According to the calendar, summer is supposed to have come and gone already – however here in Victoria the mercury hasn’t dipped much below 20 degrees much since early June, so despite the leaves changing into their bright autumn colours, legions of people are still strolling around our city wearing tank tops, shorts and flip-flops, enjoying the last of our long, hot, lazy Indian summer while they can, me included.
However, with the change of the season creeping upon us, I realized it was this time last year when I made a major decision: to finally stop procrastinating and get serious about writing a personal development and lifestyle blog. And with the anniversary of this decision fast approaching, it got me wondering just how far I’ve actually come in the pursuit and achievement of this important goal. And as we all know, the only way to chart progress with any project is to measure it; so just one month out from the first anniversary here at www.davidknappfisher.com, it’s time for me to run the numbers and see how I’ve made out in my ambitious quest. Wish me luck… things might get ugly!
After a few months of trying to find a web designer who would actually listen to my ideas (no, trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds) a friend heard of my dilemma and introduced me to one Gil Namur, a “Web-design Guru”; and please note that these are my words, not his – but they are very accurate, as time has and talent have proven. Anyway, we first spoke on the phone, then agreed to get together in person to discuss my project further and see if it was something we could work together on. Okay, truthfully I was hoping he’d take time out of his busy schedule to spend time with a “Wanna-be blogger”, and was thrilled when he agreed to meet with me; something that now that I know him, comes as no surprise since Gil’s a generous soul. He’s also a true expert who operates many sites, notably one called Life As A Human, an online magazine highlighting guest authors writing about life, art, culture, music, but above all, human interest stories. For me, LAAH is Gil Namur; and after navigating for a couple of hours told me I’d found my guy – Awesome!
We met one brisk autumn morning, and got aquatinted over a couple plates of Eggs Benedict; then, after breakfasts were consumed and coffees refilled, out came the “mind-map” of my site, something I’d been carefully been drafting and reworking for weeks. We reviewed the plan together – which is really saying that Gil patiently listened as I droned on describing my vision, complete with all the bells and whistles I wanted and needed.
Once finished, Gil thoughtfully explained what he felt would be the best route to take here and there, adding this, omitting that until we reached a consensus of the best way to pull my vision together, whilst keeping the site manageable and fresh. His explanation took about an hour, but in the end I felt I’d made real progress in actually bringing this thing into reality! As mentioned, I knew after one meeting with Gil that he was my man and when it was time so say good-bye, we felt inclined to hug each other as a gesture of our newly formed friendship! I left the meeting know that both myself and my site were in good hands, and with a true sense of excitement for the future!
With this important first step out of the way, we spent the next month or so working on the site. First I’d write and edit the Navigation Bar pages, which Gil would then set up. He’d also coach me along the way, making little changes here and there, eventually working to bring it all together to create a site ready to launch into the blogosphere. When we were finally done around mid October, I can honestly say that the site looked spectacular, and was ready to go live! And with this important phase finished, www.davidknappfisher.com was online! Now my job was to keep it full of interesting, inspiring and useful content; something that, as you can imagine, is much easier said than done. Either way, I got busy writing, usually about 15 – 20 hours per week…
It’s Been 11 Months So Far – How’s it Going?
