May 11, 2009

Building Influence to Gain Widespread Authority

influence

This is a more advanced look at how I’ve been able to build the AONC site into a diverse community over the past year.

I’ve already written 79 pages about this subject, so this follow-up is mostly for the 50,000 people who have read that report so far. What I want to do in this article is focus on using multiple spheres of influence to create widespread, perceived authority.

One of the most important parts of developing a following is answering the “reason why” question and proving yourself to be an authority on at least one thing other people care passionately about.

From the very beginning, it’s important to understand that almost all authority is perceived, not objective. What this means is that if people think you’re smart or interesting, voila, you’re smart or interesting. In 279 Days I wrote about this in the strategy I called “Be Bigger than you Really Are” – also known as “Fake it ’till you make it.” A big part of building influence is essentially creating the perceived authority.

Usual disclaimers: I’m not an expert (no one is) – I’ve made many mistakes along the way. Use what helps you and ignore the rest.

***

To kick things off, take a look at this image (click to enlarge):

aonc-authority-5

This image represents the largest traffic sources that regularly bring readers and visitors into the AONC site. I haven’t broken them all out into percentages or anything quantitative, mostly because I don’t worry about things like that. I’m more interested in the qualitative characteristic of having perceived authority in several areas that each help me get more readers.

THE PRINCIPLE BEHIND MULTIPLE SPHERES OF INFLUENCE

Just as you don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to, you also don’t have to choose one specific topic to develop expertise in. As long as you can a) be somewhat interesting, and b) work hard over a sustained period of time, you can develop the following you need to achieve almost any goal.

This represents an effective diversification of influence, and ultimately a diversification of followers.

THE BIG PICTURE (for this site)

I write about nonconformity in Life, Work, and Travel – a topic that is admittedly quite broad, and thus it draws readers from a variety of backgrounds. I have a USP – see the great Sonia Simone for more on how that works – for each primary area of my interest.

Life – Within Life, people come to the site to read about challenging authority, finding alternative ways to set and accomplish goals, doing great things for yourself while also helping others, and standing up to vampires and other small-minded people.

The USP in this subject is what I mentioned earlier (and continue to mention frequently, because it’s important): You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. In the image above I defined it as, “Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken” – one of my favorite quotes from Oscar Wilde.

Work – Within Work, people come to the site to read about unconventional business ideas, the products, and general advice on breaking out of traditional employment. I connect with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, executives, and people who aspire to those roles.

The USP in this subject is that, for better or worse, I have been self-employed for my whole adult life. Whenever I get endorsements from business bloggers (especially someone like Seth – who is essentially a one-man Business Week, except much more interesting), I get a large group of new business-minded readers who want to know more about how that works.

Travel – Within Travel, people come to the site for the Journey to Every Country, the Frequent Flyer Challenge, general travel hacking info, trip reports, and sometimes just to connect with another world traveler.

Just as with work, when it comes to travel I’m much more of a generalist than a specialist. I don’t claim to be the most widely-traveled person in the world, or a photojournalist who spends months taking pictures of villagers. Other people can do that much better than me.

TRAFFIC SOURCES

Diversifying my perceived authority has led to a diversification of traffic sources. Every day new readers come to the site from a variety of referrals. The largest ones are listed and explained below.

Blogs – By far my biggest source of traffic, readers, and good vibes comes from other bloggers who tell their own communities about the site. If you want to help, the best thing you can do is link me up. If my site was never indexed in Google, I’d still all of the traffic I needed thanks to other blogs and sites who link to me.

World Domination Manifesto – I wrote the Brief Guide to World Domination to be flagship content – something that would draw readers in and help me define my stance as a professional authority-challenger. The manifesto has been online since June 2008, but every day I still get emails from people who have discovered it for the first time. I love that!

279 Days Manifesto – The follow-up to World Domination, this report has brought in even more readers – which is ironic, since I wrote it for a more limited target market than the first one.

Twitter – The only major social network I regularly use – although feel free to add me on LinkedIn as well. I explained recently how I use Twitter – basically the goal is to add value, connect with people, deliver helpful information, and make other people look good. Say hi anytime – I’m @chrisguillebeau.

