Nothing Worth Achieving is Guaranteed

Kate, a reader, recently left a comment saying “Nothing worth achieving is guaranteed.”

She said this in response to my greatest concern about professional blogging: I stated that the most difficult thing about earning a living online is that I live with an abundance of uncertainty. Kate pointed out that uncertainty is often a good thing.

Having thought it over, I realize she’s right.

When I first started LifeReboot, I knew there was no guarantee that it would become popular. After all, there were already over 70 million weblogs in existence, with one new blog being created every second. In a world already filled with blogs, what chance did I have of standing out from the rest?

It was with this reasoning that I started small. LifeReboot was originally hosted on a shared server that cost only $10 a month. At the time, it didn’t make sense to invest any more than that: I had no income, no idea how long it would take for LifeReboot to gain an audience, and no guarantee that it could gain an audience at all.

I was therefore surprised when after only the first month, I wrote an article that ended up on the front page of Digg. The inexpensive hosting plan couldn’t handle the resulting traffic spike — and my account was suspended.

Consequently, I learned that if I wanted my site to be viewed by thousands of people at once, I couldn’t restrict LifeReboot to an entry-level hosting plan. An upgrade was necessary — I needed to give the site some room to grow.

For its second stage, LifeReboot was hosted on a high volume server that cost $75 a month. Initially, I was reluctant to spend that much because frankly, it was terrifying. There was no guarantee that the site popularity would continue to rise, and it seemed more likely that the site’s monthly earnings wouldn’t even cover its own hosting cost.

It would turn out that the site popularity did rise — considerably. Imagine my surprise when two articles were featured on the front page of Digg back to back. A week later, another article was featured — but since the article contained images to help illustrate my point, the resulting traffic actually caused the high volume server to crash.

Which brings us to stage three. Over the past several days, I have been migrating LifeReboot to a dedicated server that costs $250 a month. The process is finally complete, but once again, I am terrified.

I never expected to be investing this much this soon. In all honesty, perhaps moving LifeReboot to a dedicated server now is too soon. After all, there’s no guarantee that the site’s monthly earnings will cover the new hosting cost…

…but as Kate has advised, nothing worth achieving is guaranteed. In her case, she used this mentality to stay true to her goal of getting accepted into medical school. In my case, I’ve taken risks with “to-be-determined results.”

What about your case? Remember, you can guarantee your actions, but you cannot guarantee the results of those actions. All I can say is that if you have a strong desire to do something, even when that something seems terrifying, then I believe you’re probably onto something worth achieving.

Thanks for your comment Kate — it is a real gem of advice.

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8 Responses to “Nothing Worth Achieving is Guaranteed”

#1 Rafael Madeira on 09, Aug, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Hello Shaun,
I’m a frequent (anonymous) reader, and I’ve subscribed to your blog.

I really tend to despise all these “self-help” blogs that are booming around lately, because, from what I’ve read, they all seem pedantic, or only regurgitating common sense and what is going around on the web or similar blogs; or are just plainly full of s**t.

Now, there’s something about your blog that I can’t quite put my finger on… but I like it. You seem to talk from experience, and even though you don’t really seem experienced in life, you know how to make it count.

You seem honest and sincere, and as a 25 year-old male currently struggling to find my way, I guess I identify with what you’re going through enough that I actually care about your posts. Apart from the usual entertainment blogs, yours is the only one that I follow.

Seeing that you’re taking a big step with your site, I figured a little feedback would be nice to make you feel more comfortable and confident; and I wish you the best.

Good luck.

#2 Eric L. Pheterson on 10, Aug, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Dude, *every* post is about how successful this blog is.

Have you ever learned a life lesson that didn’t involve this blog?

If so, please share. I’ve gotten bored of “The risk is worth the reward, look at this chart.”

#3 Matt @ Realigned Living on 10, Aug, 2007 at 12:49 pm

The quote has a ring of truth to it, but it’s awfully pessimistic… it really got me thinking, though. I never heard such a self-help quote quite like it before. 😛

#4 OMouse on 10, Aug, 2007 at 1:35 pm

@Eric: You’re on the money man.

Shaun, please explore more of the world and tell us what’s out there. Expand the view of the blog to include not only the blog and your success so far, but daily activities.

I think you mentioned surfing before…how hard was it?

Don’t narrow the focus of the blog too much or your audience will get tired and move on.

#5 Jinno on 10, Aug, 2007 at 2:52 pm

I’m gonna have to agree with the group here. Eventually hearing about this one major risk and how you’ve managed to make it work will get old to us.

I know that it’s easiest to talk from your experiences, well, talk about the experiences you’ve had that aren’t necessarily about this blog. Talk about the new things you’ve tried, or just some new advice. Lately it’s been a rehash.

#6 Alex on 10, Aug, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Yes Shaun, please stop writing about what YOU care to write about in YOUR blog. Start focusing more on what “the group” here has to say, cause if you don’t, they might take their derogatory comments to some other blog. cough sarcasm cough.

#7 Darcy C. on 11, Aug, 2007 at 9:36 pm

I don’t think Shaun was meaning to toot his own horn in this post, even though he hasn’t been shy about doing so in others. I got the impression he was just explaining why there haven’t been any new posts in almost a week.

He says that he’s taken his blog to the next level, and he admits to being terrified about it. I don’t think now’s the time to be critical, even if his content is somewhat redundant. He’s trying something that’s obivously difficult. I think he has good reason to be proud of creating a blog that’s affecting so many people.

Shaun: Congratulations on your upgrade! Please keep the inspiring posts coming!

#8 John on 11, Aug, 2007 at 10:05 pm

I think in a previous post you made mention of learning to play the piano? How’s that going?

I heard a commercial on the radio today for an IT school. They pointed out something like “are you tired of not being appreciated at work? Stuck in a deadend job? Become an IT professional. Earn the respect you deserve. Be the one everyone goes to with their computer problems. We will help make you indispensable.”

I thought of you and what the advertisement didn’t say.

Enjoying the blog.

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