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  1. This is a fantastic post Henneke!
    Something I really need to do myself, I seem to be spending so much time trying to make sure i’m an expert in covering all bases that I’m getting my name out there!

    I love your blog and thanks for the tips 🙂

    • Yep, I know the feeling. But it’s simply not possible to cover all our bases and make things perfect. Even making mistakes is better than doing nothing, because we’re learning and can improve next time 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by, Jennie. I appreciate it!

  2. This is one of those posts that I wish I had written. You speak with emotion and yet you give insights that are so much more useful than a regular how-to post. I have always loved your blog but this post in particular and the vulnerability that is seeping out of your words totally bowled me over.

    Thanks for writing this and thanks for sharing your words with the world.

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful comment, Bushra. Comments like yours spur me on to share more than simple how-to’s. I used to be anxious about sharing my story and my doubts. But I’m learning that many people are struggling, just like I am.

      We could all achieve so much more if we learn to cope with self-doubt and move ahead a little more often.

  3. Me too, I’m taking Jon Morrow’s course, and I’m having the same experience. It’s overwhelming sometimes and I’ve been skulking more than doing. I’ve been enrolled for months and have had to go back to the drawing board a few times. I’m really stuck on trying to find good places to guest post to even come up with material!! Plus keeping up with my day job!! Ah, the life of a blogger.
    I attended the Webinar you did on Copyblogger a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoyed it. Also nice to have a voice with the face!

    • Please, don’t give up. I also did Jon Morrow’s course on top of a day job, and it’s very demanding, but it’s worth it. Let me know if I can help you get unstuck? Why do you find it hard to find a good place to guest post?

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the webinar! 🙂

      • My case is a bit complicated, but I’ll post here in case it’s helpful to others too. One problem is that I have a couple of blogs going for a couple of audiences (1. French content for my translation business, 2. English content for my copyediting business), but the feedback I got was that these audiences are too narrow to gain a big audience.
        So I made up another blog that focused on content marketing for creative people, but quickly found that I was just spread too thin.
        My main goal is to become a blogging coach for my non-profit clients for whom I do translation work, so I’m working on a starting a portfolio. I have some ideas for blog posts, but I’m stuck trying to figure out what audience I should reach. I used to work at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and I love using science and research to dispel myths that people have about human nature and the brain, which I think would appeal to marketing types. But so far I haven’t found a blog where it is immediately apparent they would take something like this.
        Anyway, that’s the gist of it!

        • I wouldn’t be able to keep three blogs going either. I sometimes struggle with one!

          I see 4 different ideas in your comment: 1. Your translation business; 2. Copyeding; 3. Blogging coach for non-profit; 4. Using science to dispel myths.

          Rather than start something completely new, would you be able to build on what you’ve done so far?

          Copyediting, for instance, is a huge market with plenty of opportunities. Stephanie Flaxman wrote several posts for Copyblogger about editing, and Shane Arthur wrote a few for Boost Blog Traffic.

          You could start with writing about what you know already, and then slowly expand into different topics.

          Initially, I wrote only about copywriting, then I started to write more about business blogging, and now I’m dipping my toe into writing about online business. As long as these are topics that my existing audience finds useful (and that’s what they seem to be telling me so far), I can slowly expand the scope of my blog.

          You could do the same. It’s hard to start something new from scratch. It’s easier to build on what you’ve done already.

          I’m not saying you have to go with copyediting, but look at your current assets – your existing blogs, your existing clients, your existing skills. How can you build from there?

          Feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss this further 🙂

    • Hi Amy

      I know exactly what you are going through, I was there just a second ago. (I have also taken just about every course Jon Morrow offers and still was going nowhere fast. No fault of Jon’s, he is truly brilliant) . It got incredibly frustrating. Out of hundreds of sites that offer guest posting opportunities, I couldn’t find one.

      Then I realised the real reason I was stuck, not knowing my niche. I thought I did but really, I had no idea. What helped for me? Zeroing in on that one thing that I am so good at, people would drive for miles just to hear what I have to say…

      I haven’t done guest posting either but I plan to.