Newspaper Column – I recently started writing a travel column for the Oregonian, the largest newspaper in Oregon. My column is in the printed paper about once a month, with a few blog posts in the Travel section of their site in between. It doesn’t really bring a huge amount of traffic, but being a newspaper columnist produces a certain amount of perceived authority, and I’m hoping to syndicate the column to a broader audience in the future.

Other Media – So far the site has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Times, La Presse, MSNBC, and a bunch of smaller outlets. Of course, new media authorities like Slate.com, LifeHacker, and Huffington Post are also important, and I’m grateful to them as well. I regularly build relationships with journalists, offering to help without being quoted, and trying not to be anal about whatever they want to say about me. (This process could be an entire article, so I’ll save it for the future.)

Huffington Post – Speaking of syndication, the ever-insightful Gretchen Rubin told me recently, “Ubiquity is the new exclusivity” – meaning that the more places you can be with the same message, the better. I thought that advice was brilliant – and it’s basically the approach I used when HuffPost asked me to start writing for them.

The gig is unpaid, and I was concerned about writing original content for them when I’m supposed to be writing a book (in addition to everything else), so I was happy when they told me I could cross-post some of the travel articles I publish here on AONC. They win because their readers get access to content they didn’t have before – presumably it’s good content! – and I win from the broader exposure of the HuffPost name.

(In fact, I have another, similar deal coming up this week – I had to quickly edit this article, since I originally included the source by mistake. Oops… hopefully they won’t notice!)

Organic – I don’t get a huge amount of organic (search engine) traffic, but it’s slowly growing. The beauty of legacy content is that, over time, a few of the better articles receive good indexing in Google, and new readers every day through the archives.

Some of the Google results I see are really quite funny. Last month three people arrived when searching for “ass kicking of a lifetime.” Another person came in by searching for “take over the world while being nice.” Lots of people drop in for variations on terms like frequent flyer miles, round-the-world plane tickets, world domination, working for yourself, jobs that travel the world, and so on.

HOW TO BALANCE MULTIPLE INTERESTS

When I first started writing, one of my big concerns was about defining a core audience with the broad topics I wanted to write about. Would people “get” it? Would entrepreneurs care about international travel? Would people living in cubicle nation want to hear what I had to say about working for yourself?

The answer turned out to be a qualified yes.

I had to learn to mix it up, preempt objections, and accept that not every article relates to each reader, but those things were to be expected. It also helped when I learned to provide more details and background – how much it costs when I travel, all the details of conducting your own annual review, and so on. I was worried about writing longer posts (this one is more than 2,000 words), but it turned out that the details are what most of my readership really wanted.

At this point, I’ll say that I honestly don’t worry about it that much. For the most part, I write about whatever I feel like as long as I think it is interesting and centered on helping others. After one year of writing, I have a strong archive of legacy content on multiple subjects. If I head out on a long trip and write about travel for a while and someone gets tired of it, there is plenty of other content they can consume if they want.

They can also just stop reading, and I know that I can’t please all of the people all of the time. The other day someone unsubscribed because “the articles are really long!” I told him he was right – if you want to read an online comic strip, there are plenty of those out there. I’m trying to attract a more thoughtful crowd.

WRAP-UP

This model is unconventional because the traditional wisdom on building an online presence (or small business) is that you should start small and expand outwards.

If your passion or business is golf, you’re supposed to write only about golf. According to this theory, no one cares what golfers think about tennis, let alone politics, the state of the world, or anything related to your personal life.

Naturally, I think this belief is wrong… or if not wrong, it’s clearly old-school.

The model I used to build out this project is unconventional, but it’s no longer unusual. About 50% of the people I wrote about in 26 People I Highly Respect are following a similar model.

At some point I’ll post a more detailed update on the reception to 279 Days, including my response to some of the limited criticisms of the report. One of the criticisms I disagree with is the idea that as more people start blogging (or whatever medium you choose), there will be less “followers” and the value of any one person’s project will become diluted.

I may be wrong, but I believe the opposite: the field is wide open. One person’s success does not cause another person to fail. If anything, there’s never been a better time to begin an unconventional career.

In other words:

Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.

Avoid scarcity; embrace abundance.

Help others and do what you want.

