I NEED YOUR OPINIONS! What should the future of Johnny B. look like?

I need your help, oh awesome and faithful reader. This is your chance to shape the future of Johnny B. Truant, because I know that’s the ambition of every one of you. Admit it.

Here’s the thing: I’ve grown a lot over the past few months, and find myself at a crossroads. Something needs to change, and I’m not sure what, or how.

So here’s the story.

(I’ll just warn you that this will be a fairly long post and that I’m going to ramble a bit as I work this out myself, so stick with me. If you need to skim, that’s cool, but please see if you can’t offer your two cents at the end. And of course, if you want to send more than two cents, like maybe a hundred dollars, that would totally cause me to return your pets that I’ve kidnapped, safe and unharmed.)

Let’s start with a little backstory.

Just under a year ago, I started out as a humor blogger, writing the blog you’re reading right now. As you know, this is a blog about family, dick jokes, and crossing into Canada with pills and a bloody machete. Then, early in 2009, I started really trying to expand readership on that blog, and in doing so started writing guest posts on other people’s more-popular blogs.

Now, the best way to write a guest post is to write in your own style, but to match the content to that of the other blog. So that’s what I did.

• The first guest post I wrote, for the small business marketing blog IttyBiz, was “Douchebag Marketing.” Naomi didn’t end up using it because I soon started writing an unrelated column for her, so I ran it on my blog. It was about my efforts to market myself, but was also funny.

• The first guest post I wrote that was published was “Why Fear is Good,” on the psychology and self-help blog The Discomfort Zone. (i.e. that blog by that fruity English guy.) This one was about reframing the meaning of fear, but was also funny.

• A bit after this, in late March, I started that aforementioned column on IttyBiz, chronicling my use of IttyBiz’s Online Business School course to start an online business. These posts were about my trials and tribulations, but were also funny.

• And all the while, some serious and non-humor posts began to show up on my own blog, like the one about how the news sucks. Although, I did try to be kind of funny in those, too.

So the online personality of JBT began to expand and evolve. I went from being a strict humor writer to being someone who wrote about various topics while also being funny. I tended to write pretty comfortably about “business and brain” topics — everything from marketing to motivation — and found that I liked doing so. (Which, really, isn’t too surprising when I think about it.)

I also found that I was much more apt to write about whatever was on my mind than to try and conjure a laugh. A lot of times, these ended up being funny, but if they weren’t, I didn’t sweat it.

Then, as I worked with Naomi of IttyBiz on the Online-Business-School, me-writing-an-IttyBiz-column project, I launched my Learn To Be Your Own V.A. website as a home base for my new business. In its first month, that business made $3000. Every month since, it has made more than the month prior. So I became an evangelist for Online Business School because it was working so well for me, and sacrificed many goats in Naomi’s honor. I also found that I liked writing about business-building — and, because my own business was growing fast, I began to feel somewhat qualified to do so.

Then, on a roll, I created and launched my own course, Zero to Business: A ridiculously simple guide to turning your online business from tech headache to profit center.

And suddenly, as this business guy, I was writing about such not-normally-humorous topics like

• business motivation and
• selling

right there on my “humor blog” because it was the only place that kind of made sense, even though it didn’t make sense. And this is where things started to feel weird. That stuff I was dying to say about psychology and self-help and business and so on? If I didn’t say it on other blogs, I kind of had nowhere to say it.

So I wrote a piece on how to be a popular blogger for Copyblogger. A while earlier, I’d had a post on Problogger on how to build your business by making your topic stupidly simple. Being on these huge sites was a major coup, but it also kind of didn’t make sense. I mean here I am, a humble dick jokes blogger, posting on some of the biggest and best-known business blogs in the world.

I really dug doing those posts, and I continue to dig it. Last week, I had posts on both Problogger (here) and Copyblogger (here) again. I continue to write for IttyBiz. I want to talk about motivation, about business, about how to connect with people because frankly it seems to be something I’m good at.

Hell, one of my favorite posts on my own site is “Fear of a Truant Planet,” and that one fits NOWHERE. You can’t run that post on a business blog. You can’t run it on a motivation blog. And the place I ran it, on a humor blog? That doesn’t make sense either, because it’s about business and motivation.

So here’s the issue.

I’m scattered. I need to reorganize, to redefine myself and what I do.

The Economy Isn’t Happening is supposed to be a humor blog. The people who read it want to laugh. I think that when I write about business or psychology, those people give me a big WTF and probably urinate on their computers.

Learn To Be Your Own V.A. is a technology tips blog and a home for people who want to hire me. Business talk and business motivation kind of belong here, but kind of also do not. A piece on “personality branding” does not qualify as advice on how to be your own V.A. But yet, this is where I want to put most of my effort in identity-building, because it’s where most of my income comes from.