    • Yep. So true. Reading too many blog posts is distracting, because they only add more to-dos to a to-do list that’s already too long to manage. 😉

  4. I, too, find it hard to succeed through guest posting. It’s so common in some circles that some people are no longer impressed, I guess. I mean, my last guest post gained lots for the host and nothing for me. The same happened when I invited guest posters: Many of their already committed followers commented at my site, and my guest received not a single hit that day, and no new followers.
    Is it possible to be doing this all wrong? A writer friend told me he would help me write a better bio–was that it?

    • Guest posting is hard work, but it can definitely still work. If you don’t get many sign-ups, it could be your bio, your “incentive” for signing up, or your landing page.

      Sometimes the bio, incentive, and landing page can be fine, but it just doesn’t work for that particular host blog. Also, some host blogs seem to get loads of social shares, but the audience doesn’t seem really engaged – or they simply come to hear the voice of the “house blogger” only.

      Sometimes you can get a hit on a blog, and then the next post flops. You can’t always know exactly what an audience wants.

  5. Hey Henneke,

    I came here to finally read your “About” post and discovered you had this new one, too! I’m so behind on my blog reading… it’s sad, really. 🙂

    Loved the post. This was the big takeaway for me:

    “(F)ocusing on what you DON’T know is a sure-fire way to self-doubt and business failure. To market your business online, you need to focus on what you DO know. How can you help others?”

    I agree 100%. No one knows everything, and anyone who makes claims to the contrary is either a fool or a hustler. Focus on what you DO know and go from there!

    Hope your week is off to a great start, Henneke! Talk to you again soon.

    • Yep, that’s absolutely right – no one knows everything.

      Thank you for adding your thoughts, Kevin. Always good to see your smiling face 🙂

    • And you know what I wondered before hitting publish? I thought that the post was perhaps a little too short! Glad I didn’t listen to that little voice, and pressed publish anyway.

      I appreciate your encouragement, Jacek.

  6. Henneke,

    The story of your journey is inspirational. I see so much of myself in your first steps.

    Take another course (and try to finish it).

    Buy another book that will tell me exactly how to: run a successful online business, be the world’s best blogger, write the perfect sentence, drive readers to my website, tell a great story, and on, and on.

    Maybe I should research my subject more so that I don’t sound like the village idiot.

    And so I compare myself to everyone else out there.

    Procrastinate…Procrastinate…PROCRASTINATE.

    Like Amy, I signed up for Jon’s blogging course about a month ago. And like Amy, I’m stuck on the lesson where I try to find a potential blog to guest post. My niche is somewhat narrow and specialized unlike the millions of online marketing blogs out there. Plus, I run a mid-six figure construction management business that is my main bread and butter and takes up the majority of my time.

    So I’ve been waking up at 5:00 am every morning for the past 2 1/2 years to take a writing course, working on my eBook, designing my website, learning about blogging, writing an eCourse. It’s overwhelming and sometimes it seems like I’ll never reach my final destination. But I refuse to give up.

    Someday, I want to write an inspirational post like the one that you wrote today. And please know that your work makes a huge difference to those of us that are just getting started.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by again, Bill. I really appreciate it – your comments (and those from a few others) have encouraged me to write this post.

      When you feel stuck finding a blog to guest post for, have you already decided who you want to write for? And do you know which blogs they’re reading? Your topic should fit with the host blog’s topic but doesn’t need to overlap 100%. As a copywriter, for instance, I could write for a blog about ecommerce (if I’d like to write for ecommerce websites) or a blog about interior design (if I’d like to write for interior designers). I apologize if I’m preaching for the converted.

      By the way, in the perfect scenario you have an ebook and a website live, but life is never perfect. I didn’t have an incentive to encourage people to sign up for several months, and in a way, it was perhaps better that way, so I could gain feedback before deciding on my ebook. As long as you have a landing page live you can gain subscribers (I didn’t even have a landing page for my very first guest post!).

      Let me know if I can help?

      • I’ve identified the target audience for my blog but am having a hard time finding out which blogs they read. Glen Long at GuestBlogging has given me some great ideas but I haven’t been able to find that ‘ideal’ blog that fits the criteria yet. But I’ll keep looking.

