The Trend That Matters Most In 2013

By Yaro Starak
110 Comments

I’ve had my own small business online since the early 2000s. One of the benefits of being an “early adopter” is that I was able to assume a position of leadership before I faced too much quality competition.

It was great for me back then as I could test basic ideas, see how they went and report back my findings. This lead to building a following and thus a thriving business.

Today it’s not quite as simple as that. Leadership positions are mostly taken. You can certainly enter a market and become a leader if you have the credentials, the skills and the dedication, but it’s just not as easy as it once was.

There are more people who are good at what they do today, meaning you have to essentially – “up your game” – if you are to survive and thrive.

A Lot Of Good People

A few weeks ago I was busy writing an email to my newsletter. I had published a solid article here on EJ and I wanted to make sure my newsletter subscribers knew about it. I invested quite a bit of time writing the article and then a bit more time writing my newsletter. Stock-standard work for a blogging information publisher.

Shortly after sending off my newsletter, I received an email from Leslie Samuel from BecomeABlogger.com. He just published an epic article of his own reporting the results of his blogging business from the previous month.

I continued through my email and noticed an update from Pat Flynn. He had recently published an extremely detailed post on his blog about how he does podcasting. It included multiple videos, transcripts, MP3s – almost an entire course in itself!

Then Tim Ferriss popped up on my radar next, releasing another one of his epic articles on how someone did something amazing, a common subject on his blog.

These are three talented and dedicated guys, all working in roughly the same industry as me. Week-in-and-week-out they publish great ideas, do experiments, write huge blog posts, record videos, podcasts – even write the occasional book! And they are just a small sample of an extensive collection of amazing people who operate in my “hood” online.

When I started blogging, none of these guys were around. At least they weren’t writing a blog or were well known for what they do today. It was a lot quieter place in the blogosphere.

How Can You Stand Out?

You might feel a little discouraged about starting a blog or online business because of the quality people already doing such great work.

How are you going to stand out when every subject area seems so crowded?

How on earth can you become a leader if it takes a monumental amount of work just to do half of what other people seem to pump out online week-in-week-out?

What if you have a full time job and family that take most of your time?

I’ve actually felt these exact feelings myself (well, not the full time job part, but I do get busy with non-business life things too). Just because I was an early adopter doesn’t mean I can just sit back and rest on my laurels. I’m being outpaced by smarter, more active and passionate people.

One of the challenges for a person like me is that after so long online everything starts to look the same. The fundamentals never change, all that happens is we get more tools to exploit them. As a “grandfather” online, I can get cynical as each new tool or technique comes around. I just don’t have the energy to know everything about everything in my industry, like a leader should.

That’s not a good attitude. It’s a sign of burn out, too long spent doing the same thing with nothing new sparking excitement. It’s also a sign you have lost touch with why you are doing what you do in the first place. Without passion in place, everything can seem like too much work.

Accept That It’s Not Easy

In the past you could just blog good content knowing other bloggers would link to you, delivering SEO benefits and thus traffic. That was basically it, job done.

I didn’t think what I did back then was easy by any means. There was plenty to learn, things to try out and in my case, I was doing it all myself. I had way too many hats to wear, but compared today, it was a lot simpler. You could get away with a lot less and still win.

Today you need a YouTube channel, a podcast, constantly updated Facebook pages and Twitter timelines. You have to network on LinkedIn, and watch out for Pandas and Penguins stomping through the search engine algorithms.

This is on top of being good at what you are supposed to be a leader of. If you’re a musician or a lover of collecting antique furniture or studying quantum mechanics, this is what you really want to spend your time on. Picking the activities to focus on is half the battle.

What Was Once A Trend Is Now The Only Path

I’ve painted a potentially bleak picture, but it’s the reality of what we face online as independent creative publishers looking to make a living.

It’s not like we haven’t seen this coming. For a long time people have been talking about how crowded it is online. Studies continually report that attention spans are decreasing, a natural outcome when there is always something new distracting you, especially with the constant stream of life-casting that is social media.

Its not all doom and gloom of course. There are benefits as a result of more people going online and more people producing. Namely –

That last point hints at what I believe is the crucial trend to fully understand as you head into 2013. Building a true fan base, understanding why they come to you, and then nurturing those people, is how you can survive and thrive.

Let’s take a deeper look at this by reviewing two important concepts that emerged online in recent years…

Your 1,000 True Fans

I want you to go and read Kevin Kelly’s original post that attempted to formalize what all individual bloggers and online creatives do to succeed commercially – they build up 1,000 True Fans.

Although written in 2008, this concept, I believe, has only become more and more important since then. The idea, in a nutshell, explains you need a core following of people who love what you do and are willing to pay for it.

While the number 1,000 is arbitrary to a degree (Kevin explains that 1,000 people giving you $100 a year is an income great enough for an artist to survive), the idea that a small group of people are the life and blood of your business is spot on.

I tell people in my presentations and marketing materials that I have 100,000 subscribers combined, including my RSS, email and daily blog readership – and it’s been higher than this before I recently halved the sized of my email list, culling a lot of “dead” emails from my newsletter. The truth of the matter is that a much much smaller amount of people actually pay attention to what I say online.

When I send an email to my entire newsletter, currently it will go to over 35,000 subscribers. Of those people, about 20% will open the email and around 5% at best will click the link. That’s a little less than 2,000 people who make it to my website from that newsletter. There’s no guarantee once they get there they will stay and read my entire article or listen to my podcast.

The fact that you are still reading this article means that you are likely one of my true fans, or very close to it. You might also share this article with your social media circles, another sign that you and I are a little closer online than most people, even if we have never met in person (Hint: click that Tweet button and Facebook Share button – thank you!).

