This week we’ve been talking a LOT about the reasons why people have trouble starting projects, and how success usually takes years of silent hustle in the background before getting a “break.”
Dude — the tribe had a LOT to say.
One of the central points that we kept coming back to was the idea of “just starting.”
Just getting out there and DOING the freaking thing. So today, I wanted to show you where I began the journey that eventually became Rich20Something.
This blog gets tens of thousands of readers every month — but it’s really the first “successful” publication I’ve built online.
Before it was a long line of little-known failures that fortunately, are still floating around for you to view.
I want you to SEE where I started.
I want you to notice that it took me YEARS to find my voice, figure out what I wanted to write about, and generate enough consistency to actually grow a following.
Hopefully some of the more embarrassing moments will show you that it’s not an overnight process, I have no “Secret Sauce” and building a large audience is not an accident, but a deliberate effort over an extended period of time.
Time to hop into my time machine.
First stop is 2007….
January 17th – February 4th 2007: Dan’s Contest Prep Journal
This was my first foray into online publishing, and it revolved around what I was obsessed with at the time — natural bodybuilding. The adventure lasted less than a month.
Lots of narcissism, not much engaging content and plenty of rambling.
It was essentially just a personal journal. Interesting post titles include “I feel like BLAH” and “Bringin’ Sexy Back”
Number of subscribers: 0
What I learned: Writing is tiring. I wrote 12 posts in 2 months (11 of those were in the first month), then gave up.
Yes, this blog is still alive and well. Click here to go read it. But why would you want to?
January 31st – May 22nd 2008: Dan’s European Escapades
2008 found me moving past my semi-nude soft porn phase and into my pseudo-philosopher phase as I documented some of my travels in Europe while studying abroad.
I actually like this blog a lot because it helped to to capture many of the small details of very meaningful experiences that I know I would have forgotten if I hadn’t documented them.
The content is more focused, but I’d been doing so many essays in college at that point that it often reads like a term paper — which I think many beginning writers confuse with good writing.
The goal is to write something that the reader can emotionally connect with — not something that’s littered with as many graduate-level words as possible just to prove how smart you are.
Still, noticeable improvement.
Number of subscribers: 1 (my mom, just to check up on me in Europe and make sure I wasn’t doing drugs.)
What I learned: The value of consistency (the blog went for almost 5 months)
Yeah yeah, it’s still around. Read it here.
October 4th 2009 – September 1st 2010: DanielDiPiazza.com
Ah, now I was beginning to understand the value of a personal brand.
I’d moved off the Blogger.com platform and on to my own self-hosted WordPress account (which I had no idea how to install or operate…I begged my friend Mark to set it up for me. He’s awesome for doing it.)
I didn’t post every week, but it did have content that spanned ALMOST a year. So at least I didn’t completely abandon it.
The blog mostly follows my acting career as I moved from Tampa to Atlanta. Some cool little insights. I know my grandma liked the pictures.
Also, around that time I was on some weird “The Secret” shit…so I had a lot of affirmational-ish things, including an Academy Award acceptance speech that I wrote for myself.
Oooook. Yeah. Moving on.
Number of subscribers: 0 (because there was nowhere for them to sign up)
What I learned: It’s good to put my FACE on the things I talk about. That’s how you build a brand.
Thankfully, this URL now redirects to Rich20Something. But you can view the old site in all its glory here.
August 2012: Rich20Something (The Scammy Dark Ages)
By this time, I’d figured out I wanted to start talking about some of the work I’d been doing online — and had the bright idea to package it into an “information product.”
I had no idea what that meant at the time, but I heard people talking about those a lot…so I wanted to follow suit.
The problem was I had no idea how to write things of actual value — so I thought if just put up some early 2000’s looking landing page, I could collect email subscribers and make BILLIONS.
Apparently that’s like…not the right way to do things.
I learned, took a HUGE step back and started from scratch and actually started being helpful to people. From there, the sky was the limit.
Number of subscribers: I dunno….like 50 for the first 6 months until I started actually writing valuable stuff.
What I learned: Help people on a consistent basis.
This is the actual video I had on the home page. If anybody is still reading who signed up back then, bless you.
I call this “The World’s Shadiest Intro Video.” Watch at your own risk.
So there you have it.
I enjoy making fun of myself, but there’s also a purpose to this post — just like we’ve been discussing in recent articles…it takes TIME to find your voice, generate consistency and build a following.
It takes YEARS sometimes.
In the case of Rich20, I’ve been learning how to put myself out there and build a following for almost 8 years — and my message has gone through countless iterations.
Start with what you have. Tweak as you go along.
Realize that what you’re working with now will NOT be the final product.
You may completely change everything. But it’s time in the game that counts.
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