Why did I start this blog?
It’s a simple question that, at first, I thought was too trivial to pay much attention to. Who cares why I started this website and this blog? It’s here now, it’s been live for over 2 years, and it’s doing well enough. Let’s just move on.
But the question wouldn’t leave my mind. Deep down I probably knew the honest answer to it, but we all know that it’s one thing to know an answer to a question and a whole ‘nother thing to dare to say it out loud (or write a blog post about it).
I thought to myself “Am I proud of my reasons for starting this website? Were they all “good” reasons or were some of them a bit more insidious? Am I lying to myself?”
Suddenly, it wasn’t such a simple question after all. As a result, I thought that it was worthy of answering the question by means of a blog post.
Walk the talk
Before I started my blog, I had just joined the “personal development” movement. I was consuming podcasts like they were water and reading Medium posts as if my life depended on it. Consuming all this information was, and absolutely still is, a non-negotiable part of my life. I simply have to do it.
Following this movement made me constantly daydream about what an incredible catalyst this knowledge would be for my career. It would put me ahead of my peers and allow me to reach great heights in both my personal and professional life. The world was my oyster; there was so much I was going to achieve! However, I eventually realized an embarrassingly simple fact that quickly popped my delusional bubble.
It was time to take action if I really wanted to accomplish the things that I did (and absolutely still do) want to achieve. No more passivity, no more spectating; it was time to participate and take action. I had to prove to the world and myself that I could walk the talk.
Starting this website was the first step of this journey.
An intellectual portfolio
In order to put my money where my mouth was (to be fair, I do pay hosting and domain fees for this website), I had to produce lots of content and build an intellectual portfolio. In addition to this blog, I also significantly ramped up my activity on sites like Quora and LinkedIn. I wanted to be a fucking star, but in order to become that I had to be taken seriously as an intellectual by people that I admired. I had to be respected so that people reading my content and hearing my name would say “Oh yeah, this guy is legit. He’s no joke, he knows his stuff.” Although I’m not a fan of the term, I needed a website in order to boost my personal brand.
Moreover, I also want to grow and significantly strengthen my network by getting to know really high-performing people that have serious goals in their lives. However, if I want to signal to them that I’m also a growth-mindset and highly ambitious person that has value to offer, I’m going to need more than a nice Facebook profile. A personal website will always be far more credible than even the most polished social media profile.
Hence, another reason for starting this website was to have an intellectual portfolio that would show off my ability to synthesize and meaningfully discuss important topics. I thought to myself “I want to own* a place that contains the history of all the intellectual content that I have shared with the world. Most importantly, I want this place to exist forever.”
*The reason I emphasized this is because it always annoys me how people make the mistake of building their entire online presence and portfolio on a platform that they do not own, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to use these platforms to increase your potential audience but always make sure to lead your audience back to your website that you own.
If you build your house on another man’s property, he can choose to change the rules of the game whenever he wants to because it’s his land. The same is the case with building your online presence on other platforms; Facebook can decide to change its algorithm whenever it wants to in a way that could prove disastrous for your profile. So don’t forget: always have your own website!
I wanted my website to be a place where people could learn about my expertise, the way I think, how I analyze and synthesize information, my skills, and my past personal and professional experiences. I wanted a person to come to my website and, after reading my content, think to himself “I really trust this guy.”
But I couldn’t have this information scattered all over the Internet; a little bit on LinkedIn, a little bit on Quora, a little bit on Facebook, a little bit on Twitter. Sure, I could still use these platforms, but there had to be one central hub that connected all the pieces and where all roads led back to.
That central hub was my very own website.
Writing is an incredibly therapeutic practice. Though it wasn’t a conscious and direct reason for starting this website, I think that deep inside I started it because writing and journaling helps me process and deal with the thunderstorm of thoughts in my head. When I finish writing about something, it really does feel relieving. Writing gets stuff off my chest and, often by accident, leads to me looking at the issue I’m writing about from a very different perspective. Hence, though it wasn’t a very conscious reason, I think that I also started this website to create my own strange form of therapy.
Pseudo-therapy aside though, writing on my website for more than 2 years has also given me the benefit of practicing and significantly improving my writing skills. I can proudly say that writing is now one of my strongest assets, which would never have been the case if I hadn’t launched this website.
I saved the best — or should I say the least noble — reason for last. When I started my website, my plan was as follows:
Write lots of blog posts and build a strong audience, especially through my email newsletter.
This strong audience, and the significant traffic being driven to my website, would make enable me to make my website an affiliate website and earn good money from it.
Then, I would compile all my blog posts into a book that I would sell and earn even more money from (thankfully, I opted for a different and much better narrative for my book).
It’s amazing how human beings are capable of thinking of the worst and most ridiculous ideas in the world. Writing that just made me realize how gifted I am in coming up with the most absurd plans ever. Jokes aside though, this really went through my head when I launched my website. Let’s just say that reality was very different from my imagination.
Besides writing a book — which was about a very different topic than I had envisioned in my initial plan — none of the points mentioned above became reality. l get decent traffic to my website, but nowhere near enough to attract affiliate marketing deals (not that I want to anymore anyway) and subscribers to my newsletter remains confined to a few personal friends and family members. Oh well.
So there you have it. Despite the well-intentioned reasons on one hand and the embarrassing and ridiculous reasons on the other hand, there’s one thing that I’m absolutely sure of:
Launching my website was, and always will be, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
See you, Space Cowboy.