When I launch my own products or promote affiliate products, only a tiny fraction of my audience actually buys. Of course, 100 people giving you $97 a month ongoing, or just ten people buying a product you get $1,000 commission for, can add up to a good-enough-to-live-off income stream.

Tribal Leadership

In the same year that Kevin Kelly was talking about 1,000 True Fans, Seth Godin was talking about tribes. His latest book at the time, titled “Tribes”, talked about the importance of community online.

Watch Seth explain the concept of Tribes in his TED talk here – The Tribes We Lead

A tribe unifies a small group of people behind an idea. The leader of the tribe represents that idea and gives direction to the tribe in how to further explore and expand it. The idea can be anything from a social movement like gay marriage, to fans of a certain brand of sneakers, or music style, or parenting technique, or really anything where enough people band together and create collectively around an idea.

It shouldn’t be a big leap for you to understand that a blogger is a tribe leader. We represent something that we care about, that other people care about, and create places for people to communicate and educate themselves about that idea.

As is the case with 1,000 true fans, the people in your Tribe are your core following. These are the people who leave comments on your blog, send you emails, share your ideas with other people and perhaps most importantly if you want to make a living from your ideas – purchase your products and services.

In 2013 Your True Tribal Fans Matter Most

I started this article by explaining how difficult it is today to stand out online, how hard it is to keep up with all the other people already doing amazing things.

This is not going to change.

The answer to the problem hasn’t changed: You have to focus.

What has shifted, at least in my eyes, is how critical it is that you focus on only one group of people – your core supporters, fans, community, tribe – whatever you want to call it.

It’s never been more important to understand who your people are, why they trust you, why they keep coming back to you and most importantly, what they are striving for.

Your focus in 2013 must narrow even further on to your core followers. You will need to support them with your best ideas, recommend tools and communicate directly with them as often as you can.

You have to get better at ignoring distractions that don’t fit into your community. There are huge hungry audiences out there, but if you change your message or spend time chasing something new, your tribe will start to forget you.

Narrow People Focus

Narrowing your niche is a natural response to a crowding market. Your niche isn’t a particular product or category or even just a specific problem – it’s a group of people that represent these things.

In 2013, you need to get better and better at narrowing your focus on certain people. This is the path to establishing a core group of true fans.

Bear in mind this is not something you can decide quickly. It’s a process of refinement as you spend more time interacting with your people.

Relationships are not static. They become stronger when time passes and experiences are shared. This holds true for your relationship with your audience online.

You must bring the focus down as tight as you can and support only your core community. Answer their emails, reply to their comments, give them your best materials, learn what their problems are and direct all your content at them.

Focus focus focus.

If you don’t do this, then they will move on to other people who do. You simply can’t be a jack-of-all-trades online anymore, at least not unless you have the resources to support lots of different tribes.

Why Do You Follow Me?

In my case I’m thinking about my tribe, my true fans. Who are you? Why do you read my blog? What are your goals, and what tools and systems are you implementing to help achieve them?

I’ve been under the assumption that my audience are internet marketers and bloggers, however that’s too big a category. I’m narrowing it down to focus on bloggers who use information publishing as their income source. People who want to build a sales funnel of information they sell online using their blog.

Is that narrow enough? Possibly not.

What do you think I should focus on? What are you focusing on?

Tell me in the comments.

Yaro Starak
Narrowing Focus

Disclosure

I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s.

Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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110 Comments

  • Good post Yaro.

    I follow you because you are not only a blogger sharing tips but because you developed the cranky plugins.

    There is a big difference between the bloggers who just share tips tips tips and those who are actually developing really useful tools.

    I’m also interested in software development and I want to launch my own plug-in or APP someday.

    PS
    Hmmmm. Let me think with tribes come territory with territory comes conflict, right? Does this mean there will be blog wars coming soon? :)

    • Haha, I don’t know if there will be wars Jacko, bloggers generally seem to work together more often than not. That being said, there are always flame wars going on, but they are usually within a tribe, not between tribes.

  • Wow a great read Yaro. Made a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing your insite on the future in this biz. Have a great day on purpose!

  • Hi Yaro. Thanks for this. I guess I’m one of your true fans. I’ve been reading your blog since early 2007 and was one of the first sign-ups for your Blog Mastermind Course. I sell information products online although not the sort of thing that most of your readers sell, I suspect. I sell video tutorials teaching people how to digital scrapbook.
    I have two web sites for this but in recent months I’ve been moving my sales funnel to my blog, Scraps of Mind. It’s easier to build this up and drive visitors to my email list than trying to juggle two different sites. My mail sales tool is my email list which uses the incentive of a seriously large ditial scrapbook kit (delivered over a period of weeks) as the opt-in attraction.

  • Shaun

    Since you’ve been writing all your own posts again, the readability of your site has gone way up. Better quality posts, and more worth reading. Good stuff.

  • I also get value when I take time to read one of your posts. Thanks for all the recent topics!

    I’m a new blogger and enjoy learning from you and the others you mentioned in this post. I appreciate that each of you is kind to share experience, tips and advice.

    Rebecca Johnson
    Dallas, TX

  • Yaro – narrowing my focus on my readers over at IEC will definitely be something that I focus on in 2013. I dont always comment here but I follow you because you were one the original blogs I came across when I first got into the blogging and you were one the major inspirations that led me to create my blog. I’ve since written a book I now sell on Amazon (which I mention you in by the way :) ) and next year I want to start a podcast to reach more of that audience and also have planned to develop an iPhone App.

    I thin you’ve done an excellent job at building this community and although we’re not in the same niche perse, I love coming over and getting ideas from you.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Hector, thanks for the feedback.