That sounds good to me… how about you?

***

If you’re still reading after 2,064 words, here are a couple of questions:

  • What is your perceived authority?
  • How can you leverage it to help others and create multiple spheres of influence?

Feel free to share stories, tips, or other questions in the comments.

(By the way, thanks for your patience with the delayed comment posting over the past couple of weeks while I was traveling. I’m home this week and can interact more quickly now.)

###

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44 Responses to “Building Influence to Gain Widespread Authority”

  1. Chris,

    As always I really enjoyed this post. As someone that is currently trying to figure out how to integrate all of these ideas into my life and blog, it is refreshing to see someone tell it exactly like it is (as you did in the 279 Days manifesto) and then continue to provide ideas that support those theories (as you did in this post).

    You mentioned multiple times to “Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken”. This is a great thing to remember. As I have been trying to find ideas for a blog and a new business venture, I think I kept trying to be someone that I knew I wasn’t. I kept trying to embrace ideas that were good for someone, but not necessarily for me. Hopefully thats beginning to change, and it is posts like this that provide encouragement to do that!

    Thanks again for the great content, and hope your most recent trip went well!

    Cheers,
    Sean

  2. May 11, 2009

    Kate Frishman

    Chris,
    Your uncanny ability to write exactly what I need to hear still astounds me. Fantastic, as always.

  3. May 11, 2009

    Danny Garant

    Damn! I didn’t read the 279 days yet.

    Anyway, I agree with the following statement.

    “almost all authority is perceived, not objective”

    I discovered this fact when some of my fellow role-playing game player compliment me as the best storyteller. The best storyteller isn’t me, I know better than me. But my players don’t know them. So I’m the perceived authority.

    The same thing happen within my soccer team. I was the most experienced player, so they asked me to be player/coach/captain and they don’t want to see anyone else at my position. There are better players than me within the league, but I’m the perceived authority within my team.

    Thanks for bringing this up.

  4. Hey Chris,

    Really great post and insight. I do agree that you get a large amount of followers based on the things you mentioned above. But I think that for a lot of people, you’re a constant source of optimism, and that’s what keeps them coming back. Most people get so sucked into the dullness of regular life that when they find a blog like yours it’s immediatley attractive and inspiring to them. People are inspired because YOU seem so inspired about everything you’re talking about. They may not even care about world travel or starting a new business or whatnot…it’s just refreshing to read something that makes you think and feel good about life in general.

    So thanks for providing that “feeling” no matter what the subject is.

    Dan

  5. Nice extension of 279 Days, Chris.

    Like you, the topic I write about is broad (it’s a lifestyle concept which obviously therefore has multiple aspects to it).

    That’s typically a “no no” in online/internet business & blogging – and yet I’ve found this approach has attracted a far more diverse and interesting audience than it might have done had it been highly specialised and focused.

    Even now, we’re finding new and exciting ways to actually expand the focus and reach, thanks to readers who all have their own take on things…that’s one of the other benefits of keeping things broad.

    One thing I have learned & am delving into more right now, is to try and understand much more about each type of reader and what it is they’re looking for from the site…an experiment I’m trying is to make the site more friendly & easier to use for the 1st time visitor, depending upon who they are & what they’re looking for….delving into an established blog can be quite hard for newbies so it’s something we’re trying to overcome.

    I’d be interested to know if that’s something you’ve considered?

  6. May 11, 2009

    becjlee

    Hi Chris

    The questions to ask yourself are the best bit for me. Your thoughts provide context, but the questions give me the nudge I need. So, thanks for taking the time

    Bec

  7. Chris,

    You are right on. I have seen this so many times in business as well as non profits I have worked with. The people with the titles are not always the ones that people goto when they need something. Typically it is those who are able to deomostrate, through a track record of delivering, that people goto when they need an answer. This is expecially true of cross-functional teams. Long after projects complete that influence that the defacto leader has earned throughout the project continues. People will go back to that person for answers again and again.

    I have also seen this in non-profit organizations where a new person joins who has a tone of experience. After a short time when the new person is able to demonstrate they “get it”, they know how to get things done, certain people tend to gravitate to that person. They start to build their own small group of people who they influence.

