How I Wasted a Year Blogging

How I Wasted a Year Blogging – and Here’s What’s Next:

Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a guest post for Carol Amato entitled…

Should You Quit Your Job? I Think So — Here’s Why…

In it, I revealed why I quit my comfortable full-time career position to start freelancing.

(And it was the first time I have ever told that story online…)

I did it for a very specific reason.

Because at the time this post is being published, I have been online in a professional capacity for exactly one year — both as a freelancer and a blogger.

As I alluded to in my article for Carol, freelancing has been an overwhelming success for me… better than I could have ever imagined.

But so far as blogging goes?

It was a complete and utter waste of time.

Let me share some numbers with you…

I’ve published 118 posts, including this one.

Posts

I’ve approved more than 1,300+ comments… well, really more like 650+ plus my replies.

Comments

I’ve had more than 47,000+ visitors on my website.

Sessions

And just based on doing some rough math, my posts have been shared well over 20,000+ times on social media.

Shares

…not to mention the 4,500+ social media connections I have established across all platforms.

So… why do I describe my first year of blogging as a waste of time?

I mean, some of my blog content helped other people, right…?

Sure, I suppose.

And haven’t I established some meaningful connections through blogging?

Portland
Me, Andréa Jones & Cara Chace in Portland, OR

Absolutely.

But let’s not forget — why did I actually start blogging in the first place?

Well, when I first started freelancing a year ago, I figured it would be a good idea to have a website… someplace I could direct potential clients to learn more about me, and through testimonials and portfolio samples I could establish some credibility for myself.

And since I figured that I would end up offering writing services, it only made sense to set up a blog.

But what would I blog about…?

I really wasn’t sure, and my first few posts definitely reflected that…

TRUE STORY: My first few blog posts were awful at best...Click To Tweet

But I won my first few clients regardless, and I started to notice that many of them had the same questions.

All great questions.

So I began to make note of those questions, and they became the subject of my next posts.

As these posts got shared to social media, I started to make a few friends in the blogging space. As a result, I invited my first few guests to publish on my blog, such as Renard Moreau and Radoslav Chakarov.

Around the same time, I launched Better Blogging and began inviting notable bloggers to appear on my show, such as Matthew “Kaboomis” Loomis and Sharon Hurley Hall.

Suddenly, people were taking note of my blog… traffic spiked, I did my first expert roundup, and I had guest posts of my own published for bloggers like Andrea Beltrami, Andrew Warner and Adrienne Smith.

And over the last few months, I’ve been invited to participate in nearly a dozen expert roundups. A couple great recent examples include invitations from Ashley Faulkes, Tor Refsland and Rohan Chaubey.

So, wow…!

It sounds like I got a lot done in a year, doesn’t it?

But let me ask you this…

How much income do you think I have earned through my blog during that time?

How much income do you think I have earned through my blog over the past year?Click To Tweet

If you said $0, you are totally right.

Sure, I made a few affiliate sales to my email list… but I’ve never sold something directly through my website.

Change

I’ve never so much as even sourced a new client through my blog content.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Let me put it to you this way.

  1. Let’s say I publish one new 1,500-word blog post every week, and it takes 3-4 hours to write, revise, polish, optimize, and publish.
  2. Now, let’s say I spend an additional 5-6 hours over the next week promoting that post. This includes sharing it on social media, forums, my mailing list, and reaching out to other bloggers.
  3. Next, let’s say I spend an additional 1-2 hours responding to comments and thanking others for sharing my post on social media.
  4. Finally, let’s say I spend 2-3 hours each week on social media building awareness and a following for myself and my blog, as well as creating exposure through commenting on other blogs.

(And by the way… I feel all these estimates are pretty conservative!)

Well, damn… that means I just spent somewhere between 11-15 hours in a week on blogging.

(…and that’s only referring to publishing one new blog post per week!)

In that same 11-15 hours, I could have cold called local businesses and generated an additional client or two with monthly recurring invoices of $500-1,000 or more.

Do you see my point?

Blogging is great, but if my content serves no particular audience, and I am giving up time to do it that I could have converted into revenue elsewhere…

…then what really is the point?

I’m not attempting to be short-sighted. I know that blogging can be tremendous for building credibility and exposure. Heck, I encourage my clients to blog as often as possible.