      How are you doing with Amazon? Are you happy with the sales?

      I’m interested in branching out to Amazon next year too, so I’m curious how people are finding it.

      Yaro

  • I follow because this blog always has thought provoking content. I follow a lot of the “big” blogs, but this blog is one of the few that I look forward to seeing a post from in my reader. I know others like the pod casts, but I haven’t listened to one yet. I read faster than I listen. I wonder if others are like that too.

    I really like the thousand customer point. It doesn’t seem so daunting knowing I only have to convince 1000 people to pay me 100 bucks per year. Now to narrow my niche and start finding my 1000 people. Thanks for another great post.

    • It’s amazing to me how many times people will say “I love your podcast” or “I only read your articles” or “I like it when you do video”… it really goes to show you have to do it all if you want maximum spread of exposure to different learning styles.

      Thanks for your feedback Kevin.

  • It makes sense to narrowing niche, it is difficult to create quality content regularly on a wide topic and maintain credibility, high competition in every niche makes it even more difficult.

  • Hi Yaro.

    I am a blogger focusing on teaching people, through my experience, the art of reaching their goals. Since there are a lot of aspects to achieving goals (discipline, motivation, confidence), I give them practical tips in detail so that they get what they want in life.

    I’ve been your follower since you launched Become A Blogger with Gideon Shalwick and it was there that you opened my mind to Professional Blogging. Although I just took the path of information publishing just recently, I check out your blog almost everyday for reference (writing style, listening to your podcasts with Tim Ferriss and Pat Flynn).

    I build my own list and create the best content I can for my audience. Life has been amazing and thank you for contributing to the blogosphere. You will always be our leader (sage, elder, wiseman) in this professional blogging business.

    Take care,
    Fonzy Montenegro

    • Hah, thanks Fonzy, and cool name you have there!

      Good luck with your own information publishing journey and make sure you check back in with your results when you have something to talk about.

      Yaro

  • Vedavathi

    A truly uplifting post Yaro! When I read it, at first it seemed to feed the FEAR monster inside me. However, as I reflect on your message, I get the feel that the pie has become bigger and better for the focused ones among us who constantly persevere and learn. It’s a great inspiration to newbies like me, who have just started taking baby steps in this field, after following great mentors like you and other seasoned pros..

    • I’m happy that I could turn the fear monster into something more positive and hopeful. There are many ways to look at the current situation, but if you want to take action, inspiration is the way to go.

  • Thank you SO much for sharing some of your numbers in this post. My open, click-through, and purchase rates are similar to yours and I had been wondering, “Is it ‘normal’ for 95% of people not to click through? Or just pathetic?” My list isn’t as big as yours, but I do have a handful of “true fans” (they often buy multiple products) and I’m in regular contact with these folks; it’s a pleasure to interact with them.

    • It really depends on your niche, why people subscribed in the first place and how long they have been subscribers.

      I was looking at our CrankyAds numbers recently. We have a much smaller list of about 1,000 publishers so far, and the open rates are over 50% on some of the emails.

      Of course we don’t send nearly as many messages, it’s always very specific to CrankyAds, and it’s a very “fresh” list, hence the higher response.

  • I’m glad I found this post (because Tim Adam-handmadeology tweeted it) and I think you can’ t be more correct. Focus, Focus, Focus is my takeaway, I have my hands in too many endeavors. Time to bring them into one giant kettle and get cooking on something grand!

  • I like the mental part of your blog, mindset and stuff like that, and your posts about crankyads. I develop an app so it’s quite interesting how you work on your plugin because the problems we face are similar.

  • I follow you because of your podcast. Hearing how other people make money online is both inspiring and insightful. I am constantly searching for better marketing practices, new revenue streams, optimization tips, etc. I prefer hearing it from those using these tactics instead of people trying to sell me a course.
    Thanks for the great interviews!
    Jason Love

    • Thanks for the feedback Jason.

      I love how you say you enjoy my podcast, and how just a few comments before you Kevin was saying he has never listened to my podcast but he reads my articles.

      As long as you get something out of something I create I am happy!

  • Hello. I am not a blogger (and I am a first time visitor to your blog), but I do have an online presence and have made a full-time living from it since mid-2000. So I know that a) yes, it’s overcrowded online and b) it gets harder and harder to succeed (more and more ‘big boys’ coming to the party).

    Still, what strikes me most about this, is that the harder it gets the more it matters that you stay the course, that you don’t quit.

    Also, another thing that strikes me is that it becomes more and more important to be yourself online, to share yourself and not just to copy somebody else’s ‘formula’.

    For example, I post videos on YouTube – a ‘talking head’ type video, where I just share myself and my views. Hardly anyone watches them, right now, but I’m not disheartened and I’m certainly not going to adopt the video style of ‘Fred’ or Philip De Franco or (worse!!) Ray William Johnson just to get more popular, get more views!

    You can chase being yourself (and making that work for you) or you can chase being popular… I believe the ‘being yourself’ route is the way to go, for the long haul.

    Just some thoughts of a guy online… Thanks for sharing yours!
    Steve

    • Hi Steve and Yaro, I too believe that being true to yourself is important. Sure there are lots of competitors, but this keeps us on our toes and makes us more resourceful to finding new ways to get more traffic and more sales.
      Yaro, I’ve followed your blog for a number of years and I love your ideas and support and have finally got my own blog up now within my existing website. I wanted to go wider and wider and become the “jack of all trades” but I realised that unless I focused on that hard core niche for a period of time that I wouldn’t get very good results.
      I couldn’t agree more about looking after your core focus group. I learnt this early on that it’s much easier to resell to my core group and look after them well, than to keep on getting and finding new customers.

