I need to be real with you.
This blog has been losing steam for a while now, so I’ve decided it’s time to make some substantial but important changes in these here parts.
If you’re the kind of person who hates change, you’re probably going to dislike what I’m going to say. If you think change is necessary, you might actually find what I’m about to propose to be a great idea. Either way, Geek & Prosper is going to look a lot different than it is now, and I’ll explain why in the rest of this post.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
You know the line “Not all those who wander are lost” from a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien?
Normally, that line perfectly describes how I’ve operated my freelance business. I went from industry to industry until deciding to specialize in digital media, but all the while never feeling truly lost.
I can’t say the same about this blog.
Ever since I published my last post, I’ve been feeling incredibly adrift in terms of Geek & Prosper’s direction and purpose. A lot of this has to do with how I’ve been feeling disconnected from my readers, blog subscribers, and all their needs.
About two years ago, I parted from the pop culture/geek crowds online because I was tired of all the judgment bouncing around (ironic, really, considering geeks always seemed to feel judged and ostracized). I chose to do this because I was tired of geeks I’d met online, even ones I’d built up relationships with for several months, say I wasn’t a “real” geek because I didn’t go to pop culture conventions. Yes, this happened, and Anne Wheaton and I think it’s bullshit.
However, when you start a blog about helping geeks build online businesses, it’s probably not a good idea to separate yourself from the geek world.
Yet that’s what I did. And honestly, it was incredibly freeing not to feel like I had to stay up-to-date on all the latest geeky happenings just to prove my worth. But this intentional disconnect also meant that I quickly lost touch with my audience (that’s you!). I no longer really felt there were geeks in need of online business advice tailored to their interests and situations, because I wasn’t interacting with any on a regular basis. And guess what that led to?
Yep. Not caring about the blog.
I stopped caring about posting regular updates, and I stopped worrying about building up my readership. I didn’t care about planning my next post; in fact, I got overwhelmed — not excited — just thinking about it, because I had no idea what my audience wanted to read about next. Then, when I tried to put effort into this blog again this summer, it simply didn’t feel… right.
To help get some clarity on my blogging frustrations, I had a nice long chat with a freelancer friend named Jennifer Mattern, who’s been running her site All Indie Writers in some form or another since 2006. I greatly respect Jenn’s opinion; she doesn’t pull any punches when I ask for advice, unlike some other freelancers I know.
Our talk made me realize several things:
- I’ve been wrongfully following the online business trend of trying to become an “instant expert.”I used to believe that if you were a few steps ahead of your readers in whatever topic you wrote on, you could deem yourself qualified to teach on that topic. While I still think this is true to a point, trying to compete with all the other online business “experts” out there was more tiring than exciting. It made me feel like a fraud, and that guilt’s never gone away.
- My content has sorely missed my personal touch and voice.Because I was trying to write about every online business topic under the sun, instead of just letting my personal experiences inform my blog posts, much of my blog posts have felt forced. They also don’t look any different than posts by other online business bloggers. I still haven’t felt like I’ve found my voice.
- I’ve been too focused on making money.When I originally started this blog, my intent was to grow it organically and see if any opportunities later arose for me to generate some income. However, because I bought into the “instant expert” trend, I instead tried to force the growth of my blog so I could earn money more quickly. But without having a clear value proposition or offering distinct from my competition, I felt directionless and also like I was just selling out.
And now, the idea of continuing this blog in its current state and direction actually depresses me to the point where I’d be totally fine swigging back a few glasses of red wine if I wasn’t already concerned that I may have an allergy to that particular type of alcoholic drink (yes, for serious).
SO WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
I still think this blog is worth running, and I still think there are a lot of geeks out there interested in business and entrepreneurship. But in order for me to get excited about working on Geek & Prosper again, I’m going to have to change a few of its key elements:
- Focus: Geek & Prosper will no longer be primarily focused on me teaching geeks to become online business superheroes. While I will still address that every so often, the blog will focus more on my experience with the geeky business and entrepreneurship worlds. I’ll be changing the tagline soon to reflect the new focus, as well as the entire “about” page. I’ve yet to decide if I’ll take down my coaching offer.
- Posts: Since this blog’s beginning, I’ve always wanted to write about my personal freelancing journey, as well as provide advice based on my experiences as an entrepreneur. I’ve also wanted to interview fellow geek business owners, profile geeky online businesses, pull business lessons from pop culture, etc. Basically, I started this blog because I was tired of the general public scoffing at the idea of geeks making money and of successful industries being entirely driven by fan culture.So this means I’ll no longer be writing posts you might see on any other online business blog (i.e. “100 Top Ways to Drive Insane Traffic to Your Site”), unless I really feel passionate about said topic. Instead, I’ll be focusing on the types of posts I just outlined, which I’ve always felt passionate about and originally intended to write when I created Geek & Prosper.
- Design: While design isn’t everything, it’s becoming ever more important in this mobile age. I’ll be swapping to a cleaner, more modern-looking theme by 2017, while still keeping the retro influence of Geek & Prosper’s logo.
I believe all these changes will make this blog more original, more genuine, and more useful to readers in the long run.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT YOU?
For the most part, the changes to Geek & Prosper shouldn’t affect you that much.
But if you were the kind of reader or email subscriber who really wanted to read post after post about how you “should” do something in your business, you’re going to be disappointed.
I won’t be telling you what you should be doing anymore. I won’t be acting like I have one-size-fits-all business fixes. And I certainly won’t be preaching about the latest trends that you must follow or you’ll fall into a never-ending pit of business failure.
Instead, if you’re interested in more personal, real-life stories and guidance from geeky entrepreneurs who are willing to be honest about their experiences, you’re in luck!
The new changes to Geek & Prosper will also appeal to those online business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who seek inspiration just as much as they do practical advice. After all, there’s a reason we’re called geeks; we’re passionate about what we love, and we draw inspiration from that. Our geekiness keeps us motivated.
So I’ll be working hard to bring more inspirational posts to this blog, some based off of entire movies, TV shows, and books, and some just based on individual quotes. Whatever suits my fancy and resonates with you.
Oh, yeah, and the opt-in offers might change.
I’m considering making some of the opt-in offers currently only available to email subscribers accessible as resources to all readers, and I’m considering adding new opt-ins down the line. This is something I’ll need to think over carefully, however, so don’t expect these changes soon. I’ll let you know about them before they happen, too.
I’ve said pretty much everything I can at this point, and this is already a long post (I guess that’s what happens when you pour out your heart and soul after so long). I’ll close it out by saying that I’m very at peace with this decision, as well as incredibly excited to write about what I wanted to all along.
I hope you’ll join me on this new journey.
Now I want to know: what do you think about these changes for Geek & Prosper? Leave your thoughts in the comments and I’ll respond to every one!