Is the fear of succes holding you back?

Do you want to be a real blogger? Walk the walk and talk the.. Wait that’s for another show.. But okay – do you want to type the damn words and get paid tons of green? Yeah. I think that would be pretty cool too. But the big question is:

So why don’t you?

The fear of success can sometimes be frightening. For instance, some years back i started my own webdesign agency. It was just a small company where I made websites for companies. Well i wanted to. But when i had my first 3 clients locked and was selling them websites and maintenance and so on, I quickly sold the company and kept my day-job. A little later i did exactly the same with a new company. Once it took off, I sold it. I was scared of the potential success I was experiencing and that could lead me to actually having to quit my day-job and all that security that comes with that. With an old house, three kids, a wife and a great job. I just don’t need the thrill of not knowing how to pay the next electric bill. Maybe later in life and maybe never. I guesstimate that I’ve spend more than 1000 hours in my spare time, trying to plan and setup a business on my own. Only to find out, that I never wanted it to take off. I just needed to get a great job.

 

Success, is doing what you want, when you want, with whom you want.

As the great James Bond says (in SkyFall), “Fieldwork is not for everyone”. Translated into entrepreneurtalk, “If you really want to succeed with your business, you will. But consider it as a personal insight-victory if you discover, that it’s not really for you anyway”. Tons of  people go on saying that they want to be full-time bloggers and make a living by doing that. You can pretty much tell from the blogs on blogging (the so-called meta-blogs), that there is a huge market in writing and teaching people on how to blog their way to success. I can’t help wondering how many aspiring pro-bloggers out-there, actually have a deep desire to make it big time. The insecurity in being independent can be scary for a lot of people. For most people in that situation, it’s the obstacles they blame for not making it.

I you are struggling to get your blog off the ground and you keep getting distracted by external circumstances like kids, house, car, garden, friends, family, etc., you should really try to think about, what you really want, with this blog experiment you’re in the middle of. The cardinal rule, that every succesful entrepreneur will tell you is that, if you really want it, you will find the time. It’s that simple. There are no excuses. Plain and simple. It really doesn’t matter how bitchy your wife is, or how impossible your kids are. If you really, really have a deep desire to make a living from your blog, you will find the time to make it happen.

To do that

  1. Think about your blog as a business, the same way you would a physical business. It needs you be nurtured every day. And it needs loads, tons and heaps of hard work. Nothing ever comes easy. Ever!
  2. Think, Plan and Execute. Think very hard on your topic. You need to be able to write about it for years. Make a business plan for your blog and stick to it. Execute your plan. Turn off the TV and get things done.
  3. Don’t copy, be original. Don’t just read about how others are doing. Do it yourself and do it your own way.
  4. Could you drive you business every day? Do you have the self-discipline to do that? Be honest to yourself and dig deep in your heart and see for yourself, if you like to be independent or just like the idea of being independent.
  5. Imagine yourself sitting in your office, alone for eight-to-ten hours every day, just writing content for your blog. You need to be structured and attend to your business with full focus. Not just when the sitcoms are over. Writing can be a lonely mans game.

If you’ve thought deeply about my questions for some time and still feel intensely about starting your own business. Then go-ahead and get cracking. Plan your business and get it done. But don’t sit around too long, planning. Remember nothing happens without the Execute part of the plan. Plans are great, but they’re worth nothing, if not executed. I wish you the best of luck. Please put a link to your blog in the comments, so I can follow your great content.

If you’ve thought about my questions for some time and you admitted to yourself that maybe the security of having a full-time job, is not all that bad, don’t feel bad about that. It’s better to know yourself than to waste a lot of time, trying to build a business with half a heart. Don’t see it as a defeat. It’s a victory for your mental health and stress-factor. Go on doing your stuff, but adjust the ambitions for the blog and the day-job. Maybe that will lead you to a happier life. Telling yourself that you could be a full-time blogger, when deep down, you know that it would never happen, will just lead to frustration and not the freedom you desire.

In the words of the wise and almighty Mater Yoda, “There is no try. Do or do not!”

What do you think? What is your measure of success? Drop a comment below.

Organizing: Journaling Your Business in 4 simple steps

How to be productive is a big part of making a succesful business. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a programmer, writing blogs or any other creative business. The more effective you are as a creative professional the more success you’ll eventually have. When you are a creative for a living, concentration and focus is one of your main concerns.

In order to be productive, you need to get all the clutter in your brain off your mind, so to speak and creative people tend to have a lot on their mind all the time. The best way to get all that thinking out-of-the-way is to write it down. But that is not always as simple as it sounds. Here’s a great way to create a journal of all your work in 4 easy steps.

Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine

I subscribe to Randy’s E-zine, and in this months edition I found one of those articles that just stick. One of those pieces of text you instantly know, adds value to your writing business, whether it’s Blogging, Writing or something else. Go check out Randy’s October 2012 issue of his E-zine. There you’ll find an article called “Organizing: Journaling Your Business”. It’s a very simple method. It doesn’t require a fancy to-do program, a iPhone app and a Cloudservice. It just requires 10-15 minutes of your time each day. 10 in the morning and maybe 5 in the evening.

I’m a huge fan of Randy’s work. In the midst of blogging experts and SEO-gurus cluttering the blogosphere with their advise on “how to blog” and “how to SEO”, it’s nice to read a blog, E-zine/newsletter that actually helps you be a better writer. Whatever your content niche is. Now this one particular article is a fairly simple way to organise your writing business.

You should go read the article. If you don’t, here’s a short resume of the thing.

What you do is

  1. Start a new document for each year you’re in business
  2. Each morning open your document , type ind the date and write the goals of the day and maybe a few notes on whats messing about in your brain. The trick is, to empty your brain of dreams, to-do’s and other stuff that can take up your writing time.
  3. Work hard all day long
  4. When the day is done. Open the document again and append Done, after the to-dos, write what went well and what went bad during the day. If you missed some to-dos, copy the to the following days notes.

That’s it. More or less. Well less actually. I won’t repeat Randy’s content, just reference it. If you want to see the tips on how to set achievable goals for the day, go read the article.

I know. Don’t get me started on the guy’s website. Randy’s a writer, not a designer and that shines through on his website. But don’t let that fool you. The quality of his site is top-notch.

 

The Secret to Crazy-Happy Blogging : @ProBlogger

I stumbled over this blog post the other day, The Secret to Crazy-Happy Blogging : @ProBlogger. I saw the video Lisa made and found it very inspiring. I never read Lisas blog before but seriously…. That is a supermom, if I ever saw one. The site looks amazing and the content is over the top. She is going on my reading list.

The woman even has a press kit. How cool is that?

Anyway. The thing that struck my about Lisa advise in the Crazy-Happy Blogging post was the fact that she encouraged bloggers to stay unique and stop overproducing their content. I really think that she has a good point. I’m one of those who is thinking about adding more video content to my blog, but I feel that I need a pro HD-camera at least, some professional editing equipment, along with a studio, and some high-end graphics. It all ends with a huge technical setup, just for fun. I’ve been there before. Just with blogging design. I wanted my blog to have all the technical features, that I could put in it. I used to spend somewhere between 70 – 80 percent of my blogging time, tinkering with the technical setup. I wanted every last pixel of my blog to be just perfect.

Change of plans

Then I stopped. Tore it all down. Deleted the blogs and took a 6 months break. When I came back and started this blog, I decided to force myself to keep my focus on the content and keep the technical stuff to a minimum. A lot of the advise, that Lisa gives in that single blog post, is a part of my new approach to running my blog. It’s doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be pixel perfect. For now, it doesn’t even have to make any money. It just needs to be me. It needs to be my content, the way I make it. If you are struggling to publish polished content and find yourself using way too much time coding and tinkering with plugins, just drop it. Focus on your content. Use a standard template until you have a fair amount of posts. Say around 50-100 posts maybe. All depending on what type of content you deliver. When you have a decent user-base and content-base, then you can use some time in improving your site. And most important of all. Focus on being you. Just you. Don’t write like everyone else is. Find your own style and go with it. some will like it, and some will not. Live with that. It’s impossible to make everybody happy.

Blogging on SharePoint vs WordPress part 3

Blogging on SharePoint vs WordPress


This blog has been around the block a few times. I started this blog on a hosted WordPress install at servage.net. Then, when I decided to close my account with those guys, I thought “why not a local SharePoint Foundation, hosted in my garage”? It sounded like a good idea. That only held up for a few months. Too much adjusting, tweaking and not enough writing and just to much procrastination. Conclusion: I just don’t have that amount of spare time to tinker with design details and features and while SharePoint is a great platform, it’s not for serious blogging.

The Cloud

A friend of mine said to me one day, “You keep talking and talking about the cloud all day long, why don’t use it for you blog”? I agreed and took the plunge into WordPress.com. I knew that blogging had to be done with WordPress as my weapon of choice. I’ve used WordPress for several blogging projects during the years. I even remember how WordPress looked before “Kubrick”. WordPress felt like an easy choice. 10 minuttes later I was at it again. looking at Themes and prices over at WordPress.com. I did also try to hack to living hell out of that service. I just don’t want to pay for some simple CSS.