And another thing? “Learn To Be Your Own V.A. is a descriptive name, but it’s also

1. Boring,

2. Mechanical (feels very step-by-step, not a place for thought or philosophy), and

3. Still fairly confusing. Most people still don’t know what a “V.A.” is.

In case you can’t see where I’m going here, I want to switch some of this up.

I need a change.

Much of what I want to write has no proper home, and knowing that I need to write a “straight humor” piece and a “technical tips” piece on a regular basis in addition to all of that homeless stuff is confining. So I want to move some things around. Mix it up. Redefine.

And I’d like to know what you all think about how I should do it, since you’re the people I do this for.

Here’s what I’m thinking I should do:

1. Convert LearnToBeYourOwnVA.com to JohnnyBTruant.com. I’ll just change the URL and the header and make a few other tweaks, but it’d look pretty much the same. Changing the name opens it to being about more than learning V.A. skills like how to use aWeber and a shopping cart. It also would, with some changes, allow me to write about the kinds of things I write about on Copyblogger, Problogger, and IttyBiz.

2. Move some of the more businessy posts on TheEconomyIsntHappening.com over to the new JohnnyBTruant.com. That would make TEIH back into a pure humor blog.

3. Do WHAT with TheEconomyIsntHappening.com? This is where I come up short. It’s still hard to maintain two blogs, and pure humor is also really difficult and generates exactly $0. I figure my options are:

• Leave it as it remains once I’ve removed the “business” posts, and continue to write it as a humor blog. I don’t know if I like this option. It’s a lot of work and feels like an obligation. I’m better when I’m casually funny, rather than when I’m oh-shit-I-haven’t-written-on-that-blog-in-a-week-and-need-to-come-up-with-something-pronto funny. Ironically, this latter sometimes ends up not so funny.

• Leave it as-is, but don’t feel compelled to write on it that often. This may work, but it’s dangerous. Like I said, straight humor is hard. If I’m not required to do it on a schedule, chances are it’ll be weeks and weeks between posts, and all of my readers will vanish.

• Close it and move the posts to JohnnyBTruant.com, and then continue to write the occasional pure humor post on JohnnyBTruant.com. This would give me one blog, but it would be a big hodge-podge containing all sorts of topics and styles. I could create categories for humor, tech tips, business, psychology, etc., and it would become the kind of blog where you wouldn’t know what you’d get day to day. You’d have to like ME first and foremost, rather than liking any one topic. Or, if you don’t just like ME, you’d have to be willing to tolerate the content you weren’t into.

I like the last option, but I don’t know if it makes sense. It may; who knows? My new friend Marie Forleo has about as diverse portfolio as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve talked to her about this, and she manages to pull it off.

I’d have all of my eggs in one basket. I’d have to find a way to segregate content so that it made sense for each audience (humor readers, business readers, tech tip readers, clients), but I’m sure there’s a way.

I’m truly asking for input here, folks. Please jump in and let me know what you think, what you’d like, what you wouldn’t like, what you find good or confusing or disjointed about my current way of doing things or the new ways… whatever.

Weigh in, and thanks.


Now that you've read this post, go here:
WHAT DEFINES YOU?

Comments

  1. I think you should put all your eggs in the “JohnnyBTruant.com” basket. I don’t think there are that many people who would only be interested in your “businessy” topics and would be annoyed by off-topic posts. It’s more likely that people like to read your business-related posts because they like your personality & writing style, and those people will enjoy your other stuff as well.

    I also know what it’s like to have a non-money-generating blog hanging out there that you feel pressured to update, and it’s no fun. It’s just a constant stressor in the background of your life, and who needs that? Merge everything into one site that you can devote your full time and attention to. Come to think of it, maybe I should take my own advice.

    So…just my two cents. I love your writing & look forward to reading your stuff, wherever it ends up.

  2. Lesley says:

    Johnny-

    i think you should go with your new site JohnnyBTruant.com, and move things from the VA site over. Also, move your old posts from the economy isn’t happening over. I think it would be cool to have one website with multiple areas of content, but don’t feel obligated to write in one area everyday or anything like that, if you don’t want to write comedy for the sake of comedy then don’t post to it that often. One person who does this really well in a totally different genre is The pioneer woman (http://thepioneerwoman.com). if you check out her blog, she has sections on everything from photography to cooking to short story writing, all wrapped up in one site. I think it’s cool and different from a lot of blogs.