And if done right, it can be very lucrative in the long run.

Blogging can be tremendous for building credibility and exposure.Click To Tweet

But what I have created here on my own blog is a whole collection of irrelevant posts that really serve no one person… not even myself.

My friends, it’s time to take my blog in a new, more focused direction.

Are you ready?

Here we go…

A Lesson from a Girl and Her Dog

I’m willing to bet a whole bunch of you will recognize this face:

"All the people on the Internet in the Fall be like" -Doug

A photo posted by Doug The Pug (@itsdougthepug) on

Yes, this is the one and only Doug the Pug.

But who you may not recognize is this woman…

That’s Leslie Mosier, the owner and marketing genius behind Doug the Pug.

Meet Leslie Mosier, the owner and marketing genius behind Doug the Pug.Click To Tweet

In an article a few months back on Huffington Post, Leslie talked about quitting her PR job to manage Doug full-time…

I know.

Crazy, right?

But check out what Leslie had to say about her decision:

“Doug makes people happy, and that’s my ultimate motivation throughout all of this. I have gotten emails from Leukemia patients that rely on Doug’s photos for a boost in morale each day, and been touched by emotional stories like one of a little boy who’s Mom unexpectedly died; he put Doug’s photos in her casket just in case she woke up.”

Talk about serving a greater purpose!

And at some point, I think we all come to that crossroads in our own life… when we begin to question why we do the things we do.

I know that’s why I quit my full-time job — to pursue something that really mattered to me.

And perhaps it isn’t so different with blogging.

To be totally truthful,

Blogging — by itself — doesn’t pay the bills. Typing some words and hitting Publish in WordPress isn’t a business plan.

But it can lead to so much more.

The question really becomes, are you passionate about those words you are publishing? And are you ultimately passionate about something that could be profitable?

Discovering My “Business Mojo”

Earlier this year, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Amber Hurdle.

I’m paraphrasing, but in our interview she described business mojo as a combination of,

  • What you are passionate about
  • What people will pay you to do
  • And what you truly excel at

When you find a niche where all three of those points overlap, you have found your business mojo.

For Leslie Mosier, those three elements overlap in marketing Doug the Pug to the masses.

(Heck, you can even buy Doug the Pug merchandise if you’d like…!)

For me…?

Well, publishing a hodgepodge of blog posts related to various digital marketing topics doesn’t really meet any of those three criteria…

But what I am passionate about is helping others to build their businesses.

Currently, I do that through offering writing and social media services to my clients.

At the same time, I am repeatedly asked by those wishing to quit their corporate jobs how they too can begin building a freelancing business.

Ready to quit your corporate job?Click To Tweet

And that, my friends, is a whole new market of people to serve.

  • I’m passionate about helping others pursue entrepreneurship
  • Helping others to earn a profit online while working from home will always be a profitable niche
  • I have excelled at building my own freelancing business, and I can teach others to do the same

My friends, I believe I have found my business mojo.

Great success!

Very nice!

Great success!

A Sneak Peek at What’s Next…

By the start of next year, you are going to find some sweeping changes made to my blog — actually, my entire website in general.

For starters, my blog content will strictly be designed to serve solopreneurs in building a real, tangible online business… one that offers real services to real clients in exchange for real money.

(Read between the lines… we aren’t going to be talking about embedding affiliate links or sponsored posts or how to create your own membership site…!)

My show, Better Blogging, will take on a new name, and I will strictly feature other freelancers in season two… freelancers who are actually earning a solid income online with valuable ideas to share with you.

(If you have an idea for the new name of my show, drop it in the comments…!)

If you are on my email list, and you are hoping to continue getting tips on social media or email marketing or WordPress plugins, you can go ahead and unsubscribe now. No more of that.

Going forward,

Everything I publish will serve one purpose only… to help those wanting to build an online service-based business — as a solopreneur or freelancer — get started.

And everything I teach will be based on my own experience of what worked for me.

With that will come some changes with respect to branding and design — so you can expect a new look here on the blog, too.

You should also expect that some of the content I produce will be premium and available only through purchase…

After all, I’m not a hobby blogger… I’m an entrepreneur. I’m online because — just like you — I want to make money.

And given that it took me less than six months to build a six-figure freelancing business, surely some of my tools, training and resources are worth at least $5 to you… right?

