In “Berlin, And Learning Self Dependence“, I explained how my life changed radically last summer. I got an opportunity, and moved to Berlin. As promised, I’ll explain now what that opportunity was.
Basically, I’ve gotten financial support which will let me work on my blog full-time for at least two years.
It’s my intention to make the best of this chance, and by the end of that time I’m hoping to be earning enough to live off from the blog. Perhaps more important, or at least equally important, by the end of that time I want to be touching hundreds of thousands of lives with my work.
It’s a big goal – a scary goal. But I think it’s doable, and worth it.
I know I’ve been blogging continuously for about four years now, and it’s required little or no discipline to do so – at most a bit of care to make sure I post reasonably regularly. So I’m sure I can keep it up for another two years or more; I think I could keep it up for the rest of my life. My traffic has crept upwards pretty consistently for the last four years; I think that bodes well for my eventual success.
I feel like I’ve found something that fits me very well with this blog. I’m a writer, or at least, a communicator. I find it hard not to be doing this sort of thing in one way or another.
It’s a scary thing to think about hundreds of thousands of people reading my work.
At that level, I can’t slack off and write any old bullshit. People will be affected by my work. Some people will act on what I say, or shift their attitudes. Can I live with myself if I post some bullshit and someone ends up believing it and making a serious mistake?
I don’t intend to be overly hard with myself, but I will have to at least be able to say to myself I am doing my best. At that level, the difference between doing my best and being sloppy with my words actually means something.
But the upside – the possibility of saving lives, of helping people to transform their lives and those around them, creating ripples of change which spread far into the future – that’s too good to pass up. It might not be too far off to say that that level of influence for the greater good is what I’ve always dreamed of.
I had a dream a while back, where someone asked me what I wanted to do with my blog. I said that I wanted to help people grow, and I wanted to help people change the world. As I spoke those words, I noticed that the first thing felt inauthentic, whereas the second thing resonated with me much more.
This blog is still very influenced by Steve Pavlina. I started out basically just wanting something along the lines of what he had, with the vaguest idea that I had a message worth spreading. In these four years, I’ve been feeling my way through trial and error to my real message, and that process is still happening.
I think that I wouldn’t have started taking this to the next level if I didn’t have some idea about what my blog was about. Sometimes I say that I “write about what I think about” or whatever I feel inspired to write. Sometimes I say this blog is about raising consciousness.
I think that my dream reminded me a bit more about my core message. I want to help inspire change in the world. A reinvention of everything, every system in our world, from the highest levels down to our everyday lives.
While my tagline is “indigo children and adults, conscious living, and saving the world”, and I’m still okay with that, I think it’s that last one which really matters.
I like to write for and about indigo people, and I often get into the topic of conscious living as a part of the wider experience of world transformation. The way you live is the easiest thing for you to change, and I think it’s essential to the unfolding of change on a wider scale. Each person is a microcosm of the macrocosm.
But I have to admit that personal development in and of itself bores me. It’s too individual-centred. I don’t give a damn about all this “how to be successful” crap. I don’t think individual success means anything if it’s not plugged into creating success for the greater good. Though I want to have an independent income so I can survive and be free, neither of those things matter to me much if they don’t empower me to make a difference in this world.
If I’m honest, that’s what I’ve dreamt of since I was very small. Making a change. Being a revolutionary. My favourite movies were “The Matrix” and “V for Vendetta”. Epic stuff 🙂 Breaking the chains of society and clearing the way for new stuff to flourish.
So sure, I’ll keep talking about how to grow as a person. But it’s not all about you. It’s about all of us, how we can all break our chains so that we can create a new future together. It’s not just about individual waking up; it’s about global waking up.
So I’m focusing on this blog now. Since the new year, I’ve been dedicating myself full-time to it and intend to continue that way.
I’ve already decided that it’s best to keep things simple. There’s so much theory about what you are *supposed* to do as a blogger, but if I tried to listen to it all, I’d go crazy. Add that to the fact that a lot of what people say you should do is soulless, greedy, or just plain wrong.
My strategy is somewhat modelled after Steve Pavlina (surprise?) – at least, in that I want to focus heavily on the value-creating end and let most of the rest of the stuff work itself out for itself.
You’ve heard what they say – make great content and people will share it and you’ll get readers. Famously, “Content Is King”. Interestingly I’ve heard that phrase most often in blog posts trying to prove why not Content but something else is King now, but I still think it’s true.
I am willing to severely under-monetise my blog — just like Steve does — if it means that I’m doing the maximum amount of good in the world and holding to my integrity.
