Is Your Blogging Stressing You Out?

In the last month I’ve fired a client, turned down several projects, dropped three of my blogs and brought in writers for another one.

The upside? I now have more time to concentrate on my main project, more time to blog here at Performancing and most importantly, zero stress about work not getting done.

The downside – none, actually. I’m making the same amount of money as before (a bit more actually), am stress-free and have been able to put more time into the projects I really care about, allowing me to move them along at 3 times the speed than I would have otherwise.

In short, doing less work will actually make me more money this year.

But it’s not all about the money – even though many of us slave day and night for it (or used to) and worry about it all the time.

By consolidating and concentrating your efforts on fewer, more important things you’ll be able to grow your blogs faster, build a bigger community of readers and have more fun while doing it.

However, before you jump to the comments to argue or (worse) go delete all your blogs, I should point out that there is clear-cut right or wrong between having 20 blogs or 2 blogs.

The key to all of it is you, and how you manage your blogging.

I wrote about this dilemma in more detail last year, but in a nutshell:

  1. Don’t launch more than 1 blog per month if you are the main blogger for that site.
  2. Don’t be involved full-time in more than two blogs at a time – this involves blogging, marketing, participating in comments, strategizing for future growth, etc.
  3. In the beginning, your blogs won’t be earning you enough to live on. Instead of starting new blogs:

    a) Find a system that works and helps you make money online (such as PLRPro – (disclosure – I’m a member)).

    b) Hold on to (or get) a real job.

    c) Get hold of freelance projects (what I did).

    What type of projects? Writing, programming, consulting, designing, whatever suits your skillset – and if know nothing, you can still probably write – otherwise you wouldn’t be blogging, right?

  4. Blogging isn’t just about posting articles on your blog, it’s about finding out what people want to read about and then writing about that. It’s about networking with fellow bloggers and leveraging those relationships to help promote your blog. It’s about marketing your blog, because let’s face it, you’ll need to get links to your blog one way or another.

    It’s also about planning ahead, so that you know when to take your site in a particular direction, when to grow it and when to split off a section into a new site.

    If you do all of the above, two things will happen – one, you’ll have time only for a couple of blogs and two, your blogs will grow much faster.

If you are spread out too thin, you’ll lose money and traffic and stress yourself out.

If you are too focused, you’ll lose money and traffic and (almost) never make it big.

To find a balance, you need to maintain enough focus while constantly working on growing your sites.

Part of that means hiring designers, programmers and writers to work for you.

Part of that also means that you should know when you’re just churning out articles and not putting enough effort into growing your site – usually that point comes when you’ve been blogging for a while and your site’s traffic numbers have been stagnant over 2-3 months (once again, this applies more to new / young blogs).

So where do you stand? Are you spread out too thin? And are you stressed about your blogs?

15 thoughts on “Is Your Blogging Stressing You Out?

  1. At home in Georgia still, heading back to the lake on Monday or Tuesday. But I can’t wait to put up my Orgasm Gnome Tshirts

  2. Much of my writing is practice for the day when I will be able to do that life experience justice. Chinese Mafia, corporate take overs, crooked auditors, Banking Scams, Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq, US Government officials that ignore everything, slave labor in China, Forced Sexual favors in the US, The 2012 Olympics and the correlation to the 1936 Olympics, tapped phones, bugged rooms, Private Investigators, Encryption programs running at 4800kb . . .

    Soon I will hopefully be able to share more and engage in a media blitz. First I have to develop an army of bloggers in order to hold my own ground.

    Crazy thing is that it is all real life stuff. I can write some pretty nutty stuff (like the cartoon pilot for adult swim ~ Plight of the Orgasm Gnomes) but all that pales in comparison to my life in 2005.

  3. Brett, more about the chinese mafia mate – the last line was more interesting than the rest of your comment 😛

  4. I do agree with the perspective that this should be treated as a business, at least from a Performancing perspective. I personally look at Performancing as a place for Probloggers to come together and share best practices and network a bit. That is somewhat a fallacy as non-probloggers come here as well and contribute a great deal and receive a great deal.

    I look at each website as its own product line. I work to build up product lines and turn loose non-performing product lines. When I have the time to chase marginal dollars or invest in new directions I do that. When I don’t, I don’t!

    I’m looking to grow revenues, grow business, blog better, please customers, provide better solutions, and make the world a better place.

    I’m working to be successful and maintain the lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to living. Devoid of a daily commute, devoid of non value added corporate activities, and full of plenty of things to challenge me, make me think and enable me to learn something if not every day, every other day at a minimum.

    I do not run a single blog as a full time business, but do work at my business full time, which includes several blogs. It works for me, because I make it work for me.

    Years ago I ran a painting business. It only worked when I made it work. I ran a bar, and it only worked when I made it work. In 2005, I sold a hundred million dollars worth of electronics and that only worked when I made it work.

    I’m happy, more balanced than I have ever been and growing my success with a stronger foundation than I have ever been able to do in the past.

    Added bonus, I haven’t had a death threat from the Chinese mafia in almost 2 years!

  5. Ahmed, c’mon over. My granny will be waiting for you with her boxing gloves on. Pfffbttt.

    Just kidding, of course. She lives closer to you than to me.

    But I’m dreaming of a nice condo by Lake Ontario, in Toronto, with my Vespa scooter parked outside (the one I haven’t bought yet). On the other hand, if I could get 237 miles out of my Wi-Fi connection, i could go up to the lake nearly every day and work on by the Docks on Cherry St. Or Queen’s Quay. Right by nice, stinky Lake Ontario.