I recognize that my change in direction will mean disengaging some of my existing readers and followers.

Yeah, maybe even you…!

You might not have any interest in my new message… and that’s okay! I hope you’ve enjoyed the time we have spent together up until now.

But in the words of the great Don Purdum,

“I don’t really care about how many people come to my website. What I’m concerned about [is] am I getting the right people to my website, and are those people able, willing and ready to buy?”

In truth, however, I really think this new clarity and purpose is going to help a lot more people than it will alienate.

UPDATE / Nov-3-2015 / Check out this awesome graphic Soji Fagade made of the above Don Purdum quote:

I’m excited.

How about you?

If you’re still with me, let me pose to you a question that I am hoping you will answer for me with a comment

What topics — specially related to freelancing — would you most like to see me cover in 2016?

In other words, where could you use the most help in building your own online service-based business?

Let me know.

Because I am truly excited to serve you in a brand new way.Click To Tweet

Because I am truly excited to serve you in a brand new way.

103 thoughts on “How I Wasted a Year Blogging – and Here’s What’s Next:

    • Hi Sharad,

      Thanks for commenting!

      Yes, it certainly can… although, like anything worth doing, it takes time and focus. And a lot people don’t understand that. I certainly didn’t in my early days of blogging.

      Best wishes,

      Brent

  1. Hey Brent,

    Blogging is not everyone’s cup of tea many businesses have blogs to just get organic traffic from Google and other search engines. I have noticed many of my blogger friends are not able to make money from their blogs just like me, though they have a lots of traffic and engagement.

    I think this is happening because of few bloggers teaching people how to make money online. Their equation is, start a blog + get traffic + monetize blog with Google Adsense + Add affiliate products = A LOTS OF MONEY (Passively). This equation is not easy at it seems and there are a lot of learning curves involved.

    I think the right equation should be, Do what you are best at online and ask money in exchange (Freelancing).

    What do you think Brent, am I right?

    What do you think about following equtions,
    1 – start a blog + get traffic + monetize blog with Google Adsense + Add affiliate products = A LOTS OF MONEY (Passively).
    2 – Do what you are best at online and ask money in exchange (Freelancing).

    Thanks a lot

    • Hi Yogesh,

      I definitely think you’re on the right track.

      The problem is that there are so many marketers online who relentlessly sell the dream of passive income. And they have every incentive to sell that dream, because it allows them to earn commissions on whatever miracle solution they’re promoting this week.

      Now, I am not saying that passive income isn’t possible to achieve. Of course it is. I earn some passive income, and I’ll bet you do, too.

      But it takes time to build up an authoritative blog, a mailing list, followers, an audience, and so forth, before we really ever start to see that passive income roll in… particularly if we’re looking for “replace your day job” level earnings.

      And during that time, a lot of bloggers could have pursued earning an active income instead. An active income that, arguably, would have started coming in sooner, and would have — most likely — been worth more than that passive income ever will be.

      So I encourage those who want to pursue earning a full-time income online to strongly consider active income channels, such as offering freelance services.

      Sure, it might not be as sexy — it requires real work for real clients. But it also means earning real money, and a whole lot faster than simply trying to get visitors to click on affiliate links and make purchases.

      I appreciate your insights, Yogesh. Thanks for commenting!

      Brent

  2. Hey Brent,

    Another informative post. It really gets to the core of finding our niche, using our passions and helping people. You have answered a number of questions I had lingering in my mind. What I really appreciate are the points you share about the actions you take writing a 1500 word post. I have been messing around. I don’t give my posts half as much attention, getting them out there. Great lesson. Those points are what I’m going to write down and keep in constant vision. What I don’t know how to do, I will learn. Gee I’m blown away, but excited that yet again you have given me gold. Thanks.

    Rachel.

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for checking out my post!

      This was the last post I published (last fall) prior to re-branding and relaunching my blog in January 2016.

      I had published a whole lot of content up until that point, arguably got some decent results, but still wasn’t much closer to my goals than when I started.

      I knew it was time to make some changes, and I would say those changes were for the best.

      The most important lesson I learned — that I hope I illustrated in this post — is that we must constantly evaluate and reevaluate what we’re doing. Is it working? Is it moving us closer to our goals? If not, it’s time to revise our strategies.

      I appreciate you commenting,

      Brent

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