It’s that time of year again.
Sleigh bells are ringing.
The spiked eggnog is flowing.
And children are hanging their stockings with care, bursting with expectant greed, eager to receive expensive gifts their parents can’t afford.
Yeah, it’s almost Christmas…
o, ho, hopefully you’re planning to make the season bright.
As for me?
Well, this time of year always forces me to be introspective.
As you might recall, I took my blog offline around this time last year. In 2014 and 2015, I had published a hodgepodge of blog posts on all sorts of topics, most of them loosely related to internet marketing and social media.
(…88 of them lay dead and dormant in my archived category.)
Then I relaunched Brent Jones Online early in 2016, eager to share my freelancing successes with those just getting started.
Freedom, Flexibility & Financial Independence…
^ Yes, that was my message…
That I could teach you, working from anywhere in the world, to replicate the success I had in building an online, service-based business. I wanted to help others to do what I did with the eventual goal of turning it into a passive income stream.
I knew my mission would start with great blog content.
And that’s exactly what I delivered.
Between 19 new and republished blog posts, 17 new episodes of Better Freelancing, and a slew of guest posts — okay, about 10 to be fair — I delivered the goods in 2016 on almost every topic an aspiring work-at-home superstar might need covered.
(…I’ve organized a list of all the content I published in 2016 at the end of this post, sorted by category.)
Not to mention the dozens of expert roundups and interviews I participated in this year — full chronological list here.
My posts received thousands of comments, thousands of shares, and thousands of new subscribers joined my mailing list.
All that I had left to do was monetize my efforts.
- Would I sell a course?
- Perhaps I would offer coaching, or run some type of weekly mentorship group?
- Maybe, like so many others, I would self-publish a series of eBooks on a wide range of advanced topics.
- Or just maybe, I would create a membership site with a monthly subscription model.
What I soon realized, a few months into this year, is that I didn’t have interest in doing any of those things.
My full-time freelance social media management business was thriving, and my earnings grew significantly in early 2016. I was suddenly in a position to hire full-time help.
Fast forward a few months, and I was working only part-time at my online business, earning a healthy above-average income, and doing precious little of the work myself.
(…in fact, I spent most of this past summer out on my bike. Logged around 6,000 km in 2016…)
Fast forward a few months more, and that brings us to the present — I’m signing off from the internet. For now, at least.
The truth of it is twofold:
- I don’t like social media
- I have no interest in doing anything with this blog
Let’s start with the first point.
I don’t like social media
I realized in 2016 that I don’t like social media — like, not at all.
A few weeks ago, I actually deleted my personal Facebook account. And I don’t mean deactivated it until some distant day down the road. I mean I found the deep link that allowed me to permanently click the delete button, thus excluding myself from the madness forevermore.
This was the final post I published to my personal profile before hitting that magic delete button:
I’ll be deleting my Facebook account in the next few hours.
Between fake news stories, hateful comments and captions, misleading and offensive memes, and angry opinions shouted in CAPS, I find very little value in remaining active on Facebook.
Not just Facebook—social media in general.
What I believe was once intended to unify and connect the world—giving us unprecedented access to information and communication—has, in my opinion, been a powerful tool for divisiveness.
I am, perhaps, a little more sensitive than most to this, as my business keeps me actively engaged on social media for hours every day.
But even in my downtime, I find myself giving a disproportionate amount of attention to what’s “trending” online. And more often than not, it turns out not only to be a waste of my time, but it leaves me feeling saddened inside and hopeless for the world we live in.
It comes as no surprise to me that the developed world is reporting record levels of mental illness in recent years. We’re bombarded with hate and malice every moment of the day. And then every so often, a cute cat video—just to keep shit “real”.
It is for those reasons that I have elected to have Andréa take over my online business, and to take myself offline for the foreseeable future. (With the exception of Instagram, which I still intend to use as a visual journal of my cycling adventures) I will have fully made the transition (on the business side of things) by year end.
I’m ready to rejoin the real world full of real things that actually matter. To focus on things that bring me joy—nature, fitness, nutrition, music, friendship, creative writing—and to avoid those things that leave me feeling empty and unfulfilled. Mostly, what I refer to as the “fake” online world. I hope that in so doing I’ll be in a better place to love my fellow man, rather than my current state of resentment.
If you’ve got my phone number, you know how to reach me. If you couldn’t be bothered to call, then it’s just as well that we’ll no longer be connected online.
