The following is a guest post by Nathan Hangen, who I’ve gotten to know on Twitter. He writes some good shit for some of the same sites I write for, and he offered to write some good shit for me, and so I said, “Hell yeah, dude.”
I’m trying out the guest post thing on this site recently – one from Tim Brownson a while back, this one, and two more in the hopper. It’s strange for me to have folks writing on a blog that is about me more than it’s about any topic, but this is a very cool post and fits the tone here, and it’s also kind of about me, and pulls a reference from Fight Club, which I wrote about two posts ago.
He also wrote this a few weeks ago and because I’m incredibly organized, I’m not getting to it until now, so the time references that are off are my fault. Please FedEx tomatoes and I will throw them at myself.
Dig on it.
Johnny B. Truant is a man on a mission. He’s on fire and literally kicking the shit out of life right now.
I just logged in to the Third Tribe today and there he is…front and center…taunting me with his excellence.
He’s over at Ittybiz, Copyblogger, Problogger, and a thousand other places it seems. There’s really not a spot I can turn to where he isn’t glaring at me…laughing his ass off.
Just when I was Comfortable
It’s not that I have a problem with Johnny being awesome; it’s that now that he’s stepped up his game, I have to step up mine. It’s like a game of chess…the minute you let up is the minute that a 15 year old kid comes and beats your ass.
If he’s the Verizon guy bragging about his awesome 3G network, then I’m a shabby Luke Wilson trying to pimp a shitty network, all while making really lame jokes.
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…Join ‘Em
So, while I’m all about expanding the pie (thanks, Chris Guillebeau), I’m also pretty darn competitive, which comes in handy when trying to stand out in a crowded blogosphere. Because of that, I like to keep my eye on the growth of other bloggers in order to give me a little extra motivation.
The problem is that Johnny has raised his game too far, and now, my normal lazy tactics don’t work as well as they used to.
As a result, I’ve decided that it might be a better idea to learn from this guy than to compete against him.
3 Steps to Kicking the Blogosphere’s Ass
1. BE DIFFERENT.
Johnny is smart enough to know that there are dozens of already successful bloggers talking about how to blog for cash. Instead of jumping in those shark-infested waters, he decided to tweak a bit and talk mainly about what he calls “personality branding,” which apparently means finding a way to make money by being “the best YOU that you can be.” What I like about this is that not only are there relatively few people who see how the tide of marketing is changing (look at the success of the “Third Tribe” mentality), but that there are very few that take it as seriously as Johnny does.
And for kicks, he somehow also tosses in setting up WordPress blogs, as an additional service. Like, being the funny blog setup guy, too.
He’s not forcing himself into a niche that he hates in order to make a few bucks, and he isn’t using hit and run tactics to churn customers. He actually over-delivers, which is something that any service provider can learn from.
The key here? Do something unique instead of copying everyone else.
2. NETWORK TO EXPAND YOUR CONNECTIONS.
Networks are paramount to the success of any business, and to that end, Johnny has become a master networker. The guy was a nobody just a year ago, and now he’s hanging out with all the cool kids. How’d he do it?
First, he actually put money on the line to buy IttyBiz’s $400 Online Business School course when he was starting out…something that a lot of new business owners would be afraid to do. Next, instead of simply using the course, he also got in touch with Naomi Dunford, who made the OBS course, and worked out a win/win mentor/protegee relationship…brilliant move. Lastly, he continued to develop new connections and leverage the ones he already had in order to expand his network. Guest posts and phone calls…next thing you know, he’s on top of the world.
Of course, this wouldn’t have worked as well if he wasn’t good, but to be quite honest, aggressive networking still sort of works…even if you suck. (Johnny’s note: What are you saying, Nathan? Dammit.)
3. KEEP TRYING UNTIL SOMETHING WORKS.
Some of you know that Johnny was a comedy blogger for a while, but because comedy readers prefer reading and then leaving to actually spending money, it just didn’t work out. Instead of quitting, Johnny found a way to combine his personality (humor) with another skill (consulting and tech help), and then used that combination to make money by simply being himself.
Now, he can laugh his way to the bank…just because he was willing to keep trying new things.
If you read through his archives (as I did, and as any guest poster should do), you’ll see that he mentions trying different taglines and branding options to see what resonated best with his audience. Eventually, he found a combination that worked.
Lesson learned…if you aren’t constantly trying new things, then you’ll have a hard time finding what works.
A Desperate Plea
Instead of ending this post with your typical summary paragraph and call to action, I’d like to beg Johnny to take some time off to let that bloody fist heal.
Johnny, you’re like that guy at the poker table that keeps going “all in.” It’s really hard for me to continue being lazy when you keep raising the stakes.
Besides, it’s Superbowl Sunday, and instead of drinking beer and stuffing my face…I’m writing a guest post. Where’s the love man? (Johnny’s note: I love you, man.)
Nathan Hangen is a cool guy whose email signature proves that he’s just as all over the place as the guy who normally writes on this blog, so let’s just say that you should check out his blog and follow him on Twitter and kind of see which crazy places that takes you.