blogging momentumHave you ever, in the midst of reading a blog post, thought to yourself that the blog was destined to fail? Chances are you have. In fact, I’d be willing to bet you’ve had this feeling more than once.

Personally, I get it all the time. After two years in the blogosphere, at this point I usually have a general feel if a blogger is going to last 6 months or not, simply by reading one post.

Does that make me special? No, of course not. Like I said, you do/feel it too. When you ‘read between the lines’ of content, it’s amazing just how much you can predict about a blog’s future. Now granted, I love it when my gut is wrong, because I get no joy out of watching another’s dreams go down the drain, but what I’m saying here is a reality for all of us.

The Truth Hurts

I had a very interesting experience last week when a fellow friend and blogger, Steve Roy of Ending the Grind, called me one night, very distraught,  and explained how he had just gotten his teeth kicked in (figuratively speaking) by ultra popular blogger/writer Penelope Trunk as he was interviewing her for his weekly podcast.

Steve then asked me to listen to the recording so as to hear my thoughts on the matter.

To make a long story short, Penelope turned the interview on Steve, and proceeded to tell him why his blog was failing, why he wasn’t reaching his ‘goals’, and why things wouldn’t change until he completely changed his outlook and started doing things differently.

To be frank, it was one of the most uncanny displays of psychology I’ve ever seen in my life. Quickly I learned that Penelope has a communication gift—it’s called cutting through the bull and saying things exactly like they are.

Although I hope like heck you take a moment to personally listen to the podcast and hear the moving conversation, Penelope’s main point to Steve was simple:

Stop pretending like you’re doing stuff when you’re not.

Wow, strong words, but very, very insightful.

Yeah, sure Steve has written tons of articles, built a solid community, and interviewed many great folks in the blogosphere. Notwithstanding these things, he has made no real progress towards leaving his normal job. Hence Penelope’s words that he has done nothing.

The Law of Momentum in Blogging

Steve’s case is just one example of how the Law of Momentum affects each and every one of us. Fact is, when it comes to our goals and dreams, we’re either making progress or we’re going backwards, there is no static ground.

Let me put it to you another way:

Question: What happens to a tree when it stops growing?

Answer: It dies.

See what I’m saying here. Progress, and actually ‘doing something’, are the life line of a blogger and his or her content.

The Goal of ‘Building Community’ Isn’t Enough

This is also why ‘building a blogging community’ is not a viable long term goal for a blogger. Yeah, sure a community is awesome, but there comes a point in every blogger’s life when ‘having a strong community’ simply isn’t enough.

Some of you may take my words on community as sacrilegious, which is fine. But mark my words, if you think just having a strong community is going to be enough impetus to keep you blogging for the next 10 years, you’re sorely mistaken.

There must be more.

There must be growth.

There must be action.

There must be creation.

Seeking the Remarkable

Let me give you another perfect example of what I’m talking about.

Last week I was speaking with the ultra talented Farnoosh Brock of Prolific Living. As we were emailing back and forth, I asked Farnoosh if she would be attending Blog World LA in November, at which point she replied:

“Alas, no blogworld for me and it’s not for lack of wanting to hang out with my dear friends and community, and now that I know I will be missing your speech on top of everything else, I feel a bit sad. To be honest, I decided after WDS, Marcus, that I need to have something to show for and I have to stay put and really work up something remarkable.

Frankly, I was very, very impressed with these words from Farnoosh. You see, she could easily go to Blog World, have a great experience, meet lots of new folks, etc., but that simply wouldn’t satisfy where she is at this point with her blog.

Farnoosh is now in the stage of creation. She knows she has got to push herself to greater heights or she’ll be just like the tree that stops growing.

To Farnoosh, I say ‘Well Done’.

Others Doing It Right

I could go on and on with other examples of folks that are busy creating, doing, and growing.

Stuart is taking Unlock the Door to another level.

John Falchetto has become way more than an ‘expat coach’. His 30 day challenge is making waves and literally changing the lives of those that are participating.

Gini Dietrich is launching Spin Sucks Pro. (Oh, and she’s writing a book too)

JK Allen is… (oh wait, I can’t tell you yet, but it’s going to be awesome!!) (Sorry JK, couldn’t resist bud ;-) )

All of these folks are examples of ‘successful’ bloggers that are moving on to their next level of growth, and I can guarantee that each would tell you that if they didn’t make these moves, they’d be going backwards.

My Growth Vision

As for me, most of you already know I’m in the midst of major changes in my life. I used to write about inbound and content marketing from the perspective of a pool guy. That worked for a while, but now it’s simply not enough. There must be growth.

In the coming years, this blog will be full of my consulting stories, just like the one in Michigan, where inbound and content marketing impacted a company and changed lives.

Also, as of today, I have 8 contracted speaking events in 8 different states scheduled for 2012. Once I get to about 20, that will be enough. Within the next 2 years,  I’ll be speaking all over the world. And as I do this, you’re going to hear all about it.

To put it simply, I’m going to keep telling you what life teaches me.

But all of this is a result of my search constant yearning for growth, creation, and improvement.

Something Greater

So that’s my challenge to you today my friends. Are you actually ‘doing something’, or are you just writing the same stuff you did last week, with a slightly different tune?

It is my hope that you’re stretching yourself—that you’re looking for opportunities to grow, create, and push your talents.

If you want to continue in this thing called blogging, I can assure you this is the only way and means whereby you’ll accomplish such a difficult yet rewarding task.

Your Turn

Wow, so many questions. Here are a few: Do you ever notice bloggers ‘talking a lot but doing nothing’? Also, do you think the singular goal of ‘growing a community’ is enough to always keep a blogger happy and motivated? And finally, tell us about what you’re doing to push growth in your blog and life, we’d love to know.

As always, your comments truly matter. Whether you agree or disagree, your voice is part of this community and deserves to be heard.

191 thoughts on “Eventually, Mr.Blogger, You Actually Have to Do Something

  1. First I have to comment before I comment.

    Who the hell is Penelope Trunk? Obviously a nobody because I have no clue who she is, what she does, that she exists, or even care who she is. I mean seriously. Now I have to go to the Twitter and ask her who the hell she is?

    Funny I don’t know Steve but he is your friend which means he runs with Lions and immediately I am sure he is smart, has game, and a guy I would like just by association.

    Penelope I would leave sitting outside the super dance club…telling her she will be allowed in soon but the club is packed and have to wait for someone to leave. But every time someone left I would let in someone on line behind her.

    Ok now to read the rest I will be back! Wait… I’ll Be Bak!

    • pea

      Then Howie how can you possibly tell that her advice is not relevant if you don’t know who she is? And one thing I know about lions is that they are pretty fierce, so I’m sure if Steve runs with them, he is man enough to take, (or indeed choose ultimately to dismiss), what appears to be potentially life changing advice, no?

      Howie I am trying to work out what you are finding so offensive, someone speaking their mind? Someone giving advice? Someone not hiding behind often tedious niceties and just getting down to the point?

      • I’m with you Pea. Steve is man enough to take it, as he stated in the commentary regarding the podcast. Was it a little harsh? Well, maybe, but I’m a firm believer that all of us need an honest punch in the gut at times, and that’s what he got.

      • Wow I upset some folks LOL My lesson is since I have no clue who Penelope is I forget she has friends or admirers. Bad Alien!

        Sorry I just don’t need to know her. And Marcus I trust your judgement that she is smart and has good stuff to share. There are a gazillion people I can learn from. Trust me I learn from a lot of people. There are many people depending on what you seek I could say ‘You should really know this person’ And there are a LOT of people I will never find or meet or read who have game and can teach me a lot. I am really fine with that. So no I don’t need to ever read her or meet her. Neither does anyone. Nor her me. There is way too many people out there for that. And not sure if I could learn from her. Depends on what her focus is. I am a business student. Been one since high school. Alex P Keaton was a hero of mine. But I am in Advertising/Marketing/Sales. Social Media, Blogs etc are just one of many tools. I am a social media skeptic in many ways (Facebook is huge social media failure for business in my view) and a social media evangelist in others (twitter success for personal networking and blogs for business) all depends on what the subject is.

        My point was don’t do what she did to Steve on Steve’s podcast. She could of used plenty of examples and then had a frank talk with him after. That is where I have a huge issue. Would you go to her home and ridicule her choice of decor at a dinner party in front of everyone? Just not classy to me is all. So really who is she?

        Hey I like blunt. Obviously! And yes I am not always tactful. Penelope and I need to go to tactful class together is all.

        Look we all have different goals. I will never go to SXSW even though I would want to go for the music. Even if I had the money to go. The reason is because the Miami Winter Music Conference overlaps. Sorry dancing all night until dawn beats a conference every time 8) Different people. Different goals.


        • BethanyBob

          YES. THIS.

          Thank you for having the balls to say all of that, because I couldn’t agree with you more and couldn’t have said it better or more tactfully!

        • Howie,
          I can see your point of view here and maybe it wasn’t cool to go off like that during my interview. But to her credit, she did think I was going to edit it. Of course she then proceeded to call me out and tell me that I wouldn’t post it unedited..

          In any case, I wasn’t offended or pissed, just shocked! Although it was a very humbling experience, I needed it.

        • Danny Brown

          Hey there Howie,

          You’re not missing much with Trunk, mate. Yes, some folks like her while many others see her for what she is… ;)

    • You’re to much Howie!

      Seriously, Penelope has serious game, you should give her a look. I went to her blog and once I saw a few posts with around 400 comments, I knew she had a clue.

      Looking forward to your thoughts once you get a chance to listen to the podcast man. ;-)


      • pea

        Yes and I’d like to emphasize that I’m not cross – just puzzled and looking forward to your thoughts too.

        • Penelope Trunks rules. Period.

    • Howie – since we’re among fans of Penelope Trunk (what) I’ll share with you privately what I think of her. But yes, she’s quite infamous.

      • Hey Jenn, I’m not sure most folks here are even fans of Penelope. Personally, I’ve heard of her, but haven’t really read almost any of her stuff, so I can’t really speak for her content,methods, writings, etc….But I will say that her method of communicating in this case, albeit harsh, is probably exactly what Steve needed to hear to jumpstart his career. But I guess time will tell.

        Thanks for dropping by,


  2. I am listening to the podcast now, in all honesty Steve just got a free consultation that he should pay close attention to!

    • Yep, my thoughts too Keith. When someone speaks to us that way, it’s easy to get offended and tell the person to go to heck. And although Steve didn’t know how to take it at the time (I don’t blame him), he really has done what he needs to do to turn this into a life changing experience. Really powerful stuff in my opinion.


