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12 Life & Business Lessons From My Blogging Adventure So Far
It has been 6 months since I started this blog and I really cannot believe how time has flown!
To celebrate this milestone, I am taking some time off and going on a trip to Paris for a few days.
Our boys love trains and with the Eurostar not far away, it should be a fun adventure.
I was thinking of another way to celebrate this milestone and thought a blog post would be suitable especially as the life lessons I am about to write about are borne out of learning the hard way.
It’s also an opportunity to tell you more about who I am and what I am really about.
It is my intention to update this list every 6 or 12 months as I grow in my life and blogging adventure.
I hope one or two of these resonate with you personally:
1. Focus On Impact
Do you ever wonder if your life has meaning? Whether you’re contributing?
One of the biggest challenges I had with starting my blog was getting past whether my voice mattered for the long run.
Did I have anything of sufficient interest to say? And if so, why would it matter? Would it help anyone out there and why?
It’s easy to overthink these questions but to get going I needed a compass. Something that would guide me always no matter the weather.
The first bit of compass I found was my sister, who knows how to make money. However, keeping it is a different story. There are many out there like her.
The second bit of compass I thought about was “how do people want to feel about money?”. The answer came to me via an anonymous Survey I conducted electronically with open-ended questions about how people relate to money.
Hundreds of people completed that survey and the data was very revealing especially concerning what people worried about or want to achieve.
The overwhelming answer was that people wanted to be happy. They wanted Joy in their lives. At that moment, my tagline “Create Financial Joy” was born.
I now had a desire stronger than most others – The desire to do something of impact.
Even with a strong desire, there is still enough out there to stop you bringing an idea into the world.
Lesson: The desire for impact (solving real problems) is always greater than the desire for money. Follow impact and make a real mark in the world. The money will always follow.
2. Commit Publicly
To make sure I actually explored this strong desire, I needed to commit publicly. I drafted a message to post on facebook and sat on it for a while.
The usual stuff started creeping into my mind.
What if this fails? Or what if I get judged? What happens if I start and don’t continue? What if it fails so badly and brings me embarrassment?
I called my other sister up. A trained actor and driven entrepreneur with tons of online experience.
I had copied and pasted the message onto Facebook but couldn’t hit PUBLISH!
I can just hear my sister’s voice right now, she was screaming – JUMP! JUMP! JUMMMMP!
Then….I hit PUBLISH…. It all went silent. No explosions or fireworks… Just silence.
At that moment, I had started a different kind of journey. A public one.
You see, up to that moment, I had operated very quietly and successfully in various areas of my life from marriage to business, investing, career etc.
This time, I was going on a different type of Faith Walk. One driven by the power of storytelling.
Lesson: If you want to guarantee that you’ll achieve a specific and measurable goal, be bold and go public about it. Don’t worry about being judged!
3. Take Faith Walks
You will ofcourse have heard the saying “Ready, Aim, Fire”.
Thinking of it in this order isn’t always the best way to go about it. It helps to look at it as “Ready, Fire, Aim”
This might seem counterintuitive, but it really pushes you away from the goal of perfectionism and actually gets you to go-live faster.
You also have less of a chance to back out and not see your ideas through.
A big theme in my life is one of faith walks. Although this world of blogging was uncharted 6 months ago, diving in and swimming has been the best thing I have done.
It’s been so good that I encourage everyone I meet to start a blog or a podcast or anything that involves creating content.
Lesson: Faith walks involve putting one foot in front of the other and believing that things will work out for you. So don’t overthink it. JUST JUMP!
4. Be Fearless
Offering coaching on my blog has made me realise that fear is the one guaranteed thing we all have in common.
Having looked at my life as I celebrate 20 years of life in the UK, I realise that the one theme that runs through it is “fearlessness”.
This does not mean that I have no fear. It just means that I fear less as I live more.
Living more for me practically includes risk-taking, kicking down doors others won’t touch and just being creative.
Fear has to be faced up to, and that includes the fear that we all share when it comes to the subject of money.
To achieve Financial Joy in your life, you must be fearless! This will give you conviction about what you should be doing in your life whilst drowning out all the noise.
Lesson: As we take intentional steps towards the uncharted areas of our lives, the more we live, the less we fear. Be Fearless!
5. Stay Consistent
This is one of the biggest lessons in these 6 months of blogging.
The big secret to doing this is to make sure each day counts towards something. There is no day that passes without me writing bits of a blog post, or an idea or something.
