My Number One Professional Blogging Lesson Most People Are Too Nearsighted to Accept
A few years ago, it all seemed pretty hopeless for me.
A few years ago, it all seemed pretty hopeless for me.
I had been fired from my office job for making fake phone calls to people so I could reach my sales call volume for the month.
I was miserable.
- I would show up late to work because — hell, I didn't care if I was seven to nine minutes late.
- I would waste time opening up my outlook email inbox because — hell, I didn't want to respond to emails of customers I didn't care about.
- I would put a picture-in-picture, minimized frame of Reddit in the lower corner of my computer screen because — hell, I'd rather waste time reading with the deep confines of the internet had to say about then pointless existence of it all rather than actually exert some form of effort in my own life.
What really started to set me over the edge with showing up to work is my girlfriend at the time — who I worked with in that office — broke up with me.
Actually, let me rephrase that…
She cheated on me with another guy and then broke up with me. I had to walk into that office for another 6 months sitting only a few yards away from her.
Of course then I got fired for essentially checking out of my tasks, roles, and responsibilities.
And in the purest cliché I can summon,
It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I was of course jobless, aimless and without confidence at the time — but I was free.
Fast forward a handful of years and now I'm making 5 figures a month writing about what I love to write about and selling digital products that I truly believe make a difference in the lives of thousands.
It's a dream come true to experience in my young 30 years of life.
Looking back now on years of ups and downs, trials and tribulations I've come to recognize what I believe is the most important lesson that helped me build my success and that I've noticed with other high-performing online writers and entrepreneurs.
What is that lesson?
Let's take a brief overview of some statistics and anecdotal information that you should recognize prior to the unveil.
2020 Blogging Overview: Why you should be blogging
I don't want to go into the history too much of blogging because it's 2020 — unless you've been living under a rock, you know what blogging is and that it has opportunities available that can drastically and radically improve your life.
But do you know just how much evidence there is for such a claim?
Did you know that every month, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages? Furthermore, over three fourths of internet users read blogs regularly and that blogs have become the 5th most trusted source for gathering online information?
Essentially — millions of people have turned, and keep turning to blogs to gather information, make purchases and communicate with the globe.
It is an industry that keeps growing.
Now, I want to establish some credibility with you to prove I may know a thing or two about what I'm going to divulge.
My blogging experience overview
I make 5 figures a month blogging.
It's been helped me create a lifestyle for myself that I never could have dreamed of when I was working in that office watching from a 3rd person vantage point as my life was wasting away.
To at least reconcile some numbers for you, my last month's earnings were:
- $5,827.41 from Medium (about 55%)
- $4,752.80 from the sale of my digital products (about 45%)
The numbers fluctuate every month depending on the reception of new articles, the changes over time in reads of old articles, and the sale of digital products.
Now, I have been blogging for just under 4 years.
When I started out, I was writing on a hosted website, I was writing every day for 30 days and my articles were about 300 words in length. Really, I just wanted to make sure I actually wrote rather than be overly concerned with what I wrote about (and we'll dig deeper into that idea later).
After that 30 days was up, I kept writing.
I was first led to Medium in early 2017 and then later Quora. When I started writing on Quora, I kept it pretty casual — I wrote one article (answer) per day. I started noticing the views of my articles started to go up the more I wrote so I increased the articles to two a day, five days a week.
This is when I was still working in fine dining.
I then started to syndicate some of the content that I wrote on Quora back onto Medium. I would edit the content to make it more relevant to Medium and I was essentially getting views from both platforms.
And I kept writing.
I wrote about self-improvement, habits, personal development, marketing and wine.
Let's press the fast forward button yet another time to today.
Cumulatively, I have written 852 articles.
- 649 published articles on Medium
- 25 yet to be published drafts on Medium
- 178 published articles on Quora
Now the majority of those articles range from 1,000 to 2,000 words though I have started writing longer 2,500–3,000-word articles and even wrote a 7,000-word article last year.
Let's split the difference and even low-ball the estimate of the word count to 1,250 words per article.
That gives us a grand total of approximately 1,065,000 words written in the past 4 years.
That's not something to just gloss over.
So what's the "biggest lesson" I was alluding to earlier and in the headline of this article?
