“The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view. Since life is growth and motion, a fixed point of view kills anybody who has one.” — Brooks Atkinson
Spring is in the air and change is in the winds. With that, I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect on the future of this blog and my life.
My first year of blogging and my quest to liberate myself from the 9 to 5 has been an adventure. In the past year, I’ve learned a lot and made countless a few mistakes.
I’ve also had a few successes: In one year I reached over 5,000 subscribers, started writing regularly for a top 50 blog, and wrote an ebook that’s sold over 250 copies.
The sales from Reclaim Your Dreams has allowed me to start working part-time at my day job. I’ve gone from working 40 hours a weeks (5 days) to 32 hours (4 days). Not a huge difference, but every step toward doing what I love for a living adds up.
The success of Reclaim Your Dreams
I thought about writing a whole post about how I launched my ebook and what made it successful, as well as what mistakes I made that you could avoid. I think it would have been worth it, since I feel I did pretty well for my first product launch. But I’ve decided to put that on hold right now.
If you want to launch a successful ebook (that makes money while you sleep), I suggest picking up Naomi and Dave’s How to Launch the **** Out of Your EBook. It made me think about a lot of stuff I would have completely missed, had I not read it. It was basically the difference between my ebook bombing and it succeeding. Click here to check it out.
So if you’re a blogger and you’re thinking about writing/selling an ebook, that’s what I recommend.
That’s the recap. The rest of this post is about the future of Paid to Exist and my life, really. I’ve been really preoccupied with things like: how to make more meaningful connections with people, how I can have a greater impact on people living their dreams, and lastly, how I can make that impact while furthering my goal of working for myself and quitting my day job.
Firstly, I’m going to be more candid, personal and transparent in my writing. I’m going to hold back less and give it to you straight. If you think I’ve already done this, well, it’s going to be brought to whole other level. I also want to get to know my readers better. If you ever want to chat or just say hello, don’t hesitate to send me an email.
Secondly, I’m going to start doing life coaching. I’ve been coaching a few people that bought Reclaim Your Dreams and so far, I really, really dig it. It gives me a chance to connect with people on a more personal level and have a greater focused impact. I’m not sure exactly what my niche is, or who my target audience is yet (who I can help the most), but doing it for free right now is helping me figure that out.
Lastly, I’m going to start doing more product reviews on this site. I’ll do my best to make them as unobtrusive and non-gimmicky as possible. If there’s anyone who hates gimmicky, it’s me. So, I will only recommend stuff I think fits into the unconventional, renegade groove of Illuminated Mind. If it doesn’t meet those qualifications, I won’t recommend it.
So a couple of things:
If you’re serious about reclaiming your dreams and living deliberately, but need some help getting unstuck in certain areas of your life, send me a note. I’m doing coaching for free right now, until I get enough paid clients. Let’s see if we’re a good match and if so, maybe we can accelerate your progress. (Note: I’ll only coach those that have purchased and read my ebook. It gives us a meaningful mutual framework for working together)
My mission with this blog has also been to provide a fresh approach to the topic of self-development. I think there are enough words in print out there for the masses. I like to think that I’m speaking about the same truths, just delivering it in a more accessible format for some people. Not everyone fits the Tony Robbins bill; I get that. But just because some people vomit at the thought of “gosh darnit, people like me and I’m worth it” type affirmations, doesn’t mean they don’t want to improve their lives. That’s where I like to come in.
Phase one of this blog is complete. Phase two will be about exploring alternative paths for me to deliver that “less boring” side of personal development, full time. Ultimately, phase two is about me making a sustainable income from this, so I can devote myself completely to the renegade bodhisattva way. This means pursuing things like creating more books/products, doing the occasional recommendation of cool stuff, and also life coaching (scary, huh?).
So I hope you’ll join me.
This should be interesting…
Lastly, I want to connect with more of you as readers. So if you feel so inclined, please leave a comment and introduce yourself. What’s new with you?
Also, if you’ve read Reclaim Your Dreams and you have any questions, please let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.