      • I just finished listening to podcast. I REALLY hope he pays close attention to what she told him. I know I would have been cussing her out myself LOL. Not only was that free advice that is invaluable to Steve (and I think it is something his friends and readers have already been telling him, I know I have), but things she said could be applied to ANY of us!

        Best podcast interview EVER!

        • Keith,
          You’re right, that was some incredible advice and believe me, I am going to use it to better myself.
          Best Podcast interview ever, huh? I finally made it! WooHoo… :)

  3. pea

    “‘talking a lot but doing nothing’?” I don’t notice it a lot but maybe that is because I move on if I’m not inspired. Their talking and not doing is not really my problem, unless, of course they ask me for assistance. I do notice other things like lack of polite communication to your seedling community which I find slightly peculiar.

    No, of course just growing a community aimlessly is pointless and I have seen many ‘well stocked’ bloggers call it a day probably for the reason you stated.
    No, I won’t tell you what I am doing as I prefer to just do it than talk about it, :) however, I will say that I recommend every now and then folks have a meeting with themselves and at that meeting you ask the same questions as at any corporate meeting. You have the minutes from your previous singular hook-up, then look at where you are heading and query if you have reached there or not. I do it all the time…OUT LOUD!… When folks pass by I sound quite mad and I don’t care! At the end I am fully aware if I have just wasted a week or a month and what to do to fix it. I also always know my ‘why’.

    Thoughtful, interesting post as ever.

    • Pea, I really love your perspective. It’s awesome. And this idea of having a meeting with yourself is perfect, especially out loud!! :-)

      Keep knowing your ‘why’!!

      And thanks so much for making the conversation here a better one,


  4. I think people should start distinguishing between the difference of bloggers that are looking to make a full time income and those who just want to do it for the passion and fun. I have seen bloggers that were just doing it for the fun and then feel like they have to sell advertising etc otherwise their blog is a failure. The result is that it no longer is a passion for them but a chore. Success can be measured in so many different ways and I have also seen bloggers move on in leaps and bounds over a period of just three months so I hope you do not predict failure just by reading one blog post.

    • There is a difference Natalie, you’re very correct. But notwithstanding, as I’ve been observing blogging behavior for a few years now, I’ve noticed the actions of those that keep with it, and those that come and go. And of the ones that stick around, growth and ‘doing something’ are imperative.

      No, ‘doing something’ doesn’t mean writing an eBook to sell or affiliating or anything like that, but it does mean stretching who they are as a person, otherwise, they’ll realize they’re just saying the same thing over and over again.

      Regarding thin-slicing and snap judgements, let me give you an analogy. Have you ever gone to a restaurant for the first time, and based on your experience, thought that they would not make it long in business? Better yet, have you ever driven by a new restaurant and thought, based on their appearance, ‘Uh oh, they’re in trouble’ ? These snap judgements didn’t make you a bad or ‘judgmental’ person, they’re simply impressions based on what life has shown you up to this point. Make sense?

      Again, I don’t want any blog to fail. That’s exactly why I wrote this article.

      Thanks so much for giving your thoughts Natalie. I really, really appreciate it.


      • Hi Marcus,

        To use your analogy. The only time I have ever driven past a restaurant and thought they are in trouble is if it is boarded up! Just because it is empty at lunch time, it does not mean that it does not do a roaring trade in the evening.

        If I visit a restaurant for the first time, I will not decide straight away if I think their business is in trouble. I taste the food, visit the toilets, talk to the staff, try and take a peaky look at the kitchens, listen on other peoples conversations to find out if they enjoy the restaurant.

        You line people up for success or failure just by reading one post but you do not know what is going off behind the scenes or explore the rest of the blog. Is the writer trying to find a style that suits them and their readers and is experimenting? Is that writer reading blogs just like yours and deciding on a good action plan for the next six months? Is the writer trying to find out how to improve by asking friends and family for feedback? Was that a post when the writer was trying to evolve and just made a mistake? Nine times out of ten, you will never know any of this so writing them off for failure by reading 500 words is very harsh.

        Yes, the post may be crap and not worthy of being read but every blog owner starts somewhere and always evolves and changes until they reach a zone when they are confident.

        Actually, the only blogs that I do write off for failure are the ones when I know for a fact that the content has been stolen from another site. They are the blogs, to which I would agree with your statement.

        • Trust me Natalie, I’m not lining anyone up for success of failure. I keep my thoughts to myself (when it comes to that) and hope for the best.

          Thin slicing is based on impressions. It’s not always accurate, and not something that I strive to do. But because my business is that of helping individuals and businesses create content that’s built to last, I tend to analyze things that others might not. ;-)

          I appreciate your analogy Natalie, and your passion rocks. :-)


  5. Now my full response and btw I wish to addend to my comment. Because I didn’t read all the way through. Penelope should not of done that on his podcast. Truth hurts yes. I have no issue with her critiquing Steve especially if it helps him. I am brutally blunt. But so uncouth and untactful to do it on his podcast. That to me was a ridiculous failing on her part. My comment still stands. So she has 127k Twitter followers. That makes her a Pop Star not a Rock Star. I follow rock stars only (they have many less followers trust me). So could she handle the truth if I said to her ‘Who are you? My life is not deprived without you in it? Why should I care about you? etc. Just curious if she could.

    Anyway here is my real comment no jokes M. Sheridan. Blogs are very unique. And depending on the type will depend on what people expect of you. Some are just voyeur blogs. Like a celebs. Others are work related or special interest related.

    As long as the content offers what someone seeks I consider that doing something. Now one thing I do with my blog is relate my own case studies to support my positions. Many bloggers do not, which you mention (A lot of talk a little of doing). They might discuss topics. But they often don’t show real life examples. I would follow a Chris Brogan and read his blog if when I read it I saw ‘We did this with Pepsi and here was the result’ or ‘I studied 25 Facebook Brand pages and here is what I am seeing’

    I also think a prolific business blogger needs to show they are doing something besides blogging or writing books. All insights mean zero to me unless I feel that person is using them. You do this when you discuss going to businesses and initiating their actions. You bring real life to me which I can then relate to my real life.

    That said no one seems to care when I show proof of my positions. I know I am erratic with my blogging. It is definitely labor intensive. Sometimes I wish I had such validation. Other times I think maybe I should stay under the radar so my clients now and future can benefit and not worry their competitor read my blog. But I refuse to write just to fill pages.

    • Howie,
      Although Penelope was very straight forward almost to the point of rudeness, I think that’s just her personality. She has a no BS approach to business and it works for her.
      Also, she is much more than a pop star. She has a HUGE blog, a successful book, and has had multiple highly successful startups. She is a hell of an entrepreneur!

      I could easily have chaled up the call to her being nuts, but she’s not. She gave me exactly what I asked her for-honest advice.

    • I care……….just sayin’………….

    • Howie, have I ever told you how much you add to conversations?

      If not, you sure do brother. :-)

      Thanks again for all you’ve brought to the table here,


  6. Marcus,

    I had never thought of myself as a blogger who talked a lot but did nothing until my call with Penelope.
    I naively thought that by writing good articles, adding value for my readers, and building a cumminuty of people, was doing all the right things.

    And I probably would have continued along this path for quite some time had it not been for this converastion.
    I was defenitely not prepared for the conversation as it happened but am so thanksful that it did happen. Penelope knows far more about how to be successful online than I do, so it was invaluable to have this brutally honest feedback.

    When I called you that night, I was kind of in shock from what had just happened and your ensuing email really helped me get a grip on the situation.

    Honestly, I don’t know what the future holds for me but I do know I have a lot to think about.
    Thanks for everything, man. I appreciate your time and your friendship.

    • Steve, not only did Penelope help you, she had a huge impact on anyone who was willing to listen to her words and take away the emotional edge about what she said. The way you’ve handled this event has really, really impressed me, and I think if you do run with it, it will literally be the turning point of your professional life. No matter what though, you’re now different. You can’t go back. You’re either going to be the tree and keep growing, or you’re going to die…all because you’ve now experienced a paradigm shift that will affect everything you do online.

      I’m cheering you on my friend. Thanks for being real.


    • Hi Steve,

      You are definitely not alone. Majority of us have the same thoughts as you but you are brave enough to put the post on the line for all of us to see and i know this is going to help you move a big step forward. The truth is always harsh to take. I am glad there is someone like Penelope who says what she thinks.

      I read Marcus’s response in your post and indeed he did you a big favor by giving a very good response.

      Thanks to both of you for sharing this. This is going to be a wake up call not only for you Steve. Many of us have to sit down and think about where we should go from now.

      • Lye,
        During the interview, I was trying to steer the conversation away from me and felt like nobody was going to be interested in hearing Penelope let me have it.
        I now realize from all the comments/emails I’ve gotten, that it really did help people to questions themselves.
        And yes, Marcus’s email did get me to see it in a more positive light and I’m thankful for that!

    • Steve, the worst thing you can do is dismiss what Penelope said as complete tosh and keep doing what you did before.

      But as you’ve already learned and moved on, I don’t have to worry about that ;-)

      I thought Penelope was a $&%^ at times, but her overall message was strong and good – have a goal, and go for it. Don’t lie to yourself, because you’re not fooling anyone :-)

      • Stuart,
        Given who she is, there was no way I was going to dismiss what she said. I will admit though that when I called Marcus after the interview, I thought she might be crazy!
        After listening to it a few more times, I realized that it’s just her personality to be abrasive and no nonsense. It’s exactly what I, and many others, needed to hear.

  7. I think it’s important that people also recognize that blogging isn’t the only way to get those speaking gigs, earn respect, etc, but if they choose to blog, they need to commit to not just being a blogger, but also doing what you say above.

    Mitch Joel said in a recent post that, when people ask him how he has time to blog, he asks them how they have time to watch TV, which is a total and utter misdirection of the key question. Are you doing everything you can to achieve what is important to you? There are a lot of reasons that I blog very, very infrequently anymore. One of them being that my path to my goals does not include blogging…at least not frequent blogging, and yet, I still do not watch TV. I fill my time doing all of the other things that will move me forward, blogging not included.

    That all being said, if you’re going to blog and dream of Marcus Sheridan-like stardom, be like Farnoosh and commit to accomplishing something worth talking about. All else is blog masturbation – if you will excuse the crude term.

    Final note, I still like Mitch Joel’s podcast even though I find his TV question annoying ;)

    • Eric!!! Hey bud! I’m so very glad to see you and hear your thoughts as well.

      Actually, I think Mitch Joel’s reply is kind of awesome. ;-) But I’m a snarky little man sometimes ;-)

      What’s cool about you Eric is you know what you want, and you’re doing what it takes to get there. You understand that ‘blogging’ per se, isn’t the means to that end, but that doesn’t mean you’re not on an awesome path to reaching your goals. I hope folks understand that, despite what I say in this article, blogging isn’t the only answer.

