I have been thinking about starting a blog for a long time. Ever since I dropped out of university. Let me explain…
Since you were a kid I’m sure people have been telling you; “do what you love”, “follow your dreams”, “anything is possible”, and so on and so forth – all that bullshit. In this post I’ll explain why pursuing your passion can work out in the long run (if you do it wisely), and I will attempt to answer the title question; “Why Blog?”
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Why is it, when you tell people: you want to start a business; you want to start a blog; you want to write music, write a film; you want to travel the world; move to China – whatever it is – why are so many people shocked? Why are so many people amazed when someone has confidence to invest in their own ideas? Enough balls to go against the trend. To do what they want!
The conclusion I have come to is that most people are scared. Scared to start from nothing and work their way up. Scared to sacrifice the paycheck; the new shoes, the nights out, the week in Ibiza – to invest in their own development and their own education. Scared to fail and scared to look stupid in doing so.
So when someone says they want to do something out of the ordinary – to do something great – they often receive criticism. Or “warning”, “advice” – whatever you want to call it;
“There’s millions of blogs out there, do you really think anyone’s gonna read yours?” or
“What the fuck are you gonna do in China?”
Maybe those people are just looking out for you. Maybe they don’t want to see you make a big mistake.
But often the people who are telling you not to take those risks are the same people who never took any big risks in their life.
So what do they know?
I’m gonna talk about how starting a blog can help you achieve your dreams, and some of my own reasons for starting a blog.
Building A Platform
So my main reason for starting a website was to make money – so I no longer have to rely on a job to pay my bills. So I don’t have to spend 50 hours of my week doing something I hate. Just to afford some shitty clothes, some shitty shoes and some shitty flat in the middle of nowhere.
But if I just wanted to make money then I wouldn’t have started a blog called “Scott Talks”. If I just wanted to make money I’d probably be selling cheap eccies to teenagers. Or selling homemade boner pills on the deep web. Something like that.
One reason I started a blog is to create a platform – to build a list of subscribers/followers who like the content I produce. So that I can proceed to create betting things – knowing that there’s a number of people who are likely to check out whatever I have done, some of them may even pay for it.
Because if you can find 1,000, 2,000 – maybe 10,000 people – who like what you do, who share your content and who purchase your “products” – then you have a business. So if you can produce 1 or 2 products every year worth, say, £10 each – then you have a salary.
This is one key factor to making money from doing what you love and it really is one of the beautiful things about the internet.
At the moment I am trying to sell affiliate products to make money – so a platform will help grow my site and expand my reach, therefore I’ll be more likely to sell products. But what if I wanted to make music, to write a book, to make a film or something? Then building a platform would be extremely beneficial.
Years ago, authors relied on publishers to market their books; musicians relied on record labels to market their music – now you can market anything to anyone. And if you have thousands of fans who you can reach through email or social media – then you barely need marketing at all.
So if you’re an artist, an entrepreneur; even a scientist or something like that – then starting a blog could be really useful in getting your message out there or to promote your products.
It may come across in this post that I am against any sort of formal education. Which I am for the most part but not in all cases.
My main issue with university – and even high school, I suppose – is that we are often taught things which are completely irrelevant to our interests. We’re often taught skills which we will never use again.
Most people are told that after school they must go to university if they want to be successful. A university degree is seen as a stepping stone to a well-paid job – then everything will be okay. I can pay my bills, I can get married, I can go on holidays, I can buy a car, buy a house, start a family, save for retirement etc.
But I’ve grown to see university as a means of comparing everyone with eachother – to see who’s best and who deserves what job.
“Okay, you got a 1st – you can do the operations. You got a 2:1 – you can hold the tweezers.”
It’s not the case with doctors, I suppose – they definitely need a degree. If someone is going to stick their finger up my ass or prescribe me with those magic pills when the voices come back – I want them to know what they’re talking about.
But I hope you get my point…
Education is simply learning stuff.
