Article by Wendy McCance
Being an entrepreneur is the most challenging career choice I have ever ventured into. The challenges are both extremely exciting and also incredibly temperamental. What works one day, may fizzle out the next. Keeping up the juggling act between prospecting, advertising and doing the actual work of a writer is like walking a tightrope. Add in an active family and getting out there and meeting people in person and you will waiver as you tiptoe your way to the other side. With no net below to catch you, every misstep is magnified beyond reason. Being an entrepreneur is not a career for the faint of heart.
When I began writing, I was writing a blog. I had one sole concentration. Adding social media sites that connected to the blog was a natural next step. I was able to write often (every day) and could maintain an active presence on the social sites I had chosen.
Eventually I added a second blog. It was a blog that only dealt with real estate. The juggle was a little bit hectic, but still fairly manageable.
I watched my original blog, Searching for the Happiness grow bigger and better. I would change around the theme, add contests and really pull in the reader. Eventually, I was getting so many comments and subscribers per day that I felt it was time to move to a self-hosted site and make my blog more official.
The next few months were torture. I lost many subscribers, I dealt with many technical issues and the comments were all but gone. It was simply painful to switch over and lose all that I had been growing.
Eventually, I jumped into using the blog for business purposes as well. I did all of the things I couldn’t do on my old blog. Namely I used the new blog to make money. I signed up to write sponsored posts, created an Amazon account to sell merchandise on my blog and began to advertise my services.
Slowly, the newly improved blog gained speed and I began to see a few comments and also gained some subscribers. The most important thing I figured out was the old blog had several readers who were basically spam readers. They would “like” all of the posts and shared links to their blogs in hopes that you or your readers would follow them too. There was no real attachment to the blog other than to get noticed themselves.
That trend has fallen off completely since I started the new improved Searching for the Happiness blog. I think it is a trend that is seen mainly on the free version of WordPress.
As time went by, I picked up people who wanted to advertise, I got some sales on my Amazon site and I did several product reviews. Most importantly, my writing opportunities picked up.
I had figured out a method to get writing assignments, and it was working far better than I could have imagined. I was well on my way. My income was growing steadily each month and I was becoming unbelievably busy.
Once all of the parts of the machine are moving at once, keeping up the same level of productivity is like a magic trick. Some days you can make everything go off without a hitch. Other days, you have fallen a few pegs and are scrambling to get back up on that horse.
As I got busy in my writing career, the blog posts began to drop off. There were no more daily articles. Some weeks, I was lucky if I got two articles posted. Once the amount of posts dropped off, my social media sites began to waver. I lost followers and my ratings on Google Analytics and Alexa slid down faster than I ever thought could be possible.
My blog started crumbling. My views per day dropped in half. I was hearing from advertisers on fewer occasions and within 3 weeks time, I had fallen back to a place I was months before.
I used to hear from product review sites and advertisers several times each week. Now I might get an email twice a month. I looked around and felt like I am witnessing a train wreck on my social media platforms. I used to get new likes on my Facebook page daily. I realized that it had been some time since I even posted anything on the page. What had happened to cause so much destruction so quickly?
There were three significant things that happened that made this delicate dance of mine fall apart.
1. I got several writing assignments that kept me too busy to attend to my own sites.
2. My family’s schedule took me away from being able to spend the same amount of hours focused on my computer.
3. I had added in networking with other writers. I was meeting up with people and getting to know them which took away from time in front of my laptop.
Life happened. When you have your own business, you find out quite fast what the most important things are in your life. You gravitate towards them without being aware that you have made choices. For me, the job of writing and my family were number one on my list. I also wanted to venture out and try a different form of networking. One where you meet face to face. I was just too busy to take the time needed to do it. Blogging, advertising and keeping up social media platforms fell to the rear quickly.
The problem for me was that I hadn’t realized how important some of those “extra” things really were. It didn’t occur to me that my form of advertising was really keeping my career afloat. Somehow I figured that once I had a continuous amount of assignments, those “extras” could fall to the wayside without much of an effect. Boy was I wrong.
How could I have not noticed how important it was to be relevant every single day? Take a few days off and you are climbing the mountain again. You would think that with all of the amount of time and effort I had put into these platforms that if I had to take some time and energy and focus it elsewhere that it would be fine. Honestly, unfair as it may seem, it isn’t the case by a long shot. I want to maintain a certain level of work assignments. That means that I must double my efforts in the social media arena to accomplish my goals, and it must be done every single day.
Are you willing to fail while chasing your dream? The hard truth is that if the answer is no, you may as well quit now. I know that sounds harsh, but chasing after your dream career is going to be fraught with failures. It is the nature of the pursuit. You will never get it all correct every time you make your attempts at success. It is the failures and the ability to continue on that will determine how badly you want to reach your goals. Those failures will teach you what you are made of. Are you willing to live your dream with all of the work involved seven days a week every single week? Can you pull yourself out of a slump and get back in the game fighting your way to the top?
Recently, I got lucky. I noticed the fallout fairly quickly. The first week it became apparent that I was beginning to fail, I was so burnt out that my efforts to regain control were not much of an attempt. I decided to give myself a break, do what I had an obligation to do and nothing more and relax my head with some reading.
The reading got my passion for writing reignited and I began to feel my old determination return. I realized two important things.
1. I need to find moments to take a break so I don’t burn.
2. I can’t let any of the things I juggle fall off for more than a day here or there. Any more and I will be faced with the painful rebuilding process.
What have you experienced as you work your way towards your goals? Can you relate to this article? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org