Writing posts on this blog has been a cornerstone of my business for quite a while now. I started blogging in 1998 (we called it “journaling” back then), but it wasn’t really until somewhere around 2005 that I started figuring out how it would be part of my actual business (and by that, how it would be a way to make money).
How to Blog for Business
There are so many ways to look at this. You can choose to think of your blog as a media company, and stuff ads on it. I love ads, well, ads for things that make sense. The sidebar at [chrisbrogan.com] is full of companies I strongly support. Some people think just putting any old ad on their site will work. Or Adsense. (And it does, for SOME sites. Especially if you have 500,000 monthly unique visitors, which I don’t. I have only 200,000 or so.)
It all started making sense a little bit at a time, and then a lot at a time, and then I really saw it all, in a kind of continuum. By spending a lot of time analyzing what people have said to me at various events, in my inbox, in between their “official” statements and professional posturing, I’m starting to understand what’s needed by the Owners I so humbly intend to serve. There’s a war, such as it were, and the enemy has been named. But before we talk of war, we have to start where it always starts: at home.
Build Your Home
Life has changed over the last few decades. The promises that were handed to the Baby Boomer generation were as such: do good work, be loyal, show up, and everything else will be handled. We told their parents to serve their country and then come back and buy a house. The American Dream was one of the greatest marketing events to ever face the western world, and we exported it, too, so that people who were perfectly happy overseas could suddenly feel inadequate as well. If you weren’t following the American Dream mindset and model, what the heck were you doing? Certainly not living.
If you look at chrisbrogan.com, it’s built for conversion. There are my courses for sale, other projects, and then some of the free resources (which are also built to convert you). This is the front shop. This is where people stop by. They get here via Google (The #1 search term lately for people finding this site is “Chris.” Talk about people not being especially picky with their time.” It’s up to me to help them understand the better story so they can choose what to do next.
But that’s the “front shop,” where anyone can browse. Once people get my newsletter, they’ve been invited to the “back room,” where you don’t necessarily have to buy, but where the stories are better, the information is a bit more free-flowing, and the opportunities to connect with others is better still. That big difference, between the front shop and the back room, is a missing element for lots of folks.
I’m going through survey results as they relate to my recent webinar (now available on demand). Of the hundreds, who attended and purchased, I received surveys back from about 115. Of those, 111 people were positive to very positive, with some being effusive in their praise and kindness. Four people said fairly negative and disappointed things. They hated it. They thought it wasn’t worth it. They thought I was a bad man, whatever.
Now, pop quiz: guess which feedback I’ve been thinking about for days? (Aw, you already know, because YOU do the same thing!)
All of my work seems to be pointing to the same direction lately. People are struggling. They’re running out of time, running out of money, running out of motivation. If I’m to take everyone at their word, they’ve “tried everything” and “nothing works.” And yet, what I see, more and more, is that “good enough” or “you tried” or “why work so hard” are gaining momentum in every direction.
Comfort is the Enemy
The economy isn’t why people aren’t buying your product or service. Your competition isn’t why people aren’t buying your product or service. YOU are the answer. But the challenge that everyone faces with this information is the same: ‘so what do I do now?’ And the problem is that the answer is almost always “work really hard,” and that’s when people tune out.
Jacq and I work well together. She has this uncanny ability to point me towards interesting things that end up being passions of mine. She decides to get back into lifting weights, and then I rush out and get fanatical about it. She decides to work promoting Visalus, and then I go nuts. Jacq’s given me lots of ideas over the past few years. In talking about this, we both realized there something that separates me from lots of other people. I love to fail.
How to Fail Your Way Out of a Hole
I should probably rephrase that. I don’t love to fail. Who does? Last place? Yay! No, not me. But, I’m not afraid of failing. Not at all. I just learn from every experience, and do more with it. As part of this, I started realizing that there’s a few differences between what I do with all this learning and failing.
When we get antsy, we stop what we’re doing. When we are unsure, we grind to a halt. In Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, there’s a great speech given by King Leonidas to his generals before the night of The Battle of Thermopylae (the movie 300 also covers this, kind of). Here are just a few excerpts from the speech:
“Keep your men busy. If there is no work, make it up , for when soldiers have time to talk, their talk turns to fear. Action, on the other hand, produces the appetite for more action.”
I recently moved chrisbrogan.com to the Rainmaker platform, because I wanted to work more on my business, and less on the details of maintaining a website. In case you’re not aware, Rainmaker is a hosted WordPress solution with a very customized back-end so that everything is a lot simpler and cleaner and easier to understand. By “hosted,” I pay a monthly fee to run the site on Copyblogger Media’s servers, and for the platform and all the themes.
In case you don’t already get my podcast, I thought I’d stick a copy of it here to check out. I recorded a short little conversation about choices and price and value and how we sometimes make really silly choices that don’t make any sense whatsoever.
Also, in this recording, I mentioned a webinar I’m hosting. If that’s interesting, check it out. It will be the right thing.
The strangest of moments can bring you insights. I’ll tell you that for sure. Do you see the picture that accompanies this post? That was moments after winning a silly competition where I had to use a piece of uncooked spaghetti to spear six ziti noodles without using any hands. How did I accomplish this faster than my competitors? Well, that’s where the insight came in.
How Can I Focus Better?
In that moment, my brain-chatter was intense: “I don’t want to be here. Why did I say yes to this? This is stupid? I’m going to LOOK stupid. Wow, I’m very shaky. My eyesight is a bit off.” And so on. My mind was all over the place. Until I decided to own the situation.