It’s difficult to remember the exact date & time when I started blogging, but it was sometime in January 2011. I was feeling directionless in general, and work wasn’t helping either. The brand that I was working for wasn’t doing well, and the mood in the office wasn’t productive at the least to say. We ran out of marketing budgets and started practising frugal marketing to stay afloat.
How it all began?
It was in that sense of chaos and dejection I began to build set up a blog. The initial thought was to write about what I learned at work. So I did some rudimentary research and decided to set it up on blogger. The initial few months were fun, and I was always scouting for new topics to write on. I couldn’t decide on a name for months and constantly kept changing the name. Initially, it was called My World then renamed to Marketing Epoch. Finally, I decided to settle down with Drift Digital.
After a months time, I said if I’m sure that I am going to pursue this seriously let me buy the domain name to safeguard the blog’s future. I was always sure that the blog has to be beyond me and if it did become famous someday (chances were highly unlikely and still are) I would want someone to carry the legacy forward.
Blogging Lesson #1: Move Fast
I started looking for the availability of driftdigital.com and luckily it was available for purchase. Although I started having second thoughts about buying the domain name whether I would do this seriously, isn’t it a huge recurring expense and what if I didn’t have enough money to renew it next year. I wasn’t making much from work either of the 18K rupees I made every month nearly half would go into paying college loans and rest would take care of my month’s expenses.
I delayed this decision for another two weeks post which I finally made up my mind to buy the domain name. When I searched again to purchase the domain, I found it was bought a week before. I was heartbroken little did I know back then buying domains to resell back was a widespread practice. I had searched Godaddy, Net4India & Big Rock couple of times for the domain name.
I soon realised that if I had to do this, I have to take quick decisions. Waiting was certainly not an option when you are doing anything digital. I settled for digitaluncovered.com couple of weeks later and bought the domain.
Blogging Lesson #2: Message in the bottle
Blogging is like getting lost on a voyage, and you drop a message in a bottle expecting someone will find it one day. Your content gets lost in the chaos of the blogging world. Over 1 million posts are published every day and finding you content is like finding a needle in a haystack.
I lost my patience in 2012 for two reasons. I changed my job, and my new workplace meant I had to travel 4 hours every day. I usually came back home at 9.30 or 10 pm on most days, and it hardly left me any time for blogging and weekends were mostly spent watching movies and catching up on sleep (which I hardly got as the new workplace meant getting up at 5 am every day).
After writing for a year, I felt my content was getting lost, and I had a writer block every time I sat down to write something. I lost my patience and stopped writing. If I look back now, I feel what I needed was an eco-system that motivated me to carry on with what I started. New bloggers need encouragement and acceptance from established bloggers to continue with what they are doing.
Blogging Lesson #3: Finding Encouragement
The blog hit a snooze mode from 2012 to 2014. I went into a sleep capsule as far as blogging was concerned. Moved two jobs during the time. Towards the end of 2013, I was unwell and restless most of the time. Travelling took a toll on my health and after spending a lot of money on getting back in shape when I decided to quit, the company that I worked for started its retrenchment process on a large scale. So in flash of a second, it was over. I packed my bags and felt a sense of satisfaction (I would have done it anyway so if it is happening by default let’s accept it).
A few months later my new workplace had mainly helped me with two key ingredients that I was looking for lesser commute time and flexible working hours. But blogging was still not on my mind because the change in workplace meant longer working hours and a learning curve to understand new industry and consumers.
Fast-forward to 2015 two events changed my life. First, I got married, and my wife became the first point of encouragement to revive the blog (her presence meant that I had constant feedback on content and what I was doing). The second event was the IndiBlogger Meet where I met Jeff Bullas his sheer knowledge and passion for blogging was a huge encouragement to bloggers who met him. His master class was the bible to get blogging right.
Blogging Lesson #4: Going all out
I figured out the key to blogging was going all out. If you are sure you can do it, then go all out. It’s like betting on yourself (I will do this no matter what it takes). So the Indiblogger Meet happened in September 2015 by December 2015 I had moved from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress (bought hosting for three years) and changed the entire design for the blog. I was also creating more content than before (making sure that at least 1 article goes live every week).
I don’t think you can do blogging without grit or determination. Even today I don’t write for an audience I write about topics that are close to my heart or topics that I’m not myself aware of. Research for the blog sometimes makes me clear how ignorant I am when it comes to some topics in marketing. Last year I made sure that I had an article live every week (that’s 52 week’s in a row). The blog had visitors from 72 countries, and besides the blog, I also started writing on LinkedIn and Medium. This year an article from The Guardian back-linked to my blog, and I feel extremely proud that someone has finally picked up my message from the bottle.
The trip ahead is going to be a lonely one, in fact, it has always been. Most people I talk to don’t understand why I would do it when it doesn’t pay the bills (yes my blog hasn’t made any money so far). I feel you need the patience to build any idea that’s how it has always been done.
This has been a lengthy blog post and if you have made it till the end thanks for reading. Every time I feel lost or confused I go back to articles from Jeff Bullas and Sales Lion. I hope you have learned something from my experience. Don’t forget to leave a comment that’s what keeps us going.