It’s been 11 months since that initial meeting, and after a couple of more, a bit of tweaking and a WHOLE LOT of writing – 126 posts so far – and what you see is the project so far. I have to say that overall, it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience on several levels – I’ll cover those off in a few minutes. But being a hard-driving over-achiever, I can’t help but notice that some of my original goals for the blog are still nowhere near to being achieved. I’m not sure if this is due to my having grand – yet naive – expectations for myself, or if my planning just sucks. For example, I’d planned on:
- Writing 4 posts per week; but after some stressful unmet deadlines reduced that to three, and then two per week, with the promise that they will both be high quality posts, rather than fluff to make the quota. To be honest, this is a compromise I’m okay with making
- Having 250 weekly subscribers; I only have 35 at this point, and research tells me why- I’m not promoting my blog enough via guest posts on other blogs, etc. so this will become a focus for me moving forward. I believe the writing is good, but the “get it out there” factor is not-so-good at this point
- Having minimum 500 Facebook likes, and – through a stroke of Tim Ferris style ingenuity – have managed to get over 1,366 at this point, which I’m good with and still sleep at night
- Offering three “Free Bonuses”; Hmmmm… I’m not doing so well on this at all. I’ve drafted up my first (and at approximately 65 pages, epic sized) bonus which is the “Success Blueprint” goal defining and achievement workshop; but now that it’s written, I’m not sure what to do with it. It seems too big to be a freebie, but offers important information and resources that speak to my mission of helping people achieve an awesome lifestyle. For now, I’ll sit on this for a bit and figure out exactly what the best avenue to take this project down
- Having 10 Guest Bloggers; again, I’ve only had one so far, the awesome Crystal Blue who very kindly wrote not once, but twice for davidknappfisher.com; and I love her for that! This has been surprisingly hard task as many people have agreed to write, but – other than Crystal – have followed up on their commitments. And it’s a slippery slope, since if I continue to ask them “Have you written it yet? How about now? Is it ready?” they get put off, scared and freaked out, then pretty much avoid not only the topic, but conversations with me. I don’t want to be viewed in the same light as an over-anxious Amway newbie who’s trying to build “their line”, so I just ask once or twice and then let it go. But the result is that I’m still nine guest posters short of my goal, and I need to up my game in this department
Okay, So What’s The Upside of All This?
Having said all that, I must stay I’m actually pretty pleased with my overall progress, even though much of it doesn’t necessarily show up in the numbers. For example, I’m pretty chuffed that:
- My writing seems to have improved beyond that of a 4th grader
- Consistent writing has taught me abut the level of commitment required to thoroughly research topics to accurately report facts versus offering “vague ideas”
- My confidence as a communicator has vastly improved, as has my vocabulary
- I’ve been forced to learn my way around my Mac computer more than I ever thought I would (Meaning: I now understand approximately 3% of what it can do) and can usually fake my way through most posts!
But as great as all these things are – and they are – I’m most excited that writing this blog has opened three very important doors for me. They are:
- All the incredible people I’ve read about, the ones I’ve met, and the incredible connections to like-minded thinkers I’ve been able to make; in my world, this is pure gold
- How writing about travel, food, adventure, personal development, money, etc. has allowed me to truly explore and hash through important moments in my life; everything from Tristan’s Graduation, to my journey of self-discovery in the Mountains of Asheville, N.C. with the inspiring J.D. Lewis, to making a roast chicken dinner that would make Jamie Oliver proud!
- But as cool as these things are, the best thing of all is this: Writing consistently (and all that goes along with it) and getting my ideas out there to the world is ultimately setting the stage for the next chapter of my life; that’s the phase where I quit my job to start a “full time” speaking and training business of my own… stay tuned folks, because it’s coming any minute now!
So what’s the verdict? Simply put, it’s this: This blog – like my life in general – is a work in progress. It take work, commitment, dedication, and often means having to do things that I don’t want to do, all just to make it work. But that’s good, right? Because anything worthwhile having isn’t always about rainbows, unicorns and ice cream; there’s going to be a few bad days thrown in, complete with broken down donkeys and cartons of sour milk to keep us humble in our journey.
But here’s the thing I’ve realized; when chasing our dreams, there are supposed to be bad days. Things are supposed to be challenging. Shit is supposed to go sideways sometimes; because if none of this happened, it would be too easy… and if it were easy, anyone could do it, and we wouldn’t be unique in our efforts, right? It reminds me of my favourite Randy Pausch quote, which is I’ll end this post with at the bottom.
In the meantime I just want to say thanks to everyone for listening, reading and inspiring me to continue on this incredible journey; I’m truly grateful for your support. And you know what’s even cooler? The best is yet to come… and that’s Awesome! Thanks again and we’ll talk soon!