    Overall, people like you because you are funny and fabulous and helpful. Those people aren’t going to be turned away because you are into multiple things, they will keep coming back!

    a fan,
    Lesley :)

  3. Susan says:

    It’s funny to me that you wrote this, because after your Copyblogger post (which I thought was really, really good, BTW), I contemplated emailing you the following, but it felt too presumptuous and nosy and kinda weird, so I didn’t. But if you’re asking:

    Dear Johnny,
    You should quit dicking around with trying to be funny. You’re funny, sure, but I like it better when you are funny in pursuit of something else. Write about business or world events or whatever you want, but don’t force the funny, because I can tell when you do it, which makes it a little less funny. Or something. And your Copyblogger post was extra good.

    XO,
    Susan

    So what that means in terms of your question is choice C, one site with everything. You are you regardless of your topic, so, you know, be you.

  4. I’m going to go against the grain of the opinions expressed so far and say you should keep the two places separate, one for the serious and one for the not-so-serious. Sometimes the two just don’t mix and I think if you want to be taken seriously for business, you should keep them separated.

    Personally, for me, it’s what works, having two blogs: one for my serious posts, unfinishedperson.com, and one for my not-so-serious posts, http://www.unfinishedrambler.com. For one, I have a philosophy; the other one, no philosophy.

    Of course, that might could be done with tabs at the top too. Like “Here’s Johnny…the serious side” and “Here’s Johnny…the not-so-serious side.”

    That’s just my two cents.

  5. Tim Brownson says:

    You need a life coach.

    If I were such a beast I would agree with Susan and say go for C too. There’s room for funny business in my book.

    Make you own niche, don’t try and slip into somebody elses whilst they’re not looking.

    I like that last line, I think I shall Tweet it and be famous for all time.

  6. Mike Drips says:

    Doucherocket: Keep them seperate. Think about it. 1. People who know and appreciate the “JohnnyBTruant School of Humor and Deep Thought (C)” will read the “The Economy Isn’t Happening” site for your humor and MIGHT (under threat of you moving next door to them) possibly be diverted to and buy something from –> 2. Learn to be your own V.A. — face it. There will be people who are not interested and or are possibly offended by your humor BUT who want to SEND YOU MONEY for the offering that you are marketing on the V.A site. Don’t try to imitate Naomi Dunford at IttyBiz, because there are a LOT of “soccer moms” who want to start home based businesses that WILL BUY (Repeat Send You Money) from your V.A. site. Trust me, my wife pisses away thousands on Internet BS, but she would never send you a dime because your sense of humor would offend her. (Obviously nothing offends me, except when Sonia Simone discussed eyelid herpes with Naomi. Eww!)

    So keep your humor on one site and your business on another. I think combining them will lose you potential customers and fucking face man, you’re not searching on the Internet for love or people that love your humor, You Want Money! Got it?

    Resuming radio silence….

  7. Christine says:

    Hi Johnny

    I’m also agreeing with Susan. I think that you are a brand in yourself and that you should do all your stuff as JohnnyBTruant.com.

    People love YOU. The different types of writing are just that – different types of writing. When I read your various posts I do so because I’m curious to see what you’ve got to say today. The subject is almost coincidental.

    So, that’s another vote for C!

  8. Phil says:

    For me, all in one site would work terrific. I think ditching the name How to Be a VA in favor of JohnnyBTruant.com is wise. How To Be a VA never worked for me.

    If The Economy isn’t Happening is a burden AND generates $0, ditch it. Focus on what charges your battery — and ditch the stuff that drains it. It’s the only approach for the long-haul.

    Keep rocking.

  9. Shelagh says:

    I’m new here. I’ve read your posts over at IttyBiz, poked around here and your kick-diabetes’-ass blog, but haven’t headed to your “humor” blog. Any way, I understand why you want to consolidate everything under your name – isn’t that branding yourself, but without the hot iron? I like the idea, but want to see you push the idea of a V.A. Marissa B. posted over at biznik about being Rosie from the Jetsons and wants us to think differently about managers, so can you get folks to think differently about being your own V.A.? Is it really limited to email lists, or whatever they are, and shopping carts? In your hands, I doubt it…but maybe that’s just what I want to see a blend of how folks can do it all including grow into their own brand – themselves and all their talents, contributions, and musings – which may lead you to change to Johnny B. Truant.com, but I think there’s a lot of rich material there beyond this post.

    I’ll head back to the knitting blogs and my copy for my site. Rock on with your bad self.

  10. Mike Drips says:

    I meant to type “fucking fact it man” instead of “fucking face man” but I guess it works either way.

    OK, having read the comments from these clingy asshat followers of yours, let me put it this way. I might actually send you money for some WordPress work because you actually have some talent there. Will any of these asshats send you anything other than some gooey “Oh Johnny you are so cool! Merge your sites!”? No. They’re not going to send you money and that basically bubba is what it is all about.

