You Can Be Whatever You Want To Be : I Did IT And You Can Do It Too At Any Age

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If you just want to create a personal blog, you can do so for free through WordPress. But if you are trying to make money from your blog, you will have to spend money to make it.

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Here are a few things that you will end up spending money on:. The above bullet points are just some examples of expenses you will incur. It took me years before I spent money on blogging, and I wish I did it sooner as Quick Sprout would have been much larger. Here are my expenses for Quick Sprout last month:. I have a ton of small expenses as well, but the ones above are the major ones. I wish I had focused on that earlier because my traffic would have been much higher if I had focused on it years ago.

With KISSmetrics, we realized that infographics were going to be hot , so we decided to create one every single week. We ended up cranking out 47 infographics, which generated 2,, visits from 41, backlinks, 41, tweets and 20, likes. I tried creating infographics on Quick Sprout, but I was too late. Another example is The Oatmeal. The founder of that site, Matt, realized that quizzes and comics where popular, so he created a site that only contained quizzes and comics.

If you find a hot content idea, keep milking it until it lasts… because sooner or later it will get played out just like everything else does. The beautiful part about writing detailed content is that it ranks higher on Google. If you look at the results page on page one of Google, each site on average will have at least words of content. That just shows that Google really sees content as king. Always write for users and never for search engines. People prefer conversations over lectures. I never used to write in a conversational manner, but when I did, my time on site increased by And when I ran a Crazy Egg heatmap , I noticed that people used to scroll more than before.

I always felt that design was important , but I never nit-picked every little thing. This, however, created frustration among my readers with certain things such as lack of ability to find the popular posts on Quick Sprout. You need to be the best! And to be the best, you need an awesome design… not a mediocre one. You need one that drives traffic to your money pages, that boosts your conversion rate and, most importantly, that makes the content easy to read.

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The size of your font, typography and even spacing are all little things that are part of your design. Those elements can have a big impact on whether your content is going to be read by someone. When I started my first blog, all I cared about is how many visitors I had and how I could convert those visitors into customers.

I never really cared about my readers. These days, I do make money, and lot more than I used to when I first started blogging, but money is a side effect of solving problems and helping people. If I had to put a dollar value on my responses to comments and emails, I probably would be in red. But how could you put a price on helping people? Focus on helping people too as the rest will come once you help out enough people.

Hopefully, you can avoid the mistakes I made when I first started blogging. I would hate for you to repeat my mistakes as they hindered my growth. If you want to make your blog popular, focus on solving one problem at a time. Make sure to create your site the right way. It'll make your life so much easier as you build your business. Here's how we build sites:. We've used every tool out there. Some of them drove our revenue sky-high. Others cost us tens of thousands in lost revenue.

Learn from our hard-won experience on which tools can be trusted:. Over guides across 10 subjects. You can get an MBA in digital marketing just by studying these guides. They're here for you. Quick Sprout Make Better Content. Here are 11 things you should know before starting your first blog : You need to be social When I started blogging, I hoped that I would get a ton of traffic through search engines because all of the other popular blogs got a lot of Google love. Consistency is the key to growth I never realized consistency was important until it affected my traffic… in a negative way.

When I slowed down on my blogging, my traffic tanked to 35, visitors a month. What goes online, stays online When I first started blogging, I used to create mediocre content. Well, it turns out when brains triple in size, they don't just get three times bigger; they gain new structures. And one of the main reasons our brain got so big is because it got a new part, called the "frontal lobe," particularly, a part called the "prefrontal cortex.

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Well, it turns out the prefrontal cortex does lots of things, but one of the most important things it does is it's an experience simulator. Pilots practice in flight simulators so that they don't make real mistakes in planes. Human beings have this marvelous adaptation that they can actually have experiences in their heads before they try them out in real life.

This is a trick that none of our ancestors could do, and that no other animal can do quite like we can. It's a marvelous adaptation. It's up there with opposable thumbs and standing upright and language as one of the things that got our species out of the trees and into the shopping mall. All of you have done this. Ben and Jerry's doesn't have "liver and onion" ice cream, and it's not because they whipped some up, tried it and went, "Yuck!

Let's see how your experience simulators are working. Let's just run a quick diagnostic before I proceed with the rest of the talk. Here's two different futures that I invite you to contemplate. You can try to simulate them and tell me which one you think you might prefer. One of them is winning the lottery. This is about million dollars.

And the other is becoming paraplegic. Just give it a moment of thought. You probably don't feel like you need a moment of thought. Interestingly, there are data on these two groups of people, data on how happy they are. And this is exactly what you expected, isn't it? But these aren't the data. I made these up! These are the data.

You failed the pop quiz, and you're hardly five minutes into the lecture. Because the fact is that a year after losing the use of their legs and a year after winning the lotto, lottery winners and paraplegics are equally happy with their lives. Don't feel too bad about failing the first pop quiz, because everybody fails all of the pop quizzes all of the time. The research that my laboratory has been doing, that economists and psychologists around the country have been doing, has revealed something really quite startling to us, something we call the "impact bias," which is the tendency for the simulator to work badly, for the simulator to make you believe that different outcomes are more different than, in fact, they really are.

