One of the highlights of my trip to Texas last week, apart from the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, was a powerful presentation delivered by an expert in the business of franchising. The specifics of how we today are part of a service economy based on providing incredible customer experiences may or may not be interest you. It doesn’t matter anyway because I’m not getting into that. What I thought was apropos to the business so many of us are in — the business of blogging — were some of the foundation principles this speaker espoused.

Blogging is a mighty poor source of revenue for those of us riding the Long Tail. So, let’s accept that it is not a business per se. However, since most bloggers pursue eyeballs with the kind of hungry desperation that would do a marketing professional proud, it’s clear that many business fundamentals pertain to the myriad of micropublishing ventures. I was intrigued when the speaker stated that “personal goals drive business goals.” I was downright impressed when he asserted that “the difference between good and great is discipline.” He wasn’t talking about blogging, but he might have well have been.

Stating that discipline is essential to success in blogging is a no-brainer. Just as in any other activity, showing up and working hard go a long way towards earning the respect of your peers. In fact, a desire to build that level of discipline in my other endeavors is a reason why I keep going. Blogging requires, nay, demands discipline. Any of you who have recently taken up this peculiar habit have already heard this while those who have carried this monkey on your back for at least a year know exactly what I’m talking about.

The breakthrough insight for me when I applied this observation to my own exertions and those of my peers, the millions of pages of unpaid content generated daily, the countless kilowatts of discipline expended in the interest of low-external-reward objectives, is to wonder why. Personal goals drive business goals. Blogging, as someone in the midst of a massive site upgrade can tell you, is not easy. More often than not, it’s pretty hard if you aspire towards a certain level of quality. I have my own goals for 10,000 Birds and, believe it or not, I’ve been very successful with respect to them. What I wonder is, “Have you?” What personal goals drive you to blog with such discipline and commitment?

What are your goals for your blog? (Be honest with yourself.)

Do these goals merit the amount of work required to achieve them?

Is there a triggering event that will signify that you’ve achieved what you’ve wanted from your blogging endeavors?

I’m just wondering. I’m such a fan of this artform that I sometimes worry for its future…

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.