    I think that a big factor in influence is confidence. If a person is able to make a decision or answer a question with confidence (given that the answer is correct) then others tend to become more influenced by that person.

  8. Chris,

    Great post – what’s amazing is that I never read a long blog post (even in Japanese!) but yours doesn’t feel like that long at all.

    I was thinking, what is one thing that is truly unique about me, and came up with this; I might be the only Tokyo University graduate who quit her (what people thought) prestigious job to marry US Navy guy. I’m not sure how this helps anyone but it does say something about me, that I didn’t do what my family and friends expected me to do. I just followed my heart and created a beautiful family with him. What I want to say is that I was not afraid of other people’s judgement when I decided to do that. I’ll find a way to put this in words in my blog post.

    As for the content of this post, it’s really helpful as I have just joined the wonderful world of blogging. Hope to be like you someday.

  9. Last night I told a friend that I’m coaching a teenager who wants to be a novelist.

    “How arrogant,” he said.

    “Which of us?” I asked.

    Both, we agreed. I may know more than the kid, but perceived authority definitely plays a bigger role that my limited experience. So that’s one area of apparent expertise. The other two are cooking/baking and marksmanship. It hadn’t occurred to me to combine the three, but I’ll give it some thought.

  10. Excellent post. I love the length. It’s like going back to school for me. I don’t know how you manage it all. Peace Bro.

  11. It’s awesome how your helping people who are just starting out to gain widespread acknowledgment like you have. I am one of those beginners. Thanks to you and others like you, I have been inspired to create my own niche, in the hope that I won’t have to work a 30hr week. This article has taught me to broaden my horizon and to be unique by creating original and valuable content on my blog.

    Thanks, Chris.

  12. You guys are great! Thank you all so much. I love this.

    @Lea,

    I think I need to make some improvements in that area (personalization + user profiling, welcoming new people into an established, site etc.), so let me know if you find out something useful. Over here it was strictly organic and qualitative, just listening to lots of different feedback over time.

    Among other improvements, though, I’ll be completely revising all the secondary pages to provide a better orientation. I don’t think it’s a one-time project; it’s more like a process of continuous improvement.

  13. Hi Chris –

    Thanks for this post. You affirmed a lot of things that have been basic to my philosophy in writing my blog and my objectives of living and working free. But, the water has been clouded by the opinions of many others about the length of posts, the focus of the content – actually just about everything you posted about. Like you, everything I do is from a non-conforming perspective, including my current lifestyle. My writing is about how I feel about things and hopefully, it will help others think and make choices. You are over 30 years younger then me, but I’m learning much from you. I’m hoping that sharing whatever I’ve learned and experienced over my 60 plus years (some call it wisdom when you reach my age) will help at least one other person – better yet, many people – to grab hold of their own lives and focus on happiness and sharing with others.

    Thanks again,
    Ed

  14. “Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.”

    Words to live by really.

    In my own writing I sometimes fear going too far off track but if I do it and it’s really what I have to say, then why stifle it.

    My perceived authority is largely in the dance community, and a burgeoning one in the Location Independent, Lifestyle Design one. I’m working to kick ass and make my own name in the latter and have already created a solid personal brand in the former.

    I’ll have ot think more on the second question.

  15. All of life is “perceived authority.” Because our boss is, well, our boss – we perceive he/she has the expertise and skills to be the boss. Same with our parents. They know everything when we’re 8, and get more stupid as we age. Miraculously they regain their wisdom and smarts by the time we hit 22 and just get smarter as we get older.

    By the time we see through the smoke and mirrors of all the bosses and authority figures we’ve encountered in a lifetime we may feel deceived. It’s still just our perception, not a deception at all. We choose who to empower by giving up some of our power – that’s all. Perception is reality and reality is perception is true. It’s how we change the way we act (fake it till you make it), think, feel, believe. It’s an age old wisdom – made simple with your post. Thanks!

  16. You wanna talk broad? My blog’s subtitle is “A Virgo’s Guide to the Universe.” The UNIVERSE. HA.

    Seriously—or as seriously as it’s possible for a nutball like me to get—I’m obviously a fan of doing one’s own particular thing full out, regardless of whether it’s stylish, saleable or narrowly focused. Mine is none of those three, so it’s taking me a colossally long time to find my peeps. But I have been, slowly and steadily. Mostly the former.