      • Hi Steve and Diane, thanks for your comments. Steve now I am curious what business you are in and how have you made your living online?

        Good to hear you remembered the importance of focus Diane. I might sound like a broken record, but I tell myself these things again and again too. You can’t hear it often enough if you are not applying it.

        Yaro

  • Thanks for this great post, Yaro. It was thought provoking, as many niche markets are very over-crowded online. Thank you for the tips on how to stand out, these are all great pieces of advice to consider.

  • Awesome article Yaro. After reading this I have only one goal in my mind and that is focus only on your readers. I think the above article’s capacity is almost 1500 words and who says that long articles don’t work. I don’t know when this article finished.
    Narrow people focus is very important. I get it..

  • I always come back here, knowing that I will get something great to read! Again Yaro, a great job. You have said it right in this post especially the part that you have mentioned about Internet, being more crowded than ever and I totally agree with you that we had this one coming. Narrowing down your niche is another good point that you have included here as I believe targeting your audience will what bring you success!

  • I found your podcast two years ago and I only wish I found it earlier. With that said, I have learned a lot from you and you inspire me to keep working on the things I am working on.

    What I think you can include in your podcast:
    Help people find niches:
    I Think a lot of people are lost and don’t know what to do next. Many people are looking for a niche out there and I think it would help a lot if you help them find specific niches that are Profitable.
    I think you are doing a great job and you just have to keep doing what you do. Thank you for everything.

  • Thanks for this Yaro. Sometimes the best thing one can do is find a niche they like and keep blogging no matter how crowded that niche is. Everyday, brings with it opportunities to learn grown, trust and be trusted. So people just have to persevere.

  • Hi Yaro.
    I’ve never actually watched your podcast. I’m strictly a reading kinda gal (rss by preference).

    I follow you because a) you are where I want to be, (job-free) and sharing how to get there, b) a fellow aussie and c) generally the kind of person I love surrounding myself with – interesting, outgoing but not ego-driven. There’s too much of the latter in the IM world for me not to treasure that and the integrity of what you offer – plus the fact that you do offer, and obviously pick and choose what you do promote, rather than ramming every new product launch down my throat. It’s nice to have you as proof that you don’t have to sell out to make it online.
    PS Interesting coincidence, I just read 1000 true fans, pointed there by Tim Ferriss!

  • Hey Yaro,

    My questions would be around steadily growing a blog. I’ve got a few years’ experience now, but questions always come up.

    As revenue grows, I’d also like to build a SAAS marketing app. While it hugely helps that I was a software engineer and worked on some software startups too, sharing experience would no doubt help accelerate everything.

    Part of me misses our monthly BM / MM mastermind calls. Talking out strategy surfaced many great action steps, plus the personal connection felt like community.

    Anyhow, here’s to huge success with Cranky Ads! I still crack up when I hear that name lol.

    Sunni

  • Yaro
    Thanks.
    I follow you because you post interesting articles.
    I believe that much information about one part of the internet experience is often very easy to transfer to another. Your guests often deliver transferable information as do you.

  • Hi Yaro,

    I’m thinking along similar lines with regards community and 1000 fans for 2013, but with a slight difference. I’m focusing on building a social network platform for likeminded trance music fans.

    I found blogging to be difficult due to my Mum being ill and sadly she passed away last month. What I learnt though is being the sole blogger is if I had a social network as a platform it would of taken care of itself a lot more than a blog does. So 2013 for me will be about building a place where fans can interact with each other…

    I know I still need content and ways to drive people to sign up to another social network, but I think I will enjoy the challenge more than writing yet another blog post and building my community on a platform I don’t own, such as Twitter where I have 5000+ followers. This will be just one of possibly three social networks I plan to develop.

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this idea as I know you are a trance fan yourself.

    • Grammar Stuart!! – Oops!

      *What I learnt by being the sole blogger is; if I had a social network as a platform it would of taken care of itself a lot more than a typical blog does.

  • Specialization is the theme addressed in this blog which means reducing multi-tasking and getting excellence which can be perhaps achieved only by doing one thing at a time for a consistent period of time ignoring boredom and excitement that comes with starting something new afresh. I remember during my school days excitement with new books would last only for few days after which real hard work used to start that had elements of fighting procrastination, frustration, and boredom.

  • 1000 – I wish! But I’m a relative newbie and enjoying my blogging, following your early advice on starting out and sticking at it. I read and consider your new posts, but your early advice feels the most relevant to me at this stage while finding my feet.

  • The times they are a changing, thanks for a great article Yaro.

    Moving between online and offline business to assist small businesses with going online. Crazy journey since I joining Become A Blogger end 2008 then into Master Mind, long and winding road that I still enjoy, making friends along the way.

    Wanted to stop by to let you know your posts are still enjoyed, also to wish you a great festive season & 2013.

  • Stew Kelly

    Hi Yaro,
    Great post reminding us trying to be a master of all things makes us master of none.
    Yes, narrowing our focus is essential. This is a message that got lost when Internet marketers were mostly talking about niche adsense sites and taking a scattershot approach to Internet business.
    BTW, glad to see you writing your own blog posts again :)

  • Hi Yaro,
    I took your Blogging Mastermind course back in 2008 and so you taught me to blog – you were my prime influencer – which is why I still trust you. I also met you a couple of times as I was in Brisbane & also went to Darren’s Problogger event.
    I am a fiction author now – perhaps as far from internet marketing niche as you can get – but I think this post still holds absolutely true for my niche. The fiction market is crowded, as is the ‘blogging about writing’ niche, and the only thing any of us can do is find the people who resonate with us and be true to them.
    Your post about culling your list is exactly what I will be doing soon as well. I have built it based on my free Blueprint (care of what you taught me) but I want a more engaged, smaller list so I will change how that signup works in 2013. I want to interact more with people taking writing seriously and less with people who are in the ‘Kindle get rich quick’ modality!

