Last night I couldn’t sleep, I kept refreshing the stats page on the WordPress home screen. 997. I don’t know how long passed by it got late enough for me to say I’ll check in the morning. Grabbed my coffee and pulled down the refresh one more time. 1,006. As I’m sitting here typing out this post, I still can’t believe it. Anyway, here are the 4 things I have learnt from 1000 views, 400 visitors, 20 posts and 16 countries.
The stats don’t actually matter
Yes, I can see the irony when this post is about hitting a certain milestone, however, I’ve found when you focus so much on the numbers, you can’t put out your best content. For me personally, I’m a big numbers guy. My work revolves heavily around numbers, tracking trends, intrepreting insights and behaviours of the market based on these numbers so staying away from numbers was hard. When I first started writing, I made a committment to myself that I won’t focus on the numbers until I reached 10 blog posts which allowed me to solely focus on putting the best blog posts I can. After 10, I realised that the trends at the beginning don’t make up much sense anyway, one day you could have 20 visitors, the next 0. The trends are so sporatic that you can’t reasonably draw conclusions from them so its best to put out content first then review them when you have a longer time line.
Takeaway: Yes, have goals but set 2 types of goals. Goals focused on the work involved and goals focused on the the by-product of this work. For example: 1000 views is a by-product, the work involved is writing good quality blog posts, consistently so in this case the goal would be, write 10 blog posts.
Your first version will never be your best work; the sooner you write the first, the sooner your best work can show
We have all written English essays for high school and university. You write the first draft, go to sleep and read it the next day and think, ‘did I write this? There are so many errors, this doesn’t make sense, that isn’t slept (I made this typo accidentally but gonna leave it in cause its perfect) right, what was I thinking here?’. This is honestly no different when writing blog posts. The hardest part is getting what you already think on paper and what I touched on briefly in a separate post is to just get something down. It could be a collection of words or sounds or specific scenarios that relate to what you’re thinking, it really doesn’t matter; jot it down. Once I’ve exhausted the list from related things, I pick one and ask myself, ‘how did I get here?’. Literally by asking this question, the brain is triggered to think where the idea came from. If I look back to when I first started this blog, I think about why did I want to do this in the first place?
I wanted a create place to look back on when I was older to see what I was thinking and what I was thinking about, this doubles as a ‘word/photo album’ for kids when I have them.
To create a place where I could be found but also not be associated with specific platform branding like instagram, linkedin or facebook. Essentially creating a ‘corner’ of the web where its mine.
To put myself in a position to be found. Innovation isn’t a sole endeavour, it is a group effort and one of the hardest things is to be discovered. I asked myself, how do I find like-minded people and how do they find me?
Building in public. This one was a difficult one for me to get over because of the idea of ‘failing in public’ was horrifying, however, when I reframed this notion into ‘I don’t know everything, if I put what I think out in the best way I can, we can build on the idea together’, with together being who ever reads this.
Takeaway: Create a starting point for your writing by exhausting a list of related things, then scruntise them by asking questions to yourself. What does this mean? How does relate? Why is this important? How did I get here.
The possibility of influencing globally is real
Technology is amazing. We utilise tools that are more powerful than those that brought man to the moon all those years ago and the great thing about it is, it just works. When things are so engrained in our lives we start taking them for granted. After looking at my stats as to where my views were coming from; it blew me away.
It was global. People from the US, Canada, France, Zimbabwe, Russia, Netherlands, just to name a few, were finding my little corner on the internet. I still can’t believe it. Nowadays, when we call our family half way around the world, we just expect it to happen. This type of interaction would’ve been seen as ‘magic’ in the medieval days and it really made me think; the things we do have the potential for global influence. We, as people, draw inspiration from weird and strange things. I reguarly use Quora and read questions and answers from strangers on the internet and more often then not, I draw inspiration from these. What if what I wrote influenced someone in Ecuador or Germany or any of the countries to pursue what they found meaningful? It really is incredible to think about. So I guess, its a choice of: does what you do matter, not only to you but others? Jordan B. Peterson frames this idea perfectly below.
Jordan Peterson on the idea that everyone is a node in their network and what you do actually matters
The real treasure are the friends we make along the way
We can get so caught up in kicking goals and getting to the next milestone that we can sometimes forget its about the friends and connections we make along the way. By putting myself onto this platform, I have been found by people and have found people with similar ideas and are like-minded. The sense of connection to people similar to you can sometimes be rare and a little daunting but if I think back to the jobs I have had throughout my short career, it isn’t about the targets we hit or the money we saved the business but rather it is about the times we spent kicking the shits on Friday nights or the struggles we went through together or just talking. These are the memories that stick. With a blog, it creates the opportunity to not only be found but to connect with people similar to you. It cuts through the noise of other platforms and allows the connection to flow from person to person, and thats powerful.
Anyway, if you are reading this, thank you for making it to the end of this long post. I really do hope you got value from it. I guess what I’m trying to say is, when starting out is the hardest part, the more I do, the further away from stopping I get.