A guest post by my friend and colleague, Annabel Candy.
I got blogger's burn out at the end of last year. Either that or I was just going nuts. I achieved a lot for my business in 2010. Here's an overview of what I did:
- went to social media conferences in Shanghai, Melbourne and Las Vegas.
- jetted to Sydney to hobnob with high-flying Coca-Cola execs.
- wrote multiple guest posts.
- wrote tens of posts for my first blog Get In the Hot Spot.
- was interviewed many times.
- contributed to many compilation posts on other blogs.
- tended to my splendid web design clients.
- did some great copy writing jobs including one major job for a government agency.
Somehow I also managed to feed my family healthy home-made meals every day (unless I was travelling) and ferry the kids to and from school, gymnastics, basketball, karate, swimming lessons and endless playdates. But too much work and no play time for myself just about finished me off.
Those jobs I listed were all things I should have done and am glad I did, but there are some things I did last year that have to stop – or at least slow down.
As My Blog Grew, My Free Time Disappeared
As my blog grew more popular my incoming emails grew too. In the end, email and social media correspondence were taking up so much of my time – probably a couple of hours in the morning and as much again in the evening – that it was taking over my life.
I felt as if all those emails that piled into my inbox every night were sapping the energy and creativity out of me. My hobby and creative outlet of writing and blogging had turned into a chore. But I don't blame anyone else for that because I let it happen and I do have a history of overreaching myself.
How I Became a Victim of My Own Online Success
There are many distractions online and when I factor in my people-pleasing persona it's a recipe for disaster. As our online success grows we all need to work out ways to deal with the distractions and demands so that we can keep doing our job, earning money AND living our lives to the fullest.
These are the main things I need to cut back on:
- sending a personal email to every single new subscriber – I love having you on board but writing new content for you would be a better way to spend my time;
- checking out other blogs and leaving the blogger a comment – I love reading them but I spend way to much time writing motivating, value-added and interesting comments;
- tweeting all and sundry and doing my best to help every Tom, Dick and Harry who asks me to promote and grow their blogs – Of course I want to do this for my inner circle which includes my loyal readers, but I can't do it for everyone and I only want to promote stuff I really love;
- hanging out on multiple forums and groups helping people with their business and blogging problems – I'm happy to help people who need my expertise and value being part of these groups but too much time is spent reading and following information that's not relevant;
- replying to every email asking for free advice, a review on my blog or some other favor, even those that were obviously from people who weren't real readers – as my blog grows in popularity so does the number of emails I receive and replying to all of them is getting harder;
- giving people who email me asking for help free advice on their blogs and websites – I love doing this but I can't spend time doing it when I could be working with paying clients or writing new blog content. I do want to keep replying to comments and questions on my blog though.
I Was a Business Dunce
To make things worse it wasn't just my time I frittered away. I also gave away many of my services free of charge. Not just once or twice to friends, to other bloggers who I built a good relationship with, or to my mentees', but to anyone and just about everyone who asked.
I ended up spending more time helping other people win business online than I did helping myself. My job is helping people win business online so that would be fine, as long as I charge for my time. It drove my business mentor crazy and for good reason.
I Reversed My Lovely Lifestyle
I have a lifestyle many people dream of – working from home and living by the beach in a tropical paradise (most recently New Zealand, Costa Rica or Australia) with three kids and a handsome husband. City life and job security aren't my cup of tea and I've lived this idyllic lifestyle for 12 years. I'm used to spending more time with friends and family and enjoying the beautiful places I live in than I do working.
Then last year, I somehow slipped into spending about 10 hours a day on my computer. Why? I'm not really sure. But I've realized that I don't want to be the BIG business person who everyone talks about and defers to. I don't want to be the richest, most powerful, most popular, person on the Internet. Most of them are workaholics who seem to be permanently hooked up the Internet but that's not for me.
I just want to hang onto my lovely lifestyle, grow my business, hopefully increase my income a little and enjoy my writing. Sounds good doesn't it?
How Not to Be a Victim of Your Own Online Success
So I have to stop working for free. I'm vowing to control my emails, reply in brief, stop giving complete strangers my valuable time and advice free of charge, and start writing more.
I enjoyed a lovely break over Christmas and throughout January and, when I stopped tweeting and posting so often, the gratuitous emails slowed down.
Now I'm looking forward to getting back down to some fun writing and getting out and about more to meet people and help out at my kids' school.
In the best interests of all of us my belated new year's resolution is to stop being too nice and start being a hard-nosed cow. No more Mrs. Nice Guy! It doesn't come naturally to me but I'm going to work on it because I think it will make me happier, increase my income and grow my business.
This will leave me more time for doing what I love most and do best – writing. Which should help me help more people than ever.
I'm looking forward to it, it's going to be fun. I hope you'll stick around to follow my journey and keep yours on track of your goals.
What's Troubling You?
I know my blog growing in popularity is a great problem to have and now I've taken some time out from it I can see how simple the solution is.
What's bothering you most in your business right now and how can you sort it out?