Johnny B Truant Pissed Me Off, So This Is What I Did

by Conrad on September 23, 2010

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.

Again.

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.

Epic Fail
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”.

Crap.

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.

Being Afraid
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.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonia Simone September 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Ha, I love it!

After spending some time seeing you in action, I don’t think you’ll have any problem at all. :)

Johnny September 23, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I wish I could publish the email Conrad originally sent me! Glad the turnaround worked or I figured I’d have to hire a bodyguard. :)

Laneth Sffarlenn September 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm

The best part about this post is how personal it is. Conrad, I love the way it is written, in gritty and humourous, honest writing. Just brilliant. I’m now hunting down your Twitter handle so I can connect with you on there and join your conversation. I’m not selling or buying but making a new friend is just as valuable as doing either :)

Thanks for sharing too, and thanks to Johnny for putting it up here! Kudos all ’round!

Pamela Wilson September 23, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Conrad, it’s great to see you here, and I love your take on this.

It’s so true, and it shouldn’t be surprising: it’s the same way offline, right? People want to work with people they know. The only way to get yourself known is to show up and raise your hand once in a while.

Why do I get the feeling we’re going to be seeing more of you now? ;-)

Pace Smith September 23, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Nice to meet you, Conrad. Looking forward to being your friend, I hope. (:

Conrad Walton September 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Thanks so much!

@everyone I’d love to be your friend.

(That first email wasn’t that bad, was it? Where exactly do you live, Johnny?)

Mrs Green @myzerowaste.com September 23, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I LOVED this post. I tend to speed read, but you made me slow down and take note. The headline was compelling, I could not resist but read.

It’s so true to the way I feel about some people too and oh so close to being a tad too personal and confrontational that it carried me along to the end. Great post Conrad :)

Tim Brownson September 24, 2010 at 6:10 am

Conrad, I care mate. I sobbed my eyes out reading that post.

One you learn how to stalk people like Truant does you’ll be fine. I had him camped in my backyard for almost 6 months eating berries and animal droppings. Eventually he became one of the family and now my wife prefers him to me.

Such is life.

Johnny September 24, 2010 at 6:12 am

Haha, Tim… now I don’t feel bad about the post that will run on Naomi’s blog today. :)

Mary E. Ulrich September 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

Conrad, nice to meet you and hear your story. I’m an old kindergarten teacher and I swear as I was reading I could hear Mr. Rodgers singing in the background.

Loved your title– bet you learned about that on Problogger and Copyblogger too.

Tim your comment is hysterical.

Lee, how about a directory of people from QTR, so we can connect on social media like Twitter….?

Lee September 24, 2010 at 10:14 am

Great idea, Mary — I’m working on a similar idea so let me figure out how to integrate that!

Mitch Devine September 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

Well done, Conrad! And a tip of the hat to Johnny, too, for being your virtual dance partner. Since this didn’t kill you, it must’ve made you stronger.

Alison Golden September 24, 2010 at 11:54 am

Hi Conrad:

I have no idea how I got to JBT and Lee but I know from them I got to Tim Brownson and from him I got to places, well…places I can only go to when everyone is in bed. ‘Nuff said.

But I also got to Mary Ulrich and we’re doing a blogging challenge together and yesterday I signed up for Copyblogger (I do everything backwards) and then I get a guest post request for a site with 10K readers and so it goes. And goes.

I enjoyed reading your story. It takes nerve to put it out there. I still think Johnny’s eating a tennis ball in that photo though.

Susan T. Blake September 25, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Way to go, Conrad!

Susan T. Blake September 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm

PS – A cat named Spike, huh? Very cool.

Marquina Rawlings September 28, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Wow! I’m glad to see that you didn’t mince words – tell us how you REALLY feel!

I am afraid I can relate to your article – I’m a smart, capable person with skills who has a love/hate relationship with people, too. Yeah, that means I am lacking a bit in social skills

I’m gonna have to work on that, if I’m ever gonna make some real money. Oh yeah, and make some great friends, too

Okay, I’m not a TOTAL hermit! People do like me – I’ve just got to put myself out there more. Yes, putting myself out there DOES make me feel 13 again! Except I’m a girl…

Great article! “Nothing’s killed me yet.” Funny stuff!

Diane Smith October 5, 2010 at 9:50 am

Hey, way to go Conrad! You stepped up to the box and swung. Continued success! ^_^

R. Anthony Solis November 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Man, this post really got me. It’s exactly how I feel…I started to do the human exchange thing on Twitter, later comments on blogs I liked and so on. I even wrote blog posts about my favorite bloggers, like Chris Brogan, Johnny B Truant and CopyBlogger…

Then I started to question my motives, intentions and my agenda. Was I building a relationship just to get attention my self? I felt I was and since slowed down. I comment, retweet and posts only when I know my heart’s in the right place. I have to know that I’m doing it for the right reasons.

Thanks for this post – it’s a good one. :)

- RAS

Michelle Howard November 16, 2010 at 7:16 am

This is priceless Conrad! What you wrote about the A-list bloggers, i was totally thinking!

Thanks for sharing your story. ….Off to develop my social “networking” “plan”

Michelle

P.S. Glad Johnny didn’t need the bodyguard after all. I hear they’re expensive & that might cut into his profits -)

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