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The Power of Not Giving Up – One Blogger’s Story

Posted By Guest Blogger 23rd of September 2010 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

A guest post by Naomi Dunford from IttyBiz who emailed last week to remind me (Darren) that today is ProBlogger’s 6th Birthday and asked if she could write a birthday post. Here it is!.

I’ve sat where you sit.

I’ve devoured the articles and the blog posts and the link roundups. I’ve agonized over whether I could afford that video camera or that conference or that membership program. I’ve felt like a fool for even hoping this blogging thing could ever work.

I’ve sat right there and I know how scary it is.

Maybe I should introduce myself. My name is Naomi Dunford, and I was just like you.

I was desperate, scared and pregnant. My doctor had put me on bed-rest. I had to leave work because I was fainting all the time. Even before he was born, we knew our baby boy would have health problems.

We had intermittent web access because I could only intermittently afford to pay the bill. My husband was making very little money in a job working nights and it was going nowhere. Things did not look good.

Then I found Problogger.

I read all the archives. (All the archives.) Read some Copyblogger. Read some Chris Brogan. Slept. Drank a lot of tea. Had some panic attacks and spent a lot of time thinking about how cool it would be to be a problogger one day.

You’re waiting for the bit where I say it got better, right? Where I say I dove right in and created a blog and hustled my way to fame and fortune? Sadly, no.

I did nothing. Nothing. For a year.

I had my son. Went back to my job. Left work in the middle of my shift on my fourth day back. Went down to one (sub-poverty line) income. Flirted with the idea of starting a business. Got one half-hearted client. Put our son to bed by myself. Ate a lot of rice.

But I kept reading Problogger.

One day, Darren mentioned he needed businesses to sponsor his third birthday giveaway. Sitting there, nursing my son in the middle of the night, I had a crazy idea. I could be a sponsor. I had no idea what I was going to give, but the deadline of Problogger’s birthday was enough to get me going and get my blog launched.

I decided to give some marketing coaching. I had to fill out a form to say who I was and what I was offering, and I wrote that IttyBiz was the “offshoot blog of IttyBitty Marketing”. IttyBitty Marketing? Please. We’d had the sum total of one client and to this day, they haven’t paid me. But I had to put something in there. I sent it off, and then all I could do was wait.

(The actual story of how I went from not even having a domain name to launching my site on a Technorati Top 100 blog in four days is pretty uninteresting, although there are some juicy behind the scenes highlights and an adorable picture of Xavier here.)

I launched the blog. I wanted to email the people who commented to enter the contest and invite them to IttyBiz, but I didn’t have their email addresses. (I ended up clicking on all their links and personally emailing them via their contact pages, a process that took two full days. We worked straight through the night.) I did the same with the other sponsors.

I got some readers. Not a lot, but some. I got a little bit of traffic. A few other bloggers said some nice things about what I wrote. My goal was to get a thousand subscribers before Christmas. I didn’t make it.

But I kept reading Problogger.

Let’s flash forward three years.

My blog now employs six people. We have over 20,000 readers. We’ve helped more than 1000 people quit their job. As an affiliate, we sold enough copies of Teaching Sells to fund a school in Cambodia.

My husband quit his job. We’re unschooling our son. We moved to England for a while. We bought a little house. We finally got a car. We went to Cuba and Ireland and SXSW and Blogworld a few times. I threw a party in Austin and Darren came.

We’ve had ups and downs. I got pregnant again and lost the baby. Burned out. Missed some deadlines. Had a few site crashes. Got hacked a couple times. Did some stuff I’m not proud of. Did some stuff I’m very proud of.

And we’re home. My husband kisses my little boy goodnight seven days a week.

But here’s the really crazy part.

Nothing special happened.

I didn’t just happen to get a column in the New York Times. Nobody invited me to be on Oprah. I didn’t conveniently score a book deal. Despite my repeated attempts, I’m still not married to Brian Clark. I didn’t do anything special. The gods did not smile on me.

I just kept reading Problogger.

The point of all of this?

