The Pivotal Stage In The Rise of a Professional Blogger

Professional bloggers, including the individuals we all know of, and also smaller up-and-coming probloggers, all have a period of experience in their past that provides them with a powerful energy to continue on – their early time as a blogger. The key period of interest here is the one before they were large, and had crossed the “tipping point”. This is just as relevant whether the blogger was in a state of financial hardship or not when starting out. Harsh comments that don’t show support can be much more difficult to handle than being in some amount of financial debt, and anyone that builds up a suitable way to deal with them coming from close friends and family, as well as online acquaintances, is basically unstoppable when they come out on the other end of the site success spectrum.

Mr. Wine Library TV

Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV, which is at over 700 video blog episodes, discussed how his family’s wine business sales took a dive when he started the video blog, because he was spending something like fifteen hours a day working on the videos, responding to comments and handling related issues. Since Wine Library is his family business, you can imagine the pressure on him to end his time-consuming video-making venture to return to the safety of solely maintaining and growing sales of wine from their establishment. Gary put out video after video five days a week, indirectly(or possibly directly since it is Gary we are talking about) letting people close to him know that he had a message he desired to get out there to the public. Now he has what can be considered as the largest wine show on the internet.

The Online Financial Success Maker

With an example like that of John Chow, although he did have a separate solid business going when he started this site, you can be certain that he got just as many destructive comments while he was building it up as any other would, like that he should instead spend that time creating wealth in his regular business, or that he was narcissistic to think people would want to see his personal updates, or that there were already sites discussing the topics he was discussing. I point out these types of comments not to say that they have validity or relevancy, but to convey that there is no positive intent behind them. People might say these things in a positive way, but that is like telling a person they are ugly using more polite words. John certainly traveled through that early period adeptly, ignoring any comments that weren’t positively business-oriented, and now is able to maintain substantial passive income through the site, and also put out personal updates on what is still a site on his own name.

The Quintessential Problogger

Then, there is an individual like Problogger Darren Rowse. I read somewhere that the concept of professional blogging was inchoate at the time that he started this site. That would mean that he received loads of messages about how he was off base or doing the wrong thing by trying to connect blogging with income. That early duration of time, when the audience here was small, was certainly the tougher period, because it required having to build up the brand, message, and reader-base, while taking on subtly destructive incoming attacks, and not having a huge site-based income to present in defense. All those elements come together to create the wall that has to be jumped over to become a problogger. Had he not done so, professional blogging might not have as legitimate of a connotation as it has.

Alex At Practical Personal Development

In one of the podcasts by Alex Shalman, a fellow personal development blogger, he mentioned how he remembered having something like 5-10 subscribers who were all basically family members or friends in his site’s early days. You can be certain that he didn’t get much support at that time, with comments like “you could be doing X or Y with your time instead” knocking at his doorstep. Thankfully, he ignored any of that rhetoric that came his way, posted articles very often in his site’s early period, responded to his commentators in a positive, and challengingly upbringing, way that matches the mission statement on his site, and his podcasts now include interviews with some of the most influential people in various fields.

The Founder Of Simple Productivity

Leo Babauta, of the most subscribed personal development site Zen Habits, has six children with his wife Eva. Some would say there is no pressure like that of wanting to balance personal endeavors with nurturing of one’s children. While Leo knew he wanted to spread his concept of simplicity merged with productivity to the masses, he surely had times in his early months where, although his prolific writing made for rapid growth of audience size, he was mentally weighing the cost of time used up writing articles and guest posts versus time that may have been spent with his family. While his decision to keep pursuing his interest worked out in the long run, you can see the inner struggle that took place. He currently is in a very desirable position, but will not forget his earlier continuous decisions to pursue further.

You Have A Vision That Others May Not See

Part of the resistance that is felt early on in a problogger’s career is that from others who feel they are committing financial suicide. Just like someone would want to keep another person from committing any type of suicide, some detract from a problogger’s efforts to prevent them from getting into a tough situation. This comes from not having as large of a vision, because having an understanding of the writer’s larger vision to spread their message would likely quell any pangs of worry or concern. Some people don’t mean well and can be ignored, and some mean well and have to be understood a bit better, and are worth taking the time to understand.

