3 Correctable Myths About Life, Your Job, and Your Blog

MC Escher's Ascending and Descending

Being a full time blogger is an amazing job and contributes to a very satisfying lifestyle without question; I wake up feeling blessed that it’s even a reality and possibility for me – but don’t be mistaken, it’s not without it’s challenges, difficulties, and I don’t always wake up feeling like it’s candy and rainbows.

The point is that I struggle just as much as you do with balancing my life and my job and need as much encouragement as you might need on any given day (in fact I’m going to ask you for your advice at the end of this blog post!). Thankfully it’s been an enjoyable learning experience and my only saving grace has been the fact that I have a half-decent memory and write my experiences (and what I learn from them) down.

So as I was going through my list of some of those experiences I came out with a few things, myths actually, that I’ve learned specifically from blogging that I hope can help you in your blogging efforts.

Check these out and let me know what you think:

1. The Myth of Working Longer, Harder

One of the things that I had read from a number of probloggers when I first started was this idea that I had to work longer and harder than everyone else to achieve my dreams.

This is a lie and is not true – in fact, working longer and harder than everyone else typically means that you’re not doing it right and aren’t really efficient at whatever you’re doing. I have now chosen to work smarter, not harder.

How this applies to your blogs is that there is simply is a point where the amount of work you’re doing is not actually bringing a relevant and reliable return. You might be slaving over your blog needlessly hoping that all that effort with drafting 100 blog posts or customizing your design or finding that perfect plugin – you might feel like you’re getting ahead but you aren’t.

Provide yourself with useful and functional boundaries for your blog and your work and try to work smarter, not harder as you build your blogging presence.

When was sleeping at the office ever cool or rewarded?

2. The Myth of Making Your Work Your Lifestyle

I learned somewhere that I’d be the happiest when my work (especially blogging) was (became) my lifestyle – I’d feel the most rewarded and satisfied if I could achieve this goal. I submit to you now that this couldn’t be farther from the truth and was an extremely dangerous model to follow.

You see, although blogging contributes much to a lifestyle that is extremely satisfactory I’ve realized that a better definition of lifestyle is being able to successfully manage the tension between work and many other elements that make up my day, including relationships and family, rest and relaxation, and my hobbies outside of work.

When my work becomes my entire lifestyle it doesn’t matter how “good” that job is – my life sucks and my enjoyment and happiness is sacrificed. Blogging is neat and rewarding but it can be, like many other jobs, an all-consuming fire if managed poorly.

If your blog (or your job) becomes to appear more like a lifestyle than something to be managed in balance with the other important elements of life than you’re in dangerous waters my friend!

3. The Myth of the 6-Figure Blogger

I wish it was that easy... ... no I don't.

I had seen it a thousand times over and so have you: This idea that “you too” can become a 6-figure blogger if you just buy this product, write this type of content, or sign up for this service.

My friend, let me be the first to tell you that the “6-figure blogger” is a phantom of imagination and tricky marketing.

I’m not saying that it’s not possible to make over $100,000 per year with your blog – it’s definitely possible! What I am saying is that how you’re going to get there is not “as advertised” and that you should be extremely careful believing the hype!

Creating a sustainable and manageable income via your blog takes time – there is no over-night success and no “quick tips” that’s going to get you there. It takes effort, research, and a lot of sweat equity. Heck, it even takes a bit of luck and being at the right place at the right time.

Don’t buy into the idea that you’re going to work yourself out of your current 9-to-5 in 3 months or that you’re going to make up your current income in less than a year (or many of those other DIY speed runs). Believe in the marathon run and not the sprint and then be pleasantly surprised (and humbled) if it does happen sooner than deserve.

What are some things that you’ve learned over the past few years (or months) as a blogger? Have you encountered any other “blogging myths?” What encouragement can you give me?

  • Cindy Holman

    Amazing information – thanks for all you do!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing cindy! i enjoyed to resurrected post from last year… you’ve got a great sense of humor!

  • http://www.geekforhim.com Matthew Snider

    I can honestly say you have something here at Tentblogger that is special. The way you write, the way you inform us all of the simple to the extra complicated is pure genius.
    The way you map things out ahead of time before they come here has become a possible dream for folks and I appreciate all you do.

    I wish I had the time and focus you have brother. Don’t stop! You are helping a ton of folks!

    See you soon man!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      yup, talk soon! ;)

  • http://www.randykinnick.com Randy

    John…wise words! I think there are lots of myths about life and work out there that the marketers want us to buy into. I remember many years ago, my dad and I getting into a pyramid scheme…what a joke! Nothing comes without work, but our work must always be balanced with all the other aspects of life (even, or maybe especially, in ministry).