      But yes, you (generally speaking)can’t just talk about stuff. You have to DO stuff, and that’s, ultimately, what separates the most successful in any field.

      Thanks again Eric,


      • Ha! Thanks, man. Yeah, it’s tough to not dream of blogger-driven, real-world stardom in the model of The Sales Lion, but thankfully, I’m pushing hard in other channels. That being said, the public adulation that comes with being an awesome blogger would be nice ;)

    • Hi Eric, you are absolutely right and in fact I am working really hard *not* to be dubbed as a blogger, when I do so much else and offer so many other things. It is limiting when we just call ourselves bloggers. I think so long as what you are doing is moving you – albeit inch by inch, in my case ;) – toward your goals, you are on the right path. You may need to blog once a month but create a product once a month on the side, and that may be your drive. I totally understand. And it’s very nice to hear your thoughts and of course, have Marcus mention me here in such a kind light, as always.
      Now back to creating something worthwhile and worth talking about :)!!

      • Thanks, Farnoosh. It’s inspiring when someone says something like, “Okay, I built this great thing (a blog in this case), so now, let’s do something meaningful with it.” Not to say of course that a blog cannot be meaningful in and of itself of course, but the “what does this mean in the bigger picture” type questions start to move us out of just the blogger category and into more of the “marketer/mother/CEO/etc that also has an awesome blog” category.

        • Yes, that’s the hope – and I meant to say that I want to be seen “not just as a blogger” but I certainly am a proud blogger. But a blog is just a vehicle, a platform, a place for us to do our THING and that THING had better be something remarkable, and be able to stand on its own without anything else holding it up.
          Talk about thinking big. I had better go build my “THING” ;))!
          Nice chatting, Eric.

  8. As someone who has been blogging for over a decade I can tell you that many of the people who I cultivated relationships with back in the day are no longer blogging today. Either they burned out because they didn’t have passion for their topic or they just weren’t into it anymore. However, I’m not sure selling is THE way to achieve that next level of blogging.

    I used to own a very successful blog, I grew it into a blog network and when I didn’t have time to put in the full time effort, I sold. I didn’t do much selling on my blog because I’m not a salesperson. My revenue was ad based. However, it was the most successful blog in i’s niche despite my not creating courses, or webinars. (I did once write an ebook and sold it for ten bucks but I didn’t do much to sell it because I just don’t like selling.,)

    Now I blog to share, not to earn.

    I don’t believe sales or creating products are a sign of a blogger’s success. Instead, I think it more depends on the goal of the blog. I consider my blog a success even though it doesn’t have the reach or income level of my former blog. It’s a success because of the people who visit. My goal is to discuss blogging and community with like-minded people, and that’s all. I do have some affiliate ads around, but I’m don’t push. That’s not what I’m about.

    I did get a book deal and I do have a sales page, but I’m not blogging to sell my book.

    I also don’t believe one has to quit one’s job to be a successful blogger. I sold my blog to go back to work and don’t plan on quitting my job any time soon. I started a different blog that’s fairly well received. To me, it’s a great success despite the lack of a product or service.

    There are different types of blogs and different goals for the blogs. Some of the blogs I’m most disappointed in are those that spend more time selling than sharing.

    I rambled but I hope I made sense.

    • You make a ton of sense Deb. I hope the message of this article is not that one needs to ‘sell’ to make progress with their blog. In fact, I think ‘selling’ can, in many ways, be the death of a blog…But that’s another article. ;-)

      Creation to me is about going out and doing. It’s about applying principles.

      Take personal development blogs for example. The majority drive me nuts, because they speak in platitudes and don’t speak of experiences. But for me, as a reader, I want to hear real-life stuff.

      Jonathan Fields is a great example. The guy talks on living abroad and business and personal development, but he’s actually out there, living what he preaches.

      Hopefully I’m making sense here.

      Thanks so much for your comment Deb. Appreciate you and can’t wait to meet up next month!!


    • Love Deb’s insights. We define success on our own terms. If the goal is to become a savvy internet marketer, then sales probably are a factor of success but blogging can bring success, satisfaction and fulfillment and rewards on so many, many scales, and it may then contribute to indirect revenue as a result of building you, your brand, as an authority in the field, but I love how Deb talks about successful blogging and measures of success….. !!

  9. First off, thanks for the mention Marcus, I do appreciate it. I always look forward to hitting that next level!

    Now for this post – I’m currently in the process of listening to the interview, and it’s very interesting. I can see how things escalated into the murky waters of ‘personal attack’, but I can also tell that Penelope has a good heart and genuinely wants to help people, in her own style.

    What struck me more though, was Farnoosh’s comment about not going to BlogWorld and building up her work. With this, I agree to a point.

    I agree because if she doesn’t keep up the work on her blog, she then starts to run the risk of withering. Like a tree that doesn’t grow, it starts to die instead, as you put it Marcus.

    But I don’t agree for two reasons:

    – Farnoosh already has a backlog of work behind her, including many articles, a fledgling podcast, and a handful of e-books. She doesn’t ‘need’ to work up something remarkable, because she already has.

    – I actually believe that Farnoosh is being too hard on herself. The desire to ‘crush it’, or ‘get stuff done’ can lead some to feel guilty when they’re not doing something great. Quiet moments can feel like hell.

    Instead, why not say that life is full of all kind of moments, and we won’t be doing something remarkable all of the time? I certainly don’t practice everything I preach, all of the time, but do I feel guilty about it? No, I just get on with life and doing what I love doing.

    Great read Marcus, really good stuff :-)

    • Gosh, I feel like a celebrity. Marcus, what are you doing to me? :)
      Just kidding guys. Stuart, hi and nice to see such insightful comments here I know that Marcus really likes to rock the boat. First, THANK YOU so much for all the kind words of recognition. I am so glad you see Prolific Living that way. Thank you. And you are right, I am being too hard on myself. For a minute, I thought my husband wrote a part of your comment. I will celebrate more and look at the big picture more. I have just had this drive inside me to make up for what I call “lost years” even thought they aren’t and create something worthwhile, even though I probably have created a ton already, and this conversation is really giving me perspective, …. although I am still gonna miss all of you at Blogworld, and still staying on task. Thanks Stuart!

      • Not a problem, and thanks for replying Farnoosh – I was thinking about e-mailing you personally, but I won’t say much more ;-)

        I hope I don’t continue to sound like your husband, so let’s call this a one-off! But I’m glad I could help in some way :-)

        • Too funny, dear Stuart. You can’t sound too much like him. He is weird and eccentric but altogether wonderful, and it was a compliment, I assure you. Email away anytime. Have a great day!

  10. Like I have mentioned before, the “pay me for doing my passion” markets are becoming overly saturated. Steve has always spoken of his interest to leave his job. The desciption of the 9-5 as “soul sucking” from some people as well as their derision of others who do this type of work (most of us) is far too prevelant on the internet. One example is Everett Bogue, who started out as a helpful sort of guy that had some great info on his blog, then turned into one of the “you’re useless if you work a regular job” types. Thanks for your help Ev, not all of us can travel the world with their laptop to make a living.

    My guess is that Trunk has heard all of this far too much already. “I want to quit my job and make a living on-line”. Steve was getting an honest, straight forward response from her that most of us are not going to make their living from a blog. Period. No matter how many articles you write.

    Steve’s stuff is very good, I love reading it. He is creating. And he’s doing it better than many bloggers in the personal development arena that write the same stuff over and over again (please, give me another top ten list to manage my time or improve my stats ;)). That’s a great start. I would take Penelope’s advice and either seriously consider what she said, or say she’s full of $^@# and follow your direction.

    Big Cat stirring it up yet again!!! Can’t wait to see some of the rants this post produces!

    • Wow, great points Joe. Ev reached a tipping point and lost track with this thing called ‘reality’. Is traveling the world with the laptop nice for some folks? Yeah, sure, but it would stink for people like you and me who:

      1. Have a family.
      2. Love where we live.
      3. Don’t feel like traveling is the end all/be all/ etc.

      Steve is creating content, yes, but I think he’ll readily admit he’s not ‘creating experiences’ enough. This is why he has been so frustrated with his blogging situation. I’m strongly of the opinion that content does not equal creation.

      This being said, I don’t want to come across as an Ev Bogue. Progress can be made for all of us in diverse ways. We don’t have to move, change jobs, etc. But we do have to sense that inner ‘improvement’…..if that makes sense.

      You’re the best Joe.

      Go Phils ;-)

      Go Eagles 4th quarter defense ;-)


    • Joe,
      I’m sure Penelope has done this kind of think a thousand times before. She obviously got fed up with my inability to articulate my goals. I do feel like she jumped to conclusions on a few things, especially about Pat Flynn.
      I love your support here, man. It’s awesome!

      As for her feedback, I’m taking for all that’s it worth and will be working on creating some definite goals and plans immediately.

    • David

      It should be noted that Ev Bogue did NOT succeed at traveling the world and making enough to live on. Scam artist that he is, he’s currently hitting up social networking regulars for money for an apartment, new computer (which he sold to get back to the States) and more.

      Anyone still listening to this guy deserves to be taken for their money.

  11. 2 months ago, my site was destined for failure. Now, my site is slowly growing. what’s the difference? I began taking action! I started doing the things I knew I needed to do. I still have a long way to go, but I know I will get there.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Bravo, Grady. I love it when things turn around by our decisive action! Keep it up!

    • ACTION!! Yes Grady, way to go man! Keep it up brother and I’m sure you’ll continue to see that which you originally set out to do.

      Thanks so much for stopping by,


  12. I don’t know too much about JK or Stuart but I know that both John and Gini had businesses before they started blogging. I too was running a company when I starte blogging. So did you. So did other people.

    When you are doing business you have a lot to talk about as there is always something new you’re learning, because you’re doing stuff.

    The way that you positioned that podcast I’ve got to listen to it.

    • Robert, I actually thought about you as well when I was writing this post man. You’re literally one example of another of someone that is experimenting, growing, and stretching yourself .

      And yes, do listen to it man. I’m serious. It’s CAN”T miss.

      Have a great week bro,


  13. Hi Marcus,

    I listened to the interview shortly after Steve posted it. When Penelope turned the tables, it was hard for me to listen to.

    It was hard because I could feel Steve squirming and rationalizing. I became more uncomfortable because it seemed as if Penelope had stripped him bare-naked for everyone to see.

    Then I thought about it some more and realized a lot of my discomfort was really that everything she said to Steve was also being said to me. I felt uncomfortable because it felt like I was Steve’s seat taking what Penelope was handing out.

