In this article I’m going to explain how I learnt a new way of motivating myself to work on my self-directed projects. To start with though, I’m going to set the stage by telling you a little story about how I got to where I am now. Hang in there, I’ll get to the point soon.
So, a while ago I tried writing for a site called Hubpages, a large site which allows you to take advantage of its relatively good position in Google and in return takes half of the ad revenue from your pages. You get the other half, a win-win situation.
An alteration to Google’s algorythm called “Panda” changed the standing of Hubpages pretty much overnight, causing massive, relatively low-quality websites such as this to no longer have so much influence. Panda was like an earthquake for a certain community of dedicated internetters. However, before then, Hubpages was an interesting proposition. At the beginning before Panda, it seemed that I would have to write about 10,000 articles to earn a living – but, of course, the articles would stay there and continue to earn me money without me having to do any maintenance work (this is known as passive income), meaning I could retire once I got to 10,000. Well, retire or just live life doing whatever I want, which has been my goal since forever.
10,000 is a big number, but it IS doable. I wrote 100 articles in my first month of passion about Hubpages. So I could have done 10,000 in about eight years. It’s a long time, but I did feel certain that if this is what I had to do to achieve my goal, I was ready to do it.
In practice, Hubpages is just not a professional way of earning a living through the web. I later tried making a website of my own that was similarly focused on getting good Google rankings (as a priority over other things such as creativity or quality). It was: BlackBeans.me. This silly little website, which I honestly feel a little embarrassed about, earns me 10€ a month from ads. It contains 36 articles, meaning that if I made more websites in this style I could reach my goal in a third of the time. Actually, because of Panda, it’s now not three but thirty times better than writing for Hubpages. So, potentially, I could reach my goal in about two and a half years!
But, in fact, I am certain that if I wrote about things I was passionate about, and not black beans, I would make much more valuable websites which would earn a lot more money.
So, I could surely reach my goal, and probably in a matter of a few years if I really put my mind to it.
The interesting thing, though, was that when I was writing for Hubpages, I was really motivated. I was working every day with a lot of determination. I found that having such a clear goal (10,000 articles) made it really easy to keep going. I’ve since been working on SophiaGubb.com and a book which will be very soon finished, but I do find that I don’t push myself as hard to write as I did back when I was writing for Hubpages.
I figure it has something to do with the uncertainty. With Hubpages I had a clear formula: this much work goes in; this much earnings come out. I knew that every step I took brought me closer to my goal.
However, when working on this website and my book, it wasn’t so clear that X amount of work equalled X amount of earnings. I would earn money, of course, but I didn’t know how much and whether I’d reach my goal.
That said, if I looked at things clearly it seemed to me that if I only took the energy I’d spend writing 10,000 articles, and instead focused that into my current projects, I’d surely succeed and then some.
I’ve recently been experimenting with imagining that my book and my website were Hubpages. I try to imagine that each hour I pour into my work results in a certain amount of passive income. I don’t know how much, which makes it a little harder to visualise. However, I’m certain it’s more than if I were working on Hubpages, so I try and gloss over the uncertainty and just imagine every step I take moves me closer to my goal.
I guess I just need to assume that my final success is certain. When I do that I hesitate less to invest myself. It seems that otherwise I’m holding back, flinching from the pain of an expected failure.
And actually, why shouldn’t I assume my success is certain? If I put enough work into this, I will get results. I know enough about my chosen industry to be sure of that. The only thing that makes it seem less certain is that I don’t have an exact X work equals X results guarantee. Perhaps I should learn not to need that anymore, and just trust that the more I work the more results I will get, and that I will reach my goal in time.
These are ideas that have been coming to me recently, so who knows how I will feel once I’ve put them into practice for a while. But, I felt inspired by them now, so I thought I’d write them up. Try experimenting with this mindset, if you can, and see how it affects your results. Do tell me if you discover anything interesting.