Leaders In Personal Development Answer Some Hard Hitting Questions On How They Got Started Leaders In Personal Development Answer Some Hard Hitting Questions On How They Got Started
One of the biggest debates that took place in my head before starting this website was whether or not I could offer anything to... Leaders In Personal Development Answer Some Hard Hitting Questions On How They Got Started

One of the biggest debates that took place in my head before starting this website was whether or not I could offer anything to the world that hadn’t already been written about. If you do a query on Google you will uncover a deep and expansive world of people trying to sell you “secrets”  to personal development in every language and every country, but few of them offer you much but smoke and mirrors and a robust sales pitch that devours the weak when they are already and out. As someone who has struggled with panic attacks, depression and a tendency to indulge in life’s pleasures to the point that it landed me in the rooms of recovery, my only choice was to grow or die. Personal development become priority number one that I would tackle for the following several years to come, and what I found out through my own quest to better myself was that most people had that same desire at their core. Whether they wanted to learn to calm their mind, increasing their income, live with more freedom, have stronger relationships, know themselves more intimately or even create a body that resembles that of the models plastered on magazine covers, we all have this innate longing to learn and grow.

It has also been made completely aware to myself that everyone you come across in this journey something to offer this world. Everyone you meet is an expert at something you probably know little or nothing about. Not only do we all share unique talents to offer and expand on, we all have varied vantage points in which we view and express life.

Most people’s introduction to the self-help/development industry is through the work of people like Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay or Tony Robbins. But the interesting thing is if you read their books and listen to their talks you will notice that the majority of the work is the same. There are simple truths that are universal when it comes to personal development and they all seem to broadcast the need to incorporate these values into our lives but in different language. Each character brings their own flavor to the mix when it comes to presenting the material. Their tone, expression, body language, accent, life experience and communication style culminates together to give them a unique flare that appeals to certain type of person, but not everyone. Speaking from personal experience my heart and mind seems to completely open when I listen to the voice of Les Brown, but when Deepak opens his mouth something inside of me says “No Thanks” and the door to my mind slams shut. Instead of attempting to psycho-analyze exactly what my mind associates his tone of speech with that makes me shut down, I simply invest my time into speakers who strike the right vibration for me.

Think about it for a minute. How many people have you come across in your life that just rub you the wrong way, in one way or another? Think back to a time you were listening to a speaker and their tone, expression, body language or dress totally turned you off from listening to their message? This off-putting individual could have been a messenger from God for all  you knew, with knowledge that could have completely changed your life, but you unconsciously made the decision to close your mind to their message. This flawed design of decision making works in the opposite way as well. One day you are flipping through videos on Youtube after a rough day at the office and then all of a sudden you come across of video of Louise Hay and her message stops you dead in your tracks. You may have never read any of her work or know anything about her story of struggle, but you absolutely love her style of communication and can’t seem to get enough of her work.

Do you think Louise started out as a this mogul of excellence in personal development, or better yet, do you think all of her work is authentic? The answer of course is a resounding NO, but in her heart of hearts she had a thirst to pass on helpful knowledge that she uncovered on her own journey, and then continued to stick with it for decades. She nurtured her passion that would eventually light her world on fire, but first she had to read everything she could get her hands on and connect with every thought leaders and spiritual gurus that made time for her. Her story is not only one of persistence, but also of relentless work ethic that always eventually creates some form of expertise.

If you are reading this and feel that you too have an unquenchable thirst for personal development and know it’s a huge purpose in your life, I would get going on your journey immediately. That may look like an eBook, a blog, the creation of YouTube videos or even beginning to share the brilliant tips you uncovered in the last book you read. The point is, if you want to become a leader in thought change you need to start today and trust that if the process worked for Louise it is going to work for you as well.

To encourage you further to start your own project I took the time to interview some Personal Development Leaders from around the globe that all started with nothing but an idea and now have a following of their own. Your voice will eventually attract it’s own following whether it be through spoken or written word, but the trick is to start immediately. Remember that your success is not contingent gifted intelligent, but has everything to do with focused desire.

The Questions

  •   Who or what inspired you to start your website?
  •   Is this site your full time job?
  •   Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?
  •   When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?
  •   Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?
  •   How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?
  •   What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Keep in mind that the order in which these individuals are presented to you is not according to popularity, importance or value.

