Guest post by Conrad Walton
I couldn’t believe it.
So, I’m reading Naomi’s blog to get her wonderful insight and abuse, when I notice that the post was was written by this Johnny B. Truant guy.
I see him writing for CopyBlogger and Problogger.
Who IS this guy?
He’s writing about doing WordPress installs and how much money he’s making from that. I do WordPress installs. All of the stuff he’s talking about is the same stuff I do. I know everything that he knows. I’m as smart as he is. Smarter even! I’ve got better technical chops than he does.
But he’s the guy making all of the money, while I struggle along.
He is doing something that I’m missing. It’s not about the knowledge or the skills. There’s something else going on here and I don’t know what it is. Epic fail on my part.
Because they like me
After I calmed down a bit, I sent him an email, asking him why he makes money when I don’t. (I may have been a tad bitter when I wrote that email, just a tad.)
He told me that “People don’t work with me because they want a website… they work with me because they like me, and just happen to need a website.”. He said he wrote about it here: Popular Blogger
I get that. Everyone says it’s about the conversation. Connections. Relationships. I get that. Fine. Heard it all before. I’m a nice guy. People like me. Whatever.
Over the next 6 months, I began to see that almost all of the successful people I saw out there, got there with the help of friends. It started to make some sense to me.
I tried to be more social in the forums I was involved with. I tried to watch Twitter a bit closer.
“Only Hire Their Friends”
I joined the Question The Rules thing because it was a deal and I’m a sucker for deals. It took a while to listen to all of the interviews. (There’s a TON of interviews. I expected the normal 5 or 6, but there are over 24 hours of interviews included! I counted.)
I heard a story from Lee where he attended a class on how to get hired as a screenwriter. The class started with the instructor saying that “Directors only hire their friends”.
That’s how I felt. All these A list bloggers get traffic from their friends. I’ll never be able to break into that. I’m screwed. They “only hire their friends”.
Then Lee said that it dawned on everyone in the class that the goal was not to get hired, but the goal was be friends with Directors.
To get to be friends with them…Ah ha! I get it.
Conversation, Relationships, and Connections
All that talk about conversation, relationships, and connections was more than just throwing around buzz words. It meant that you should actually talk to people and connect with them. Like send emails. Respond in Twitter. Comment on their blog posts.
I sent Johnny another email, telling him that I’m starting to get this whole “relationship” thing and that the interview really helped. To quote him again, “what you say about relationships being the key (not IMPORTANT so much as TOTALLY THE THING) is exactly spot on. What makes it work is the relationships — not just with big names, but with individuals en masse too.”
I needed to make specific efforts to get to know people, to be nice to people, to care about people. I was beginning to see practical ways to apply all that “conversation” stuff.
It was like being 13 at a school dance, where all the girls were on one side of the room and all the guys were on the other side of the room. No one wanted to make the first move, but if you could get up the nerve to walk across the floor and risk rejection, (which is fatal when you’re 13), then you might actually get to dance with a real, live girl.
I’ve gotten up my nerve. I’ve started to talk to a few people and build a few relationships. I think I’m making a bit of progress. I think there are a couple people who know my name. I’ve talked with a few people on Twitter. I’ve tried to help where I could. I’m not there by a long shot, but I’m making progress. Nothing’s killed me yet.
The last thing I did was submit this guest post to Johnny and ask him to publish it, so if you are reading this, then you know that anyone can do it, even you.
Conrad Walton builds web sites and does SEO. He wrote The Simple Guide TO SEO. He’s an expert in more technical things than Johnny, but no one knows or cares. He rides his bike at the beach twice a week and has a cat named Spike.