Jonathan, I just want to say congrats. I’m on a similar path, a few steps behind you, so I understand the level of commitment and focus required for you to begin walking the path that allows you the most happiness, peace, flexibility…whatever it is you’re seeking.
I wish you continued success.
Do You Dave Ramsey? says
Hello Jonathan! I’m Dave!
I enjoy your work and while I haven’t yet picked up your book, it is an item on my to-do list. I simply need to work the list I suppose.
I appreciate your ebook guide recommendation as I’ve been toying with the idea of an ebook as well. I’ll certainly check that out.
Now I have at least 2 ebooks on my to do list…
Among many things, I am curious as to how you’ve acheived such explosive growth in your blog. I love and celebrate with you the idea of leveraging and growing a second or passive income stream into a true vehicle of dream realization.
Thanks again for this post… this invitation of sorts in addition to all your great work.
I look forward to your new approach and connecting with you even more as you unleash more of yourself in future articles.
At first glance, I was worried that you were announcing your retirement from Illuminated Mind! I have always found your candid approach refreshing.
Glad to see you are going to continue doing what you love. Good luck and look forward to phase two!
Mark David Moran says
Best of luck Jonathan. I really enjoy your writing style – relaxed without being fluffy. You get to the point pretty quickly and it just works.
I have used a life/business coach before and it was the best decision I ever made. I’m sure you will be very succesful at it.
ive been reading your blog for a while and i like what you have to say expecially the last article i think that the product review would be really out of place in this blog a side page with them on it would be better if used in a direct link capacity
Hi! I’m Kim, a happily married grandma living in a suburb of Salt Lake City. I’m a secretary during the workday and a crafty wiz at home. I’m not much for housekeeping, but since I don’t have the resources for that maid service, I attempt frequently. I’d rather be in my sewing room, figuring out how to do nifty quilting. Or pawing through my yarn collection to choose the next crochet project for Project Linus. I’m an official blanketeer for that charity and it’s lots of fun. On weekends, I haunt estate sales looking to add to my fabric and yarn stash.
I cheer for the Utah Jazz, the LA Dodgers and the Washington Redskins along with the University of Utah Utes. I like sporting events a lot. Basketball is my favorite. But I’m trying to be well rounded.
And that’s about as much of me as I’m gonna share at this moment.
Have a wonderful day!
Roger - A Content Life says
I’m really impressed with the progress you’ve made in one year. Please keep up the great work!
You mention bodhisattva. Does that mean you’ve spent significant time studying Buddhism?
I’ll find the Buddhist eight-fold path a really useful approach to life. I’ve only been meditating for seven months, but I can’t imagine life without meditation now.
Hi! I’m a big fan of your work and would love to be able to take you up on your coaching offer, but I’m doing quite a bit of traveling right now.
What’s new with me: I recently left my job and am traveling but also working toward making a more creative life for myself. It’s a pretty fun/exciting/scary process!
Glen Allsopp says
Hey man good luck. I’ve realised that even if PluginID reaches 10k readers that it wont be enough to sustain myself online. I do make enough to live from thankfully, but I would rather earn it on sites that I love.
I do have an idea of how I could actually change that, so if you are interested in hearing more then shoot me an email.
I just wanted to say congrats on the growth, and 250 copies for your first eBook is impressive, you should bump up the price a little now ;). Good luck with the future of the site, I’ll be watching.
I just wanted to say, that I’ve gotten much from your posts. I hope that someday your book will be released as audiobook also – I myself spend hours and hours driving daily, and I like to listen audiobooks while doing that.
Have a nice spring.
Good luck for the future. So far it’s always inspiring reading your blog. I noticed that your contributions to ZH are even better.
I’m a french reader living in South America and working for the department of agriculture.
Mike P says
As I mentioned earlier today, I’m new to your blog. I’m really enjoying your “put-it-all-out-there” style of writing.
Congrats on the move toward doing what you love full-time!
