Blogging has been a life changing experience for me and while it has given me a lot of flexibility in regards to my schedule, it’s hardly a case where I don’t work anymore.
A lot less things make me angry than they used to – I guess that comes with being able to sleep in if I need to and getting to come and go as I please helps as well. But one of the things that still irks me is when people make a comment to me, which suggests that because I don’t go to an office or have a conventional 9 to 5 job where someone gives me a paycheck, they seem to think that I don’t work.
While I think the world might be a better place if I didn’t have to work, me not working these days just isn’t reality. The fact is: I work plenty and some days and times are so busy that I don’t leave my house for several days at a time.
While I know everyone has dreams of the freedom that their blog can give them, and I know a lot of people have a lot more freedom than I have, here is the reality of what my typical day is like.
When I get up in the morning the first thing I do is look at my live stats. I don’t look to see how many visitors are at my site. Thankfully at this point I am a little past counting traffic.
I look at the live stats because I know if I see a zero or a number close to it, or even a single digit number or a low double digit number of the number of people currently at my site, then I am probably having a big tech issue. My site or a part of it is down, which would mean it isn’t going to be a great day.
I was never a tech person so hosting is all still sort of a puzzle and a mystery to me. The thing I know most about hosting is it used to cost me less than $10 dollars a month, the last I looked it is several thousand dollars. This is one of the necessary expenses and while people say, “if the cost is going up you are doing something right,” personally, I would rather put the money towards a Maserati.
By this time hopefully I have rolled out of bed and am into my first cup of coffee. If any of you have ever checked out my site, I do a video every morning from my living room, and you can see the view from my window.
In any event, at least at some point during this cup of coffee I look out the window, I can see people waiting for the bus to go to work, the shuffling of the city, and of course the awesomeness of Lake Michigan, and I remind myself of how grateful I am for the life I have. I also take a good long pause to remember how I got to this point, unfortunately this never seems to last long enough.
By the time I am three sips into that first cup of coffee I start going through the email, something I do several times a day, if not more. I don’t like it when I send people an email and it takes them days to respond, I like it even less if it is something I am paying for.
I address my paying members emails first if I can sort them out, then I look for names I recognize and finally opportunities. I also get a lot of email regarding money, either money I owe or people owe me. I don’t spend too much time on most of these.
At this point, if the sun is coming up, I do my daily video. Some of these videos are longer than others, most are about three or four minutes which is still probably too long.
I never write a script, I rarely do retakes, and if you haven’t noticed by reading this, I haven’t been out of bed longer than a few minutes. Some days it looks like it, others not so much. I am usually pretty grateful on those “not so much days” and I noticed if I keep my hair shorter I have a better chance of those days happening.
I do one take of the video, convert the file on my computer using Sony Vegas, and then upload it to YouTube. Everything else is automated from there.
At this point there are several ways which my day can go and I will give you a quick peek into each of them.
One of the ways it goes is I start writing, actually as I write this article this is one of those days and this is the first thing I am writing.
It doesn’t take me long to write and the article you are reading took me less than 30 minutes. I know writing takes some people longer than others and for some it’s a real challenge. I can give some advice here, but in reality, everyone can do some things naturally. For some people it’s play basketball or the guitar, for me it’s writing.
I was told at a young age I was a good writer. I have spent the rest of my life trying to figure out what that means, but thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet I have come to understand at least part of it is that I write stuff that other people want to read.
For me writing just flows, like if I were having an easy conversation. I can always tell when I read something written by someone who has struggled and maybe that’s what separates better writing from writing which isn’t as good. Better writing has a flow to it, it is seamless and it reads as effortlessly as it was for the person to write it.
Writing that doesn’t come across that well tends to be choppier with less flow, like the writer had to stop and think about every sentence, and it gets worse, every word. I don’t use a ton of punctuation and my grammar is questionable. Even with spellcheck my spelling stinks, neither of those things make much difference when it comes to good writing or what the world finds they like to read. That’s about all I can help with there and if I knew more I would gladly share it.
On other days the phone starts ringing early. The calls I get are usually from people who are interested in doing some sort of joint venture or have a great way to make money. I get calls from friends of friends who want to write for the site.
If it’s really a day I can’t get off the phone, I get a few calls from realtors asking me if I have considered buying a new house, a call from a salesperson who has helped me at a store recently telling me about something new and fabulous (and probably expensive) that I might be interested in, or just a poor telemarketer who has caught me on a bad day.