        I finished my eBook several months ago and I realized that I didn’t know shit about how to market it. So I’m working on a 5 part eCourse to offer people that sign up on my landing page. The course is based on a condensed version of my eBook but still offers some very valuable content. And it will expose the reader to my voice.

        After they finish the final module in my eCourse, they will be able to buy my eBook.

        I want to guest blog on other sites to drive readers to my website where they can opt-in for my eCourse and ultimately buy my book.

        Well, that’s my strategy. I wish that I could work on it full-time but I’m running another company that is currently very busy – a good thing. So I’ll have to be patient and take things little by little.

        Thanks for listening.

        • Glen knows what he’s talking about, so I’m sure he can help you find the right direction.

          Don’t spend too long looking for the ideal blog, because it might not exist. If you can find a blog that matches some of your criteria, you might just want to give it a try.

          I love your strategy of a free ecourse and a paid ebook. You’re definitely far more organized than when I started out. 🙂 Let me know if I can help with something?

      • Thanks Amy. I may take you up on your offer.

        So far, Glen has been really helpful. And I’ve already learned about things that I never would have thought about. Like how to search for and qualify potential guest blogs. I just haven’t found the right one yet. But I’m going to take Henneke’s advice and just go for it.

        I have high expectations for the course and don’t mind shelling out the money. But ultimately I’m responsible for doing the work and reaping the rewards for my efforts.

        I know that we can do this, Amy. We just have to keep plugging along. And Henneke is a great example of how persistence can overcome inexperience. Look at what she has accomplished.

  7. Hi Henneke,
    The comments above express it all beautifully but I want to add my thanks anyway. This was a REALLY important post for me. I’d love to share it with the world and heap praises down on you!!
    Thank you very much!
    Cecelia

    • Thank you so much, Cecelia. I’m really glad you took the time to leave a comment, too. Because it helps me to stay on the right track 🙂

      Thank you for sharing!

  8. As a trainee copywriter and newbie blogger it’s nice to find an inspirational post like this – proves it’s really possible if you just take it one step at a time! Thank you.

  9. Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring with this tweetable line=>
    “When you consistently solve people’s problems with helpful content, you win clients online.”
    I’m especially encouraged by your advice to get started and focus on what you know.

    • Good to see you again, Flora.

      Once you get started, you can keep improving step-by-step. That’s what I do, too. I couldn’t have written this post two years ago, or even two months ago. It all evolves step-by-step. 🙂

  10. Goodness, this post is just so spot on! I love that advice to focus on what you already know. I definitely am prone to feel like I need to master everything, like after just this one course or book, then I’ll be ready to move forward. Of course, there is always another course and book! It gives me so much hope to remember that you started with no list or website just a few years ago. At the moment I look at other people and feel like I’ll never write as well as them (you especially!). But there’s that self-doubt!
    Thanks for another fabulous post!

    • Yep, I know the feeling. There are always tons of books to read. My wishlist keeps getting longer, and never seems to get any shorter.

      And yep, just like everyone else, I started at zero, nada, nichts.

      Thank you for stopping by, Alison. And everyone can learn how to write a good blog post as long as you keep practicing and analyzing how others write.

  11. My dad once told me, after I had laid out why I can’t do this or why I won’t try to do that… Son, you will never stumble across anything by standing still. I kind of looked at him with my mouth slightly ajar. What? did he say? But now it makes more sense.

    Appreciate your post. You’re a very good writer.

    • Yep, and stumbling across something is so valuable. We can never plan our future. But we can be open to new opportunities.

      Good to see you again, Joe!

  12. Dear Henneke,
    thanks for this one, so great. I’ve been trying to figure out what makes the cohesive jump for all that interests me. I’ve always been a problem solver, just applying that sentence to the web is what this is all about. Really clicked!
    All the Best
    Carol from very stormy US today
    imdb.me.cahall poe13.com healingwithfood.com

    • I hope you’re staying safe, Carol.

      Being a problem solver is great. As long as you solve people’s problems, you can find an audience. 🙂

  13. Henneke

    This is truly epic, I have waited 6 months to read a post like this. It would have saved me from pulling my hair out in frustration.