    I get paid $5000 a day as a consultant and I don’t even do lap dances. So here’s my FREE advice: KEEP THE SITES SEPERATE AND IGNORE YOUR ASSHAT FOLLOWERS!

    Over and out. I have work to do. We’ll talk later.

  11. Mike Drips says:

    I can’t type “fucking face it man” to save my life. Hmm..no bourbon in my coffee. That explains it.

  12. @Mike – What the heck is an asshat? And is it really necessary to insult a bunch of people you don’t know in order to make a point? Is that part of your shtick or something? Actually, please ignore the preceding questions because I have no interest in your answers.

  13. Johnny B. Truant says:

    Thanks for the input so far, everyone. I see the truth in both sides of this, which is why it’s such a hard decision.

    The truth is that I do tend to be a tad more professional and swear a bit less when I’m doing business. I also keep it clean when writing on Problogger and Copyblogger. I don’t do that on IttyBiz because she’d toss my ass out if I did. I also changed the name of my course from “Make the Internet Your Bitch” to “Zero to Business” for the same reason.

    So I don’t know if rants like some on here would fit on a combined site.

    Yet I don’t know if I want to keep writing two blogs diligently.

    Choice B is actually probably the best, but I’d need to force myself to write on somewhat of a schedule or it’s pointless and might as well shut it down.

    I do know I need to work on writing more of that stuff that currently fits nowhere, so that means doing my steps 1 and 2 above for sure.

    Now, that does entail moving some posts over, and they’re going to have humor and profanity and whatnot. I understand I’ll offend some people, but that’s the breaks.

    Still thinking…

  14. Shelagh says:

    Are you doing a study on who leaves a comment here vs. your V.A. blog? I was wondering where all the comments were over at VA, after I got over feeling special for commenting first, and n o w I see…

  15. Johnny B. Truant says:

    Shelagh… I put this link out on Twitter, so everyone came here, even though I ran the same post today on LTBYOVA.

  16. kate says:

    it’s not so funny when YOU ARE IN MY HEAD! Seriously had this same conversation a couple of weeks ago since i figured out my own blog topics are all over the place. i actually bought my name and have a blog with categories. freaky. (though, I dont guest post or have columns on big with blogs, so not quite the fancypants you are, still relevant, sorta) Still figuring stuff out so will now be watching what you do very closely!

    i agree with everyone else – go with the JohnnyBTruant.com and use categories. I like the change up, actually. it keeps me reading and helps us see what makes up your perspective.

  17. kate says:

    addendum: merge together, if you feel humor stifled, post on the humor blog occasionally. Then you will know if you need to re-launch the humor one down the road.

    don’t sacrifice the growing INCOME biz for a little humor writing that isn’t generating anything (or particularly inspired if you have to schedule/force it)

  18. Johnny B. Truant says:

    I’m starting to think that two separate blogs under one domain name might be the way to go.

    e.g.:

    > JohnnyBTruant.com/humor = Pure humor stuff.
    > JohnnyBTruant.com = Everything else.

    Or maybe not. Still thinking.

  19. Mike Drips says:

    Final thought:

    How many humorists do you send money to for creating web/WordPress sites?

    Think about it.

    Do you associate web site creation (hiring someone to work for you) with humor?

    Seperate sites seem logical but it’s your paycheck you’re betting not mine.

    Tim Brownson isn’t an asshat because I bought his book.

    I wonder how someone could be insulted by being called an asshat if they admit that they don’t know what an asshat it? Kind of a paradox, eh?

  20. I think Mike has a point with his “final thought,” and maybe for that reason you should separate your business and humor blogs (although I still don’t think they have to be on completely separate websites).

    At the same time, I might never have found out about your site or service offerings to begin with if it weren’t for your writing style. There are a lot of people who can set up WordPress sites, and a lot of people who blog about setting up WordPress sites, but I’m more likely to read & remember your stuff because it’s not as boring as most people’s.

    And as for being insulted by Mike’s comment – I guess I just wanted to stand up for all of the people (not just me) who took time out of their day to respond to your request for opinions. I forgot that in the world of comments, it’s sometimes better to just let things go.

  21. Johnny B. Truant says:

    Right, the knowledge itself is a commodity. I’m big on that point. The one thing I will NOT do is start being all dry and boring and businessy.

    Don’t be insulted by Mike. He’s an enigma. I’m pretty sure he truly, truly hates me and still likes me somehow, both with equal fervor.