As to who I am: I write in the personal finance world, and I just made the move to working full-time at my dream job (writing) a few months ago.
Tina Su - Think Simple Now says
I will not wish you luck, instead, I wish you success. I have faith in you, and know that you can succeed in which ever endeavor you put your focus into.
Congrats on the book sales and incredible climb in readership.
Congrats on doing so well with your blog. Having read your eBook, I’m sure that much more than 250 people could benefit from it so you certainly have a huge market out there whom you could help.
Cool that you’re embarking on life coaching. Just a few days ago I was thinking that most bloggers I know in this niche eventually become life coaches, and I wonder if that’s where I’m headed. Would love to read your experiences here!
I’m kind of new to your blog, but wish you much luck in your endeavors. Anytime that people pursue what they really want to do, it’s a good thing – for the individual and for everyone else!
Jimmy Santos says
Yes Yes Yes…
Jonathan you please me brother. I look forward to hlping you anyway I can. Its stepping outside of the box or better yet making your box bigger that rocks.
Continue to speak truth and be uncommon!
ChristiaanH @ Mind the Beginner says
Well Jonathan, sine you asked…
My name is Christiaan (25) and I live across the big drink in The Netherlands. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now and it sure has helped get my priorities straight.
At the moment I’m working on two things: First and foremost I’m starting a new bachelor’s in September and am currently working on fulfilling the entry requirements. (among other things: propositional logic). I’m currently an exercise therapist (okay, got my diploma about two weeks ago, haven’t worked as therapist yet) but I decided this was not exactly right for me. So I’m back to university and square one. A bachelor (and master) in Information sciences.
The other thing I’m working on is my blog: “Mind the beginner”.. a small blog in a little corner of the internet I’d like to call mine some day. Working on developing my writing skills and putting my thoughts to words on various subjects. Perhaps some day I can help people with it… for the time being it’s just my little experiment with this whole blog thing.
Well, that’s it in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to stage two of your blog and perhaps some personal kicks in the right direction.
If you’d like to do that post soon on what you learned from launching your ebook. I’m using Dave and Naomi’s book but any extra advice would be most welcome.
Looking forward to the more personal slant and wishing you success.
Debbie Lattuga says
Congrats on getting clear. So important. Most people don’t know what they really want. Crystallizing that for myself.
It’s a big internet out there with challenges in finding your ‘spot’. Glad you’ve found yours.
Dude, love the honesty and transparency…it’s motivating.
Have a good one!
I haven’t commented too much on your blogs, but I read them in my reader. I enjoy your openness, and can hardly wait to see it be more open. Being candid gives me a true sense of who you are, how your mind works, and where your mind is going.
As far as a way of my introduction, I’m a new photojournalist who loves LA. I try to go to intestesting places, talk to people, and take a few pictures. Tomorrow I’m going to a community garden, which I’m sure I’ll be writing about next week. I love biking, walking, and just writing.
Congratulations on your success so far…………….:)
I’m a new reader of your blog. Found my way here through Hacker news (https://news.ycombinator.com). I’m from Sweden and work as a system developer. I’m in my late twenties.
I like your writing, it’s impressive that you can write so well while holding a full time job. I’m not usually a fan of self-development stuff but I like your take on it.
Best of luck with your plans!
Nadia - Happy Lotus says
Congratulations on your success. I think many people will find your story to be of inspiration.
Good for you for being so honest and open! It takes a lot of courage to be able to be so open.
BTW, I just finished reading your book and I thought it was awesome. I have been on a spiritual journey for the last ten years and I think you put all the important lessons in a simple and concise manner.
Keep up the good work! :)
Mark Lewis says
I’ve been a long-time reader of the Zen Habits but just recently started commenting and blogging. That’s how I came across your blog. I have been enjoying it.
I think life coaching is fairly new. Most people aren’t aware that life coaches exist. It’s good to see this changing. I look forward to reading about your experiences as you dive deeper into life coaching.
Congratulations on your successes!
