the cafe where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in Edinburgh

I’m writing this post from a couch exactly like the one in the photo on my About page. Except this couch is in a cafe in Edinburgh, Scotland – probably five minutes walk from the cafe where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter.

I’m looking out at cobbled alleys, old stone buildings and the bustling crowds that are here for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

And as I type from this same couch in different part of the world I realise that the very act of doing something new has made me feel creative, energised and full of ideas.

I wonder if that’s how Harry Potter was thought up?

A year of changes

This year has been a year of huge changes for me.

My fiancé moved to Edinburgh to work at the Festival, my brother got a placement as a junior doctor at a hospital in the country and my best friends moved away.

I also changed the direction of my business (to work more exclusively on Blog Tyrant) and launched my first ever membership site for bloggers who want to strategically take their blogs to a new level (it’s closed now but get on the mailing list if you want to know when it opens again).

And for a while all of those changes made me feel literally ill.

I would stay awake a night trying to plan out all the details in my head.

Where will I work from?

What if my cat gets sick or my mum needs me for something?

Do I really have enough money to travel around for months on end?

Will people really pay for (and love) a product that I developed?

The list goes on.

And so did those long, sleepless nights.

But I did it anyway. And so far it has made all the difference.

Why we hate change so much but need it so badly

From what I understand, human beings are physiologically designed to hate change. Our brains and hormonal systems go into panic whenever we think about doing something different because, long ago, doing something different might mean losing shelter, food or water.

But if you pay attention to any of the great thinkers of the past you’ll start to realise that change is about all we can rely on.

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky, rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.” – The Buddha

The worry and anticipation that comes before a big change is, for me anyway, usually a lot worse than the change itself. In fact, when things change I often find myself having a really good time or taking care of the situation in a pretty calm and cool way.

I still hate it though.

But, now, I’m starting to think that it might be necessary.

It might even be a very, very good thing.

I really didn’t want to move house to my current location. But when pressed by my fiancé I found that we not only saved a lot of money, we found a new house with a housemate that has since become one of my best friends. I’m a lot happier there (I really didn’t want to share a house again) than I thought I would be and it’s opened up a lot of new doors.

When I decided to build a sweet new training course I was terrified for two months that people would hate it or that it would have never-ending technological problems that would leave me with crippling amounts of support emails. So far it’s going well, there have been next to no support emails and the amount of knowledge I’ve gained from launching something new on a foreign format has been like completing a new college degree. It’s quite astounding what new ideas that process has given me.

And then I bring you back to the fact that I’m writing this post from Scotland, not Australia. A few weeks ago that thought would have made my mind accelerate into a whirlpool of fear, doubt and worry. But at the moment I feel shockingly good. My head is bustling with new ideas and creative energy. And my heart (or wherever bravery comes from) is feeling like putting a few old ideas into development – things I’ve always been too scared to go after.

Oh, and for all of you who really wanted to see were Harry Potter was written here’s another photo I took for you:

the elephant house where JK rowling wrote harry potter
It’s not actually a great place to write anymore – constantly busy with camera flashes coming in the windows!


Change is inevitable. Nothing is going to last. But as human beings and bloggers (or creatives or business owners) we should perhaps start seeking it out instead of just learning to cope with it. I might be writing another post in a few weeks about how everything has fallen into a big heap, but so far the new scenery has really given me a huge gift.

How do you deal with change?


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  1. First in!

    1. Ha ha. Well played.

  2. Change, whether brought on by myself or thrust upon me, is something I can only embrace. I can’t deny change. I can’t change something back to the way it was. It’s like survival training…new scenario, new environment…look around, see everything in your environment for it’s potential benefit, determine what you need and where you want to go.

    Or, if you want something more poetic, I’ve always liked this poem by Frank L. Stanton:

    “KEEP A-GOIN’”

    If you strike a thorn or rose,
    Keep a-goin’!
    If it hails or if it snows,
    Keep a-goin’!
    ‘Taint no use to sit an’ whine
    When the fish ain’t on your line;
    Bait your hook an’ keep a-tryin’–
    Keep a-goin’!

    When the weather kills your crop,
    Keep a-goin’!
    Though ’tis work to reach the top,
    Keep a-goin’!
    S’pose you’re out o’ ev’ry dime,
    Gittin’ broke ain’t any crime;
    Tell the world you’re feelin’ prime–
    Keep a-goin’!

    When it looks like all is up,
    Keep a-goin’!
    Drain the sweetness from the cup,
    Keep a-goin’!
    See the wild birds on the wing,
    Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
    When you feel like singin’, sing–
    Keep a-goin’!

    1. Thanks Chris. Nice one.

    2. I love this poem. I think I read or learned about it in school or something years ago. I’m definitely going to write this down for keepers!

