Leaving Work Behind

3 Steps to Reigniting Your Enthusiasm For Your Blog

Written by Tom Ewer on July 11, 2011. 10 Comments

How To Combat A Loss Of EnthusiasmLosing enthusiasm for your blog is a common curse. There are many potential causes, but the underlying theme is typically a distinct lack of desire to write. And if you stop writing, you no longer have a blog.

So often, someone with a genuinely good blog and huge amounts of potential gives up. If only they had fully appreciated that it is more a waiting game than anything else. Persistence is your best friend in the early months. I strongly believe that if you create quality content, employ sensible marketing strategies and persist in your efforts, you cannot fail to succeed.

I am willing to bet that many of the most successful bloggers out there have considered giving up. In my experience, the majority admit to just that. That comes as no real surprise — it is a funny old business. Success in blogging does not follow a steady curve. It only takes a mention from a high-traffic fellow blogger to kick-start your ascent to popularity.

I am sure that many six figure internet marketers have at times considered their endeavours fruitless. Now they are hugely successful. They were once in your shoes, and now they have moved onwards and upwards. What is to stop you from doing the same?

A Call To Action

If you are reading this then you may already be running on fumes. In order to fill the tank back up, we need to explore two key issues:

  1. Why have you lost your enthusiasm?
  2. How can you get it back?

Any battle-hardened blogger out there will tell you that blogging can be a thankless task. There are thousands of articles on the internet that offer advice on how to attract traffic and build a loyal readership. However, all of that advice is completely irrelevant if your perspective is out of whack.

There are three broad areas that I want you to explore: internal adjustments, external adjustments, and practical adjustments. I will go into all three in detail.

1. Internal Adjustments

In approaching the many situations you face in life, you will have a certain mindset.

If you have a healthy mindset then you needn’t be reading this article, as you already have great enthusiasm for what you are doing. However, if not, you will need to make some internal adjustments so that your mindset is correctly calibrated.

Consider the following:

Direction

Where are you going and why? Have you laid out a clear path that you intend to follow? If you are blogging aimlessly, then you are bound to lose enthusiasm. You have to know your endgame and you have to set goals, otherwise you will never have a sense of forward motion.

So, if your endgame is to quit your job, I suggest that you consider starting by creating a blog that centers on your passion in life, whatever that may be. That would certainly be a step in the right direction. So set that as a goal.

Once you have reached that goal and your blog is up and running, it is time to set the next one – let’s say, to reach 1,000 subscribers. Chris Guillebeau believes that 1,000 subscribers gives you a great launch pad for your first paid product. Create that product. That’s your third goal completed. Keep going.

The above doesn’t have to be your path — it can be whatever you want it to be.

If you break down your Endgame into manageable, shorter term goals, everything will seem so much easier and your enthusiasm will be self-sustaining.

Realism

There is absolutely no point in setting goals if they are overly-ambitious.

Don’t get me wrong – I am all for ambition. I love ambition. But your ambition has to be tempered by a healthy dose of realism in order to bring about a positive effect.

For instance, if your first milestone is to grow a 20,000 strong email list in three months, then quite frankly, you are almost certainly doomed to failure before you have even started. A lack of realism is as big a cause of a loss of enthusiasm than setting no milestones at all.

So temper your ambition with realism. Set big goals, but make sure that they are actually within touching distance.

2. External Adjustments

External adjustments are all about setting up social checks and balances to ensure that you do not stray from your desired path. These are a little more intimidating than internal adjustments, but can be very powerful. I would recommend that you employ them all, and screw the consequences.

Socialize

“But I already do!”, you might say. Of course you do – but I am talking about a specific type of socialising. I want you to introduce yourself to your niche. Get involved with people. Search out the top blogs and start commenting. Make yourself a known entity.

The fact is, you do not have to be alone in your endeavour. There are many people out there who:

  1. are trying to do the same as you, and
  2. want what you have to offer.

The first group does not need to be your enemy – make friends! Your blog needs to be all about what you bring to the table, which is exactly what nobody else can replicate. If you execute that well, then you have no competition, as no one can be you.

Sign up to Twitter, Facebook and forums, and find likeminded people. Introduce yourself, but don’t force yourself on people. I never advocate forced marketing on social media or blogs. Simply make yourself known, add value, and good things will come of it.

Create Accountability

There is nothing quite like accountability to galvanize you into action.

It can be employed in all walks of life, from dieting, to fund-raising, to learning a foreign language. Tell people what you are aiming to do, and you will be far more determined to do it. That is exactly what I am doing with this blog.

So, set an Endgame and goals as above. Then tell everyone – friends, family, your dog — what you are trying to do.

Yes, this can backfire. But hopefully, if you have employed realism, then it will not. And the massive benefit will be the increased drive to reach your Endgame. I don’t know about you, but I value highly my ability to follow through on things, and as such, accountability provides me with a great deal of motivation.