  22. kate says:

    It’s nice that Mike wants you to be successful and is passionate that his ideas are the way to go.

    that said – none of this is FOREVER, you can always change it later. You know you have to make a change. just pick one and move forward. the one with the same domain but different blogs sounds like a good compromise

    (but then again, I hired a humorist to purchase/build a wordpress site for my husband’s pop art website, and then learned all kinds of good stuff form your free videos and even built my own site. heck, was even looking forward to buying from you in the future. so you know, take my advice with that grain of salt… )

  23. Mike Drips says:

    I love Johnny but he’s just so sensitive that he should walk around wearing a pink tutu. I’ve even told people on my site that he is humorous and that they should send him money, but there’s a lot of multi-syllable words on my site, so he possibly fell asleep and missed that bit, due to having to move his lips so much while reading.

    Being annoying on my part is just very sick performance art. There’s no actual emotion, intellect, hate or anything else outside of a vacuum of verbal cha-cha.

    I love all of you. So kiss my ass and send me money.

    Yeah I’ll probably have Johnny do a WordPress site for me one day if he doesn’t price himself out of the market. On the condition of course that across the bottom of the site it states “all of this horrible insulting stuff was brought to you in part by JohnnyBTruant”.

    If he doesn’t shape up, I’m gonna start dating his mom.

  24. I have to agree with those who say keep it separate. Humour and business quite often don’t mix.

    It might be that you’ve outgrown this blog, or gotten too busy to continue it. But if you enjoy doing one-offs every once in a while, I’d say keep this blog anyway and don’t worry about such mundane things as “posting regularity” and “losing readers”. There are plenty of blogs I follow where people post once every month or so — ya know, when they feel like it. That way you still have an outlet for your funny posts when you want a creative release and have some fun.

    Don’t forget, you started with zero readers. I’ll personally guarantee you’ll never fall below that number…

    ~Graham

  25. what I said on twitter –> my opinion: move everything to one site. u are specializing in people-who-like-you & think-like-you. 1 audience, many topics

  26. 2nd opinion from me: stop asking us what we think and just do what you think, damnit.

  27. Trish says:

    This is going to be a kinda-long response, but it’s only fair since you beat the crap out of us with that long post. All’s fair, baby, all’s fair.

    I had a similar situation going on at my website, although I’m not making any money off of it, so that’s slightly different. I started out writing a strictly “chatty” blog – you know, whatever’s going on in my life, or with my family, or whatever hits my brain to blog about.

    Then, a couple of months ago, I realized that I have a lot of information about a couple of topics (specifically, cooking/canning/home food processing) that people keep asking me to share. I struggled with how to handle integrating those pieces into my current blog (and also figured the possibility of monetizing the website would be much greater if I did start incorporating those pieces). In the end, this is what I did:

    1. Kept everything at http://www.notesfromthebunker.com, because I like the name and because it still fits what I’m trying to put out there (for which reason I think you should transition everything over to johnnybtruant.com; it would improve your branding and make everything more cohesive, with all your products under one roof).

    2. Made the primary focus on the website the food stuff, because that’s my new “venture”, and also the most likely to land me cash in the future (and also, honestly, where there’s more room for developing stories; how many times can I write about my kid driving me crazy, anyway?).

    3. Made the contents VERY well-organized; basically dumbass-proof (like idiot-proof, only more…proofy). Divided the content areas very concretely, and made them easy to get to. If you visit my site, it’s pretty obvious what the categories are: general blogging, plus various food categories; and what the special areas are: Farmer’s Markets and Restaurants.

    I blog about general hoo-ha about 2-3 times a week, max (some weeks, it’s all food-related, if it’s a busy week) and the rest is about the food stuff. So I’m keeping my finger in the “general blog stuff”, and I have a place to rant/chat/discuss pressing matters, but my “business” takes center stage. Let’s be honest – that’s where your energies are focused, and rightly so – it’s paying the bills. But there’s nothing wrong with keeping your “humor muscle” (shut up) in shape.

    So that’s my thought – condense it all, focus it in one place, make everything easy to access, and do the humor writing when you feel it. Hope that helps. (Let’s be honest – what I’m really thinking is, “Hope you do what I tell you to because I’m right.” And I am.)

  28. N.C. Winters says:

    My personal take is that you have two audiences in the long run. TEIH brings lovers of your charming wit and wordplay and perspective. Your other business sites are fleshed out and colored in by your charming wit and wordplay, but in the end, you’re doing it to sell. Having a devoted following is cool and all, but at the end of the day, your writing for business is well, for business right? I even post comments in a different tone on your other ventures (when I post comments) as the audience is different. In the end, of course reference each other back and forth, but think of making them separate entities with different goals. I come to realize I usually lurk here and not on the other sites, as this is where I come for entertainment. If I wanted learning-making, I’d hop over to the other. But, go with your gut, of course. This shouldn’t be some American Idol shit where the total number of votes influences your decision.