Luciano Passuello says
You’ve been doing such a great job in the site, that’s really no wonder the amount of success you’ve got. It’s clear all the credit is on you — congratulations!
Reading the future directions you outline makes us even more excited. Keep it up, man!
Congratulations, Jonathan! That’s the great thing about writing–it opens us up. I look forward to your future!
Evelyn Lim says
Hey Jonathan, congrats about your success! It’s great to read about your achievements. I’m happy to know that all your hard work has paid off!
Wishing you continued growth,
Thank you everyone for your comments. I would reply to more people individually, but unfortunately, I’ve been feeling ill this weekend. I slept with a fan on all night and I think it had something to do with whatever it is I’ve come down with.
I just wanted to take a moment to say YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME. Seriously, I love all of you. Thank you for your support, readership and intentions. You really inspire me to keep doing what I do and to keep digging deeper to share and grow. Thank you for everything and thank you for coming with me on this crazy path. If you would have asked me five years ago if I would have seen myself writing articles about personal development, I would have told you you’re crazy. Things have obviously changed a lot since then. :-]
David Cain says
I’m new to your blog too, but I’ve enjoyed your work on Zen Habits for a while now.
I share the same goal as you: full-time income from blogging. My blog is brand new, but so far it seems to have some legs. It’s a when, not an if, as far as I’m concerned; I’m sure you think the same way. You are bright and talented.
Good luck with the life coaching and your other endeavors. I’ll see you around the web.
Hey! Congrats on all the success the last 12 months! I’m kinda in the same boat, but just a year or so behind you. I love reading your blog and actually just finished writing my first read book! (it’s with the editors as I type.)
I can’t wait for more!
Tristan | The New Man Of Action says
I too was a bit surprised at the title of the blog. Oh no I thought – the farewell! I’m happy that’s not the case. I thoroughly enjoy your posts, and the points you are considering for future posts will only make the blog better. Most of all though, I enjoy your different outlook and can often appreciate many points in a post.
I am starting up my own blog. It doesn’t have a goal of being my full-time income or that it gets so big I don’t have to “work” anymore. I enjoy my job working in Engineering and would love to run my own business. My problem is, and always has been, I have lots of ideas, and little organisation or real determination to follow them through before I’m onto something else.
I’m changing and using my site to start it, and who knows, help others, change the world, world peace…etc whatever :)
I really like your blog! I’ve been reading your blog for half an year now and must see it really helps to see things in a different way.
It’s pretty hard for me to figure out what I want with my life. I’m 20 years old now and I am studying in the Royal Conservatory in the Netherlands because I want to be an good oboe-player. A few years ago playing the oboe was my life and I really loved it. Now things have changed. I still love it, but I found another passion also.. It’s an korean selfdefence sport called Hapkido. I’ve been practising for a few years, but 2 years ago I kind of got addicted.. I am now a black belt and I really love to train. It’s difficult for me to make a between my two passions.
The music world is hard. You have to give everything if you want to be good. But I don’t know if I still want to be the best in the world. I like practising and teaching hapkido more. But it’s extremely difficult to make your living out of it. The other problem is that I am no quit-er. I don’t want to stop with my study because then I think I am a loser and I actually rreally want to show the world that I’m possible to do an conservatory-study, because everybody thought I wasn’t able.
‘am now doing both.. I study 3 hours a day (I try) and in the evenings I train and I also teach children to hapkido 4 hours a week. It’s pretty busy.
Now I’ve broken my leg with jumping on a trampoline so I must sit en rest for 6 weeks. There’s no possibility to train, only to practise the oboe.
It’s really hard for me and I really get frustratated, but I’m really happy to read your articles. I try to take life as it is and try to find some new pssibility’s..
BBut generally I still thinks this sucks and still don’t know what I want with my life. I’m a kind of messy person. But I try to change my thoughts :-)
Geep up the good work!
Positively Present says
I LOVE the quote you posted at the beginning. Life is all about growth and learning and if we stick to one frame of mind or stay in one place, we will never truly experience all that life has to offer.
