If there is one thing I've learned over the past few years it is that each and every person already has the power to change their life for the better. To truly make a significant change they just need to take control themselves. No one is going to hand you the perfect life. You need to reach out and take it.
If you want a life of freedom, location independence, or working for yourself, starting a blog is one of the best first steps towards getting there.
Not sure it can happen to you? Here's my story.
My Blogging Story
15 months ago, I was struggling to figure out what my perfect life would be like. I had just proposed to my now wife, graduated my night school MBA program, and maintained a comfortable (albeit unfulfilling) corporate career. After a failed attempt with some friends at creating an indie video game, I began to really dive into what I wanted from a "job".
I knew that I wanted to do work that interested me, was different everyday, taught me new skills, and challenged me to grow. Those were all great, but everyone else I talked to wanted the same things. What I wanted out of my work wasn't specific enough to me.
Back at the drawing board I took a different approach. I knew that I wanted to make a major difference in the world and leave it a better place than it was when I was born. I wanted to do something that mattered. I didn't just want to be doing a job that any person (or trained animal) could do for the rest of my life.
The Satisfied Life Triangle
At first I thought I wanted to only help people with their personal finances, but then I realized that in order for someone to be truly happy and satisfied in life there are three areas that need to be in balance.
- Money: At least enough to get by, but ideally enough to live comfortably (in the present and future).
- Work: Satisfying, interesting, and doing something that matters for less time each year.
- Life: Creating a simplified and stress-free lifestyle of freedom.
Without balance in all three of these areas, someone's life can fall apart.
- You could be rich doing something you enjoy, but if you are always stressed out and have no freedom to do what you want, you won't be happy.
- If you win the lottery and retire at 30 to go live on a tropical beach, your life will slowly become unimportant as you realize you don't have any goals to work towards.
Balance is the key to a happy life.
When I decided to start this blog in December 2010 I knew I either had to give it my all or it was going to be a waste of time. I had run a few blogs on wordpress.com or blogspot for personal journals or for fun with friends, but if this blog was going to make a difference I was going to have to treat it like a legacy project.
Since I already had a full-time job, I started spending my nights, weekends, lunch hours, time spent waiting in line, and almost every waking minute thinking about how my blog would "change the world".
Looking back now to fourteen months ago, there is no way I would be able to predict the chain of events that would so greatly impact the lives of my wife and I. At the time we were both in unfulfilling traditional careers trying to figure out "what to do with our lives". Now we both love what we do everyday for "work", especially as she works to become one of the premier wedding and portrait photographers in San Diego.
If I would have never started a blog, my life would probably be exactly the same as it was 15 months ago.
I would be dreading everyday of work, daydreaming of travel in my cubicle, and dying a little bit each day. Blogging opened up the opportunity to work for Insanely Useful Media starting last summer (just seven months after starting Pocket Changed) and giving my wife and I the freedom to first road trip all over the United States for three months and then move us back by her family and the sun in San Diego.
Yes, Blogging Can Be Intimidating
Don't get me wrong, blogging is a ton of work. If you just want to start making money quickly either get another traditional job or start freelancing a skill you have.
Blogging takes time, effort, and perseverance, but it has become one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.
Everyday I get to work with people that are living a life based on what they are passionate about. I no longer have to "go through the motions" at work and live by someone else's terms.
Being an entrepreneur is a "harder" life to live, but the bigger rewards such as freedom and happiness make me feel richer than money ever could.
How You Can Start a Blog that Matters
A ton of different people inspired me to start my own blog (Chris Guillebeau, J.D. Roth, Sean Ogle, Jenny Blake, Pat Flynn, and a ton more), but no single person had a bigger impact on the growth of this site and changing my life than Corbett Barr.
Through originally taking his course Traffic School and then becoming his full-time employee, I've learned so much about how to build a blog and audience online. Corbett lives and breathes blogging.
Last month Corbett and I released the course How to Start a Blog that Matters and there are already over 500 people working hard to change their lives through blogging. We have both poured everything we know about the first 90 days of blogging into the course and it includes thousands of dollars worth of training for under $100. The action plans alone are worth the price of admission.
If you'd like to start your own blog, or even if you already have and aren't satisfied with your progress so far, pick up the blogging course and I'll give you a free 30-minute kick-off call with me.
If you're not interested, that is great too. Just realize that while you think blogging may be too crowded now, know that blogging is still young and the sky is the limit for the potential project you could build if you put in the time and effort.
If you already have a blog, how has blogging changed your life?
If you don't have a blog, what are you waiting for?