Saturday, January 12, 2008

Having second thoughts: Is working at home right for me?

Photo: Snow Wall by Ezzz

In the six days since I began this blog, I've felt like quitting three times.

The first time was when I discovered that it took so much time to blog. I had a long list of topics for blog posts, but no time to finish even one. I could only write during my baby's naps and at night after all the kids were asleep. I was surprised at the amount of time I needed to properly research topics and then craft some high-quality posts.

The second time was when I was installing a Facebook application to try and increase the traffic to this blog and I couldn't get it to work. It was frustrating and, again, consumed a lot of time.

The third time I felt like quitting was today when I found out that one of my favorite bloggers, Skellie, had launched a new blog, Anywired, about working online. At first, I was really excited because I greatly admire Skellie and I'm always looking forward to reading her posts. I've learned so much from her already. And then it dawned on me that if Skellie was already blogging about making money on the Internet, well, then I had nothing else to blog about.

But as you can see, I didn't quit. Three things happened:

First, I tried installing the Facebook application again the next day and it worked! I thought of something that hadn't dawned on me previously but when I tried a second time, my mind was much clearer. (Whether it will actually bring more people here is another matter though -- I'll let you know).

The second thing that happened was I talked to my husband, who must be my biggest fan (or he'd better be). He reminded me why I got interested to blog in the first place. To make some money, sure. But also, because I love to write and blogging gives me the chance -- no the obligation -- to write every single day. And most specially, I started this blog because I wanted to encourage and help other Moms to stay at home and earn money from home. I believe that mommies and their children belong together and they should be given every opportunity and support they need to do so.

The third thing happened in church, so it's significant: I realized that while Anywired will undoubtedly be a phenomenal success, it focuses on working ONLINE. On the other hand, my blog includes non-Internet-related home business ideas. Besides, Skellie and most of the other super-successful bloggers are either single and/or males who do not have the lion's share of household chores and child care responsibilities, or empty nesters. I, on the other hand, am a wife and mother first. I have to juggle blogging with managing a household and caring for a teen-ager, a first-grader and a toddler. So my "voice" will certainly be different from other bloggers' and, hopefully, my experience and posts will resonate with my own audience.

I've learned a lot about staying motivated from my first week of pro-blogging:

1. Focus on your goals.

Write down your goals and objectives. Review it often, at least weekly. I try to read mine every day. This is also one of the productivity habits recommended by Leo Babauta in his E-book, Zen to Done.

2. Get support when you need it.

My husband has been my primary source of support. He's always so sensible and knows best how to keep me going. He also helps me clarify ideas and see things from a fresh angle. I've also gotten support from complete strangers, such as Suzanne Wells. I "met" Suzanne on Facebook. She is a power E-bay seller and shares her secrets in her blog. She posts everyday! Even though Suzanne is a complete stranger, I sent her a message and she helped me on technical issues that I couldn't figure out myself.

3. Take baby steps.

I had to remind myself that it's only been a week. Why was I already going crazy over my blog's stats? I'm starting from almost zero knowledge about blogging, social networking and the technical aspects of the Internet. I need to cut myself some slack. As my husband pointed out, blogging is taking me a lot of time now because I'm still learning. Looking back, I've done a lot in such a short time -- all while still having my full-time job.

4. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

I know it's a cliche but sometimes, persistence is all that sets the winners apart from the losers. As my experience shows, a good night's sleep and another attempt can make all the difference.

I've picked up more motivation tips from Leo Babauta's post, Top 20 Motivation Hacks - An Overview.

I know that I will feel discouraged many other times in my life. When those times come, I hope I will remember to keep my eye on the prize and keep going until I reach my destination.

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