This could be for 5mins or even 30mins. Doing this does something wonderful to the brain and encourages continuity.
Abit like building a muscle, if you do something every day, you get better too. In fact, here is a saying I share with our boys whilst brushing our teeth daily that reinforces this:
“Every single day, in every way, I am getting better and better” – Émile Coué
The other interesting thing about consistency is that it creates a ripple effect. The consistency I am applying to blogging is also encouraging consistency in my family life, work and business etc.
You’ll be amazed how easily 30mins on something everyday builds up in a week and a month.
In fact, seeking out these pockets of time makes you ever more creative and efficient and you start to get rid of waste (e.g. TV etc) in your life.
Finally, consistency helps to build trust. Someone once wrote me a message and said that although he has not had time to read all my posts, he marvels at the consistency and looks forward to my emails.
Lesson: Consistency sets people apart. It can give you superpowers. If you can focus on winning from one day to another, you’ll build significant currency for your business, work life or project.
6. Follow The Joy
Whether you’re a blogging or running a business or both, there will be many tough days.
Days when you just cannot be bothered or when things just feel crap.
You'll wonder why on earth you're doing what you're doing-especially when others might be out there chilling in the sun.
In those days, if you hadn’t started the journey for joy ultimately, you’ll most likely give up!
Don't get me wrong, making money from whatever you're doing is a great thing. In fact, it's necessary to keep projects sustainable. However, the overarching goal should be closer to your heart.
See truth #1 in 7 Money Making Truths That Will Change Your Life
Lesson: Following the joy will give you and your business or project longevity. You'll run and not grow tired in your pursuit.
7. Keep Friends Social
The type of friends you hang out with do matter, especially when it comes to success in a venture.
One of the biggest revelations I've had in these 6 months is that my closest friends have cared the least about my project.
They don't share my content and don't like them on Facebook.
Initially, I found it strange but I have come to realise that we all live in two worlds simultaneously.
The Social and Market worlds. My friends should exist only in the social world with social norms.
When anything related to money or even business is brought into the picture, the dynamics change.
Money or the talk of money hurts relationships because when market norms are introduced, people think only about themselves but not others.
So the fact that I writing about money and related topics is enough to create a rift in my relationship with friends.
More on this in another blog post.
Lesson: Your friends don't necessarily want you to succeed. At best, they want you operating at their level, which sometimes can be mediocre.
8. Build Relationships
When I went to Brazil and Argentina for an international business trip 3 years ago, a big theme I took away was one of partnerships.
The entrepreneurs we met in these countries understood something key to our existence – Positive relationships.
Building relationships is essentially another way of building and adding value to an intangible asset.
Had I not reached out to Sara in Florida, I wouldn't have had the tech support I need today to run The Humble Penny, as well as the friendship that followed.
Reaching out to Barney at The Escape Artist meant that we agreed to do an interview exploring the subject of Fear and Financial Independence.
I have met so many people (in various countries) as a result of launching this platform and alot of those might represent future partnerships.
It's important to note though that not everyone you reach out to will turn out to be positive.
I reached out and burnt bridges with an influential American blogger. I chose my words wrongly in my email to her and it backfired.
I remain hopeful that one day we'll shake hands. But until then, when one door closes, ten others can open. So the knocking continues!!
Lesson: Be intentional about building relationships. Don't go into them expecting anything. If it materialises into a project and such, focus on mutual gain. Always tilt things in their favour if you can.
9. Learning As A Lifestyle
I have always been a learner, but starting this blogging project has taken it to a whole new level.
I encourage as many people as possible to start a blog, and it’s interesting how many people worry about running out of things to write about.
The biggest act of learning begins the minute you wake up. Life itself is a story always being told in the present. As such, there are ideas literally everywhere.
Blogging has made me more acutely aware of my environment, as well as my behaviour and that of others.
It has also pushed me into mastering other domains I knew nothing about such as storytelling, marketing, sales etc.
In fact, alot of my spare time is actually spent reading or listening to podcasts etc.
This is because the reading feeds the writing, which in turn feeds the reading.
Lesson: Making learning a lifestyle means you always have something interesting to say. You grow in your understanding of the world and actually grow in your wealth as a result.
10. Have A ‘Dream 100’
The Dream 100 is a type of strategy for achieving a specific outcome.
It essentially refers to the list of the 100 most influential individuals or organisations within your area of business or niche.
The idea here is this – The fastest and most effective way to get an idea out to the world is to do it through your Dream 100.
Each of the 100 will have a sphere of influence that you potentially access when the time is right.
