Some of you would probably know that I left a regular, well paying corporate job towards the end of 2010, to start blogging full time. This move has been in alignment with what I consider my ultimate purpose, to lead a conscious and aware life, do things that I connect with, and to help others become more conscious and aware.
Why I did it?
I wanted to bring together my purpose, my interest in writing, my urge to express myself, create something of my own, and make all of these into something that can be a sustainable source of livelihood. I had little idea of how this would work out but wanted to do it never the less.
From my job, I had sufficient savings, that can last me and my wife a few years, if we are thrifty. So we decided to take on the adventure.
What about the money?
A lot of people who have come in contact with me since then, have labeled this move differently as courageous, inspiring, foolish or crazy. A lot of them wonder how can I so utterly disregard money, how could I give up a job that was earning me so much?
Personally, I don’t find earning hoards of money a very attractive goal. I see it as essential, no doubt, but don’t find it the ultimate to aspire for, far from it. I like to have enough for sustenance and a few comforts but beyond that, I loose interest in it.
With blogging too, a lot of people find my choices unconventional. Among bloggers, there are 2 schools of thought about earning money,
One school(a small minority I think) says that good content is king, it is all that is needed, no marketing. The other school, the majority of bloggers, say marketing is essential. I have stayed mostly with the ‘content is king’ idea. I have done some limited marketing, trying occasional guest posts and putting my articles on blog carnivals. But mostly, I just focus on trying to be better with my writing.
Focus on providing good value
I believe that if my writing is good, if I focus on just making it better, people will be attracted to it and I will start getting offers for money(like requests to put up ads on my website, willingness of newspapers and magazines to publish my articles). I have always felt that a good product will do most of it’s own marketing, it will pull the right customers to it. Maybe not as fast as those that are heavily marketed, but it will.
I had also planned that once I got more than a 1000 subscribers, and more than 5000 visits a month, I will write a book and see how publishers respond to it. I also have in mind starting some sort of workshop/seminar on personal development and some form of guidance/counselling, post the above landmark.
I can’t say I am fully confident that my ideas are right, I have my moments of doubt, sometimes intense doubt. I don’t consider myself the best financial planner either. But I have tended to stay with the idea of focusing on writing well. Mostly, when my intellect and heart point in different directions, I have a tendency to hold my heart’s finger and be lead by it. Call it my personal disposition, my comfort zone, or my stubbornness, but this is how I am.
Earlier this year, I realized that the popularity of my blog is not growing as fast as I had expected. Although readers were getting attracted to the blog, and they still are, they are coming in slowly. Today, I have around 130 email subscribers, some 230 fans on Facebook and some 20 followers on Twitter. Monthly visits hover between 2000 and 2400. The good thing is that the pace seems to be picking up.
Setting a deadline
Around the middle of this year, I felt the need to set a time limit for this effort to go on in it’s current form. This was for 2 purposes,
One, the idea of a negative cash flow was bothering me. I don’t want to earn a lot of money, nor do I do a lot of financial planning, but I like to spend less than I earn. I want to earn enough money. When I left my job, I believed that the negative cash flow won’t bother me as much, but I was wrong. I feel the need for a sustainable salary.
Second, I saw that I was growing complacent with my writing. I feel I sometimes drag with my work unnecessarily, just because I had lots of time at home to fill. I don’t need the whole day to write and have ample time to do something else. In fact, the core of my writing gets done in about 2 hours daily. I think I can do more than just write.
So I had promised myself and my wife, that I will continue to disregard income until Dec 2011. If I started making a sustainable income through my writing and related work by this time, I will continue without change. But, if I did not, which is my current state, I will find some other way to earn that income.
The hunt for employment
So, with the start of this year, I am on the look out for something to earn me money. Being my adventurous self, instead of directly looking for a job in my previous expertise of software development, I am first trying to get into other things that align better with my current work and that I find more interesting. For this again, I have set a time limit till the end of this month. If I see a strong lead in this time, I will follow it on, otherwise I will move on to look for a software development job.
I am also keeping my eyes and ears open for anything else that might look interesting. So if you have any wild jobs in mind, let me know. You might just find me courageous(or foolish) enough!
Although my current endeavor has not turned out as yet to be the big thing I have wanted it to, I wouldn’t want to change any of it. It’s been a great learning experience, an eye opener in a deep, real sense. It has brought me closer to my heart, it has made me respect myself more, it has brought me many new and meaningful connections with people, and has added more meaning to some existing ones. I have faced a lot of my fears and they don’t scare me as much now. I have grown in a year as much as I would otherwise have grown perhaps in many years.
I feel more grounded, connected, free and alive. Even as I am looking for some employment again, I feel I am a changed person than the one who held employment a year ago. The learning has added to me and I am more strongly committed to follow my heart than ever. While, a year ago, there was a passionate, intense resolve, today there is a calm, grounded and still resolve.
As I look out for a job, I sometimes feel apprehensive. To a lot of extent, I think this is because of some fears and ghosts of my own. Until now, I have been more comfortable being and working on my own, even when I previously had a job. Connecting with other people and working with them has not been my greatest strengths.
But over the last few years, I have come to believe that, as social animals, we need to be an integral part of society to feel fulfilled. I believe in the importance of connection with others and in the oneness of all existence.
I have started working towards deeper, more meaningful connections and, in that, I see my current search for employment as a challenge and a fear to face. I have an opportunity here to overcome a discomfort, to become better, to shine brighter, to make a quantum shift towards realizing my self.
What will happen to the blog?
My focus still remains the same, and I am committed to writing, personal development and helping others live more fulfilled lives. I am trying to find something that will leave enough time for me to write, that is exciting and that brings me in contact with passionate and lively people.
I don’t expect much to change with my blogging. I will keep writing. Probably the only noticeable change would be the new perspectives that I gain with this move.
That’s the intention I have given out to the Universe. Lets see what happens.
My wife’s support
A big source of help and encouragement has been Jyoti, my wife. Just last week, as we were discussing my journey in the last year, she said what she has said many times in this last year, that she feels excited and priviledged to be a part of this transformation in me and that she, like me, would not want to change any of it even if she could.
I have always maintained that growth happens only in the zone if discomfort. I feel both of us have found a lot of growth, individually, and as companions, in the last year. Our relationship is developing in a unique, interesting way. I am glad for it.
Where will this path lead? I don’t know. Is this prudent? Can’t say. Foolish or prudent, scared or fearless, flowing along or stumbling along, full of ego or humbled,… I intend to follow the path my heart leads me on, I intend to use my full potential, I intend to experience life fully and I intend to set an exciting and unique example to inspire and derive lessons from.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived. -Henry David Thoreau