A couple of my examples lean toward personal development writers/bloggers because that is where I do much of my reading, but the same concept applies to writers of financial information, health topics, software technology, or political news. The early period is one that tests your conviction to spread your message, and if you choose to progress through it, it will constitute the strongest pillar of your foundation to continue. This portion of time requires you to acknowledge to others that you are writing on purpose, spreading your message on purpose, and sacrificing other opportunities or objectives on purpose.

Having A Message Valuable To You Will Take You Through This Early Period

One relevant point you can take from this is that you can create this unforgettable time of your own if you have a message that is true to you that you want to present. Instead of looking at your site’s growth period as time that you should be spending elsewhere due to slowness of growth, view it as the time you have to put in to cross the bridge to where you can spread your message and have an audience behind it. denotation

Probloggers might not want to return to the time when their audience was not substantial enough to serve as a suitably-sized supportive group behind their message, but they know that that period of time was crucial in order to develop strength to defend their brand, and also vital to help pinpoint the message and values that they were willing to continue standing behind. A diamond can only be formed under intense pressure.

I’d like to hear your take on the early stages of blog growth, as well as where you currently see yourself in relation to the tipping point.

Armen Shirvanian writes articles on the site Timeless Information regarding topics including mindset development, social interaction, communication, and competition. He has also created a compilation eBook that contains thorough discussion about 11 valuable quotations. You can check out his articles and eBook at

50 thoughts on “The Pivotal Stage In The Rise of a Professional Blogger”

  1. Earningstep says:

    what a long article , it take 10 minutes to finished my reading. but i got what you mean here . really nice

    1. It was a pretty long read, I’m knackered… Some great points though, I’m going to link to it on one of my blogs later

  2. Brock Chong says:

    Great article! Really pin down on what I am going through now also. Just started a blog with intention of sharing my thoughts and of course trying to build a business generating out of it. Will definitely hang on to my vision. Thanks for this inspiring article!

  3. I can definitely relate to Gary V. of Wine Library TV. In my efforts publishing board games, my 9-5 job providing financial advice and working with my father has suffered. Fortunately I am mostly keeping up, though it is frustrating for him. To guarantee that I will sell enough games to justify my efforts, I have been blogging about my experiences.

    I figured, as I blog about valuable information like how to publish board games, Chinese manufacturing, blogging, and internet marketing will provide me with readers who will be prepared to buy my games.

    My blog traffic exploded just recently when I took some advice and examples from John Chow and Shoemoney about how to build an email list. Bribe people, give away valuable things. The more valuable, the better.

    So I started giving away free board games. My confidence has increased with the response. There is nothing like a HUGE positive response to reinforce why you are doing something.

    1. Brad says:

      it’s funny when giving away stuff that has real valve,

      how well it works! amazing great..

      I did this on my of projects, and it was VERY profitable!

    2. Michael: I like how you pointed out that your traffic increased much when you took advice and examples from those individuals and then implemented it. For every large number of people that read a helpful piece of information, only one or two will implement it.

      Giving away free board games is an interesting one.

  4. Cam Birch says:

    Excellent article. I stuck through all the way to the end and a great message.

  5. Well, I can definitely relate to the first half of the article – where it says something about overcome the odds at the beginning of the business. From my own experience, that’s the hardest part in the business. Maintaining and running a business is easier once you get it off its footing. A lot of momentum is required to launch a new business. And I remember John saying in an interview that I read, “previous experience plays a part.” How very true.

    For those who persevere during the darkest moments will come out the other side of the spectrum as a better person, a happier person, and certainly a much more successful person.

    Good post!

    1. That is a good point about experience playing a part. We come into what we are doing with past learning that separates us from others and their past learning, so that is where we get what we have an advantage on. You can start a new venture at level 15 instead of level 5.

      That’s true about the tough moments. Thanks for that.

  6. Son says:

    I’m at the beginning stages of my blog, and a long way off from that “Pivotal Point”. These are encouraging words, and good advice.


  7. hospitalera says:

    So true, the other message a new problogger often gets is “There is no more space at the summit.” Means, don’t aim for the A-list, its full. I guess the A-List of the time was also full when John Chow started 😉 SY

    1. That is true. I am sure there are folks that would like you to think the space at the summit is full. Thanks for your thoughts.

