I’ve talked about the unimportance of having perfect English in the past.
Dragos is from Romania and while his English is not perfect, his writing is pretty damn good, as you’ll soon find out.
But that also means that if you intend to make a business out of your blog, you will have to face an enormous competition. Literally, tens of thousands of people will compete on the niche you picked up.
So, why did I start? After all, I had a successful online business in Romania for more than 10 years. I could have easily stay on the same market and do the same thing.
But I didn’t. Instead, after selling my online business two years ago, I started a personal development blog in English. And I grew it to roughly 5000 subscribers.
You wanna know why?
For starters, because I love challenges. I love to pick up “impossible” tasks and finish them. But there is also another reason behind my choice to blog in English, and that would be a very practical one.
It’s about the market size. If I would have started a blog in Romanian, my potential exposure would have been at best one million people. In English, my potential exposure is around 250 millions. If you intend to make a business out of your blog, you can’t ignore these numbers.
Ok, but how do you get there? Wanting to climb the Everest is one thing, but doing it is something completely different.
Level One: The Plan
First of all, I made a medium term plan. For two years. Not a long term plan, not a short term plan. Just two years. Why is this important? Because blogging is not a sprint, it is a long run. If you want to win it in a spring, like in a few months or something, you will soon be burned and dried. Similarly, if you spread your efforts too thin, you won’t be able to make an impact.
There are also some technical reasons for a two years plan. First of all, you’re going to mean something for search engines only after you have a significant amount of content. And that won’t happen in 4-5 months. You gotta have at least a few hundreds articles to be considered a reliable content producer.
Search engines are becoming smarter and smarter and their algorithms are more and more accurate. So, you gotta be up there for good if you want Google to play nicely with you.
And there is also an often ignored detail about the human attention span. No matter how brilliant you are, no matter how clever, smart or persuasive, you will only get a tiny part of your audience attention. It’s like you’re having a river flowing from your mind, but they won’t be able to absorb more than a garden hose.
Because, you know, they have a life outside this blogging world. They have jobs, families, friends. They can’t spend their life reading your blog. All you can hope is to make an impression of them, so they will remember you and return, let’s say in a few months. And then in a few months after that.
This is why you need a medium term plan.
Level Two: The Habit
After I made that plan, I created a new habit. The habit of writing. I didn’t have this before I started to blog. I was running an online business with niche websites about cars, food and stuff like that.
I did have the habit of managing other people, of negotiating contracts, but nothing that could resemble to writing a two thousands words article in English every other day.
In the beginning my articles were clumsy, to say the least. I didn’t have any English lessons in my education. I did graduated the Faculty Of Letters from the University Of Bucharest, but I studied French, not English.
If I read some of the articles I wrote in the beginning now, I suddenly feel the urge to correct them. When I don’t feel the need to delete them, of course.
But what counted at that time wasn’t the quality of my work. What counted was the ability to create this habit. I knew I had a really important message to get out. I had the chance to have a very rich life in unexpected and challenging events.
The value of what I wanted to share wasn’t at stake. But finding a way to do that constantly, streamlining the process, optimizing the whole mechanism, well, that was at stake. You cannot build excellence if you don’t create habits around it.
Level Three: The Reward
Whoever is gonna tell you that they’re doing things just for the sake of it, they’re lying to you, big time. We’re not designed to function in such a way. We need rewards. Even if that reward comes in the form of just a “thank you”, it’s still a reward.
We live in an ever energy exchanging universe. Whatever we do has an impact. And, in order to move forward, we also need something else to have an impact on us. Most of the time, we need an acknowledgement of what we just did. A confirmation. A reward.
Why the short philosophical paragraph? Because at some point, some place along my path of the two years plan, after I implemented the habit of writing every other day, something happened.
In the huge fabric made by those dozens of millions of blogs, in the constant noise produced by all the other people trying to get their message out there, something changed.
Somehow, my voice started to be heard. I started to get comments on my blog. I started to be linked on other blogs. I got featured on lifehacker. Twice in less than ten days. I started to receive rewards.
And I’m not talking only about the “standard” things like recognition, or influence, or even money. I’m talking about incredible things happening to me out of the blue. Some girl in Canada started to proof read my posts, just because she liked what I wrote.
Go figure. A day ago she didn’t even know I existed, now she’s proofreading my posts. Another girl from Australia translated one of my most popular posts to… Japanese! I got interviewed almost every month and I started to receive invitations at business events, as a motivational speaker.
It just worked. 🙂
What’s The Catch?
Ok, I hear you loud and clear: “What about the title? What does that have to do with what you wrote? What’s the catch?”.
Well, it’s all about the way you look at things. If you want to grow a blog in English without any formal education in this language, then every single obstacle you’ll face will become an opportunity.
An opportunity to learn, an opportunity to meet new people, an opportunity to put another brick at your dream house. It all depends on how you look at it. If you want to stop, then there’s an obstacle. If you’re committed to go over it (or even through it, for what matters) than that thing is just an opportunity.
That’s the only idea you have to take home from this article. Whatever is blocking your way right now, it’s an opportunity. Stay with it.
Accept it and integrate it in your medium term plan.
Even more, make a habit of coping with that thing.
And, before you’ll know it, you will start receiving the reward.
Dragos Roua is a businessman, blogger, and life enthusiast. If you want to read more articles by him, visit his personal development blog.