037: How To Write And Grow A Blog (James Clear)

James Clear

Narrowing down interests and passions into one career path for the rest of our lives is a daunting task for anyone, especially those of us with multiple interests and possibilities.

Our guest for episode 37, James Clear, suggests we take a seasonal approach instead, focusing on one area or business idea for awhile and growing it until we can move on to the next.

James would know; he’s a successful writer, photographer and weight lifter whose career has seen a few different incarnations. In this edition of the show, James talks about those iterations, what he’s learned from them and how those lessons apply to your life…and a lot more!


As a young lad in Cincinnati, James was a science nerd (his words!) and an athlete. He spent his summers playing on his grandparents’ farm and exploring the great outdoors. He also played baseball and basketball as a youngster; his dad played minor league baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals and becoming a pro ball player was a dream of James’.

Throughout his grade school and high school days, James did well in school but his main focus was always playing ball. In high school, he suffered a dramatic injury that resulted in a long recovery period and a shortened time – he only appeared in 12 innings on the ball diamond.

But that injury and the subsequent recuperation taught him a great deal about himself, about being a team player and being a leader for his team, even when he wasn’t on the field. He attributes that injury to his success later in life, without those valuable lessons he doesn’t believe he’d be where he is now.

He continued to play baseball in college, but his career went no further and today he’s fine with that. When college was over and his pro baseball career dream was no longer an option, James wasn’t sure what to do. He hadn’t given any thought to what was after college, aside from baseball. With the help of a substantial scholarship, he opted to get his MBA and in his second year he discovered entrepreneurship.


  • Why “build it and they will come” doesn’t work in entrepreneurship.
  • What’s the 10 years of silence?
  • Why Nov 12, 2012 is such an important date for James.
  • How do you get genius ideas to pop up?
  • Creation and consumption: why you must do both, whatever your career path.
  • And so much more!

With his first exposure to entrepreneurship, James was smitten. He knew he wanted to start a blog & build a business and he had firsthand encounters with other entrepreneurs through his MBA internship, but he had no idea what to build. His first few attempts failed miserably, including an iPhone app he spent $1600 on that made him $117 in return!

But he persevered, always knowing if he just stuck with his dream of creating a business he would eventually stumble upon one that worked. In that process of perseverance, he learned the art of having a seasonal focus. Initially, he made some money by creating web sites for insurance agents who didn’t know anything about the web.

James had very little experience building sites but he knew more than they did and that was all that mattered! So web design was one season of focus for him, while he explored other business ideas. About 6-9 months into the entrepreneurial world, James started writing about marketing yourself as a solopreneur and the life of a freelancer.

When he dedicated himself to producing content consistently, that is when things shifted in his business. He applied his gym principle to his work life:; he had committed to going to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and it led to success so why not do the same thing with his business?

That approach was the right one. He grew his list to about 20,000 people and then began launching products. From there, he has branched out into travel and photography. For him, the photography is something he wants to keep as a hobby. He finds having hobbies like photography and weight lifting to be a great way to balance and avoid burn out!

Please join me in thanking James for sharing his knowledge biscuits! It was great to chat with him about his seasonal career perspective and what you can learn from his experiences. Let us know what you got from this episode in the comments below or send a Tweet.

Tweetable: At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.” James Clear


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