    Have you seen Seth’s latest book? Icarus Deception. It’s awesome and focuses on making art as the primary driver. I see that as one of our functions as leaders – we have to be actually doing what we teach – for me, writing and publishing fiction is what I should primarily be doing, everything else is secondary. This is what leading a tribe is about.

    Thanks Yaro, for all your inspiration and help over the almost 5 years I have been following you.

  • Hi Yaro, great article and what I’ve come to expect from you. I love how you say “Your niche isn’t a particular product or category or even just a specific problem – it’s a group of people that represent these things.”

    My focus of late has been on providing a Wow experience for my fans by setting up a club type thing where my focus is on those people and this post has just reinforced that I’m doing what I need to be doing.

    I’m a fan and have been reading your blog for a few years now through firstly, become a blogger and then joining your membership site program. Whilst I’m not your traditional kinda blogger, being that I’m a spiritual healer and teacher, the grounded side of me knows I have to create content and know about online things and you’re one of my go-to-guys. I think the fact that we hail from the same town helps…makes me feel that I could know you :)

    Keep up the great work.

    Ann-Mhayra x

  • Hey Yaro,

    I think that you are right. As time passes and the amount of content on the internet just keeps adding on, the bar of the quality you have to put out to actually matter gets higher and higher.

    I am, as you say, a blogger who’s primary source of income is selling information products as well as coaching.

    More than ever I am focusing on giving my readers both what they want and what they need. You should focus on the same – as I think you already are.

    Alex

  • April

    Tough medicine, good stuff, about chunking down your focus. Thanks.

  • Hello Yaro,

    I follow you because you are not only a great Internet Marketing specialist, but also a very sincere and transparent one. I have a personal trust in you and will always listen to what you have to say, even if i’m not currently in the blogging and traditional individual Internet Marketing moods; I’m exploring APP development (starting as a graphic designer,) yet of course online marketing will always be key, and having a blog is also an obvious necessity for potential fans and followers etc.) Which means that you’re one of the people who I’d listen to when the right time comes : )

    Thank you for this cool post and I wish you nice holidays too!
    Karim

  • Trends don’t change drastically every year, they do so marginally.

  • Competition is getting fierce. It is important to narrow down to a niche that is still to be tapped. That is why I am trying small business financial management.

  • Omanakuta

    Hi Yaro,

    I have said this but I will say it again. You are one of the few thoughtful and balanced bloggers I have come across. While I always enjoy the quality information on your blog, I guess what makes me feel great is your ability to maintain a balance in the ways your present it, in your articles, videos as well as podcasts. You share stories without making readers like myself feel that you are wasting my time (some bloggers go on and on and on… to make a simple point). The same is true of your podcasts. I really like to listen to your interviews. You are so good at asking the right questions at the right time.

    Anyway, I am looking for ways to make money online and I learn a great deal reading your blog. The struggle I have right now is what to pick out of a range of options. I don’t believe you have an article that addresses this yet.

    Thanks again.

  • Hi Yaro,

    I’ve been following you for about six months and didn’t realize that you specialize in help for bloggers. I don’t blog (see why at http://www.yudkin.com/noblog.htm) and have found many of your posts interesting and helpful. So maybe your concept of who follows you and why is too narrow.

    Marcia Yudkin

    • Hi Marcia – Perhaps you can help me then, why do you follow me? My posts are interesting and helpful, but in what ways, how do they help you and what do they help you do?

      • Hi Yaro.

        I have been reading your blog for about a year. What I love the most about any information i consume is that it makes me THINK. In other words, your information is always thought-provoking, controversy-exploring, and allows me to stay on the edge in my own market.

        Once I started my podcast, Recurring Revenue Revolution, I also discovered that you, too, run a podcast! So a few months ago I spent a whole week devouring your podcasts!

        Lastly, I read your blog because of your unique name. It didn’t sound like a person’s name and that got me curious…LOL.

        Keep up the good work! And PLEASE keep podcasting for those of us who can’t sit still to read long posts :)

        Hugs!
        Milana

  • I still follow you ever since we had that burger @RedRobin in Vancouver, the summer of 2008. Even John Chow showed up!

  • Pat

    Thanks again for your good words. Focus is the key. I am finally “junking” all those distractions that set me off into non-productive directions. Takes a lot of discipline but those “shiny objects” are so tempting. But I’m still working it. All the best.

  • Hi Yaro.
    I took your blogging course this year. It was God sent. I follow you because you have genuine advise to give. You are not like other marketers just trying to make a buck out of newbies. I like that you refer to yourself as a grandpa in blogging.
    Your advice is tested, generous and wise. Have a Merry Christmas!

  • Thank you very much for this post. It addresses a big challenge that I’ve been struggling with ever since I got the idea to start my own online business. That challenge is “staying focused”. It is such a difficult thing to do, especially with all the distractions clamoring for my attention. You know what I mean: all the folks promising me that I can make a huge income in 6 months or less. Then again there are the folks hawking this “system” or that “system”. It’s so darn hard to stay true to yourself these days and remember why I’m doing this in the first place. But, I will try! Again, thanks for the post. It was really “on time”.

  • Hi Yaro i follow you because you love way you do and there’s nothing better than knowing that I’m following someone who is committed and passionate. i used to have a graphic design blog, i started making money but had no idea that changing the message would ruin it all. i lost ALL my followers and when i tried get back on track the pattern was lost so i completely agree with not changing the message. Great post by the way.

