My 9 Biggest Mistakes From 9 Years of Blogging

I secretly wish that today wasn’t the 9th birthday of Studenomics. I hate to admit this but I’m jealous of all of the people who started blogging after 2008 that are so ahead of me. I’m actually a really envious and competitive person.

Instead of writing an awkward post where I praise myself for everything that I’ve done, I wanted to look back at my mistakes since starting Studenomics. I want you to learn from my experiences. I’ve also been told that people love to hear about vulnerability and flaws.

Let’s give this a try…

9 lessons

I shared 8 practical lessons last year when Studenomics turned 8. You can learn from what I’m proud of in that article. Now it’s time to see everything that I did wrong.

Usually an article like this would start off with a useless thought like:

“My biggest regret is not giving it my all.”

Zzzzz.

I don’t want to be known for writing useless motivational articles.

What are my 9 biggest mistakes as a personal finance blogger?

“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” – John Wooden

Mistake #1: Not being focused enough.

I get distracted very easily. I jump around between projects. I try to do many different things at once. I go from writing a blog post to working out to finding BJJ technique videos to watching a pro wrestling match.

This is how my mind operates. I always have too many things going on at once.

What’s the expression?

Jack of all trades. Master of none.

I spread myself too thin. I get cool social media photos from all of the interesting things that I do. I never master anything though.

Part of the problem with getting distracted also refers to my social life. It’s easy to get yourself into trouble when you live in a trendy part of town. Okay, for me it’s easy to get into trouble. I love going out. I love having people over. I lose focus easily.

Mistake #2: Doing useless stuff.

“Are you inventing things to avoid doing the unimportant?”

I have this sticky note above my desk. I still do a lot of useless things.

What are examples of useless things that I’ve done?

  • Sometimes I write articles on random topics.
  • Take on projects that aren’t going anywhere.
  • Get distracted with social media.
  • Scroll Twitter for hours.
  • Research completely useless topics.

The thing with working online is that it’s difficult to separate between work and wasting time.

I’d like to think that I’m pretty efficient. I don’t really follow any sports (aside from MMA) and I don’t watch much TV. I just do useless stuff.

Mistake #3: Not being consistent enough.

Everyone tells you that consistency is key. You can’t get in shape if you don’t stick to a diet nor can you save any money if you don’t follow some sort of plan.

We all know that we need to be consistent in what we do. It’s just extremely difficult in the moment to remain consistent.

I haven’t been consistent enough. I go through bursts where I write like crazy. Then I disappear. I promote like mad. Then I start working on something completely irrelevant.

Mistake #4: Not jumping on new technology.

I waited forever to get on Instagram or to start a YouTube channel. I never created a Facebook page for Studenomics.

It’s a big risk to jump on a new technology because it’s impossible to calculate your ROI. You don’t know if this new social media app will even be popular in a year or so. You don’t know if it’s worth spending so much time on something that you barely understand.

You also have to really put yourself out there. It’s not easy to put videos of yourself up for the world to see. It’s not easy to build a decent Instagram account.

I didn’t become totally confident with putting myself out there until the last few years. Getting into pro wrestling and getting into better shape has helped me.

In a random story, I tried to jump on Periscope when it first came out. My goal was to do a nightly “scope” for my followers on Twitter. I was on that app promoting hard until I realized that nobody joined Periscope. That app just died off.

Mistake #5: Not learning from others.

I’ve been in contact with some of the brightest minds. Some of my friends on Facebook have extremely popular blogs.  I’ve done nothing with their information and help in many cases.

I don’t know what to say. I’m not sure if I’m afraid of success or if I just hate bothering my friends.

Mistake #6: Not finding the balance between promoting and creating.

How much should you promote your work? How much time should you spend on creating?

I’ve never mastered this skill.

Does anyone have the answer? Please let me know.

Mistake #7: Not creating a clear product to sell.

I’ve written books and promoted affiliates. I’ve never fully launched a product that I stand behind.

Does this make sense? I feel like one needs a successful product to stand behind. Something to promote and sell. Something that everyone knows them for.

I really wish that I had created a course or clear product sooner instead of waiting around. I’ve read every article on the topic, listened to podcasts, and researched this stuff to death. I just take forever to get things done sometimes.

Mistake #8: Starting unrelated projects.

I started a blog called The Property Dude in 2013 for no reason. I could’ve just written more about real estate on here. I could’ve just written a book on the topic. I didn’t need another blog under my belt.

I also didn’t have the energy or time to be working on a new project. The blog went nowhere and the domain eventually expired. Just another unrelated and useless project.

Mistake #9: Not investing enough.

As an entrepreneur it’s easy to justify every expense as an investment. It’s also impossible to know how much money you should be spending on investing in your brand.

How much money should you spend on improving yourself? What about advertising? Graphic design?

I don’t feel that I’ve invested enough in Studenomics and everything that I do online.

What can you learn from my mistakes?