 

Paula Rizzo

Paula Rizzo

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

I’m a procrastinator by nature but my background as a television producer has reformed me.  I use a lot of time-management tricks and lists at work but I wasn’t doing the same at home and I noticed things falling through the cracks.  When my husband and I were looking for an apartment in New York City I felt the most overwhelmed I’ve ever felt.  So I tackled it like I would a segment at work – I made a checklist of everything I needed to pay attention to when we were looking at apartments.  I also made a list of questions to ask while we were there – much like I would when I go out in the field to interview someone at work.  I always have a list of questions so I make sure to come back with everything I need.  If distractions pop up – I’m able to stay on task with my lists.

This is what inspired me to create ListProducer.com and eventually write Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed.  I wanted to help overwhelmed people be more efficient, less stressed and be able to do more in their lives.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

No, I’m a senior health producer for Fox News Channel in NYC.

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

I started the site to help people be more productive and less stressed.  From there it evolved into the book and onward.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

Yes, some of my more personal posts still make me squirm right before they go live.  It’s strange when people come up to you and talk about something you’ve written – a struggle or even an idea that you mentioned.  I’m still taken off guard by it sometimes.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

I’m a news junkie so I’m always on news sites looking for story ideas and blog post ideas.  I listen to a lot of podcasts on my commute.  I especially like Glambition Radio with Ali Brown, BroadCast with Jenny Powers, So Money with Farnoosh Torobi, Soloprenur with Terri Trespicio and The James Altucher Show.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

Never.  Once I commit to something I’m pretty laser focused about it.  I’ve had changes through the years with the site as far as how often I post and how much attention it gets.  But I’ve never wanted to shut it down once.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Just start writing, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  I look back at how long I agonized over those first few posts.  It was so silly.  Just put something up and move on.  You’ll keep doing it over and over again and get better at it.

 

Ludvig Sunström

Ludvig Sunström

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly. But I remember sitting in my dorm room one night, thinking that I’d been through things which others would benefit from, and so I made the lasting decision that I would create a self-development site for people like myself, being fed up with all the generic ones.

2 – Is this site your full time job?
No. But it could be. SGM is my passion project, but even so, I still have long-term perspective with it.
3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

To be of service to others. But–I won’t lie–I certainly didn’t mind the thought of making money from it.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?
Sure, to some extent. Reason being that I have a pretty tight connection with my readers, probably more so than most other sites. My GA (Google Analytics) says I have like 35+% recurring visitors. For those not familiar with analytics, this is an extraordinarily high number for a site that has thousands of subscribers.

That being said, my “fear of rejection” has decreased exponentially with time. Fear is adaptive; you get over it through practice. When I first started my site I was afraid of what people might say or think, friends and employers, etc. . .

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?
Mikaelsyding.com Only.

I’m a little partial, because Mikael is my friend in real life. but he’s also a really smart guy who’s has an interesting perspective on life. He retired from a wildly successful career in finance-even thought his star was high; he was offered CEO positions of major corporations, and he’d been awarded European hedge fund manager of the decade.

What did he do instead?

He broke out of homeostasis (as I call it) and decided he’d become a “professional blogger” (sorry Micke, not sure what title to describe you with-haha!). Not many people would be able to that if they were in his shoes. They would be too warped by status, pride, financial incentive, and cognitive biases to so decisively change courses in life.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

Never.

This is not because I’m trying to sound tough or anything, but just that I’ve had a sustainable and doable goal from the get-go. There are two reasons for this:
1. My process for the site has been very realistic

2. I had been thinking of creating my site for at least a year before I did it. The desire had built-up strongly, and motivation was therefore not a problem.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?
Actually, I have three pieces of advice:
1. Decide ASAP whether you’re going to do this professionally, or just because you enjoy it. (if it’s something you enjoy, you can always do it professionally later). This take me to #2. . .

2. Because you want to decide on positioning as soon as possible. Most blogs, especially in the self-development niche, do not stand out. They have weak positioning and typically lack differentiation. If this doesn’t sound familiar to you already, you need to study up on this stuff.