This is my first time on the site and I really enjoy it. For some thoughts on how to live positively in the present moment, check out my blog
You’ve made some amazing progress and really, in such a relatively short period of time. Hope the coaching gig takes off well for you – I’m sure you would be good at it. I don’t think well done and considered reviews have to adversely affect a blog’s authenticity at all, and if you want to support yourself, then you have to look at all income possibilities.
Look forward to reading the more transparent you.
Karl Staib - Work Happy Now says
It sounds like you have a clear plan. That’s the most important aspect to success. I really enjoy reading your blog and I hope you can reach phase 2 quickly.
i’m a poet from the east coast. i’ve been following this stuff for a long time. just got tired of lurking in the background.
aboutta grad from undergrad. getting married. heading to denver.
i love how illuminated mind is “hip”
Tess The Bold Life says
I think your plan is great and I think cutting down to four days is HUGE.
You’re not giving yourself enough credit.
You go Jonathan and if there is anything I can do to help let me know. I loved your recap on Resolutions. One goal was to work with weights 2x per week. Well I did great in Jan and Feb. Nothing in March and began again in April. Yeah!
Thank you again everyone for your comments. It’s been awesome reading all your replies and getting to know you a little better. If you ever want to get in touch with me personally *please* don’t hesitate to use the contact form in the links at the top of the blog.
Thanks for all your encouragement and support. Phase two is set to launch. In the words of one of Bruce Lee’s favorite sayings “man the torpedo, full speed ahead!” I’m starting to thing I’m as crazy as him…
Erin Slusher says
I think this new focus will suit you well. Big changes are coming to my life as well right now. I find myself wanting to streamline and focus on this new direction that the winds of change is taking me. Time for new goals and sense of purpose. Many people seem to be feeling it in their lives. I enjoy your blog and your point of view. Hope you are feeling better soon.
Erin from prayerthegate.com
Just wanted to say Hey! and I really love reading your posts. I found your blog at a time in my life where it was exactly what I needed to hear. I am slowly turning my life around, but each post you make seems to strike a chord with me. Mostly, it’s been a wonderful eye-opener that there ARE other people out there who think these things. :)
So thank you.
Marc and Angel Hack Life says
I’ll be following you into Phase 2… that much you can count on. ;-)
Looking forward to phase II. It’s funny watching the progress of blogs such as yours. Keep up the great work and remember, you have to give it away to keep it! ;-)
I think what you’re doing is great and I thoroughly enjoy reading all of your posts; I take much away from them. Keep it up and thanks for your original and thoughtful advice!
What a great blog this is – and you’re inspirational. I’ll check out your ebook advice – there surely is a better way to do things and a less effective way to do things – and you’re certainly doing things in the better way. Thanks, Saray
Chris Connell says
Chris Connell here from followmypurpose.com I’m basically on the same path as you, and its great to see your progress and know that kindred spirits are out there. Keep pushing your boundaries towards who and what you want create from this life. I believe in you.
Laura Lee Bloor says
Congratulations, Jonathan! You’ve definitely inspired me, and I’m sure you will continue to inspire others and get closer to living your best life possible. You’ve made a dedicated reader out of me, and I recommend your blog to others.
I also hope to inspire people to live better, healthier lives. Living life on your own terms can be very scary and intimidating, and that’s where having lots of resources and support comes in handy. Hopefully, I’m making a difference, even if it’s a small difference for now.
Molly Hoyne | Stratejoy says
Hell yes! You’re so on your path. It’s an honor to be witness to your journey, Jonathan. I dig people who go after the big, bold, thrilling version of their life.
Lots of excitement in the air over here. I’ll keep you posted, for sure!
Headed up to Seattle anytime soon? Would love to jam.
Congratulations on your successes. Although I don’t agree with everything you preach I love the fact that you take action and get things done, even when the path is not fully clear. I’ve read this blog steadily for a few months now and enjoy your unique approach to blogging.
Best of luck!
Aramide Akisanya says
I think you have a great perspective!