A few days ago I reached 140,000 followers on my main blog. It was worth about five seconds of joy, a screenshot of my stats, and it was time to get back to work.
This is the kind of life I have been leading in the last seven or so years to be successful as a blogger.
What is a success anyway?
Am I successful? Because I have a certain amount of followers? Because I’m earning enough money to do this as my full-time job?
The truth is that I’ve had to work twelve hour days for a long, long time. Sometimes, I wondered if it was all worth it. Sometimes, I wanted to quit, desperate for the comfort of a 9 to 5 and a steady paycheck.
I’ve disappointed my parents for a couple of years
I’ve always wanted to live a 1% life. To be able to do things on my terms, to by my own boss.
And when I first started blogging, when I decided to self-publish my stories and novels on Amazon, my parents told me to be realistic and get a proper job.
My friends would make fun of me.
The moments of doubt were heartbreaking. When it all felt pointless, and I’d be working 15 hours a day, and there was no one to complain to. Even if I tried to complain, people would tell me that it had been my decision to live this kind of life.
The progress towards success kind of destroys your personal life. You are judged, labelled, misunderstood, laughed at, and then ignored.
No one believes in you after you’ve done it. It’s a bittersweet truth of life. This means that you are your own cheerleader. Good news? You are your own cheerleader.
I’ve had to give up on Netflix and chill
I’m always working.
Most people work until 5 PM then come home, eat dinner, and watch shows and TV for a few hours. Or they spend time on social media.
My parents do it. My friends do it.
But I figured out early on that to be successful as a blogger, you have to write a lot of content. A lot!
You can either have comfort or success, but not both.
And the truth is that the price I had to pay was higher than what I was expecting. A lot higher.
I’ve had to give up on trying to be understood
Nobody seems to care. Nobody seems to even understand what the hell I do all day. I try to explain but when your parents don’t speak the damn language I express myself in, it’s a bit difficult.
Folks tend to treasure stability, security, a steady paycheck.
I call it the rat-race, and running away from it has been my lifelong ambition, and it’s what keeps me in the game.
That’s always where human beings want to get to.
They think the only way to get to stability is to work a job, get health insurance, and live a normal life.
That’s stability, right? That’s the main goal?
I don’t want a “normal” life. I want extraordinary, and I am willing to work a little bit more, to want it a little bit more, to interact with others a little bit more, to suffer a little bit more.
And, trust me, when even your girlfriend’s parents think badly of you for not having a steady income, it’s tough to fight for this kind of life.
It’s lonely. It really is. I can’t talk to anybody else about my struggles. The only people I take advice from are the ones I watch on YouTube or follow on social media. You know, the super-successful, the entrepreneurs, the artists, the rebels and rascals of society.
I’ve spent eight years writing before earning a single dime
Yes, that’s true. I’ve spent eight years punching those damn keys, and no monetary reward for it. No readers. Nothing.
It’s true. There needs to be entire years of your life where you’re working insane hours for what seems to be no reward.
And even after that, I still had to give up on another year of my life to have an impact in the blogging world.
I had to give up on who I was
When I first started blogging I was a different person.
I had a lot of ambition, sure, but I had almost no discipline whatsoever. I didn’t understand what it took to be successful as a blogger.
I had to change, to adapt, to overcome, to become a different me.
It happened slowly. Painfully at times.
I had to develop self-discipline, to learn more, to do more, to become more.
I sacrificed the old Cristian Mihai. I had to level-up, to demand more of myself even though no one around me was doing it.
Because this is the heartbreaking truth: almost no one ever, ever, ever demands more of you. Yes, they doubt you, or they mock you, but they never tell you that you could be more than who you are right now, right here.
And, yet, I had to change myself, to learn to demand of myself more than anyone else ever could. I had to dream big and do small things to make those dreams come true.
I had to learn to love the daily grind. To wake up early and go to bed late. To educate myself on various topics.
And you want to know another truth?
I have to give up on myself again because who I am right now is not the kind of guy who is worthy of being where I want to be in the future.
If you think success in the blogging world is easy, effortless, and fun, you should reconsider. Sometimes, it is, and I am not trying to talk you out of trying to be as successful as possible.
But you need to sacrifice a lot if you want to be in the top 1%.
Because the 1% do the kind of things that the 99% don’t. Because the 1% get more stuff done than the 99% before they even wake up to sit at their desk and write.