  • HANNAH

    Hello Yaro–thanks very much for the time spent thinking out this post. I am a newbie to internet marketing–as far as actually taking steps goes– but have been reading your stuff for several years. (Believe I first came to it through Valeie Young’s website.)

    My present tasks are centered on developing attention-getter material to drive traffic to a free newsletter about creative marketing videos. I am learning as I go,both about my topic and the how-tos of online business, grateful for, but distracted by, the amount of free taining material coming to my inbox. Sorting through it all an prioritizing seems to be a learning experience in itself.

    Anything that can simplify and condense the overwhelming amount of advice sent out for new IM people like myself is much appreciated.I have taken a course from a popular blogger, but find myself seeking out answers from your posts.

    And, like other folks, I don’t have all day to spend on it. In my case, I am trying to learn other ways of bringing in income online that I can count on RIGHT NOW, while I am learning what I need to learn. I know I will get there eventually, but have to be choosy about online distractions, an shut off the machine. So your information always seems to-the-point for me. Thank you for it. (And I believe you have connections to Canada?)

  • Hi Yaro, I have just started blogging and find your writing of a high standard. Since things change so quickly as far as the internet and technology is concerned, I am looking for the MOST up to date ‘hold my hand’ type of training to get my blog off the ground running. For me to become one of your ‘1000’ fans, let me know how up to date your blogging course is. I’ve looked at quite a lot of courses and most of them seem a bit outdated, especially regarding SEO.
    All the best. Louis.

  • I follow because you speak from your heart about online entrepreneurship.

  • Thanks Yaro for the reminder of why we have businesses online and what we must do to ensure our business grow in healthy ways; simply put, we must step up our game. Thanks again.

  • Hey Yaro!

    I love getting your emails, I am not really an information publisher am I? I have an indiemusic blog, but even though It may not be related, I can still implement your great ideas in a way that works for me, I got the idea to focus on a niche audience from you and I continue to follow you and read your emails because you show that you are consistently ‘on it’ (this blogging stuff) and I think people follow you because you have a great personality, which is something so important. YOU are your brand, not just the great info that you provide. Thank you for all the work you do and although I don’t have the money to spend right now to buy your products, know that you have one more fan! Right now I’m trying to break out of my shell and become more of a face for my brand. I’m a little nervous about that. Maybe you could do an article or podcast about how to get over the initial fears of becoming the face of your brand? Just an idea. So……….Thanks! And Happy Holidays!

  • Pat Ahearne

    Hey Yaro. I’m an ex-Major League baseball player and now a player/coach. I found you looking for ways to use the internet to coach 1000+ players at a time versus only 10 players.

    I don’t know if there are others in your group that face this challenge, but my biggest issue is preference spending time with my “tribe” creating value for them versus building and marketing a website/blog.

    Second challenge is getting caught up learning about the multitude of ways to do it. I’m at the tipping point of “learning about it” and “doing it”. I need some information underload.

    My goals are to get past this, build a sales funnel, and interact with the 1000+ and coach them in baseball.

    I’d like to add the main reason I follow your blog is two-fold. It is the quaity of your information and your authenticity as a person. The authenticity comes across in your blog and it’s the personality I gravitate to offline and what I want to project to my group.

    Count me in your 1000.

    Thanks Yaro

  • Thank you for your inspiration.
    I’ve to admit, I’we not been able to run a decent blog.
    I’ve read and downloaded your report many years ago with that in mind.
    Unluckily or better for not being able to focus enough on up and down, I quit that idea.
    Then since internet is not an asset anyone of us can stay enough outiside, it jumps back the idea to do something about, and you clear this with your article.
    No, I’ve not buy nothing from you, but it can be interesting, you are one of the few I still open in my e-mail account and stop myself for a moment to think on what’s your message. This has tremendous value, it keeps interest to things. YOU keep interested me, and you know by the time one gets some product to go better at it, whatever it is.

    So I’m glad that today I’ve read again from you something that clears the situations and give fuel to go across the obstacles in life.
    Thank you,
    Silvano

  • Chris

    Great post,

    I wrote the EXACT same message to my industry today – called Bootcamp soup!

    My analogy was in a vegetable soup you’re going to have to be the chilli to be noticed, more and more competition but more and more opportunity

    I believe it comes down to 2 key points.

    1 – be more YOU, be authentic real and inject more personality into everything

    2 – treat people well, be nice supportive and build a family.

    There’s always room to succeed doing these two things :-)!

  • Hi Yaro,
    this post is so unique and a preguide to blogging success in 2013, as a financial writer i quite agree with you on “people narrow focus” its actually a key to being an authority on your niche. thanks buddy the post is worth reading

  • Hi Yaro,

    Hope you have a great Christmas and that your Mum is improving.

    I followed you because I liked the sound of 2hrs/day. I want to earn a good income part time. I enjoy blogging a lot but want to spend lots of time with my wife and other friends and doing other things.

    I like your work smarter not harder approach (your version being the 80/20 rule).

    1000 fans sounds like an awful lot to me. I have tried the usual advice (I’ve been around for a long time in blogosphere terms) and mine is still a low traffic blog. My next (perhaps final) experiment is a video product that I will promote as widely as I can as a way to promote my blog. We’ll see what happens.

    My focus needs to be on producing my own stuff. Which means finding out about where my ideal customers hang out and what problems they have that they would pay me to solve (I owe this latter phrasing to Chris Garrett). Don’t say, “Ask them” – this is useless advice without a big list (which is the case for me and for anyone starting out).

    • Hey Evan,

      Good to see you are still hanging around my blog :-)

      It sounds like you know exactly what you have to do, although I think it has been a long time that these “have-to’s” are on your list. I remember us talking about these things years ago.

