Many of you know I’ve changed directions on my personal blog over the past year, but what you may not know is the real story behind the transition. I had been blogging about business topics, which included WordPress, social media and a lot of things in between. I really wasn’t “feeling it” but continued my efforts as my traffic was increasing.
As my traffic and audience began to grow, my desire to write and the value I found in my blog took a dive. I really didn’t find any satisfaction in what I was doing, but kept it up so I wouldn’t lose my numbers. Meanwhile …
Years ago Steve Jobs tried to lure Pepsi executive John Sculley over to Apple. In typical fashion, Jobs smoothly asked:
“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”
It may sound like a silly question on the surface, but the depth of what Jobs was asking runs deeper than you think — at least it does for me.
Looking back on the last year of my life, I see the direction I was headed with my blog. Yes, the numbers were increasing, but the whole lot was lacking in personal satisfaction.
The turning point for me was the week I published a post about selling my Macbook Air for a Macbook Pro with Retina Display. That was a follow up to something I had written when I first purchased my Macbook Air.
I had close to 400 comments and was literally getting thousands of visitors a day just from those two posts alone — trust me, that is no exaggeration. To be honest, I didn’t know what to think of the surge in traffic, so I slapped Google AdSense on the two posts and was making less than a dollar per day.
I couldn’t help but feel a sense of “thirst” come over me — I was consuming this traffic but getting nothing out of it. In fact, it left me wanting more, and I knew something pretty significant had to change.
A Game Changing Decision
I was selling out in concept to something I didn’t even want. I was wearing a meritorious badge that represented absolutely nothing to me. As I watched the traffic and comments roll in, I realized I had missed the mark. I didn’t see any kind of end game with what was going on, and knew something different needed to happen.
I’m a passionate person, and although I love Apple, it was obvious my calling wasn’t to convince people why they should use a particular laptop. I want to be an encouragement, so I’m re-committing to three promises I made back then.
1|I promise to read more blogs.
Believe it or not, writing isn’t always proactive. For me, a lot of times, it’s actually reactive. There are a lot of amazing writers out there, and sadly I don’t spend enough time reading their work. I have a ton of blogs bookmarked for reading, yet never find the time go there and indulge myself. It’s pretty unfortunate, if you think about it. Too much production, and not enough consumption.
If you feel you have an interesting blog, leave a comment below and share the link. I’d love to find more interesting things to read.
2|I promise to write more often.
This is something I’ve been wanting to do for years as I simply love to write. I’ve always been a contemplative person, and feel like I have been gifted with words and the ability to communicate my feelings.
Here, you’ll be blessed with my deep and personal thoughts — from lessons I’ve learned in the past to things I’m currently experiencing. As part of our agreement, I’ll remain truthful and honest, as long as you respect I’m being vulnerable and opening up.
3|I promise not to write for robots.
This is something I struggled with over the years as society teaches us that numbers are an indicator of success. I had primarily focused my efforts on search engine traffic and keywords, which left me feeling empty.
Sure, I got a decent amount of visitors to my other blog — but to be honest, most of them didn’t stick around. They fell under the “what can you do for me?” type, and that’s definitely not the folks I’m going after.
I want to build an audience interested in reading about my life experiences, and to engage in conversation about them. So if you see me heading back into the direction of writing for robots, I’m giving you permission to call me out.
Circling Back to the Question
Over years, it’s been really amazing to see the response to my desire for authenticity and keeping things real. I’ve seen a number of similar blogs get started as well. There’s a sense of being intentional and living deliberately that satisfies, and it’s something I thoroughly have enjoyed of late.
This wouldn’t be a post of mine without some kind of challenge thrown at you as I wrap things up. So I want to ask you the same thing that Steve Jobs asked John Sculley but in the context of your own blog and purpose online.
Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?