Hi this is Morty Lefkoe with another edition of the weekly podcast “Conversations with Top Personal Development Bloggers.” Every week we have conversation with a blogger who has a slightly different take on personal development. This week our guest is Steve Aitchison whose blog is called “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.”
There’s so much valuable material being offered by personal development bloggers. This is the best place to find out which ones might provide you with just what you’re looking for.
What’s unique about each blogger? Why did they start writing their blog? How did personal experiences inform their blog? Why you ought to be reading their blog, and more.
Today we’ve got Steve and I’m thrilled to have you here coming to us from Scotland.
Morty: How are you doing today, Steve?
Steve: Just brilliant, and really good to be here on the show and talking with you. It’s been a couple of years since I spoke to you now.
Morty: Yeah, I think we first met when I did a guest blog post for you. I think I did two or three of them several years ago. You became an affiliate for us and we had a lot of conversations back and forth. It’s good to be back in touch with you.
Steve: It’s really nice to get to be on your show, thank you very much for having me.
Morty: My pleasure. What was the impetus to have you start the blog?
Steve: The blog got started I think when I was one of the early bloggers and started in August 2006. I think it was when I just finished my psychology degree and I was looking to learn but I was still doing a lot of research and reading a lot on psychology and different things.
I personally overcame a lot of different things. And with what I managed to overcome, I thought I could help people using a blog because I came across this blog, stevepavlina.com. I thought that was the very thing I’ve been looking for. I looked at Steve Pavlina’s blog, brilliant writing. Then I had a thought “This is what I want to do.”
So I started writing blog posts August 2006 and just took off from there and it’s been a big rise from there. It’s been really good.
Morty: Congratulations! So what background do you have in personal development? You have a degree in psychology. Were you a therapist? What kind of degree did you have?
Steve: It was a Bachelor’s in Science Degree over here in Scotland. It’s just an ordinary degree, I didn’t become a therapist, or a psychotherapist, or anything like that. It was just one of my goals when I was younger, and when I was at school I didn’t think, well a lot of people didn’t particularly think I was that intelligent.
To prove to myself I was intelligent, I set myself a goal to get a degree and go to the university and be one of the first members of my family to go to the university. So that’s how I got my degree in psychology. I was always interested in it, and always interested in personal development after reading “Think and Grow Rich” a number of years before that. So that was via the degree.
After the degree I went into a form of counseling. It was addiction therapy. So it was help for addictions, with drug and alcohol issues and homeless issues and things like that. So I’ve done that for a number of years after. As well, while I continued to do the blog so I learned a lot from people. As I was working I was learning a lot about human psychology at the same time.
Morty: From the work you did with the other people. With the homeless and the people with addictions.
Steve: Yes, that’s right.
Morty: Did you work in a clinic or something? Or on the phone? What kind of work did you do?
Steve: It was face to face so it was a lot of work. We were dealing with a lot of clients that we would see every week. So I would go to the houses if they were unable to go to the office. Or we would see them at the office and we would then give talks and stuff like that to groups as well to help people with their addictions, basically. Mainly alcohol-focused, I have to be honest. But there was a lot of drug addiction there as well. Even a couple of people with gambling. It sounds strange but we helped them as well, we didn’t turn anybody away.
Morty: Wonderful. That was very nice, that was good work. Well you obviously had some useful experiences.
Who would you say is your typical audience? What are the type of people who would be attracted to your blog?
Steve: Strangely enough with regards to the audience–people come around and do these forms of analytics–and it’s mainly women from about thirty up to about forty-nine. But obviously we get loads of guys as well. There’s a lot of people from other countries and mainly India. A lot people are into personal development in India, believe it or not.
The typical person is looking to spend maybe five to ten minutes on an article. When you’re writing articles you’ve got to look at how long somebody is going to read it for because of the short attention span nowadays. So you’ve got to look at that, and look at your copywriting as well, your headings, and try to attract people in. So the typical person would spend about five to ten minutes on a blog and then either subscribe or go away and come back again. Mainly it’s women between thirty and forty-nine. It’s a bit strange.
Morty: What is the essence of your message? What is it about what you write that would attract that particular audience, do you think?
