I’d like to say thanks to all that took the time to reach out during my 7 weeks away. Everything has been fine–actually things are better than ever–and I mean that. My family is wonderful, business is good…the year has started off well.
In my blogging hiatus, I learned that stepping away to look at my activities from afar, offered me a new perspective that I never had while being directly in the mesh of things. To take it a step further, I was/am willing to accept the fact that I had adopted some bad practices that needed to be corrected in order for me to stand a chance of success in the blogging arena.
The Tipping Point
After this site being up and running for about 16 months, I finally put my first product up for sale here. That item being my recently published book: Driven To Learn, Learning To Win. After analyzing my initial sales, I knew I had some significant opportunities for improvement.
It was surprising to find that only a few of my fellow bloggers purchased a copy of my book. These are the folks I had developed relationships with, spent hours in communication with, support in many ways including free web design, custom graphics and so on.
To understand my audience, here’s a breakdown…
My audience consists of fellow bloggers, which used to be the majority, and in the last six months or so I’ve developed a larger non-blogging audience (created from Search Engine Traffic and referrals).
I was totally amazed that the people buying my book were people I hadn’t interacted with at all. The math just didn’t make sense. But it didn’t take me long to understand the dynamics of my book sales. Yes, it hit me by surprise initially–but after an honest assessment– it actually made perfect sense. It was the spark to a critical lesson that I’m excited to share with you.
NOTE: A portion of my blogging audience was not able to purchase the book because I only shipped within the U.S.
The Right Audience
One of the biggest lessons learned during my time away is the importance of attracting the right audience.
Having the right audience is crucial in life and business alike. In life, if you want to be successful then a “right” audience could be associating yourself with a group that has similar aspirations. In business, it could be marketing your products and services to the people who have interests in buying them.
Imagine Stephen King marketing his books to 1st graders. Failure. Wrong audience.
Imagine a Nintendo marketing their WII video game system (which is based on body motion) to elderly quadriplegics. Failure again. Wrong audience.
The Trap of False Momentum
Looking back, the growth of this blog was generated through an unsustainable means and with no thought to attracting the right audience. When this placed started to pick up (traffic and engagement), it was because my activity greatly picked up in the blogoshpere. I spent hours reading and commenting on other blogs each week. After time, fellow bloggers would come here and read and leave a comment in return.
On weeks where I was busy and didn’t have time for my normal blogging activities, this place would sit quietly, only visited by a few loyal readers.
I knew what was happening long before my book sales, but I was somewhat blinded because I thought I had developed momentum. This site was starting to grow, and I didn’t want to lose the momentum that took me so long to create. But what’s the point of momentum if it’s not the right momentum. It’s counterproductive. It pulls us in the opposite direction of where we really want to go.
My book sales proved the point of false momentum. The amount of books sold, matched my expectations, but I was surprised to find that [for the most part] my customers were folks I didn’t really know on a personal level.
Imagine your family not attending your graduation, but you still have a group of unknown people cheering for you when your name is called. It’s cool to hear the cheers, but it’s surprising that it’s not your family.
TIP > > > If you have a blog and you want to truly discover if you have the right audience, or at least to identify who in your audience is loyal, stop spending hours commenting on other blogs for one month. Just continue posting new articles. This will provide you with a priceless lesson showing you how many of your relationships are heavily built around conditions of “what have you done for me”, and those who truly find value in your work.
What’s Next for Hustler’s Notebook? Growth
A lesson does us no good if we don’t act upon it.
I’m going to act upon the lessons I learned from my blogging hiatus. I’ve admitted, accepted and moved on from the fact that I had developed and participated in many poor practices of time utilization and non-strategic networking.
Coming off my biggest year ever (2011): personally, professionally, financially, spiritually and so on, it’s my belief that cleaning up the bad practices that I’ve developed over time will help me reach my next set of goals. I have total faith in it.
Since starting Growth Effect (my web design biz), and its early success, I simply don’t have time to mess around anymore. My actions have to be direct and deliberate. My time has become more valuable than ever. And finally, I understand that my time should be spent in ways that not only allow me to give value to others, but to receive value in return.
I’ve noticed a trend online: the blogosphere, at large, is a complacent environment, just like the off-line world. People do the same thing, year after year, but continue to raise their bar of result expectations. The most successful people, no matter the environment, make adjustments and mirror their performance with the types of results they want to achieve.
Stay in the Loop
Some major changes are on the way for Hustler’s Notebook. As I work behind the scenes to improve my blogging practices to better align with my goals–in the next month or two you’ll see some drastic changes in things here.
If you find Hustler’s Notebook to be a source of value, then I asked that you sign up below to stay in the loop of the major changes that are in the works. I’ll periodically send short updates to your email, uncovering the “what’s next” for this place.
It’s my hope that every single time you read something I’ve composed, that it makes a positive difference for you. I take every sentence seriously. I write from experiences, good and bad, and all shaped in a way to inspire growth, personally and professionally.
Have you and do you actively seek the RIGHT audience? Or do you try to make everyone and anyone your audience? What are your thoughts on taking time away to gain new perspectives on your activities? Are you willing to possibly lose momentum to assess if you have the right momentum in first place?
Don’t forget to sign up above to keep up with the changes to come.