If you don’t mind, I’m going to take some time and personally reminisce about the past year at Becoming Minimalist. It’s been a crazy, life-changing ride that I never expected. For a variety of reasons, I have kept no official record of statistical growth. But here is what I know…
- On January 1, Becoming Minimalist had less than 500 subscribed readers. Today, it has 7,500.
- On January 1, Becoming Minimalist had 0 Facebook fans. Today, it has well over 1,000.
- On January 1, Becoming Minimalist had 0 Twitter followers. Today, it has almost 2,000.
- On January 1, Becoming Minimalist averaged less than 25,000 views/month. Today, it receives 400,000 views/month.
In addition to the statistical growth, Becoming Minimalist has had opportunity to inspire others through various interviews, media reports, and speaking engagements. It has helped introduce its readers to new writers in the minimalist movement. And has begun to define my life in ways I never dreamt including new relationships, influence, and opportunities. It has been a crazy, life-changing ride, indeed.
With that as an introduction, looking back, the following posts best retell this blog’s evolution…
January 06 – belts! why didn’t I think of that? – To get a quick sense of how much this blog has evolved in the past year, check out what I was writing about at the beginning of the year. It was generally a me-focused blog documenting my journey towards minimalism with short 2-3 sentence posts.
January 03 – becoming minimalist on facebook– I wish I could tell you why we started a Facebook Fan page on January 3rd, but to be honest, I don’t remember. I know it wasn’t because we were strategic about social media (we didn’t join Twitter until late-February). More than likely, it just sounded like a fun thing to do and we didn’t have anything else to post that day.
January 13 – top 15– I can remember where I was sitting when I logged-in to the blog on Wednesday, January 13 and noticed a surprising jump in blog views. One more click revealed that Charley Forness had named Becoming Minimalist as one of the Top 15 Simplicity/Minimalist Bloggers to Watch in 2010. If you’d like to get an idea of how I live my life… my next movement was to run upstairs to my wife and say, “You’ll never guess what just happened.” And promptly show her the post that was driving the traffic. At some point, I certainly said, “Kim, can you believe it? Who is this guy? And how did he find my blog?” It was that post that introduced to me the idea that Becoming Minimalist was becoming something far bigger than I ever dreamed.
February 02 – the art of being minimalist by everett bogue– I don’t exactly recall how I stumbled on the release of Everett’s e-book… as I rarely read any other minimalist bloggers those days. But when I did, things changed forever. When I found The Art of Being Minimalist, I noticed that Everett was offering an affiliate commission to anyone who referred a sale to his site. Without even reading it (as I mention in the post), I immediately thought the book would be perfect for my small number of readers and I was intrigued to see what would happen if I directed people towards it. I was shocked to sell 18 books that weekend and earn $90. It was the first real income to be generated from this site. And in response, my immediate thought was, “Oh, I get it now. If you offer affiliate income opportunities, other bloggers will support your work because your success means their success. And who is this Everett-guy anyway? I’ve got enough material over the years to write a helpful e-book.” And the process began immediately to outline my existing blog content into a readable structure for an e-book.
February 22 – Our E-book: Simplify. Now Available. – Our e-book, Simplify was released on Monday, February 22nd to great reviews and fanfare (of the 60 advance copies sent out, only 1 review came back negative). It was called, “a simple, straight-forward guide to simplifying your life… encouraging and practical… inspirational… a must-read” and that it “demystifies going minimal and makes it accessible to a whole new audience… redefines minimalism.” I was blown away by its reviews and continue to be surprised at its success. To date, it has sold over 1,000 copies and continues to sell every single day.
February 27 – on twitter – I had learned the power and influence of Twitter over the previous three weeks as I had seen traffic arrive at Becoming Minimalist from various tweets promoting the book and Everett’s. On February 27, I decided to join under the name, joshua_becker.
March 01 – When You’re a Minimalist, But Your Partner Isn’t – What may seem as just another blog post to most of you, holds special meaning in my heart. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this is the post that changed Becoming Minimalist from a blog about our journey to a blog about your journey. It broke our previous mold of “today we are cleaning out belts” and ushered in a new mold of inspiration through “here are some lessons we have learned that you may find valuable.” It was actually the comments on this post (thank you for this timely message…this is very helpful…this post really hits home) that changed the way I viewed blogging. I think the exact thought was, “Wait a minute. You mean this blog has the opportunity to actually help people around the world find a better life than hopelessly pursuing possessions? I’m in!” And over the next 2-3 weeks, our new writing voice was developed (and continues to be developed even today).
