I'm absolutely humbled by the response to the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. I was going to tell you a story about my first entrepreneur venture when I was 6 or 7, continuing on yesterday's post. Instead I want to highlight The Challenge while it's early on. I'll tell you how I made my first "dollar" tomorrow.
First I must thank Cliff Cardin for the inspiration to join this challenge, and for pretty much starting this whole movement. Then I want to thank everyone that has participated so far. I know it's only day 2, and it's easy to get excited about any project when it first starts. But I need to make sure everyone understands how special this is.
You've all revived my love for blogging. You see, I started mucking around with websites back in 1996, my first domain, rakxzo.com had nothing for the longest time. Eventually I posted some stuff I had learned about this HTML thing. But it quickly got boring and I let it go by the wayside. I even forgot to renew the domain or I couldn't afford it, I don't remember. I re-acquired it in 2002 I think.
In 1999 I got hired by a company that survived the dot com crash, only to run out of 120+ million dollars in funding by 2005. (here is an article I dug up about their 3rd round of funding for $43M, they had 5 rounds.) I was young then and pretty much became a workaholic. 80+ hour work-weeks, doubling my salary? Soaking up wisdom and knowledge from serial entrepreneurs and titans? Don't mind if I do. I had little time to spend in my own projects or hobbies, but I was learning and making more than most 50 year olds at 20.
I quickly moved up the corporate ladder and became a leader in the IT area. Who needed a blog back then? We had forums and private message boards to discuss all things IT and tech support. The company had so much money, my time was spent playing with the latest and greatest technology, telecom and servers. It was all fun!
Despite being all over tech boards, following and reading the likes of Chris Pirillo, I still wanted to post my own stuff. It wasn't until a couple years later that I bought muychingon.com and began posting on it like crazy. I loved it. I had started with a free php blog script I found on an opensource outlet. Then I tried a dozen programs to run your own website. Eventually I settled on WordPress.
It was awesome, you could post easily without having to worry about much of the technical stuff. It was new and things broke easily, but it was a breeze compared to other alternatives. Around the same time I was using StumbleUpon and that brought most of my traffic. I wasn't posting anything serious, mostly funny stuff I found online, some opinions and just random stuff. But it was fun responding to comments, sometimes fighting with trolls and looking at my stats grow.
Eventually the company I worked for began to tank and got bought out by IBM. I decided it was time to part ways and move on. I follwed a small crew of friends to the next company. I secretly refered to us as the remnant --a phrase I picked up during my holy roller days. I kept running muychingon for a year or two after that. I was getting 4 - 10K visitors per month, but I never made a dime from it. I actually think I made like $50 bucks from adsense; it didn't even cover 1/2 year of hosting. At around the same time I also started another 10 - 15 websites to try to make money. I didn't make enough to make me quit my job and kinda gave up on the whole thing.
I got sick of it all and locked out muychingon.com sold and got rid of the other websites and put my nose back to the grinding wheel. But social media was just starting to take off so I thought I'd keep a prescence online "just in case" but I couldn't use my "muychingon" website because of it's meaning. With the age of social media transparency in the horizon, I decided to build this site. Notagrouch.com But blogging just wasn't the same. I felt like it was forced, traffic never really came back and blogging just became a little bit boring.
I had been following John Chow for years on and off, so I knew that people were making serious money from their blogs. Darren Rowse, Shoemoney and even the Rich Jerk kept me from giving it all up and putting my entrepreneurship dreams on the shelves. They played a big part on me keeping most of my domains alive and in renewal mode. I knew that "someday" I'd get back to blogging and that time it would be serious.
Hell, not only did I keep my domains, my list of new domains kept growing (have around 90 right now) to support the building of my ideas for the next business I was going to start. I did start a few that made decent money but they just weren't what I wanted to do. In retrospect, I should have focused on them a little more just to make serious money then do whatever I wanted. But I was afraid and jaded. Instead of earning money from running these sites, I learned more so it wasn't all wasted.
Fast forward 5 or 6 years to October of last year. To my incredible luck I met John in person last year around this time. That moment of serendipity reassured me that I should keep working on my ideas and domains. But people say "Blogging is dead" it's all about 140 characters and likes now. John chuckles at that notion of course. John has become a bit of a mentor for me and before the 30 day challenge started, around the summer I began teaching blogging to people. I thought this would renew my love for it and eventually will generate income. And it renewed my love for blogging to some degree, but nothing like yesterday.
So here we are today. Blogging again, and I've just fallen in love with it again, thanks to you guys. You have inspired me and motivated me. I hope you know that you are special. We are special, it is the bloggers that are at the top of the content food chain. Without us social media would collapse. There are only so many pictures of funny dogs, cats and food that people will tolerate before they need new fresh stuff.
Eventually you'll have to put out new fresh content or you'll just be part of the re-tweeting and curating herd. So don't listen to the naysayers. Blog! write something, share something you know, tell us a story, or teach us something. Don't neglect social media, of course. It is valuable, but your blog and your mind are much more valuable than any tweet you can ever come up with. You've got 29 days to go so keep it up. And when you get demotivated or have writer's block snap out of it. You know you have to.
So let's set the world on fire
We can burn brighter
Than the sun