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3 Secret Weapons I Used to Launch My Fulltime Blogging Career

Posted By Guest Blogger 25th of March 2015 General 0 Comments

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This is a guest post by Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer.

“I’d like to be a writer,” I told my friend one day when he asked what my dream was. “But that’ll never happen.” And I quickly went back to moping around, waiting for my big break.

At the time, I was working for a nonprofit as a marketing director, secretly wondering what it might be like to write for a living. Little did I know how close I was to my goal.

My was staring me right in the face the whole time. I was just blind to it.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” Harriet Tubman once said. “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

That’s absolutely true. Your dream lives inside you, not somewhere out there. And instead of waiting for someone to come along and give you permission, you need to realize that you have everything you need to do this right now.

So let’s look at what you already have at your disposal and how I launched my own full-time blogging career using these same tools.

Secret Weapon #1: Listen to Your Ache

Have you ever felt jealous of someone else’s success? Of course you have. You’re human, aren’t you. But don’t feel bad. Envy isn’t always a bad thing, if you know how to use it.

Being jealous of what someone else has or has done is a sign of somethign you don’t have. You’re not living the life you dreamed of, not making the money you want, or simply not getting the credit you think you deserve.

Left unchecked, those feelings of missing out can get nasty really quickly. But when properly channeled, they can be a means to you discovering what you’re meant to do.

Here’s what I mean.

What bothers you that you see in the world? What problems in your industry or social ills do you see that you think should be fixed? When you see someone publishing their words or getting paid to pursue a passion, does it stir something in you? Does it make you a little angry, even a tad frustrated?

Good. Listen to that.

All dreams begin with frustration. But they don’t end there. It takes a person of action to do something with that feeling. Because really, frustration is just a surface emotion. It’s just pent-up passion with nowhere to go.

So pay attention to what makes your heart ache. When you’re feeling frustrated, remember it’s a sign of what you’re missing out on. It means you need to get to work.

Secret Weapon #2: Take the Long Road

Once on a webinar, I heard Darren Rowse say his first year of professional blogging had only made him something like $30,000. When I heard that, it sounded like a dream come true.

His intentions were to set our expectations low. He explained how hard he worked, staying up late and getting up early, how difficult it was. Not everyone can make six figures in the first month was his point. He was trying to keep us grounded. But it gave me hope.

I didn’t want fluff. I wanted someone to tell me exactly what I needed to do to pursue my dream. And for some reason, telling me it was going to be difficult and not very rewarding made it real. It made it attainable.

Sometimes, you have to hear someone else describe the life you long to live before you can begin to visualize it yourself.

Darren’s words spoke to the frustration I felt. They made me realize I was going to have to work hard if I wanted to live my dream and that patience was going to be an important factor in my success.

When I started my blog, I was determined to not worry about stats for the first two years. I would just write. The audience would come as my craft grew. If that took years, so be it. Six months later, I had more traffic than I ever could have imagined—hundreds at first, and then thousands of daily readers.

It would be a long while before I’d start making money, but still, seeing it was possible changed everything. Right around that time, my wife and I decided to start a family and began counting down the days until our son would be born.

At that same time, I started to hatch a plan for how I could make money with my blog.

Secret Weapon #3: Don’t Neglect the Past

When you decide to go full-time with your blog, you may be tempted to make the biggest mistake most dreamers make. You may think that dreaming is about looking forward.

It’s not. Dreaming is about looking backward and remembering what it is you have always loved to do. “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it,” Parker Palmer wrote, “I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

So before I could even figure out what I wanted to sell, I was going to have to figure out what value I had, what strengths I possessed that could benefit someone. And the answer to that was buried deep in my past.

“Jeff,” my friend said to me that day I announced my dream was to write, “you are a writer. You just need to write.”

He was right. I had been writing. All these years. In various capacities. But somehow, it just didn’t feel like enough. I didn’t feel like enough. But when I heard those words, I knew they were true.

Maybe, I thought, before we can do something, we have to become someone. Activity follows identity. It was a simple principle but one I’ve come to embrace in all areas of life.

What that meant for me was looking honestly at my life and identifying what strengths I had to offer. I had spent the past seven years as a marketing director and before that as the leader of a music group.

I couldn’t remember a time in my adult life in which I hadn’t been working with creative people. That was a bigger clue than I first realized. Maybe, I thought, I could do that online.

So I gradually turned my new blog, which had been more of a leadership blog, into a writing-focused resource. First, I tested out posts on writing to see if they appealed, and I was amazed at how much people connected with the content.