3. Set up your mailing list, create a unique opt-in gift, do guest posts, and read up on ways to grow your email list. Because, unless you learn to do good SEO, which most people don’t, then your only guaranteed way of growing your site is through your list.

 

Jessica Sweet

Jessica Sweet

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

After my first daughter was born I couldn’t afford to go back to my job as a social worker. Childcare almost cost more than I was going to make. So that event disrupted my trajectory and caused me to do some soul searching about what I really wanted to do next. That lead to my website and my business.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

I do this and care for my two little girls – 7 and 4. I have two full time jobs!

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

Both. I think heart-based entrepreneurs make a huge mistake when they don’t set an intention of making money from what they love to do and from how they help. Again, I was a social worker, I am all about helping, but I know I won’t be in business for long if I don’t also focus on business.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

Not really. I guess on some level we all do – I sometimes cringe when I hit that publish button because some posts are bold. But I don’t hold back from publishing those any more.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

So many. Purpose Fairy, The Bold Life, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life, and so many more. There are so many great ones out there! I’ve written a post – which has now become a yearly award, about the little inspiring blogs that deserve to be big, because there are little blogs out there which are fantastic as well. Chance Scoggins and Vishnu’s Virtues are some great little blogs I love.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

Never. Banged my head against the wall. Pulled my hair out. Yelled, screamed, wanted to hurl my computer across the room, and sobbed like a baby. But never actually come close to giving up. Not really.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Make relationships with other bloggers early on. You need to start connecting with people in your space to get your name out there and to see what’s happening (and what’s not) in the industry.

 

Remez Sasson

Remez Sasson

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

I have been studying self improvement, visualization, meditation and other similar topics from an early age. After quitting my job, which I had for many years, I tried for a while to give lectures about these topics, but soon decided that I can reach more people through the Internet. That’s how I started my website.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

Yes, this site is my full time job.

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

I started out with the desire to help people and make money at the same time. That’s why there is a lot of free content on my website, and also my books, which I sell through my website.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

No, there is no fear and never was. Readers are free to like or dislike what I say. My advice to readers is not to accept anything unconditionally and not to reject anything. The best approach is to be open-minded and try what is offered, to see if it works. The reader should experience, in order to decide if something works or does not work.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

There is no special site I visit regularly. Once in a while, when researching a particular topic, I look up for the topic on Google.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

Never.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Write useful content, with advice and tips that work. Try to be original, not copying from others. Check your spelling before publishing the article, and don’ write too long paragraphs or a too long articles. Write for the reader, not for you.

 

Carthage Buckley

Carthage Buckley

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

I have always worked around training and coaching and I knew it was the career that I wanted to pursue. I felt that having a website which I update regularly update with fresh content would allow me to demonstrate my expertise to prospective clients. Also, it allows me to give free content to people who couldn’t afford my services. This is very important to me.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

Yes

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

I started the website to make money by being of service to others.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

I no longer feel fear that readers might reject my work. Different content resonates with different people. I will never write an article that everyone agrees with and I will never write an article that everyone disagrees with. As long as an article encourages people to think about the issue, I feel that the article has been a success; even if someone disagrees with it.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

There is not site that I visit weekly. I like to get a variety of viewpoints. Therefore, I will search for a topic that I am interested in and see what articles come my way. I just find that more interesting.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

It is really difficult to answer that. In the heat of the moment, I may have thought that I was close to closing it but I just go for a quick walk and then I am ready to take on the world again.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Start. You do not need a perfect plan to start. Just start and develop your plan as you go along. There are many marketing experts who will tell you that you need to have amazing clarity before you start but I think that as you write and work on your site, you will find your way. Follow your heart and if you want to write about something, write about it. Some of the articles which I didn’t think would be successful have actually been incredibly successful. On the other hand, some of the articles which I thought would be successful have absolutely tanked.

In addition, if you want to do it as a career, get some products up as quick as possible. Don’t wait, there will be people willing to pay for your knowledge.

 

Victor Schueller

Victor Schueller

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

I started my website when I came upon the realization that I wanted to help people get along better with each other.  I wanted to start to develop my “voice,” for my speaking career, and I thought that a blog would be a great way to do that.  I started off by blogging about my thoughts, and it was a great way to be able to articulate my thoughts, and it has continued to be that for me for all these years that I have been doing it.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

No, it is not my full-time job.  I don’t think the site itself will ever be that, because my business model doesn’t necessarily fit the online only model.  The site has always been a supplement to my coaching, speaking, and writing.

