Example

I have been talking with my friends that have been blogging a lot lately and it seems the conversation always comes back to “I should really be writing more”. Not that they are telling me to do that, but that I feel like I should. Writing is great therapy. It allows me to get things off my chest, put ideas down in word and make myself accountable for things in my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still writing and publishing on Bike198.com, helping clients with digital marketing platforms and working here and there. It isn’t like I am not doing anything in my digital life. The personal writing is the aspect that has taken a drastic turn down in frequency. Ok…the reality is that it hasn’t existed at all as of recently.

So why the change?

The reality is that I am really enjoying being a dad. I usually used the time early in the morning to get my thoughts out of my head and on the screen. That was the time my head was the clearest and I was most efficient at getting it all out in digital format.

Everyone has their moment during the day where they can get the most accomplished personally. For many it is during the night time hours when the family is asleep, for others like me it is the morning with a cup of coffee. Like it or not…it is just the way I am wired I guess.

What am I doing now in the morning?

Diapers. Literally. I have been lucky enough in my professional life to have the ability to wake my son up in the morning and take him to daycare. Out of everything I do during the day…that has to be one of the best highlights on a consistent basis and I am trying to enjoy it as much as possible. There are a lot of dads and moms out there that do not have the luxury of just hanging out with their little one for an hour in the morning so I am trying to enjoy and not waste a good thing.

When I get back from daycare, the messages have already lined up and the work day is in full force. My personal time for writing and getting more personal aspects completed takes a back seat to the actions that pay the bills.

Even the time I do find to do something for myself tends to lend itself to something mechanical in nature as a stress release as the day moves forward. Getting out for a run, working on the car, riding my bike…all things that become the desired go-to action as the day progresses outside of introspective thought and release.

On a more serious note

One of the main reasons outside of time I haven’t been writing as much is that I have been going through a lot of “life balance” and organizational thinking. There have been times recently that I have either noticed or it has been pointed out to me that I have been spending too much time online.

Over the past couple of months, I have been doing a lot to figure out who I am and why I do the things I do. There are a lot of positives but there are also a lot of negatives that need working on. In life, I have been taking feelings and reactions that I have considered as normal just to find out they are not. In many ways, I was using my time online to seek the approval of others in an attempt to measure my personal self worth. There are also other aspects to this (that I don’t feel like going into detail about now) that is fed by the need to have the best or show others what I think I know.

For that reason, I really took a break from the digital world in many ways in my life to reevaluate what is truly important and making sure that those people know how important they really are. It is very easy for someone like me to get caught up in the digital world and make that a primary focus instead of a secondary addition to real life. My work is intrenched in it. My hobbies rely on it as a form of sharing and communication. It has become a part of nearly every aspect of modern culture. As I look into my own head more, I see certain aspects that lead me to behave in certain ways and I am finding that…in many ways…the ease of digital life feeds certain needs that aren’t healthy.

Does that mean I need to stop all together???

No. Not at all. I means that I need to personally find the balance in my life that works for me. I do find writing and sharing in the digital realm healthy…but as I move forward I am more careful about the motives for the sharing than the reactions I seek. I also need to make sure the absolute priority in my life is my interactions with my family and the love I show them. It has always been the #1 priority in my life but I need to make sure that the digital part of my life doesn’t interfere with that as well.

So a long story short…I am going to make an effort to get more of my thoughts out. But there is a difference this time around at least on this site. The primary force is not going to be centered around making money or carving a spot out in the blogging world like I have in the past. It is going to be more about me and less about advice. Will I share things that have worked for me from time to time? Yeah. When I feel like it fits. Otherwise…I am going to keep this site about exactly what it is named. Robb Sutton.

 

Example

This morning, I was getting for the day when I came to a realization…

I hate blogging about blogging.

What started off as trying to help people has turned into the vicious cycling that I had dreaded from day one.

So what exactly happens?

The more I post useful tips that actually work…the more people just want another list post about “how to get more comments” or “how to make more money” that they can tweet without reading or use on their own “make money online talking about making money online” blog. It is less and less about building a business out of something unique and more about copying the success of others in the hope that money can be made off of the same blueprint.

As this cycle continued to show itself…I was finding myself thinking about creating training course, more eBooks and other related materials that would basically just become more of the noise. I wasn’t happy about it and I was dreading every second of it.

Why I Initially Got Into Blogging

I got into blogging to connect and help other people in the biking industry with Bike198. Luckily, that site is still doing that. However, when I tried to apply that same theory to Blogging Labs, I was getting stuck in the rut that most blogs about blogging head in…and it is time to stop the madness.

I want to connect with people again and I do not care if that costs me money in the long run. That is not why I started writing about online publishing in the first place…but that is what it turned into. Bike198 is still doing incredibly well on the income side of things without having to sacrifice the connection and sharing within the industry. That audience could care less about the blogging and make money online world…all they want to do is share their passion online.

If I have to take an income hit to get back that connect here…it is worth the tradeoff to not be another “blog about blogging” or “make money online by talking about making money online” place on the web. There are enough people doing that already and 99.9% of them are all saying the same thing. Saying that, there are very few (ie. DavidRisley.com and some others) that are still publishing content that I will even read.

So things are going to change rapidly. I am going to get back to connecting with people by publishing everything here on RobbSutton.com and I am completely dropping Blogging Labs. The old content will stay live, but now you are going to be connecting with me…not some brand…not what the industry wants…just me. The about pages, categories and other items will shift into the direction that I want this site to take.