    She was talking to me and my weaknesses without knowing it… or maybe she did know it. She seems to be uncanny like that from what I have gathered so far. It has made me go back and re-evaluate things in regards to what I am doing.

    That interview was priceless… someone said on Steve’s blog that this interview was his watershed moment- I couldn’t agree more.

    I am a new blogger and I am still getting familiar with names and faces. Up until this interview, I had a love/hate relationship with Penelope’s writing/style/personality. Furthermore I was on the fence about Steve.

    I think Steve has some brass ones to post the unedited interview- I respect him for that and I am solidly in his corner to see what he does with this.

    I have a new found appreciation for Penelope more than I ever would have without that interview. It seems she that she is an acquired taste.

    • Hey Chris,
      I’ll tell you, I WAS uncomfortable during the call and wasn’t all that thrilled to be in that conversation. I was very apprehensive about sharing my income as well, but she had a good point about honesty.

      It seems like this interview is going to be a defining moment for a lot of people and that’s the best thing I could have hoped for. I really didn’t want it to be all about me, but it turned out that being about me, it was about all of us.

      I appreciate your support here Chris and I totally agree the Penelope is an acquired taste. Far too many of my interviews are people playing it safe and this was real, raw, and just what we needed!

      • Steve,

        Just listened to your Podcasts.
        This took guts, serious guts to listen to her AND then publish it on your blog.

        I hope it gives you the kick to turn things around.

        • Thanks John. It was definitely a kick and now it’s on me…

    • Chris, if there is a better comment on this post, I’d like to see it. Wow.

      Most people aren’t like you bud. Most people simply wouldn’t put themselves in that seat. Most people would call Penelope a lot of names and leave it at that.

      But you’re not most people Chris, and that’s going to carry you a long dang ways my friend.

      I’m so very glad you stopped by here today and hope to see you again sir.


  14. Sean Hession


    Greetings from Alexandria. This article really resonated with me. My blogging life is just beginning. After attending HUGS2011, I came away with a couple of robust ideas to flesh out. The ideas are strong, but need refinement and clarity.

    As I work with folks on in-bound marketing, I stress the need to identify what is unique and compelling about their work. If nothing is unique & compelling, I suggest they need to find or create the U&C. Back in the day someone at the Harvard Business Review wrote a planning article in which they suggested a sucessful plan required a BHAG. . . Big Hariy Audacious Goal. Same church as your message, different pew. That author’s message was that a BHAG would motiviate your employees. Blogging and inbound marketing around the U&C motivates prospects, clients and business associates as well.

    Another way to say this is that the creative process (that actually creates the U&C) requires constant nurturing and recreation. My years as a singer and conductor have taught me this and I have applied it for years to my business life. When you light up the whole brain, you really light up. And you know it when it happens. My friends at Emergenetics ( work with how they brain functions, helping individuals, teams and organizations understand how they process their worlds and the ramifications this has for how they do what they do. They will tell you that the cells of the brain completely regenerated every 7 years. (Ever heard of the 7 year itch?!) Consequently, every 7 years, you are recreated, from the brain on down.

    Our work should be recreated too. Though I would say our world will necessitate it happening more often than once every 7 years. Or maybe it’s the macro elements of our work they turn over in 7. Afterall, Dharmesh & Brian are still riding their one insight from 5+ years ago.

    Best regards, happy Monday & hope to see you in Old Town on the 20th for HUG DC.

    • Sean!!!! Wow brother, I’m so loving what you said here and I think the concept of having a BHAG is putting it perfectly. In fact, I think you should have just written this article and I could have signed my name. ;-)

      Thrilled you had a good experience at Hug man, and yes, I’ll certainly be there. Can’t wait!


  15. Podcast interviews with people “killing it” are generally not something that interest me. They are usually full of softball questions and mutual ego stroking. (yes, even ones where I have been interviewed).

    I must say, just from your article I will have to and listen to this one. Both because Penelope had the honesty and insight to really tell it like it is and because Steve had the balls and the integrity to show it even if it might make him look a little bad.

    That is what it is all about and at least how to build a community. Integrity. When you show reality, warts and all.

    As for the momentum you are talking about. I absolutely agree. Any business that is not growing is dieing.

    That is one of the problems I always had with peoples view on “passive” income. Yes, with a passive income stream you can invest effort up front and make some money over time. But it is not really passive. If you keep doing nothing, over time that will dry up and blow away.

    Growth and hustle are the only way to keep it moving. To paraphrase the greatest movie ever.

    Get busy growing, or get busy dieing

    • I must say that I like how you put that Steve…

      “Growth and hustle are the only way to keep it moving. To paraphrase the greatest movie ever.”

      • JK, not sure if I mentioned this before but I love your new ‘project’ :)

    • Speaking of warts Steve, that’s essentially what Penelope said too. One of her biggest points was the fact that because Steve Roy was holding back, he wasn’t writing strong enough content.

      Love your points here bud, and the ‘get busy living or get busy dying’ will always be one of the best ever.

      Have an awesome week my friend.


  16. I think I might be in the “creation” phase you mentioned. I like my blog and what I’m doing with it, but it’s only one component of what I need to do in order to grow my business. That’s why I’m starting the e-letter campaign this month. It’s why I’ll be changing my website. It’s also why I’m pursuing speaking engagements, even though the idea of being a speaker gives me the willies. An immediate step is determining a better pricing structure for the services my company provides. That’s always a struggle, but especially now since I’ve changed the goals, structures, and services of my business.

    I have to agree with your view of community. I think it’s important, but how many of the people in that community are paying my bills? The community is, in some ways, a cheerleader. Besides, writing solely for that community can’t be good for one’s writing or the community. A writer or blogger who desires a long-term gig has to have a strong stubborn and independent streak. (Maybe that’s just me…) :)

    • Erin
      You bring up some awesome points, do you write for a community or not?
      I say you don’t. Deep down if I am honest with myself I will say I write for myself, it’s work and as you know it’s always a challenge against ourselves.
      The day we start writing for the community we die as writers and start producing junk that we ‘think’ people want to read.
      So in my book it works this way, I write and then the community builds itself around the writing, not the other way around.
      Marcus believes in the community but it’s the Sales Lion Blog and Marcus decides what gets published here NOT the audience.

      We have to be true to our values.

      • How did you get inside my head? :)

        I guess I don’t write for a community. I love having it, and I appreciate all the people who are in it. I’m glad they enjoy what I write and am in constant amazement at that fact. I think they enjoy it because I enjoy it. Anything I write has to pass the “Erin” test before being shared with anyone else. The day I stop enjoying what I’m writing or I’m no longer surprised by the act of writing (to quote Robert Frost) is the day that it’s time to quit writing, or, at the very least, to quit writing about a particular topic.

    • how many of the people in that community are paying my bills?

      Now that, Erin, was awesome.

      Yes, you’re certainly ‘growing and creating’. In fact, the direction you’re talking about here is exactly what I’m speaking of in this article. You’ve decided not to be static, but rather go beyond was is a comfort zone and let come what may.

      That, my friend, is what this message is all about.

      You rock Erin. Thanks for all you do.


      • I’m glad you thought the remark was awesome. It felt a little ugly to say, although I didn’t mean it in that way.

        Thanks, Marcus. I certainly am trying to rock. :)

  17. I listened to the podcast yesterday and it was BRUTAL! I felt badly for Steve – she chewed him up and spat him out. But, it was a lesson for all of us that you’ve underscored in this post. What is the next level, how do we get there, and what’s holding us back!? I’m not sure I’ve figured it out yet, but Steve’s bravery has shown me that I better hurry up and stop kidding myself. It’s time to bump it up a notch.

    • Hi Ruth!! Welcome to my little corner of the web here, I really, really appreciate you stopping by a moment to comment.

      You’ve brought up a powerful phrase: ‘Stop Kidding Yourself’

      We do that a lot, don’t we? We convince ourselves that ‘busy’ means ‘productive’. Uhmm, sorry, that ain’t happening. ;-)

      We all struggle with this. I know I certainly do. But I think if we’re constantly pushing ourselves and pushing our ‘goals’ then we’ll at least be headed in the right direction and find joy in the journey.

      Hope you’ll stop by again sometime Ruth.


  18. First things first, am I going to be around in a few months?

    All joking aside (but no, seriously, am I going to be around), that’s why the building a community, radically changing my life really isn’t the goal for me. I write to sharpen my pencil. To work on myself, to be honest about my challenges and what I’m trying to overcome them. I hope it’s valuable for you, but I write for me. Probably not ideal for growing a community (although slowly, but surely more and more people pop by), but it keeps me writing and keeps me from getting improbably dreams tangled up with my efforts for self improvement.

    But really, tell me, am I going to be around?!? And I’m looking forward to checking out that podcast.

    • I hope you will be around. Love the honesty here, and we all write for ourselves.

      • Thanks John, always happy to oblige with the truth. I do hope what I put out there might actually help someone, but that fact rarely helps me create it.

        • I think the first person writing helps is ourselves (and often the last), but that is one person right ?

    • John beat me to the punch in making a comment.

      I plan to steal your line: “I write to sharpen my pencil.” Just for lines like that, you have to keep writing. :)

      In all seriousness, I think you have to write for yourself. Why would anybody else want to listen to you if you don’t want to listen to you? I alluded to Robert Frost in an earlier comment, so I’ll go with a different writer this time. Annie Dillard. She says to read things you’d like to write and to write things you’d like to read.

      • yeah, I’m not going to lie, that line felt pretty good when it popped out… That Annie line reminds me a lot of the Steal like an Artist post you turned me onto.

        • I believe those lines come from Notes to a Young Writer. I have a copy of Dillard’s The Writing Life that I adore. I’m also a fan of Hugo’s The Triggering Town…actually, I’m a fan of a lot of books, so I’d best stop now.

          • At some point my #1 productivity tip is going to be to stop taking Erin up on all the awesome stuff she sends my way. :) You have dangerously good taste!

            • Hahaha! What goes around comes around? You share great videos, and I share great books. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I think my book sharing may have just inspired an idea for a new series of blog posts…

    • OK Michael, to answer your question: NO, you’re going to die a slow and ignominious blogging death. :-)

      There, how was that?

      Hey man, seriously, I really think it comes down to stretching yourself. Today you’re happy sharpening your pencil (goof ball ;-) ) and working on yourself. But there will come a day when you’ll feel a need to move forward from that. I don’t know when that will be, nor do I know what the impressions are going to be, but I do know it’s going to happen. (Just do me a favor and email me when it does, otherwise I’ll look like an idiot.)