What Derek Sivers says is true: “What’s obvious to you is amazing to others.” The secret to discovering the value that you offer the world is hidden in the strength you’re probably taking for granted.

The Finish Line

A year after starting my blog, I launched my first eBook on writing and made $1500 from it.

A few months later, I launched an bundle product and made $16,000 in the first six weeks.

Several months after that, I launched my first online course, Tribe Writers, and made $25,000 from it.

By the end of that year, I had made over $150,000 blogging.

I couldn’t believe it. This was my dream, and it had come true in ways that completely astounded me.

But the truth is the process took two years from start to finish, plus another seven years of preparation. It required all those things Harriet Tubman mentioned: passion, patience, and strength.

If you’re going to come face to face with your dream, you’re going to need them, too. You’ll have to:

  1. Turn your frustration into passion.
  2. Be willing to take the long road, understanding that good things come in time.
  3. Embrace your past, using whatever strengths you’ve accumulated along the way and putting them to use.

Yes, it will take time and it won’t be easy. But the good news is you don’t have to sit around feeling frustrated or like you missed out. Everything you’ve done up to this point has prepared you for what you’re about to do.

Now, it’s up to you to get started.


Jeff Goins is a full-time blogger at Goins, Writer, where he shares tips on writing, creativity, and making a difference. His latest book, The Art of Work, is all about discovering your calling.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.

  • Jeff, this is a great post. Your point about the honesty that Darren shared is crucial. These days, it seems that there are so many successful bloggers that there can’t possibly be room for more. Hearing that 30k was made the first year does make it far more attainable.

    -Renee’

    • I found that everything said (wrote) is true. It’s funny when you recognize your feelings and thoughts in a post. great job!

      Jernej

      • plas don’t laugh at my first blog

        :)

    • Thanks, Renee!

  • Jeff, Great story. Congrats. But I almost stopped the third paragraph in when I read: My was staring me right in the face the whole time. I was just blind to it.

    My what? Think there is a word missing.

    Steve

    • His goal :)

      “Little did I know how close I was to my goal.

      My was staring me right in the face the whole time. I was just blind to it.”

      Or at least that’s how I understand it.

  • There are great tips. Also happy to see that you have entered some of your own income strategies in the post.

  • I think getting to grips with Number #2 has been the biggest issue for me. I thought that being a consultant and a professor in my field would give me a little bit of an edge. Not the case at all! I’m one year into and everyday I am working just as hard as I did the day I started my blog. Turns out Strategy is a tough niche especially when there are so many sites out there that have no idea what it really is and are ranking way better than I am for it :)

    • Nunzio…I share your pain. I read the blogs that rank much higher than my own and think “Do people really read this stuff?” One blog in my field that ranks on the first page has four posts so far this year. Another has three. Another hasn’t posted in…three years. Again, all these are on the first page.

      Meantime, I’m reading that one has to post at least twenty times a month to rank well!

      Oh, well…I take it all to mean that it’s not really that competitive a niche (lean manufacturing blogs) and I’ll eventually get there.

  • Congrats on your success! This is extremely encouraging. I think some people might be put off by the idea of it taking two years and just never start. But you have to start somewhere.

    Agree with Steve, word missing I think!

    Chris

  • Very motivating piece of art, For some of us in our first year to come across such a post is like looking right at the victory when you already starting the race, it has pushed me to make more effort to achieve my ultimate goal, congratulations to both Jeff and Darren and thanks for the post

  • Jeff, glad to see you here. You have a way of not only always hitting the nail on the head but also hitting some heads with a nail. Thanks for the honesty. I needed to hear this. Now I can keep pushing towards realizing my dream with passion, patience and strength. :-)

  • Excellent post I think that to become full time blogger you must work hard and you have to consitent and keep on blogging regularly as this will get your more readers, subscribers and money. Good post keep up the hard work

    Regards
    Nicebloggingtips.com

  • Jeff, I hear you, especially when it comes to Point #3: Don’t Neglect the Past.

    I have learned to embrace my past life and talk about what I’ve gone through openly and honestly. In fact, I recently published a mini-version of my life story in a guest post titled: Rape, Drugs and Prostitution — One Blogger’s Journey to Success (on Sylviane Nuccio’s blog).

    Now I’m seen as an inspiration to others — an honour I wear proudly. :)

  • Very inspiring story.
    As a blogger who have just started and seem to be losing hope from time to time, this is just the post that I needed. Thank you for reminding us again of the reality that we need to embrace.