  3. John Gibb on August 26, 2013


    Second in! 🙂

    Change is inevitable… taking action it is not… thus we have to be action-oriented despite the fears, the sleepless nights and challenges…

    I’d love to see more Edinburgh photos from around your place, and things like that… maybe you could turn your site into a photo blog if you plan to travel more in the near future — what do you say?

    By the way, are you using Flickr? 🙂

    1. Hey John.

      I’ll post more photos on Google+ than anywhere else I think. Probably the best place to stay in touch other than here nowadays.

  4. Noreen Curtis on August 26, 2013

    I do have several blogs…why is it that I can’t find something to use from your writing?
    is because gender/age/cultural differences?
    Reading your post doesn’t give me anything to improve my writing, make more money or simply have the will to write consistently.
    so, what gives?

    1. Sorry you didn’t like it Noreen. I’ll keep trying harder.

    2. Geez Noreen, always so rude? Ramsay has generously offered tons of free help in this blog. It’s obvious he has helped countless people to improve their writing, make more money and find the will to write consistently.

      Maybe you’re just having a bad day?

      1. Meant to add that this more personal post was refreshing. Love the pics and peek into your life. Thank you.

  5. Stephanie on August 26, 2013

    Great post, Ramsay!
    I loved the universal message you brought up here–we’re all afraid of change, but we must go through it in order to grow. Your message reminds us that a) courage is what you get AFTER you do the scary thing and b) we don’t always know what will make us happy. Good luck with the new ventures and keep the pictures coming! (Scotland is on my bucket list.


    1. Thanks Steph! Very nicely put! 🙂

  6. Jamie Alexander on August 26, 2013

    Enjoy Scotland, dude.

    That’s my hometown and I definitely miss the mad Edinburgh nights out.

    How is that tram line doing? lol

    1. Oh really? Nice to know.


      Woke me up at 7am this morning and I can hear it out my window down Haymarket now.

  7. A really good read. I hate change, always have done. I have just started blogging. So far its a positive change from being a childminder. But it is still early days. I find at the moment that i am continously thinking about my blog and stressing hoow i can change it for the better lol.
    Are you enjoying the weather in scotland? Bet its a bit different to what

    1. Actually it’s REALLY warm here. Everyone says it’s very strange.

  8. Amantha Tsaros on August 26, 2013

    Oh, change. I usually get very excited about teying something new and only get nervous at the very last moment. Once I am spinning around in the whirlpool of the new event I realize, “oh, dear. If I had realized how difficult and terrifying this new project was going to be, I never would have tried it. Boy, I am glad I had no idea ahead of time. This is going to be great….I guess…” And it works out.

    1. Good to hear it works out!

  9. Completely agree with your post. And yes, talking about change, why don’t you optimize your site for mobile viewing. It would be good for readers like me.

    Which direction will you be taking BlogTyrant to? I’m excited to see it and also nervous that you know what you’re doing and you don’t take it to the wrong direction because I don’t want to stop reading this Blog. (Not to mention but I stopped reading PatFlynn and Darren Rowse)…

    1. Hi Nabil.

      Yeah, there is a bran new design coming out soon. And it will be responsive.

  10. I really get what you say about the stresses of starting a new membership site or course and all the email support you would need to do. This is exactly what has held me back from doing the same in any of my niches. Instead of worrying about course content I worry about the after support which is completely backwards.

    Thanks so much for sharing your struggle with change. I struggle with it as much as anyone and nice to know someone like you do as well

    1. Hi Bill.

      I was the same. Part of it comes from wanting my readers to have a really good experience. But, in the end, you’ll find that people don’t care about mistakes as much as you think they will if you are genuine about it.

      Glen launched a product before mine that had a terrible opening day wish crashes and problems and everyone just kind of said “Hope it works out, can’t wait to see it” even after paying money.

  11. When it comes to change, I get nervous at first worried that I made the wrong decision but then when I see it was a good move I am calm again.

    You have to keep moving forward and make changes. Happy I left a previous job for a new one and happy I sold my previous website/blog to start a new one. A risk that worked out for the best. Take Risks!

    1. Totally agree Darius. Thanks for the comment.

  12. I think I may be a human anomaly; I crave change. Not always and not with everything, but I love change. I always want to move, make new friends, find new places, new hobbies and things to do. I don’t like change to my routines or my schedule though. When I have gone to a new and interesting place it has definitely gotten my creative juices flowing. I get my best writing done out of my natural habitat.

    1. You sound a lot like my fiance. She can’t stay on one thing for more than a few weeks!

  13. Ahh, this was a post I needed to read today! I’m feeling the same way at the moment…lots of different things going on and feeling a bit puzzled about it all. As I’ve learned from the past, change is good. The best way to deal with it in my opinion is to learn as you go and keep going!

