Today we’re talking the power of passion and purpose. I believe it is always wise to follow your passions because they are connected to your purpose. Your passions reveal what it is you were put on this Earth to do. When you invest in your passions you invest in your purpose. And this purpose is not just one thing but a combination of things and is revealed to us, I believe, little by little as we grow and develop into who we were meant to be.
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It is more challenging to work for yourself in my opinion than someone else. My husband and I both run our own businesses. Here’s why it’s more of a challenge:
You Can’t Be Lazy
I know, you work for yourself, why can’t you? The truth is that though it’s more freedom, this freedom is a doubled edged sword. Having and running your own business is different than working a 9-5. When you work a 9-5 you’re expected to be there every day and on time and you can have paid times off or vacations or just decide not to come into work today. Pull that when you’re your own boss and it’s the difference between buying groceries and going hungry. The truth is that when you work for yourself you can’t be lazy. Instead of getting paid per hour, you’re getting paid per client and it is how you pay your bills and provide for your family. Not putting in work means to literally not get paid that day.
This goes hand in hand with not being lazy. Working for yourself requires more discipline. The reason is because when you work a 9-5 you have days off. When you work for yourself, however, you have to create those days and it’s tempting to procrastinate or put things off. Even though I work from home I still must discipline myself to get up early. There are only so many hours in a day and the earlier you get up the more you can get done. First of all, I need to get a good workout in to get the juices pumping and then I have to get to work which works well if I get up early enough. For my personal business, it’s more so building. Since I don’t have any “clients” yet what I don’t spend in money I spend in time. Researching, writing, blogging, sending off packages, marketing, promotion, and organizing.
However, since I am also the Vice President for my husband’s contracting business, I only have a certain amount of time to do certain things so I do not neglect any key responsibilities. My husband calls it “clocking in”. I call it walking into the office with a cup of coffee in my PJs. Though liberating, I have to constantly remind myself to take breaks and because I make my own schedule I have to incorporate my own vacations. This isn’t as easy as it sounds because when you work for yourself you’re never off. Your phone is constantly ringing from clients, your email and text messages are overflowing with new messages, and you’re just overall always locked in. My husband had to literally talk me into writing last weeks Black History Fun Fact Friday article. If it was not for him you all would not have had a BHFFF article for real. After grocery shopping, putting up food, and cleaning the kitchen I certainly didn’t feel like researching on the computer. But my husband’s work ethic is amazing and he does not let me slack off. Truth is, people think that not having a “job” means you have all the time in the world and that you spend your days staring at the wall. In reality, I rarely have time to watch TV. (My version of TV is CNN as background noise). So, breaks such as movie night is something that we create.
Since I mentioned breaks, I figured I should go ahead and list this one for the last bullet point. When you work for yourself you must schedule your own breaks. This sounds simple, but it’s not. Entrepreneurs are largely made up of what people call workaholics. The truth is not everyone is a workaholic, it’s just that when you make your own money you’re constantly working (as I’ve just mentioned) because nothing is guaranteed and every cent is earned. Therefore, business owners must create schedules to ensure they don’t lose their minds. We must create our own days off and vacations (mine is coming up, whoo hoo!) When we return, we’re reminded of why working for yourself is so much more mentally challenging. Everything we put off has piled up and so the grind continues but….
I would do it all again in another lifetime.
When you own your own business, you don’t just have more control but you gain so many more valuable skills, such as being more accountable for your actions and being more attentive to your surroundings and the behavior of people. You learn to do things like take the initiative (doing what needs to be done without being told) which is a great leadership skill. There’s something about doing the work yourself that gives you a different way of looking at the world, a new perspective, and a higher level of discipline and responsibility. In addition, the reward for all of this work is well worth it. The benefits of entrepreneurship certainly outweigh the challenges.
Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release summer, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release (coming soon) for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.
Great tips on growing a blog before you dig in for the weekend: Post Quote:
“You have to read a lot of blogs. You have to comment on a lot of blogs. You have to click Like on a lot of blogs. You have to Follow a lot of blogs. You must have a mindset of working your blog page. If you make 1 or 2 posts per week and interact with no one, yet expect the waves of worshipers to pour in, then you are going to be disappointed.”