  6. Brett – I’ll take you up on that offer whenever I visit

    Me and Raj duked it out over PM (he lives too far away for me to go over to his place) and we settled it with a deal to help each other with our sites. Oh hell, I wish he’d disagreed more

    Raj is right though – don’t jump into a full-time non-traditional career (such as blogging or freelancing) unless a) you’re in college (because then all the time you spend procrastinating about your studies can be put into making money) or b) you’ve already build up a blog / career side by side.

    One method is to start very early. The other one is to be a chicken entrepreneur. Both work.

    Just don’t let it stress you out

  7. Actually that’s not true. I know for a fact that you make more than me. (Simply because of my health-related concentration problem since last year and the resulting low-productivity, I have not reached my full earning potential as a blogger.) But I’m not really disagreeing with your general points. It is good to focus – a problem I have always had, regardless of conditions, but primarily because there are so many exciting opportunities.

    I am more than happy for you, that you have a flagship site. And I’m taking pretty much all the advice you’ve been giving here and starting to apply it. Or at least thinking about how I might do so. Especially the advice about dominating one niche first.

    What my point was is that anyone new to blogging should treat it as a business and not a job, in the sense that you need capital/ backup funds before you quit your job. I mention it because i’m getting an increasing number of emails and PMs from people who want to quit their reasonable full-time jobs and want to be earning the equivalent in full-time blogging. I’m saying that if you don’t have backup funds, you will get stressed out. [So I’m kind of agreeing with you, but from a different viewpoint.]

  8. I was an ergonomics coach for a bunch of years with the Postal Service in the US. One of the mistakes that people make with ergonomics is to setup their work area so that it is perfectly configured for just that right positioning of your hands, arms and body.

    The problem is that you need to change things up regularly. Raise or lower your desk, raise or lower your chair to go with the change in desk. Change your monitor positioning, stand up and work (raising the desk). Give yourself new perspectives, take the laptop somewhere else in your house, take it outside, take it to a coffee shop, take it up on a mountain, or sit in the grass.

    Our bodies are not designed to stay put in one position/location for excessive amounts of time. If they were, people would enjoy going into solitary confinement. Don’t put yourself in solitary confinement with your work environment. Make regular changes throughout the week in location, and make regular changes 2-3 times per day in the positioning of your body.

    Working as a blogger I find it even more important to get outside and get some fresh air, get some exercise, even talk on the phone or something. Give your body a change up, even if its watching TV. Tell yourself its part of staying healthy because it is. Its part of your job to keep your key blogging ass-et in tip top condition mentally and physically. So incorporate these things into your daily habit.

    Don’t look at them as a distraction but as a necessary and required break.

    If that doesn’t work come visit me in North Carolina and you can blog with me by the lake for a couple days.

  9. Raj,

    My ‘main’ site only started making money when I ditched other projects and started focusing on it – hell, I had to move to a different city to get more time to work on it

    One thing I disagree with – if you’re stuck in the time=money model, then you’re in trouble. Make your past efforts count for something as well, whether it’s for leverage to get higher-paid contracts, or monetize them (compile previous articles into a report and sell it / use it to promote your site) or use the contacts you’ve made to help you launch your projects.

    If you’re in a full-time job, don’t jump until your blogging / freelance work pays as much (approximately, could be a bit less) as your current job. No point in jumping head-first into something with a deadline, build things up slowly but surely.

    Raj, you may think of my article as elitist because you think I’m doing well, but you probably make more than me My point is that I was doing the same grind until I literally moved cities, went AWOL on a client for 3 weeks and just worked on my site.

    That’s how much time it needed – a blog that had been growing slowly (and nowhere near as fast as I would have wanted or liked to) for an year just exploded after 3 weeks of focused work.

    And I’d been waiting – what – 5-6 months for this extra time, working on projects I didn’t have time for to make ends meet, especially stuff that I didn’t have a lot of fun doing.

    moral of the story – if you have to make a decision between taking on several projects and focusing on a select few, always go for the later.

  10. Ryan, sorry to hear that. I didn’t know. I do know you’re doing the work of three people, so I can see how you’d be under the weather.

  11. or in my case…is blogging making you sick;-)

    I’ve been sick for the last 3 weeks and I think it has to do with stretching myself too thin (I also know that stress can cause sickness).

  12. Great advice, Ahmed. (I didn’t even know you had other blogs.) Ah, but you didn’t mention that your main site finally makes enough to give you some luxury of turning down other projects.

    But I’m not disagreeing with you. I have been in the position of once having made a lot of money as a programmer, and life is more relaxed when you have $XX,000 in the bank. Unfortunately, I have nothing but blogging, so i’m the typical freelancer’s position: every hour I don’t work is another few dollars ont earned. And then there’s the fluctuation of revenue. The longer I’m in freelance blogging, the more contracts get dropped or shortened, or I give them up. But new ones do come in. I’m only worried about that for 5 or 10 minutes, after a contract goes. (Partially because I’ve kept a bit of capital on hand.)

    So, if you are still in a full- or part-time job, save at least 6 months “operating” costs before you decide to quit and blog full-time. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later. So if you need, say, $2,000 per month to pay all bills, save $12,000 plus a bit of padding for emergencies. (Start working on the blogging part-time before quitting.)

    In fact, by having startup capital, you’ll achieve the state of mind Ahmed has, and be able to select what projects to work on because you don’t have the stress of worrying whether the mortgage will be paid.

    Treat blogging full time as a business, and do what that entails: having starting capital.

  13. I’d say its not less work that is the key but a focused effort. With your efforts focused you can see the results quicker which might make it seem like you are doing less work.

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