      I hope you understand what I’m saying man. Do I think you’re going places? Yes. You’ve shown serious signs of the ability to be witty as heck but at the same time push thought beyond the norm. You also know how to create content through reflection, and lots of it, which is a serious skill many folks don’t really have.

      But still, the day will come…. ;-)

      Appreciate you making us all smile and think bud,


      • Phew! You make a damn good point, but hopefully the content will evolve as I do, just as yours is evolving as you do.

        The day will always come when it is time to change and time to move onto the next thing. Otherwise you’ll end up holding yourself back, but at the same time I always think it’s better to try to evolve the things that interest you rather than outgrow them. Figuring out my ideas in writing and being dumb enough to overcome my fear of posting them… that’s damn interesting to me.

        Thanks for the kind and likely undeserved thoughts on the words I’m putting out there. Hopefully we are both doing this for a while, cause I enjoy reading your stuff as much as I like writing my own (and for an arrogant bastard such as myself to say that aloud, it must be true).

      • Holy crap man, I just finally got around to checking out that podcast and boy, it was tough, but it was important. That should be required listening for anybody making anything on the web with any hope of turning it into a business (except Steve has GOT to stop that one person one ear thing, drives me crazy!).

        I have a feeling that she may become the new voice in my head when I try to rip my own work apart. Brutal, unwavering, but she focused on the right stuff. I certainly wouldn’t call it a great interview, but it was a damn good, damn important listen.

        • Hey buddy, glad you were able to see what all the fuss was about. It’s a lesson for all of us. Heck, she made me uncomfortable and I’d like to think I’ve got my stuff semi in order…but yet there is still so much improvement to be made. Personally, I loved her style, and I could use a kick in the pants like that more often myself. Maybe we should call each other once a month Michael and just rip each other apart, whatcha think! ;-)

          Have a great week my friend,


          • I’m completely game. I think we could all use a “Penelope Call” in our life. It made me super uncomfortable. Not because it was brutal, which it was, but because so many things resonated. And resonated in the way a guilty verdict is likely to.

  19. Hi Buddy,

    Growing a community isn’t a goal; it’s a tactic. The goal should be supported by the tactic not the opposite. So if the goal is to sell stuff then yes growing a community is a good tactic.
    If the goal is just to pass time online and write about your life great.

    I think that everyone finds what they put into it in their blogs. As you know I have been running my own show for the past 8 years so blogging became an extension of that business, not MY business. I still tons to learn about online but beyond the tool there is one thing that stays the same, as Seth said you need to ship.

    That’s why great coaches like Farnoosh decide NOT to go to BWLA, she knows her work comes first.
    I understand completely where she comes from, we need to be creating, the day we stop it we die. Your tree analogy is perfect. I look at my business and my blogging the same way I look at my physical training.
    There is no such thing as equilibrium, you are either growing and getting stronger or getting weaker. It’s that simple.

    We are looking at a major shift in work these days. Some years ago we could get a job and coast all the way to retirement, you would get promoted based on your seniority.
    It was like being a pilot, you needed x hours to be first officer than x hours to be captain.
    Some bloggers still think like this, they believe that spending time doing their thing is what matters. Seniority doesn’t mean jack anymore.
    You need to bring value and the faster you do it, the faster you grow and achieve your goals.

    • John, awesome comment, all the way around bud.

      The goal should be supported by the tactic not the opposite.

      I wonder how many folks actually ‘get’ that statement. Frankly, it might be the biggest key to any successful business.

      And yes, seniority means jack these days. It’s done. Most might not like that, but I’ve always been a fan of the even playing field.

      Cheers brother,


    • Hi John, ‘Ship it’ – you heard that too, right? Seth’s words are buzzing in my ear as I push myself every day. And thank you for the kind words here. I am so glad to know that for 8 years, you are still pushing so hard, getting stronger and growing your business and probably enjoying it and doing it with even more zest and enthusiasm than before. I do hope we cross paths again in person, and I am going to miss the physical presence of my fellow bloggers no doubt, but alas, I have so much to accomplish and it seems that you truly see what I mean too… THANK YOU!

  20. I would like you to develop an analysis tool, Marcus. #thatisall

    • Now, now Jayme, if you disagree you’ve got to give me more than that!

      Oh well, maybe next time ;-)

      Have a great one,


      • Heh. No disagreement here, Mr. Lion. In reading the post, it struck me that you could have fun developing a blogging analysis checker/clicker/tool that provides bloggers the ability to gauge progress on the blogging journey alongside the health of their blog.

        Is that subjective? I believe it could be; however, what about blogging isn’t subject to a better blogger’s opinions? Anyway to put a 10 item list together ala “number of subscribers; number of comments; numbers of visitors tracked by Clicky or some such?” Let a program do the scoring and voila — a baseline blog healthometer.

        • Ahh, now I get where you’re coming from Jayme. What an awesome idea!

          Time to get my ‘app brain’ turning on that one!!

          (Don’t worry, I’ll split royalties with you ;-) )


  21. Eek! I better get to work …

    Seriously, being an entrepreneur is a multi-faceted task – we have to wear a lot of the hats and make decisions all the time.

    Community for me is really nice. It gives us the team environment, albeit virtually, when we are plugging along hoping that we are going in the right direction. Like any relationship its work but you have to get something out of it. It’s all too easy to think that social media is the be all and end all of business … it’s not. Its a tool and there are plenty of successful people out there who don’t engage with their community.

    In terms of growth? Well, growth MUST happen. Personal, financial, business etc … it HAS to happen. My mummy blog is growing by the day … my marketing site is still a baby but it’s touching people already and, well, even though I am still finding my voice some are responding … so … never ever get comfy … that’s my trick!

    • Never get comfy

      So simple yet so true Ameena.

      Growth is the underlying element to all of this ‘stuff’ that we do. And if we’re not doing it, be it a blog, a biz, whatever….we’re in trouble.

      But I really appreciate you stopping by kind lady, as always. :-)

      Now get to work while the angel sleeps ;-)


  22. Hi Marcus,

    I read Steve’s blog, and in my opion he’s doing awesome. But, I’m just thinking about what I’m reading, and I’m not (usually never) looking at the goals of the people behind the blogs. I usually have no idea how much money they are earning, or if they are expecting growth. I’m just concerned about the quality of what I’m reading, but even though the quality is high, and getting better and better, it doesn’t mean that they are getting closer to their goals.

    What you’re saying puts things in perspective, and it’s very interesting and for many people it must be really frustrating to understand that even though they are doing great, and maybe they’re even heading in the right direction, but it’s not going fast enough.

    I’m one of those guys. But the thing with me is that I don’t have a specific goal. What I’m doing is someting I love doing, and I’m doing it next to writing a novel. So I’m not sure which direction I’m heading. I’m doing, and I’ll continue doing it as long as I’m having a great time doing it. What I’m saying is, I believe a lot of people don’t have specific goals. They just keep blogging like it’s a hobby. If your blog is a business, you need to start working on it like you would in a business. Sounds easy, but it’s probably not :)

    – Jens

    • Hey Jens, I always appreciate it when you drop in my friend.

      Although you might not see yourself as one who has specific goals, I clearly see you as a guy that is seriously growing. For example:

      1. You’re applying inbound marketing principles to a university, something that has likely never been done in your country.

      2. You’re writing a book(s).

      3. You continue to develop your writing style.

      All these things are awesome bud, and so even though it might not be greatly ‘specific’, you sure are heading in a positive direction my friend.


  23. Marcus, my man – I hope my blog is not one of those that has suffered from one of your ‘destined to fail’ premonitions?!

    I read all about Steve’s ‘experience’ with Penelope over at Ending The Grind last week, but I haven’t got round to listening to the podcast yet. I am going to give it a listen before I comment properly.

    • Wow…that was brutal. I wrote down a few things as I was listening to the podcast: “prone to wild generalizations”, “arrogant”, “direct”, “know it all”, “rude”, “childish”…I could go on.

      Having said that, I agree with the majority of what she said. You might call her style overbearing and brash, but it certainly got the message across! I can’t believe you hung in there Steve, I couldn’t bear to give the time of day to someone acting in such a way. Human decency is supposed to kick in at some point. So kudos to you on that front.

      Penelope would probably tear me a new one, because I do not have a clear idea of how I will make internet marketing a full time occupation. But I would liken it to not knowing what you are going to do for a living when you are at school. I am still at school when it comes to internet marketing. As and when opportunities reveal themselves to me as a result of my education, I will refine my goals accordingly. She would probably say that is bullsh*t or something similar, but it works for me. :)

      • BethanyBob

        I ceremoniously burned my page of notes on the podcast. The things I wrote weren’t fit for replication on the Internet. ;)

        Despite that, I agree that she made several good points about Steve’s work and lack of goals. And too much of it hit home with me, which just made me angry at myself. I wish I had made better goals and plans while I was in school (massage therapy, which involves a lot of self-marketing that I didn’t do).

      • Tom, don’t be too hard on yourself bud. I actually think you’re doing very well for someone just getting their feet wet. Without question, the ‘grand vision’ doesn’t happen in one singular moment. It certainly didn’t happen for me here and that ‘vision’ is being developed each and every day.

        The question is ‘Are you making progress and growing?’

        If the answer is yes, then feel good brother, and just continue to refine, push yourself, and seek to grow.


  24. Marcus – Woooow! Is all I can say after listening to that conversation with Penelope and Steve.

    Steve, I give you props for hanging in there buddy and even more for posting it. 99% of people would not have posted that – but you did. I think she kept it real in her approach. Yes, it was brash at times, but that’s her style and she’s writer! LOL. You kept it equally as real by posting it. Again, 99% of bloggers would not have posted that. And with honesty, I’m wondering if I were in your shoes if I would have. I think I would have…but it’s easy to answer that from my position (not in the hot seat).


    Bold statement that Penelope said in that interview. I think on some occasions a blog can be a job and a business…but most often I see a blog being a time stop for a lot of people. Hey it’s not my business…but I think it’s a easier route for a lot of people to make themselves feel like their are actually doing something. They sum it up that they’re providing value – but to be honest in many of those instances, the value is questionable. And what they are doing is having their egos fed by the masses that praise and agree with everything. Feels good – but gets us no where.

    I’m sure the new trend of blogging community seekers that just seek the community but have no goal in mind, will hate a statement like that because as you said – the truth hurts!

    Okay, on to your questions…
    -Yes, I find that many bloggers talk a big game…more so than practice what they preach. Hey, it’s the nature of this venue…very little personal accountability here. Not trying to call anyone out – just saying that it’s something that I notice with a heavy dose.