    Oh, and maybe hire someone to update the banner on this site to match the look of your others. That banner on LTBYOVA is the shizness.

  29. Johnny B. Truant says:

    Elizabeth’s second comment is what will ultimately happen, of course. I call this approach, “Self-trust, but with feedback.”

    I am starting to think that pure humor (i.e. not “about” anything with a moral or lesson) isn’t something that comes out of me naturally. Each revolves around a story, and many of those stories kind of have a point. Or I can find a point. Or they can be posts with a point, but which have big long stupid tangents in them, true to form.

    I’m sort of getting a vision here. I might do something like this:

    1. Change LTBYOVA to JohnnyBTruant.com and tweak accordingly, keeping all of that content.

    2. Move my business-related posts from TEIH over to that new blog.

    3. Write most posts going forward with a point in mind, which strangely will actually make them easier and probably more readable (see Susan’s comment about trying to be funny). If I want to relate something that has nothing to do with anything, I will, freely… but I’ll bet those times will be rare. And I’ll do it in a way that doesn’t seem totally out of place. That’ll be easy.

    4. Take the old pure-humor posts and put them in their own blog, in a subdirectory of johnnybtruant.com, as an archive. I won’t write new posts to that blog. It’ll be there like a book if you wanted to go check it out, but new stuff would go into the all-in-one.

    I think I can do that. I think I can get a crapload of mileage out of that approach, the more I think about it.

  30. Johnny B. Truant says:

    Oh, and of course, thanks a ton for the comments and ideas. Especially Trish because I know she likes it when she’s singled out. Keep ‘em coming if you have them.

  31. Johnny B. Truant says:

    @NCW – I can’t accurately convey the tone of what I have in mind, but I’m sure the tone of the comments would be like it is here, not on LTBYOVA. I don’t like blogging on LTBYOVA. The dry, how-to posts there should be in the tutorials section, not in blog format, and that’s how I’d do it going forward. Maybe even write a few and then write a post pointing you to them.

    That’s the problem I have with that site. I want to make technology simple, but it’s boring to be conversant about it. I want to write about the bigger picture and simply reference the how-to… and you can go to it if you want to know how-to.

    It’s hard to describe, but I want something like LTBYOVA… but more HOLISTIC if that makes sense. Less niche. I don’t do well in niches.

    Oh, and for look? It’ll basically BE LTBYOVA with a tweaked header and some other changes. This look will probably go, or maybe be used in the archive section I mentioned.

  32. Combine them all on JohnnyBTruant.com – be YOU on your blog. I only just started reading your blog (this one) after reading your posts from ittybiz. I, too, find it hard to keep up with two or more blogs as a *reader*. I would love to see all your posts on one main site, and as you said, if there is something a reader isn’t interested in they will skip reading that day. Write about you, business, your job, be funny, whatever. Just be you and those that care to read will follow.

    I am personally interested in the business stuff first, but if you can make that stuff less boring with humour, I’m even more inclined to stick around. I’m too busy to read crap, so it has to be really compelling crap for me to read it. ;) I also read a LOT of blogs and only ‘subscribe’ to about 5. I subscribed to yours the other day so I don’t miss a post. Ever.

    Good luck!

  33. Bill S says:

    The Muskrat is an attorney and writes a humor blog. Sometimes he relates funny stuff from the courtroom but not really all that often. Rob Kroese writes his humor in a blog and books but goes off to Google to do whatever he does there, but rarely combines the two. Johnny Virgil also makes his living an IT cubicle somewhere and occasionally the people from there are the subject of his posts. All these guys generally don’t combine work with blog unless there’s funny to be reported upon from the workplace.

    In other words, your WORK can be separate from the humor and maybe even should be. The fact that the other serious money-making subject is also a blog is just a coincidence and life in 2009. Post funny when it strikes you wherever you find a place to put it and pursue your career and fortune on JohnnyBTruant.com.

    Naturally, you’re going to keep seeing the funny in life, including business, and that’s when you can tell us all about it in the HUMOR area. From a business guy who’s closer to retirement than taking even one more damn class to further my career, I read all your stuff because it’s usually interesting and often funny. You’ll do great no matter what.

  34. Johnny B. Truant says:

    @Tamara – That’s quite a compliment; thanks.

    @Bill – Sort of where my thoughts are headed as well.

  35. Greg says:

    Johnny,

    I think you should grow a handlebar mustache.

    Greg

  36. Alice says:

    Johnny, do whatever the hell you want. Be happy. Really.