    More power to you and hope you inspire more starters like me :)

    Cheers!

  • The thing is ‘blogging’ as such is now much more of a creation of an information product, the name has become meaningless. As the professor above said, it is really not what you know, but how you go about promoting it and doing very good ‘SEO’ that is going to get you noticed – so it is not about merit, but marketing prowess. There seem to be so many websites and blogs these days, but in reality about 75% of them are not very good, so there is always room for genuine quality, good writing and sincerity of purpose. all of these qualities stand out out because there is such a lot of dross out there.
    I’d like to wish you all the best, and thanks for an inspiring and well thought out post!

  • Hi Darren,
    Thank you for writing this article, these were some important points in my mind these days about my blog. I am now relaxed & I will work hard on my blog without expecting anything for a year now….

  • Jeff Goins, I have visited your blog many times and it is really good to see you at Pro Blogger.

    Becoming a full time blogger or doing full time blogging is not an easy thing. One needs to give lot of time and at the same time lot of efforts are required.

    Yes, sometimes we get lot of motivation by thinking about the things we didn’t get even if we deserved them.

    Jeff I hope that you’ll keep getting success with blogging and writing. Keep sharing your motivational thoughts and ideas with us.

    I hope that you’ll motivate me by coming to my blog.

  • If we are using adsense then we can have future in blogging only when our site gets a huge traffic.

  • “Envy isn’t always a bad thing, if you know how to use it”
    Love it!!
    As someone who has only had an online business for a month now it is a common occurrence for me to pull my hair out from all the stress. The envy of all the other bloggers who already have a presence online just makes it worse.
    I couldn’t understand how exactly can we use our frustration to our benefit?

  • Hi Darren & Jeff,

    First of all, thank you for writing this. This is plain AWESOME (to say the least)!

    I can’t agree more with secret #1. I used to work many International brands (tourism industry) and I knew deep inside that I have deep passion for writing.

    And guess what? I started writing for sometime. Money was just so-so but the feeling of others reading my stuffs, that’s awesome.

    Now, it has been a few years and while I MAY not be on par with many influencers in the world, I made a little mark for myself (lucky me).

    So yes, great article, great read and keep it up! Sharing this around right now!
    ~Reginald

  • What an excellent article! It’s all about passion, patience and the story of your life.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    Best regards. Martin

  • Great post Jeff.

    I felt in the trap of thinking that blogging was overnight success. Far from it. Good think I didn’t remain stuck in that illusion. I like how you prepared your mind and gave your self two years to succeed. Interestingly, success came sooner.

    Congratulation on your work so far.

    Cheers
    Dan

  • Hi Jeff,

    The one that gets me is looking to your past. Well it doesn’t get me, it works for me ;)

    I write because I enjoy writing, not with an eye heavy on checking sales of my eBooks, or, for checking revenue through my blog.

    Numbers on a screen don’t do it for me. Writing does. So no matter how tired I am, I write, and I keep writing because it’s what I enjoy most doing.

    On the other hand I recall the lean days. I was a part time blogger because I blogged for money, or for approval, and then, even when I earned a full time income with my old blog I still had to get clearer and clearer on my intent to make my blog really pop, or at least my new one.

    Jeff, excellent!

    Tweeting from Bali.

    Ryan

  • Awesome post and every word teach to my heard. Its really true we jealous of someone else’s success but we always try to best of them.

  • Brilliant, inspiring post. The last 3 years have seen me go from a TV and film director to a full time professional blogger. I relate to you, recommending using your skills garnered from your past work to inform and support your present blogging career, as my blog work utilities all of mine-writing, filmmaking, being creative, working with budgets, advertising, negotiating, IP, the works. Thanks again!

  • Great article with some great tips. I will definitely use these tips when launching my own blog for my business. Thanks!!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I am wondering how you were promoting your blog, especially during the first one year.

  • Excellent post, really inspired me…

  • Congrats for your success man. You are a great thinker and a writer. I love your ideas about blogging. Keep it up.

  • Great post Jeff – thank you. I have read your books and followed your work for sometime, so it certainly strikes a chord with me. I am an author and writer too, your advice certainly resonates with the knowledge to think long term.

  • Great post Jeff.
    The one that gets me is looking to your past. Well it doesn’t get me, it works for me ;)
    I write because I enjoy writing, not with an eye heavy on checking sales of my eBooks, or, for checking revenue through my blog.
    I felt in the trap of thinking that blogging was overnight success.
    Thanks For The Blog

  • after the music i’m listening this is the second best thing that happened this morning!

