A few weeks ago I announced that things were going to change around here and asked you to fill in a survey.
176 of you provided detailed and thoughtful responses, for which I am hugely grateful. It has opened my eyes to who you are in a way that I was not previously aware of.
In this post I want to explore that very topic (who LWB readers are) and then go on to explain what I intend to do with Leaving Work Behind in the near future.
Just Who Are You?
In a word, the LWB audience is diverse.
That is something of an understatement really. While there is a common thread that binds many of us (wanting to quit our jobs and live a freer and more rewarding life), and there are certain interests that some of us share – such as blogging – we are all very different people.
Let’s start with some basic demographical information:
Hello ladies 😉
The relatively minor sex imbalance is nothing combined to the huge age range that this blog attracts. There is no real ‘target age range;’ there’s a pretty even split of readers from late teens to 60, not to mention a considerable contingent of 60-plusers!
Okay; so how about some information that is a little more relevant to the LWB ethos?
Clear as mud.
Just over half of you are employed, and I assume that a fair majority (but certainly not all) of that 53% is interested in quitting their job. However, nearly half of you are self-employed or unemployed. So I’m catering to two completely different crowds.
That’s not particularly surprising, given that I started off employed and have ended up self-employed, but it doesn’t exactly help in terms of me knowing what I should be doing with the blog.
How about your interests? Perhaps that brings us all together…
…or perhaps not!
This was perhaps the biggest surprise to me; there is literally no standout topic that the LWB crowd at large are interested in. Blogging is arguably the most popular, but that in itself then has to be split up into personal blogging, professional blogging and freelance blogging.
Furthermore, there are a raft of alternative topics that I had no idea you were so interested in, such as Kindle publishing (go check out my friend Steve Scott for superb advice on that front) and mindset (this really surprised me, given that sales of Belief were so awful).
That’s not to mention your motivations. Some of you are young, ambitious and looking to make a lot of money. Others just want to pay off the mortgage in preparation for retirement. Others still are retired and just want something to keep themselves busy and provide a little extra income. And there are of course many of you that don’t fit into any of those three categories.
To sum up, I am talking to men and women, college graduates, retirees, the employed, the self-employed, the unemployed, happy people, unhappy people, aspiring bloggers, aspiring freelance bloggers, successful freelance bloggers, other freelancers, online marketers, self-improvement types, social media nuts, productivity enthusiasts, and more; all with varying motivations for doing whatever it is they want to do.
Like I said, you’re a diverse bunch.
What Does This All Mean?
If you read my previous post on the subject of where this blog is going, you’ll understand that I no longer feel as ‘connected’ to this blog as I once did. As I put it, “I am now living the leaving work behind concept vicariously.”
Jonathan Mead over at Paid to Exist put my feelings into words better than I could:
Over the years…I’ve become more and more dissonant with this message of reclaiming your freedom. Not because I don’t believe in its importance, but because it’s become harder for me to relate to the struggle of wanting to escape.
I don’t have the dog trying to bite my ass anymore.
I’ve had to learn to not be motivated by what I’m trying to run from but what I’m wanting to run toward. [Emphasis mine]
That last sentence encapsulates my outlook on life now, but it conflicts with what the initial (and arguably most important) stage of leaving work behind is all about: quitting your job and establishing a business that can sustain you.
That was the basis upon which I wrote my previous post. Now a few weeks have passed, I know more about you guys, and my vision is clearer.
Put simply and frankly, Leaving Work Behind isn’t the place for me anymore. It’s not where I can do my greatest work, nor is it where I can offer my greatest value.
Most motivated freelance bloggers have made their way to Paid to Blog or Paid to Blog Jobs, and I may well start up a blog there soon especially for freelance bloggers. Meanwhile, Beginner Blogging has only recently launched, but I am already very excited about its prospects (I’ll be announcing the launch of the Beginner Blogging blog soon).
That leaves me with Leaving Work Behind – a blog with two big chunks torn out of it, focusing on an ideology that I believe in deeply but have essentially outgrown.
That’s why it’s time for me to move on.
This Is Good News!
I see this as a new stage in Leaving Work Behind’s evolution rather than its demise.
After more than three years of hard work, 300+ posts, nearly 10,000 comments and 4,000+ community forum posts, there’s no way I’m just going to leave this place to rot. No way in hell. The thought alone stirs up some emotions in me that I’d preferably like to avoid.
In fact, I want to make Leaving Work Behind better for you. I want it to feature honest, open and inspiring stories; like my own posts were back in the day.
Furthermore, I want to make the best content on the blog more accessible to those who want to learn more about the topics I have written about here on Leaving Work Behind over the years.
My broad plan is for Leaving Work Behind to become a portal for people, from which they can access:
- Regularly published guest posts that feature personal case studies, unique experiences and inspiring stories.
- The best content the blog has to offer – past and present – on specific topics
I’m not even sure how this looks yet, but the point is that I will no longer be involved in ongoing content creation for the site, and someone else will be ‘in charge.’
At this point I am aiming to firm up my plans and start taking action accordingly.
I want to move fast on this so I can essentially draw a line under Leaving Work Behind – knowing that it is in good hands – and move on with my next project (which you will learn more about soon).
It wouldn’t surprise me if I do still write on Leaving Work Behind – this certainly won’t be my final post – and I will still respond to all emails that come through to me from the site, for the time being at least. But I want to release the blog from its shackles; the shackles I have imposed on it over the past several months through my own lack of true passion for what the site stands for.
This is far less about me walking away, and far more about relieving myself of any fixed commitment. For all I know, I might choose to return to Leaving Work Behind with great gusto in the future!
In conclusion, I wrote this post because:
- I wanted to let you know what was on my mind and give you an idea of what I have planned, and
- I want your feedback!
So now is the time. Please let me know in the comments section what you think about everything or anything I’ve said in this post. If you have any suggestions as to how Leaving Work Behind should continue to evolve, please don’t hesitate to share with us below!
As always, I look forward to hearing from you and interacting with you.
Photo Credit: Hobvias Sudoneighm