    -I believe that a blogging community, with no blogging direction serves very little purpose. Like I told you on the phone last week – it’s a time consumer. Yes, it does serve as a source of validation and cred–but that’s only for a certain period. After that – the count no longer matters, only the content. The content always matters.

    Let me say this – I think blogging is a great way to find what you want to do next…to identify something new to take on. I spent a year learning from some of the best in the field (in my opinion) so I figure I’ll go and carve out out my own little space to get my hustle on!

    At some point we need to make a move. We need to make our time count for something. Great job to you Marcus for not only having a clear plan and goal – but to now be living it. That’s awesome!


    • JK, you said so much great stuff here man but I want to reiterate this point:

      I think it’s a easier route for a lot of people to make themselves feel like their are actually doing something. They sum it up that they’re providing value – but to be honest in many of those instances, the value is questionable. And what they are doing is having their egos fed by the masses that praise and agree with everything. Feels good – but gets us no where.

      That, my friend, is as strong as anything that has been written on this subject. Ever. I really mean it. If someone can’t say where it has gotten them, then we have a problem.

      Thanks for doing your thing buddy,


    • “They sum it up that they’re providing value – but to be honest in many of those instances, the value is questionable. And what they are doing is having their egos fed by the masses that praise and agree with everything. Feels good – but gets us no where.”

      and to this I say… OUCH!

  25. I hope I am not destined to die a slow, miserable death as a lonely, unsuccessful and unloved blogger :)

    I don’t want anyone to be upset with me, but would it be too much to ask for you to give us other examples Marcus? I mean, I already know how great Gini, and John and JK and Stuart are. How about some new blood?

    It seems like we highlight the same great people and we may be missing out on others who are also doing cool stuff.

    Just the thoughts of the nOOb in the room.

    • Do we highlight much of the same people Nancy? Yes, I do agree with that, but to be quite honest, when I was writing this post at 2am this morning, I just picked out the persons who I knew were ‘up to something new’. In other words, if John hadn’t added this new phase to his business, then I wouldn’t not have mentioned him. But he did, and it was on my mind, so I made a note of it. Same with Stuart, whose article on his changes I’d read just yesterday and so they were on my mind as well.

      I’m sure there are a million folks that deserve mention, but the problem is that I just don’t read a million blogs. That’ doesn’t mean there aren’t great people. The reality is that success perpetuates success, mentions perpetuate mentions, and just like in any other field, great talent will not be spotted at times nor spoken of…but it’s still great talent.

      That being said, I’m always looking for new folks to highlight, and if I could add a few more hours to my day, then I’d probably do a better job of it.

      Thanks for bringing this up Nancy, I do appreciate it.


  26. Marcus

    I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts – have to be honest, I prefer to read as I can absorb information more quickly that way.

    But after scanning the comment thread – and then getting drawn into it – I had to go and have a listen to what went on in the podcast. I’m really glad I did – because it should be required listening at Blog School 101.

    See, one of the ‘shiny objects’ in the whole ‘Make Money Online’ field is that you can set up a blog and make six figures from that blog working two hours a day. (I think that’s a direct quote from someone who perpetrates this myth).

    And the point is that this particular guy was able to do it because he was one of the first guys in the field of blogging about making money with blogging. The problem is that it’s very hard to make that particular model work anymore.

    And the only guy really doing this anymore is Pat Flynn – and Pat has started to diversify away from this. He’s got his niche site. He’s done some coaching. And more. Copyblogger have their WordPress Themes and Premise and they have a teaching site that they open from time to time. Problogger sells a lot of eBooks.

    These days a Blog isn’t a business – a blog is merely a tool that you can use to promote your business. But there’s still this idea going around that you can set up a blog and create an income just from that blog. And I just don’t think you can anymore – there are just too many people trying to do it.

    If you want to use a blog as a business tool then you’ve got to come up with other ways of generating income.

    What I see a lot in the blogging world are people who’ve started blogs and have no clear idea what they’re going to do to generate revenue once they’ve built an audience. If you plan to make money from your blog you should sit down, tonight – no NOW – and answer these questions:

    1) How much revenue do you want to make from your blog? (And be specific – is it $10K, $20L, $50K, More – what is it?)
    2) How are you going to generate revenue? List the sources (e.g. advertising, affiliate sales, own products and services, etc).
    3) Create a plan that implements those revenue generating sources – and starts on a specific date. E.g. tonight. or tomorrow. Or next week. Don’t wait for some unspecified date in the future when you ‘might have a following’ or a ‘community.’

    There’s two reasons not to wait: some of the stuff you do will fail. And you need to have that experience so you can continue to grow and to learn.

    And some of the stuff you do will succeed – and some of that will build your audience and reputation in ways that ‘blogging’ on its own can only dream about.

    My good buddy Steve has been quoting Shawshank a lot recently – and he’s right. You either get busy growing your business – or you get busy doing shit that doesn’t matter and your business fades and dies.

    Hmmm…there’s a post or two in this comment! Catch you later.


    • A post or two Paul?? Dude, this was exceptional. Please, and I really mean this, please turn that comment into a post on your site because people need to read exactly what you’ve just said.

      Like you, I don’t see any reason to be offended by Penelope’s words. She speaks truth until it hurts. But it’s not Penelope that hurts, it’s the message, and most don’t want to swallow that pill, thus Penelope becomes the target. And besides, if she’s really wrong, folks will just move on and not be bothered by what she said.

      As you well stated, my blog drives my business, but it’s not the business.

      Times have changed my friend, times have changed.

      Thanks again,


  27. To quote my friend Lee of, “A blog is like a shark… it has to keep moving or it dies.” Mine has evolved slowly but surely, however, you can never become complacent.

    I enjoy blogs that write meaningful content that isn’t about selling me their version of how to live your life. I understand there’s a market for that but I’m not sure those bloggers know there is a large group of bloggers who have already lived a pretty meaningful and successful life and are helping people by merely sharing their stories.

    And that’s not even enough. Sometimes you have to throw a curve and jump into a controversy or speak out about something that you feel passionate about. Always keep it fresh and relevant to stay on your toes and keep your readers engaged.
    Thanks for keeping it real Marcus!

    • Hey Barbara! Yep, your friend Lee is one smart cat….And oh yeah, that shark can really consume a whole lot! ;-)

      And thanks too for your comments about keeping it real. Look, I know some of the stuff I say is not agreed with by others. But is someone expects to agree with everything I say, then what am I really doing? Am I actually challenging anyone, including myself? Probably not.

      I see things…then I talk about ‘em. That’s just how I roll I guess. ;-)

      Thanks again Barb,


      • Sorry but your line…’I see things…then I talk about ‘em” just gave me a visual of that commercial… “I pick things up and put them down” which made me laugh.

        We will never all agree on everything which is what makes all of this so interesting and engaging, in my opinion. That said, I would never critique someone’s blog so harshly. Even when I make the A-list. Often times it’s not what you say but how you say it that makes the difference.

  28. The question is what you do with your time, your energy and your community.

    • To add to that Jack, what growth is derived from your time, energy, and community.

      The thing is, what we get out of our actions today may be very different than what we get out of them in 5 years. This is why people feel like they’re in a ‘rut’.

      The premise behind this article is that we push ourselves with the goal of never getting in that ‘rut’.


      • You are right but it is really hard to predict what will happen in 5 years. What we see happening now in the blogosphere is very different than what was happening 5 years ago.

        I expect that 5 years from now we’ll see that more big changes have taken place. Quite a few of the commenters here won’t be around any more to see the coming evolution.

        You are absolutely right about the need to keep pushing. Those that are able to take one more step than the next guy will survive.

  29. Hey Marcus,

    Great article buddy.
    All to often I feel the same way, but I recently read in my psychology course (I am reading psychology now) that as you get closer to your goals your motivation to complete it goes up but sadly your fear of failure, you want to run away goes up even faster.

    In other words the closer you get to your goals the more you want to give up.

    That is how I turn that fear emotion into a positive one. If I feel afraid and want to give up, it is because I am only one step away from success!

    • I really like that visual! I’m going to play that one over for awhile! Thanks!

    • Great outlook Daniel. To tell you the truth, I’d never really thought of it like that, but you’re spot-on.

      So keep pushing those fear buttons my friend!!


  30. Trunk is abrasive and obnoxious but that doesn’t mean that what she says doesn’t have value. Nor does it mean that she is correct.

    Because she has had success she is given a certain amount of latitude to speak without being questioned as closely as she might otherwise be. There is no one way to make money online, no one single path.

    Marcus, I’ll take issue with your comments about community and longevity. I have been doing this for 7.5 years now and have no plans to hang up my keyboard any time soon.

    The two primary reasons that bloggers last are because they love blogging and or they are making money doing so.

    I’d argue that a community is valuable for several reasons:

    1) Social media is about being social. People add value to your blog. There are gold nuggets in the comments.

    2) Community helps provide the framework for monetizing your blog. If you want sponsors they want to know who is reading your blog. If you want to sell ebooks or coaching you want a community.

    What is important, critical and necessary in blogging is that you sustain your effort for the long haul. That isn’t any different than traditional business. It takes time to build anything worthwhile.

    P.S. Trunk totally missed the boat regarding graduate degrees. She took a simple approach and just blew it. Again, I don’t think she is wrong on every account or piece of advice but she isn’t god.

    • Let me try to clarify what I mean about community Jack. First, I love community. I think in many cases, a strong community is necessary to help a blogger’s site grow to its potential.

      But here is the thing. At first, when we blog, we’re (generally speaking) validated by community, comments, etc. Later (in most cases) we’re validated by other things. At first, with all the new friends, faces, relationships, etc—that’s enough to motivate one to blog and keep going. But once some of those faces drop off, and others come into the picture, and time passes by….well then the motivation isn’t the same as it was at the beginning. It is in that moment where I feel a blogger must have more than ‘community’ to fall back on.

      Does that make any sense?

      • Marcus, we are in agreement about that. If I didn’t write for myself I couldn’t keep my blogs up. Community can be a fickle thing, especially when we don’t get to see/meet/read all of the members.

  31. P.P.S. She is completely wrong about writers not having people skills. The ability to write and to get along well with others are not mutually exclusive.

    That is part of what bothers me about her. This need to classify everything as black or white…..

    • Jack

      You are right it’s too easy to classify people in boxes. I the case of the interview I think she said to help Steve realize which path he wanted to take.
      Great writers spend their lives writing not coaching and vice versa.

      I think that we are all drawn to a middle ground somewhere and try to do a bit of each. To be successful though I can understand why she says someone who scores as a crafter on the Myerr Briggs (and I have issues with their scores) isn’t a teacher.

      • John,

        I think that everyone needs to define what success is for them. Without that definition it is hard to determine if you have hit the mark.