And if you are blogging about the things that interest you then you are researching those things – and learning about them. If you are serious about blogging then you are improving your writing skills, business skills – whatever skills you are using to produce and promote your blog.
Learning “on-the-job” is often 10x more beneficial than learning the theory but never putting any of it in to practice. I’m not saying that university is un-neccesary, or even that blogging is the answer. But you can learn almost anything online nowadays and there are thousands of opportunities out there that you don’t need a “certificate” for – you just need to create something and stick your neck out a bit.
If you produce something that is good then you will gain some credibility and you can start to network with people – it’s likely that by having your own blog and your own business, you will have a lot more opportunities than if you just have a university degree. The reality is that thousands of people will have the same degree as you, a lot of them will probably have a better grade – so what really sets you apart?
I am not saying that people should drop out of university to start a blog. But people should seriously consider what their goals are, and what you will have to do to reach those goals. There will probably come a time when you have to create an online presence; reach out to people; maybe start a blog or a website – so you might as well start now.
Escaping “The System”
I don’t mean to sound like some strung out hippy or some dodgy self-help guru, but I hate the fucking system.
I hate the idea of waking up in the morning, knowing that I only have an hour to get to work; knowing that I won’t be home for another 12 hours; knowing that I only have one day off this week; knowing that I’m going to be tired, depressed and demotivated – tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day; knowing that it’s going to be like that for the foreseeable future – and for the next 50 years if I don’t do something about it.
The worst part is that I have only been working full-time for 1 year. And I know there are millions of people out there who have been doing it for much longer than me, and probably working more hours than me – that’s terrifying.
Most people hate their job just as much as I do. But a lot of people don’t admit it, a lot of people have become numb to the pain; worn down by the monotony of the endless routine they are in; so demoralised that they can no longer envision a way out – they just accept defeat.
Some people, on the other hand, are more optimistic – they’re just trying to build their CV or get that promotion – thinking; “there must be something better out there.”
I’ll work my way up, double my salary – maybe buy a holiday home, a sports car; settle down, have a family. Whatever!
But you still hate getting up for work every morning. You’re still holding back the tears when your wife asks you how your day was. And when she tells you that you can’t go to the pub this weekend because you have to watch the kids – “Fuuuuuuckk Offff” – you start throwing shit across the room just to prevent yourself from punching a hole in the wall.
Of course I am making a big assumption here but I think there’s merit to what I’m saying.
All I know is that a lot of people seem to follow this mindset, all of our dreams seem to be being postponed until a later date. We are leaving our fate in the hands of our tutors, our employers etc;
“Scott, is it okay if you work this weekend?”
“Yeah, that’s fine.” He answers hesitantly – putting his dreams on hold for another week.
Maybe that’s not the case for everyone, of course there are some people who like their jobs, people who feel satisfied by the work they are doing and feel like they are getting somewhere – but I think most people are unsatisfied, like me.
We can’t find the time to pursue the things we enjoy or the courage to take the leap from any other commitments in order to do so. We’re all walking down a path we don’t want to… and will spend the rest of our life making compromises.
The Bigger Picture
Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me who thinks like this – wanting to break free offeel like it’s probably for the best. Maybe most people are not like me. Maybe they don’t want to make money, to make history, to influence people. Maybe they do, they just don’t know how. I suppose living for your time-off, for your family and friends etc. isn’t a bad thing. Maybe everyone is trying, working hard, but not knowing where they are going or even what to do next.
Maybe everyone is like me, maybe everyone is a dreamer. But we’ve all become scared to express our true emotions, trained to follow guidelines and rules, detered from taking any risks or forcing change.
We’re tied down and stressed out by meaningless little things like; showing up for work, paying the bills and keeping up appearances with friends you probably don’t even like that much.
Most of us are trapped in our own little bubble – we either fail to see the bigger picture or fail to break free from our boring routines. And a lot of people have no one to talk to about their goals, we’re all so self-conscious and braindead that we’d rather talk about the football scores or the X-factor so we don’t have to think about anything and we won’t make a fool of ourselves.