    1. Sounds good to me!

  14. Thanks for sharing your amazing experience with us Ramsey. i know what you mean by change, its inevitable. Maybe the only way to deal with it is to be prepared to make our vocation (as bloggers) our vacation!

    ..being able to work anywhere anytime and anyhow with a computer and the internet, trying something new, getting to do what we are afraid to, meeting amazing and positive people. But first we must learn how to be happy with what we have while we pursue all that we want…that’s the ultimate luxury! Enjoy your stay 🙂

    1. Happy with what we have = very well said.

  15. Laney Galligan on August 26, 2013

    I love Edinburgh. I feel homesick when you write about it, even though I’m a Kiwi living in Australia! One of the biggest changes of my life happened when I lived in Edinburgh – I had a baby! And whilst my husband and I handled it admirably, I still struggle with change. I’m about to launch something new and I’m terrified! I don’t think you ever get used to it. Every new challenge is scary, but another opportunity to learn, just as you have.

    Have a wonderful time in Edinburgh. Make sure you get up the top of Arthurs Seat for a true appreciation of that lovely little city.

    1. Thanks Laney. I’ll absolutely go up there!

      Don’t be terrified. It’s never as good or as bad as you think it’s going to be.

  16. Doug Wojtczak on August 26, 2013

    Ramsay, if there is anyone who can deal with change and make it work, it is you.

    1. Thanks Doug!

  17. Kim Doyal on August 27, 2013

    You had me at Harry Potter….
    (corny, couldn’t resist! Almost started the comment with “Alohomora!”

    Great post Ramsay! I love reading the personal challenges that are relevant to businesses. It makes the blogger seem so much more relatable to me.

    Love what you’re doing here and congrats on the move!

    Also thought I’d reach out to you because I’m heading to Scotland Sept. 26th (through Oct.9th) for a vacation. I’m in the Fizzle Membership ( and am working on coordinating a meetup in Edinburgh!
    I’m staying with a friend in Lanark (who also does online marketing) and just wanted to reach out & connect with like minded entrepreneurs!

    I’ll keep you posted if you’re interested?
    Have a great day,

    1. Hi Kim! I’m leaving on the 8th otherwise it would have been cool to catch up! Have a great trip.

  18. Thank You So Much. Exactly what I needed to read.

    1. Not sure if real comment…

  19. Awesome Ramsay. Go for it! Over my life I’ve lived in 11 different countries and although I hate the thought of change and the process itself, each change brings such incredible new opportunities and promotes such personal growth in me that it’s always worthwhile. Great post! You’ll be awesome, I’m sure!

    1. Got a favorite one?

  20. Sadly this is the first year I’ve missed the festival in years – so sorry can’t buy you a drink. Enjoy.

    I recommend Espionage. Fringe Venue 185: 4 India Buildings (Entrances on Victoria Street and Cowgate)

    4 stages of free entertainment all through the day and night + food, booze and wifi.

    1. Ah I missed it! I saw so many great shows though. Someone made me a free pass for the Gilded Balloon so had lots to see!

  21. Paul Healey on August 28, 2013

    Hi Ramsay,

    I like what Rich Schefren once said about being an entrepreneur. He said we have to go from the insecurity of certainty (a job) into the security of uncertainty (our own business.) Something like that anyway!

    I am writing my blog post from a cafe down the road in Cheltenham UK (not a Harry Potter in sight) when I decided to take a break and check out your latest scribes which I always enjoy, thank you…

    1. Awesome! What’s the weather like down there?

  22. Dean Saliba on August 28, 2013

    You get the same problem in cafes and bistros in London, way too busy for me to work. On Saturday I sat on a canal lock and did so much work as I soaked up the quiet scenery, although I did get some odd looks, how often do people see a man sitting on a canal lock typing away on a laptop. 🙂

    1. Ha ha. Love this!

      Thanks Dean.

  23. Raza Rizvi on August 31, 2013

    Wow, at that time he wouldn’t have imagined that Harry Potter will become such a hit. Thanks for the info 🙂

    1. As big as Star Wars.

  24. Slavko Desik on September 3, 2013

    Hey man I’m really glad that you implemented change and witnessed some great results. That being said, I wish you the best of luck with your projects. Knowing what you aspire towards in the online marketing world I can only expect more great things coming.

    What you say about change struck a chord with me. The way I see it it is not that much about changing circumstances nor environments- it is about changing one’s identity, how we perceive ourselves. I for one, viewed myself involved only in internet projects that have to do with affiliates, SEO, blogging… you get the picture. The moment I changed this mindset many other ideas and thus options emerged.

    Change is always internal.

    Hey, since you are traveling now i thought it will be awesome to see a post on how online entrepreneurs are accepted in that part of the world. Did it already catch up, or is it still something underrated?

    Take care mate

  25. You are absolutely right – Change is inevitable !!!

  26. Great way to make money

  27. Great post , thanks 🙂

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