“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
I asked 21 top bloggers this question: “What's the biggest risk you've taken that you feel has paid off?”
Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic
Moving to Mexico in the middle of a drug war with no friends, no money, and no way to leave if things got bad. My entire family thought I was insane. My poor 80-year-old grandmother even drove across the state to come tell me goodbye, like I was going to die.
And I could have. I really could have.
Instead though, I built a multimillion dollar business and came back to the United States, one of the only severely disabled people in history to become entirely self-sufficient. It was a huge gamble, yes, but the payoff was enormous.
Ramsay Taplin of Blog Tyrant
Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted
Pauline Cabrera of TwelveSkip
Biggest risk? Hmmm, that would be investing time on something without knowing whether it will work out or not.
For example, in the first year of my blogging, I invested so much time in Twelveskip without getting that much in return. It's like I was working full-time for free. I kept telling myself to have fun and be passionate because I believed one day all these would pay off. I spent most of my time learning, experimenting, networking and creating content. I was inspired by those people who started from nothing (like Michelle Phan) and became really successful because they are passionate about what they do. If they can do it, why can't I, right?
Now I've been happy with the level of engagement I've got. I love how I actually make a living from blogging. It took me a year and a half to figure all out but I never felt like it's work. I've loved every bit of it.
Jenna Dalton of JennaDalton.com
Dennis Seymour of LeapFroggr
Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard
The biggest risk I've taken was when I left my job to focus on blogging full-time.
This was a serious financial risk. As with most forms of online income – there are no guarantees. But, I felt the risk was worth taking in order to scale my blog.
6-7 months later and I've grown my income by 500% which is beyond all my expectations. There were a few moments where I had serious doubts but I've always believed that anything can be achieved if we put our minds to it.
Tor Refsland of Time Management Chef
In the past I was running a few businesses, while having a full-time corporate job. That wouldn't have been possible, if I hadn't cracked the code on time management, which helped me increase my productivity by 200%. Even though I was doing quite well in terms of income, I knew that my energy and time was spread out on too many projects. Success is all about goal setting, time management, productivity and focus.
My biggest risk was when I decided to leave my six-figure corporate job and pull the plug on all my other businesses, in order to follow my true passion – to found Time Management Chef, where I help online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can focus on what they really love.
Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs-Journey
Andrea “Dre” Beltrami of The Branded Solopreneur
No question, the biggest risk I've taken is rebranding my business from scratch. In fact, it was a HUGE gamble and down right terrifying, but I knew it was the right choice for me. The unfortunate truth is, I spent almost 2 years building a brand around a niche I had very little interest in and a persona I manufactured in an effort to ‘be professional'. Ultimately, I decided I had to ditch it all and start fresh. Something others told me I was a fool for doing.
John Meese of JohnMeese.me
The biggest risk I've taken that has paid off?
Stuart Walker of Niche Hacks
I used to make a full-time living from low risk online casino bonuses and sports betting. That was great for a few years then started to get more difficult so the money was drying up. I took what was left of my cash and went and traveled around South America for 6 months. Came back broke and had to get a mind numbing office job.
Brian Lee of Genius Types
Jerry Lowe of Web Hosting Secrets Revealed
14 months after WebHostingSecretRevealed.com got slapped by Google Penguin, I decided to shift everything to a new domain for better prospects. The .com site was one of Majestic Million (it's still ranking 130,755 today) and my main income source back then. Leaving the site behind meant I had to rebuild everything from scratch with zero traffic and income. I was literally losing thousands of dollar per month in content and our new tool (WHSR Uptime Monitor).
Luckily, it turns out to be a right call.
Today, the new site WebHostingSecretRevealed.net is better than the old ones in many ways. We are now less dependent on Google Search traffic; the site has a better brand recognition, get shared 100x more often on social media, and personally I have much better sleep at night not worrying of another Google penalty.
Sylviane Nuccio of SylvianeNuccio.com
The biggest blogging/business risk that I’ve taken, could easily be the one I took four months ago, when I decided to merge my 3 blogs/niches together under the same roof.
Why was it a risk?
