I have a little story to tell you followed by a guest article from my friend and fellow blogger, Bjork Ostrom.
As you may know, my wife started the successful food blog 100 Days of Real Food back in 2010, and I quit my corporate job a few years later to monetize it and build a business around it. So you can imagine my delight when I came across another husband wife team in a very similar situation! Lindsay started the beautiful food blog Pinch of Yum around the same time Lisa started her blog, and her husband Bjork later started the subscription training site Food Blogger Pro to teach others how to build a successful food blog and business (It’s amazing what you can accomplish with no kids! Ha!).
I just had to reach out to them, and in fact here is the exact email I sent to Bjork about a year ago:
On Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM, Jason Leake <redacted> wrote: Hi Bjork, My wife Lisa and I recently came across your site and felt like we were looking in the mirror! Lisa started 100DaysofRealFood.com just over 3 years ago and I've been working as her business manager for about a year and a half now (1 year full time). It's been a crazy ride and I will be building out ProBlogSchool.com using her blog as a case study. We pinch ourselves a lot. Anyway, we have so much in common that I'm sure we could learn lots from each other. Would love to chat sometime... Jason
Since then we’ve formed a mastermind group and chat regularly. Our bi-monthly calls are super effective not only for working through business strategies, but also for identifying mental blocks.
Case in point, one day I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the grand plans I have and not really feeling like I was making enough progress – perhaps you can relate. Bjork put things in perspective by sharing that he focuses on just making a little progress each day. While this is not new advice, the way he explained it was so simple and succinct – and made so much sense – that I knew I had to share it with you all.
The following guest article was written by Food Blogger Pro founder, Bjork Ostrom.
One Percent Infinity
What’s the difference between a blog that grows into someone’s full-time job and a blog that stays at the same level year after year?
Luck? Absolutely. There’s always an element of luck involved with success, but it’s definitely not the main factor.
Timing? Yep. Being at the right place at the right time plays a role in the success of a blog, but this isn’t the main factor either.
Innate ability? You bet. Having a natural talent definitely plays a role, but this isn’t the answer.
While all of these things factor into a blog’s success, the biggest difference between a blog that’s growing and blog that isn’t is 1%∞. True, many professional bloggers have never heard of this term, but even if they don’t know the term they’ve undoubtedly applied the concept to their blog as they’ve built it from a hobby into a career.
What is 1%∞?
I’d love to see what a talented logo designer could do with those three characters: 1 % ∞. They’re really fun to look at, aren’t they? Okay, okay…maybe “fun to look at” is a stretch…I still think they’re pretty darn cool. But what the heck do they mean?
We all know what this is. The number one. That was easy. Let’s pair that up with the second character in the sequence:
One percent. Still pretty easy. So far, so good. Let’s add the last character in the sequence:
That last character is the mathematical symbol for infinity. All together those three characters read as “one percent infinity.”
Ready for a bold statement?
1%∞ is one of the most important concepts to understand and apply as you transition from a “hobby blog” to a “pro blog.”
The significance of 1%∞
There is an incredible amount of work involved in building a blog. Am I preaching to the choir here? I think so. I have a feeling that you know exactly what I’m talking about.
One of the hardest things about blogging is that there is a need for consistent content creation. We hear it all the time (and it’s true): consistently publishing new content is key to building a successful blog.
So we focus our energy on publishing that post, sending out that email newsletter, or testing that new recipe (if you’re a food blogger). Don’t get me wrong, I believe that consistently creating content is vitally important to a blog’s success.
The issue is when we do these activities without improving. When we don’t improve then we’re applying the concept of 0%∞ to our blog, and as you know improving something by 0% means it doesn’t improve. Here’s a simple example to illustrate that point:
Bob’s Blog: Bob publishes three posts a week to his blog. He has 156 posts by the end of the year. That’s really cool.
Jack’s Blog: Jack publishes three posts a week to his blog too, but he also applies the concept of 1%∞ each day. Those small improvements mean that, at the end of the year, Jack has not just published 156 blog posts, but also built an email list, significantly increased his traffic, and added a list of resources to his blog that his readers love. Basically Jack’s blog is running laps around Bob’s blog.
Real Life Examples of 1%∞
Here’s the good news: these are really small tasks that we’re talking about.
1%∞ doesn’t mean writing that eBook you’ve been thinking about. 1%∞ means taking 15 minutes today (yes, today!) to create a list of different subjects you could write an eBook on. Then, 1%∞ means taking 20 minutes tomorrow to create a rough outline for one of those eBook subjects. Then, 1%∞ means taking 30 minutes the day after tomorrow to solidify that outline and email it out to some contacts to see if they have any feedback.
Etc, etc, etc…
Here are some real life examples of how we’ve applied 1%∞ to Food Blogger Pro and Pinch of Yum.
- When I was thinking about starting Food Blogger Pro I took 30 minutes to look at membership sites that I liked. I emailed the site owners to ask who they used to design and develop their site. It wasn’t a commitment to start a memberships site, it was just moving ahead by 1%.
- When Lindsay was thinking about writing Tasty Food Photography (her eBook on food photography) she took 45 minutes one day to create a list of all the different things she could include in the book. She didn’t get overwhelmed by all of the different steps that go into creating an eBook, she just took a simple step and moved 1% closer to having a completed eBook.
- When I was trying to learn HTML I would watch 3–4 short videos a day on Lynda.com. I was totaled confused at first, but applying 1%∞ to my learning meant that each day I understood things a little more than I did the day before.
- Lindsay talks about how she was so frustrated that she started crying the first time that she used Photoshop. Maybe you’ve felt the same way? It’s an overwhelming program! But she watched a few tutorials and continued practicing a little bit every day. After a few months, she started to feel comfortable editing her food photos in Photoshop. She didn’t try and master it in a day, she just committed to getting 1% better each day. It’s now her favorite program for editing photos.
The key with 1%∞ is to view huge goals as the culmination of hundreds of small steps (lots of 1%s). An eBook isn’t a massive project, it’s lots of tiny daily projects. Improving your photography doesn’t happen in a weekend, it comes from learning about photography for 20 minutes every day.
It starts today
Chances are that you’re really busy, and that’s all the more reason why you need to start applying 1%∞ today.
If you start today that’ll make it easier to do it tomorrow, which will make it easier to do it the next day, and if you do it three days in a row it’ll be easier to make it a habit, and if you make it a habit then one year from today you’ll look back and realize that you now stand in awe of how much you’ve learned, improved, and grown.
Looking for some ideas on what type of improvements you can make to your blog? You can sign up for our blogging tips weekly newsletter. You’ll also get our free eBook called “10 Mistakes that Bloggers Make and How to Fix Them.”
Thanks to Jason for letting me share some thoughts on problogschool.com!
Well, there you have it folks. By the way, I think it’s hilarious that Bjork and I independently came up with almost identical (at least in concept) email newsletter incentives. You can download my “Top 7 Mistakes New Bloggers Make…and How to Fix Them” eBook as well and compare.
So now I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and I challenge you to give this simple concept a shot. It really does make you feel good to experience forward progress and to give yourself permission not to achieve those huge wins overnight. To 1%∞, and beyond!