I recently made a discovery: Quite a few successful bloggers started their now famous blogs after failing at a different business.
Let me give you an example: Uber-blogger Jeff Bullas, who writes one of the most successful marketing blogs in the world. Seven years ago Jeff went through a divorce; his business went bankrupt, and he was 50,000$ in debt.
Then he started blogging. The rest is history.
Another example? Jon Loomer: Arguably the most advanced Facebook marketer in the world. On his blog, he writes about the most advanced marketing strategies (and especially advertising opportunities) on Facebook. He is well known; his reputation is huge.
Jon didn’t exactly go bankrupt before he went blogging – but he was fired in 2011 and instead of looking for his job he went and set up his own business, Jon Loomer Digital. He needed to succeed, as he needs to provide for a family of five.
One more example would be Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com. Pat’s story is somewhat similar to Jon’s – having been laid off from a well-paid job during the financial crisis he looked at what he could do with his blogging hobby. He turned it into a business – actually many different businesses and is writing about what works and what doesn’t.
What do all these stories have in common?
They all went from failure to success. There are many more examples of the same kind.
What’s the Real Reason for Blogging Success?
Of course being a failure doesn’t automatically qualify for being a success in blogging.
But going through tough times with a business (or a career) is a training for writing a blog. Why?
Because the more you get into trouble with a business the more you begin to focus. You focus on identifying opportunities, revenue streams, cooperations. What your business does on paper becomes secondary and what becomes the most important thing is what can bring your business forward or what can stop the downward spiral.
I can tell you that this is true because I actually do have some experience with this.
This kind of focus is something that is vital to success in blogging.
(This does NOT mean you cannot be successful as a blogger without being a failure before… but you will need to achieve the same kind of focus otherwise.)
Why Do You Need a Special Way to Focus for Blogging Success?
What you need even for the slightest success in blogging are the following virtues:
1. Some form of organization that allows you to publish on a regular basis.
Without being organized you will not publish regularly. You will not find enough topics to write about, not finish your posts in time. You will get distracted – your blog will become something less than a hobby – and it will shine through.
If you don’t really show that you mean business with your blog – how can you expect your readers to take you seriously?
This is something you learn when you are going through tough times – even a little bit of organization can make your life so much easier. For blogging it is mandatory.
2. A willingness to put yourself out there
When you are going through tough times in your life or in your business there are two different ways you can react. You can fight, or you can give up.
When you decide to fight that also means you go public – you talk to people, you look for solutions. In business you will often start networking – running from event to event, trying to meet people that can help you, want to cooperate with you and will eventually save your business.
This also means that you go through a “I’m here, take me as I am.”-phase, and this can be very helpful in a second life as a blogger.
You simply stop to care about what people might think about your blog posts. Those who like them will return – those who don’t… don’t matter to you.
3. Entrepreneurial thinking… Thinking about how to grow
Everyone who has ever started a business knows: In the beginning it is grow or die. Every business starts at zero. And if you don’t think about growing you will fail.
Blogging is very much the same – if you don’t grow you write for exactly zero people. That is not a blog, that is a diary. If you call this your blog and it doesn’t grow you will sooner or later stop blogging and fail.
Entrepreneurs who start a blog know this by heart.
4. An eye for identifying markets
In the beginning blogging is not so much about making money as it is about identifying a market and writing the right stuff for that market.
Entrepreneurs (ESPECIALLY “failed” entrepreneurs) have a sense for this. They will optimise their writing for the market they have identified until they reach what entrepreneurs call the product-market-fit. The point where growth goes haywire because the market sucks up your product.
And if they made false assumptions: They fail faster (see the recent post by Kim Garst: “The Surprising Secret to Success: Fail Faster!“) and adjust their strategy.
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What if I’m not a Failed Entrepreneur
I didn’t want to say you cannot reach success without ever having failed. I simply noticed a pattern and began to wonder why so many successful bloggers went through failures before they started blogging.
These are just the points that I could easily identify – and I hope that they can help you become more successful as bloggers.
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