A few months later I was too tired of the limitations on WordPress.com. I mean, you have to pay for just about anything and the limitations are just too annoying for me. I like to tinker a little with the theme and I like to add a few plugins now and then. That turned out to be too hard to manage, so bye-bye WordPress.com. Luckily the WordPress.com guys have the exporting tools installed, so leaving the WordPress.com cloud, was pretty easy. For bloggers that have no tech-knowledge and just need a place to write, I still think that WordPress.com is perfect. It’s very easy to set up and you don’t have to have any technical skills at all. Just blogging skills.

Alternatives

So then I tested out two other systems. One was DokuWiki, which almost won. I’ve used it before as a personal wiki-engine. It’s just works, but lacks the design-coolness and theme-ecosystem, that WordPress bloggers enjoy. The other system I tested was Yaki (Hosted at GitHub and not Googlecode as the post states). In fact I’m still thinking about using Yaki. Rui uses it over at “The Tao” and if I could figure out how Ruis publishing workflow is I would just copy that. But for now, it just seems like theres a whole lot of folder creation going on. For now I will wait for Rui to package it or document it a bit more, so it’s a little easier to work with.

Full Circle

As of now, the blog stays on a hosted WordPress site. No cloud and no SharePoint for this blog. Neither match my requirements for adjusting themes and functions.

I’m still not done with Yaki, but I need an easy way to work with the need for creating an massive amount of folders. If you know something about this, please leave me a comment.

Blogging on SharePoint vs WordPress part 2

Blogging on SharePoint vs WordPress

I tried. I really tried to make good use of SharePoint as my new blogging platform. after 2 months, it still doesn’t feel right. The lack of full screen editing and the feel of a concentrated blogging-platform just got to me. That  and my wish for a more green profile on my hosting ad thus, not using my own server but a cloud service won.

Why not Office365?

Office 365 is Microsofts Cloud product for Exchange, SharePoint and Lync. If you know how to use SharePoint, you can get 25 Gb. of E-mail, 10 Gb. og SharePoint and some Lync for $ 6,- a month. Thats pretty cheap. I dare anyone to find more product and space for the same amount of money.

Why WordPress.com

I’ve tried to host numerous Wordpress sites over the last 5-6 years. Somehow I always ended up, adjusting the theme, code, install, security etc. and never really blogging all that much. same thing happened with my SharePoint install. I changed the layout, code, backup, lists etc. and blogged just as much as before. My solution is to use WordPress instead. That way I can’t fall into a procrastinating stigma again, because there is simply not that much to fiddle with.

Bottom line… I like my WordPress, Full Screen editing and wonderful plugins like akismet and pretty analytics and I like it, when my options for editing code, themes etc. are limited. When it comes to straight out blogging, it’s hard to doit better that WordPress. The only thing I don’t like about WP, is the crappy way of managing your attachments and images. When it comes to managing your attachments, pictures etc. you just can’t beat SharePoint.

Search results are essential to your blog

Just the other day i searched different blogs for som very specific content. Instead of using Google, I went to a blog, used the blogs searchfeature to search for the term “blogging software”. I was trying to locate this: 16 Essential PC Applications For Bloggers.

Unfortunately I coulden’t remember either the headline or where I’ve seen the blogpost.

So I went to problogger.net and did a search. And when the result came up I knew that even the great Darren Rowse makes mistakes. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of Rowse and have several of his books. But as far as building/coding a searchresult page that “just works” for humans, most sites fail. And on Problogger.net the searchresults shows the full post for all results which is just wrong. I’m not a wizard in SEO but I do know something about UI’s and how a human looks at a wepage. And a searchresult, where I have to scroll for 30 yards, is not ideal.

Most of the results from the search dosen’t really help me. So i refine the search with a ” at the start and end of the search term. Now searcheing for: “blogging software”, i’m getting somewhere. Approx 60% down I hit gold.

Reflection

Perhaps Google is so dominating that you as a blogger, dosen’t count on your readers searching directly on your blog anymore. Fact is that regular webusers are so acustomed to using Google that they expect the same killer results and layouts on your websites searchresults. The normal user has no need for a full post searchresult. The normal user needs the big picture and a way to filter through content fast.

If you have a good searchindex and a good searchresultspage, often you don’t haveto build long and tricky navigational strings.

In my humble but stubborn opinion, the searchresultspage is often very overlooked. Even an overview by month or a wholde sitemap can be tricky to get just right acording to your type of content.

Sinse this blog is just getting started and I’m blogging on SharePoint and not WordPress, I don’t even have any searching working yet. But I do have some essentials that I need on any searchresultspage:

  1. Show the headline (pretty important yes?)
  2. Show the postdate (let people know how old the content is)
  3. Show the number of comments (let people know where the fuzz is)
  4. Never show more than 100-150 characters for an exercpt (allows for more results on less space)
  5. Never ever show full posts on searchresults pages (gives less pageviews and more headaches)

How about you?

What do you think? Do google have the “all-time best way” for a searchresultspage or could it be done better?