1. Blogging.It’s still my main business. And here we are, on my blog again. It’s easy to forget about blogging and blogs because of social media. With all the social media censorship and antics, it’s more important than ever to establish your own media property, that you control.
Blogs vs. Social Media
Social media is not reliable. Maybe one day you log in and find out your account is “restricted” for some unknown reason. And the only way to get back into your account is to send a photo ID and pose for a biometric facial recognition scan. After 5 minutes of posing for the camera, turning your head left and right at various angles for the facial recognition software, the app crashes. As if I wanted some creepy company mapping my face in the first place!
This is not rare either. My LinkedIn account was “restricted” with no explanation other than “unusual activity.” No, I didn’t use any automation tools that would get me banned. 15 years of connections and comments and work history gone in a flash. As if I never existed. As if I never did my best to promote LinkedIn. The point is, these platforms are not reliable or friendly. This is not a new revelation. We had similar problems back in the vBulletin days, and even before that with “free hosting” sites like Geocities. One day you have a thriving source of business traffic, and then things change beyond your control and you’re back to zero.
That’s one of the main reasons I got into the blog hosting business. I needed more control over the destiny of my content and my business. Other companies were dropping the ball. Media Temple, Site5, the hosting was below my expectations. Slowness, security problems, downtime, rudeness, incompetence, high prices. I couldn’t find a service good enough, so I had to create my own.
Likewise, “PJBrunet.com” is printed on thousands of business cards scattered around the world (from back when I was a social butterfly) and I know decades from now people will still find me here.
Blogging vs. Podcasting vs. Vlogging
Back to blogging. Two competitors for your time: podcasting and vlogging. They do coexist well with blogging, and that’s good thing. I can easily post a blog about my latest podcast or my latest vlog video. And I do recommend that. However, if you’re careful with your words and your thoughts, it’s hard to beat blogging. Often I record a long video or a podcast and then I come up with some reason for not uploading it. Maybe there was too much wind noise, or I sounded tired, or I went too far on some embarrassing tangent. Sometimes you can edit those things out, but the writing process is the most versatile when it comes to organizing your thoughts.
One way you can leverage your blog is to simply read what you wrote and make that your podcast. Or you can do some kind of screencast while reading your blog and then you have all three bases covered: blog, podcast and video. The important thing is you collected your thoughts and sorted them into something meaningful, which is difficult to do for a vlog or podcast without some practice and planning.
Recently Category Pirates sent out an email talking about “eating your own dogfood.” I only scanned the email, but I think the point was companies using their own services are more reliable because they practice what they preach. The work is more mission oriented, through good times and bad times. That is definitely true of my business. If I lost every client tomorrow, I would still use my own services to setup and configure my servers and software to manage my content, and then maybe I would pivot to producing content 100% of the time.
Serving Content vs. Serving Clients
In fact, before 2011 my business was mostly content oriented. Learning to take on clients was learning a new skill. After getting divorced in 2010, I needed more money. And the divorce coincided with the Panda and Penguin algorithm changes, which cut my content business in half, and then in half again, which was unsustainable. Unlike a Joe Rogan of today, I didn’t have a multi-million dollar content deal to pay my rent. I had to pursue clients and sell my expertise to businesses lucky enough to gain from the (totally unfair) Panda and Penguin updates.
Going forward, I plan to keep serving more and more clients. At the same time, I want to create more and more content. Eat my own dogfood. And try to create content in some new areas I haven’t tried before.
2. Vitamins & Supplements.The first day I heard about “the virus” I went out and bought two giant bottles of vitamin C. That kicked off an obsession where I’m learning about and buying all kinds of vitamins and supplements. I went from not taking any vitamins, getting all of my nutrition from food–to needing an extra shelf in my office for all the bottles and containers of vitamins, powders, seeds, etc.
While I’m not a doctor or a certified expert, I’m gaining a lot of knowledge, and some of that knowledge is personal to me. Taking vitamins and supplements is a learning experience. I’m at a point now where I feel this experience could be worth cross-referencing with other people. Logically, it also makes sense to get nutrients from food. I’m looking at that too. What’s in my food, besides what I’m reading on the label? And what’s the point? Feeling good, looking good, healing my body, feeding my brain.
3. Growing Food.What’s the appeal here? I’m starting to see this as a way to save money and to be more self-sufficient. And if I get good at growing things, maybe at some point I can sell what I’m growing at a farmer’s market. As someone without pets, or kids, it’s fun to see the daily progress of my garlic, onions, fenugreek, lemon trees, etc. I’m growing everything in containers and I know these experiments will benefit me year after year for as long as I’m in Texas. By the number of views on YouTube, it seems this hobby has universal appeal, because it’s both practical and beautiful to see how things grow, and it doesn’t cost much to get started. In other words, maybe I’ll get some good video content from this.
4. Fishing.I just purchased a Zebco 808. Looking forward to fishing with my dad. Fishing brings back some old memories from my childhood. Will I catch anything worth eating? Will I get some good video content? We shall see.
5. Business & Technology.I try to keep this list updated.
Questions or comments? I keep my latest contact information here.