    I couldn’t agree more about the roadmap to overnight success, I am up to eye balls with those blueprints for blogging success and what I have found , everybody is telling you how to be the star of your own blog and less about how to solve problems in your niche. The total opposite of why I wanted to start blogging in the first place.

    But now after reading your post, I am giving the blueprint a middle finger. I’m happy staring at my zero comments. I am taking my own sweet time. But get there, I will.

    I love love love this post, thanks for sharing it.

    • I’m sorry I haven’t written this post 6 months ago 🙂

      If you don’t get comments on your blog yet, try to get a few guest posts published, because that helps you get feedback on your ideas. Or if you have some email subscribers already, try to set up a few Skype calls to gain feedback. It’s hard to progress without feedback from an audience, because you need to know whether you’re solving the right problems.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Nokthula 🙂

  14. Dear Henneke,

    What you say here it totally what I’m experiencing right now. I’ve been asked by my first art teacher (whom I met online and her e-course was what opened the art door to me almost 3 years ago) to make a e-workshop to demonstrate one of my painting techniques. And I’ve been procrastinating for the exact reasons that you explained above – how am I to teach? I need to learn more, know more, master more. I’m afraid of being found out as a fraud… the list goes on.

    And now here’s your new post!

    This also reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things” and her interview on the Emerging Women podcast. She noted how women tend to not put themselves out there thinking they had to be perfect before they could. And we can lose so many opportunities and life experiences because of that.

    • I loved the book “The Signature of All Things” – I think you recommended it to me 🙂 I’m not sure only women want to be perfect, but it might be that we have a stronger tendency to miss opportunities because we’re too modest.

      Being asked by your art teacher to teach an e-workshop is fantastic. Trust her to know who she’s asking. 🙂 She knows your skills!

      Also, keep in mind that’s often easier for people who have recently mastered something to pass on their skills to other people – they still know what they were struggling with themselves.

      Good luck with the workshop. I’m sure you’ll be good at it, Lucy. Go for it!

  15. Do not speak English well, so Google translate, but still understand and concorso with absolutely everything you wrote in your post. If we are not careful, The Monster Of Perfection can kill any initiative …

    Greetings from Brazil

    • Thank you for taking the time to stop by and even to use Google translate, Virginia. You’re absolutely right – the Monster of Perfections loves killing ideas and initiatives.

  16. Hi Henneke,

    Things are improving in small increments with my blog. Following your tips and advice is making a difference in how I present my topic. In my case, solving sewing dilemmas, showing newbie sewists tips and tricks, and pattern making seem to be easier for me to write because it is something I love. That emotion and enthusiasm transfers on to others. That is what I like about your posts. You are showing that you have empathy toward ALL of us who jump into the pool of blogging and starting up a website. I thank you for that, and love reading your posts.

    • Hi Val,

      I agree with you – it’s much easier to write about something we love, so we can share our passion.

      I’m so glad to hear my tips are helping you to improve your blog! Thank you for stopping by again 🙂

    • Yes, that’s a good summary 🙂

      When we keep things simple, it’s easier to get started; and then we can improve or expand our efforts later on.

      Thanks, Jon. Good to “see” you again.

  17. Looks like you’ve got a hit with this post! Great advice as always. It’s amazing how concentrating on other people’s problems takes the weight out of our own. I also recommend taking time now and then to write something just for fun, thus my silly shark week post. Of course your posts always look like you are having fun! Must be your delightful drawings.

    • Yes, having fun is so important – that’s a good point! I love creative side projects – doing something just for fun, but it’s not always easy to find time.

      And you’re right – most of the time, I’m having fun while writing. First drafts are hard, but I love the editing process, and drawing is always fun. 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by again, Melinda, and for sharing the post 🙂

  18. I love your closing, Henneke.

    “Get started. Anywhere.

    Focus on what you know. Solve people’s problems.

    Keep moving ahead. Step by step.”

    I’m going to print this out and pin it on my wall.

    And thank you to everyone who posted comments. It’s so good to know that I am not the only one struggling out there. Sending you all good vibes and such.

    • You’re definitely not the only one finding it hard, Amy. We all struggle. Many people like to boast about their successes and they forget to tell you about their struggles and failures. But understanding these struggles is probably at least as valuable as understanding the success factors.