        For example, when I turn 50 I want to qualify and complete the Ironman. I am talking about the big one here. Anyway, my definition of success isn’t winning or placing within the top three.

        It is based solely upon getting in and finishing the race. I would consider that to be a success.

    • I should have listened to the podcast. Something to add to my to-do list, I suppose. She said that about writers? I’m hurt, really hurt. To be fair, social scenes can be a struggle for me, but that has to do with my personality, not the fact that I’m a writer.

    • I think she speaks in generalities Jack. I’d like to think I’m a decent writer and social guy, but who knows, she might be referring to a ‘writer’ here as someone that literally sits at their desk all day with a smile, slapping the keys, and needing to talk to no one for satisfaction.

      Honestly, Penelope doesn’t bother me with her strong statements. I don’t agree with all fully, but I try to see the validity, and separate any emotion from my judgements.

  32. Celestine

    I hope I am not destined to die a slow, miserable death as a lonely, unsuccessful and unloved blogger.You are right it’s too easy to classify people in boxes. I the case of the interview I think she said to help Steve realize which path he wanted to take.I don’t think she is wrong on every account or piece of advice but she isn’t god.

  33. I’m going to listen to the interview later on. I’m sure it’s good – I’ve had some interactions with Penelope, and while she can be rough around the edges, she’s one smart cookie, and she means well.

    Now, I’m off to keep doing stuff! ;)

    • When it comes to ‘doing stuff’, I don’t know if anyone can keep up with you Danny. :-)

  34. “Something Greater” is a great Title for a Book… Marcus, take that Title and deliver us excellence… Go!

    Seriously though, I jut turned the corned on this. I have been blogging for 2+ years slowly growing, but I wasn’t “Doing Anything” with it. That has changed, with a book on the way and Speaking career in development I can finally say that I creating “Something Greater!”

    Thanks Bro!

    • Dang you Ryan! Now I’m all thinking about book titles and stuff! ;-)

      Well congrats my friend. I’d love to find out what exactly you did when everything changed. We really should chat sometime man.


      • No doubt dude…. I’ll shoot you an email and figure something out. I know you’re a busy cat.

  35. Howdy, Marcus! I came to your website after listening to Steve’s podcast with you. I loved what you had to say about inbound marketing, and your Southern drawl made me homesick for North Carolina. :P

    I’m going to go ahead and answer your questions, because Steve’s recent podcast still has me reeling.

    Yes, I see a lot of bloggers talking a lot but doing nothing. I usually end up unsubscribing from those bloggers because they are either forgettable or full of it. I recognized this in Steve, even before this happened, but I stuck around to see how his story would play out. I recognize it in myself, though I’m just starting out and I’m so shy that I don’t even advertise my blog. I’ve had enough sense knocked into me to see that, yes, a blog is not a business.

    Growing a community is great, sure. But ego stroking doesn’t pay the bills, and not all community members buy in to what we’re selling. I love being a part of Steve’s community — but I can’t afford and have no use for his critique service. I had lots of folks loving my free massages — but I don’t expect many of them will return when I start charging $60 a session.

    So, no. I don’t expect to make any money from my blog, which sucks considering the money and time I sunk into it could have been used for building my massage business, instead. I started it with the idea of helping my fellow bodyworkers (massage therapists, Rei ki practitioners, etc.) improve their on-line brand and marketing techniques. I think I will continue to educate, using what I learn and know, but I don’t expect people to be pounding on my door for a consult.

    Steve’s podcast was a kick to my teeth, too. I’m working on hammering out some decent goals and making up for lost time.

    • Hey Bethany (or BethanyBob, whichever you prefer ;-) ), let me just say that if your blog has as much passion in the writing as your comment here has, then you are going to experience major, major success.

      Gut checks are good. Many people had one listening to Penelope’s words. Were they too harsh? Depends on how one looks at it IMO. I tend to ask first, “Is there merit here?’ And in the case of Penelope’s advice, there was plenty of merit. In fact, it was as powerful as anything I’ve ever heard online.

      If you ever need anyone to bounce your new goals off with, I’m happy to help. :-)

      Good luck and thanks so much for dropping by and adding to the conversation here!!


  36. I think the fist year is such a growing stage for a blogger. I know personally, I read, I listen, I attempted to move in the “suggested” direction… but when it comes right down to it, if I don’t know who and what I am, I will follow the wind every time it shifts direction, and I will still do nothing more than pick up a bunch of dust! So I guess people could read my blogs in the first year and predict complete collapse… but who knows I just might surprise everyone including MYSELF!

    What I am discovering in the midst of trial and error are my goals – which for anyone healthy better be in a state of evolution all the time! I don’t know if I am going to “make it” in the terms of what making it to some means… but I’ve had to ask myself two difficult question…

    Why am I doing it? and What if I never grow bigger than what I am at this moment? The questions challenged my character, and my heart motives, but the answers liberated me! The answers freed me to grow at the pace that works best for me, and allow myself the room to slip, stumble, and trip in order to learn where my best footing lies!

    I may at times feel like I’m running a hamster wheel while watching others advance to the pinnacle of the mountain, but when I take a step back and not get caught up in the hype – I realize I’m doing a lot more than just putting words on a screen! I believe Farnoosh mentioned it in a comment, about inching towards her goals and trying hard not to be labeled just a blogger, because she is so much more… to that I say – ‘hear, hear!’

    • Hey Beth. You’re so wonderful, have I ever told you that? :-)

      Here is the thing about climbing that pinnacle you spoke of: It’s your mountain, and no one elses.

      As long as you sense progress and growth, then I think you’re great. But the moment you feel like the growth has stopped, then I think it’s time to make serious changes and do what’s necessary to get moving forward again, whatever direction that might be.

      Thanks for being such a support here Beth. You rock!!


    • NO Hamsters here, dear Beth! One thing I have noticed is this: the more success stories I hear, the less successful I feel so I don’t listen to anymore stories until I go into it with the right mindset which is to be inspired and to learn and then to apply it at my own pace. I am cheering for you and I am here – as is Marcus I am sure – for any support we can lend you!

      • Hey thanks you two! Today has been a day of growth. After listening to the butt-whooping Steve got, which by osmosis found it’s way to my rear-end, it caused to me focus in on the one major goal, and look at what I am doing to support that goal. It always gave validation to my need for time! I loved what Penelope said when she said find a life and model it… then when he described one she said “you can’t have that life, it passed you.” That really reminded me of where my life is right now, and the goal I have at raising my kids, and how I need to marry the two desire together! Time… it’s not always the enemy it’s also our teacher! :) Happy Tuesday to ya!

        • YAY Beth!!!! I’ll call you soon to chat this one over!

          Have a great week and I’m loving your vision :-)


  37. Hey Marcus,

    WOW this blog post kicks #$$! Can’t believe how many comments there are already!

    This is so so true man. Jk and I were actually having a discussion along these lines the other day. We were saying that too many people blog from ego rather than experience – and it eventually bites them, even if its in the form of stagnant growth down the line.

    I have so much time and respect for people like yourself and Jk because you blog from experience and practice what you preach.

    I’ve found that there are too many that don’t practice what they preach – like talk about affiliate marketing when they’ve never done it. The worst examples are usually in Personal Development – that’s why I quickly moved away from that. People have to be careful that their own way of living and experiences reflect what they preach to others.

    It comes down to the fact is vital but not enough. Love what you said – it’s all about creation.

    • Blogging from ego and not experience Robert? Now where in the world have you seen that?? ;-)

      Love your fire and passion man, and you’re spot-on.

      Community is vital but not enough. Yep, you said it bro…because community doesn’t keep the lights on unless we’re actually doing something with that community.

      Have a great one brother.


      • I might have a few examples not so far from home – don’t tempt me! ;)

        Sorry for using the A word!

        Speak soon.

        PS This is one of your greatest posts man. The podcast blew me away! Penelope is an absolute legend! Everyone who wants to start a business should listen to that podcast.

        • No prob brother. As I said, I love your passion Robert. You bring value and energy with everything you say my friend.

  38. Hey Marucs,

    Thank you for posting this because I never would have found it. I listened to the interview and goals are very important, but what it really comes down to is caring.

    What I mean is if you genuinely care for others that are directly-related or partially-related to your goals than you will be successful and have a good life.

    Penelope cared about Steve and now he’s life is going to get a lot better. Her goal was not directly related to helping Steve, but because she cared, hundreds of people and I now know who she is. That is probably one of her goals, to get noticed and change lives.

    You genuinely care to teach others about blogging and your life is getting better by the day.

    If you care, your life will get a lot better. In addition, a lot of other lives will get a lot better, and you will become very successful.

    I truly believe it’s that simple – you need to care for other people and have personal goals to be successful.

    People might say its passion, but passion is something that is derived from caring and having goals.

    All the best,


  39. You called it right on Marcus. You see I started my blog at the same time as some other fellow bloggers who were keen to follow the guidelines and gurus and soon were up and running well but have since withered away because we, and only we, can create something special, of enormous value, that people will marvel at and tell others and click away on all day. Relying on courses and ‘six figure blogging’ ebooks won’t do it ’cause you ain’t doing it bub!! You can’t just create an idea, you have to work it into a true service or niche enterprise.

    That’s why my blog will stay but I’m going back into sports motivation with a blog and all because that’s where I’m fired up and have a long background full of skills and experience to move mountains. Blogs are only a doorway to something else we offer, but what is that readers will ask? It needs to be oh so clear and oh so worth it. Hang tough Marcus, loving this audacious quality you post!

    • Amen John! :)

    • John Sherry, you are a good man sir. :-)

      Sports motivation ehh?? Wow, that’s awesome! I’m so excited for you brother. Seriously!!

      Can’t wait to watch you continue to do your thing my friend.

      Thanks for all your support,


  40. Gosh Marcus, you’re such a sexist…Mr. Blogger. Harumph. That’s it, I’m unfollowing you, un-plussing you, and blocking you. Everywhere :)

    Nah, couldn’t get through that with a straight face.

    This post resonated with me. This year I’ve really been trying to do new things – lots of new things – because after a few months of just writing posts from all over my brain, I realized that my forward movement was neither forward nor moving.

    My struggle is that a lot of people feel that my content sometimes is not moving forward. They feel that way because I still cover sort of “social media 101″ stuff fairly often. I don’t do that because it’s “easy” or because I want to worship at the feet of those who have written such content before. I just want to be a beacon of help and guidance to people who are just starting their journey now. My growth has been in realizing that hey, that’s part of my mission here and I have no problem with it. In fact, I rather much like it.