  8. S.K Sharma says:

    Thanks John,
    Awesome article.

  9. Doug Dillard says:

    Armen… great post as well as great examples. Our blog is only a couple months old but it is growing very quickly (at a much faster rate than we imagined) and we are still not even close to the tipping point yet. I do know in my heart that we will be on the other side one day, as we have really big plans and have a path that we have laid out that we just need to follow.

    Looking forward to looking back and saying, “Remember when?” 🙂

    1. Doug: Thanks for that. You have a large advantage in having large plans involved. I don’t hear that from too many, because most don’t have too much of a plan. Nice work on the growth. You’ll probably be saying “Remember when?” much sooner than expected – maybe in a few months.

  10. Walter says:

    Success in any endeavor requires building first your inner self. Unfortunately, many are not aware of this; if they do on the other hand, they thought of it as mystical or philosophical. They have missed a lot on this one. Behind the success of John Chow and Darren Rowse is their attitude in facing all the challenges that came upon during their climb. They have held a wisdom that destroys all the hindrances that come upon their path. Pursue wisdom first and all will be added unto you. 🙂

    1. Walter: This is a valuable point. Just like with dating sites, the ones that are the most valuable are the ones that talk about building up your inner self. It is much easier to attract others in business or dating, and follow up on those opportunities, than to constantly have to seek each item you want to acquire. Inner growth creates that attractive force. Thanks for your thoughts.

  11. redviewpont says:

    A long way to go for me. Thank you so much.

  12. Mike CJ says:

    Interesting – you’ve called it the pivotal point and I called it “The wall” but there is a point where bloggers either break through or just stop dead. It’s the ones who can keep going through that period where work levels far outweigh any benefit in terms of traffic or income. I’ve also called it the insane period, when no “normal” person would continue!

    1. It very hard and necessary to manage things at that point. Great article indeed.

    2. Mike: We sure have multiple names for that point because it is the defining point, just like we have names for mountains and remember their highest elevation, because once you get to that elevation, that mountain has been conquered, similar to passing this pivotal point. It is funny to call it the “insane period”, but frankly that might be it. You are right about the other side of the coin, where so many stop writing at a certain point, and many examples of this come to mind. All the examples that come to my mind are also sites that were growing well, but were likely not sustainable by the writer.

  13. Joseph Gelb says:

    I personally do not like new blogs, I have a phobia of new projects. My blog I am on post 4k abouts and expect to go strong awhile. I also have a few keyword blogs too for money. For me the tipping point was the discovery that business models actually influence blog success.

    1. Joseph: That is a cool “tipping point”. I hadn’t thought about it like that, in that a “tipping point” can be the point when you figure out something, as opposed to the point when you have X subscribers or page views, or have achieved some other numerical status. The real tipping point might be the one where we gain a vital piece of understanding about how we fit in, as far as business, or about what our message is. Thanks for that idea.

  14. Exactly the article that I needed this morning. My server is down so I needed something positive and motivating for me this gloomy morning. Now, I can’t wait for the server to get back up so I can get back to work.

  15. Aslam Levy says:

    Hi john,
    I recently started up my blog and find it very inspiring that there are great sources of information like your site.
    I am noe in the early blogging phase you mention, though I dont know if I’l become a “pro” blogger I definitely want to want my site a success.
    Thanks for the free ebook was a great read.

  16. lukas says:

    great man, I love your writting

  17. fas says:

    When all of them started out they had patience and vision. Nowadays people see the probloggers like John, Jeremy and think of being like that overnight.

  18. Sometimes when one first starts off it feels like you are the only one reading your posts and you feel like saying “is there anyone out there?'” After awhile you reader base increases and you feel that you have found the secret and your on your way … one has to remember that when you are on your way not to forget where you came from. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype that now I’m bigger than what I was so I can do this or I don’t have to do that… it’s all about our fellow readers and those that read our post and are kind enough to leave a comment. I like to remember to always return that favor… reading one’s post or looking at one’s blog is not enough you have to participate in order for all of us to move on to the position of the problogger. Great article full of excellent info. thanks for reminding all of us that we all start at the same level then we move on hopefully. jj

    1. Erika Marie says:

      You speak the truth!

      On the article… good info, just a bit long IMHO… Started off slow.