Please don’t give up. I know it’s terrifying. I know you are under indescribable pressure to do something serious with your life and grow up and forget your crazy blogging dreams. I know that some days, this is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

I know your family thinks you’re crazy. I know you feel completely alone. I know you feel like it’s never, ever going to work.

But what you’re reading here? It works. I promise. Please don’t lose heart.

Happy birthday, Problogger. And thank you, Darren. I am blessed to have you as my mentor and honoured to have you as my friend.

Naomi Dunford writes at IttyBiz.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Love love love this! THANK YOU for sharing!

  2. Wow! What a story! I needed encouragement for the day (and the future) and you gave it!

  3. Hi Naomi,
    Thank you for reminding me that Pierrette & I are not alone.
    Thank you for putting into words what many of us only think about most of the time.
    Thank you for giving us “reasons” to continue on this journey we have all seemingly chosen.
    Thank you for not giving up and really believing in yourself.
    Thank you for sharing with the world your perspective on life and what every human being should aspire to.
    Most of all, thank you for being the real you, yes you, that you have become and continue to grow into.
    Pierre & Pierrette
    Thee Quest For Perfect Health

  4. Naomi,

    Thank YOU for not giving up!

  5. Wow! This is definitely the most inspiring story I have ever read on Problogger. Maybe it’s because it speaks to me. Maybe it’s because it’s what I needed to hear. Maybe it’s going to be the kick up the ass I need. Who knows?

    But Thanks anyway for this wonderfully written post. Very engaging.

  6. This is great.. amazing touching story . Dont give it up is something very very important and I hope I will not give up ever. After reading this I want to sontinue with blogging and keep faith that someday those blogging dreams will come true :) I am short of appreciation words after reading it.. thank you once again for sharing this one!
    n happy birthday problogger…

  7. Great Post Naomi!

    It is great that you are inspiring people by passing on your wisdom, I am sure many people can benefit from this post and the life lessons learnt.

  8. Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve just started my blog, I’m starting to slowly get followers, but sometimes I get nervous. What if I’m doing all of this and it ends up going nowhere? I have to keep reminding myself that luck is preparation meeting opportunity and little by little all these steps will start to pay off exponentially. Hmmm. Maybe I better read ALL of ProBlogger!

  9. Dear Naoumi,
    I can certainly relate to your journey – for different reasons, I decided to quit my job in January and start writing … as you said in your closing paragraph, people thought i was crazy, some tried to convince me of my shortsightedness, and others simply laughed at my foolish and what they dubbed as “immature” decision .. but that didn’t stop me. I’m still at it and i know it requires a lot of patience and a lot of hard work … i have to invest on my “sweat equity” as Gary V. puts it. In November, I’ll be celebrating my one year of blogging, but as you said, I’m not expecting miracles to happen. The pleasure of sharing, even though intangible, is the fuel that keeps me going …
    thanks for sharing your wonderful journey and happy 6th anniversary to Problogger :)

  10. Michelle says: 09/24/2010 at 1:04 am

    This is the most amazing story and inspirational and brought tears to my eyes….. thank you so much for sharing from your heart….

  11. Wow! I needed to read this. Most the people around me do not value what I do in terms of my site. I do feel fairly alone in it, but love blogging and have the occasional thank you or email from a reader who has benefited from my site. Those contacts keep me motivated.

    Thanks so much for your story. You are inspiring.

    John Arnold
    The Practical Disciple

  12. I really, really shitting (sorry) well needed this today. It’s just given me the boost that I needed.
    Thank you Naomi – this has confirmed that I need to stick at it.

  13. You have an amazing gift. And that is, the ability to connect with the reader as though you are sitting beside them, exposing a genuine heartfelt connection that you share with the rest of us.

    I just left a toxic job yesterday, and am starting my own business as of today. Your post just gave me that extra “umph” I so desperately needed when I began to doubt myself, thinking I’m absolutely crazy!! But we’re not. We’re self-starters who know what we want and will work 7 days a week without sleep to hunt down that dream and bring it home with us.

