Information, tips, and advice is coming at us from all angles. In some cases, great people that you admire are sharing their advice, just like I am sharing mine on this blog.
But in the end it all comes down to cherry-picking what works for you. It’s a balancing act, because the newer you are to the game, the less you can cherry-pick, because you don’t know what will work.
It’s also much harder to know what will work for you if you haven’t gotten started, because you just feel like you should learn everything, which is not a path to glory.
When you pick a direction, and you focus, you dramatically decrease the information you need.
A Few Days Ago = Confusion
So a few days ago I was confused about the kind of content I should be producing on this blog. I was afraid, confused, and overwhelmed. You know… the usual suspects.
I was worrying and wondering if I was doing something wrong. Now that I’m adding in the whole “get paid to do what you love” topic, I thought I should limit myself to topics such as “How to Make Money” or “5 Ways to Increase Your Traffic”.
That didn’t really resonate with me.
It didn’t resonate with me at all.
I’ve been trying to do that, but it hasn’t felt right, and if it doesn’t feel right, something needs to be changed.
It Finally Clicked
I was trying to be someone I’m not. I had read what was right, and what was not-so-right, and I believed conformity was the way to go.
I was wrong.
I somehow thought that I couldn’t blend the personal development side of me with the making money side.
As you may know, I love chatting with a specialist in confusion elimination when I run into a wall, so I grabbed a session with Marissa Bracke, and she helped me realize that blending the two topics isn’t a weakness; it’s a strength.
Sometimes you can’t see what’s right in front of you until someone points it out.
I was trying to be professional, and I realized that whatever the price for being professional is, it’s not worth it if it isn’t making me bubble with passion.
I Am Who I Am
And if I can’t write about the topics I love, then I might as well quit.
There’s a lot of baggage that comes with helping people build small online businesses. My biggest obstacle is how I should go about all this, because I do want to make a living helping people rock it.
To be honest, it scares me a bit a lot, and sometimes I need to talk to someone to calm me down, and help me regain clarity.
I’m as confused as the next person, but I’m doing my best, and I trust my intuition to guide me to where I need to be.
So instead of trying to put a label on myself, or “follow the rules”, I’m just going to be me.
Stella Stopfer says
Well, I used to write another blog a couple of years ago in a very very popular niche, but it was nothing like the others. It was hard to push through and to believe I could succeed by being so different and completely unknown in this niche, but I kept doing what I wanted. I didn’t adapt or change. And people started flocking to me for advice at some point down the road. So while I can say that being different from others is something people should go for (not do what others are doing just because you see them successful), I have to say that reaching out to people, being a “human being”, not a “wannabe guru”, and communicating a lot has helped me the most.
It’s funny, because just being human surprises people a lot of the time, which at the same time is scary, because it gets me thinking what all those other people are doing!
Tom Huntington says
Well, Henri, that’s it. If we all knew how to “be human beings” and lived our lives every day as “human beings”, it would be a very different world. I think that effective “personal development” is really about “learning to be a human being.” AND I am convinced (based on a lot of brain development/child development research) that the primary job of parents and teachers is to teach their children and students “how to be human beings” — no two of which are exactly alike!!!
Thanks Henri & Stella — two of my fellow human beings
Stella is right, and that’s why I read your blog. It’s a guiding star leading me in the direction I want to go. If the content starts edging over into sell-sell-sell, it starts looking like where I already went that didn’t work out. It’s not easy to stick with what you yourself personally have to say, but it fits with how I want to be in the world. So it is wonderful and encouraging to see you ARE actually doing and writing about what you love. Authentic and honest are two good words for your blog content, helpful and specific are the next two. Follow your heart!
Thanks, Meg! The sell-sell-sell thing definitely isn’t pleasant. At the same time we can’t be afraid of selling, it just has to come from an honest place that makes sense, without a lot of the pressure!
Steve Kinsey says
I’ve been down that road myself and you cannot force yourself to write a certain way or limit your own interests / writing style. If you write from the heart about subjects you love, you will always make for a much more interesting blog. I really enjoy your work.
Couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Steve!
I just took your survey and basically said what I’m going to say right here–thank you, Henri, for being willing to be vulnerable and share your process step-by-step with your audience.
We don’t need more gurus. We need more helpful friend who are a couple steps ahead (in some ways maybe) who can share the nuggets of hard-earned wisdom they’ve picked up in that stretch of the path yawning between inexperienced and more experienced.
It’s fun to watch you figure out how to do what you’re trying to do. And it’s helpful to hear that you’re having fears come up along the way–shocker, you’re human!
Can’t wait to see how it continues to unfold.
Fears, overwhelm, worry is all over the place. Most of the time I’m fine and rocking, but other days are not so easy, but like you said, I’m human. We’re all human.
Thanks for sharing your brain, Matt!
I’m only starting out but I do feel the constant call to be totally authentic, and follow my own star. I think it’s a beautiful thing to see yourself and others proving this to be the way. I’m so sick of being told to fit into a mold. I thank you deeply for being such a brave soul, and breaking ground for what I believe is a new and wondrous emerging business paradigm.