Lately, I have been getting a lot of calls from my lawyer (yes, he bills me for these as well) because I am involved in a trademark infringement lawsuit. I can’t talk too much about it as someone is using a name all too close for comfort to my site’s name and I am suing them.
However, I can say if your blog is your business and you plan on making a living off of it, stop reading this article for a second, and either go to a legal site or call a lawyer or call your friend who is a lawyer and own your name.
You may be using someone else’s and you will owe them all of the money you make or someday someone might come up with a great name for their new business that just happens to be the same one you came up with years earlier.
As I mentioned I get a lot of calls about joint ventures and things of that nature. I can’t complain too much about it as much of it is my own doing. I never say no, well at least it’s rare, right off the bat without hearing it out. I can usually come up with a creative spin on just about anything where I can see it could be advantageous for me to give it a try.
What I can’t do on the fly is compare it to everything else I have going on and see if it is valuable enough to dedicate the time now or ever to make it work, this requires at least some thought.
I have some pretty strict parameters when it comes to the joint ventures and other new income streams.
I will not do anything that even sounds like a get rich quick scheme.
I know people can make money and make it fast that way, but at this point I have already built a business, not just a blog or a website, but a real business that makes real income, pays real taxes, and affords me lots of real good things.
I can’t risk my reputation on anything questionable no matter what the financial rewards are, and I can’t be so far removed from my core business that the new project would damage what I already have.
Money is great and my favorite part of making it is giving it to charity, but I won’t jeopardize my business on something that would take up most of my time and efforts. In a lot of these cases the money would be going to someone or something else.
I work hard on anything I do, I know other people work hard as well, but there are different definitions of what that means. To keep this part short:
Some days I like to talk to the people who write on the site, to be honest I don’t do this enough. I never call or write to tell them that they have or are doing a great job. This is an area I am lacking.
What I do is I call our agencies and handle all of the financial opportunities I discussed previously, so they can make the most effort from their efforts. I don’t walk them through every piece of it and I don’t think they fully understand what it takes and what goes on, but they at least know it’s something, as they get paid every month.
When I was in the work force I always hoped that my boss would fight to get me the bigger raise or bonus, I try and be that person for my people, and I can honestly say that I am.
I have a tech guy who helps me with just about everything tech on my site. I refer to him as my “tech guy” most of the time. When we do conference calls with people who are trying to upgrade my tech stuff or buying a product we need to integrate into the site, he is referred to as my “tech consultant”.
Either way sometimes we talk often, sometimes not as much. He has other clients as well, but less and less so, he just has a few people like me, which is all it takes for a good tech person to make a pretty good living. One thing I have figured out, I would rather have him working on my stuff than talking to me on the phone, we both get a lot more done.
Regardless of how the day starts out it usually fills in and flies by. There are a few other things I try and do every day…
First, I try and go for a run. As I am getting older my body hurts a little more with each of these, so I have cut back to about five days a week, but it at least gets me moving and out of my chair.
I don’t have too many websites I read or visit, there just isn’t enough hours in the day for that and most of my time is spent doing things that are going to grow my business. I will say that every day I visit the Blog Mastermind forums. I visit the forums because it reminds me of things I used to do when I was first starting out that I may not pay enough attention to now. It’s also a great resource to give me new ideas.
I like to help the new bloggers, so they don’t spin their wheels with ideas that have been tried and don’t work or point them in the right direction by telling them what worked and didn’t work for me and why.
The only problem I ever have is people feel the need to email me or private message me to ask me questions, it doesn’t make much sense. The whole idea of a forum is to spread knowledge to more than one person at a time, why would anyone think it is easier for me to answer the same question over and over again individually or that I have time to do so? It’s definitely something people should consider.
A lot of the things I mentioned above I do throughout the day. I also do other things for example,
My goal for the upcoming year is to take on more staff to relieve me of some of the day-to-day operational things.
I would also like my staff additions to be people who bring something to the table as far as new ideas to grow the business and for the identity of my site to be less “Mitch’s Website”, and more the Sports Chat Place.
As a far as traffic and money, that is all just a byproduct of everything else. With some more hard work and a continuation of assembling the right team maybe less work and more play is in my future.
And learn how to build a better blog.