The reason I call this "blogging success" is that many online (and offline) entrepreneurs use blogs as a form of marketing and socialization.
They may not blog as a business, but they blog for their business. And others blog solely as their business. You can just insert your own favorite words while reading if you prefer. ;)
This exercise can work no matter what type of business you are in, or what kind of work you do for yourself. It doesn't matter if you work for yourself full-time, part-time or as a hustle.
It doesn't matter if you work online, out of a studio, or in your own store where you churn out incredible cupcakes.
Writing Your Own Success Story, Before It Happens
It's Monday! Today, let's talk about success! (and everything that means to you individually)
How did you reach your success? Was it fast? Did it take years? What is one thing you did that was unique and got you noticed?
I hear you. You haven't gotten "there" yet. You are still banging the keyboard every night and watching your numbers creep up slower than snails ascending frosty flag poles.
Maybe you are thinking you would get more acclaim and notice if you did something more thrilling for a living, like scooping alligator poop at the local zoo, than you do for your blogging.
But still...don't ya just get a little thrill every time you read another blogger's success story? Isn't it inspiring to read deeper than their current statistics, to find out how they first started out, what changed for them, and how they finally found their magic formula?
That is why you absolutely should write your success story.
But I Don't Have a Success Story as a Blogger...
When I say "write your success story", I'm not being abstract or philosophical. I'm not talking about what you do today being instrumental in filling out the blank pages of your future.
I'm literally telling you to open a notebook or a blank document and write the best semi-fiction piece ever.
Imagine you are that blogger you admire. Or any other person who works for themselves. Imagine sitting at your desk weeks, months, or years in the future and writing a post or article or eBook that doesn't just tell your story...it convinces people to listen to your experiences and expertise.
What do you want your story to be?
I'm pretty sure most of us jot down lists of goals and end results we want to see. We all have a fair idea of our business plan and how we will map out or tasks for the upcoming months.
But this is a completely different perspective. As you write, you come up with details. You come up with things you want to be able to say to your future readers and students. Stuff you will be proud to share.
Don't just write the techniques.
"I shared my posts to Twitter consistently."
Write about the struggles you are having now, and how you think you will overcome them. The write down how you will explain that to your readers once it's done.
Add in details such as:
"I shared my posts daily on Twitter. At first I had very few followers, and I almost gave up because it felt like a waste of time. Then I started experimenting with different tweet styles and times to share. My numbers began to increase, and soon, Twitter became my biggest traffic source."
Don't be afraid to make this long. You aren't going to share it with anyone if you don't want to. This is to help you pick your own brain.
Everything you've read about blogging, about working for yourself, about earning your living online...is in your head somewhere. You'll find stuff you had completely forgotten about as you free-write your story.
What if It Doesn't Come True?
You aren't writing a how-to. It doesn't matter if every detail or idea you put down works or comes true.
The point of the exercise is help you feel more positive about what you are doing, encourage you to work harder at the tasks you feel will help you the most, and to brainstorm ideas that you don't even know you have (yet).
The beauty of it is, that the more you stay motivated, the more likely your goals will happen, even if they happen differently than you predicted.
You know how they say that hindsight is 20/20, but usually we figure that out when its too late? Well, think of this as leaping forward a little in time and looking back on your exploits.
If you could spend a hour in your future self, what achievements would you want to look back and see?
Ideas For Your Success Story
I'm not going to leave you without some prompts! I'm also including some printables. in case you are kind of obsessed with that "workbook" feel.
1. Start with your title.
Give it something amazing that reflects where you are now, like:
"How I Built My Business with Only $100 and Lots of Free Tutorials"
"3 Years to Freedom--How I Changed My Future By Leaving My Job"
2. Talk About Getting Started
Outline how you arrived at your decision to work for yourself. Was it a lifelong dream, or a matter of necessity? Talk about the first steps you took, the research you did, how much you had to learn.
3. Talk About the Beginning
Talk about where you are now, as though it happened a long time ago. Go over struggles you are having, milestones that make you keep going, people who support you.
Go ahead and throw in your doubts and frustrations.
4. Overcome Your Doubts
Now you step away from what is technically reality, and start writing about the next few months.
Basically, what do you wish would happen in the next few weeks or months?
- Your traffic increases
- Your sales increase
- You start getting clients
- Your designs start selling
- Your posts go viral
- You are contacted about a great opportunity
- You are published
- You meet a goal earlier than expected
- You realize you earn enough to replace a full-time job
- Someone gives a great review of your cupcakes, and you are suddenly swamped with customers
More than just what happens, this is where you start imagining what worked. What did you do? Was it something bizarre and unique, or did you just take an old idea and make it better?
"After I did x, I started to see a slow rise in the number of sales each day. Then I changed y and my sales tripled."
Was it timing, luck, good instinct or perseverance? What lifestyle changes did you have to make? What were the sacrifices during that time?
5. Snowball Your Storyline
After that first "big cool thing" that happens, you just keep building up to the Big Moment. That would be the exact moment that you officially say:
"Wow. I succeeded. I did more than what I set out to do, and I am doing it consistently! I have to write a post/book about this!"
Along the way, you may change directions. Maybe you started out doing one thing. Maybe you stuck to it because it was working, but you secretly wanted to try out other avenues.
"At that point I realized that my real passion lay in (insert a certain aspect of what you do) and I focused more on improving my skills in that area."
Eventually, you took a chance and it was so wonderful that you wished you had done it a lot sooner.
6. Leave the Ending Open
Don't close your story down by ending it! Talk about what you still plan to do, what you would love to develop.
Successful people don't reach their first goal and then declare that they are done. They start thinking of how to expand and improve. And your future self will have to contemplate that as well.
What Should You Do With Your Success Story?
Once you've written it, you can do anything you want with it. Lock it away, save a copy to edit, toss it.
The words themselves won't matter as much as the vision you have of yourself. You are now your own character, and you've just outlined your future.
So what are you waiting for? Get your printable worksheets and start motivating yourself!
- Use the first sheet to quickly sum up where you are in journey right now.
- Use the second sheet to expand on some of the details to include in your success story
- Use the third sheet to summarize your personal definition of success (certain income level, well-known brand, local reputation, etc.) and what motivates the most to work toward your dream.
Reference these points as in your success story. If you were looking back at this time, these would be the important stepping stones and goals that you would tell readers about, even if they didn't work.
Have fun! And if you liked the exercise, drop me a note in the comments and share how you used it and whether or not it helped you come up with some new ideas.