a microphone and essentially getting paid to change the world. If my fingers worked, I’d pinch myself.
And here’s the thing:
I don’t want it for just me. I want it for you too.
The reason I told you this whole story wasn’t just to brag but also to convince you of one incontrovertible point:
YOU CAN DO THIS!
You want to quit your job and become a professional blogger?
You want to travel around the world, living life to its fullest?
You want to dedicate your every hour to helping people and making the world a better place?
Because listen … I know it’s horribly cliché, but if I can quit my job, risk the government carting me off to a nursing home because I can’t afford my own healthcare, convince my poor mother to abandon her career and drive my crippled butt 3,000 miles to a foreign country, and then make enough money to support myself, my mother, my father, and an entire nursing staff using nothing but my voice, then what can you accomplish if you really set your mind to it?
My guess: pretty much anything.
No, it won’t be easy. At some point, I guarantee you’ll want to quit. I guarantee people will treat you like you’re insane. I guarantee you’ll cry yourself to sleep, wondering if you made a horrible mistake.
But never stop believing in yourself. The world is full of naysayers, all of them eager to shout you down at the slightest indication you might transcend mediocrity, but the greatest sin you can commit is to yourself become one of them. Our job isn’t to join that group, but to silence it, to accomplish things so great and unimaginable that its members are too awed to speak.
You can do it.
I believe in you.
So get started.
Right freaking now.