A career in blogging. What a weird thing.
It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where my blogging-based online business is solid enough to justify some of my “interesting” earlier life decisions.
I really love sharing experiences and strategies in the hope that it will help other people out there who are looking to grow their own blog, or just pursue something that they think will make them happier.
In this post I want to show you six decisions that changed my blogging career in a big way. I hope that if any of you are going through something similar it will show you that you’re not alone.
NOTE: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase a hosting package through my link I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you (in fact it will save you money!). Thank you for your support.
Some big blogging decisions that changed my career
I’m really curious to know whether anyone else has experienced these ones as well. As always, drop a comment if you want to share.
1. Going from anonymous to VERY visible
The first two years of Blog Tyrant was written completely anonymously. I purposely decided to write under the name The Blog Tyrant and not show my face.
One day I had an email from the owner of ViperChill asking if I wanted to be the only other writer every to feature on his site.
The catch? He thought it would be a good idea to make my first post a big reveal that showed my identity. Luckily I also thought it was time.
The post went live and within a couple of hours it had received hundreds of comments and a lot of tweets and emails from people who had been reading the site for years and were happy to finally “meet” me.
This was also the first time we debuted the “couch photos” which taught me some really interesting lessons about branding and standing out from the crowd.
It all turned out well but I’ll never forget how nervous it was. It still scares me when I go back to thinking about it.
Since the unmasking I noticed an immediate jump in reader interaction and brand loyalty. I’m really glad we did it and encourage other bloggers to think about ways in which they can make their own websites more human and approachable.
2. Migrating from a free blog to a paid hosting environment
When I first got started with a blog I played around for a few months on a Blogspot site. It got pretty popular and at some point I realized that I needed to get my own domain name and host.
Well, that turned out to be pretty stressful for a new blogger – especially when you realize that all of your permalinks will be changing and you’ll need a new theme, design, blogging platform, etc.
This is one of the main reasons why I encourage new bloggers to sign up for a domain name and hosting package right away. And I continue to recommend BlueHost because it’s cheap, reliable and they have great 24/7 staff who can do things like migrate your website or help you get set up with WordPress.
Without your own blog host and domain name your progress (in my opinion) will be forever stunted. I am yet to meet a single professional blogger or online company owner who uses a free blog.
QUICK INTERRUPTION: I’m very happy to let you know that BlueHost is giving readers of Blog Tyrant a massive discount rate of $2.95 per month on the 12 month starter plan if you sign up for a new web hosting package this month only. This is a really good offer from a company that I feel very comfortable recommending.
3. Utilizing the occasional (very) controversial title
In the last few years I’ve written some posts that have had somewhat controversial headings.
But the biggest of all of these was a post called Why I Hate Copyblogger.
And it featured as a guest post on Copyblogger…
As we learned later in a follow up post they wrote about that title (yes, that happened…) the article almost didn’t get published. Luckily Brian Clark had my back and though it was worth giving it a shot.
While I do get some flack for these titles I always try extremely hard to make the takeaway in the post useful and as helpful as possible. And I’ll never write a title that in and of itself could cause problems if someone read it and then didn’t take in the post.
The interesting thing is that whenever you write one of these and it goes well, especially as a guest post, you see a huge jump in subscribers and new readers who start to see your blog as a bit of an authority.
4. Getting rid of all of my clients
I’m going to write a whole post dedicated to this one day because people ask me about it a lot.
Around a year and a half ago I made the decision to get rid of all of my direct clients. I was still managing a lot of customers from the days when I used to do consulting and web design and, as much as I loved some of them, it was taking a toll on my business.
I had all these goals for my own company but I’d spend all day working on their projects or setting up new emails for them – it never ended.
Well, I got the the point where I realized that I was making a good living without the client-base and decided to let go of that “security blanket”.
And it was a solid move.
Now I literally only work on projects I want to work on. I’m free to devote my time to the Blog Tyrant brand and just build up my own assets. It was incredibly liberating and has allowed me to really grow a site that I hope lasts a long time and helps a lot more people.
5. Trusting people to take over my business
This is a really hard thing for any small business owner or entrepreneur (why can’t I ever spell that word correctly?) to do.
We become addicted to our own procedures and insecurities.
And it can really cripple your productivity.
One huge breakthrough moment for me was when I had an issue with the comments section here on Blog Tyrant while I was away. I couldn’t fix it myself, freaked out, and ended up sending access to a coder friend of mine.
The issue was fixed in five minutes and I’ve been using him ever since for all sorts of different tasks. It saves me a lot of time and he is an absolute wizard so I get a better product than I could ever produce.
Now I’m more likely to open up and let people take over aspects of my business. Once you give up that little bit of control you open yourself to a whole new world of expertise and lovely people who actually want to do good work for you and your business.
6. Dropping out of college when my degree was nearly done
I absolutely don’t advocate this for everyone.
In fact, there have been times when this self-employed stuff hasn’t been going so well where I wished I’d stayed in university.
That being said, I hated it.
I used to catch the bus into class, wait for the lecture to start and then leave and go and work on blogs. It was while this was happening that I sold my first blog for $20,000.
I soon dropped out to give the whole blogging thing a solid crack. It’s been a long and winding road but I think college gave me a taste of a life I didn’t want and really gave me the impetus to do something dangerous and see how it worked out.
The lesson here is not to drop out of college but to make sure you follow your gut and try different things with your life if you aren’t satisfied. As long as you take care of your family, debts and responsibilities there really isn’t anything stopping us from taking a few calculated risks now and then.
Have you made any massive decisions in your career?
I’d really like to open up the comments and hear about any big decisions you’ve made in your career. Did you end up regretting it or was it a choice that has led to more success and happiness?
Please leave a comment and let me know.
Photo: Joshua Earle.