I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence, but as we near the end of the year, there seem to be a few bloggers talking about what you should do if a past passion no longer inspires you, or your next big idea’s already been done.
Now is a good time to take stock—I know I’m not the only one who has a look back over the year in December, and makes new plans in January. So I thought it might be valuable to talk today about cutting your losses.
What are losses?
You might be tempted to think of losses in terms of passion (things you no longer have an interest in) or lost opportunities (ideas you want to pursue but can’t, because of other commitments).
But there are other losses. One is dollars. If you’ve monetized your blog, and you are making money from blogging, you might find it difficult to work out the monetary value of lost opportunities, or money you’ve left on the table through poor execution or planning.
The other big consideration is lost opportunities around and beyond your blog. These can play into the question of income—perhaps a project you’re busy working on caused you to forfeit another opportunity that could have stepped up your income this year.
The question we, as bloggers, need to ask ourselves is whether that other thing we were working on is worth that lost opportunity. Are the gains we’re making with that other project worth it?
If not, it might be time to consider cutting your losses.
What should we cut?
Only you will know the parts of your life as blogger that feel like chores, that are overwhelming, or that don’t seem to add to your life no matter what you try.
Importantly, as Yaro’s story points out, sometimes cutting your losses has to be done in advance. You have a great idea, but then you find out the competition is really very tough, or someone’s already done what you’d planned to. That may mean that developing the idea isn’t worth the effort.
But only you can tell if that’s true.
I tend to cut the things that don’t give me energy to keep doing what I’m doing. I always have a lot on the go, so that makes it pretty easy to tell what’s gaining momentum, and what’s not. It’s easy to look at reader stats, or income statements, or even just how I feel about tackling a project, and know if I think it’s worth doing.
But sometimes, ideas that have been very popular can actually be difficult to convert into money-makers. For a pro blogger who’s relying on income to keep a roof over her or his head, those ideas can be the hardest—and the most necessary—to let go of.
If you’ve given everything you have to making a project a success, yet you just can’t make that traffic convert, you might need to think of cutting that project from your schedule and focusing on the areas of your work that are helping to support you.
Is now the time?
It seems obvious that once you’ve worked out that you need to cut a project, you should just do it. But I don’t know that this is always the right approach.
Think about selling a house. You might decide you’d like to move somewhere else, but you might also know that houses in your area sell better in Spring. So perhaps you decide to wait until then before you list and sell your home.
The same goes for blogging. I was in touch with a blogger recently who’s decided to sell a blog, so he’s spending three months building it up to be the strongest he can make it, to maximize his sale price.
So the on-the-spot cut isn’t always the best idea.
That said, there are times when it will be. If it’s an ongoing project (rather than a bright idea you wanted to pursue), it’s important to work out an exit strategy for that project. Simply dropping it might not be the answer.
Abandoning projects you’ve been working on means writing off the time you’ve put into them. By carefully reviewing what you’ve developed, you might be able to find ways to reuse some of that work in a way that gives you the greatest possible benefit.
That might mean backing up a cool WordPress theme you had specially developed before you take a blog offline, or asking contacts you’ve met through an ultimately unproductive project to help you with something else you’re working on.
Whatever you do, try not to just cut something and run. The best endings are the ones where we learn and gain from our experiences.
Looking back over the year, have you got losses you need to cut from your blogging work? I’d love to hear what you’ve been thinking in the comments.