Awesome stuff, Diana! Thank you for the kind words 🙂
Tom Huntington says
Yup! Right on, Henri!
You’ve hit the bulls eye again with your honesty. And I really resonate with your challenge. I think it’s the challenge of every artist (and every human being who wants to be “the artist of his/her life”). To be successful you need to be able to give, relate, serve the group, the customers, the clients . . . . so “give em what they want” is one strategy for success and if you’re unbalanced in that direction, you’re going to lose yourself . . . but if you’re unbalanced in the other direction and don’t care about what the audience (customer, client) wants, you’re not likely to be successful in taking good care of yourself ’cause you’ll be all alone.
I’m convinced that I have alot to offer, but my lack of finding an audience is giving me the message that I need to put more attention on where my (future) audience wants — but how do I do that without losing my unique message??? Hm-m-m? That’s the dilemma. I’m sure I’ll figure it out (or not).
Thanks Henri for your consistent inspiration.
It’s not an easy road, but it sure is fulfilling. It’s funny because even when you get over that dilemma, you might be faced with another one, which gently reminds you that it’s all about the journey, and being in the now.
Tom Huntington says
Thanks, Henri, and of course I will be faced with another dilemma when I get over this one. If I’m really “in my life”, I’ve got a “dilemma” every moment — do I do this now? Or do I do that now? Do I read my email now? Or do I eat my breakfast now? Do I make the effort to be centered and grounded in myself in the present right now as I respond to your comment on my comment, or do I just say “blah, blah, blah” to make a comment that I know will be “acceptable” or to “get it over with” so I can hurry on to some future task on my “to do list”. Every moment life is a dilemma to be lived fully (or not).
Thanks, Henri, for your support,
I’ve learned this similar lesson over and over again. Passion is SO important to stick to! For me it’s also a matter of not being rushed into things. Sure, there’s way to get things done out there which are better than my ways. But if I’m changing suddenly to conform, instead of gradually learning my way through things, I’m not happy and not effective. Yet, if I focus on one step at a time and follow my heart then things work out – even if I’m not doing everything the “right way” at first.
I really enjoy your openness and just knowing that you want to help people out there “rock it” is enough to motivate me for the better. THANKS!
Yup. There’s so much we ‘could’ do, and so many ways that seem better, but we have to pick what works and what resonates for us. Not always easy, but necessary!
You gotta stay true to yourself and write about what you want to write about. Some readers may not like it and they may unsubscribe, but most readers follow your blog because they are interested in you, not necessarily a specific topic.
I write about a rather broad series of topics, some about business, others about dating and others about general life stuff. Sometimes I wonder if it’s too broad, but I enjoy writing about all those things and I feel they are all related to my idea of ‘Upgrading your Reality’.
Henri, Keywords, such as authenticity, passion, and honesty, offered by the previous commenters reflect what you offer to your readers. They emanate from the frank sharing of your experiences, which, like a good biography, have the potential and power to inspire. It’s not just about the information, it’s about you and how you’ve processed and articulated your experiences.
Ireti Paul says
Sincerely have been off track so many times due to the wrong kind of information i gathered at my table. Informations at our disposal are just too much and its takes a great deal of strength to figure out what works and not. Time is too short for experiments and we just have to engage our inner self to trust whatever we finally decide to take on. Getting lost in the middle of the journey is not something bad at all. Its part of the whole game and that’s why we need mentors to guide us and a trusted friend to talk open up and chat with. I value my inner circle associates so much and they really help in time of confusion.
Confusion and distraction is part of the game. Lets welcome it and find a way when never we find ourselves in it. Henri, thanks for your complete openness.
There’s always time for experiments, especially when they are done right! We have to jump in and do things. Not just try a little bit, but work hard, very hard.
Being yourself is the blog formula itself!
People are expecting to read about and communicate with a real person, not just read some technical information and interact with a computer script.
Honesty and openness are those things that make the difference between a simple commercial site and a blog like yours. Keep Going Henri!
Excellent blog post. Personally, I think that to be successful online requires a considerable amount of personal development anyway, so covering both topics in your blog is definitely the right way to go. Fear is one of the biggest factors that holds people back from achieving what they really want, and no one really addresses this in detail, alongside showing people how to be successful and achieve their dreams.
Building your own online business requires a different skill set, and brings new challenges, concerns, and excitement. Having you cover those issues in your personal development posts, is what helps people the most in some ways.
Keep doing what you are doing Henri, you are delivering so much, to so many people.
Agreed! There are really a lot of great how-to advice out there, but the fear that paralyzes people is a huge problem. It stops me in my tracks from time to time as well, but I’ve learned to deal with it throughout the years. It’s not always easy, but it works for me.
Thanks for stopping by, Mary. Always a pleasure 🙂
Exactly. Starting another blog is a lot of work, so that’s definitely not going to happen now, but in the future you never know 😉
You know, I think the thing that stops me so much from being myself is the fear of exposure. I mean, when I start I’m always very nervous about what people will say, what will they think, if they’d laugh at me, if they’d resonate and so on.