    I’ve always half-joked that I’m building myself up to be a 10-year, overnight success, aka a celebrity. By that math, I’m almost halfway home. Awesome, right?

    Actually, I think it is. Perhaps my true “authority” (and come on, I have to put that in quotes) is in providing a living example that it’s okay to just do your thing and keep at it. Sort of, “Damn the income, full speed ahead.”

  17. Chris,

    From the start I had the intuition that people writing about broad topics with a common theme or interesting intersections would have a competitive advantage despite the common wisdom against that strategy.

    Your thoughts on these issues were very inspiring for me to launch my blog on three broad topics that I’m passionate about: personal development, espresso and economics.

    @Communicatrix: your writing style is so brilliant and unique that you definitely can write about whatever you fancy in the entire universe. I think you are the perfect example of a style of writing that distinguishes the author regardless of subject — if you wrote tomorrow about quantum mechanics it would still have that communicatrix voice that would magically give it a feel of being related to any other topic in your blog!

    Cheers,
    Alan

    C

  18. May 11, 2009

    Cynthia

    Chris,

    I hardly ever read a full blog post. NEVER one as long as this. But here I am, at the very end of your post, having devoured every word. You are an inspiration and I am glad that you are following your passion and illuminating the path for late-bloomers like me. Thanks. ~Cynthia

    PS. I learned of Roger von Oech today. If you don’t know of him, check out his “A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative”. It might be right up your alley.

  19. Chris-

    You do an outstanding job pouring your mind out on paper. You seem to have this uncanny ability to make people feel as if they are sitting on a tailgate having a beer with you, yet bring a refreshing idea to make them think twice. I think you are right on when you say it’s in the details. People like to feel like they know you better than they do. The intrinsic little details draw us in and open up the brain. Thanks for the great stumble to point my crowd to!

  20. May 11, 2009

    Dillon Ross

    Chris,
    Great post. I came by your work from a posting Seth made about your generosity aka giving away 279 days. I stayed for the World
    Domination manifesto – a swift and inspiring kick in the ass. Then i jumped in feet first with the Unconventional Guide to working.
    Thanks for what you do.

  21. I’m a pretty new reader, and have just finished the Manifesto and 279 days. Both were well worth the reading (I’m finishing my dissertation soon, so anything worth reading right now has to /really/ be worth it). I appreciate your thoughtfulness in all of your writing…even if it makes for long blog posts. Thanks for the stream of new ideas!

  22. Chris,

    This is an insightful post indeed. I myself am just beginning to explore my ‘inner non-conformist’ and escape from the routines of normality – your writings have, amongst others, encouraged me to do so. So, firstly, thanks for the good work.

    Secondly, I wanted to answer the questions you asked in your post – albeit in an oblique way… If I’m being honest, I would have to say that I am not an expert in anything (it could be argued that I’m a decent programmer, but not expert) but I think the idea of perceived expertise is the relevant point here. I intend to be perceived as an expert and, in-turn, build up my own version of Kevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans. In doing so – and like yourself – I will help others with their own problems and contradictions.

    Thanks again for the great post,
    Zac

  23. That post is a gem for all of us who can’t focus on only one thing! And who knows interest from one topic can spill into another one for your readers.
    Looking forward for your post on French Guyana (I grew up there!)

  24. Great article Chris and welcome back. As always thanks for sharing and providing details instead of just hints and tips. It is greatly appreciated.

    What’s my perceived authority: “I make maps. Is your life an adventure?” I’m still sorting out my Direction and have come to grips with the fact that I may always be, and that’s OK. My goal is to create a collection of visual and directional maps of processes, actions and habits that have helped me along the way and that I hope will one day help my kids (and anyone else) get to the life they truly want much faster than I have.

    Side note: Seth Godin has a funny and inspirational talk on TED that relates to the 1000 truly dedicated followers and the concept of a “Tribe”. I couldn’t help but think of 279 Days over and over while watching it.

    Thanks again Chris!

