I am a blogger turned businessman. I never had a grand plan nor an entrepreneurial bent. I never made any money washing cars for my neighbours nor set up a lemonade stall outside my parents’ house.
Who am I?
I assumed, after leaving school, I would simply get a job just like everyone else (if the rock ‘n’ roll career didn’t take off – which it didn’t).
And then a few years ago I started writing blog posts and monitoring analytics for fun. I did it during downtime at freelance gigs – it helped with the boredom.
I vividly remember the day I got over a hundred visitors. As soon as I passed that milestone, of course, I kept wanting to break the 200 mark.
In 2006 if you blogged, people assumed you knew what you were doing. They phoned you up and gave you work. Instead of plodding around tedious London offices doing freelance gigs, I could do the same thing in the comfort of my own home. Fantastic, I could cut out the middlemen – the employment agency and the design studio – and charge a fortune! (OK, not a fortune, but you know what I mean.)
I simply found myself running a business one day because it made sense to do so. So, I might be an accidental entrepreneur but I’m not a reluctant one.
Once I discovered I was an entrepreneur (a bit like when you realise someone’s pregnant) I rushed out and bought some books about it. Tim Ferriss made me dream, Michael Gerber made me look at my business as a separate entity and Andrew Carnegie made sure I got on with everybody.
There were a lot more besides. I continued to read business literature as I continued my almost obsessive desire to improve my business.
And, of course, I haven’t only been reading books. There’s the blogosphere as well. I devoured everything by people like Pat Flynn, Glen Allsopp and Steve Scott as my fascination with marketing (and blog traffic) flourished.
My liberation at setting up my own business is too much of a good subject not to write about. I love writing about it. So now my blog is not only about design. It’s about design and marketing.
With this comes a slight identity crisis because the blogosphere loves a specific USP.
And it hasn’t been plane sailing with the traffic either. From a high of 3000 visitors a day at the beginning of the year I’m back down to 1000 a day now – roughly at the level I was two years ago.
All this increases my entrepreneurial angst as I jealously look around at others. It’s amazing how powerful the ego is. One minute I’m stoked I’m a company director; the next minute I’m pissed I’m not Seth Godin.
Live for the present moment
However, I now think that I should take less notice of my gurus – as useful as they have been on my journey.
There comes a time for every enlightenment seeker to discard the books, the gurus and the satsangs and turn their attention inside.
Instead of worrying about how to get to the next level, there’s a realisation that I might already be there. I’m not making a fortune but, hey, I’m surviving. It’s not like I’m losing money.
Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. Stop worrying about the traffic and just enjoy myself. Entrepreneurial enlightenment would be great. But endless searching can cause identification with a “problem”.
I do still want to grow my business, don’t get me wrong. More than ever I want to help people get started and do the same.
I just think I need to do it my way.