Because most of the bloggers I know were advising me not to do this, giving me all the reasons why it would be a huge mistake. After all, it’s hard to put 3 niches under one domain name. Isn't it?
But all I needed to hear is that while difficult, it was POSSIBLE.
Four months later, looking back at my blog, everything is on the rise.
- More traffic – That traffic curve keeps going up steadily every month since December.
- More interactions on each post – 50+ comments on a bad week to 100+ on a good one.
- More motivation to write great content – Having only one blog to manage is more motivating for content quality.
- More motivation to create original and costumed images for each post – This helps me developing my brand through images at a whole new level.
- More motivation to promote my posts – Feeling good about my blog gives me more energy to promote it.
My blog and I are getting noticed. I can see that by the increase in guest post requests, post contributions and other interviews that I am getting these days.
The merging of my 3 blogs under one roof was a success. The risk paid off.
Dev Sharma of WPKube
I think the biggest risk I've taken is selling my business blog to focus on a niche topic. Four years ago, I sold my main business blog to focus on WordPress niche. It was my main income source at that time and selling the site meant, I
would have to start from scratch.
Now that I look back, it looks like shifting my focus to WordPress niche (with WPKube) was a right call.
Today, I have a good presence in the WordPress community, featured on many authority sites, an amazing team of writers and bloggers, and above all, have been able to help a lot of beginner WordPress users.
Neil of Blogician
Biggest risk? Got to be trying my hand at grey/blackhat SEO. I have a relatively new blog in the relationship niche. Great content, well optimized – but still crappy unrelated sites were outranking me for the main keywords. A quick backlink check showed huge number of blackhat backlinks. Frankly speaking, Google's algorithm was not doing a good job. So, I decided to give it a helping hand (not mentioning the blog for obvious reasons).
I ordered 60 do-follow comments on pages having valid PR. Received -20 penalty! Ouch! Should have gone slower. Next up: Guest post on PR5 blog (basically it's for selling guest posts only). I wrote a 1200 word article and used a contextual link (in first paragraph). I also used an image backlink with keyword in the alt tag. Then I ordered 300 Plus ones for my homepage, drip fed over a week. Voila! My blog jumped to #2 from #10 for Keyword 1. For another high competition keyword, my blog reached #16 from #130.
The results were completely unexpected. I was just doing this as an experiment. I was just hoping to avoid a penalty. But it turned out to be a nice experience for me. My risk paid off. It has been months now and I am making a few bucks from it.
I am not encouraging you to try this for your main blog; I never try these things on Blogician. But for niche blogs, you can give it a go. After all, if your blog is being outranked by crappy sites, why would it be wrong to fix it? You are just showing Googlebot the right direction! What do you think?
Donna Merrill of Donna Merrill Tribe
I think the biggest risk I took was when I spent a substantial amount of money to get one-on-one coaching for product creation and marketing.
At the time, I thought that maybe I was spending too much money just for “some advice.”
But it changed my whole perspective and my business has soared since. It was a big financial risk at the time, but in retrospect, I'm sure glad I did it.
Of course, I had to take action on what they taught me, but without their direction I would have taken action on things that got me nowhere.
Now, I use coaching each step of the way, because I'm convinced it's really the only way to move your business forward.
Instead of thinking of it as a risk, I now consider coaching to be an essential part of my business budget.
Lorraine Reguly of Wording Well
Living life to the fullest often involves taking risks, and being a blogger is no exception.
Matt Banner of On Blast Blog
The biggest risk I've taken that has paid off is deciding to get started with my online business. Putting that first pen to paper or that first finger to your keyboard is probably one of the most difficult things to accomplish. No, the biggest risk is not about developing a unique link building strategy or adding elements within your content to increase engagement.
The decisions to reshape your life and harness your passion towards starting a blog is the highest hurdle you'll face. Starting a blog is sort of like jumping out of a plane. As you approach the open door at 18,000ft in the air, you're incredibly apprehensive about doing this and you're certainly rethinking everything. However, you know that you're with a trained professional and if you follow the best practices and guidelines set out for you, you know you'll make it to the ground safely.
In blogging, most people are too afraid to take that first step. Making that decision to take a risk and start that blog you've meant to get up for years now is half the battle.