Darren over at ProBlogger speaks about The Secret of Sustainable Blogging being making sure that your blog not just serves your readers but you as well, or else you will burn out and get bored of it.
This applies to any business I think, and it’s a beef I have with books like The Four Hour Work Week. Like other ‘how to make money’ writers, he describes how to make money by creating a perfectly functioning profit machine. It’s beautiful, in theory. But it’s not sustainable for most people, because it gets boring pretty quickly. Very few people will be able to sustain interest in a blog, business, or other project purely for monetary gain. It has to feed our souls in some way.
My guess is that it fed his soul when he first created it, because it was new and exciting to him. He was in discovery mode. Plus, he’s a sales guy, and the idea of perfecting a system to increase sales is right up his alley. So people who are much like him will really like that part of the book. But the rest of us may feel like huh, I don’t don’t want to sell a product I don’t care about. (Well, that was my reaction anyway. But just to that chapter. The rest of the book is beautiful.) =)
So my idea is to avoid copying formulas that worked for other people, plugging in something you don’t care about. Don’t start with someone else’s passion. Start with your own. That is the only thing that will sustain itself.
What has always worked for me is to follow what is passionately alive in me, and do that. Then I add the business savvy around that. I loved creating web sites, so I did that. Eventually I created a business around it, and worked to build in the recurring income (web hosting), niche (small high-end online shops), and now I’m adding automation and outsourcing so I can take a vacation.
But that is my model. My theory is that there is a model inside you that will work for you, and only you know what it is. So the key to wealth and goodness (I think) is self-awareness, and the willingness to follow that internal direction above the advice and models of other people. There will always be a billion ideas about what you could or should do. It’s up to you to suss out what your own path is, and follow it.
Ignore any advice that doesn’t fit with your internal sense of what your path is.
This can take some time to filter out but it’s worth spending the time to understand what is truly what you think is right for you rather than adopting other people’s ideas. And it’s the only way to live a truly passionate, authentic life. (That’s my advice, use it if it fits!) =)