Are you interested in my thoughts on blogging and my answers to a few questions I was asked this past week? Here are answers every blogger in the world needs to understand:
“Why does it seem that there are a lot of blogs with a couple thousand followers or less and then 10,000 followers or more?”
This past week I have received quite a few emails asking me about growing a blog and this particular question came up. Apparently someone else has noticed this trend. The truth is I’m not sure why this gap exists, but it has existed since I first started my blog in 2014. I’ll be curious to read other’s opinions and thoughts on the matter. I think part of it has to do with work ethic and devotion to craft. Not to say the smaller blogs are not devoted. What I mean is the larger blogs are…
Since I have a family camping trip coming up (Whoo hoo!) and I know that many of you are also looking forward to breaks and vacations as this year nears its end, I thought this was a perfect time to discuss how we can ensure our blogs are still putting in work (even when we’re not).
When I started this blog in 2014, I didn’t know about the specifics of what went into building a blog that could last. I also didn’t care. At least not consciously. I mean obviously I wanted to grow, but I wasn’t devoting any time and effort into figuring that out. My learning process has been pretty much learn as you go. The more I interacted with veteran bloggers, participated in challenges, and commented on other blogs the more I became aware of the little nuggets and tidbits I needed to help my blog, not to grow, but to keep growing. Which is, of course, a goal that I consistently strive for.
Though I wasn’t new to the concept of blogging, I was afraid to miss a day of blogging, let alone a couple days! But, this turned out to work in my favor. Once I decided I wanted to stick around for awhile, I developed a routine that I kept up for my first year of blogging. This routine, as I discussed in How I Reached 300 Blog Followers in 3 Months, consisted of me publishing three new posts every day for six days. I know, crazy, right? Maybe so, but to get your blog to work for you even when you aren’t blogging is going to take you getting a little bit crazy (especially in the beginning).
I’m not an expert and you probably have more followers than I do (lol hee hee), but I do believe in hard work. I also believe that hard work pays off. These are pretty much the basic principles that help me to keep this blog going.
One way that I’ve found for bloggers like me to be consistently active is to….be active! As active in the blogging community as possible. In the beginning, you should be publishing a new post every other day or once a week at minimum. No, not once a month, that’s pushing it. Pushing what? Pushing your chances of not being seen. In addition to posting its also important to follow other blogs, comment on other blogs and interact on social media. It’s also important to respond to comments on your own blog as well. Communication is key. Not only do I believe new bloggers could benefit from doing these simple, basic things, but I believe they should do it obsessively! (What?)
OK, let me explain obsessively. Perhaps dedication is a better word? I’m not saying that quantity beats quality. I am saying that with dedication and persistence it won’t matter, you can have both; pushing quality content at faster rates. I know, don’t look at me like that. This post is about getting your blog to work for you when you are away, but that doesn’t happen unless you first work on your blog.
Here’s the thing: When you are active in the blogging community (really active), your blog will get views and follows even on the days when you are not blogging. I’m not saying you should blog just for those follows (as your content must still have enough value for people to stick around), but what I am saying is that hard work pays off. If you work at setting a foundation that’s strong, then you can build on it. You won’t have to worry about posting as much once you’ve been doing it consistently for a period of time and you won’t have to worry about losing followers as much because there’s enough content for people who have not yet discovered your blog, to read. I’m not saying work like a Hebrew slave. I’m saying start working like a Hebrew slave and then quit. Start off strong and your blog will be there for you in the end. Yes, some people aren’t fond of receiving lots of blog post from their subscriptions but who cares? Not me. Sure, you’ll lose followers. It happens, part of the territory. Don’t take it personally. It’s inevitable. Everyone does not like you. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
On creating enough content for others to read:
Last week a blog post I published two years ago suddenly got lots of attention. My stats were going crazy! Shooting up to over six hundred views within a 48 hour period (over 3,000 by the end of the day) with over four thousand shares on Facebook. This was an old post that was just being discovered by new visitors. OK, so it only lasted two days, but here’s a clear example of your blog working for you! If I wanted, I could have sat back and took an entire week off and made it up in views, likes, and follows coming in from that post alone. This same thing can work on posts that surround certain historical events, like 9/11. Maybe you posted something on 9/11 and two years from now it gets all of the attention you thought it deserved when you first published it. It’s all about timing.