    You know, of course, that I love you. I’m a huge fan of your awesomeness and whatnot, we’ve discussed this before. And I do miss the pure humor posts. Funny business is one thing, but I miss the laugh till I cry thing. But I wouldn’t want you funny if you’re forcing, either. So…yeah. I’ll follow you wherever you go, just because you’re you. I imagine I’m not the only one that feels that way. All of which brings me back to the first sentence. Do what you want. Be happy. :)

  37. Mary says:

    Hi, Johnny – I, too, am new to your blog, having come over after reading one of your posts on Copyblogger. I wasn’t aware of your other blogs until you mentioned them here. I have attempted to keep more than one blog at a time and it is tough. The quality tends to suffer.

    When I started blogging, I thought I’d be super focused, but I wasn’t. When you’re a person with lots of interests, it’s hard to contain yourself. I quickly abandoned the idea of focus and decided that I’d try to get by on personality alone. After a year of running my Blogger blog (Filter & Splice), I decided I wanted to try WordPress & change the name so that it was more memorable. I’ve been writing The Woo Woo Teacup Journal for almost 2 years now and I still try to get by on my personality. My tag line is “A blog by Mary Warner.”

    While some might say that a blog must have a specific focus, that doesn’t work for me, and it seems that it’s no longer working for you. You have a great, stand-out name, so I’d just pull everything together under the Johnny B. Truant brand and run with it. What you may be thinking of as scattered and not-quite-related forms of writing will very rapidly come together with a noticeable consistency for both you and your readers. (For as all over the place as I can be, I often get the feeling I’m repeating myself.) People will follow the continuity of your voice, plus get the variety of what’s taking place in your mind.

  38. Anne says:

    I have only been following you for like, ONE DAY, so how much is my opinion going to count? However, I never would have even started following you at all except for the tag at the bottom of the “trust” article in Problogger, which referred to the “Learn to be your own VA” site (and you’re right, I didn’t know what a “VA” was but that’s partly why I clicked on the link – to find out what it was). At the VA site I was immediately intrigued as someone who is (hopefully) going to be launching a new blog sometime soon.

    Then…I clicked on the “Contact” page (I don’t remember why) and I was intrigued by the humor there and then decided to follow you on Twitter. Well, you must be very talented (or interesting or something) to get this busy mom that interested in you in less than an hour. And now here I am commenting on your question and it’s like, “what the hell…”

    Anyway, I have said all this nonsense to say that your VA website is key so don’t minimize that. And I guess that’s all I have to say. Cheers.

  39. patrick says:

    I see JBT as an intriguing person with a unique perspective on life.
    That being first and foremost, is why JBT works as a brand.
    I think it works on the humor side, as well as the business side, because you understand that life is very much a mix of everyday and work day.
    You present both from two different, yet similar, vantage points.
    You do it well, in both arenas.

    Integration of the two makes total sense.

  40. Erica says:

    Oh, boy, do I sympathize. I’m currently doing the two blogs and planning another thing, and it’s tough to make content and not get that nagging grouchy feeling. Personally, I’d go for combined. It’s so much better when you can put all your eggs in the one (possibly mixed up and disorganized but totally you) basket rather than to try to carry a bunch of things all at once.

    And honestly? I think the “Johnny brand” is better than the “humor Johnny” or the “VA Johnny” alone. But then I kind of like randomness and unpredictability in a blog. Why read it if you always know what’s coming? Maybe you could have a regular “humor day” and a “tips day” for people that really can’t handle scrolling past a post they don’t care about? And when people subscribe for the “humor day”, they’ll probably at least skim the rest, and they might find something they didn’t even know they needed (and that they’ll pay you money for).

    It’s my sense that readers who love blogs from people that are multi-focused are probably multi-focused, too…maybe that’s just who you’re writing for. I certainly can’t speak for all your readers, and I’m struggling with the whole idea myself, but there’s my two cents. And I’ll probably subscribe (and stay subscribed) to whatever you do. So for me, one blog = one stop shopping.

  41. WG says:

    One blog, have a humor category, then we can find funny stuff even if it’s business focused. less work for you too, bonza!

  42. Jennifer says:

    I agree with (at least most of) the commenters above and think that you should combine everything into the johnnybtruant.com site.

    If you’re not going to be focusing on the “pure humor writing” stuff as much as teaching/talking about stuff in a humorous way, then archive the TEIH articles and just add as needed.

    And, since you don’t seem to have enough writing to do… you could also have separate email newsletters for each crowd. Those who just want the funny could subscribe to a TEIH-type newsletter, published monthly or so. Those who want actionable tech-y tips could subscribe to a LTBYOVA-type newsletter. Then your blog can be the main source of “this is what I want to talk about today” and the newsletter could have different or more detailed content.