Show up — every damn day.
The number one professional blogging lesson — show up every day
Now before you roll your eyes at me, hang tight.
Let me explain this in a bit more detail…
First off, as a budding professional blogger, have you written today?
If not — this just became a little awkward, huh?
If you have, then you're one step closer.
My first article still makes me cringe when I read it. Actually, my first 30 articles still make me blush.
Okay fine — you caught me; even when I write now, 4 years later, I still have moments of doubt and overly criticize myself.
I don't believe that's ever going to go away.
I have an email list of thousands of people where my mission is to educate them not only on the technical strategies of blogging, email marketing, content/copywriting, and the like — but it's also an email list where my aim is to nurture a mindset within the individuals to believe in themselves and their efforts.
That's a bigger task but it's something that I believe in committing myself to.
"A rising tide lifts all ships"
The mixing of these two missions helps people from all walks of life start to make progress towards their own blogging dreams:
Source: Author email list
Did I give this individual the technical tools (i.e. formatting and editorial feedback) on this article?
But what's more important is the weeks, if not months of correspondence we had prior to this victory where I told him just to keep showing up.
- I get these types of messages from my email list.
- I get them on Linkedin
- I get them on my IG (and I barely even use my IG)
And I respond with the most important thing above all: show up every day.
To further drive this point home — look at any of the "elite" bloggers that you look up to and admire. How many articles do they have? Actually, a better question — how many times do they publish daily?
You'll start to see that it's not what you write but what's more important is that you write, every chance you get.
1,000,000 words got me a lot.
- It helped me figure out what works well and what doesn't.
- It helped me secure freelance writing gigs.
- It helped me look back on my older writing and find ways to improve it going forward.
- It helped get me introduced to other bloggers and develop relationships.
- It helped me build my dream job.
I tend to think that since blogging is so "hot" right now, people (including myself) get too bogged down in the strategy element and the marketing side of the equation. We tend to think to ourselves,
"Okay [fill in your name], how do I manipulate the algorithm or hack the system or exploit the desires of an audience to make this endeavor a profitable one?"
But when you peel back the layers — does that even work?
"If you take shortcuts, you get cut short."
— Gary Busey
I'm sorry but I need to pause here, break the 4th wall and give myself a shameless pat on the back… I just quoted Gary, freaking, Busey in an article…
Okay — back to it all.
Get back to why you got started blogging in the first place — because you knew it was going to fulfill you. Because you had that itch to write what was on your mind that couldn't go without scratching.
It's something that I've had to do many times over the course of my blogging career.
We get so tied to the micro of the story/article needing to be "perfect" or that we need to generate "X" amount of dollars and then we'll finally feel like we're enough that we forget the macro of why we got started in the first place: to feel a sense of creative and artistic fulfillment.
I get it — you want this so bad right now.
A lot of you reading this have had it really hard this year:
- You've lost your job.
- You've gotten sick.
- You've lost a loved one.
And it just seems to keep getting harder and harder.
I'm not going to sugar-coat this for you. I'm not one of those bloggers who likes writing articles that promise "success in the next hour if you apply [X] in your life" because we're all aware enough to know — it just doesn't happen like that.
It took me years to get where I am.
- Years of sleeping 6 or fewer hours a night so I could wake up early before working in the restaurant to write my articles.
- Years of getting negative criticism of my blog because I wasn't "legit."
- Years of proverbially slamming my head on my desk because I was plagued by writer's block.
And throughout the hundreds of days that filled up those years, I showed up.
I planted a seed and every day went to tend to it, water it, and help nurture its growth.
And that's what I want for you — I want you to plant that seed if you already haven't.
Then I want you to water that seed every day.
When I get emails like the one I included above, it means more to me than the money that comes rolling in. I know many of you may not believe that. If that's the case — this article might not be for you.
This article is the person that believes in themselves.
This article is for the person that already has that clear vision in their mind of them living a lifestyle where they are the dictator of their own destiny. They're the person that understands it might not happen today.
Or a month from now.
The most important piece of advice I can offer that person reading this is to show up and create and I promise that will take you somewhere special. It may not look like exactly what you drew up in your head right now.
But in 2022 or 2023 — who knows?