      Thank you for stopping by and sending your good vibes to everyone. Good to see you.

  19. What’s up Henneke!

    I totally vibe with this post. It’s taught me a lot, just like some of our email conversations.

    I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a long time.

    The main reason I haven’t is because of imposter syndrome or as you put it a “fraud”. The feeling of not knowing EVERYTHING under the sun about a topic I’m into freaks me out. Learning is cool but only for so long. I keep looking for that blueprint to just map it out for me.

    In reality a true entrepreneur has no map to success.

    I tend to learn about successful people online and off, who’s made it big in their own respects. I focus on the end result of what that person has. Which really holds me back because it makes me want that stuff (quit my job, make big money, huge blog, known by all in my market etc…) like now.

    Instead I should be focusing on the first step to attain that kind of success (just start, write a guest post and see what the response is etc…). I need to get good at what I know and then move on from there. Like you said “focus on what you know”.

    Thanks for writing such a wickedly awesome post! You rock and you know it or you should know it, lol! Keeping pumping out great stuff. I’ll definitely be reading it.

    Can’t wait for that business blogging course to come out again.

    -Eric Silva

    • We put an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves by looking at people who’ve made it already. We can’t really compete with the people who are so much ahead of us. But we can compete with ourselves, and try to do a little better each month.

      I believe there’s an entrepreneur in all of us. I’ve never seen myself as an entrepreneur, but here I am, running my own business, and helping others to do the same. Try to enjoy the journey.

      Thank you for stopping by. Good to see you! 🙂

  20. Henneke, once again I feel like you wrote directly to me-just what I needed when I needed it. I’m starting out as a copywriter, focusing on B2B for the web, and feeling like you have to be ‘the expert’ IS overwhelming and does erode your self confidence. I have no clients yet, but my web site will be up next week, my LinkedIn and Facebook updated by the end of the week, and I’m going ‘hunting’ very soon. I have thirty years of business management skills and writing is what I’ve always wanted to do. I needed the confidence booster and I’m grateful to YOU for providing it!

    • Thirty years of business management experience counts for a lot. This will give you a great advantage as you’ll understand many issues that your clients are dealing with. Go for it!

      Thank you for stopping by, Liz. Good luck with launching your website. 🙂

  21. Henneke, as usual, overdelivery in a most beautiful fashion.

    My main takeaway: concentrate on what I can do, and ignore what I can’t.

    Lao Tzu’s words resonate with what you say, “To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something.” Like you, I think, he encourages the wisdom of paring away (chiseling, perhaps) rather than adding one more rock to my pile.

    Terence

    • Yes, we tend to feel we have to do more, more, more, but that’s not necessarily productive.

      Sometimes we have to learn new skills, but quite often we can become more productive by polishing the skills we already have.

      Thank you for stopping by, Terence.

  22. I was looking for reviews of the self-guided GuestBlogging.com course edition unsuccessfully, and was really happy to find this post on the first page of the results.

    What you mention here, Henneke, resonates with me in so many ways. The feeling of knowing nothing, and most importantly, not knowing which decision is the right one (after so many wrong ones, apparently) can easily bring you down.

    I love everything about your writing and how it always lights up the hope-bulb, and frankly, it’s one of the very few ones I read; truly read, not skim. It was a real pleasure to see you mentioned on Copyblogger, too, and then it all made sense, now that you mentioned Jon Morrow’s course, too. 🙂

    • Hi Ralitsa,

      When I did the GuestBlogging course, there wasn’t a self-guided version, so I’ve done the supported version (but that was a 3- month version at the time).

      I had never seen myself as a writer and didn’t think I had the talent required, but the course gave me the confidence I needed to quit my job, and to set-up my own business.

      I am glad you’re finding my blog posts helpful. Thank you for your wonderful compliment. Let me know if there’s something I can help with?

      • Hi Henneke,

        Thank you for sharing. I signed up, and I’m going at a snail’s pace at the moment, but I loved seeing what lesson 1 has in store! 🙂 It’s very encouraging what you shared about your experience with the course, and I hope it was the right call given my limited time at the moment.

        It was my pleasure — plus, it’s all true. Thank you very much for taking the time to write back, I appreciate it very much.

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