The first test content I create faces used to be (for a really short time) feedback given by friends. Not so long ago I wouldn’t even tell them I created something. I wouldn’t want them to know ’cause I was afraid of their reaction. I wanted to be anonymous. I wanted my work to be anonymous. Now I’m not. I’ve overcome this fear (in great part with your help).
So then I started to care for what they say. If they had some advice I didn’t agree with, I’d still follow it. And now I don’t give a damn.
I mean, why should I? I do what I do. I do what I love. I don’t give a shit about negative friends’ reactions. But… Yeah, there’s always a ‘but’… I’m afraid that no one will resonate. That no one will go and check out my blog. That no one will give a shit about what I create.
I know it’s great content. I know people will follow. But sometimes I get scared and think that maybe people are so dumb and I’m going to fail.
Ahh… It’s hard life, isn’t it? But I love it! 🙂
Thank you Henri for what you do. You rock! 🙂
If the feedback is just straight out negative and not constructive, then yeah, just ignore it. I think everyone gets scared in different ways, so whatever you’re feeling is completely normal.
Keep rocking, and thanks for hanging out! 🙂
Kudos for the honesty and vulnerability in putting your thoughts and feelings out there, sharing with us all in the way you do is inspiring – what you’ve been going through seems to be something we all go through at one point or another – and following your PASSION is the right response ! …and yes, it seems the ‘fearmonster’ is always around the corner, especially when you are out there following your own path, being the ‘most you’ that you can be… but like you said, it’s about pushing through it .- ***
You ARE helping people, and you certainly ARE rockin it already, so keep being you and walking the path that makes you the most happy – it will always be the best path to be on!
Thanks a lot for the encouragement. One of the reasons I keep sharing the highs as well as the lows is exactly because I know there are people out there going through the same thing.
AM Howe says
Thank you for this article exactly when I needed it. I’m writing in a very narrow niche and trying to widen up my focus to gain an audience. It’s hard to know how far to diversify but if I am ever to see my dreams become reality it’s going to take an audience. I completely relate to your angst and wish you the best in finding balance. Your blog has been quite enjoyable to read!
Thanks! One step at a time. One day at a time, and you’ll get there!
First time commenting on your blog from me – not that I haven’t had anything to say before, but I felt like I should comment on this post .. weird huh?!
I just wanted to say keep going and you’ll get where you want to be in the end, but always remember to enjoy yourself whilst you are doing it – my mother used to say to me when I was young that if somethings not fun, it’s not worth doing … and I’ve held that to heart to this day.
So I think as long as your having fun doing something keep doing it – otherwise find a way to make it fun and you’ll get to where you want to be!
Although I’m a complete n00b to this professional blogging game, blogs like yours are opening my eyes to what I should be aiming for and giving me so many ideas – so here’s a big THANK YOU and please continue doing what you do!! 🙂
Sounds like your mother was a very wise woman. Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Keep having fun! 😉
I was working a job I hated. On my lunch (same lunch walk every day for a few years) I would notice my forehead was crunched into a tightly, wrinkled frown. Without me trying.
Eventually, after getting crap from my bosses for ‘trying to be myself’, I left not just my job but my career AND the city I lived in.
Now I’m a personal trainer, life coach and blog author. Just a baby but making gentle progress.
Thanks for replying to me recently, Henri!
Awesome stuff, Andy!
Mikko Kemppe says
Funny that you mentioned this topic. I was just thinking about this same thing and wrote a blog post about it also. For the longest time I have been trying to find out my one true passion. Just recently I have come to terms with the fact that I have many like salsa dancing, dating coaching health and nutrition, internet marketing, minimalism and urban mobile lifestyle. And I am planning to write about them all. 🙂 By the way, it is always nice to see another Finn rocking it in the on-line world :)! Pidetaan Suomen lippu korkealla :)!!
Sometimes putting topics together in new ways is what makes you stand out. Follow your heart and keep rocking.
Fear is usually the culprit whenever I find myself trying to be someone I am not for the sake of “making a great post” so I can monetize on an article or a new blog. As a result, I end up compromising my passion and the things I love. Eventually, the projects I attempt to start end up not getting anywhere.
There were times when a whole day isn’t enough for me to finish articles for someone, and I know now that it’s because I’m trying to be someone else. I’ve lost my voice as a writer during those times.
It really helps to hear someone else point this important fact out. This wake up call will help us out a lot. Thanks!
Archan Mehta says
Fear can hold you back from making progress.
For example, you want to do what you love, but your mind creates 20 reasons why that plan won’t work and is doomed to fail. This paralysis through analysis can be a bitter pill to swallow in he long run.
I am not against being balanced and objective, but sometimes you just need a leap of faith. That helps you take those baby steps. In turn, that can ultimately lead to success. l
Thank the good Lord JK Rowling did not listen to her market research analysts. Rowling just wrote Harry Potter and today she is a billionaire and no longer a starving artist.
You need to listen to the whispers of your gut instinct. That smooth talker does not like to shout and will test you every time and leave you unless you learn to pay attention. Cheers.