    Your post made me cry. Smile. But most of all, it inspired me to be more. And I don’t even know you yet you did all that. I went to bed last night asking the Heavens above for just a little sign that I’m doing the right thing…and he sent me this guest post to my blackberry this morning at 4:02am. And for that, I am grateful.

    I wish you endless success Naomi.
    Thank you.

    – Sofia Censoprano

  14. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I have been blogging for almost 2 years and I am still trying to figure out how to earn money with my blogging, but this has inspired me to keep going.

  15. Outstanding story! I feel so down and hopeless about my Blog. You have given me a reason to smile and hope. Maybe, hope is the best of things. Maybe, it all works out in the end just because of hope. I would love to read more from you. I promise to work very hard with my blog. I will make it rise one day. Thank you so much for making me believe in me. I will always be truly grateful to you.
    love and lots of love,

  16. Wow, what an inspiration! As I’m reading your post I’m thinking, boy this sounds like me… I also have one half-hearted client, which may not last much longer. I’m now working on a plan and re-vamping my website and reading your post has inspired me to work harder to get it done quicker. There IS hope!

  17. Naomi, I have no words – not usually my problem :)

    I’m so glad it all happened – and thank you so much for sharing. Superb post. I’ve never come acroos your blog before, but I’ll be there in 2 seconds of clicking on submit here.

    And happy, happy birthday Darren.

  18. I’m leaving a comment here because I haven’t ever left a comment before, and this seems an acceptable time to do it.
    Naomi, you are one of the few offensive people in the world to amuse and inspire me. When I read your blogs it barely feels like work (hopefully not because I fail to act on what you’re talking about….). When I think of all of the work and effort you have put into this, I feel nothing but gratitude that it has come to this, and that you are helping others and the humble me. It feels tricky to benefit from what you have suffered from, but then again you kick arse and it doesn’t feel so bad again. Because this is the only way I could have found out about you, and what you do.
    Thank you, Naomi. :)

  19. Naomi, you are the best! I am one of the many, many itty bizes you helped succeed – thank you for hanging in there!

  20. Thank you for such an uplifting story and message. And thank you problogger for helping so many achieve so much. Happy birthday, indeed.

  21. Thank you, for being my hero of the day. 5 months ago I started a new food blog, “food persuasion”, not for monetizing purposes but, because I loved writing about food, or so I used to. Not only is the honeymoon over but, a divorce is pending. How do I continue to write when it has become a pesky chore, similar to cleaning my toilet.

    Perseverance, courage and action
    Perseverance, keep on pushing on.
    Courage, keep faith that you will succeed and people will love your work. Courage, to reach out to other bloggers for support. (this my first comment)
    Action, just do it already, stop procrastinating. Planning could only get you so far, it took me 1.5 years to buy a domain.

    Leslie Nicole, I’ve checked out your blog and it is fabulous. Keep the courage!

  22. Naomi,
    you and Darren are both great inspirations for many of us out here, it’s authentic and heart felt, happy late bday problogger!

  23. Thank you Naomi and thank you Darren. Happy birthday Problogger. I’ve felt all those emotions at one time or another and it’s great to have the motivation to keep going. Sometimes it’s all it takes it just knowing that there are a million others out there just like trying to claw their way up the food chain.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  24. Suzanne says: 09/24/2010 at 7:03 am

    Thank you Darren for such faith and compassion in Naomi Dunford and Happy 6th Birthday ProBlogger! Your story is compelling Naomi. It’s so needed in our world. Life is good for you now, as it should be. For me, no matter its ups and downs I understand that through all of the trials and tribulations, of which present reality is physically and emotionally, it’s but our learning ground. But Oh its reward, when we get it right! In my novel “Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?” it speaks of life’s ups and downs and in what transcends such times, which we grow in. We’re to enjoy life and Naomi something special did happen. Your success! You certainly kept the faith! Mommy’s Writings are the first in a series of books whose true story hopefully uplifts the human spirit, as it goads one on to success in whatever one’s aspirations are.

    Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author (year-end 2010 or beginning of 2011)
    http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?

  25. This post could not have come at a better time. Last night I was seriously considering shutting down my Virtual Assistant site. Due to some personal, family problems I haven’t had time to blog on a regular basis and I was feeling “who even reads it anyway.” Like you, I have one client. She pays me randomly, never on time and NEVER in full.

    This post inspired me. I will keep pushing and keeping working the day jobs until I can make my dream of working from home come true. I will not give up!

  26. Utterly speechless! Naomi your story is amazingly real and I adore how you lay it out straight. Blogging does work and you and Darren are proof of that. Nothing special has to happen because Ittybiz is special enough and a blessing for people like me who hope to one day have nothing special happen to them as well :-)

  27. Happy Birthday Problogger and thank you Darren and Naomi! This blogging thing is no joke and it can become a consuming experience… gotta do it for the love and keep going even under difficult circumstances as you described Naomi… Loved the post! I needed this and it’s given me a burst of energy to keep pressing on…

  28. Wonderful tribute to Darren and Problogger. An inspirational story about your rise to success in a few years. But I don’t think that just happened by magic. I’ve followed Ittybiz long enough to think you succeeded because you absolutely understood how to make small businesses profitable.

  29. ‘Your honesty, generosity and transparency are powerful.”

    Thank you, Flora M. Brown, PhD, for articulating so perfectly the very reasons I love Naomi Dunford.

  30. I’m in the process of starting my own blog and this post gives me a good look at the realities we have to face.
    I believe that apart from not giving up, we also have to be careful with the decisions we make. Sometimes, one small decision can affect lots of things in the long run.

  31. Love you Naomi. You definitely have a flair for writing from the heart. Xo

  32. Thank you, Naomi, for such a heartfelt post! All the fears, frustrations, and anxieties you describe ring true for this struggling blogger, and your moving story gives me the hope and inspiration to keep trying.

    Your hard-earned success is the best birthday gift Problogger could ask for!

  33. Great post, and uplifting, just what I needed at a time like this. It just goes to show that tenacity and doing things in the face of adversity can make you come out on top.
    Thanks Naomi…

  34. As if fate threw this in my way, I can only say reading this at this moment couldn’t been at a better time.

    It’s been 6 month since I’ve started my blog (2 years since I’ve started my first online business) and I’ve reached a cross roads.

    You see, after xx years (sorry, some things women just don’t give away =) I’ve finally found my true passion… it’s been a long journey, but well worth it.

    But being passionate about what you do does not mean you will be successful and it definitely does not mean you won’t have your doubts from time to time.

    This exciting yet exhaustive journey it’s taking it’s toll. But I am determined more than ever to see it through and reading this post right here, right now…well, was it coincidence? Who knows!

    But I know this, your words have shown me that we are all in this together and with vision, belief and fierce determination we can take the journey we were meant to take.

    Sorry for the long comment Naomi and Darren…I just felt moved by this post. Thank you!

  35. Persistence is what all blogger need. It is to keep walking till you hit the road to success.Cheers to Naomi and Darren for inspiring people like us.

  36. Wonderful blog. Makes us pause for awhile and think of what we are doing with our life. Very True, life’s challenges will never end but yes we can do something about it. We just need to believe that we can do it. Whatever problems we may encounter, there is always a solution. But it won’t fall in our lap. We have to stand up and look for it. Thanks again :)

  37. Thank you Naomi. It is so hard getting motivated and pushing myself with my blog. My life at the moment seems to be the pits with major if not the ultimate personal problems. To the point of giving up. Then I get this email in my Junk E-Mail folder. WOW!!! I needed this blog to give me hope. Trouble is I have to wait 3 years to get there. Thank you Naomi and Happy birthday Problogger.

  38. Wow, its nice not to hear a Cinderella story all the time. Its definitely not happening here, but I’m trying to keep at it anyways. Sometimes it sucks to not give up but it’d suck even more not even trying. Happy Birthday!!