Steve: I actually believe–and we’ve discussed this before, Morty–that your life is created through what you think. By your thoughts. And that’s how the blog name came about. Change your thoughts, change your life. Because I believe–and a lot of people agree with me as well–if you can manage to change your thoughts you will literally change the world around you. Because you’re perceiving the world in a different way when you change your thoughts.
So that’s the essence, that’s the core essence of the blog. To try to help people and change the way they think about things, change the way they perceive things. And hopefully it has worked over the years for a lot of people. I’ve had a lot of comments say that it has.
Morty: Well my audience would certainly respond that, since our basic idea is that our beliefs–not thoughts in general but specific beliefs, it’s comprable to yours–do determine everything we do, everything we think, everything we perceive, everything we feel. So I’m certainly sympathetic with that basic idea.
You’ve indicated when we talked earlier that you’re posting less often but how often when you’re writing on a regular basis were you posting?
Steve: When I first started I was writing maybe once a week because I didn’t really know what to write about. I was writing about crazy things like how to reduce farting. That was one of the early blog posts. I thought, “What am I going to do?” and that was when I started speaking about the more personal development. How I came on and how I managed to overcome certain things in life.
I was posting about two to three times a week then it kind of dropped off. I don’t know if you’ve got that relationship with blogging, it’s kind of a love/hate relationship I’ve got with blogging. I’m really into it sometimes and then it drops off, possibly because I’ve got other things I’m doing at work. Plus I was working full-time back then as well.
Now I’m posting about maybe once a week, if that, because I’ve got guest bloggers coming on all the time. There’s a lot of people guest blogging because they want to write for the site as well. But on the heydays, it was about three to four times a week which was good.
Morty: Got it. What would you say is unique about your blog? What was your point of view? About your thoughts obviously, as you’ve just said. But how would you say compared to Steve Pavlina or mine or anybody else’s blog you’re familiar with, in what way would you say your blog is unique or different?
Steve: When I first started writing, and up until maybe a few months ago, because I’ve gone full-time doing this now, so what was different about the blog, and I’ve never seen this in another blog, was I respond to every single comment on every single post I’ve got. If you look at the posts I’ve written, you’ll see I’ve responded to more or less every single comment. So that personal touch, as if someone was speaking to me More about the author. I’m not anything special, I’m not any different from anybody else. But you could have a conversation with me through the blog. Or when people send me an email I always try to respond within ten to fifteen minutes, if I’m online obviously. Then just send them some advice back or tell them about some event or information that might help them.
So I think it’s the personal touch. I think that makes things stand out for me.
Morty: Very good, thank you. Do you have a long-term goal for your blog?
Steve: At the moment–because I’m doing so many other things Morty–I’m doing personal development products and things like that and I’ve been developing something for about a year and a half now. So with regards to the blog, it’s just to keep it going, just now. Because as I said, I’m not writing nowhere near as much for the blog at the moment. So just to keep it going.
Then I’m thinking about what should I do with the blog. So to continue with my writing or if even possible, to sell the blog in the future, which I thought about doing in the past, in 2010. And at the last minute someone had offered 20,000 dollars. But then, I thought, “I couldn’t do it.” So I deleted it from flippa, it was on flippa.com. I deleted it, I didn’t want to sell it, I thought “This is my baby!”
So long-term goals, just to keep it going at the moment. I’m just not thinking too far ahead, to be honest.
Morty: What are these other products and services you’re going to be offering?
Steve: Well a friend of over the past year and a half, I’ve partnered up with a bit. A personal development friend, Dan Bainbridge. He’s done a lot of stuff with Real Subliminal and hypnosis. Things like that.
I’ve written and recorded a hundred and fifty guided meditations. That’s what I’ve been doing for a year and a half. I’ve been really, really into that. That’s launching on the first of March, called “GuidedMind.com” So it’s these guided meditations plus I’m doing the marketing side of it. Facebook marketing and things like that as well. So it’s been really really busy since I’ve given up full-time.
I thought I would get a lot more time when I gave up my full-time job and done this full-time. But as you probably know yourself, you just get busy. You find more things to do.