    I’m going to go the other direction in my comment. Amidst all the myths, here are a few “truths” (most of which you’ve highlighted at some point on your blog).

    1. Producing value in content
    2. Honesty and integrity in the “product”
    3. Creating relationships and community
    4. Openness to divergent opinions
    5. Balance in most cases, extremes only when it is necessary

    Those are a few things I’ve learned so far in my blogging journey.

    Thanks, John, for your work!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ah. love #4… divergent opinions… it’s hard to stomach sometimes if we’re honest with ourselves.

      • http://Www.randykinnick.com Randy

        Agreed. Especially when it concerns our faith. I’m learning that listening opens a wider door for speaking and being heard.

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          ah yes… and that’s why i steer clear of it a bit more than others… ;) just try to talk about blogging!

          more props to you!

          • http://Www.randykinnick.com Randy

            Completely understood in your context. You have other arenas in which to share, although it comes through here too. Just more subtly. Btw. Will be in Atlanta next January. Would love to get together over coffee.

            • http://john.do John Saddington

              that would be awesome! let’s do it…!

      • Dewitt Robinson

        #4 is key. Being open to different perspectives helps with personal growth.

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          this is truth!

  • Joseph

    John, I like this post because you open up a bit more. I wasn’t a part of the recent ATL meetup but I think that means a lot to many people. The fact that you are willing to take your time and sit down with other bloggers means a lot and it says a lot about you. You’re not just here to make money and share your thoughts. You’re here to help others. Thank you!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      joseph,

      i’d love for you to hang out with us next time! are you in the atlanta area?

      i love the local gatherings because it gets me out from behind my computer… it’s a very healthy thing for me…!

      • Joseph

        I’m 30 minutes from the ATL. Definitely going to consider the next meetup. :)

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          sweet! love it!

  • http://gktheblog.com Bran

    I’m terribly new to this world (at least as a blogger, not a blogee) so I can’t offer much advice, but in the way of encouragement I can say that people like you are lifesavers for people like me! We really appreciate all your hard work!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      bran,

      starting is a great place to be…! you have the world at your fingertips… literally!

  • http://www.pastormarkhaines.wordpress.com Mark Haines

    My parents taught me early in life the truth of your #1 myth. They called it the Law of Diminishing Returns. As a perfectionist, I needed them to teach me to say this is good enough and stop trying to improve my projects.

    As I’ve written my blog this year, I’ve discovered there are days when it’s OK not to write a new post and there are days when I need to write even if I don’t feel like it.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      love this mark.

      you’re right, the first point can be summarized with that principle!

  • http://getbusylivingblog.com Benny

    Your stuff is awesome. Besides the amazing content you put out I just enjoy your voice. There are so many blogs that blog about blogging but there’s only one John Saddington!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      thank benny! in regards to voice i simply try to be me. it actually takes more effort than i thought…!

  • Chase

    It took me a while to learn the difference between working harder and working smarter. I’ve worked in restaurants for several years and 50+ hour weeks was the norm. Now I’m happy to say I’ve moved on to a great company that requires a 4 day work week during the summer to make sure you’re working smarter rather than just harder! (And because they’re just that awesome.)

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      chase,

      i’m familiar with your company and i love them. how’s it like working for them? how did you first get connected? have you written about it?

      • Chase

        John,

        Not yet. I was just hired on to be part of the team and was saving my notes for one post at the end of my training that tells the whole story. In short – the guys and gals here at 37signals amazing. They live, breathe, and act their Rework philosophy. I’ll let you know when I get that post up!

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          can’t wait for it! please let me know when it’s done!

  • http://www.planetpeschel.com Bill Peschel

    That there’s a group of “A-list” bloggers who want to keep you from joining then.

    The other myth is that it’s too late to become an A-lister yourself.

    Because of the decentralized nature of the Internet, it’s perfectly possible for you to develop your niche. It takes steady application and some luck, but it is possible.

    (Me? Naw, I haven’t applied myself enough. But I’m working on it.)

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ;) love this. i think you’re right. it can seem very elitist… and yet they will, at the same time, tell you that you can do it too..

  • http://aks-blog.com Ashvini

    The most important part according to me is point number three. I think offline or online , the greed to make money actually burns so many people.
    People buy houses because they want to get rich flipping them and not because they want to stay in them . It is really strange that rational decisions are tossed out in favour of immediate money making often to the detriment of the spender.