If you want a real boost in terms of accountability, consider creating or joining a mastermind group.

3. Practical Adjustments

These are tangible actions that you can start on right now. And if you are feeling underwhelmed by your situation, I suggest  that you do.

Get Away

Take a walk to clear your head. Even if it’s raining. Especially if it’s raining. Have a swim. Or sit down in a quiet room and think. Just get away from blogging.

The activity needs to give you time with yourself. You will be amazed at what kind of positive thoughts can surface when you give yourself the opportunity to clear your mind.

Generate Enthusiasm With The Passion Of Others

There are resources all over the internet that can galvanise you and set you back onto the path of enthusiasm. I couldn’t tell you what they all are. However, if your field is internet marketing and/or blogging (which it likely is if you find yourself on my blog), then I can happily recommend the following:

Be sure to ration these out. In my experience, reading more than one of these in a sitting tends to leave you feeling rather overwhelmed!

Confide

Talk to someone who you trust. Explain your situation – your frustrations, your lack of enthusiasm and drive. Getting someone else’s perspective on your situation can often be very revealing.

If You’re Still Struggling…

If you still lack any enthusiasm for blogging, I would advise that you take a few days off. By that, I mean that you do nothing connected with your online presence at all. No blogging, no tweeting, no reading of other websites connected to your interests. Get away from it all.

See how you feel after that. You may come back refreshed, in which case, you should then action the above things, to reinforce that fresh enthusiasm.

If you’re still lost at sea, then fortunately I can still help. Check out my article, Thinking Of Giving Up? Read This. And of course, you can always contact me. You are not alone!

The Value Of Action

Written by Tom Ewer on July 8, 2011. 8 Comments

The Value Of ActionJust a quick note before I start –  the photo in this article has absolutely no relevance to the subject matter. It is just AWESOME, and needed to be here. Enjoy!

If you have been following this blog closely then you may have noticed that I have not yet offered anything in the way of strategic advice relating to internet marketing. This might seem rather odd to you, given that Leaving Work Behind is geared towards making money online.

But it is not actually odd at all. I will offer advice on such topics, all in good time. I will do so only when I feel I am sufficiently experienced. There are far too many people out there whose “advice” is not matched by the requisite level of expertise. I have pledged to myself (and now to you) that I will never fall into the trap of offering unqualified advice.

What you can find on my blog at this time are musings on success, mindset, attitude, and so on. Things I know all about. I may not yet be a six figure internet marketer, but momma didn’t raise no fool. I have learnt a thing or two in my life about the topics I blog about, which is why I blog about them.

There is no shortcut to success. You need to read, take action, then rinse and repeat. But be sure not to fall into the trap of just reading – the best form of experience is by your own actions. The sooner you realise this, the quicker you will progress.

The more I delve into the world of internet marketing, the more I realise that there are 101 ways to do everything. Two respected internet marketers may disagree vehemently on a particular strategy. So who is correct? Perhaps neither of them; perhaps both. The only way you will know is you test their arguments and learn for yourself.

Success will probably come to you more quickly if you devote half of the time you currently spend reading, to action. Even if you read the best method of website promotion ever, it won’t be of any use to you until you take action.

And do not be afraid to fail. If failure leads to you giving up, then you haven’t got your head screwed on straight. Failure is one of the greatest teaching tools available. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it.

In broad terms, the difference between ultimate success and failure is defined simply by those who give up, and those who don’t. Be sure you are in the second category.

So, what is my “killer tactic”? Well, it isn’t a one liner, that’s for sure. It is everything that I have said in this post. But for ease of use, I will summarise:

Now do something, right away, that benefits your business. Once you are finished, feel satisfied that you have taken one step closer to success.

Photo courtesy of kire

How To Succeed

Written by Tom Ewer on July 6, 2011. 16 Comments

How To SucceedEveryone aspires to greater things. Maybe you want to be a millionaire. Maybe you want to spend the rest of your life doing what you love. Or perhaps you want both, and more (that’s me – sorry for being greedy).

If you have ambitious aspirations, considering how to achieve them can be overwhelming. After all, how on earth do you actually become a millionaire? Despite what many of the snake oil salesmen out there would like you to think, no one has yet written an instruction manual.

In order to make sense of your aspirations, you need to map out a clearly defined path. That path will change as your journey develops, but the vital thing is to know at any point, in which direction you are heading, and why.

Success Is Like Learning To Play Guitar

Have you ever tried to learn to play the guitar? At first, it seems impossible. There seems to be no possible way to contort your fingers in the appropriate manner in order to produce a pleasant noise. However, you persist, knowing that many others have done it before you. If they can play guitar, why can’t you?

