Success is not guaranteed – and why that’s a good thing!

With blogging, as with anything in life, success is not guaranteed. This may sound like an obvious thing to say, but when you read a lot of blogs in the blogging and make money online niches, the overwhelming message is that “anyone can do this – look it’s easy!”. Well, in many ways it is easy to start a blog, but making any serious money out of it is not (or I must be doing something wrong).

relaxing in the pool
Image courtesy of Tom@HK

Seth Godin makes a good case that there is still a high correlation between hard work and success. Sure, a bit of luck doesn’t hurt, but as Gary Player once said:

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Unfortunately working hard is not a guarantee of success – but it sure improves your chances. Conversely, I think it’s fair to say you are far more likely to not be successful if you’re not prepared to work hard.

2 hours a day?

John Chow famously claims to only work at blogging for two hours a day. Although I’m not sure what he bases that on, for a blog as popular as his, it seems somewhat too good to be true – I guess he must outsource a lot of the work (certainly I see a lot of guest posts anyway). Maybe it’s because his is a mature, well-known site which doesn’t take as much promotional effort as a new one struggling to get noticed – I don’t know. Then there’s Darren Rowse who says he works 50 hours a week, which sounds more realistic to me.

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Regardless of exactly how many hours you put in, I think most people who’ve been blogging for awhile would agree that it’s not easy to consistently produce quality content. And that’s not even mentioning all the other things you have to do to manage a blog – networking, advertising, tech stuff, moderation, optimisation…it’s a long list.

So why’s that a good thing?

Well, as I already mentioned, starting a blog is easy. Using or Blogger you can create one in a matter of minutes. Slap on a couple of AdSense ads, sit back and wait for the cheque to arrive. I think it would be fair to say that blogging has an extremely low barrier to entry. Consequently, huge numbers of new blogs are started daily – imagine what would happen if they all continued and grew to maturity! We’d have an online population explosion (well, more than we already do), and it’d become even more difficult to make any kind of impression. With so many people making masses of easy money, we’d have rampant inflation, leading to a global credit crisis (oops, we’ve got that already, haven’t we). The sky would fall on our heads, and life as we know it would cease to exist…

OK, I’m being overly dramatic, but the reality is that the majority of those new blogs never make it beyond the “Hello World” stage, and only a small percentage ever manage to attract much traffic at all. Why? Because it takes hard work! This is a good thing because while there is virtually no barrier to entry to start a blog, there most certainly is one to becoming succesful, which creates an opportunity for someone who is a bit savvy, has something to say, and is motivated to work hard.

Are you willing to pay the price?

Certainly, the myth of lounging by the pool while the cash comes flooding in without having to lift a finger is just that – a myth. Blogging is a stimulating and enjoyable pursuit. It may even bring you a measure of fame and fortune. But are you willing to pay the price to get there?

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8 Responses to “Success is not guaranteed – and why that’s a good thing!”

  1. Gravatar of Armen Shirvanian 1 Armen Shirvanian

    This sure is great news to any individual who is determined and focused towards a certain goal. It provides them with a sign that they can head towards the destination, and that hard work favors their goal being obtained.

  2. Gravatar of Air Jordans 2 Air Jordans

    You are right. Blogging is easy but succeeding in it takes a lot hard word and commitment.

  3. Gravatar of Chris 3 Chris

    Blogging is an art form, and with any art form, the primary reward lies in the enjoyment of doing it (and of course, creating something beautiful in the end). That’s not to say you can’t make money doing it, but there’s absolutely no guarantee. You’re right – if you’re not in it for the rewards of disseminating information and creating an online community, it can end up to be a huge waste of time.

  4. Gravatar of Seonewbie 4 Seonewbie

    I think you have to be one of the first or one of the best in a niche to be successful in blogging or in any other business

  5. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 5 Rodney Smith

    Seonewbie: well, it probably helps! Some of the big guys like Problogger Darren Rowse has said more than once that blogging wasn’t as competitive when he started as it is now. Then again, those guys didn’t have all the tools we do now.

    I guess it also depends how you define success – you don’t necessarily have to be top dog to enjoy a measure of success.

  6. Gravatar of Underarm Sweating 6 Underarm Sweating

    You just have to do, click in your mind + lot of hard work.
    That click is referring to possibility that anyone can do anything you just have put some work in it.. But first you have to be prepared in your mind to success, if you are not you will fail despite all hard work..

  7. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 7 Rodney Smith

    Sweaty: there’s certainly a lot to be said for self-belief, determination and commitment! That said, it’s a small step from there to self-delusion too: some people will never become a movie star / pop singer / brain surgeon, no matter how much they believe it.

  8. Gravatar of Blog Motivasi Bisnis 8 Blog Motivasi Bisnis

    Selain bekerja keras untuk kesuksesan, juga diperlukan kerja cerdas dan efektif. Dan dari semua itu hal terbaik sebagai pendorong kita untuk berpacum menuju kesuksesan adalah MOTIVASI.

    In addition to working hard for success, are also required working smart and effective. And that’s all the best things we as a stimulus for berpacum to success is motivation.

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