    What is that saying? Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds? A little spice is a good thing so long as you can control it and so long as you’re not just pretending to do different things so that you don’t end up getting called out on the lion’s blog :)

    Great post, sir.

    • Hahahaha Margie, yeah, I just couldn’t seem to make that title non-sexist ;-)

      You know, I appreciate SM 101. In fact, there isn’t enough of that out there in my opinion. People talk all day long about deep doctrines, but if they don’t understand basic principles (which is many), then they have nothing.

      That’s why there needs to be more Margie Clayman’s out there.

      Keep doing your thing lady, you’re very good at it…


  41. I had a very interesting experience this morning. I was invited to preview a product that is coming to market next spring. As the owners walked me through the features and benefits, the conversation was elevated because they realized not only did I know what I was talking about, I am more sophisticated than most of their other would-be alpha testers. You know what got me to that point? Blogging. Without blogging, I would have no clue about inbound marketing, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, generating leads, conversion forms, and more. I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it here…if you want to be taken seriously in the online world, you have to DO the work yourself. Reading about and talking about theory doesn’t compare.

    • Reading about and talking about theory doesn’t compare.

      And that’s the great divide between you and so many others Gini. It’s also why your just beginning your special journey. I mean that in all sincerity.

      Thanks for your support here, you know I really appreciate it :-)


  42. Danny Brown

    It’s an interesting thing, how we look at others and whether they’re a success based on these thoughts. We could look at a blog that would appear to have an awesome community yet no goals and feel it’s a failure – but away from the public eye, that blogger brings in six figures through community-building education with large companies.

    Or, we could look at a blog that’s gained traffic, subscribers, book deals, etc, and feel that blogger is a success, only to learn they shipped a crap amount of books, the subscribers just forgot to unsubscribe so numbers are inflated, and the blogger is struggling to make ends meet because they have no real business acumen and people are realizing it and moving on.

    I guess the point is, unless we know people’s specific goals with blogging, the timeframe they’ve set for these goals and how well they’re doing on them, we don’t really know if a blog is a success or not just by being outside looking in.

    • All very legit points Danny. Success is extremely relative, but I do think there is one bottom line quality that accompanies every ‘successful’ blog– and that’s the feeling of ‘growth’ on the part of the individual. Now granted, that growth can come in a million ways, but I feel strongly that the minute the blogger feels that growth has stopped, that’s often times when the fire to continue ceases burning.

      Thanks for dropping in mate,


  43. Marcus,

    Your advice to Steve was honest, caring, and to the point.

    “Dude, do yourself a favor, and turn that interview into the turning point of your life. Take what she said, embrace it, chew on it, run with it, and be grateful she was willing to give it.”

    • Thanks Stan, I do appreciate that. :)

    • Stan,
      You are absolutely right! Marcus gave some GREAT advice which helped me to understand just how powerful the gift she gave me was.

  44. Wow, brilliant post here.
    I’m not going to give my opinion about Penelope Trunk because I think that’s not the key point. Wether we like her style or not, she did something helpful for Steve.

    Reading this post I’ve felt I’m in a similar situation. I mean, I want to add content to my blog (it’s only starting) but I don’t want to talk about things that I haven’t experienced myself.
    So I’m busy acting, taking care of other businesses, learning, collecting experiences and all that. But then I feel I don’t have time enough to take care of the blog.

    I know, “I don’t have time” is a lame excuse we give to ourselves. But sometimes I find difficult to find the balance.

    Anyway, thanks for this amazing post and for letting me rant here.


    • Exactly Cristina. I don’t have an opinion of Penelope because I don’t know Penelope, but I do know she saved Steve a lot of lost time by rattling his senses– something we can all use a little more of in my opinion.

      Balance always has been, and always will be, the great key to blogging success in my opinion Cristina. I’m in this 2 years now and although I’m getting better, it’s something I’m refining each and every day. So just keep at it, know you’re doing the right thing, and I expect great things will come your way.

      So appreciate you taking the time to comment here Cristina, and I hope we get to chat again,


  45. Tony

    A great read I must say. Looking forward to more such posts.

  46. I believe Penelope went through to very challenging situations in life that she came up with this strong points for Steve. There’s nothing wrong with the advice, it’s insightful and indeed true. It is up to your friend on how he will take it, either the positive or the bad side. We have to overcome our ego and seek for others opinion for our improvements.

  47. I’m not a fan of the tough love tactic when it comes to trying to motivate people – sure it works for some, but others might get completely broken by it. I’m just not a slap someone when they’re already down person.

    But yes, you have to take action if you want to do something more than just blog. I think there’s a point that people should feel the momentum picking up and they should know that it’s now or never to capitalize on it. I missed out on a few of my moments in the past, but I’ve done a better job of taking the lead on those moments when they do arrive now. :)

    • Tough love can be..well..tough, that’s true Kristi. To tell you the truth, I think Penelope would have handled things differently had it been a different person on the end. Great communication and motivation comes down to knowing the right buttons to push for individuals, based on their unique characteristics.

      Regarding momentum, hold that thought, would ya? I’d love to chat about that at BW with you next month!! :-)

      See you soon,


  48. Traci Wheeler

    Marcus – Great post today! I read Penelope Trunk’s blog and love her. I would have missed this podcast if not for your post. One of the things I love about Penelope is her brutal honesty. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy pill for Steve to swallow, but my guess is she did him a huge favor. I agree with you that we all need a wake-up call every now and then!

    • That’s cool you already read Penelope’s stuff Traci. The gal has a unique way about her, that’s for sure. Although most people wouldn’t say they liked it, I think it’s dang awesome–the concept of thin slicing something so easily and calling a spade a spade.

      Thanks for your thoughts Traci and hope you have an awesome week!


  49. I just listened to the podcast and I have to say kudos to Steve for posting this podcast. That was so brave of him.

    I also think when you sugar coat things the points sometimes get lost and we need that that straight talk once in a while. I see nothing wrong with how she said it , she just cut through the BS.

    The main points that I took from Penelope is that you have to be crystal clear about your goal and be able to articulate it in a sentence and furthermore be able to back it up with how you plan on getting there.

    When you are crystal clear about your goal, that is the foundation of not caring about what people think, or how they might react to your blog posting or your income, because you have that internal driving.

    Again kudos to Steve, that was some brutal truth.

    • Hey Cynthia! So glad you took a moment here to stop by.

      ‘Brutal Truth’ is a great way to put it. That’s exactly what it was. Powerful. Moving. Gut-wrenching. You name it.

      But boy are there are a ton of nuggets to be had!



  50. How did you make the shift into public speaking? Your post this week resonates with me a lot as I shift my blog of three years into more actual growth and not just the travel community (which has been incredibly supportive over the years but as you said, is not the long-term strategy!). I find the jump from blogger to authority is challenging in my niche and would love your thoughts on going the route of a PR person, or blazing a new trail (currently thinking the trail-blazing just might be in order ;)

    • Hey Shannon!!! Thanks so much for asking this question. In fact, I think I need to write a post on this! But here’s the short version:

      1. Speak for free wherever you can.
      2. Wherever you speak, record it.
      3. Get the video on your site ASAP
      4. Make it known on your site that you speak.

      Hope this help a little Shannon. Feel free to email me directly if you have further questions!


  51. Hi Marcus having read Paul Wolfe’s post on the blogging business model and currently listening to the Penelope podcast on Randy’s site, that podcast makes for uncomfortable listening, good on Randy for sharing that.

    In 2010, I was advised to setup a blog under my name as a base camp to help others identify who I am as I conduct business elsewhere. Unfortunately I have receded back to my post creation and this trio of blog posts acts as a massive wake up call to push outwards again.

    Funnily enough, the pitytrain blog is a dedicated one that focusses on the internal excuses for not taking that action.

    igor Griffiths

    • Hey Igor! So glad these posts have impacted you in a positive way. They’ve touched me for sure and I’m seriously hoping others will also be moved.

      Good luck to you Igor and thanks for stopping by,


  52. I have mixed feelings about what Penelope said to Steve. On the one hand, I think she gave him a gift. When the things people say disturb us, it’s because we have a reaction to them on some level. Maybe because they’re true, maybe because we worry that they are. Whatever the reason, words like these can lead to greater personal understanding, if we let them.

    On the other hand, there’s a time and place for criticism, and a podcast doesn’t seem like either. A personal email might have been better. I’m all for people telling the truth, but there’s a fine line between blunt and rude, helping and overstepping boundaries. Even the most direct and straightforward person can develop a sense of what’s appropriate.

    I do appreciate her general message! To be honest, I’ve been letting my Winter hibernating instinct get the better of me, and I’d like to focus more on actually doing things. I have some huge plans, so huge they scare me, and I need to focus on how I can make them possible — and not on why they’re impossible!

  53. I am a “cut to the chase” guy also, as evidenced by my blogs.

    I’m just every confused. I am using my blogs as a method for attracting clients and gaining SEO ground. I think.

    What makes a talented blogger?? Am I one? What should I be striving for?


  54. Just got a notification that a new comment was added here.

    I remember noting that Penelope’s interview (however harsh) was a gift for Steve Roy – regardless of the wounds and scars. I also remember addressing a problem I had with the way Penelope was writing about her husband AND the kind of response it was generating. And I remember Penelope thanking me for my criticism. That was amazing. She has integrity. Or skills. Or both.

    Steve Werner’s question (the latest comment) is a question that all bloggers ask – great and small. Again and again – we will ask it. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer. If there was such an answer, the hackers would automate it and rule the blogosphere. Yesterday.

    Our answers will vary. And we will keep on asking. And I think that’s healthy.

    Today, I asked myself the same question on my blog for the nth time. You might find it interesting.

  55. I was sad to see Steve’s blog disappear – I hope it was because he finally made the right choice for himself and his family. Any updates on him, Marcus?

    Be remarkable or die out… if that’s even a choice…

    • Yeah, it was sad to see. I don’t think he was able to make much progress on the marriage front Ana, but I’m not totally sure. Tough times.

      Thanks for checking in,


  56. Planning is compulsory even for the bloggers, if they are not planning how they will grow their blog, then it is destined to be fail and you have described it very cleanly.

  57. Marcus,

    I’ve been told how important running a blog is. I had no idea by building a blog I might build a large community (like you have here) or generate so much business from it like you’ve done at Riverside Pools.

  58. I just wrote a blog post on our blog. Now I am in no way destined to be a big blogger, but this post resonates with me.

    No matter if it’s a blog or not, people always pretend they are doing “work” when they think not.

    Like Gary Vaynerchuk said a few years ago in a talk, “Stop watching Lost!”. Not many people are willing to work hard at things. They make excuses. However, they need to but out the time wasted on sitting in front of a TV and get work doe.

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