5 Realities the Gurus Won’t Tell You About Building a Successful Blog

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I sat silent on the idea of Blogging Your Passion for over a year before I ever moved forward with it. After all, do we really need another “make money online” blog?

Although I wanted to share with others how I was earning money blogging, I hesitated.

I didn’t want to fall into the make money guru category, where others often promise:

  • How to make $3, 564 in the next 24 hours with one simple email
  • Get a Lamborghini like me so you can lean on it and take a cool picture
  • Buy your own yacht, so others will think you are really successful (even though you’re way over your head in debt)
  • Make $4000 a month selling ebooks by buying my ebook “How to make $4000 a month selling ebooks”

What finally propelled me to get in the game was the great void of practical reasoning. I wanted to be a practical, realistic voice in a world of glamour and false fronts.

The truth is I haven’t had a car payment in 5 years and intentionally choose to drive an old 1999 Honda Odyssey and 2000 Toyota Camry that I paid cash for years ago. A principle I choose to live by is to accumulate experiences and not possessions.

I want to share with 5 things you won’t hear gurus tell you about making money online (or blogging).

1. It will take longer than you ever expected to be successful

If you are not passionate about your message, don’t start a blog. You will quit before success shows up. As we have said from the very first blog post, this journey is “brick by brick.” Overnight success is not possible.

I often receive emails from people in desperate situations. They are unemployed and looking to make some quick money blogging. What advice do we give them? Don’t start a blog. Go get a job and provide for your family.

Every full-time blogger started blogging part-time. I am sure there might be exceptions, but those would be extremely rare.

2. There isn’t just one proven way to be successful

If there is one thing I have learned over the past 4 years, it is this: you can earn money online in many different ways. If any guru tries to convince you that their way is the only way to be successful, run. They want your wallet and your worship, not your success and your friendship.

3. You cannot do it all by yourself

“Just follow these proven steps, work in your pjs, and be your own boss.” The gurus want you to think that success lies in just you. The truth is you need help from others if you are going to be successful. You need to learn from the experience of others.

You need to surround yourself with passionate people who are heading in the same direction. The “American way” says to go out there, make a name for yourself, and overcome the odds on your own.

Blogging didn’t start to really work for me until I opened myself up to relationships with others. A course alone won’t do. You need people to walk the journey out with you.

4. Education is overrated and action is undervalued

Be very leery of gurus who are constantly pushing things like:

  • Learn this new Google loophole
  • Buy this new report on how to make $1,000 with Instagram
  • Copy my exact system and earn six figures a month in 90 days

I know it might sound funny to hear that education can be overrated from a guy who sells blogging courses, but hear me out. Some of you are “lifetime learners” with no action to show for it.

You are convinced that what you need is:

  • New information that finally makes you successful
  • New tool that makes everything easier
  • New system that produces money while you sleep

I love education more than anyone, but education without action is futile. I see it first hand all of the time. People take courses, but never take action. Before you decide to buy a course, you need to decide up front:

  • That you will finish the course no matter what
  • How you plan to take action on what you are about to learn
  • That you will take action no matter how difficult it gets

5. Gurus don’t have it all figured out either

Don’t follow mentors who seem to have it all figured out. Don’t follow mentors, who aren’t willing to say:

  • That’s a good question, I really don’t have experience in that area
  • I am still growing and an area I’m learning right now is how to ______.
  • Can someone tell me how to ____________?
  • I’ve dropped the ball on ________, but here is how I plan to fix that.

I’d rather follow a mentor who shared their struggles and challenges, then one who appears to have it all together.

Which of the above realities have you struggled with most?

17 thoughts on “5 Realities the Gurus Won’t Tell You About Building a Successful Blog”

  1. France Forever 24/7

    24/7 in France: Such great tips, Jonathan. I have been blogging full-time almost two years now – thanks for the inspiration to persevere!

  2. I struggle with the starting! How do I start? I have a simple WordPress blog I just started here pathlesstraveledmaine.wordpress.com – now what? I want to help people live extraordinary lives!

    1. Well, sounds like you’ve already made the first step in setting up a blog. You’ve started. Now it’s taking the next action steps to lift your platform to the next level.

      I took a quick look at your site and it’s great to see you’ve already received a comment or two. That’s something that can take bloggers quite awhile to see.

      Jonathan’s got some great information at BYP that’ll help you get going. However, if you want some additional information, feel free to hit me up. I’ll share what I’ve learned along my journey as well (Hope that’s okay Jonathan!).

  3. I’ve learned #1 the hard way. I’ve been blogging (granted, inconsistently) for three years. The first couple of years was in a niche I wasn’t passionate about, just one I had experience in. I completely changed course (total new blog) in May and feel like I’m starting to hit my stride. I already have twice as many facebook likes in four months than I did in two years with the other blog.

    I LOVE what you said about accumulating experiences over possessions.

  4. I’ve always known that success won’t be easy and overnight. Yet I struggle with this reality. It’s not something I get over easy. Burger King has made it so easy to want it my way, right away.

    1. I’ve been at my blog for about 7 weeks now, 5 times a week trying to put out the best content I can, waiting for people to come, but still only seeing 20 visits per day. Knowing it’s a long uphill battle doesn’t make any of that easier. It’s encouraging to read that everybody had to start slow and build over time. It’s easy to look at somebody who’s been doing this for years and wonder why I’m not as big after almost 2 months…Jon Acuff said something about never comparing your start to somebody else’s middle.

  5. So here is my problem…(and by-the-way, I so like what you had to say)…I need something written for people who need “blogging for dummiest dummies”. I am so clueless and my head hurts. I have a word press site set up. Its sitting waiting but I can’t even get my simple theme to be simple (and its a pretty nice theme with wonderful people who have designed it and are pretty helpful). Sigh…for those of us who didn’t grow up with computers, the simplest language is too difficult. I don’t even understand the alphabet of this new language let alone the words. But I’ll keep plugging away….

  6. Some brilliant reassuring and encouraging points. Thanks! It’s so important to remember that gurus don’t have it figured out. We are all learners. Anyone who has it any other way is not to be trusted. The point about it taking a long time is so true, yet so hard as a few others have commented. You want instant results and it feels very difficult when you can’t figure out why people aren’t showing up. If the content is good and consistent then eventually people will latch on and the audience will grow, but this can take more than a long time, especially if you’re carving out a unique voice! Thanks again!

  7. Wonderful post! Thanks again for all the knowledge that you share. I am really focused on the ‘action’ phase of your article. I have surrounded myself with the educational tools and now I am acting on it. About your videos and action. I love that I can stop the video, execute the action and start again. Setting up the Linked In site and finding groups was one of those moments. I also love the simplicity of the videos. They allow me to ‘act’ on the concept while listening in on the content. From Concept to Content!

    1. Awesome Anthony. Thanks for the feedback. We worked hard to design a blogging course that we wish we’d had. I wanted less theory and more step by step under 10 minute videos. Looking forward to see where you go with your blog.

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