    Great points. Thanks for sharing.
    Ashvini

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing ashvini…!

      this hits home closely as we’re trying to close on a house this week…. and we’re definitely looking at staying for a long LONG time!

  • Christopher Morris

    I think you saw most of what I had to say on the blog post you commented on, on my site (which I thank you for), but the main one is balance. You need to prioritize and then make a balance of what needs to be done. I so often go after the cool features of my blog rather than focusing on the necessary ones.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing chris!

      i’d love to hear more about your vision for your blog…

      • Christopher Morris

        Surely, I will probably be writing a post about it soon. I think it will be good to refine my focus and put the full idea I have in my head out on paper.

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          sweet! let me know when you’ve published it!

  • http://ichrch.com Rich Langton

    The three myths you mentioned sure are peddled around all over the Internet. The truth is though (like you’ve said) is that life and blogging is a marathon exercise not a sprint. As with anything worth doing it takes time and effort. When we think things will happen over night or with no effort that’s when discouragement can so easily set in. When we begin to believe the myths we get tricked in to thinking that we can short cut our way to success… Or se mix up what exactly success looks like.

    Anyways John – thanks for your openness and honesty in this post. It’s great to see that the Tentblogger himself is human and that you face the same issues that we all come up against, but that you still manage to make it all come together and keep posting each day… Well done!!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ouch! i can get discouraged just as easily as you can… and… the short-cuts to success… yikes. we are so tempted by that, aren’t we? in more areas than just blogging i might add.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      and it’s sometimes by the skin of my teeth by which i’m able to post daily…….!

  • Art

    A thousand mile journey begans with but a single step. Balance in all things.

    Art

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      i like to see it as tension… but yes!

  • http://www.davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    For me, the bar is always being raised. When I started it was about just posting something everyday. I wasn’t too concerned with the quality, as long as I got it done. Now my posts are taking a lot longer because I’ve raised the bar on my quality. So I guess the lesson is the better you get, the work it is.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      it’s true. i’m not sure it’s gotten easier or harder… it’s just shifted in complexity in the different areas.

  • Caleb Woodard

    Hey this helps me with the question I had on my blog post today about me being overworked. I basically said I work 51 hours a week between my blog and my other 2 jobs and I feel I am not seeing the fruit of my labor. When I saw 2. The Myth of Making Your Work Your Lifestyle – I knew thats what I have been doing. Thanks help me, now I just need to cut back on what I am doing.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      caleb,

      it’s tough… for sure. it’s easier said than done, but i’ll be thinking about you man! good luck with it!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    John, you have maintained a clear focus in your on-going message which helps with expectations. I expect to get good blogging advice at TentBlogger and you deliver.

    Between you and Michael Hyatt, I’ve learned enough to launch out and am experiencing a little growth in my corner of the blogging world. Your practical information and guidance empowers me. That’s a sure sign of a leader and influencer in today’s world.

    Thanks for shedding light on the three myths. I know working harder isn’t as important as working smarter. I think your advice from an earlier post about the focus of a blog helps me already to travel the smarter road.

    Keep up the fresh approach and the good work.–Tom

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing tom! i’m glad to hear about your growing success! it takes time, but if you stick with it you’ll beat out all those others that quit.

  • Jason

    I’ve been doing a lot of research into your point #3 – The Myth of the 6-Figure Blogger. Too much maybe. Because I’ve been so skeptical about them all, I’ve signed up for a few courses, been getting countless emails and should be a millionaire by now. lol.

    Though most of these guys are not real, a few are. And what I’ve learned from almost all of them, though I think they don’t even know what they are doing, is they know how to make great headlines and they have passion for what they do… and it rubs off. Enough that it will actually make them some money… maybe even 6-figures.

    Where they are touching people right now is in their desperation. People hungry to make ends meet, to get out of debt, to keep up with the Joneses.

    So though I really hate that they are everywhere and selling people false hopes, not providing a good product or service, we, who actually have something of value need to learn from how they do things.

    We need to look at what they are doing and find a way to capture the hearts of the people they are drawing in and give them the truth and reality of what’s possible.

    Show them how to run the marathon… not the sprint.

    Love your post. – Jason

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing jason. for sure, i’m not denigrating their work or their effort… but i want to bring a realistic picture of what it typically takes… the overnight success is not real!

  • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

    Great list, John. Thanks for sharing some of your humanity. I like #1 and #2 especially – these are such huge temptations in our culture.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing jeff! you’re doing such a great job though… you’re going to make it!