“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” — Otto von Bismarck

It’s always easier to learn from others than it is to make your own mistakes.

Find a clear path to where you want to get.

What exactly do you want to do? Figure this out.

The world absolutely doesn’t need any of the following:

  • Another blog on starting a blog.
  • Another useless motivational quote.
  • You talking about how much gratitude you express (way too much pandering online).

What exactly do you want to do? Find someone who has done it and try to think of a similar path that you can take.

Work on one thing.

Are you working on multiple projects? I always work on way too many things at once. I want you to try to work on one project. Once you have a successful blog, podcast, YouTube series or whatever, then you can leverage that to grow your next project. This beats trying to grow five random projects at once.

Find one thing to work on. Decide if you want to freelance or start an online business. Then see this goal through. Don’t move on to the next thing until you experience some level of success (financial or popularity-wise). Don’t give up before you get good. Try to actually master something.

Set time for everything.

A friend mentioned that she sets time blocks for everything that she does. I just kind of do whatever I want to do and write late at night.

I suggest that you try to find time for everything. Set a date and time for specific tasks.

For example, let Monday be the day that you write while Tuesday becomes the day that you promote all day.

You need some sort of plan because hope isn’t a game plan.

Steal from everyone.

See what’s working for others and steal.

We all borrow from each other. Put your own spin on it. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to make it spin faster.

I summarize my thoughts better in my article on what I wish I knew about starting an online business. All you have to know is that everything has been done already. Try to think of how you can do it better or how you can differentiate yourself (faster, easier, more entertaining, etc.).

Help people get results.

The whole point of blogging and creating content for the web is to help your audience get results. When they get life-changing results, they’re going to want to promote you and your work. Nobody will promote you just because you’re a nice person or because you wrote an article where you shamelessly pander.

PEOPLE WANT RESULTS.

Here are some recent examples from Studenomics…

Jacquelyn paid off $48k worth of debtMatt quit his job to make tables, and Theo started his own tutoring company.

What results will your audience get?

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If you want to see what my biggest money-related mistakes have been, check out this video…

I’ll go back to bragging about myself next article. Read this article if you want to start your own blog. Thanks for joining me on this ride. Let’s hope that the best is yet to come. I have no idea what my 30s are going to bring.

10 thoughts on “My 9 Biggest Mistakes From 9 Years of Blogging”

  1. Happy 9th bday! It was great seeing you at FinCon and to see your twin as well at the costume party.

    #1 was my biggest mistake for the longest time. Once I started to focus on what was important, things drastically started to change.

    Here is to a great year with less mistakes!

    1. My twin had the best costume! It’s difficult to find that focus. It’s easy to read articles about focus and discipline, but the advice isn’t always the easiest to apply.

  2. I can identify with many if these, too. The problem is that when you treat your business like a hobby, you lack focus. That’s what had happened to me. Now, I’m focusing on the foundation: a marketing plan. Check out a good resource by Allen Dibb called The 1-Page Marketing Plan. It’s a great guide for putting together an easy plan for moving forward and being more strategic.

    1. I had a reader suggest that book. I’ll be checking it out now. A business shouldn’t be treated like a hobby. Well said. There’s also a huge difference between a business and a hobby. Things change real fast when you go from hobby to real business.

  3. For those not as young as you, I’d add: not starting earlier.
    For me, I’d be in that camp. I love these ideas.
    Which of course, reminds me of Tim Ferrisss quote:
    People will chose unhappiness over uncertainly.
    But hopefully, most can overcome their fears and do more with time and information, which your are doing well to provide. Keep up ideas coming.
    Cheers. Tom

  4. Mistakes are how we grow and get better. I’ve made many of these same mistakes, I still make these mistakes, but the key is just pushing forward and getting better. (you know all this though)

    One thing I will say – and not to say this is a mistake or anything – is that running an online business changes over time. 10 years ago, you could pump out a ton of content, Google would love it, and the right strategy was to be jack of all trades. Today, there so much content out there, Google is more sophisticated, readers are more sophisticated, you have to specialize to stand out. Specializing 10 years ago was not the “best” play (but not the worst either) so don’t beat yourself up too much about that. 🙂

    Today, you can still make a great living doing 100% affiliate marketing and none of your own products but it’s harder to defend that business. I think we’re seeing that with all the products and services a lot of our blogger friends are creating.

    It’s fun to look back, isn’t it? 🙂

    1. Thanks for the visit Jim. I remember how helpful you were with affiliates with me in 2010. I just wanted to reflect on things I kind of wish I did differently. With that being said, online blogging has changed drastically in the last ten years. Remember all of those article farms? Blog carnivals? Weekly link roundups? Wow.

  5. It’s been amazing to watch your journey these last 9 years, MD. I’ve always been impressed with your authenticity and your approach to video and social. I’d love to see more of that and more inclusion of your wrestling/fitness career. I’ve made so many of these mistakes myself and continue to do so. This is a good reminder to keep moving toward a better place.

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