March 08 – The Unmistakable Freedom of Contentment and How to Achieve It – Again, a post that means far more to me than it means to you. When we decided to tackle the heart issue of contentment, it was the first time we moved from the physical (live with less belts) to the internal, soul issues of minimalism. Living a minimalist life became an inward journey for me… one that was going to require me to wrestle with topics such as contentment, generosity, forgiveness, and the love of money. This journey would begin to define this blog and separate it from the other minimalist blogs in the niche.
March 10 – the lost practice of resting one day each week– When Leo Babauta asked me to contribute a post to his site, Zen Habits, I was simultaneously shocked, humbled, and scared to death. I had a post rolling around in the back of my head for quite some time on the topic of finding rest, but could never see how it fit into the narrow niche of this blog. I offered him the post idea and he gladly agreed to use it. I spent weeks refining it and editing it. And was blown away by the positive response when he posted it on March 10.
March 26 – 10 Things Children Need That Money Can’t Buy – Another defining feature of Becoming Minimalist is the approach that it takes towards family – whether that be marriage or parenthood. On March 26, for the first time, I began to speak freely about my philosophy of parenthood. And yet again, Becoming Minimalist was further defined.
April 12 – I began using capital letters officially in all posts.
April 16 – Substance Over Stuff Tumblr – As my understanding of the web began to develop, so did my appreciation for its wealth and variety of information. Substance Over Stuff was born as a place to share valuable articles, quotes, and photos that I ran across during research.
April 23 – How to be a Successful Blogger and KEEP Your Day Job– Following the success of the first e-book and the unexpected growth of this blog because of it, I was forced to spend some time evaluating my life and determining what I wanted it to become. For my full-time job, I oversee the spiritual development of middle-school and high-school students. It is a job that I love and offers my life far more value than a paycheck. It is something that I feel called to do by a power greater than myself… and have determined that I have no desire to trade it for anything else. This post furthered cemented that truth in my mind.
April 28 – How to Keep the Minimalist Movement Attractive to the Masses.– I never set out to become a voice in the minimalist movement, but when a small debate broke out online among some minimalist bloggers over the 100-Thing Challenge, I felt inclined to lend my voice. It was the first time I wrote a post aimed towards minimalists specifically. I don’t do it very often. To be honest, my preference is to invite those outside the movement to embrace it rather than further discuss the nuance of the practice itself. This post helped me further define what the goal and purpose of Becoming Minimalist was going to be.
May 12 – How to Go Car-Lite– On May 12, Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittenswrote the first guest post in the history of Becoming Minimalist. Since then, this blog has become a place where many new and fresh minimalist bloggers have had the opportunity to introduce themselves to a larger audience. It will continue to serve that purpose in the future.
July 23 – Becoming Minimalist 3.0 – Three days before the launch of our second book, Becoming Minimalist received a new look with logo design by Josh Davis and theme by Thesis. I continue to love its clean, modern look.
July 26 – Inside-Out Simplicity – From the Red Rooster Coffee House in Aberdeen, SD, our second e-book was launched. In many ways, it was the book that I always wanted to write. The book goes well beyond the external fixes to our complicated lives and focuses on the heart issues required for a simplified life. It is based on the premise that a truly simplified lifestyle begins in a person’s soul. It helps the reader find an inside-out simplicity by focusing on the key life-changing principles necessary in their most important relationships. It is a weighty book that dares to tackle some very controversial topics including sexuality and spirituality. And if you already agree with everything in it, I have not done my job.
September 13 – Becoming Minimalist: Where I’m Speaking and What I’m Saying – When I received three speaking invitations during the summer months of 2010, I was again blown away. The blog had truly become a platform for opportunities I never dreamt possible. And each time, the opportunity to inspire and reach those outside the movement continues to grow. Already at this point, there are three engagements set-up for 2011 at various venues across the country.
November 21 – The Archives Page was reorganized into a much friendlier format for readers.
November 26 – 35 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget– The post that has quickly become our most popular post of all-time was written as a response to Black Friday. In fact, the idea for the post only came the night before it was published. As Thanksgiving day was coming to a close and I reflected on my old life of waking up early on Black Friday to get the best deals of the year, I wondered what to do in response. I decided to wake up early as always, but not to shop. Instead, I woke up early hoping to inspire others to find greater value in life than the things on sale at Best Buy. And a post with 200 tweets and 2,500+ Facebook likes was written. It has received links from all over the web (including Get Rich Slowlyand the Simple Dollar). Thanks everybody who contributed to its success.
Whether you were one of the few readers of Becoming Minimalist on January 1, 2010 or are one of the 300,000+ who found us in 2010, welcome and thank you. As this blog goes forward into 2011, it will certainly continue to evolve and be redefined. However, it will always stay true to its core message that there is more joy to be found in owning less than can be found in pursuing more. We are just as excited as you to see what lies ahead.