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

I started the site with the intention of helping other people.  Again, the goal of the site was never to stand on its own, so it was never really about making money directly from the site, per se, but if the site helped me make money as a side effect, so to speak, all the better.  It would be the cherry on top.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

No, I don’t worry about that.  I write for myself, with the hope that it will help others, but I don’t write anything based on the hope that other people will like it or out of fear that someone may not like it.  I write about what’s on my mind, and hope that it will be helpful to others.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

That’s a great question.  It changes, depending on where in my journey I am along my own personal development, reflection, and growth.  Right now I don’t visit any sites on a weekly basis, although I subscribe to several of them and get updates by email.  If I see something that catches my eye and sounds interesting, I’ll check it out.  I would say it’s safe to say that I am reading a lot of books these days, more so than following websites.  That changes, however, from time to time.  It’s always changing.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

I don’t know if I have ever come close to giving up on it, as I look at my site more as a public journal of my thoughts and my pursuit of my own personal exploration.  Like I had said before I don’t write for the sake of anyone else. When you do something because you enjoy doing it, with no expectation of results, no worrying about who or how many people are reading, it doesn’t really come across the mind as something to stop or give up on, at least in my opinion.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?
I guess you may have already caught on to what I am saying — write for yourself and yourself alone.  Many successful bloggers I have come to know started by capturing their own thoughts and making them publicly available.  And, people happened upon them, resonated with what they were saying, and started following them.  That’s the start, in my own opinion and through my own experience.  The other word of advice I would give is to not be afraid of reaching out to others in community with other bloggers, but in doing so be willing to give first. More times than not, people will approach someone asking for something before offering to give something of themselves first.  You can really leave a positive and lasting impression on someone if you offer to give with no expectation of receiving.  You’d be surprised how many people will offer to help back when you have that kind of mentality.
I still follow that same advice myself.  I give with no expectation of receiving.  If all I do is give and it stops there, then so be it.  I give without expectation.  Maybe that’s the final advice — just do without expectation.  Write without expectation, connect with others without expectation, and be who you are without expectation.  Just be yourself without expectation.  You’ll sleep much better that way.  At least I have found that I have!

 

Arman

Arman Assadi

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

A desire for to truly live a freedom lifestyle

2 – Is this site your full time job?

Yes

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

Both. But initially to be of service to others, knowing that it takes time to build a thriving platform and trusted resource that I could eventually monetize

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

Yes, always.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

Brain Pickings

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

Allowed the thought countless times, but never truly considered it.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Focus on identifying your “persona”, the one person you’re writing for. Be patient and focus on finding your voice. Don’t create “content”, create truly useful, actionable, engaging material that benefits people. Blogging is not a business, it takes time to build an audience.

 

Phil Ashton

Phil Ashton

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

My need to reach more people was the inspiration behind me starting my site. I did not know much about blogging etc, but I knew it would help me reach more people.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

No, this site is not my full time job. I do a few things; freelance writing, private tutoring, I work in a mentoring program with youth’s.

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

I started the site with the intention of helping others, making new connections, learning new skills. Not making money, no.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

I wouldn’t say I fear others rejecting the work no. The internet is full of opinionated people, I expect mixed reviews and that’s fine.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

Two of the sites I visit most often are stevenaitchison.co.uk, and stevepavlina.com.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

I have never come close to giving up – I don’t give up. 🙂

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

My best advice is to write about what you believe in, not what you think others believe in, and, of course – don’t give up.

 

Ciara Conlon

Ciara Conlon

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

Not long before starting my website I discovered I liked to write, my blog began as an outlet to write about what I enjoyed, productivity, positivity and  personal leadership.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

I work as a Productivity Consultant, coach and speaker.

