The One Thing You Actually Need to Do to Be Successful

Build Your Audience

Everyone in the blogging world likes to throw around these tactics or ideas. “Try this one weird trick and you’ll grow your email list be 10X its size”, or “Do this thing and your product launch revenue will double”. There’s all these methods that people think are going to get them where they want to be whether that’s growing their business or audience to the level they want.

Most of that doesn’t actually matter unless you follow this one thing…

But before I get to this thing, I want to talk about what happens when a blogger tries these tactics.

Honestly, sometimes these tactics work, but only for a while. A blogger will try a method to grow their list or to increase sales, but after a while it just doesn’t have the effect they want. They get tired and frustrated and eventually just stop working on it. They say things like, “I’ve been trying to build my blog and it’s just not making progress”, or “I can’t get past 50 subscribers”. I get how frustrating that is.

My first question to this blogger is, “How long have you been working on it?”

I’ve heard anything from a couple months to a couple years. That’s when it gets really daunting. After working on something for so many years and still not seeing the kind of progress you really want – I don’t blame you for wanting to throw in the towel.

But before it gets to that point, there’s one bigger question I want to ask this blogger. I want to know how much time is going into this project EVERY DAY.

That’s what really matters. That’s the trick – if you can even call it that.

To quote my friend Sean McCabe, “Show up every day for two years.”

Not two months. Not every weekend for a year. Show up EVERY DAY for two years.

If you really value this change in your life –  improving your business, building a blog, creating a new lifestyle – whatever it is, you have to show up every day for two years.

I actually fell slightly short of this with my goal to write 1,000 words a day. I kept it going for almost two years. It was about 650 days in a row before I finally broke my streak- just shy of 730 days (2 years). But during that time I wrote over 600,000 words. I wrote three books, a couple courses, hundreds of blog posts and guest posts, and all kinds of other things. It wasn’t through some crazy technology or trick. I just showed up every day for two years.

So if you’re not meeting your goals or if you’re not seeing the results that you want, look at your consistency. Look at your time horizon. How long have you been working toward your goal? And then, are you showing up every day?

Has it been every day for a month? Great! Only 23 more months to go.

Make sure you’re putting in that time. Make sure you’re not just looking for a quick win. And make sure this thing is important enough that you’re willing to put in those two years. It’s a long time to keep up with something, but when you’re passionate about it, the time you invest is more than worth the effort.

But if it’s not, go back to your day job. Just go do something else because the people who really get results and make things happen are the ones willing to put in the daily work.

There’s always the possibility that all this could come sooner. There are always exceptions to the rule. Maybe you’ll get some level of success in the first couple months. That’s great if that happens, but plan to commit to those two years. Don’t fool yourself into a sense of entitlement or ego.

Be a worker.

No one else is going to get the job done for you. This is your dream and you’ve got to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen. Long nights, weekends, and leisure time will be sacrificed to get where you want to go. But when you get there, you’ll see how your hard work paid off.

Be dedicated.

Becoming successful takes a one-track, single-minded devotion to your craft. Especially when you’re just getting started out. It’s easy to get frustrated with slow growth and want to throw in the towel. Be loyal to your work and it will eventually be loyal to you. Stay committed to what you believe in and be proud of where you are.

Show up every day for two years.

No excuses. If you want this to work, if you want this to be your career, if you want to be seen as an authority, a leader, and a teacher, you have to come to the table every day for two years. It’s the only way to master your work. You have to work at it every day so it that it becomes part of you. It needs to feel like an extension of who you are. Give it those 730 days and you will know your business inside and out.

And go follow Sean McCabe.

If you’re looking for inspiration, knowledge, and beautiful hand-lettering, this is your guy. Sean is the man behind this two year golden rule and he’s full of so many other valuable lessons on building, sustaining, and growing your audience and business. Catch him on his podcast, blog, Youtube channel or sign up for one of his many courses. You’ll be a better blogger for it, trust me.

Nathan Barry

In previous careers Nathan has been a designer, author, and blogger. After learning the power of email marketing he gave up a successful blogging career to build ConvertKit. Outside of work Nathan spends his time playing soccer, woodworking, and chasing after his two little boys.

  • Good stuff guys. Reminds me of the 10,000 hour principle. If you want to master a discipline, it takes around 10,000 hours of dedication doing it. Blogging clearly requires a long view.

  • Thanks for not offering more “hacks” or “hustles”–they’re making me crazy and building a nation of sloppy-preneurs. I find I know the right things to do but just need to continue to do it and not question its ROI too soon. it’s the consistency and commitment to the everyday work that matters. Thanks, Nathan!

  • Love this! What a relief. I can totally do that and I’m 1 year plus 1 month in.

    I read all about people having such instant success and I start to feel bad that it’s been slower for me. But I’m really doing just fine and I’m confident that if I just keep going, trying new things that excite me and creating, then I’ll be happy and successful.

  • Dave Rasmussen

    Preach, brother! love when you say “So if you’re not meeting your goals or if you’re not seeing the results that you want, look at your consistency.” The hardest thing in the world to be is not smart, brilliant, or lucky, it’s consistent! We let so many things hijack our day and our resolve, and we kid ourselves in to thinking there’s an easier way to achieve and maintain success. I walked away from my career and built Tactick ( to help solve this problem. Tactick is task management software 100% focused on helping you account for and actually stick with the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that get and keep you successful. So glad to see others who understand the reality that “the people who really get results and make things happen are the ones willing to put in the daily work”. Keep it up!

  • Matthias Schwehm

    Great. That’s my experience as well. Years ago I thought I did something wrong, because success did not show up. Now, years later, there is an almost constant success – by almost constant work. 🙂

  • Jerilyn Veldof

    I’m reading Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit, right now and it totally supports this notion. Her “formula” for success, if you will, is talent+effort = skill and skill+effort=accomplishment. Effort is the consistent, here. I’m reading this on the heels of Anders Ericcson’s, Peak, which also goes into detail about the “effort” aspect (he’s the guy whose research has been cited – miss cited – for the 10,000 hours threshold before someone becomes expert or superior in their endeavor). Anyway, for the readers in the group, I really encourage picking up both Peak and Grit. Both are so, so good!

  • Franki Kidd

    I love it. “Show up every day for two years.” I need to add Sean to my HAWT (hot) Boss class on Skillshare. This class already includes a segment on Nathan. It has over 1,000 engaged students. Also, I’d love to do a class on Skillshare about Convertkit. Free class

  • The comments below are from two years ago…did you all show up every day since then? I’m starting today!

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