How to Start a Blog

How to Start a Blog; The Inspiration

There’s a refreshing sense that people get from THE TRUTH, and most of everything I read about making money blogging is so rosy and peachy. “Follow your dreams, find your niche, be determined and you too can make money in 4 months!” Sure, but there’s MUCH more to it. What I write here will be different. I’m not going to write what you want to hear so I can sell something, I’m going to write what you need to hear, and what you need to do to follow my footsteps. The goal is to add value to others, and challenge myself as I challenge you. Together we will be refreshing, memorable, and honest. Let’s get to it.

The Inspiration begins
I started my first blog as a way to get some creative authority over the writing that I’d been doing. Working as a District Manager for Journeys, I send an email every morning to my 20 stores outlining how the district performed in sales and KPIs the day before. It didn’t take long for these emails to soon get broad and much more in depth, and as my boss would put it, philosophical. I got great praise on the things that I was writing from my team, my supervisors and from my peers! My view was that this morning email is a form of motivation for the day. I was gathering data and info from everywhere to pour into these messages. To keep all the quotes and data organized I started a note in my blackberry, which then migrated to my iPhone 5, then to my iPhone 6s, and now lives in Evernote as I recently made the jump there as I started the third chapter of the note which si titled “Wisdom 3”. My inspiration for these morning messages came from anywhere, and I got more and more creative over the years. As I did, the messages began to get long, became stories and metaphors, and had insightful quotes built in. I would scrutinize over the formatting and title getting it all PERFECT before clicking send.

As time wore on, the criticism of them being too long got louder and louder. I also started to notice that my fanbase has shrunk considerably. I had a few that still loved my long form daily inspiration, but that inspiration wasn’t spreading like before. All of this was starting to take the joy out of writing these emails. Max effort is going into them, but the effort is not really going in the right direction, and thus can’t be fully appreciated. Hindsight makes me see now that these critics were right, and I was likely abusing the opportunity to write for a captive audience. The messages started to be MY inspiration, not theirs. I was writing for me, not them.

As the joy of writing the morning emails wore off, they started to get smaller, more results driven, and less about theories, and story telling. At the time I didn’t know this, but I had an itch to write that these morning messages had been scratching for 6 years!  I put my heart into into these messages and felt very accomplished for it.

At this point, I’m a writer that doesn’t know that he likes to write, with no where to write what I want.

This goes on for a bit over a year, and then I go to a powerful self discovery class called The Landmark Forum with my wife Michelle (much more on The Forum later). The day before we fly to Houston to attend the class, I stumble across a podcast called The Tim Ferriss Show via another podcast called Masters of Scale (both GREAT listens, go check them both out). The first episode of Tim’s podcast that I listen to is an interview with Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS. This episode hits home being as I’m a shoe salesman! He and Tim get to talking about what they call “journaling”. I start to feel the urge to write come over me as I have began to open up to myself a bit pre-Landmark Forum (known to happen very often). This urge is so compelling that I pull off the interstate to a Target in Hammond LA mid-podcast, and buy what would become my first journal. Brown faux leather with the word “NOTEWORTHY” stamped across the front. I write my first journal entry on 7/5/17 in the parking lot of the Target. The entry is about the podcast episode and how, “I enjoy writing and ‘journaling’ but never do it because it makes me uncomfortable or I’m scared of what people might think.”

There it is. The beginning of what you are reading now. It took 3 things to get me here; Work frustration, perfectly timed new podcast, powerful class. ALL THAT just to feel comfortable putting pencil to paper. All that to discover that at age 32 just writing things down brings about an incredible peace of mind that only a person that journals can understand. These pages have now become a version of a therapist. So much so that I now write a sort of journal specifically for others to read; a blog.

So I ask you a question now, and it’s one that is NOT rhetorical; How can this story be your inspiration to do something that you want to do? What is this something, and what’s your honest reason that you’re not doing it? No judgement. Any and every reason is valid because it’s real.
Hit me up at nickjames.blog@gmail.com and let me know! I’m just here to listen. If you want advice, just ask for it and it’ll be in your inbox. If you don’t want any advice, just tell me the story. It helps to get it off your mind and into words. It helps even more when the words go to another human being.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing 🙂
-NJ

The How to Make Money Blogging blog

So I started a blog in July 2017 for a few reasons…

  1. I had recently finished a powerful self discovery course called the Landmark Forum, and things that once occurred to me as scary now did not. One of the major distinctions was that I cared too much about what others thought about me. Pre forum, putting myself out there starting a blog was not conceivable because “what would others say??” Post Forum, fuck yeah let’s ride.
  2. The itch to write had been scratched by a portion of my profession that was no longer tiding over my creative urges.
  3. I was reading Tim Ferriss’s book, The 4 Hour Work Week looking for what the internet refers to as “A Side Hustle”.

More on all three of those reasons to come. READ ON!

As I am now 2 months into blogging, I have come MILES in my knowledge, spending hours of my weekends doing research, and I’ve discovered a few things. The first thing is that blogging is easy. Sign up for WordPress, type stuff, hit publish. Not a hell of a lot to it. Now blogging with anyone else besides you reading it? There in lies the challenge because you have to get the audience from somewhere! Second thing I learned, creating the community is tough, and involves a lot of things you’ve never done before, the largest one, Pinterest. Yes, Pinterest. Finally, the third thing I learned is that blogging and making money off of it, wether it’s your side hustle, or you’re trying to make a living off it, is complicated. You could call it difficult, but I suppose that depends on your likeness to learning, but COMPLICATED? Absolutely.

So what will live here, and you will read about, is my journey from signing up for WordPress in late July 2017, to making at least $1, which as of writing this not only have I not made any money, I’m in the hole close to $400 (love you Michelle!) and all the adventures along the way. My goal is to be able to add value to YOU as you start your blog and be able to coach you along the way. I’ve made a ton of mistakes already and spent hours working on things all to just change them the next day, but so far this journey has been a blast as I put my self out there socially, learn a new craft and industry, and embark on a mission to add value to others through the internet.

As of now, I’m going to include my email so you can link up with me to ask me any questions as I’m honored to serve you as a resource. I do this now because my following is tiny, and my understanding of blogging is elementary. Maybe I’m in 4th grade of Blogging school? But a 4th grader is seen as a sage to a kindergartener!
Hit me up at: NickJames.blog@gmail.com
Also, if you could be so kind, sign up for my email list here. Resources to help you in your journeys will come soon!

Thanks for sharing in the Journey with me, and welcome to the community that we’ll name at a later date 😉

-NJ

PS subscribe to by blog so you get the updates when I post them. I have over 2700 words already written for this. I have to edit them and clean them up.