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

I started my blog simply to write and share what I had learned with others. I then explored ways to make money through ebooks and online courses.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

I don’t think about it anymore, I don’t have an editor or proof reader and I do worry that I may have grammatical or spelling errors. But I’m not worried about what people think of my writing or my opinions.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

Harvard Business Review, Lifehack.org or Forbes

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

Not ever, there are times when I don’t write as often as I would like but I have no intentions of giving up.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Be honest and show yourself to your readers. The best reactions from blog posts I have received are the ones where I bared my soul. Readers like to see the person behind the words.

 

Alden Tan 1

Alden Tan

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

My dad died when I was 20. So yeah, from there on, I realized I just had to do what I love everyday for every second. It sounds crazy or even impossible, but I know I’ve to at least try no matter what. When my dad died, a lot of bullshit in life, including money, work, dealing with toxic people didn’t matter all. So I started my website as my way to keep doing what I love.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

Yup.

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

Both! It has to be that way anyway. Do it for the money only, and you make a single dime. Do it for others only, and you’ll be broke as hell.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

Sometime yeah, rejection in the sense that people wont’ agree with it. But as I’ve learnt, you just have to get over it. There’ll always be people disagreeing.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

Check out these few writers: Mark Manson, James Altucher and Julien Smith.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

A few times actually. I was broke and tired. But I powered on through.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Write from the heart and keep writing. Don’t be obsessed on marketing so you can attain traffic, shares etc. It will never work if your content sucks.

 

Steve Mueller

Steve Mueller

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

I wasn’t inspired by a person, but I somehow had the striving in me to do something good and to help other people. As I did not really know how to do that and as I had no great skills that would be beneficial to others I started this website.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

No.

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

Service to others. This site is not successful from a financial perspective, but being able to help someone is worth all the work.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

No. Chances are high that there is always someone who does not like what I write. It’s impossible that everybody agrees with everything. There are always haters. I would say I get out of 50 comments approximately 2 or 3 with negative feedback. Nobody likes to be criticized, but I take these common serious if they point out substantial criticism. Otherwise I just ignore it.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

None. I think you can learn the most by finding your own solutions to your problems.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

Many times. At least once a year I would say. But then someone comes across and shoots me a nice email with positive feedback, and I keep going.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Be different, be unique. Have an opinion and have no fear to defend that opinion. Another device is that new bloggers should know that the first month and years are the hardest. If they can stand through these years they will succeed.

 

Dave Ursillo

Dave Ursillo

1 – Who or what inspired you to start your website?

I began to develop DaveUrsillo.com when I was working in politics and 2 weeks away from quitting my job and leaving my career in public service altogether. I was depressed, riddled with self-doubt and crippled by a crisis of identity — I knew I wasn’t living my purpose and my career, or any traditional career, would never fulfill me. I quit my job in 2009 and began my blog to create a platform for myself as a writer, aspiring author and creative entrepreneur.

2 – Is this site your full time job?

DaveUrsillo.com is my business platform and online home, and I work for myself as a creative entrepreneur, author, workshop leader, teacher and business storyteller. I also run a premier online writers’ group called The Literati Writers (LiteratiWriters.com), which is a year-round creative community that offers incredible levels of personal support, creative lessons, writing prompts and frequent calls to support conscientious creatives to fall in love with their writing journeys, once and for all.

3 – Did you start your site with the intention of making money or to be of service to others?

Both, in many ways. Service is my biggest core value and I quit my job in politics because (ironically) I was not of service to others and felt that the industry of public service would never completely fulfill my need to serve. I also wanted to work for myself and establish as much freedom and self-reliance in my life as I possibly could, so earning money and having my own business was also a goal.

4 – When you make a post or article do you still fear that the readers might reject your work?

No, not that they might reject the work, but only because being accepted is not the goal for my words. I want my words to be a deeply considerate service to my readers, who I hope will find the words valuable, entertaining, engaging, meaningful, moving and considerate of their time, attention and energy. I do still wonder if what I’ve written is any good, although I know my words and work are remarkably better every time, every month, every year. I’ve been writing professionally for thousands of hours.

5 – Which site do you visit weekly within the personal development niche?

I don’t visit personal development websites or read others in whatever my “niche” is. I prefer to keep my attention and energy focused on my words and work, and let others do their own thing.

6 – How many times have you come close to giving up entirely on your site?

I never have.

7 – What’s your best advice for new bloggers/creators in the personal development niche?

Lead by example.

 

 

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