So for example, to get a blog post such as 85 Ways To Make Extra Money to a specific demographic, it helped that I had a relationship with a guy who was a Radio DJ who talked about it on his show.
The Dream 100 could exist across different spheres such as podcasts, bloggers, YouTubers etc.
Some of the most successful people that we know about execute the Dream 100.
You could even see this in the most recent Royal wedding. The likes of Oprah Winfrey, David Beckham etc were there. Why? Not just social proof, but rather that these people become crusaders for the cause. Messengers in effect.
This same idea can be applied to your quest for Financial Independence. The question you should be asking is – How many people to freedom?
If you want a shortcut through practical insights, then grab a coach.
Lesson: Your goals are important but the strategy for achieving them is even more so. Always ask yourself, how many people to freedom?
11. Words Have Power
Alot of the time when I write these blogs, I often have no idea which might resonate with people and why.
Often when I have felt pushed by life’s challenges and almost feeling like giving up on a post, it turns out to be the one that really hits home.
A good example is The Power Of Generosity And Why It Pays. I wrote it on a Sunday afternoon whilst heading home from Church, with my wife driving and my kids screaming in the car.
I remember thinking, who cares about being generous these days!? Why am I actually writing this stuff?
Turns out, quite alot of people care about generosity. It’s my most shared post so far.
Other times when I have written things that seem so normal to me, they turn out to be a revelation to someone else.
In fact, one guy wrote me saying he had overhauled his entire financial life based on reading my blogs.
Can you imagine that? Words have extreme power and as such, I need to be very careful about what I put out there.
Lesson: You words can build or destroy someone else. Now that you know this, choose your words wisely and focus on the former. Our words can really inspire a generation. Leverage it and use it for impact.
12. The importance of Process
One of the key ideas I set out to prove to myself when I created this blog is that much can be done in very little time.
Alot of people complain about having no time to do anything else besides work and TV, and I completely disagree with this view.
I recall someone once saying that finding time is like looking for spare change. You find it in the nooks and crannies.
There is no way I would be able to maintain writing 2 or 3 times a week without a process that works.
In case you wonder what that process is, here is an outline:
- A blog post begins its life in the world out there. Whenever I come across anything worth writing about, I write it down in Google docs as a one-liner.
- That bank of ideas keeps growing as I read stuff or speak to people or find something someone said interesting.
- I write my blog posts based on categories e.g. Money Making, Saving, Investing, Blogging (e.g. this post you’re reading) etc.
- These categories are set in stone on 1st January and attached to specific dates through the year on my Excel Publishing calendar.
- I then attach topics to these categories as time passes.
- Once I am ready to write a post, I pick the next one on the list and the first question I ask myself is – What is the transformation I am seeking? This is because every blog post has a specific purpose.
- Once I identify the transformation, I then begin the beautiful process of mind-mapping.
- The mind-map is a brain dump of all my ideas for the post. Every branch from the mind-map represents a subheading in the eventual blog post.
- At the end of the mind map, I write related posts that I want people to read and possible things I want to tell people about e.g. My 7 Day FREE Blog Course.
- Then I start writing the post. I usually aim to do it in one sitting, but it never quite happens.
- Once the writing is done, it goes over to Mary for quality control. She reads for spelling and grammar.
- Mary also brings in her creativity and designs the beautiful images you see with each blog post.
- Once the post is done and goes into WordPress, SEO etc is done and then the marketing of that post begins. I aim to be 2 weeks ahead in my ready to read content.
As you can see, the process plays a very important role. It also demonstrates the importance of teamwork, which should be a blog post on its own.
Lesson: Without process, there will be no consistency and without consistency, no success. Optimising your process plays a big role in what is a key element of any successful business.
To conclude, this blogging adventure continues to be exactly that, an adventure! My personal growth has exceeded anything I could have imagined, and the ripple effect is nothing I could have predicted.
There is so much we can all achieve with the little time we have. Never underestimate your potential to become a positive voice for a cause you’re passionate about.
Tutorial: How To Start A WordPress Blog
7 Day – FREE – How To Build A Profitable Blog Course
Have you ever considered starting a blog? Or even a podcast? What are your immediate concerns? Please comment below.
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.
Incredible, awesome blog
The Humble Penny says
Thank you, Stella.
A great read, love your writing style – so succinct and FULL of insights. The process is key! Thanks for the motivation.
The Humble Penny says
Hey Ros, thanks so much! I appreciate you stopping by. I couldn’t agree more about process.