Focus on Being You

mermaid1I was recently perusing one of those free downloadable viral reports and discovered a very interesting line of copy. It was a simple yet profound statement that summed up everything about the web content niche I don’t believe in:

Today we are going to show you how to appear like an inspirational, creative, buzz generating genius, with almost zero effort.

Hmmm…why would anyone want to merely appear genuinely inspirational and creative? Why not just be genuinely inspirational and creative? Well, to answer that question look at the end of the sentence: with almost zero effort.

Standing out from a crowd takes effort, no matter who or where you are. Bloggers need to be brilliant, innovative and patient to realize a payoff. However, it’s very common to see the most eager and ambitious bloggers quickly get derailed by the artificial promise of the quick and easy payoff.

This easy money mentality is based on the now-saturated “make money online” (MMO) niche, which basically goes like this: get attention, monetize your content and repeat.

The MMO model really can pay off if you’re the right type of person — the one with a killer salesman instinct. But if you decide to go down this path you better make sure you have the best weapons and armor. You need to know that MMOers live within a food chain where the big guy gets bigger and the small guy has a low chance of survival.

So ask yourself right now: are you the aggressive marketing type? If you’re not, then why even bother?

If you’re still reading this, then maybe you are serious about dominating your niche and assuming top command in your field. To that I say don’t hesitate: embrace and follow that path starting right now.

For starters you must learn how to ignore and transcend the seductive trappings of so-called internet riches and simply focus on being you. From an editorial standpoint, it’s necessary that you occasionally turn your back on the buzz and hype of the crowds in order to develop trust in your own ideas.

Doing this will help you become a more powerful and effective thinker, writer and editor. Only then will you be able to produce content that doesn’t just appear excellent, but really is excellent — in spite of all the entropy.

Yeah, But Show Me the Money

They say most bloggers suck at marketing, and it’s true. Admittedly we need to be mindful of marketing if we want to succeed. But ask yourself, who would you rather be: rock star or concert promoter? The source or the middle man? Picasso or art dealer?

The web ultimately rewards the ones who are true innovators. If you can achieve this level of authority, you will never have to worry about marketing the next big thing, or compromising your identity to make a sale.

In fact, you will have the freedom, comfort and confidence to express yourself as you are, connect with others like you and create a lasting impression on the people you influence. 

Blogger Steve Pavlina is a great example of someone who makes it all work. He says this:

With this blog I currently have no sales, no employees, no products, no inventory, no credit card processing, no fraud, and no customers…Now it brings in over $200/day $1000/day (updated as of 10/29/06).  I didn’t spend a dime on marketing or promotion.  

What Pavlina’s example shows us is that it pays to be yourself. What not a better way to live?

21 Replies

  1. To stand out I also think it requires humility. So many people have it a priority to do it their way.

    This is not in contradiction to being yourself.

    Simply, some things work and many things don’t. Those willing to focus their mind and resources on what actually does work while being themselves, will ultimately reap the most rewards.

    Whenever I write a blog post, or anything like that – I always have front and center: what works? What is fun? What is actually good?

    Be myself, yes. But also, be realistic about what will be sought after.

    • Charles Reply

      Much agreed, Bamboo Forest.

      Humility adds the human-connection dimension that separates the genuine person from the not-so-genuine person. This virtue is often ignored by the masses.

      Realism and usefulness make being yourself enjoyable and respectable by others.

  2. damon Reply

    And with that being said…

    Let me know if your interested in collaborating on a new FBI From Big Island Blogger site with about 20 other bloggers that have signed up.

    Beta site is under way… email me for link if interested.

  3. Tim Reply

    Aloha and Happy St. Patty’s Day,

    Thank god I found your site before I broke open the Guinness. (Just kiddin’) Actually, I stumbled onto your site from the FBI site (I’m on it too). Wanted to let you know that I enjoyed this post very much, and also the astute comments from Bamboo Forest. The “humility” remark really struck a chord, as it’s something I write about a lot (comes from working with the Japanese for 30 years and the humbling nature of communicating across cultures). In fact, the second post on my blog (last November) was entitled “Lessons in Humility from a Japanese Blues Guitarist”–many ensuing columns deal with the same theme. Check out my blog if the spirit moves you. (Nah, I’m not on a mission to monetize my site; just enjoy writing whatever I damn well please :-))

    Again, great site. Look forward to checking back in!


    • Charles Reply

      Aloha, Tim — thanks for your comment, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you as well (I’ve already had my

      Your blog is quite interesting — you seem to have hit a niche that nobody is really focusing on (Japanese-USA-Hawaii interchange). I see potential there.

      On humility: I sense there is much humility in Hawaii-based bloggers, perhaps more so than elsewhere. What do you think?

  4. A Maui Blog Reply

    yep, since I like blogging in itself, I neglect to do the “marketing” part of it…. there needs to be a balance if I’d really want to earn money from my blog 🙂

  5. Tim Reply


    Happy to say I survived another St. Patty’s Day. Now I gotta wait a whole year to do it again 🙁

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, my niche is pretty clear. And while my themes indeed cover cross-cultural issues, when you boil it down to its essence it’s really just about human stories, nothing more.

    As for my site having potential…Thanks for those kind words too. I guess the greatest potential I see in my blog is the joy it gives me to write whatever strikes my fancy. Perhaps you see something I don’t? 🙂

    Humility is a timely theme because it’s something our business and political leaders have been lacking the most. And it’s funny because one of the key things the Japanese taught me over the years is that “total quality management” and “continuous improvement” don’t happen without a humble and fearlessly reflective workforce. Toyota and Honda know this; the Big Three don’t. (Now let’s see, who has the better chance of surviving the current downturn?)

    But what really surprised me was the discovery several years ago that many American workers are ready to give humility a chance. They just need the right kind of leadership. After years of facilitating “reflection sessions” in cross-cultural conflict resolution workshops, Americans consistently prove to me they can tap into their deeper reflective side, and in many instances actually OUT-reflect Japanese counterparts. (Unfortunately, it’s the elitist minority at the top that needs to reflect the most, but I’m working on it!)

    That’s my long-winded way of saying that I agree with you that many of the bloggers I’ve read here on the Big Island come across as very humble. But what I’m seeing is a value pattern, a call for humility, bubbling to the surface across America: people are getting sick of arrogant leaders. Perhaps that’s why Obama’s low-keyed persona has struck such a chord?

    But…have to admit also that I’ve read some BI bloggers who are…let’s say…”not so humble”. But that’s okay! (For a devil’s-advocate point of view, check out Narcissistic Leaders by Michael Macoby, great read.) We need all kinds of bloggers to keep the world interesting!

    Truth is I don’t have any knowledge of other geographic blogging communities, so I can’t make a comparison. What I can say is the Big Island has some talented and creative bloggers scribing away in a wonderful place, where humility is deeply ingrained in the local culture.

    Lastly, thanks for checking out my blog. Hope to see you again soon 🙂


  6. Michelle Sedas Reply

    Great inspiration for us to be authentic and focus on being who we are.

    • Charles Reply

      Thanks and Aloha, Michelle!