Particularly, I do not want to try and sell people over to expensive, trashy ebooks. I don’t see what blogs have that makes them so special they can sell content that’s 10 times shorter than real books for 10 times the price.
I know some bloggers would tell me I need to get real on that. I need to overcome my fear of marketing and see marketing as a good thing. Well, I’m going to keep an open mind. I’ll be pushing against my fears, keeping my goal in sight, and discovering where internal blocks are holding me back. If I find that my fear of marketing is holding me back, I’ll change it.
But I really don’t think this is my fear. I think that 50-100€ ebooks are just scams. I think they earn money by using pschological tactics to trick people into thinking they need the information and that they couldn’t get it anywhere else.
There are plenty of e-courses that cost 1000€ or more that will teach me how to be a successful blogger, for instance. I have the money to invest if I see it’s going to give me a return on my investment. But you know what? I can get the information I need for frikkin’ free. We have this thing called the internet nowadays, haven’t you heard?
Bloggers who think they can sell their stuff for 100€ and look even halfway legitimate, I dare you to put your book on Amazon where you face real competition. That’s right, you can’t sell your book when there’s real competition and transparent consumer reviews. In the real world, people have an idea of what a book is actually worth.
OK, that felt good.
In short: I’m not going to fall for the standard blogging strategy. Even if it takes me double the time, I’m going to work out my own strategy from scratch, doing nothing which feels even a little wrong to me. By that I don’t mean that I’m going to indulge my fears; I mean that I’m going to pay attention to my internal compass and stick with it, even if it means going into uncharted territory.
Speaking of ebooks, I am planning on getting into the electronic books market.
I had the idea that it was a very good market to get into last year. Now it seems everyone is “realising” it and saying how they’ve missed their chance.
Perhaps I could have ridden the wave better if I had started last year. I don’t care though. I wasn’t ready to do it last year. Now I am ready.
And just as I’m not getting into blogging at the best time, so they say, I’m not getting into ebooks at the best time. But again, content is king. I believe that if I write good stuff, people will want it. And that’s in any day and age. In a hundred year’s time, in a thousand, it will be true.
And actually, in objective terms I think the internet is still young. OK, it may not be as unbelievably easy as it was a few years ago to make your mark. But I think if you think in the long term, it’s still easy to gradually expand a readership and become well-known. Content is king. People want to read good stuff and that’s the end of it.
I’m going to price my ebooks fairly – something along the lines of how much a physical book would cost if you didn’t have to print it, or perhaps a little more but not much more. I think the internet has driven down the cost of information; and furthermore, I think that due to the low costs of distribution, it just makes sense to pass on the savings to your customers.
Unless you’re a greedy ass of course.
I have at least five non-fiction books sorted out in my head ready to be written.
The first two will be accounts of my life.
I have to admit that my purpose for writing these is somewhat self-oriented because I just want to get down all of the cool things that happened to me while the memories are still fresh. That’s kind of why I’m starting them now. However, I’m sure that my brutal self-honesty and the personal growth and healing I went through will be inspiring and healing for others, too.
Next, I want to write what is likely to be one of my best selling books, and one which will impact the most people’s lives for the better. I want to write a guide for indigos.
My indigo article gets about half the pageviews on my blog now. Just that would be enough to be pretty sure of selling a few copies 🙂
But so many indigos comment asking for advice on how to deal with their new identification or how to tackle the specific problems which indigos face in their lives. I’ve started doing free consultations about those topics and they are always very fulfilling to me. And if I wasn’t sure before, now I am super-sure that I have advice which matters for these people.
Perhaps if I were less selfish, I’d write that book first. But dang it, I just want to get something finished for once. I started my autobiography and I’m going to get it done, and then I can write for indigos.
Also, my autobiography will hopefully be pretty healing for indigos who need to know that they are not alone 🙂
I also intend to write a book about how to get to a place of romantic abundance in your life, particularly aimed at men who are in or interested in the seduction community. I’ll be writing the book that I wish I could have read years ago.
Once I’ve gotten these done it’s quite likely I’ll write a book about food, including recipes and thoughts about eating in a conscious way (because I think so much about food and writing it would be like siphoning off old thoughts onto the page), something about feminism and gender, and eventually some manifestos about changing the world. I might get some fiction done eventually, too, though my non-fiction seems more urgent and more in line with my readership here.
I’ve never finished a whole book before, though I’ve managed a novella-sized piece of fiction once. Getting a book done is a unique challenge, different from simply making a blog post.
