Blogging can be the best entrepreneurial outlet

Last year, I met a friend who had gone from $2/month adsense revenue to now $300k/year purely from putting ads on his blog in mear 3 years time. He now has the luxury traveling around the world pursue things he is passionate about. He further recommended me check out Steve Pavlina and how he grew his blog to a million dollar venture. While Steve Pavlina has become an almost celebrity in the personal development world and he now earns revenue mainly from donation from his site visitors and product sales, he earned his early blogging revenue completely on AdSense, and majority of his website traffic is from users subscription and word of mouth, My friend prefers to be behind the scene, 90% of his traffic came from search engine.

Two bloggers, completely different approaches. And there are a lot more one man blogs are making a decent income.

However, there is not any shortcut though, the key is to create killer content, original content.

That really got me thinking. I’ve been casually blogging on guotime.com for almost 2 years now, mostly discussing startup bootstrapping strategy.

While I have always wanted to create a software product startup, I’ve actually had more success as a blogger. I often keep in touch with people I met on random professional meetup (there are a lot of such in San Francisco) and they would later email me or tell me things like “I like your blog, very inspiring”. “Thanks for collecting these information”. At the time I would often become perplexed: wait, how did you find my blog? I don’t recall telling you I blog…

The truth of fact is I have been reluctant about considering blogging as a “business” or “startup”, After all, I continued to think “there isn’t any technology in it”. “It’s not that cool to be a blogger (comparing to a software developer founder). “Any libral arts people can do it, and I am a trained engineer. I can do better”…

It was not until reading BI article “Amazing Career Advice For College Grads From LinkedIn’s Billionaire Founder” and subsequently the book “startup of you”, that I decided to give blogging a serious consideration. Why?

1. Writing is easy and natural for me.

Yes, English is my second language and my writing may have grammar problems. But writing is more about expressing ideas and boy, my mind is probably one level below being described as hyperkinetic. Often times, I let the thoughts slip by.

2.  Blogging about personal growth, living in America is drawn from my existing asset: My 16 years of living in America

Steve Pavlina once said in his podcasting in 2005: “as within, so without”. Our outside world, how we live our life is the reflection of how we perceive our life internally. If you are feeling jolly at this moment, you will likely appear friendly, happy, even radient toward people around you. As written in my “about”, there have been lots of ups and downs in my life, but the important thing is that I have lived it through and accumulated lots of knowledge, experiences, and most of the time, just thoughts about living away from my homeland, becoming a world citizen, forming my own outlook into the future. As many travelers have told us: that people from everywhere in the world are more alike than different, but I’m sure my experiences to be told via this blog and other forms of media will help others make more conscious choice than when I made mine.

3. Blogging is more gratifying when it comes to serving others. 
After 10 years working in the professional corporate/startup America, I increasingly realized serving others, providing values is the best  and the only way for acquiring our own sense of success, achievement. This remains true regardless we are talking about family, relationship, friendship, career etc. This remains true regardless being your own boss, running your own startup, or working as a team member within an organization. When we think and focus on what value we can provide others, its no longer cliche to say “Money follows”; Providing values to others is the best way to building connections with others, that in turn, is the only way that we will see lasting returns in the form of love, care, friendship, money etc.

Further, If the type of service we provide happens to be what we are naturally good at, what we naturally love to do, and naturally satisfying to our spirit, then we are in a very good  alignment on inside out. Only then we are truly close to be happy.

How does this have anything to do with blogging? You may ask.

No, it does not have to be blogging as the form of offering your service. But the truth is, unless you already have incredible leverage, such as being a key engineer working at Facebook or Google that by switching a few lines of codes you can impact millions of people, or being a tweet of Justin Bieber, blogging is probably fastest way to get our thoughts out in a more organized way. Hopefully, if our blogs offer content that are valuable to others, we offer valuable services at a faster pace. Hence it’s really more gratifying for me as a blogger. In fact, one single blogger can reach to millions people just like any other web application. And blog has the more organic, orignal content that is curated by the author: what could be better?

I hope this is useful for you to reconsider about blogging seriously. In fact, I have decided to treat this blog guotime.com as my own startup about personal development, living in America and English as second language. I challenge you with the following action items:

Your action items:

1. Is writing natural for you?

If it is, perfect; if the first answer is not, it doesn’t mean you are not good on writing. Heard about “writer’s block”? Now, open a notepad, write one paragraph each day to describe your thoughts, what made your happy. That is it. Just one paragraph.

2. Think about your biggest asset (not financial).

Baking delicious cookie? Knowing every hiking trails around your town? Writing the most elegant code? Understand exactly the types of cheese is good for sunday afternoon tea? Socialite?

List your # 1 asset that you already can make money.

List your # 1 asset  that you love but have not monetize yet.

Let it sit for a few hours, or a few days, then revisit. Pick just one asset , doesn’t have to be too narrow, to keep drilling down into. Like my asset that I’m focusing on is my 16 years of experiences living in America. That is pretty broad, but I’m sure its pretty valuable for people who want to come to America, living and breathing career growth, or living in bay area, especially many ambitious young Chinese students, professionals.

3. Find out what makes you happy?

Your asset is not necessarily your passion. My asset is 16 years living in America, but my passion, which is still in development, is to share and build understanding among people, and being able to share views and thoughts consciously makes me happy. So I need to find the best way to manifest my passion drawing from my asset. So what makes you happy? How can you manifest your passion better?