    2. JJ: That is true. At a certain point, which is actually much earlier than the actual tipping point, some site-writers feel that they have passed the tough part and then become a bit more careless, which soon leads to them understanding that they haven’t crossed the point yet. You have a valid message about how participation is relevant, because without returning participation in some way, the cycle tends to drop off. We all do start at the same level, as you said; we might have different, but equal, advantages, but we do start off at the same footing. Thanks for that.

  19. This is very thoughtful and thorough, and inspiring. I want to think I can make it as a Problogger but I’m never sure it’s going to happen. I’m blogging during the worst possible time in my life — a wife & 4 kids, mounds of debt, no job, other financial troubles. Wish me luck everyone!

    1. Blanca says:

      Good luck to all of us! We are basically all in the same boat my friend.

  20. Like most everyone who has posted already, I’m at the early stages of growing my blog. It is a difficult road to travel when you put in a lot of time and effort only to see so-so returns.

    BUT the key is to stay with it, and treat your blog / business as if you already have a huge loyal audience who rely on you to provide them regular fantastic content, the weekly newsletter, and such.

    Everyone who has ever blogged started at one reader- themselves. Just something to keep in mind.

    Wesley Craig Green
    The Geek Entrepreneur

  21. Well, that is very useful post,
    After reading it, I am going to become problogger.

    Thank you so much for your post.

  22. I like the way you have set up the example and make your post around that.

    Really interesting and giving a reason to think

  23. Jay says:

    about the wine Library TV section, How does someone consistently spend 15 hours a day working on videos? that’s dedication!!!

    1. Jay: I know he sure was dedicated. I think most of that time was spent responding to his commenters and communicating with his audience in various ways, but we can be certain a reasonable amount of it was also spent preparing for recording. I agree with you there – you have to be on top effort-wise to be on top success-wise.

  24. Alex Shalman says:

    Wow, I’m mentioned with Gary, Darren, and Leo… I am humbled. =)

  25. Paul says:

    I believe that we do have a vision that others do not see yet. “The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.”

  26. Really good post John. Hope to get to that pivotal stage within a certain period of time myself. Inspirational post.

  27. Green PC says:

    The rise is the hardest part while keeping interest.

  28. Dinesh says:

    I am in initial stage, but i want to be like you.

  29. Stubsy says:

    Thats a really motivational post, I am sure all entreprenuers face many obstacles like this in the early days because people are so conditioned to work for others

  30. Excellent article. I stuck through all the way to the end and a great message.

  31. W Leung says:

    That was an inspirational post. Thanks for writing it. It’ll keep many people going.

  32. krissy knox says:

    Having a valuable message will take you through the early period of your blog growth. That was my exact thought as I began to read your post. But I have one more to add, and that’s the thrill of competition! Some days that keeps me going also! Light hearted competition with fellow bloggers, but more importantly, competition with myself — to be the best blogger I can be! To have great content, to have a blog that is nicely and cleverly designed, to have interesting post ideas, and even interesting ideas for blogs. To be at the top of my niche in social media settings, to be able to get more readers / traffic, to be able to buld community, etc. When I read others who say they are not getting much return for what they put out, I’m kind of puzzled. They need to find a way to get more readers, to network, to increase traffic, to make their blog more interesting, to come up with new ideas. Some of these things are able to be measured in numbers / stats, some by whether or not you are respected as an authority in your niche. If you are not succeeding in any of these areas, find a way to succeed! Learn and then succeed! Research, learn or create your own new way — use your God given creativity. Sometimes combine that with methods that are already known to be proven. Whatever you do WORK for your success and DON’T whine! Challenge yourself! That’s what keeps me going in this new stage of mine. It’s exciting! I thought everyone felt the same way!

    take care,

    krissy knox 🙂
    follow me on twitter :

  33. Money-Era says:

    Yes, but if someone stays on track the huge money earning potential is within reach. More on most successful bloggers here:

  34. We all have to start some place…

    In all that I have done in life, this message always hold true.

    Sure, I would love to see my blog explode into the next greatest place for all you guys to come visit…but it isn’t my turn just yet. I have to work it to the bone and earn it.

    In the mean time, I hope you don’t mind if I hang from your coat tails and learn.

    I appreciate you all for your input.

    Great post.

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