How much time have you spent doing what other people think you should do? Hours? Weeks? Years?
I got into blogging early. It was 2005 and MySpace was still humming. I caught wind of the notion that some early adopters were monetizing their blogs with ads. Imagine a world in which you blurt out the randomness you were already going to share with SOMEBODY, only you get paid to do it!
Yeah, it was 2005. I was a bit naive. But my blogging journey began with a dream of one day earning a living off my own words. On that journey, I read hundreds of articles by other people who made money from blogging. I tried to follow all their rules, tips, and tricks.
I tried to do everything they said. I was all over the place. I tried:
- Niche your site down to a specific subtopic – avoid general topics
- Never intermingle niches
- Publish at least three posts per week
- Comment every day on popular blogs within your niche
- Never publish less than 600 words
- Do keyword research before writing
- Interlink articles on your site as you write them
- Guest post for other sites to build an audience
- Drill down deep with 2,000-4,000 word articles
- Make your articles numbered lists
- Answer long-tail search questions
- Use your primary targeted keyword phrase in the first paragraph
- Share different angles and insights on different social media channels
- Entice readers to subscribe to your newsletter
- Actually write a weekly newsletter
- Make your newsletter compelling and interesting
- Be on your blog, social media, other people’s blogs, and your newsletter 24/7
And if you can’t tell already, I flamed out hard.
Being Inauthentic Has Consequences
Trying to follow all the experts’ advice all the time landed me in a rut of confusion and second-guessing that trapped me for years. I sold several blogs I couldn’t keep up with. Eventually, I just quit blogging because I was so frustrated that my first digital love wasn’t panning out. There were methods and styles that came naturally to me, but they weren’t the methods and styles of the successful people. I adapted to the marketplace. I took on the persona I was told would succeed.
In the process, I became someone I wasn’t. I said things that didn’t sound like me. I talked about things that didn’t interest me. I became a facade.
Take A Look In The Mirror
Have you ever mimicked the pros only to find you don’t like who you’re becoming? I have. That’s why people like Seth Godin, who just celebrated his ELEVENTH year of blogging EVERY SINGLE DAY, inspire me. He shares short, casual insights, reflections, and ideas. He’s not overly formal or structured or worried about SEO. He’s just helpful.
I’d like to point out that Seth is the perfect example of why you should do you. Remember earlier when I said that successful people weren’t utilizing the methods and styles that come naturally to me? Turns out that they do. I just hadn’t seen them yet. Eventually, I found out that every single one of my styles or methods that seemed too casual or unprofessional can be found in a successful blogger somewhere. If I had just given myself permission to be me, I could have been one of those early adopters who set a new standard of what is possible.
Does that apply to you right now? Stop and think about it for a bit.
Granted, Seth Godin brings a ton of clout to the table from his published books and conference speaking. He’s an established name that people naturally want to learn from. So most of us won’t have a following like that when we blog.
But that’s not the point. Someone somewhere is doing them better than you are doing you because they are giving themselves permission to be authentic. And their message is more powerful and more effective because of it.
Give Yourself Permission To Be You
That’s okay. I’m here. And I’m so inspired by Seth’s consistency and frequency that I’m allowing it to give myself permission to be more of who I really am: less formal, less structured, more conversational, and hopefully more helpful.
I bet you’ve felt like this before – trying to be someone else to please people or to copy their success. But if success isn’t your only motivation.. if successfully letting people know who you are really matters to you, surrendering your life to becoming a copy of someone else will painfully disappoint you.
What would you do differently if you could completely buck the expectations of what successful people do?