I’ve been holding onto this list for a while, but thought today was an appropriate time to post something like this.
(Note on this post. My father passed away on 2/7/12. This post was published the week of his passing): My father passed away this week. There is actually some solace in that as he had been suffering for way too long and his battle is finally over. If there is anything positive I can take away from this experience, it’s that I’ve developed an entirely new level of respect for my mother and my wife. If there is one thing they have taught me, it’s to focus on other people, not yourself. They might be selfless to a fault.
I’ve posted how I feel about him here, so today I really do want to focus on the positive.
Even though my father is gone, I know he would want to give me a swift kick in the ass and tell me to get back in with guns a blazin’! Well, that might be an exaggeration, but I do think this is a very appropriate time to simply thank some of the people who’ve helped me out in my short stint online. (just about five months so far). So, here goes …
Trying to carve out an online niche as a blogger is not easy. Some say jump right in. Others advise meticulous, careful planning. Either way, it becomes a process of self-discovery, finding that elusive personal statement that defines you and what you’re all about. That oh-so-hard-to-find unique selling proposition. It’s not easy, and this is just step one!
I have not been to Blog World nor have I met, in person, any of the online mentors mentioned below. But each individual has doled out oh-so-precious advice and inspiration to me both directly and indirectly, through their blogs (and podcasts). Basically providing value through their own, unique online presence. So, I bow down and give thanks, of course hoping to meet each fine peep at some point in time.
This is a long list. There are many more people I would like to thank, I just didn’t want to write a mini novel. I thought this was long enough.
This is where it all started.
Skool of Life
I started listening to Srini’s informative BlogcastFM last May. I listened to just about each and every show, really! It was hard to digest all this information at first, with diverging opinions and strategies, but Srini’s interviewing style helped me sift through it all. For anyone entering the blogging world, I highly recommend this podcast.
What The Interviewer taught me:
Stop. Look. Listen. If you are trying to get your name out there, don’t focus on the A-Listers. Instead, focus on the greenhorns, budding bloggers, the emerging talent. Kiss lots of digital babies. After all, baby bloggers might become big bloggers, right? New bloggers can become readers, teachers, and sometimes they need help too. It’s all good! I’ve learned quite a bit from his podcast and I also relate to a guy who says he never fit in, obsesses, and has issues with authority.
This guy has experience, no doubt. Oh, and he has a very informative blog too. If you want to dive into social media, please do yourself a favor and start perusing Danny’s blog. It’s chock-full of content about marketing, PR, and social media of course. The cherry on top? The comments. He is also a gifted writer.
What The Scotsman has taught me
Emotional marketing is nothing new, but there is great, untapped potential in Emotional Connection Marketing. Through a bit of research and using the tools readily available, connect with the client based on their wants and needs, NOT what we think they should be attracted to. A new paradigm for making that a lasting connection.
Oh, he’s also a great all around guy and can really stir it up with Gini Dietrich, but it’s all in fun. You may have seen them bantering about.
I first heard John interviewed on Srini’s excellent BlogcastFM. After I read John’s post, The 4-Hour Workweek ruined my life, I was hooked. John is a creative and skilled writer, has great insight and offers sage advice to up-and-comers like me. His blog has plenty of helpful information too.
What The Coach taught me:
Building an online presence, well, it’s not so easy. It calls for reflection and takes quite a bit of effort on your part. But it is all about You being You. Not fake, phony, or manufactured, but genuine, real, sincere. How you present yourself online is so important. Figure out who the heck you are first, and stay away from job titles, for this brings trust young Jedi.
When I first heard that Bill Dorman was on Gini Dietrich’s must meet list, I gotta admit, I was kind of jealous. I mean, I’m a fan of the guys mentioned above, but this is the big G.D. we’re talking about. C’mon now!
As I stated here. I am now a member of a very large and growing group, The Gini Dietrich Fan Club. Gini is not only one of the most astute and prolific bloggers out there, she is also known to be extremely giving and very accessible. She has honestly helped me more than she knows.
