One of the things I haven’t talked about often, but have meant to are the mistakes I’ve made in my career. Most people will avoid such things, and for good reason, but I think part of teaching others about blogging must be to highlight mistakes so that you can hopefully avoid them, and while many of my mistakes are only mistakes in hindsight, they are still worth noting.
Hopefully, this post will help you.
Darren Rowse and Bloggy Network
When first starting in blogging, I was given an opportunity by Darren Rowse to write on his laptops blog. After he came back from vacation, he offered me a part time position. Instead, I took a full time position with Bloggy Network.
Had I stayed with Darren part time, and taken a part time role with Bloggy Network, I probably could have made ends meet, given myself a fair bit of day to day variety, and maybe had even been one of the first full time employees of b5media.
Was this a mistake? I am not certain, but I’ve always wondered what my life would be like today had I gone that route. Even back then, Darren was a strong brand, and could have influenced my career in interesting ways.
Looking back at my situation at the time, I shouldn’t have been so quick to rush in to the first offer that was sent my way. I had tons of time, passion, and a fair bit of skill that I could have leveraged better.
More on Bloggy Network
After two years of working for Bloggy Network, I got a big complacent, as most people do. I thought too much of my value, and in doing so, I feel like I sealed my fate with that company. Don’t get me wrong, I was still producing great content, working on amazing things behind the scenes, but I wasn’t doing enough profit oriented tasks to remain one of the most valued assets of the company, and when time came to scale back, I was part of a deal in selling a variety of sites to Splashpress Media.
I should have done more as an employee to generate revenue, rather than taking on tasks that put me “behind the scenes”. I also should have pushed harder to stick to projects that gave me enjoyment, so I could leverage my passions. I was on quite a few projects that I didn’t agree with, or didn’t fully enjoy, and I think that was apparent to everyone involved.
I wasn’t too excited to be joining Splashpress as I had felt like I was being betrayed by Bloggy Network, a company I had been with since its inception, but I quickly adjusted to my new roles. Mark Saunders, Mr. Splashpress himself, once told me that he saw me climbing up the company ladder quite quickly, and that there were many things we could do together.
After blogging for a while, and managing far too many sites, I felt like the projects I had proposed when first joining the company weren’t getting any traction. Eventually, I felt like I was just a cog in the wheel, and was starting to get restless.
I should have fixed the problem myself though. If I had been smarter at the time, I would have requested Mark transfer some extra money to my account each month so I could hire the help I had needed to complete my projects, rather than waiting for resources to be assigned to me. My biggest problem was that I was waiting for resources and changes to occur, rather than taking the initiative and making things happen.
A great company, with an interesting idea. As always, I was hired in part because of my passion, and breadth of ideas. I found myself in a good position, but realized two things early on. The first thing was that I wasn’t good at marketing in a traditional way. I could get people to write blog posts about PicApp, or allow me to use their blog as a platform, but being aware of the numerous marketing opportunities that were around me eluded me. I didn’t understand how difficult marketing was. The second thing was that the people already employed by PicApp had the rest of the community management aspects covered, leaving me feeling out of place. Hiring a community manager that they didn’t need lead me to realize that they really needed another marketing specialist, and so I stepped aside.
The only mistake I made here was not having a better understanding of what they needed, and what I could give to them. Had I understood my own marketing limitations better, I probably wouldn’t have taken the job, instead only consulting on the various blogging related questions that they had.
Of course, I will probably make more mistakes going forward, but right now, the biggest “negative” in my career is how much I’ve let my personal brand fade. I’ve been so busy with College Crunch, a great project, that I have neglected all of the things that brought so many previous great career opportunities in front of me. Not sure yet what to do about this, but I am content with every facet of my current career, other than not being in the spotlight.
Hopefully, these lessons are not lost on you, and you’ll be able to see the opportunities you have, weigh them properly, and make as few mistakes as possible in your blogging-related career.