Time spent blogging and time spent writing can often clash into each other, frustrating author bloggers who understand the value of using blogging as a legitimate platform, while at the same time understanding that producing more material is essential. We struggle between having a presence in the blogosphere and dedicating more time to our books. Contrary to popular belief, there’s a way to stay active in the blogosphere while consistently producing material without neglecting the blog. Yes, I’m saying its possible. I know because I’ve done it. Since starting this blog, I’ve published three books and I am in the process of publishing two more next year.
The key is a little bit of discipline and networking with others, incorporating blogging into your platform building strategy as a necessary part of the work, and producing quality posts as early and as often as possible in your blogging journey.
An Easier Way
Sorry, unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. There’s no way to build a blog than to work at it. The best way for us to grow our blogs is to be present.
Why push myself? I do what I do not because I think I’m somehow better than anyone else. I do not immerse myself into work because I think I have it all. I know that even in what I know, I know nothing. I work hard not because I’m perfect. I’m loyal not to gain praise or approval. I do not publish Self-Pub tips and promote authors because I’m someone special. Do not speak with such integrity and confidence because I’ve made it. Most of what I post terrifies me. Who am I to advise? To instruct? To teach? Who am I? Little ole me with less than 1,000 subscribers, barely any reviews and even less social media followers? Who am I to speak as I speak and say the things that I say? I do what I do because faith is stronger than doubt, just as love is stronger than hate, courage more potent than fear, and light stronger than darkness. My faith pushes me to write without fear of judgement and to speak the truth even when my voice shakes.
When I was in elementary school I got straight F’s on my report cards. I failed pretty much every class. Ultimately I failed the sixth grade, almost failed the seventh and was put into special education courses for some subjects in eighth grade. Needless to say I’m not a smart person. If I possess any intellect at all it is because I worked for it. I worked my way out of Special Education, graduated with Honors and by High School was taking all honors courses. I had never been good at math but it didn’t stop me from taking Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry. I was possibly worse in science than math but it didn’t stop me from taking advanced Chemistry. My point here is that everything that I have always done had been with a particular work ethic. I’d never been the kid who could automatically understand, no. If I was to understand anything I had to study it. So I became a nerd because I had to be. Not being a nerd would have resulted in continual failure. By the time I was a junior in High School I was also taking College Courses for College credit. This meant that most of my day was spent at school. I would go to High School in the daytime and then College at night. I graduated High School eleventh in my class and went on to begin the next part of my academic journey. When I look back I notice that I graduated Elementary, High School, and College at the top of my class and with honors.
The moral of the story is not about the Educational System. Nor is it about me. Like I said, I am not a smart person. Everything I have required work to get. The moral of the story is that when it comes to achievement, of whatever kind, it’s not as mind boggling as some make it. Despite your perfectly outlined plans there really isn’t a silver bullet for how to do something well nor is it about doing something the way others tell you it should be done; it’s just about doing the work. Whether we are talking about Blogging, Self-Publishing or being of service in any capacity it is always about doing the work. As long as you are willing to work then you are willing to be successful. By successful I do not mean making a lot of money. By successful I mean accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. Someone who desires to lose weight and takes the steps to get it done and does it is a successful person. There is no special diet he or she can take part in that will help them. There is no special meal either. But there is that persons mind and its willingness to put forth the work necessary to get it done. Yes, Self-Publishing is a challenge in many ways but it is not as overwhelming as it can be. Every time you walk pass an Independent book store there is opportunity. Every time you open your blog and stare at the page there is promotional opportunity. Every time someone reaches out to you as an Author there is opportunity. Every time you walk pass a library there is opportunity. The question then is not whether or not people will buy your books, not whether a book store will house your series, not whether or not you have perfected marketing and promotional plans. All of these things has its part but they are not really the point. The point of it all is always whether or not you are willing to do the work. Are you willing to walk into that bookstore and ask them about housing your book? Are you willing to schedule a FREE book signing at the local library? Are you willing to take advantage of shameless FREE promotion on your own blog? I just use writing as an example but this can apply to every aspect of our lives. It all boils down to one question: are you willing to do the work? If you are not willing to work it doesn’t matter how many doors open, you will always be too lazy to walk through them.