Steve Pavlina helped me in a recent post by pointing that simple truth out. You have to think about not just what you’re writing, but how it can be coherent on a bigger scale.
With blog posts, the process is simpler. I think I do generally have an idea of how I’ll structure a post, but normally I don’t need to be SO clear on that. One thing generally leads from another.
With a book, you have to think how you are setting things up for the chapters to come. What’s more, I’ve found that I have so many ideas when I’m thinking of a book-sized project that I want to throw them all out at once. But you need structure for your ideas to be at all elegant or comprehensible. You need to work out where and when to place each idea, rather than getting them out as soon as they jump into your head.
Henri Juntilla of Wake Up Cloud also helped me with something I read a while back. He broke down the book writing process into a matter of building the bones of a book with a simple chapter plan, then fleshing out the bones. I like that because it makes the process less overwhelming. I know I can make a 5000 word blog post without too much trouble, so why not a 5000 word chapter? And from there, how about ten 5000 word chapters to make a full sized book?
So by thinking in terms of chapters, I’ve been able to make my work on my first book much less overwhelming and more coherent. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to finish it in a month, or if that’s too ambitious, at least in two months.
So, I’ve been working on my blog officially “full time” for about a week now. I needed time to settle in in Berlin and to get over the emotional shocks and exhaustions of last year. So I set my starting date for the new year, and since I got back from the Esperanto festival, that’s been what I’ve been doing.
This first week was a test of a traditional 9-5-style working pattern. I’m going to write about that and some of my conclusions about productivity in the next post, as this one is getting long.
In this time I’ve seen that in order to stay focused and remove stress, I need to prioritise and simplify, simplify, simplify. Basically that means doing just one thing at a time and not thinking about anything else while I’m doing that thing.
This month, aside from blogging about timely issues and otherwise maintaining a weekly posting schedule, I intend to focus entirely on my first book. I don’t care about anything else.
Then, I’ll read up on marketing ebooks and put it up on Amazon and similar outlets. I don’t know how long I’ll choose to focus on that.
I think getting a book out there and published will be a great boost to my motivation. Not only will I have achieved a serious output I can be proud of whatever happens, the likely influx of money will hopefully make it easier to see how I can eventually reach my goal of financial self-sufficiency through this blog.
I don’t know whether I’ll go straight to writing my next book afterwards, or (probably) do some work on the blog.
Finally, I’ll be focusing on getting traffic for my blog.
I know a lot of bloggers make traffic-building seem rather a complex issue. (But if you buy my 1000€ e-course, all will be made clear!). From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty simple really: do guest posts.
I did a little guest posting last month and have seen a very nice increase in traffic since then. It seems pretty clear: nothing holds me back but my fear.
You do need to have an OK blog, and you do need to write good guest posts, of course. But it seems really that getting traffic is not that complicated. When I’m ready, I will focus on my guest posting, and keep on doing it until I experience the sort of traffic I’d like to see.
I know fear held me back for a long time. Fear of success really. What would happen if a hundred thousand people were reading me? What would happen if I were making money and didn’t have any excuse for thinking life is so difficult anymore? …And that’s why I didn’t guest post. That, and the fact that I didn’t feel so confident in my blog. I do now.
So I’m pretty confident. And I think I have good reason to be confident. I think if someone’s determined enough, there is no reason in the world why they can’t make this happen.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my 3000-word article? It’s a little bit massive, I know. I guess I just get enthusiastic about stuff 🙂
In summary, I think this year will be an interesting one. I’m hoping to get into a nice rhythm and lose myself in my work. Hopefully this will also distract me from getting into trouble :p and I might have a quiet year for once. God knows I need it.
If you’re interested in going the same route as me, all I can say is: make sure you’re dedicated. I can’t say that I know what it takes to be a professional blogger yet, at least not for sure. But I’ve seen enough people pop up with a new Personal Development blog – hoping it will solve all their problems – and then disappear to be rather skeptical of new bloggers. The only thing that got me this far is that deep down, I know I’m made for this stuff and I have a lot to say.
Then again, I think this lesson holds for almost any professional route. You have to stick to something for a long time – a period of years usually – to get good at it. And you need to be good at something for someone to pay you anything for it. At least, for someone to pay you well. Or for you to be able to do it as a business rather than being someone else’s slave.
So… I’m just glad I’ve found this thing that I know I can stick with. I wish you the same luck if you’re looking for it! Thanks for reading – drop a comment if you like.