I have a lot going on now that I do believe can help people and I want to share, but I do not want it to be list posts about rehashed crap in an attempt for pageviews. If you want to connect with me…the guy behind the scenes…then you will love this change. If you want more list posts and how to posts that will “get you 100 more subscribers today”, you are not on the right site anymore.

It’s time for a change.

To start…I am going to give everything I used to charge for away for free. Ramped Blogging and Ramped Reviews are now yours to have whether or not you subscribe to a newsletter or purchase them. Here are the download links…

Ramped Reviews

Ramped Blogging

They will continue to be free for anyone who wants to download them. If you sign up for the newsletter or rss feed…great! I am glad to have you as a part of the site. But…I will no longer be offering a free incentive on this site as part of the signup process as the blogging about blogging world is full of people that purely signup for the free stuff and aren’t interested in staying connected. They are just interested in that next “magic bullet”.

Blogging needs to get back to its roots…

I have this fundamental belief that blogging needs to get back to its roots. What started off as making that one on one connection has now become almost solely focused on money and becoming another “get rich quick” scheme. What many people fail to realize is that the money came after the connection…not before. It is only when these connections got in such high numbers that bloggers began to gain respect for the amount of income they were producing that was a byproduct of the connections…it wasn’t the initial goal.

So here is RobbSutton.com…it will be about me. My successes, failures and life laid out  in the attempt to connect with people on the other side of the screen. I am going to keep this site as far away from MMO as possible and focus my life, what I enjoy and the principles that create successful ventures.

Example

Today I wanted to record this quick video podcast to illustrate one way I have been insuring my content is as unique as it can be on a regular basis across my blogs.

Like it or not…we are greatly influenced by what we take in on a daily basis. As we go about our day, read other websites and blogs and interact with people, we are taking bits of that information everywhere with us as we go. While this is actually a great thing and a source of where I find most of my ideas (life experience is always the best to pull from), we can jump into a trap in our quest to release unique, relevant content the web.

The Routine That Causes Content Blindness

If your morning started out anything like mine did, you probably go up, took a shower, got dressed, had some coffee and then opened up your feed reader to see what was happening on the web that day. Even if you did this routine at night after your regular job, you probably followed a similar routine…maybe minus the coffee.

Like any blogger, you are following numerous blogs within your given niche, so you started digesting content before you started producing it.

Going back to our theory of taking something with you from every experience and information absorption in your day, you can unconsciously start creating content on your blog that…well…looks a lot like your RSS feed. While it is good to stay on top of trends and write relevant content for your readers, it is increasingly important that you continue to produce unique content that does not look like rehashed, reworded articles that are found on other parts of the web.

By staying on top of the latest news and articles in your niche, you can get into this trap of just being another “me too” instead of a unique source. Readers read blogs to connect with that uniqueness and originality. If you become just a mirror of your RSS feed…you lose that draw and that will lead to growth decline.

My Challenge To Bloggers

As we think and reflect back on how our content digestion affects our content production, I have a challenge to you as a blogger. Just like you need to schedule your time with social media, schedule your content digestion time and keep it away from your content production. The goal is to have a clean slate to work with while you are formulating content ideas, writing articles and recording videos.

Personally, I have been scheduling my RSS feed time to about 2 to 3 times a week and then using Hootsuite to schedule RT’s throughout the remaining days. This not only has drastically affecting my efficiency, but it keeps my mind clear of everyone else’s content while I am producing mine. By staying on top of events several times a week, I am also not missing out on any developing trends on the web.

Have you taken a serious look at how your habits affect your content? How much time are you spending a week scouring the web instead of building your content library?

Simple changes like this one in your daily routine can bring swinging positive results in your business.

Example

There is one fundamental reason why 99% of bloggers never make enough money from their blogs to live off of…and it is incredibly simple.

This past week has been an interesting one filled with conversation. After a post about paid subscription models in blogging and how that could change in the future, there was a ton of conversation around paid content online and whether or not it would work within current audiences. Honestly, it created a great conversation that got me thinking about how I want to structure my blogging in the future.

But…it also brought out one very sore thumb in the blogging world that is the reason most bloggers will never make the big time. So where do they go wrong? Like a horse with blinders on…

They are too busy thinking like a blogger instead of like a business owner.

Blogging in itself was built on the foundation of online journaling. There wasn’t any true monetary platform until these online journals started getting traffic that was rising above corporate websites. Through some growing pains, the art of blogging and the world of capitalism figured out how to leverage this traffic into dollars through various forms of advertising and promotion. But…at its heart…most bloggers still think like the bloggers of old. The only difference now is that some of them are at least covering their costs and putting a little bit extra in their pocket at the end of the month.

When I brought up the idea of paid content in blogging, one of the biggest excuses that it wouldn’t work is because big media (magazines, newspapers, etc.) has a lot more resources to hire writers, photographers and other assets to create more value that the individual blogger can not accomplish. While they are true in that on a low level…they are forgetting one key thing that will keep them broke.

What if the paid model opened up the resources to accomplish those things?

I am not saying this is the answer or the only way to do things, but it illustrates a great point within the blogging world. When you take the money you make online and reinvest it into growth of your business, you are no longer the sole blogger trying to make it. You are applying fundamental business models to your online empire to insure future growth and more money. However, if you are not able to think outside the “blogging box”, you will never get past just being able to pay for your hosting and a night out to dinner a week.

When you look at your blogging, you have to start thinking about growth and future income outside of just affiliate promotions and banner ads. You have to start developing areas of your blog with future growth in mind and not just how you can make an extra 5 bucks today. You have to be open to new ideas and willing to test these ideas.

If you keep thinking like a blogger…you will never be more than a blogger.