At some point, after a great deal of persistence, it begins to click. You can string together a few basic chords. Whilst it previously seemed to be nothing more than a chore, practice starts to become rewarding. With momentum on your side, you practice more and more, and your skills improve exponentially.

Over time, you might settle into a groove, happy with your ability. Perhaps you are perfectly content to just be able to bash out simple three chord songs. To maintain that level of skill is now easy.

Alternatively, you might decide to up your skill set. At this point, a new journey begins – you may be great at your three chord songs, but the “Stairway To Heaven” solo seems a long way off. But again, you know it can be done, and understand that all it takes is practice, time, and application.

Learning to play guitar provides a great analogy for the path to success.

How To Understand The Path To Success

If you are going to try to succeed at anything, you need to be aware of some key realisations:

  1. It can be done
  2. You can do it
  3. It is a process

If you understand and execute these three realisations in the correct fashion, you will succeed.

Accepting the first two realisations is based on having the correct mental attitude, and I am not going to discuss them in this article. What I am focusing on in this article is the process.

Make Sure The Cracks Aren’t Chasms

If you want to be successful (by whatever standard you hold yourself to), then it is vital to be able to visualise how you are going to get there. Many people fail in their aspirations because there is too far a gap between one progressive step and the next.

Visualise your success as a series of cracks in the ground. If they are just small cracks, then you can step over them and in time you will reach your target. However, if those cracks grow into chasms, you can no longer move forwards. One of the keys to success is to eradicate the impassable chasms, so you can step over the cracks with relative ease.

The Process

So how do we translate these analogies into practical advice? There is a rather simple process you can follow. It provides the framework for success. I will apply the process to my aspirations, in order to provide you with a practical example.

Step 1 – Define Your Endgame

An Endgame is something which makes a major positive impact on your life. To discover what your Endgame is, see my article “What Do You Want?” You may feel that you already know what your Endgame is – be sure to check the article out anyway – you may surprise yourself.

Your Endgame represents a long-term aspiration. It should be clearly defined and serve as a motivator. Here are some examples:

Endgames should be what drive you. If there is no Endgame, then you either need to check your pulse, or you need to realise that you already have everything you want from life (in which case, congratulations). Progressing will be awfully difficult if you don’t know what are trying to progress towards.

So what is my Endgame? Simple – as explained in “What Do You Want?”, my Endgame is to serve a letter of resignation no later than 23rd May 2012.

Step 2 – Define Your Target

Once you have defined your Endgame, you can define your Target. Your target is typically what is required to ultimately facilitate your Endgame.

Therefore, my Target is to grow an online income that is sufficient enough to support my quality of life. That will allow me to quit my job.

Now a path is starting to take shape. I know what I want, and I know (in broad terms) what I need to do in order to get there.

Step 3 – Decide How To Hit Your Target

This is a little more difficult to work out, but far from impossible. In fact, your strategy might be quite implausible, but that is okay. At this stage you are setting nothing in stone – the key is to be aiming for something. If you realise at some stage that your aim is unrealistic, then you know that you need to adjust accordingly. It is this kind of objective thinking that will keep you on the right path. It is very easy to criticise those who chase their dreams, whilst you chase nothing.

So, how am I going to hit my Target? Well I have around 11 months left, so it is likely that I will start other projects, but my only active project at this time is my niche site (Modeling For Kids). As such, that project needs to allow me to hit my Target.

Therefore, I need Modeling For Kids to generate an income sufficient enough to support my quality of living.

I should bring up a caveat at this stage. Relying on one source of income is very risky, and is not something I would recommend. In fact, in the back of my mind, I know that I would not be likely to stake my livelihood on one niche site. However, it can be very easy to overcomplicate your Targets, so I am keeping it simple. If I got to the position whereby my niche site was generating a sufficient income, I would then need to decide whether or not that was enough to consider having reached my Endgame, or whether I needed to adjust my Target. As stated above, don’t worry too much if your aim isn’t perfectly practical or realistic, so long as it is a movement in the right direction.

Step 4 – Define Actionable Goals

Saying that you need to achieve “x” is one thing, but figuring out how is something else altogether.

However, if you have a fundamental understanding of your undertaking, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

So let’s use my niche site as an example. I need it to generate an income. Therefore I need traffic (who will buy), and a product (to sell to them).

Traffic will bring newsletter subscriptions. I can then develop a product that my subscribers want, and sell it to them. It sounds simple, and it is, in principle. The difficulty is in the execution.

So, actionable goals are as follows:

  1. Produce quality content on a consistent basis
  2. Reach 1st spot on Google for my key phrase
  3. Build a subscriber base
  4. Produce and sell a product

You would likely develop these goals so that they are more specific. For example, I will need a large enough traffic and subscriber base (x thousand) with which to sell enough copies of my product in order to produce a sufficient income.

