I kinda hate it when people ask me what I do for a living. It’s not that I’m embarrassed, but when you reply with “I’m a blogger”, it’s usually followed by a million other questions like “Is that like Facebook?”, “What’s a blog?” and “How do you make money?”
Another round of questions that I seem to get asked a lot are about how I became successful and profitable at something so many others try, and fail, to do. Like I have a secret that others haven’t quite figured out yet or something. People always want to know if there was one defining moment or a turning point that took my blog from a small hobby on the side to what it is today… but I’m sorry to report that the answer is always no.
Like anything in life, there is no quick fix or easy answer. The reality is that there is no single trick or technique to making your blog or business become ‘successful’. There is no ‘one size fits all’ guide or single path you can follow for guaranteed prosperity.
However when I think about it logically, there probably were three main things that I did that helped me become (however you might define it) successful in my field.
For three years I blogged without making a penny. I did it because I loved it. The thing about working for those years without thinking about how to make a living from it was that I had plenty of time to practice. I didn’t have the pressure of earning a crust to contend with. I was able to just learn and create without any pressure.
I had a full time job where I worked nights. I’d start at 6pm and work on until 2.30am. The only way I could blog too was to get up in the morning and do it – all day – before going to work again in the evening. Am I going to pretend it was easy? Of course not, I was bloody tired all the time, but it wasn’t even a question for me. I loved blogging so much that I kept doing it, even when I wasn’t seeing and rewards.
I was determined to make a success of my blog. I’d set my mind on something and I knew, without it, that I was unlikely to succeed. Overnight success is a myth. Hard work, putting in long hours and never taking no for an answer is the best way to give yourself a fighting chance.
An undervalued trait, but being consistent is vital to being successful in any form of business. You need to consistently blog, respond to emails, keep on top of your accounts and be creative… without consistency in all areas of your business you’ll fall behind, get out of practice or fall out of love with it.
The key to building a loyal audience or customer base is to offer something they want and that they can get whenever they need it. If you’re a blogger and you only update sporadically, your readers are unlikely to become invested in what you do or feel the need to pop back regularly to check for your latest updates.
If you don’t make mistakes you’ve got nothing to learn and grow from. Not everything you try will work but you have to give things a shot or you’ll never move forward. Sometimes you need to fail. Failure forces us to re-evaulate and to move in another direction.
I’ve made some horrible mistakes and faux-pas in my six years of blogging, but without them, I wouldn’t know what I do today.
There’s is no single quick fix that will suddenly enable your business to reach its full potential. It will grow slowly through hard work, a determination to succeed and being consistent with everything that you do. You may have a few stand-out moments – when your blog traffic spikes, you win an award or you get featured in a magazine, but its actually what you do between those few and far between highlights that is the most important.