Moving on from About.com

504362_way_out It’s official. As of today, I’m no longer the Entrepreneurs Guide at About.com. I’ve got a short version for those who just want the essentials and a longer version for my friends and colleagues who want to know a little more about what’s going on.

Just the Facts

I started as the Entrepreneurs Guide at About.com in November 2002, shortly after I left my last full-time employer and started back on my own. About.com has served me well over the past 6½ years, and I have served them well. Perhaps most importantly, I have helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs find, follow and fulfill their dreams of business ownership. I have also consistently grown the readership and produced some of the most popular articles on the web on a variety of small business topics, including:

Some of my other personal favorites include:

So what am I going to be doing with all that “free” time? I’ll be spending it on my own entrepreneurial pursuits and other projects I’m passionate about, plus hopefully a little more sleep and time with family.

I’ll continue to write here, as well as at The Virtual Handshake, Linked Intelligence, Work.com, GTD Times and a variety of other outlets as the opportunity arises. If you are trying to reach me and only have my About.com email, you can contact me here. You can also find me on Twitter at @ScottAllen.

Personal Reflection

It’s odd. On the one hand, I wish I could say it wasn’t my choice to leave About.com. It would be nice to be able to blame them. It’s always easier to put the responsibility on someone else, isn’t it? :-)

See, I was “fired” from About.com. But the fact of the matter is, even though I was fired, it was my choice to leave. It was my choice not to do the things they wanted me to do in order to continue as an About.com Guide. It had nothing to do with the quality of my work – in fact, they plan to keep most of my articles up on the site indefinitely. I just didn’t consistently meet the quotas they set for content production, site maintenance, etc.

Why???

They weren’t unreasonable, and I’m not really that disorganized. And I’m not so busy with other more important things that I was simply incapable of meeting the requirements.

So why would I sabotage myself?

It’s taken me a week to “mourn” the loss and get in touch with the answer to that question. Here’s what I’ve come up with…

I’ve come to a point in my life at which I simply don’t want to work in environments that don’t fit well with my own work habits. And I’ve come to realize that I really detest deadlines, I can’t stand quotas and I don’t like being measured against arbitrary metrics rather than real results. In fact, give me a quota, and it seems my instinct is to just barely meet it. But give me something I’m passionate about and I will far exceed expectations.

Now here’s the funny thing…I asked for this.

Back in December and January, I was starting to come to terms with these insights about myself. I began to visualize the kinds of projects I’d like to be involved in that I would be passionate about and that would fit my work habits. And one appeared. And then another, and now a couple of more are on the radar.

Meanwhile, About.com was stressing me out every week.

A wise person once told me that in order to receive something new in your life, you have to make room for it. While my conscious mind wasn’t willing to release the About.com gig to make room for these other things that are a better fit for me, my subconscious was. My subconscious knew that it wasn’t a fit for my vision of my future. I have no regrets, and it served its purpose, but frankly, I’m amazed I lasted as long as I did!

So my few lessons learned out of this experience that I hope may enrich your life in some way are:

  1. Find work that you’re not only passionate about, but that suits your work style. Failure to do so will be a source of constant stress. Life’s too short not to love what you do.
  2. When things aren’t working, listen to your subconscious. It knows what you need and will sabotage you for your own good if it must. Listen to it and you can consciously make those transitions on your own terms.
  3. Be careful what you ask for – you might get it!

Image: Davor Pukljak via stock.xchng

18 Comments

  1. DeAnna Troupe

    This is a very timely blog post for me as I’m going through another transformation in my business. I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavor, though I already know you’ll do well.
    DeAnna Troupe
    Multimedia Specialist

  2. Irene Koehler

    Scott,

    I very much appreciate your honesty and candor in sharing your reflections on this milestone. Your willingness to step back and reconsider the status quo has always impressed me.

    This is as much a beginning as it is an end. I’m certain that filling your “free time” will not prove to be a challenge.

    All the best on your continuing journey.

    Irene

  3. Walt Hansmann, CPLP

    Scott

    I have been down the same path you describe. I cannot agree more with your analogy of self-sabotage.

    Among the things I learned, is that, when the kind of convergence you describe begins to occur, the smart person will try to stay out of the way and let it occur, rather than to get in the way and block the next good things that are about to happen!

    I have stood on the precipice, fearful of the next step. Unsure I could, or even should, take that step.

    Then I was pushed.

    The step was not nearly as big, nor as scary as it looked standing there on the edge.

    In fact, it is pleasant. And fun!

    Have a safe journey on your next path … just try not to get in your own way!

    Walt

  4. Lorie Marrero

    Hi Scott, I really love what you said here, especially reminding me of the “you have to make room for new things to come in” concept. I have had some great examples of that in my life and need to keep revisiting that idea.

  5. Jason Coward

    Scott:

    As a former co-worker, and someone who is very familiar with your deep-rooted wisdom, it is refreshing to see this post. As I prepare to step off several new precipices, this article has provided me with a renewed sense of confidence in my choices. Thanks Scott, for being you, and I wish you well as you transition to your new endeavors.

    Cheers!

  6. Linda Roeder

    I have always found that if you want to do something bad enough, you can always make it fit your work style. Maybe this is something for you to think about as you start your new projects and continue with your others.

    Thanks for the reflection, you do have to do what makes you happy. I hope your new direction brings you happiness.

  7. Franny Syufy

    Scott, I’m not sure how much you realize you will be missed, but I think you will take away with you experiences that will serve you well in your future endeavors.

    Thanks for your candor and your acceptance of your part of the responsibility for what I see as About.com‘s loss. Know that a whole lot of us will be following you in your new career choices, thanks to Twitter and Facebook.

  8. Pingback: Creative Construction | Carnival of the Capitalists

  9. Randy Duermyer

    Scott:
    Best of luck to you bud! I was shocked to see you had left, and you definitely will be missed. I’ve discovered on my own that simply blogging mindlessly every day or posting worthless, empty content for the sake of meeting quotas doesn’t work. You’re much better off waiting until you have something your readers want and can use and then go after it with passion – as you have done so well.

    Anyway, I wish you well and hope you’ll stay in touch through the years ahead, whatever they may bring.

    Randy

  10. ortlieb

    Scott, my best wishes for your next endeavour. So it’s life. somethimes a door is closed, but a window open at the other side. I am sure you will find something that you will enjoy much more that you enjoyed About. Do not take this as personal defeat. Thake it as a lesson and try to make it as a challenge for the next time.
    best whishes

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