I can’t say this stuff to most people I meet, or people at work;
“What you gonna do on your day off, Scott?”
“I’m gonna try and finish my short story about a guy who quits his job and moves to Vietnam… What about you?”
“I’m working tomorrow.”
“It’s a nice day isn’t it.”
“Naw, it’s shite! I wish I was in California.”
That’s the end of that conversation.
Sometimes I just want to sit people down and interrogate them;
“So, what do you really want to do with your life?” “Do you like your job?” “You’re not gonna work here forever, are you?” “You must have some sort of ambition.” “C’mon, Give Me A Real Fucking Answer. You’re not that stupid are you?”
But most people wouldn’t understand that. Plus, I don’t want to come across like a complete cunt.
Who am I to talk anyway… I have two pairs of jeans. Both of which have holes in them.
But I am interested to hear how everyone approaches life and their career; how they plan for the future; their dreams etc. I feel that most people shy away from this conversation – worrying too much about what other people might say, or might think. Worried that they may never, actually, achieve their goals.
But once we let go of that fear, we can start to make progress.
So that’s another answer to Why Blog?
Because there’s a big fucking world out there. There are likely thousands of people who could relate to what you are doing – even if your friends don’t understand it.
If you want to do something, just do it.
So, Why Blog?
“I’ve been reading this for 10 minutes now, Scott. What’s your fucking point?”
“Why should I blog?”
So, if you’ve already considered the idea of blogging – that’s probably why you’re reading this in the first place – you don’t need anymore reasons. I can’t spell it out any more fucking clearly.
The main reason I have started a blog is because I want to earn a passive income online – so I can pay my bills and have time to do what I want.
I don’t want to rely on a job. I don’t want to be tied down to one location, tied down to a schedule or told what to do.
My short-term goal is to make a steady income online, so I have freedom to grow the blog and to pursue some of my other passions.
The main thing that is tying people down is their job. When you have a full-time job, plus other commitments then it is almost impossible to find enough time to pursue your goals – there’s certainly not enough time to become great at something.
If you can find a way to make passive income then that will enable you to do whatever you want – well, that’s how I see it. And that idea isn’t as far out of reach as you may think it is.
For example, Amazon pays 7-10% commision on all products sold when you recommend a customer to their site (and that is just one of thousands of websites you can promote).
So, say your goal is to make £600 per month to start off with (pretty modest, I know), you’d have to sell approximately £7000 worth of goods every month.
If the average sale is about £30, that’s about 230 customers. ÷ 30 days = 8 customers per day approximately.
If your content is good; if you’re recommending appropriate products; and the visitors you are getting are actually interested in your content and in those products – then that’s not too unlikely. You could probably do that with 100-150 visitors per day.
If you have 20 good posts then that’s not as difficult as it sounds.
I feel stupid saying this as I don’t have 20 good posts, nor do I get 100 visitors per day and I have hardly sold any products yet – but if I can stop procrastinating and actually do more work then I am sure this will work.
So watch this space.
One of the main points I have been trying to make is that people don’t tend to carve their own path in life. They tend to follow guidelines which have been laid out for them, they draw on their surroundings rather than thinking outside of the box and imagining the bigger picture.
This is most evident in students who are leaving high-school and deciding what career to pursue, they rely mainly on advice from friends, teachers, parents etc. (I am speaking mostly from personal experience, but I imagine it’s the case with most people). These decisions can have tremendous consequences – leading you down a certain path that becomes harder and harder to get off of the longer you stay on it.
I think a lot of us are on these “paths” that we don’t want to be on. I think most of us are unsatisfied and we wish we could do something about it.
One of my biggest fears is waking up at the age of 40, in an ordinary job – having achieved none of the things that I dream about just now. At that point I will likely have a lot of commitments and almost no time to work towards those bigger goals.
That’s why I am starting now.
I realise that some people don’t have these same ambitions to make something big, or travel the world – stuff like that – but most of us do…
I don’t want to be just another ordinary guy, I suppose – just another slave to the system.
