About the same time (only a few weeks later), all the way across the United States on the East Coast, another small business owner decided to use his skills to start a social media marketing blog as well.
Both guys were successful businessmen. Both were driven. And both had a vision of rising to the top of their field.
The Journey Begins
By the end of Nov. of 2009, the West Coast blogger had experienced huge success. In fact, by leveraging his existing resources and networks, he received over 25,000 visitors in his first month. Not only that, but he, with a mere 6 weeks of existence, was ranked by Technorati in the ‘Top 100 Small Business Blogs’ for the entire world.
In the meantime, the East Coast blogger fired out the gates as well, producing as much content as he possibly could and doing his best to garner readers. By the end of the month, and after hours of diligent work, East Coast blogger had amassed a whopping 116 visitors.
By the end of Jan. 2010, West Coast blogger had achieved what would have been unfathomable just months before upon inception—Over 55,000 visitors in one month with each post averaging 200-1000 retweets. Simply put, the rapid growth was nothing short of unbelievable, the likes of which had never been seen in the social media realm.
East Coast blogger also continued to churn out content during this time. In fact, by the end of Jan. 2010, and after writing 3-4 articles a week, he managed to reach just over 500 total visitors to his site with an average of 3 retweets per post.
But the magical run didn’t stop there for West Coast blogger. Just one month later, by the end of Feb. 2010, his blog was ranked ‘Top 10′ in the world by Technorati for small business blogs and had already surpassed 10,000 subscribers.
As for East Coast blogger, he just kept pushing as hard as he possibly could—740 visitors for the month of February, and a subscriber count of 53 loyal readers.
Over the next 20 months, both bloggers continued to do their very best to give great content and value to their readers. Each worked doggedly, wrote often, and strove to grow their readership. In fact, by September of 2011, West Coast blogger had continued his rise to social media super-stardom by amassing 110,000 subscribers, 2 published books, and establishing the most well-known online social media summit in the world.
And East Coast blogger? About 2000 subscribers, no books, and no summits.
(Note from Marcus*** Ok, stop for a second and be honest with this question: If you were to analyze and compare these two gentlemen, would you say East Coast blogger had massively underachieved during his two years of blogging? C’mon, be honest, what say ye??)
That same month, in September of 2011, West Coast blogger and East Coast blogger met in person during the opening ceremonies of Content Marketing World in Cleveland. Within minutes of their meeting, the two hit it off well and managed to strike up a nice friendship over the next 2 days, with West Coast blogger playing the part of ‘mentor’ and East Coast blogger eagerly playing the part of ‘student’.
No Need to Compare
As I’m sure most of you are already aware, ‘West Coast blogger’ is the great Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, and ‘East Coast blogger’ is yours truly—Me. Mr. Lion. Mufasa. Mane Man. You name it. And yes, the numbers I’ve given you are accurate.
To be honest, ‘shock’ were the first thoughts that ran through my head when Michael and I met at Content Marketing World. There we were, chatting away at the opening event, and after inquiring as to when his blog started and what type of growth he’s had, and then finding out his staggering achievements, I just about spit my Diet Coke on the floor.
Simply put, I was stunned…amazed…flabbergasted…you name it.
That night, as I walked the streets of Cleveland back to my hotel room I kept repeating the same number:
And then followed it up with:
“Geez Marcus, what the heck have you been doing wrong for the last two years?”
What Truly Matters
But within hours of having this silly internal conversation, reality and common sense returned and I concluded what I know to be true:
Could I have done better during this time period had I a little more smarts, or a stronger network, or a better strategy? Yes, I’m sure I could have. But this much I also know—I have given The Sales Lion all I’ve got. I’ve reached my own level of success. I’m experiencing joy along this journey. And this is what truly matters.
What’s funny is the fact that many bloggers look at TSL and the success I’ve had over these last 6 months and in comparison feel bad for what they’ve not accomplished( smaller numbers, lack of ‘name recognition’, etc.).
The Curse of Comparative Blogging
If there is one bad habit I think just about every blogger in the world has (or has had) is that of comparing one’s own success or lack thereof with that of another blogger (this certainly applies to business as well).
Over the last two years, some of my lowest moments and deepest frustrations have come from looking at other bloggers and wondering why I couldn’t reach the heights they had managed to achieve.
But with each low moment, just as I did with my friend Michael, I took a step back to see my progress, my triumphs, and just how far I’ve come up this incredible mountain.
So here is the deal folks:
Stop negatively comparing you, your business, and your blog with others.
Sure, it’s fine to see what they’re doing well and mimic their successful strategies, but for the love of Pete do not allow yourself to get depressed because ‘you don’t stack up.’ Fact is, we are all on our own path, with our own time-frames.
Success is not cut from the same cloth for any of us. So let us embrace those differences. Let us cheer on and learn from the Michael Stelzners of the world, and then be the best we can possibly be, comparing ourselves to no one along the way but learning to enjoy every minute of the journey.
Do you ever find that you compare yourself to other bloggers (or businesses)? If so, what helps you overcome feelings of inadequacy and maintain focus? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one, as each one of us likely has our own story to share.
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