  25. Wow! Found you through @ConversationAge on Twitter – I need a moment to absorb it all… I was just having a similar conversation with @Brainstormist and @TrishaTorrey – I think we’re all on the same page of a great story!

    “Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.

    Avoid scarcity; embrace abundance.

    Help others and do what you want.”

    That’s great advice!
    I’m still absorbing… I’ll be back to read more!
    V-

  26. We can’t limit ourselves too much or we will limit our ability to have fun. I created a niche blog with a focus in mind and still allowed myself to write about what really matters to me. I write about work happiness, but knowing yourself is a huge part of the work happiness equation. So I also write about personal development.

    To create the life of our dreams we have to be willing to step outside of the box we created for ourselves, expanding even our own expectations. The best way to do this is to learn to completely be ourselves and let our personality shine. Like you said there is only one of me, so I may as well let it loose and help as many people as I can.

  27. Hi Chris,

    I am one of those people who especially likes reading the details of how you go about doing things, so the length of your blogs is not an issue with me. One bit of advice I’d like to offer, however, relates to your reaction to the reader who unsubscribed because he thought you were long-winded. In response you wrote, “… if you want to read an online comic strip, there are plenty of those out there. I’m trying to attract a more thoughtful crowd.” I thought this response was a little too defensive.

    Just because someone thinks your articles are too long, does not mean she is not thoughtful. In fact, some thoughtful readers might like to see an executive summary of your longer posts before deciding to expend the time and mental energy to read one of them.

    Even without executive summaries, I appreciate your writing.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  28. Building influence to gain authority is all about the person; at the end of the day the tools, tactics, networks and methods for creation and distribution are great, but if the person, their content, their interactions, and their “selves” aren’t there, none of it matters.

    In your case, thanks for mattering :)

  29. I’ve always loved the idea of perceived expertise, and have been making use of it since I started up my own studio. A really strange (but beneficial) trend that I’ve found to be true is that the hot-spot age for being an expert on anything technology-related right now is early- to mid-twenties. If you are younger than this, most people, older and younger, will not take you seriously; what could you possibly know? You’re so young! If you’re older than this, you are behind the times, and the kids in college are lightyears ahead of you in everything tech- and web-related.

    Being 24, though, has given me an expert status that I’ve had to grow into. Every time I pick up a new skill set (PHP programming, SEO, social media marketing, etc), I’m immediately thrown in to a situation where I’m being forced to use it as an expert would, making it all the more necessary to learn VERY QUICKLY.

    I think this is an interesting twist on the idea of ‘experts,’ because up until recently, you had to be much older to be perceived as knowing anything about anything.

  30. Great comments everyone, thanks so much.

    @Mike,

    The remark about online comic strips was meant to be more of a differentiator than a criticism. I read several online comics from time to time (and LOLCats, FailBlog, etc.) myself; I was just saying that the subject matter is different here. Also, I didn’t write that response directly to the reader – to him I just said, “Thanks, I wish you the best.”

    @Gavin,

    Yep, the Seth talk is great! Here’s a link:

    Seth Godin on Tribes at TED

  31. I hate this blog, because everytime I read something, I feel my head is going to explode!

    I´m about to launch a web magazine about balancing your life (in spanish) and this post changed everything! Back to the drawing board.

    Thanks, man.

  32. I actually got referred here by multiple blogs in your “Top 26″ and finally read it, and I’m so glad I started. I come as an entrepreneurial-minded reader, but suddenly I find myself planning out world travels over the next few years.

    Thanks!

  33. May 12, 2009

    KatherineMO

    Hi Chris,

    Yours is one of the rare blogs where I read every word – and benefit immensely from each one. I don’t care if your posts are 2,600 or 26 words; there’s always a nugget of truth/originality within, and I will always take the time to find it. :-)

    Every Monday and Thursday now, I wonder – what will Chris blog about? I look forward to your posts; I reflect and learn.

    Thanks for everything you do!

    Katherine
    (still trying to identify her field of influence)

  34. I think you’re completely right about people being able to explore more interests publicly than ever before.

    It seems like the authority of experts has been somewhat diminished recently. People care about what other people have to say about a wider range of topics than their specialty. It used to be that if you wanted stock advice or political analysis or moral guidance (or any other topic you can name), you would go to an expert who had gone to college for it, studied it intensely over all other topics, and finally settled in to work on it until the day they died.