What Aunt Gini taught me
Sometimes you just have to test and see what works. Her blog is focused on PR, but it’s not all PR all the time. It’s about making things happen in business, leadership, and she often throws in a bit of craziness. She and Danny are good at inserting “goofy.” We like that.
How to stay on task. As an avid cyclist, I personally wonder how she gets it all done, but she does and just watching her in action over at Spin Sucks is motivation enough. I also commend her for being honest about being an introvert. Hey, there are many of us out there and her honesty on the topic is refreshing.
*I would also like to say a big, “thank you” to Lisa Gerber for initiating the interview process and suggesting a guest post on Spin Sucks. Thanks, Lisa.
Dot me. That is all… (Formerly: The Invisible Blogger)
Bill wrote a post many months ago titled, “Do I know you?” Wanting to know a bit more about us, and letting us know a bit more about him. This post in particular resonated with me, or at least motivated me to comment. Little did I know that I would receive a reply within 10 minutes, and a very helpful response at that. I had commented on a few blogs before, here and there, but this was the first time I took the time to actually put a few thoughts together and it felt good to get a quick, thoughtful response. You see, Bill is really, really great at that thing called community engagement.
What the former “Invisible Blogger” taught me:
This entire process is more about building relationships than anything, and I think Ari Herzog’s post sums up Bill’s approach better than I ever could. When I first started really researching and looking over many blogs, Bill’s friendly face was always there in the comments section. Not only a prolific commenter, but a guy that was taking the time to connect with people. So Bill taught me to be SOCIAL. Let’s call him Yoda.
I visited Nancy’s blog early on, before I started blogging and I soon discovered you get a no bullshit writing style with Nancy, that’s for sure. She writes very honest, from the heart posts too, which certainly takes a bit of courage, but there is also plenty of inspiration in her writing.
What Nancy taught me
Well, all about transparency. That it’s okay to bring forth a little (or a lot) of honestly with your writing. You just don’t know who it might resonate with. She also has a great sense of humor and we know its okay to discuss old stories about school days, big hair rock and how ridiculous we all looked back in the day. Nancy made me admit that I used to wear parachute pants, too.
If you visit his blog you will be richly rewarded. Trust me! Here is a guy who writes about anything and everything, and he does it oh so well. And you talk about street cred, he is a writer and author of 39 unpublished books and three screenplays. I think a writer like Jack commands a certain level of respect.
I honestly wish I would visit his blog more often, but there are only so many hours in the day. I’m a fan and my wife is a fan.
What Mr. Jack taught me
Just write. After he made a comment on my blog about free-form writing (or maybe it was his blog) … anyway, I digress. After he told me I should just sit down and write, well, I sat down and wrote about whatever came to mind. I still do and it helps immensely. Thanks, Jack!
Kaarina is focused on helping people achieve their goals and dreams. It says so on her site and I believe her. Like John and Bill, Kaarina was leaving well written, insightful comments on many of the blogs I was frequenting. Great comments about true change, and what it takes to make those changes within. I also love her manifesto about being social in “real life”.
What Kaarina taught me:
I have seen her all over the place, and wherever I do, her messages are always infused with positive, habit-changing, constructive advice. Change not only requires a commitment on your part, a decision to do IT. You need to frame it in a constructive and positive way, with the future in mind. Like her tagline says, When you decide2do the follow-up actions will almost naturally come into play. Her writing is enlightening and inspirational. Always packed with good, positive energy, and EXTREMELY helpful. We often underestimate our true potential and we need other people to remind us that we can achieve a level of success never thought possible. Kaarina does that very well.
Mark wrote a book on Twitter and he has quite a large following, but when I followed him, he followed me. This is before I had a blog, and I think I had three followers at the time. I gotta admit that kind of made my day. Okay! Enough pandering you say. The thing is, Mark’s Grow blog is rich, deep, and super-duper-informative. There is so much information here that I’ve really just started to scratch the surface, but I’ll keep at it, I’m “growing.” Wink. Wink.
