Young woman writing in journal

Being A Busy Beetle

Now, when you're still figuring out your big idea, there's only one thing that really works effectively: free association. You have to figure out what catches your attention and what you can actually generate and what resonates with an audience.

So welcome to the internet generation, where we have this thing called a "blog" where people of all sorts can sit down and just dump whatever random shit happened to be in their brain at the moment out into the world, where the general public can read it. And this makes a certain method of figuring your shit out a lot simpler and easier.

See, the thing about the internet is that we have an amazing number of tools available for your audience to find you. We've changed from the producer-driven society where you have to go out and shout in the streets for customers, to a consumer-driven society where the consumers are literally telling the producers "shut the fuck up, if I want what you have I will ask for it."

This is kind of backwards from how we think of things working. The old saying is "build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." But as advertisers have always said, if people don't know you have it, and they don't know where to go... there will be no path. They have to know what you've got and where to get it.

But the internet has these things called "search engines," where you can ask who has something and get a list of places that have it. Now you know where you can probably get what you want, if you did a good job of searching. You still have to go there and see whether it is, in fact, what you want.

But simply being on the internet and having a website is enough for a market to come looking for you. And that market is the entire world. It's not about "location, location, location" anymore. The playing field is leveled. So if you already have a business that's working, it's a reasonably trivial process to stick that business online and open up a wider market for what you're already doing.

But when you're stuck back in the beetle brain, you have to develop focus. And you can do this most easily by blogging. If you just fire up a blog and start posting on it, a number of things will happen.

First, your posts will naturally start to revolve around the same basic ideas. You'll develop a central concept without even really trying. You already have a niche. When given complete freedom to talk about whatever you like, what do you talk about?

Second, your posts will naturally start to develop an audience. People will subscribe to your RSS feed and start reading your posts daily. They'll share with their friends. You'll start to find kindred spirits, people interested in the same general core concept.

And third, you will start to see where these things intersect. You will be able to track which posts get the most traction, which ones are read and re-read and shared most frequently, and you'll start to see patterns emerge.

All you have to do is busy-beetle your way through a few hundred posts. You may close one blog and open another one. You may do this several times. Some of your audience may follow you; some may not.

It's okay to lose some of your audience, if they're not interested in your purpose. You'll find your purpose. Over time you'll realise that there's a core principle, a core belief, around which everything you do and everything you say revolves. And once you find that, it is a waste of your time to worry about all the other shit you used to do and say.

But until you have a few hundred posts under your belt, something on the order of a quarter-million words, you won't have a damn clue what that purpose really is or whether anybody cares. And there's no way around that except to get started.

If you blog one hour a day for an entire year, even taking weekends off, you will converge on your purpose and you will find an audience. In one hour of blogging, you should be able to produce about a thousand words of content. And at the end of that year, you will have your quarter of a million words.

The biggest mistake people make in their lives is that because they can only do a small thing, they do nothing. Small things are not just important - small things are everything.

Tomorrow we'll talk about how you can start this generating some sort of income.