Little known fact about me: I was obsessed with search engine optimization from about 2005 to 2013. I only casually read about it from 1997 to 2005, and then I got serious….
I consumed enormous amounts of content all day every day, in the form of blogs, forums, reports, and videos. I’d even buy secretive ebooks and reports. And by 2007 I began listening to internet marketing podcasts for sometimes 8 or more hours a day, for years.
(The funny thing about this is that consuming this material was exceptionally satisfying! It’s hilarious picturing myself reading SEO reports on vacation for pleasure.)
But back then, I’d test out the ideas and concepts that I was reading on my own 2 or 3 blogs, but mainly my top property, which was a bit of a mistake. While I was able to rank #4 for my main competitive keyword term, and it brought me 4000 visitors per day for years, in the long run, I shouldn’t have tested the more “tricky” concepts on that site.
Once the infamous Google Panda & Penguin updates rolled around, I lost out on that traffic, that income, and more. I studied more frantically for about a year to recover from those…and while I got close, I eventually got sick of it all and quit almost everything online.
Why is this important?
I think of this as a “failure cycle” that I went through. We all fail at various things in life, but we learn to pivot, right? (see my post from a few days ago on moving your cheese)
I was SO busy back then, more so than even now! I was wrapped up in twenty plus hours per week in volunteer work, a demanding day job, managing 2 rental properties by myself, family time, health/going to the gym, and on top of that, myself and two friends had started a digital marketing agency.
SOMETHING had to give. I sat down & listed out my responsibilities and looked for the lowest hanging fruit of what could be downsized. By about that time I had sold my investment properties, so that put at least 10 hours back into my week, but more had to go.
That’s when I stepped back from the side-hustle of the digital agency. But I think I had started a “permission to fail avalanche”? I forget the actual term, but Malcolm Gladwell talks about this in one of his books. That’s when I also stepped back from even MY OWN efforts online.
Cycling Down and then Up
The thing about giving up on a few projects is that it instantly feels great. And the only way to perpetuate that feeling is to continue to do as little as possible. Watching TV on the couch for a few years felt great!
But what SEO advances could I have secured during that time? What great social media handles did I miss out on? (IG, Snapchat) What concepts, ideas, connections, and new features did I miss?
Dreams are great. When they disappear you may still be there, but you will have ceased to live.-Lady Nancy Astor
I’m not regretting the past, because the future is filled with opportunity. But if you can take any lesson from my failure-cycle, it’s that you do not stop.
Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.-Dale E. Turner
Doing nothing and having no goals may feel great, but working actively & consistently towards a noble purpose feels even better! Bottom line…I should not have given up on all 3 of those things!
Frantically running around
I may fill up my days now with “busy-ness”, but honestly…I’m probably running at 35% of my potential capacity. Once I hit 100%, the needle will move & I’ll be able to do more.
What about you? Are you sitting idle at the bottom of a failure-cycle? How do you propose to get yourself out of it?