    And one more thing (since I’ve apparently decided to write the longest comment ever), here are two examples for you:

    @chrisbrogan / chrisbrogan.com – for successfully providing different, but useful and interesting content on his blog and newsletter(s)

    @havi / fluentself.com – for being herself and running a business, all on one blog (mostly)

  43. Vicki says:

    JBT,
    First, let me just say that I LOVED “Make the internet your bitch”!!!! I am the Irreverent Coach so it probably goes without saying.
    Anyway, I also love the idea of “The Economy Isn’t Happening” but I look at it as a fun place (humor) that reminds me of why I don’t need to buy into this stupid “bad economy” thing. I say keep it and make it the fun place to learn some tips for not going crazy right now.
    Make the JBT site more of the professional site where you don’t see as much humor and you discuss serious business topics.
    I like both sides of you and learn so much from both. You being a bit whacky and funny and smart is confirmation that I can do it too. Thanks!!!!
    Irreverent Coach

  44. GirlPie says:

    I should read the other comments (I always learn) but can’t right now, so gut GirlPie reaction:

    1) yes, convert VA.com to JBT.com
    2) yes, humor on one blog, your voice full of tips on the other (it’ll be funny in that way you have
    3) choice A, kinda — remove tech, but write more and better and shorter FUNNY on TEIH.com

    You can link between them too –

    You know what to do, why ask? Just to make us feel good? Hearing any surprises?

  45. Johnny B. Truant says:

    GirlPie’s closing line is right. I ultimately do know what to do, but all of you help me work it out.

    I’m not going to respond to everyone individually; I’m going to thank you all as a whole for the great input. Hopefully this lack of an individual response does not cause you to throw shoes at me, because I’m a shoe ninja like George Bush and will dodge them.

    I DO think I will write pure humor posts as they strike me. I’m not going to go all business. Stupid, pointless, dumb, nonsensical stuff is still where I live and breathe.

    Ultimately, the question is where those posts will end up. But I think I know the answer to that. I just need to mull for a few days.

  46. Dushan says:

    Hi Johnny,

    First I want to say that i’m a HUGE fan of your writings and your monty-pythonesque humour, and the only reason that I do not interact more with you on the comment is that my english is very poor (i come from Switzerland).

    But if you ask our opinion, here is mine :

    I think that from an Internet Marketing point of vue, it’s nearly always better to focus… So i agree with you and think that it’s better to put everything on JohnnyBTruant. Your blog will not be as “niche focused” as it should be as told in the IM Bible, but it doesn’t matter, because I think it’s your humourous style of writing that make you specific, your niche could be “business, self-help and tech people that want to read about theses stuff, but in a funny way”.

    What about TEIH.com ? For me it would be better if you close it and post your humorous ramble on your main blog : it’s always nice to read a few “off-topics” and more personnal posts when you like a blogger. And with a proper categories distinction, you would be able to put a clear line between the “usefull” and the “funny” posts, so that the reader that “just” want to laugh (former readers of TEIH maybe) can style read what they want without having to deal with the more tech/business posts.

    Another option, if you still want a clear cut, is to make another blog non-profit oriented for your funny ramble, cause without the “economy” in it there wouldn’t be much confusion.

    In any cases I’ll still be a faithful reader and wish you all the best,

    Dushan JANCIK, internet marketing courses reviewer from Switzerland

  47. Joe says:

    Plain and simple. Do you want to be a writer? It’s clear you want to be a businessman. Keep them separate and keep writing regularly if the answer to the former is yes. Just my opinion.

  48. Johnny B. Truant says:

    If any of y’all want to know what I decided about this issue, that’s here: http://www.theeconomyisnthappening.com/blog/bulletins-and-site-news/i-know-what-i-am/

  49. Michael says:

    Johnny:

    I believe we all need 3 things from you …

    1. They need to learn how to reeeeeeally be themselves and express that to the world.

    2. They need to learn how to make a living online.

    3. They need to to learn how to do 1 and 2 as quickly as possible.

    From what I’ve seen of you over the last few months, you are really good at each of those, so just be JBT.com and teach us all how to accomplish those 3.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I asked my readers what they thought. I weighed it all long and hard in my own mind. And eventually I could only throw my hands in the air and decide to ditch both the tech tips direction and the pure humor direction, and see if “Johnny B. Truant” was strong enough yet to fly as a brand on its own. And so here I am, less than a year after making my first cent in an online business, and I’ve already changed my business model a few times. I’ve already scrapped two sites and forged a third. I’ve already had to figure out whether “humor” or “building websites” or “Johnny B. Truant” was a better horse to put my money on. [...]

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