What the Executive Director taught me
How to use Twitter, of course I’m on my way, but I have a long way to go. He talks about the importance of writing from your perspective. To write a blog post that only you could write. Use your history, your perspective, your uniqueness to your advantage. Leverage the medium using this distinctiveness, but stick to marketing 101. That is, learn how to apply these great new tools, but use the marketing fundamentals that never change. I could go on.
The Sales Lion
As he says on his site, “If I teach it, I’ve lived it.” Marcus believes in the power of personal experience (he has oodles of that) and helping others. He’s all about making people shine; on blogs, business or everyday life. My first exposure to Marcus was of course through BlogcastFM. His enthusiasm is infectious. I want to become somewhat proficient at this blogging thing and become a better public speaker. He does both extremely well.
What The Lion taught me:
Jump in. After all, he is the founder of a pool company. He went from starting a pool industry blog (when no one else was) to the ever popular Sales Lion. He did this with little technical knowledge, but a burning desire — To. Help. People. Succeed! It shows in everything he does and frankly this guy just motivates me. Plus he gave me a call one day and gave me the kick in the pants I needed.
The CARE movement
Like Al, my wake up call came at about the age of 41. My realization was more about dealing with fear and embracing discomfort, but I can certainly relate to a guy who decided, fairly late in life to make a difference. To just get out there and “do!”
What Mr. Smith taught me:
Focus more on others than yourself. If you think you can make a real difference in the world, well get out and do it. Wake up with some gratitude instead of waking up with a bad attitude. I love that message.
Check out Al’s mission here.
The Middle Finger Project
As her blog title might indicate, Ashley is candid, outspoken and certainly uninhibited. with an unbridled writing style that is engaging, inspirational and, well, downright helpful. It is her writing that sucks you in and doesn’t let go (she would have thought of something better to say here). And believe me, it entertains. Ashley is all about teaching people how to live up to their potential. If you want a web presence, don’t try to emulate her writing style, (you can’t) but do read for inspiration and just enough salty language to make this guy happy I simply love the writing.
What The Bold One taught me:
Take control of your life and start living on your own terms. Stop overanalyzing everything, grow some cojones, go out, and do it! Create the life you envision and leverage the technology to get paid for it. Know that building an online presence takes time, so don’t get discouraged, instead keep on truckin’. You have to stand for something, no matter what you’re doing, it’s how you shine. As the title of her ebook says, “You Don’t Need A Job, You Need Guts”.
Frank was one of the first people to follow me back on Twitter. You know, when I was a nobody. A wanna be blogger without a home. But old Frank reached out. I’ve talked and Skyped with more than a few people along the way, but frank spent a good hour on the phone with me doling out precious advice.
What I learned from Mr. Frank.
Well he gave me so much information in our conversation that I’m still sorting through the notes. Well, some of his tidbits of advice are on my monthly to-do lists. You also might want to check him out on Twitter.
Lori was the first person to invite me to Google+ (I still don’t have the hang of it:)) and she even invited me to guest post at her place. Speaking of her place, “Life, for instance” is a blog for just about everybody, really. She’ll certainly make you feel right at home.
What Lori taught me:
Focus on community. Her blog is a gathering place and she certainly knows how to keep the conversation going AND foster community. Check it out, you won’t be sorry.
There are many more intelligent, inspiring and thoughtful advisors who continue to teach me through their great writing and online presence. Here’s to a follow up post ‘cause I wanna give credit where credit is due. AND I have missed too many people, but this post is way over 2,000 words. I HAD to stop!
Yes, I have an A-List and the people above are just part of that growing list. I would love to make this a series, so please let me know what you think of posts highlighting other bloggers. Is this a good idea? I have others I want to mention here, but as I stated, I don’t want to write a novel.
[I also wanted to give a special thanks to my wife, Mary Anne]
She means the world to me and without her I would never be able to do any of this. Nada. Zilch! She’s not only supported my mom and dad in a time of need, she’s supported my crazy blogging effort since the very beginning.
How about you? Have the people above inspired or influenced you?
Who is on your mentor or inspirational list?
Is there anyone outside of the blogosphere who has inspired you?