Rebuilding My Business

How I Screwed Up My Blog in 2009.

I’ve been avoiding writing this post since last year.

So. In 2009, I had some severe problems that caused me to make some major screw ups online. I can’t talk about it but I can say, it affected me a lot. I spend half my time at my parents, helping out and babysitting, because thats the only useful thing I can do. I spend the other half trying to deal with the various emotions. Its tough. I dropped a lot of balls. I screwed up my blogs in just about every way possible.

This post reflects on the mistakes of the past 6 months and how, despite f**king up, I was still able to come out of everything with the respect of my peers.

Mistake 1: Broken Promises

Last year, I asked Darren Rowse if I could do weekly guest posts on Problogger. He agreed. I was unable to follow through due to family circumstances. Darren was very understanding but I still felt shit about it. Now, I see Kelly Diels has a weekly slot. Thats awesome – I’m so proud of her as I am still unable to make that commitment. I still feel sick about it though.

This story has been repeated many times over the past year. I have a huge backlogs of guest posts, reviews and interviews to fulfil. Most people have been cool about it. As things dragged on, I started telling more people about how hard things have been.

I learned that I should have been honest from the start rather than try to hide the problems. I also should have reduced my online commitments as soon as I started to feel overwhelmed.

Mistake 2: Confused Branding

I found that my plans for this site evolved as I started interacting more within the social media community. At first I was just targeting bloggers. Then it evolved to info product creators and small business types. It took a long time to decide that my main skill was teaching people how to connect with others online.

I messed up so bad trying to find a way to develop my brand. Initially I had a WPMU set up where I segmented my content into the three main sites: business book reviews, product reviews and authentic networking. I then moved all the content to the one site but tried to create 3 seperate blogs using funky wordpress coding.

These mistakes confused google, confused readers and make things really difficult for me. This mess lasted for months while I was busy dealing with other stuff.

Mistake 3: Assuming no-one was reading.

I did two launches of my blog in 2009. The first was in January, when I blogger as The Prolific Writer. This was short lived. I was suffering from extreme anxiety at the time and spent the next 4 months struggling to find the right medication.

In September, I did a MASSIVE post called 892 lessons from 36 bloggers. That post took about 7 weeks to do. It involved a lot of work and liasing with other bloggers. It was fun but extremely successful. It was around this time that my personal life became really stressful and I withdrew online.

I spent most of the next four months just adding product reviews. I didn’t think anyone would be reading. In reality, I’d probably picked up some readers but alienated them all by my irregular posting.

I’ve now moved all product reviews to a seperate site – Social Media Store (now shut down)¬†and have started posting again regularly. I’ll also be making more effort to get to know the people that engage with my content, and will target my posts accordingly.

Mistake 4: Being too scared to make money

I was so stressed out last year. It got to the point where I was too scared to earn an income because I didn’t know if I’d be able to handle it. I set up processes to earn an income but never really worked at it. I’d do guest posts but wouldn’t ask for paid work. I wrote an ebook but did no work to promote it. I threw up a basic services page and, because I didn’t put enough time into it, didn’t make any sales.

I don’t regret this. If I pushed myself, I may have become too scared to sell my products and services. However I probably would be thousands of dollars better off if I had gotten over the fear.

Mistake 5: Having no faith in myself.

Last year I was just so afraid of doing everything wrong. The fear made me too scared to do anything. I had a low self esteem which was, and still is, reflected in my writing. I was paranoid that people would hate me and flame me.

It took the help of some awesome friends to realize that I have something to contribute to the community. I remember crying when I randomly got $500 as a thank you for the work I had done that year for a friend. I also remember when a high profile friend sending me a DM saying ‘psst, I’m proud of you’ and being unable to stop smiling all day.

Its the small acts of kindness that helped me pull through and be able to return to blogging.