    Jernej

  • I love your story! Such great advice to look forward as well as back. Congratulations on your success too!

  • Great post Jeff. Many people get frustrated when words don’t come easy. Recently I was introduced to the concept of “quilting content” where you carry a notebook or your tablet with you and write small bits here and there when you have a few minutes of down time. Whether sitting in the doctors office or waiting in the carpool line – there are bits of time that are wasted that could be spent writing or at least getting thoughts down that can be put into a create article later.

    I’ve started using this practice because life gets so busy sometimes that I don’t have a full hour to sit and write when I want to.

    You are so right! If you dream of being a writer – you’re already a writer, you just have to write.

    Congratulations on your success – it’s been a real pleasure watching your journey.

  • really interesting topic, i always wondering how excited the life of full time blogger is, right now i’m only blogging as a part time job, but in the future have profession such as full time blogger will be great i think.

  • dan

    what a great read and a big congratulations :D

  • Really great story, I like your professional writing skill, but when try to write like pro I fails, because in India English is a third language, now I reading blogs and article, may be I will improve.

  • DNN

    The statement about the past allows a person to see life for what it is before experiencing abnormal success. During this process, you’ll lose family, friends, and others who you thought was originally buyer side from the very beginning. They will turn on you for no reason. And this is because you’re striving for excellence to get organized on all fronts as an entrepreneur and bettering yourself in the uncertain game called life. Blogging is a great way for anyone to release their thoughts into the web universe. Not only does it allow them to get the viewpoint from others, but, also build their natural search engine rankings to the point of potentially making money online full-time from their blog in addition to their current income from daytime employment. Blogging is also a great way to promote a product or service. The only downside to it is that you have to build it up with”lots and lots of content.”

    This is the true “entrepreneurial transformation,” when one has to build a blog from scratch with [lots and lots of content] out of inspiration or desperation. If you truly determined to build a blog from scratch with “lots of content,” door virtually unlimited ways a person can use their past, present, and future ambitions to keep creative content marketing ideas flowing abundantly and publishing to their blog daily. Agree? :-)

  • Indeed a great article. Thanks for sharing your views with us.

  • We cannot become a fulltime blogger right away especially when you have family to feed because it takes long time to actually make money blogging.

  • Great article. I had to wait until I retired from my first profession to do what I love–writing.

  • Great post Jeff. Gives us all a lot of hope, and belief we can make the journey. As your friend said all we need to do is write.
    Goodinya

  • Hey Jeff,

    I couldn’t agree more on your second point (i.e. have patience). A lot of beginners get looking for overnight riches and success, but that’s not going to happen. Deriving success from blogging, or any business endeavor for that matter, takes time. Thanks for sharing your success story, that will inspire a lot of beginners.

  • I guess persistence is the top weapon of this game :)

  • DNN

    Many people don’t know they can also launch a full-time blogging career off of the strength of making healthy changes in their physical weight loss transformation journey, inspire others, and earn a good penny from affiliate programs at the same time.

  • Can’t disagree more with “All dreams begin with frustration.” Dreams actually begin with a desire or want. It’s the action on the desire or want that makes these dreams become a reality.

  • I really think that using your past to your advantage is very important. Your past is something that is something to be embraced. It is through reflection and thought that we grow. If every day we attempted something new, we would fail miserably. But through experience and learning, we can be better and more successful each and every day. Thanks for the post!

  • “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it,” Parker Palmer wrote, “I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

    Good quote. As a coach helping people with personal development, I find that simply identifying with precision who you are can be the biggest challenge for many people. It’s usually what we spend the largest part of coaching on. Once you have that identified, the rest emerges from there. And the majority of that comes from systematically looking at other experiences, many from the past (as you said, Jeff, dreams of the future ideally connect and flow in some meaningful way with the past), through a new lens. Unfortunately, that process doesn’t always come so naturally so people can struggle to figure it out without some tools to do so.

    Congratulations on finding your path and boldly living it out.

  • Great article. I follow Jeff Goins Blog and of course Problogger for long time.
    It’s all true. I can recognise me in it, like probably many other readers.
    But one thing is missing. Almost all articles about this subject bypass it. The Social Pressure that come from people around us. For many people who want to begin their dream journey, it’s an important factor. This ’Social Pressure’ require strength and energy.
    That said, it’s a good inspirational article. Always good guest post, on Problogger.

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