I disliked a lot of things about my old job: the pay sucked, upper management was stubborn as hell, and did I mention the pay sucked? Being underpaid is one thing, but being underpaid when a company is making tons of money for upper management is something totally different. It makes employees bitter—can’t you tell?
Oddly enough, the people that worked there were all pretty cool. When I first started and slowly realized how terrible it was to work there, I would always ask those that had been there longer why they were still around. The answer was some version of:
Well, I get to work with my friends every day. And that’s fun, not a lot of people get to do that.
It seemed like a weird answer at the time, but as time went on I understood. I don’t know how they did it, but the company managed to hire some of the smartest, kindest, most interesting people I’ve ever been around. The weird thing is that one of the reasons they attracted these people was probably the low salaries they offered—good people like that just aren’t after the money.
Yes, these people still exist, and they’re typically smart, capable, and great to work with. So we all banded together to hate upper management and that made us all even closer friends.
In short, the company nickel and dimed us every chance they got. That’s what eventually drove people out. Lots of people left once they realized the company purposefully hired smart people right out of school at below average salaries, kept them around for a couple of years, and then watched them go. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s a great way to run a business—if you’re the owner. Salaries stay low and productivity never falters. Morale, on the other hand, was always low.
The reason I bring this up is because I’ve been thinking about that idea of nickel and diming employees in terms of this site. I’m always trying to come up with a post/layout/design that will maximize my income. What can I do to increase my Adsense numbers? How can I squeeze a few more cents out of the site? Where I can I put another advertisement that’ll earn me some money? In short, it’s been all about the money.
One day, it hit me: I was running the site doing the very things I disliked about my old job. And the reason I’m changing that is because I’m in this for the long haul, not to make a quick buck.
I had a conversation with Brip Blap via email a long time ago where we discussed this. He told me he wasn’t looking to maximize the value of his blog, but to build and maximize his brand. And a brand is not a short-term thing, it’s something you slowly develop for the long term.
And it hit me: I was posting ever single day because when I didn’t, I felt like I was missing out on an opportunity to make money. So if I didn’t have a good post, I would scratch something together and throw it up. That led to some mediocre posts that actually hurt my own personal brand.
And I’m done with that. Blogging is the rare activity where you don’t have to answer to anybody but yourself, and I’m making an executive decision: I’m going for quality over quantity. I’m going to take my time and write about things I truly believe in, regardless of how “viral” they might be or if they’re “stumble-worthy.” I’m going to start developing my brand the way I always thought I was doing way back when I started The Writer’s Coin. I’m going to focus on the developing my brand and writing quality posts.
No more nickel and diming.
Here are some of the things I’m changing:
- Writing Shitty First Drafts: I’m a writer for christ’s sake, I should know this by now. Instead of trying to write “perfect” copy the first time around, I’m just going to write everything out in one fell swoop without worrying about editing.
- Letting Every Post Breathe: Then I’m going to step away from the post and let it sit for a while. Tons of ideas come during this time.
- Editing: Then I’m going to go back and edit each post to make sure it’s as good as it can be.
- Forget About the Money: The biggest thing this site has gotten for me is a new job and the sense that I’m running my own business. Neither of those have anything to do with money, and I’m not expecting the next great thing to come out of it to be money. No more obsessive checking of my Adsense numbers. What, to see if I made another quarter? No more.
- Loosening up my schedule: No longer will you see one post a day for the sake of having a post a day. Standards are going up around here. That means fewer posts. But better posts.
I’m the Boss
You ever tell yourself, “If I were in charge, I’d…”? Well guess what? I’m 100% in charge of this site and that means I should run it according to all the advice and philosophy I spout on it every day.
I’m not a public company, I do not have shareholders I have to answer to with quarterly reports showing that my numbers are matching expectations. I don’t have to make decisions to meet next month’s revenue projection.
I have readers and I have my own standards, and that’s what’s going to take precedent now.
It’s a new day.