Lesson 9. Go Pro: Use what you learned to make yourself a real job.
But the trick in our society is not doing what you think you’re supposed to, or what you think other people want you do, or even “making a living” – but it’s a question of what you really want to be doing with your life.
The scammers and credit card companies and government officials that we complain about have one serious flaw: they are on an ego trip of magnitude. And is why personal blogs work to reform our society, since they shine a sometimes painful spotlight onto sensitive areas.
These ego-trips are based on chasing the almighty dollar, or looking to have more control over other people, or seeking adulation with their name in lights.
What you should be doing with your life is up to you. Only up to you.
But back to using this essay in the real world to do other things…
If you want to take this another step further, you can take all you learned in these lessons so far and make your blog into a real money-earning enterprise. The data you’ve been studying above gives you lots of tools to do whatever you want.
Here’s some next steps you may want to consider:
Get real hosting
This can run less than $10 per month and will give you a great deal more flexibility. Get a host with “CPanel”, which enables you to learn a lot about how your server is running and you can get all sorts of programs and scripts to install for free with their Fantastico script.
Look this up on YouTube and you’ll find some great videos about how to set up your own site with CPanel.
Install your own Word Press blog
This is free with CPanel and is really easy to install and set up. That video above really covers a great deal about it. But you’ll want to visit their “Codex” and find out more about it. WordPress is actively evolving, along with the plug-ins for it. You can now even set up your own ecommerce on your blog – which has only evolved over the past 6 months into being viable.
With your own blog, you can try out different plug-ins, different themes, anything you want. And you don’t have to worry about some yahoo getting a hair up and taking down your site without warning. Sure, it’s a lot of work and study to begin with – but it is really easy to maintain after you do the learning curve on it. What you’ve already done with your free blog has made your learning even shorter.
(Note: it's highly suggested that you build your main hub on a real CMS system and simply drive traffic to that by your current remote blogs, articles, comment links, etc. This is as Wordpress is great for getting started, but has serious overheads which can get you kicked off servers if you get the wrong plug-in's conflicting - it's happened to me twice. I still blog, but have other backends built to receive my traffic and convert it to sales.)
Find out more about SEO
I’ve just scratched the surface of this. But factually, there isn’t that much more to it. I’d suggest resarching Charles Heflin and his SEO 20/20 site. He’s probably the front runner in dependably giving you essential advice that always works in this area. (I’ll talk more about his key concepts in the linked book - and yes, you should get a copy.)
Get some real analytics installed
You’ll need some feedback on how your site is doing. One way to do this is to get some analytics going. Google Analytics is a freebie you can install even on your free blog – and can be configured to email you weekly with all the data about your visitors.
If you get your own paid hosting, there are reports that the server will generate for you. The more you know, the more you can tweak what you are doing to help your community more – which brings you more traffic. If you have something to sell on your site, this should help you convert those viewers into customers and those customers into repeating, loyal clients.
Figure out some products you can offer so your blog will pay its own way.
Most people get the cart before the horse. They want to sell something and then are bent on finding and promoting to people so they will buy it. It’s actually the reverse. Find out what people want, what they are having problems with, and then offer solutions to them. Eventually, they will want to pay you for your solutions. Get enough people paying you for your solutions – and keep your overhead low enough – and you’ll make a nice living at whatever you want to be doing.
There’s a whole study in the various ways to find and promote products. But the key is above – offer what people want, which means finding this out before you set up anything else.
Find out your own passion in life and realign everything you’re doing to this.
If you’ve seen “The Secret” or any of the various personal improvement books/CD’s/DVD’s out there, you’ll keep running into this dirty little secret: the most successful only do exactly what they feel good doing. Playing baseball, running software corporations, serving up fast food or fine cuisine – it’s all points to your success being dependent on what you really like and want to do, not what anyone else has told you what you were suited for or “best at”.
Once you do take a tally of what you like to do and the greatest return you get from all the activities you’ve ever done – you’ll have an idea of what you really need to point yourself at and then go full-tilt toward.
The secret agenda of this little essay is just that: figure out what you really, personally want to do and then use these tools to start going in that direction. It’s just that simple.
“Going Pro” has more to do with what you want to do with and in the rest of your life than anything else. Whatever you want to do, go at it in a full-tilt fashion, as professional as you possibly can. You may have heard Earl Nightingale who said that the person who is a success is the one who is making steady progress toward a worthy goal. Has nothing particularly to do with how much fame, glory, or financial reimbursement a person has in that life. It does have everything to do with what you choose to have in your life.
(And if you want to hear it from the master himself, here’s an audio version I recommend.)
Note: the first chapter of The Online Sunshine Plan goes into a great deal more on finding and following your passion with your online interests.