    Now, it seems like the opinion of the enthusiast, the hobbyist, or even the slightly interested individual, is just as valid as anyone else’s. So, a person can write or talk about anything and people will be interested in their opinion, even if that person hasn’t devoted the entirety of their lives to the study of the topic. Whereas, in the past, the response would have been “What do you know about X? You’re a Y.”

  35. Chris,

    As always, I enjoy reading your article and (more importantly) benefit from it.

    Regarding your various and long articles (or every other writers’ for that matter), I think it is up to the reader what we decide to read (or skim or scan).

    The writers have done their excellent job of writing (in this case, you) and now it is our responsibility to choose which article or which portion of article can benefit us.

    Can you write more on balancing multiple interest? I do have some problem in this department.

    Thanks Chris!

  36. Fellow followers of Chris,

    In answer to the two questions posed by Chris:

    I have accumulated 101 wealth principles over the past two years. I am writing about them in a newsletter and will expand into several e-books.

    I plan to give all or most of it away in hopes of creating millionaires to change the world. My goal is to create a happier and safer world.

    It is a huge undertaking, but I plan on having several million helpers.

    I am inspired by Chris and the comments from all of you.

    Life is good even when it is bad.

    P.S. My website is a mess at the moment. Changing auto responders and I am not a techie.

  37. Hello Chris,

    Good to connect with you recently – and thanks for the inspiration.

    You have just shown me how to bring together all the strands of my work and interests and make it happen!

    I am currently writing my own “manifesto” and will get it out there soon.

    Your story and methods are very inspirational.

    Thanks!

    Arvind

  38. Chris, as always, your post was brilliant. The questions at the end are great. They will have me thinking really hard for a while.

    My spheres of perceived influence? Mixed-media art; photgraphy; writing; Asian culture; animal rescue and care. How’s that for diverse? I’ve done some work with each topic.

    That’s why my company is “a media company.” I do several things.

    I think the business world at large would really benefit if a more organic way of doing things was accepted and/or embraced.

    Peace.
    Jennifer Moore
    JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

  39. May 14, 2009

    Jeffrey

    I’ve got mixed feelings about the ubiquity aspect. At some point if I find and hear someone everywhere, that person can become just noise … more sameness and less distinctive.

    I’m not advocating exclusivity or being too fearful of overexposure, but I think it is a fine line before ubiquity commoditizes one’s identity.

  40. Chris,

    As a new reader of your site, I greatly appreciate your unique point of view. I am launching my own blog/site and feel inspired by your words, especially that it works to put several different parts of you out there to have a diversified audience. It is nice to have someone ahead of me on the unconventional path of life clearing away some of the overgrowth, so that I may find my own way a bit easier.

    Thanks so much!
    Karianne Wilkins

  41. Hi Chris,

    Kudos and ditto on all the good things said about you above. I have a question that I was hoping you might be able to answer. When you find yourself in a position of receiving a lot of traffic from an external source, how do you harness that traffic? Or do you? Does that make sense? Maybe “harness” is not the right word. Let me paint a more clear (I hope) picture:

    Build a blog with great content
    Exposure from external source pushes lots of traffic to one post
    Traffic spikes
    Traffic eventually drops
    If people were interested in that one post in theory they should be interested in others on the same subject, yes?

    How can you convert traffic spikes into increasing blog loyalty? I don’t think there is one right way to do this, I’m simply curious if and how you do this? Hope this isn’t being too pushy. I really enjoy AONC!

  42. May 27, 2009

    C. Brandon

    Chris,

    Fantastic post. And I wanted to say… thank you for sending out your entire article via RSS. I absolutely hate when bloggers only send an excerpt. You have no idea how valuable the whole article is for somebody like me, who is using the slowest internet connection known to man (in Tupiza, Bolivia). Then again, maybe you do.

    Its the little things, no? They matter enough for me to load your site (10 minutes) to comment.

    Later

  43. Pingback: Trackback from Easel and Vine

  44. December 22, 2009

    Yongho Shin

    This was a very timely, thought-provoking article. Thanks, Chris.

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