Are You Prepared for the Long Game?

I got my start writing on the Internet way back in 1999. At the time, I had no ambition (or even the idea) of making any money from my writing and the word “blog” wasn’t even part of my vocabulary. That changed in 2006 when I started my own freelance writing business and it was at this same time that I officially launched my personal blog Beyond the Rhetoric. I had websites before, but that was the first time I used what you would call “blogging software.”

Long story short, I’ve been at this thing for a very long time. I made a lot of blogging friends in those early days, because many of us had similar interests and we were making our way through the same learning curve. We were getting our feet wet with everything from SEO to ad networks.

Are We There Yet?

Now, more than ten years later, very few of those blogging friends are still actively blogging. Many of them have slipped away from the public eye altogether; I don’t even see them on Facebook or Twitter anymore.

I’ve made new blogging friends since, of course, but an overwhelming majority of these new friends have only been blogging for the last two to five years at most. They’re “new” to the game, relatively speaking, and they’ve been able to achieve varying levels of success. I am hardly the most successful blogger out there, but I’ve been able to survive and persevere through it all. I’m still here and I’m still blogging.

If you want to make it in this business, or any business for that matter, you have to learn how to stick with it. The truth of the matter is that you’re probably not going to live up to your bold expectations, at least in the beginning, and it’s very easy to get discouraged when the numbers don’t align with your ambitions. Maybe you’re not getting the traffic you’d hoped for or the ad revenue you had anticipated.

But you have to learn that this is okay and that you just have to stick with it. You may adjust your strategies and try on new tactics, of course, but the key is that you don’t give up. It’s not about how many times you get knocked down; it’s about how many times you get back up. You have to be prepared to play the long game, because seeking only immediate results in short-sighted and ultimately self-defeating.

Instant Gratification

When you don’t achieve immediately resounding success, you’ll throw in the towel. You’ll quit. And when you quit, you give up on any shot at winning.

It approaches this idea from an entirely different kind of perspective, but a post I came across on really illustrates this point of sticking it out, even when things don’t look so peachy.

You might remember the market crash and subsequent recession of 2008. It was a huge crisis for many individuals and companies alike, and it looked like all hope was lost. But things eventually turned around (I won’t get into the politics of the bailouts) and the economy isn’t too bad today. It’s certainly a lot better than it was then.

In that post, we are presented with the hypothetical scenario where you invested $1,000 in a company in October 2007, just before everything blew up the following year. Not accounting for any dividends paid out along the way, that $1,000 would be worth over $50,000 today if you invested in Netflix.

If you put $1,000 in Amazon, you’d have over $12,000 today. If you put it in Apple, you’d have over $6,000. Even if you moved away from tech and invested in Nike or FedEx, you’d have about $3,300 and $2,200 today, respectively.

The market, as a whole and not just looking at individual companies, recovered and continued to grow. If you went into full crisis mode in 2008 and dumped all your stocks, you would have lost a fair bit of money. If you kept those investments, you would have come out ahead as the line continues to move upward.

Never Surrender

Approach your own business and your own online endeavors with the same kind of tenacity and steadfastness. Stick with it. Put in the work and be prepared to adapt, but keep your investment. That’s what it takes to come out ahead in the long run.

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