This post is based on episode 175 of the ProBlogger podcast.
Today I want to tell you some advice I received when I was starting out that I completely ignored completely but my friend took to heart.
It’s a story about regret. And I hope it moves you to take more action on building your blog and your business.
“Don’t Give Up Your Day Job”
Back in 2004, a lot of people told me, “Don’t give up your day job”.
I’d been blogging for about a year and a half, and I was starting to see that it was possible to make money blogging.
At first, I didn’t tell anyone about my dream of going full time as a blogger. But as my income began to grow, I told a few friends and family members.
Some of them humoured me. But a lot of them said, “Don’t give up your day job”.
While they often said this jokingly, their advice was well-intentioned. But over the course of about a year, I gradually did give up my day job. Or, to be more accurate, day jobs. I was working a bunch of different jobs, as well as studying part time. I became a full-time blogger. And fifteen years on, I’m still doing it.
My Friend’s Story
A while back, I caught up with a long-time friend over coffee. He reminded me that he was one of those who told me not to give up my day job. He’d been feeling guilty about it ever since, though I didn’t even remember him saying it.
As we talked, he told me he regularly wondered what would have happened if instead of saying “Don’t give up the day job” he’d said, “How can I do it too?”
My friend is quite similar to me in many ways: he’s a good communicator, idea gatherer and researcher. And he has an entrepreneurial way of thinking about things.
As we talked, he explained that back when he saw me starting my first blogs in 2002–2004, part of him wanted to do the same thing. He thought it would be fun, and that it might open up some doors.
But he heard voices in his head saying things like:
All the topics have been taken.
What if it doesn’t work?
What if it’s a waste of time?
I’m too late.
What if I look stupid?
So instead of saying, “How can I do it too?” he said, “Don’t give up your day job”.
And for ten years he regretted it.
During those ten years, he kept wondering whether he should start a blog, or a podcast, or a YouTube channel. He even brainstormed ideas, bought a domain, planned out content and read my book (The ProBlogger Book).
But he kept thinking it was too late to start. How could he build anything substantial and compete with all the other blogs out there?
That’s exactly how I felt in 2002 and 2003.
When I started my first photography blog, I remember looking round the web and thinking, There are hundreds of other photography sites out there. How could I ever build anything of significance?
And I suspect most bloggers have felt the same way at some point. Maybe you have too. We all tend to compare ourselves to someone further along the journey, and immediately feel inadequate.
But I don’t think it’s too late at all. We’re still in the early days of the internet. And there are still parts of the world coming online today.
I’m not saying you should quit your day job today. But if that’s a dream for you, then you should start doing something today.
- Accept that you’re not the first, and start creating something that matters.
- Get your ideas out of your mind and start taking action on them.
- Start developing your voice and putting your ideas out there.
- Begin building your network and your audience.
- Start developing the skills you need for this.
- Move past your fear of not being good enough.
Do something today. A good place to begin is by reading our article on how to start a blog. It walks you through the process of getting your blog up and running. And in a few years’ time, you’ll be able to look back on today as the moment when it all began.
Image credit: DDP