  39. I’m thinking abong my own about starting my own blog and this is such an inspiration. Cheers Naomi

  40. Bo Johnson says: 09/25/2010 at 7:58 am

    Hats off to you, girl. You’re my courageous alter ego.

  41. OK Naomi…I will not give up. I’ll continue with my crazy blog and continue to find my unique voice. Thanks for the post. Happy birthday, Problogger!

  42. Thank you! Just what I needed to stop procrastinating and start problogging! Happy birthday, Problogger:-)

  43. I have no idea how I found your blog a year ago Naomi, but it’s brilliant, and I’ve never looked back.

    This post makes me feel good that I haven’t properly started yet, like I haven’t missed the blogging boat.

  44. wow Naomi. thanks for the inspirations..

  45. This was just what I needed! I’ve been where you are and am, most probably, still there. I do know that your story has just given me hope, more hope than I’ve had in a long time and as you know, hope is all important. I had a car accident shortly after my dad died but worse than that, after being fully in remission from cancer (it wasn’t too serious, so don’t grab a tissue), I discovered (7 years later) that my oncologist had over radiated me. When I went to talk to him, to ask him what happened he promised I was mistaken and packed me off to a neurologist who confirmed what the radiologist told me. I’d been radiated and then some. Far far too much poison had entered my body. It was a new machine all the way from America and I was the first patient. Go figure.

    Devastated, I went to see my oncologist but he had packed up and left so that I couldn’t sue him. (I had even thought about it, all I wanted was a shoulder and he denied me that; he denied help and wasn’t there for the myriads of tears and when I discovered that the damage was progressive unless I could afford serious medical help, I felt as if my life was going to end. It got worse and I lost my business because I couldn’t drive and my hubby for a while because he couldn’t deal with my grief.
    I tried to end itall a few times but then my youngest son introduced me to blogging and when things became too much, I blogged about the two things that I love and fascinate me. When I couldn’t any more, I blogged. When I was scared, I blogged and read and blogged. And then I just couldn’t any more and Pro-blogger arrived in my inbox. Somehow. The whole article arrived and I don’t miss a word, no matter where I go or where I am, I don’t miss it.

    Your story is beautiful and inspiring and thanks to you I”ll do just that. I’ll carry on blogging despite the jeers from family and friend.

    Thanks Pro-blogger for this. I still walk on crutches and I still hope for a miracle but now I have more than hope. I believe.

  46. Thank you Naomi, that’s an inspiring story.

    Connecting with people and giving of yourself is doing more good than all of the fearmongering in the press is doing harm. Please. Keep. Blogging.

    I’m out there reading and commenting, and writing a little bit too.

  47. Naomi,
    This is a really inspiring post. I know that I’m not saying anything that you’ve not heard in all the wonderful comments this week. Congratulations! I’m 2 years and 3 months behind you – but you’ve given me great hope! I will be there someday…..thanks so much!
    Angela Artemis

  48. Beautiful post Naomi! I’m at the point now of trying to figure out how to make money with my blog and you are an inspiration! I will keep reading ProBlogger and I will never give up.
    Thanks for a great post!

  49. Regina Meyers says: 09/26/2010 at 4:29 am

    Great story, Naomi. Thank you for the blunt honesty. Darren, thank you for posting it.

    In response to “some days, this is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.” Keep doing!

  50. As has already been said many times, WOW! This, to me, is a classic example of what we all strive for in a blog post. To connect with the readers, on an intimate level, making them feel almost voyeuristic for having seen so deeply into the author’s soul… you are my new hero(ine)!

    I’ve been blogging for about six years, on and off… only about a year, in this spurt, though. I’ve faced the doubts, the frustrations, the hopelessness, then the rejuvenation, joy and renewed hope, then a return of the cycle. I think it just comes with the territory.

    I’ve written some pretty crappy posts on occasion, and once in a great while, I’ve generated one that I thought was really good. But I don’t think I’ve ever written one as well crafted, in all regards, as this.

    A tip o’ my hat to you, Naomi! And my profuse thanks for a glimpse into your blogger’s soul.

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