Sums it up, right?
Hey, you don’t have to agree with me — but it’s honestly how I felt. And I’m entitled to feel any way I choose.
Spending so much time on social media was bumming me out, even though I was making money doing it.
As I addressed in that final Facebook post above, my wife graciously accepted my staff and my client base, and she’s now running the entire social media management show. Even
my portfolio website is offline.
No, I won’t be accepting any new social media clients.
Probably not ever.
It isn’t to say that I’m turning on a dime, heading back to the corporate world to reclaim a day job.
I will always be self-employed.
Freelancing is for me, but social media isn’t. And it took me a couple years to figure that out.
Now, let’s talk about this blog…
I have no interest in doing anything with this blog
This blog — and my growing my mailing list, and increasing my social media following — has always been a side project for me.
I’ve generated a few dollars through affiliate sales, sure, and that was nice.
But I couldn’t justify diverting time away from my main freelancing business for this blog, especially when I was already earning steady, recurring income and working so little.
If I wanted to spend extra hours in front of the computer every day, why wouldn’t I invest them in growing my primary business?
Which leads me to my current position… I can’t justify spending anymore of my time on blogging.
I mean, I suppose I could keep updating this blog as a charitable act, a means to help others, to teach what I know — goodwill to mankind, and all that jazz.
But the truth is, I’m just not that nice.
I’m discovering that sometimes I have to be a bit selfish with my resources…
…especially my time.
But I will be leaving this blog up for foreseeable future, all resources intact.
My mailing list opt-in boxes will still work, although you won’t actually be joining my mailing list — you’ll simply be redirected to my secret download page.
(…or just click here, and — tadaa! Not so secret anymore, huh?)
And if you’re on my mailing list, you aren’t likely to hear from me again soon.
Comment sections are closed — the one below this post will be stay open for a week or so, though — and my social media profiles, the ones that link to this blog, will be updated to reflect that I am heading offline indefinitely.
Because let’s be honest.
There are a shit-ton of awesome resources for freelancers online, most of which are free.
But the real truth is, if you haven’t found success freelancing, or you aren’t making good money with it, you either:
- suck at being your own boss (quit now while you’re ahead),
- you’re willfully ignorant to learning new skills,
- or you simply are not investing enough time in doing the right things.
Honestly, there are millions of prospective clients out there in this great big world of ours. There’s more people in search of your talents — no matter what they may be — than ever before. Lack of opportunity isn’t a valid excuse.
But there’s no value in me continuing to publish new content.
Because if you wanted freelance success bad enough, you would have already found it by now.
I guess sometimes the truth hurts, don’t it?
Oh, and Merry Christmas.
My final thought…
What will I do next?
Time will tell.
For now, I’m enjoying getting back in touch with the shit I care about — family, friends, health, fitness, nutrition, reading, writing, music, nature, and the like.
(…much as I referenced in my Facebook post earlier.)
These are the things that matter to me in life. Now, at Christmastime, and all throughout the year.
I’m currently working on finishing my first novel. I hope to have it available for purchase by early 2017. Stay tuned for that, especially if you’re into flawed protagonists who repeatedly make poor life choices.
And who knows?
Maybe I’ll turn writing fiction into a full-time career next year.
Quitting my job to freelance — without any existing contacts or clients — taught me that I can do just about anything I want, if I’m willing to work at it.
So why rush?
I’ll take my time and make sure that whatever I do next, I do it with intention.
For those of you who have been a part of my online journey over the past two years, you’ll never know how grateful I am for you. If I can leave you with some final words of advice, they would be this:
We spend our whole damn lives waiting for…
- the perfect moment,
- the perfect idea,
- the perfect opportunity,
- the perfect business partner,
- the perfect relationship…
…well, you get the idea.
But most of what holds us back isn’t imperfect moments or people. It’s our own fear of being imperfect.
You are imperfect. So am I. And imperfect people are capable of doing some pretty incredible things. Things that might surprise you.
So get out there, be imperfect, and live your life with intention.
Be awesome and take action. Jump in even if you can’t see the bottom.
And now it’s time to say, “Goodbye, internet.” I’m signing off.
PS: Here’s that list of content I published in 2016, as promised. If you missed anything I published this year and want to catch up, feel free.
Gaining Skills & Experience
Administration, Finances & Operations
Just for Fun
Blogging & Social Media