      I don’t totally agree with the “Ask Them” comment – I think it still applies when you don’t have a list/audience, because you only need go where they are and ask them there. For example a forum or a facebook group or blog where you can tap into someone else’s audience.

      You may not even need to ask the question, the answer may already be there if you read enough posts and comments.

      Yaro

  • Christopher

    Thank you for this NOT NARROWLY focused article Yaro!

    I’m one of your more recent fans/followers. I let everyone I know, who’s interested or even curious about working online–go follow Yaro. If I was only allowed one source I’d trust you.

    Warmest,

    Chris

  • That was a long post Yaro, but I read it until the last word of your post. I arrived here from the newsletter that I received from you, so I guess I’m one of the 5% who clicks your link on emails. I really like the way you write, it’s sincere and I van relate to the feelings and opinions when I read your posts. Keep it up.:)

    • Thanks Francis. I’m beginning to think that much of my 1000 fan following are with me because of my writing style as the number one reason.

      It goes to show how important it is that you find your own voice online. It makes it easier to write, and as you can see, people start to follow you just for the voice.

      Yaro

  • Hi Yaro. Like a lot of people I am new to all this. I left work as an engineer a few months ago and have been trying to identify a fresh new direction. I have come across interesting people online – newbies and the incumbant – sharing fantastic and helpful information. I like your site because you look forward, have the experience to look back objectively and are actively considering how to move in a very mobile space. In my view narrowing focus is a must to filter out the chaff when trying to learn what relevant in todays world – and connecting with a community with things in common with you is a start. I might one day consider myself an entrepreneur – I think I have found a variety of things that I could focus on and hope that in time I too will be able to effect change in a relevant community. The beginning is http://www.thephotospace.co.uk/ and facebook to use photography to help bring about social change. Your site provides me with a lot of learning opportunities, a chance to build some skills. and give it a go! Thanks for the insights.

  • Yaro, I follow you for years and bought your membership course.Since then I grow my knowledge about all the internet neccesities like youtube, facebook etc and I know how to use them. I follow you not because I want to learn more about internet marketing but because I like your writing style and the way you express ideas. You maybe wrong about narrowing niche. Actually you have fans that grew with you and they don’t want to learn but to enjoy your writing. You canq ask for monthly donation and everybody chose the ammount she donates (offer different options).

    • Rumi! I remember you :-)

      Thanks for your feedback. Another vote for writing style. I’m not sure about donations, that’s not my style, but you never know, I tend to change my mind.

      Yaro

  • Yaro, why do I follow you? I’ve been following you for years and I’ve seen where you’ve come from. You are doing something right and I want to know how you’ve done it and what has worked for you. I also like the way you write – its accessibility. I think that all adds up to my belief that you are authentic as well as talented. There are plenty of quacks on the internet that we can’t afford to take much notice of. You are not one of them. I found this article particularly helpful. I am a big believer in building meaningful relationships and connections as a way to grow our businesses. Such relationships are mutually rewarding and what we give out is usually given back to us in multiples.

    • Thanks Maree, I appreciate the feedback and kind words.

      It’s nice to know I am not a “quack” in your books ;-)

  • Hi Yaro
    Thanks for the good info, again. I’d say that you’re focusing exactly where you need to, keeping ahead of the game to share new info and your ‘take’ and advice on it.
    I’m still focusing on a business structure (how to make income) from my blog on Italy.
    Best wishes for the season and 2013.

    • Thanks Alison! Are you writing an Italian blog or are you writing an English blog living in Italy?

  • marie

    Yaro: I first started following you about 2.5 yrs. ago. I’m a former national business journalist (NY Times, etc.) in the US and wanted to see what all this “blogging” was about. When I found you online, I kept telling my journalism friends that there were non-traditional journalists out there that could really write – and pointed to you! I decided not to go the online info. product direction with my business after all, but I still find your blogs offers me cutting-edge information and continues to be well written. I must confess I also follow you party because I used to live in Brisbane as a kid (Indooroopilly/Moggill area). Our old neighbors still write us yearly asking when I’ll come back to visit, and my kids keep begging me to take them. Maybe we’ll finally make the long trip this coming summer :)

  • I have followed you for years Yaro, and this is because you have great content, you are open to ideas, you communicate well, respond to emails and you are an honest man. Make it a great Christmas! Delece

  • Jenny

    Yaro,
    I like your style of writing (that seems to be a common theme here, we are all looking for a succint wordster). I don’t have plans to write, or blog for a living, but I do have a general interest in this field, and I enjoy the fact that you give information, without appearing to sell product. Your selling points for me are -a great writer with great and new ideas, and a great way of sharing them. information.

  • Jenny

    And, I need a grammar check, sorry

  • Ree

    Thank you Yaro. A timely blog for me starting out to build a new community (tribe). Your comments about focus, and building a strong relationship with a core group of similar minded people ring very true with me… And I promise to follow more of your links in the future! :) Cheers

  • Thanks for sharing those interesting stats about readership – that’s why I enjoy your articles. They are always candid (another vote for writing style I guess).

    About the stats – 2000 people from from 35,000 – is slightly better than my own experiences. I managed a LinkedIn Group of 15,000 people. When I send an announcement (email), I can expect around 400 people to read it, approx. 2.5%.

    What are your experiences with Twitter? Using bitly.com I’m able to track the number of people that click a link I post. I’ve found from approx 3000 followers, each link gets on average 10 – 20 clicks – less than 1%.

  • Yaro,
    I’m also a long-time follower. Your original Blog Blueprint document(s) were the ones that helped me start my online business. These days, I’ve grown up and click on your links to read your posts mainly because of your writing style. I don’t know what you can do with this feedback as far as growing your business, but in any case, it’s an honest compliment. Wishing you and your family all the very best for 2013. Hope your mother is doing a little better.

