An Open Letter to Aspiring Online Business Influencers

If you were to ask a successful blogger or influencer to give a commencement address, this would be – more or less – what they would say from the podium. Hopefully this answers some of the open-ended questions you have during your journey, and gives you comfort and peace.

Dear aspiring influencers, bloggers, and leaders:

The path you’re choosing is a rewarding one for sure. You’re giving yourself the chance to avoid having to punch a time clock or stare at the average-looking office clock on the wall for the rest of your working life. However, in order for it to be not just spiritually or mentally rewarding, but financially rewarding too, you must put in the time and effort, so you can afford the luxuries you want from antique clocks to artwork. There are going to be times when it seems like all of your work is in vain. You’re going to read over something you’ve written, something that you were maybe even really proud of when you hit the “publish now” button, and you’ll think it reads like a fourth grader wrote it. You’re going to get tired, lonely, and uninspired. You’re going to want to give up, you might even wish you could have a refund for the hosting and domain costs you shelled out up front.

Take comfort in the fact that just about everybody feels that way at some time or another. This is why the topic you choose is so important, why you should be passionate about it. But ultimately the key here is: don’t give up. Let’s say that again: Don’t give up!

Rome wasn’t built in a day. The top-earning blogs didn’t gain all of their followers right away. The top social media influencers didn’t set up an Instagram account and immediately become thrust into the feeds of thousands of enthusiastic followers pressing the like button or blowing up the comments.

When you’re down, absorb the inspiration of champions. Fall asleep at night reading the words of people who have gone before you. Maybe even post a giant honking Rocky Balboa quote above your work station. Like this one: “Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.” Seriously, just about every line from any Rocky movie, literally, is going to motivate you to put in another day on your blog – more than any glass of wine or binge-watched TV show (unless your blog is about wine or binge-watched TV shows!).

On that same token, remember that there will be a time and place to let loose, to relax, to drink wine and watch mindless television. Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, wrote that he likes to read fiction before falling asleep at night to help avoid burnout. Do what you need to do to get the job done.

And once you’ve put in all this work and you haven’t given up and you start to see the results, remember where you came from. Remember how hard you had to fight to get to where you are today. Be nice to people who are where you were when you first started out; be nice when they come to you and ask for help or advice. There’s a cliche that states that you should be nice on your way to the top, because you might see all of those people on the way back down. But we could just call it the Karma Principle. Or the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. That’s all: just be nice to people.

And make responsible choices. Once you have the audience, you should remember that “with great power comes great responsibility.” If you’re an influencer, and you have hundreds or thousands of followers, think about the message you’re sending to these people. Is that message hurtful to their self-esteem, to their family life, or to the environment? Or is it a message of love and compassion? 

Good luck in the trenches, and… see you at the top!

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