Step 5 – Consider Your Actionable Goals And Execute

We’re now down to the lowest common denominator – what can you do on a daily basis in order to achieve your actionable goals?

Well, I am already carrying out step 1, by producing three quality articles per week.

I am working towards step 2 by building backlinks, submitting articles, and ensuring that my site is well optimised (amongst other tactics).

Steps 3 and 4 are on the backburner, as they rely upon the results of steps 1 and 2.

The key is, when I set my tasks for the day, I am doing it with my Goals, Target, and Endgame in mind.

Your Path To Success Is Definable

By now you should be able to, in principle, see a clear path to success. It is highly motivating to know that the steps you are taking on a daily basis bring you closer to your Endgame.

Now it is almost inevitable that you will hit stumbling blocks and will have to reconfigure your steps to success, but as mentioned previously (and it doesn’t hurt to repeat it), the vital thing is to know at any point in which direction you are heading, and why.

Knowing that every positive action you take, on a daily basis, is taking you one step closer to your Endgame, is extraordinarily empowering. Harness that energy.

How to Figure Out What You Want From Life (And Get It)

Written by Tom Ewer on July 4, 2011. 12 Comments

What Do You Want?One of the keys to success is to decide what you are aiming for, then figure out how to get there. It sounds simple in principle, doesn’t it?

You may not have a clear enough idea of what you are aiming for, even if you think that you do. If you do not, then you will ultimately lack the motivation and drive necessary for success.

And the key to motivation, in simple terms, is knowing what you want.

An initial desire to “be successful” will only take you so far. At some point, you are going to need to justify all the hard work you are putting in. If at that stage you lack any clear direction, your motivation is likely to hit the floor.

So, what is it that you want from life? Keep Reading

A Call To Arms

Written by Tom Ewer on July 1, 2011. 18 Comments

A Call To ArmsBrace yourself for a flow of consciousness. This is not a ‘traditional’ blog post, with lots of carefully thought out subtitles and the like. I am here to disclose my core beliefs as to how we can ultimately achieve success. Not with ‘The Best Article Marketing Method’, or ‘The Ultimate SEO Guide’, but with real and meaningful ideas as to how we can progress as a group. If you have the patience to read this complete article, then I know you’re with me.

I want to get to know you. And if I can, I want to help you.

If you’ve been around the block then you will have heard those lines many times before. They’re very easy to type, but to actually mean it is rare. I have lost count of the amount of newsletter subscriptions that promised so much, but delivered only hard sells. I am fed up of it.

So I want to try something quite unique. I’m not going to pretend like I am re-inventing the wheel – it just seems to me that most people are driving around on octagons. There are some out there who are genuine people, with genuine intentions. But not many.

I don’t know how best to word this, but for want of a better expression, I am open for business. However, if you have read my article “Why I Am NOT Trying To Make Money From This Blog”, you will know that I am not selling anything. So what is my business?

I’m in the business of community. My trade is getting to know people. I want to know what you’re having difficulty with. Now I’m no expert (and 99% of those who claim to be aren’t either), so if I can’t help you, then I will refer you to someone who can. I don’t mind if you head off to their blog and never look back – I just want to help.

A Call To ArmsSo what’s up with this? Where is the angle? I don’t even believe in karma, so my approach may not be making a great deal of sense to you.

There is no angle as such; I simply believe in the power of community.

Of course I have my own financial goals and I am certainly not trying to hide that from you. But when it comes to Leaving Work Behind, those goals are not my priority. I am thinking of brand, reputation, and community. Establish a reason to be worthwhile to people, and the rest will fall into place. Forget money, forget living the rest of your days on a beachfront condo in South America – that will come if you focus on helping others and providing value.

So where do you come in? Well, quite frankly, wherever you want to. If you have a problem, I will try to help you. You may see yourself as above me in terms of expertise, and that is absolutely great – more power to you – I’d love to see you hang around though. Doubters are welcome too – constructive criticism based upon differing opinions can be eye-opening.

So who are you? Well, you’re absolutely anyone. Discrimination romps around in bed with negativity and I want nothing to do with either.

There is strength in numbers. The internet is a very big place – I wouldn’t get too worried about competition. I would be worried about doing what you do right, knowing that a whole load of people have got your back. I can rave all day long about accountability, sharing, mutual partnerships, and sharing advice – all of these things come with community.

A Call To ArmsSo, consider this blog an open house. This isn’t my blog – this is our blog – and if you see me referring to it as my blog, I want you to give me a (virtual) kick up the arse. This isn’t about my journey – it’s about our journey.

I want to be sat in front of my computer screen in a year’s time and see our community having achieved. I want us to all allow ourselves a satisfied chuckle at what is possible with the power of community. I want us all to look back at this post and know this is where it started.

Who’s with me?

Photos courtesy of …Vincent…, dmdzine, ~Zoe~ and Willemvdk