Morty: Do you have a mission in life overall? What is it that you would like to accomplish and how does writing the blog up until this point contributed to whatever that mission might be?
Steve: The mission to be honest is just to help as many people as possible. I’ve got no goal to help a million people, a billion people. But just to touch somebody at the right time. Because you know some people just come across your blog and end up reading it. They just discover it somehow. And you’ve got the exact message for them on that particular day on that particular time.
If it touches people like that, then I’m extremely happy. I’ve had emails saying I’ve touched people like that. Even if I get only a few emails…it doesn’t matter if I’ve touched a million or two people. The mission is just to touch as many people as I can.
Morty: Great, thank you. What have you done to market your blog? You’re one of the top personal development bloggers. You did start early, which obviously helped. Back in 2005, 2006 when it was getting started. So you’re one of the early people in the field. Have you done anything in particular to make people aware of it?
Steve: Yes the big thing that I’ve done, I’ve discovered back in 2010 was to grow your email list. I would advise anybody who has got a blog to grow their email list as much as possible. That’s when things really started taking off, Morty. I started to grow my email list I think back in 2010, 2009 or something I had 3,000 on the email list for subscribers. Then when I really focused on it I got to 10,000, 20,000, 30,000.
The thing with an email list is that you can send out your posts. I do it every sunday now. But with an email list, you can send out your posts and you’ve got an audience of 30,000 people potentially going to the blog. Which keeps it high up in Alexa ranking which keeps it high up in SEO. You’ve got to think about all these things as well.
So biggest thing you could ever do outside of your audience is to grow your email list as quick as possible.
Morty: Very good. Is there anything else you would like your audience to know about you or your blog or what you’re up to?
Steve: As to what I’m up to just now, I just doing the GuidedMind.com, the guided meditations. It’s going to be a big huge event for me. There’s going to be 500,000 emails going out from the first of March onwards with all the network we’ve got just now.
To know about me…naaah (laughs). There’s not really much more to know about me but I’d say that if you’re into blogging just now–the thing with blogging is that you’ve got to persevere. You’re never going to be an overnight success. It doesn’t happen that way. You’ve just got to keep plodding on and plodding on. Speaking with people like yourself as well, just building up a network. That’s one of the big things as well. You can’t do this yourself.
Morty: I don’t know how many of our people are bloggers but they’re all interested in personal development. So is there anything else you’d like to say to people from your experience and knowledge about personal development that might be useful?
Steve: Yes, what I was saying in the very beginning about changing your thoughts. That’s definitely something I’m very much passionate about. But I’m also passionate about the beliefs. We’ve got different kinds of stances on beliefs I know. You have a different way of dealing with beliefs. And I’ve spoken to you personally about that, we’ve done some work together which was brilliant.
But I believe your life starts with a thought. If you can change a thought, you can change a belief. If you change a belief, you change your actions. If you can change an action, you more or less change your life. Obviously there are other steps in between.
I know this is a clichŽ and I hate saying it as well but if you change from a negative kind of nature–where you look at the world pessimistically and things are not really going to work out for you–but if you change to a positive outlook, even one thought at a time, I really believe it can make a huge difference in your life.
Morty: Very good, thank you so much. What is the URL for your blog so that people can visit it? Just say what it is and I’ll write it in the audio link. What is your blog?
Steve: This is going to be hard. It’s http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog.
Morty: People may not be able to hold that from you saying it but I will write that down so right underneath the link to the audio. I’m also having this transcribed so that if there are people who would rather read it than listen to it, we’ll have the recording of our conversation and transcription. And underneath that we’ll have the live link back to your blog so that people can visit it and see if “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” resonates with them and if it’s something they would like to read on a regular basis.
Steve: That’s brilliant, Morty. Thank you so much for that.
Morty: It was great talking with you again. We have these conversations infrequently but it’s always good to stay in touch. It was exciting to hear about the things you’ve been doing and I wish you the best of luck. I hope these new products and services that you’re preparing for people to help them change their lives and change their thoughts will work out well for you and the customers.
Steve: Thanks again I really appreciate your having me, we’ll talk again soon. We’ll not leave it for two years next time.
Morty: My pleasure. Thank you Steve.