From field studies to laboratory studies, we see that winning or losing an election, gaining or losing a romantic partner, getting or not getting a promotion, passing or not passing a college test, on and on, have far less impact, less intensity and much less duration than people expect them to have.

A recent study — this almost floors me — a recent study showing how major life traumas affect people suggests that if it happened over three months ago, with only a few exceptions, it has no impact whatsoever on your happiness. Because happiness can be synthesized. Sir Thomas Brown wrote in , "I am the happiest man alive.

I have that in me that can convert poverty to riches, adversity to prosperity. I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me.

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Well, it turns out it's precisely the same remarkable machinery that all of us have. Human beings have something that we might think of as a "psychological immune system," a system of cognitive processes, largely nonconscious cognitive processes, that help them change their views of the world, so that they can feel better about the worlds in which they find themselves.

Like Sir Thomas, you have this machine.

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Unlike Sir Thomas, you seem not to know it. We synthesize happiness, but we think happiness is a thing to be found. Now, you don't need me to give you too many examples of people synthesizing happiness, I suspect, though I'm going to show you some experimental evidence. You don't have to look very far for evidence.

I took a copy of the "New York Times" and tried to find some instances of people synthesizing happiness. Here are three guys synthesizing happiness. It was a glorious experience. Who are these characters who are so damn happy? The first one is Jim Wright. Some of you are old enough to remember: he was the chairman of the House of Representatives, and he resigned in disgrace when this young Republican named Newt Gingrich found out about a shady book deal that he had done.

He lost everything. The most powerful Democrat in the country lost everything: he lost his money, he lost his power. What does he have to say all these years later about it? He's pretty much covered them there. Moreese Bickham is somebody you've never heard of. Moreese Bickham uttered these words upon being released. He was 78 years old. He'd spent 37 years in Louisiana State Penitentiary for a crime he didn't commit.

He was ultimately [released for good behavior halfway through his sentence. This guy's not saying, "There were some nice guys. They had a gym. Harry S. Langerman uttered these words. He's somebody you might have known but didn't, because in , he read a little article in the paper about a hamburger stand owned by these two brothers named McDonald. And he thought, "That's a really neat idea! They said, "We can give you a franchise on this for 3, bucks. Of course, six months later, Ray Kroc had exactly the same idea. It turns out, people do eat hamburgers, and Ray Kroc, for a while, became the richest man in America.

And then, finally, some of you recognize this young photo of Pete Best, who was the original drummer for the Beatles, until they, you know, sent him out on an errand and snuck away and picked up Ringo on a tour. Well, in , when Pete Best was interviewed — yes, he's still a drummer; yes, he's a studio musician — he had this to say: "I'm happier than I would have been with the Beatles. OK, there's something important to be learned from these people, and it is the secret of happiness.

Here it is, finally to be revealed. First: accrue wealth, power and prestige, then lose it. Third: make somebody else really, really rich. And finally: never, ever join the Beatles. Laughter Yeah, right.

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Because when people synthesize happiness, as these gentlemen seem to have done, we all smile at them, but we kind of roll our eyes and say, "Yeah, right, you never really wanted the job. What are these terms? Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don't get what we wanted.

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And in our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind. Why do we have that belief? Well, it's very simple. What kind of economic engine would keep churning if we believed that not getting what we want could make us just as happy as getting it? With all apologies to my friend Matthieu Ricard, a shopping mall full of Zen monks is not going to be particularly profitable, because they don't want stuff enough.

I want to suggest to you that synthetic happiness is every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for. Now, I'm a scientist, so I'm going to do this not with rhetoric, but by marinating you in a little bit of data.

Let me first show you an experimental paradigm that's used to demonstrate the synthesis of happiness among regular old folks. This isn't mine, it's a year-old paradigm called the "free choice paradigm. You bring in, say, six objects, and you ask a subject to rank them from the most to the least liked. In this case, because this experiment uses them, these are Monet prints. Everybody ranks these Monet prints from the one they like the most to the one they like the least. Now we give you a choice: "We happen to have some extra prints in the closet. We're going to give you one as your prize to take home.

We happen to have number three and number four," we tell the subject. This is a bit of a difficult choice, because neither one is preferred strongly to the other, but naturally, people tend to pick number three, because they liked it a little better than number four. Sometime later — it could be 15 minutes, it could be 15 days — the same stimuli are put before the subject, and the subject is asked to re-rank the stimuli. Watch as happiness is synthesized. This is the result that's been replicated over and over again. You're watching happiness be synthesized. Would you like to see it again?

That other one I didn't get sucks! Now, what's the right response to that? We did this experiment with a group of patients who had anterograde amnesia. These are hospitalized patients. Most of them have Korsakoff syndrome, a polyneuritic psychosis. They drank way too much, and they can't make new memories. They remember their childhood, but if you walk in and introduce yourself and then leave the room, when you come back, they don't know who you are. We took our Monet prints to the hospital. And we asked these patients to rank them from the one they liked the most to the one they liked the least.