The Life of Brian
Brian was a bit of a wild one. He loved his nights out, his football, golf, tennis, (he loved all sports really) and politics, he loved his politics.
Brian was a bright kid, a nice guy too – good family-man, loved his friends. He always had high hopes of becoming a big-time banker in London, he dreamt that he would up sticks one day to work on Wall Street… The Big Apple! He’d meet the woman of his dreams and move to some sunny beachhouse, in Florida or somewhere like that. Golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool… what a life!
After graduating with a Master’s degree in Economics, Brian was offered a very lucrative job for a billion dollar construction company, Xenox, in Croydon – just outside London. £30,000 starting salary. Weekends off, 28-days holiday – pretty standard. But 30k, that’s a lot for a 23-year-old!
“I’ll work my way up for a couple of years, save some money, then I’ll get a good banking job in the city” he thought.
2 years passed:
2 lads holidays to Magaluf; 2 relationships that didn’t really work out; 3 trips home to see his parents; 2 Christmas dinners; 2 drunken incidents that very nearly got him fired; 1 decent pay rise – £32k!
Then Brian met Julie.
Julie had just graduated at this point, she joined Xenox as a receptionist. Croydon was quite a scary place for Julie, she was just a little farm girl – never really seen the big city before. But Brian liked her. So they moved in together.
What a great year they had, they went on their first holiday together, their first Christmas, their first Valentine’s Day – it was beautiful. Julie got her first pay rise and Brian got his first promotion, Assistant Regional Sales Manager!
Then they went to visit Julie’s parents on the farm – they really liked Brian, then things started to get serious. But Brian started to get really busy at work, he started travelling a lot, bringing his work home. Julie told him that he could always find a new job but he was always too stressed to even think about it. Anyway, he was on £35k now and if he could just get one more promotion it would be 45!
2 years later, promotion! Regional Sales Manager! Jackpot! 45,000 pounds! That’s the life!
At this point Julie is still working in reception, she wasn’t too serious about the job anymore – especially when she had to take care of all the housework, the shopping, the finances all by herself. Also, she had made some new friends by now – why would you do work at the weekend when you could go out clubbing in London?
You’re damn right, Julie!
But Brian didn’t see it that way! He was just settling in to his new office. Relishing in the new responsibility. Bossing people around! Plus, he didn’t need to travel anymore – he could just tell his little Assistant Managers to do all the travelling: they can deal with the reps, the customers, all the dirty work, he thought – “I’ll just sit in my office and do all the important stuff!”
Life was good for Brian, but Julie didn’t see it that way. They’d just moved in to a new apartment but Brian didn’t really help out because he was always “too stressed” – what he didn’t know is that Julie was more stressed than he was; and unhappy, let down, and lonely – but she said with Brian, because she loved him.
Then all of the managers started taking to Brian;
“Do you want to go out for a pint tomorrow, Brian? Watch the football.”
“Yeah”, he replies.
A few years passed… then he started to think;
“All the managers are married, maybe I should get married soon. Should probably get a mortgage too – can’t be renting at this age.”
“Can’t be driving a Ford Escort either, what kind of manager drives a Ford Escort?”
So, he bought a Mercedez, Julie got angry.
“That’s our fucking holiday money, we just spent all of our money on a new flat, and now you’ve bought a fucking car!”
So he started to work a lot of overtime again.
Julie spent most of her free time with her friends, or simply watching TV.
4 years later, it hit him;
“Shit! What happened to all my dreams. All the things we wanted to do? Moving to New York. Wall Street. Hawaii. Golf courses. Tennis courts. Swimming pools. That book I was going to write… All of my dreams. Can’t do that now with 2 kids…”
Brian and Julie still live in Croydon, with two beautiful kids – Katie and Brian Jr.
Brian Jr. wants to be a Sales Manager just like his daddy. Katie is just 5 so she doesn’t know what she wants to do yet. We can only hope that things turn out better for them than they did for Brian and Julie.
RIP Brian – Just an ordinary guy.
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