I've recently become a fan of quitting. Despite the age-old adage that says, “quitters never win,” there's tremendous value in throwing in the towel. Sometimes, the best thing to do is not persevere, but give up.
That's how I found my first 1000 fans.
Quitting my blog and starting over was the best thing I could have done for my writing career. It wasn't easy, but it was right.
Last December, I reluctantly dropped a blog to which I had been contributing for nearly five years. Late one night, I was frustrated and started all over.
This blog is the result of that one, frustrated decision.
How I grew to 1000 subscribers in 6 months
I was scared and unsure of myself. It had taken me years to build a small, but steady tribe of regular readers.
Part of me was excited to start something new, and part of me was not looking forward to all the work it was going to take.
But something weird happened…
Six months later, my blog's daily traffic quadrupled that of my old blog (which was about 250 visitors a day). Since then, it's continued to grow.
How did it happen? Well, I hate to disappoint you, but…
It wasn't an accident
From Day One, I was intentional about how I built my blog. Although the rapid growth has exceeded my expectations, I'm not altogether surprised. In other words, it wasn't magic.
I did the work; I saw the results. And, if you want, you can probably grow your blog in the same way. But you will have to hustle.
Earning your first thousand fans (or your next thousand) isn't easy, but it doesn't take a ton of time, either. It just takes work.
For me, it took an hour or so a day. So I got up a little early, stayed up a little late. I focused, stayed the course, and saw the pay-off.
I also stopped worrying about being heard and paid more attention to the needs of others. In doing so, I learned a valuable lesson:
Too many writers and creatives think we're entitled to a fan base. We want people to read (or listen to or watch) our work for the sheer brilliance of it.
But it doesn't work like that. If “content is king,” he's a fat, lazy despot in need of a PR campaign.
What matters is relationship. What matters is trust. You either have it, or you don't. And once you do, there's no limit to what you can accomplish.
I'm nobody special
I'm humbled by how my blog has grown so quickly. But my story is nothing remarkable.
There are plenty of bloggers who have gotten a lot bigger in a fraction of the time it took me. And there are those who haven't. The difference, I believe, is work. (And maybe a little luck.)
What I've learned from this process is that if you do the work, you (eventually) see the results.
Some of us may have to work harder than others, but the principle is the same: Those who do the (right kind of) work, win. And those who don't, don't (unless your last name happens to be Hilton or Trump).
So,I hope you do the work. I hope you grow faster than I did — because you worked harder. And I hope struggle a little, so you stay humble.
Today, the choice is yours: Get to work, or wait. And if you wait to be picked, well… good luck with that.