M and N completed 1 year in November ( Yay! ) and I decided it would be nice to write a post on things I’ve learned while surviving 1 whole year in this online world.
Without losing my mind that is.
Hopefully you will be able to glean something from my little one year old experience.
So here goes-
I never started M and N with the intention of providing services.
I had no idea if I was even going to monetise or how to monetise a website like this one.
I took on the first two clients only because I was approached by them on Facebook roughly at the same time.
Maybe you could say that I lucked out.
And I am really slow, it did not even occur to me that I could provide services through M and N even when I was then working with my 5 or 6 th client.
I used to always think – ok this one project and I get back to working on my blog.
Now that I look back on it, umm face palm.
But I realised I really do enjoy working with clients and I finally decided to redo my website focusing on the services.
It was an important decision to make.
Whether I was going to continue to aimlessly publish blog posts or grow this into something more meaningful.
And so I decided to pivot from a blog only website to a service focused website.
Something I rarely have.
I enjoyed a slow progress in the beginning stages of the blog.
No fancy traffic numbers, no ridiculously high share counts, nothing.
Even though I started the blog with no real aim, I had to focus on something to keep me going.
So I focused on traffic which was kinda disappointing.
As days rolled by, I was growing impatient.
I thought maybe I am not cut out for this or my niche doesn’t really get that much traffic and I should focus on some other metrics to keep me going.
I failed to see that maybe it was my content, maybe it was a lack of focus and direction for the blog which was stalling the growth.
It was only when I switched to a service based model and began serving content around my services that I started to see some real growth in traffic and last month just before the one year mark I was able to complete my traffic goals which I had long forgotten because now I was more focused on delivering the right content and the services.
Oh, I had a modest goal of 20k page-views per month within a year btw. Sigh.
And last month M and N was just shy of 50k 🙂
I’ve come to realise that the amount of efforts I put into something may not produce the desired results.
I have to learn to slow down.
Hit the pause button and learn whats working and improve on what is not.
Sometimes I make a big deal of starting any project and I delay and delay until I just give up on them.
Sometimes you have to just start and set the plan in motion.
Like my plan for starting an Instagram account.
I made up this huge deal in my mind where I thought it would take up all this time.
How am I going to create ideas for the content, it has to be picture perfect if its going on Instagram, is anybody even interested in my Instagram account and what not.
I was supposed to get started on Instagram in January of this year, I finally came around to it in October. 10 whole months later.
Finally after months of waiting around and not finding the right time or having the right content plan, I decided I am never going to be completely ready for anything.
So I just dived into it.
Not surprisingly when I started posting on Instagram, I realised how it was not that big of a deal and had I started earlier I would had been much further along.
I have still not found a consistent rhythm with Instagram posting but I am slowly getting into it.
A goal next year is to create a better feed and a snazzier account.
Develop Your Own Systems
It is important to have processes and systems around your workflow.
They bring some kind of structure and stability to your workflow instead of an “organised chaos”.
I asked some of my online business owner friends about how they organise their work day, what tools they use to keep on track etc.
I tried a ton of things and none of them worked for me.
Planners don’t work, to do lists don’t work, Pomodoro technique doesn’t work for me unless its something like 6o minutes work and 10 minutes break or better yet 2 hour work and 30 minute break.
I am not going to get into the details of how I adapted things or developed my workflows – It would require a whole another post.
What I learnt was my work style is different, my habits are different, and naturally a system that works perfectly for someone else is not going to work for me.
This was an important lesson to learn.
Some people thrive with collaboration. While some people need accountability.
Each and every one of us has a unique way of working and motivating ourselves.
I am more of a – shut everything out and work quietly without the noise kind of a person.
I am easily distracted when I am surrounded by people, Facebook groups will one day destroy me, and having an accountability partner makes me want to rebel and not do anything.
I don’t know how I survive.
Okay, this DOESN’T mean that I hate people and I would rather be alone.
I enjoy talking to people and hanging around with them or else working with clients would be the last thing I’d do.
Its just during work hours, I prefer going solo.
I have a wandering mind which keeps getting distracted and working with or being surrounded by people is like putting my mind in a magical circus filled with shiny things and fancy tricks.
No really, even when I am having a conversation I might drift off suddenly and then come floating back into the conversation after a while.
Even to me.
This was probably the hardest lesson to learn.
To me saying no to opportunities and clients was equivalent to saying no to income.
I found it hard to say no early on.
Over a period of time, I’ve come to realise that I produce my best work only when I am fully present.
I cannot be mentally or emotionally checked out and create work just for the sake of money while working on projects that I don’t find exciting.
My work always suffers and that dissatisfaction slowly starts creeping into my day to day life.
So saying no is now saying yes to taking care of myself. Doing this, I don’t just protect myself but also the would be client who deserves better.
It is not selfish to put yourself first.