One of the biggest ways I’ve been able to sustain my career as the CEO of My Life is that I’ve kept the faith. I’ve maintained the belief that I have a diverse, extensive skill set that’s needed in the current market. I’ve held out hope that as long as I get out of bed, put in the work as best I can, and deliver as expected, that I’ll keep clients, and continue to get new ones.
But it is inevitable that doubt will work like hell to chip away at faith.
I’ve been in a little bit of a funk since I got back from vacation — more than just the usual post-vacation blues. I’ve got a lot going on in my head and I’m doing my best to sort things out.
Can Creativity Ultimately Lead to Passive Income?
As a creative person, I don’t get to choose when inspiration hits, although I do actively work to stay creative. But aside from general anxiety and dealing with a cloud of grief, I am also trying to think ahead for the route of my business.
I can’t speak for all entrepreneurs, but I don’t think I’m alone in ultimately wanting to pull in some passive income — something that makes money while I’m sleeping, when I’m on vacation, or simply, when the slow season hits.
An obvious place for me to expect an income stream would be this blog. I’ve had it for nine years, have published more than 1,300 posts, and have spent countless hours on its design and publishing schedule.
But over the years, I’ve seen a strong decline in the number of people that visit, and an even smaller number of people that subscribe or engage with my content by leaving a comment, following me on social media, or even simply clicking on a link for something I’ve mentioned.
In all honesty, the numbers have never meant too much to me. I didn’t start this blog to make money or gain popularity, and still, there are many times I forget that people do read it.
I suppose it’s easy to not worry about numbers when they are good, right? I had thousands of active readers years ago when I chose to share a play-by-play, detailed account of what happened when I dated an alcoholic; a relationship that changed my life completely.
But, my life can’t always produce that type of content, and this blog shifted along with my life — there’s much less, if any, content here about dating and relationships, and more content about books, business, and the overall dealings with life.
And while I’m perfectly fine with that, I can’t help but wonder why I can’t pull a larger, more engaged audience. I see so many articles about making $1,000 in your first month of blogging or “How I Get to be an At-Home Mom by Using Pinterest”, when I haven’t seen that kind of dough in the entire LIFESPAN of this thing.
I start to think… maybe I’m not so great at this.
That, right there, is the doubt.
Dealing With Doubt & Social Comparison in the Age of Instagram
The reason this blog isn’t a money-making machine is because I never built it to be one. When I work with my Blogging students or my clients, we build their blogs differently, following data-driven tactics to ensure a higher ranking in Google, a positive user-experience, and most of all, engagement.
Not a single method that I use in my professional life have I implemented on this blog. Why? Because nothing sucks the fun out of something more than obligation.
I see a lot of influencers on Instagram and it’s easy to get sucked in to the filtered world they’re publishing, the vacations, the clothes… Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic that we live during a time when everyone has the tools to run a business from their phone.
But if Instagram disappeared today, what would happen to those businesses? Because I’ve seen the blogs; I’ve scoured the content trying to understand what they’re doing differently to get paid partnerships, and — I’m really trying my best to not sound like a hater — it’s nothing I or likely any of you reading this couldn’t do.
It’s sort of like that time I was influenced to buy Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi, and it ended up tasting like absolute shit.
It’s the difference between content being run by businesses and content being driven by intellect.
Please do not read this and think that I’m undermining any paid bloggers or influencers, because they work their asses off and likely do not get paid what they should.
Perhaps Instagram is a non-issue for you — comparison can come from TV, old high school friends, or heck, maybe just the coworker in the next cubicle.
There was a time I made a content calendar for my blog that was months ahead. Although I never had writer’s block or was without content, I found it wasn’t as enjoyable to write and I’m sure it came across in the posts.
And this is where I just have to keep reminding myself of the mission of this blog. I’m here to share my story. I don’t want to be recognized for the products I talk about or the TV shows I watch; I want to be seen as a writer and someone who always shares the truth.
The truth, as we all know, is not always easy or pretty or… marketable.
In many of those articles about making thousands of dollars Blogging, they also clearly point out that you can’t write what you want to write. In short, you write the things that will attract the most viewers and stick to that path.
No, thank you.
How to Push Doubt Aside & Get Back to Business
So where do I go from here?
I have to make more of an effort to remind myself why I do what I do, because in times of darkness, I lose sight of it and start comparing myself to others, which never ends well.
Everyone has different goals and measures success in their own way, and one thing I always tell my students is that, while I’m not making money directly from this blog, it’s how I get clients, jobs, and students.
It’s also been a tool for me as a writer, a blogger, and a person! It’s forced me outside of my comfort zone in many ways that I do not regret. All of these things are immeasurable.
Even in the last few days, I’ve started redirecting my energy to spend less time thinking about what other people are doing and focus more on what’s happening in my career, my life, etc.
It’s important to me to tap into my Spiritual Masters. For me, these are people producing content that I respect and admire, plus they’re putting positive energy into the world. Issa Rae and Lin-Manuel Miranda are two of my Spiritual Masters, but you can see the rest and get the back story here.
While I can learn to look past the numbers, I really would like to get some engagement. So, I made a list of a few tangible things I can do to hopefully get people involved. Don’t worry, nothing here on the blog will change.
I want this to be a place for discussion, where people can share ideas and thoughts. I ultimately want to be a resource for anyone looking to create and live their greatest life. I want to inspire when I can, and be honest when I’m called to do so.
If you made it to this part, thank you so much for reading my words.