  • I pay attention to you because of all the bloggers in this space, I’ve gotten the most actionable information from you. Maybe it was the power of that “Blog Profits Blueprint” which I read at a time when I was just becoming interested in figuring out how to make money at blogging. That free report remains one of the best introductions to online money making that I’ve ever seen. I also thought providing it to people in audio format was a brilliant move.

    Mostly, I follow you because the things you do impress me and I find I can easily apply them to my own area.

  • Hey Yaro, maybe it’s the same thing but I wouldn’t say writing style so much as i would say the message or the way of thinking that’s important to me and keeps me coming back.

    While it’s important to get your thoughts on blogging and building an audience, i also appreciate the mindset or the core beliefs that drive likability and trust. Without that, my guess is the turnover rate would be far greater making the job of community building that much harder.

    So, the thrust of this article is what I’d like to see more of – as well as covering the human being behind the face.

    I’m focusing on putting myself in the shoes of frustrated and overwhelmed achiever types to help them stop following everyone under the sun and instead find their own truth and believing in themselves.

  • Hi Yaro,
    You asked the question why do we follow you. I have been reading your posts for a couple of years. Initially I found you through Become a Blogger of which I have purchased a couple of the versions. Although, I actually haven’t got the energy to start (there are reasons for that- I have MS).
    But the reason I follow you is because you are not full of hype. I don’t feel the sales pitch from you. I thoroughly enjoy the HONEST posts you write. I am learning and challenged at the same time. I actually trust you and feel that I know you. You are REAL.
    Those are the reasons I follow you, it actually has nothing to do with whether I am a blogger or (wanna be blogger) or anything else, those are the reasons I follow you. Probably doesn’t help you with your sales funnel (despite the fact that I have purchased a couple of products from you.) The reason I follow are because of the connection, the realness of your content and the trust I feel towards you.
    The absence of these are the reason I have unsubscribed from many others.
    Keep it up.
    Kind regards
    Kristin in NZ

  • Hi Yaro,

    Thanks for sharing your very truthful views. One of the strongest points, I think, that you have is that I always feel that you’re sharing your very truthful thoughts. And that’s what really attracts me and keeps me here.

    And your podcasts are also very very useful.

    I wish you great innovations and with renewed passions.

    Thanks Yaro.

  • Hi Yaro, I’m just starting out in the hope of enriching the lives of others who, like me, have survived cancer and want to live the best life they can – every moment of it. My blog Moments of Joy aims to focus attention on the every day joys in life. If sharing my experiences and insights helps me earn a living that will enable me to retire from full time employment , all the better. In the meantime my hope is that people will benefit from my contribution. That in itself, makes it worthwhile. Thanks for your advice which has helped me get ths far. Jo

  • Why follow you? Because you provide thought-provoking and useful content in an area I’m interested in – setting up and running an information-based online business. I prefer reading fewer but more in-depth articles (like you produce), where you tell it as it is, without the hype. Your products are good (I’ve bought ‘Become A Blogger’ and ‘Membership Site Mastermind’) and aim to implement what I’ve been learning as I find the time.
    I remember reading a quote somewhere that said, “You have to work hard to get to the point where you don’t have to work hard.” But I also believe in working smart, not just hard. What you offer are useful thoughts and tools to help me work smarter, encouraging me to work harder at it, with the expectation that one day I’ll have achieved a level of passive income that will enable me to retire. 60-hour work week now, 2-hour work day in future…

  • Hi Yaro,
    I am a blogger from Germany and I follow you since four or five years. Your “The Blog Profits Blueprint” was the first kind of manifesto that I read about blogging. It made a huge impression on me especially the part about “pillar posts”. Since then I followed your advise to write only meaningful stuff which I try with a long post every week.
    I was relieved to read that only 20% of your subscribers open your email a even smaller percentage click. It’s the same with my email-list.
    So I will follow your advice one again and will sort out people who didn’t open my emails for a while. I like your idea about a tribe of 1.000 follower. That seems to be manageable.
    Thanks a lot – and have a peaceful and leaxing Xmas.
    Warm greeting from Heidelberg, Germany
    Roland

  • Shela

    I’m a true blue! I’m an unproven authority in a small niche waiting for funds to join your membership. I’ve followed you since 2009 as you’ve demonstrated the evidence (compared to Chris Brogran, Seth Godin, Brian Clark, etc.) that you are the foremost authority on bloggers who use information publishing as a source of income. What do I think you need to focus on? With your experience, you can use your intuition to follow the trends in your niche of passion! What am I focusing on? YOU! Thank you, Yaro!

  • Great post Yaro! I signed up for your mails long back but recently I not gone through many of your post, and finally I did and I really enjoyed it! You made to think about ability for constant quality content creation. It can be only done with FOCUS i.e “Follow One Course Until Success” and many of us get distracted from our focus and failure is inevitable.

  • It’s been a long time since I’ve been to your blog Yaro, but saw a mention of it on Pat Flynn’s facebook page. I’m glad I was reminded of your fantastic content. Now I have something new to read for my next few cardios ;)

    I have been focusing on more content per post, and making sure it’s loaded full of useful stuff, including images and videos, and noticed you are doing the same. Just read on Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout blog how long copy is ranking higher and getting more shares. Confirmation to me which is great!

    Cheers,
    Mike

  • This has been a helpful guide towards 2013. Currently, I am looking at what I would be doing come 2017, that’s when I hope to have the 1000 true fans.

  • Kathie

    Hello Yaro. I follow you because at one time I wanted to blog and was interested in seeing how income could be generated from blogging. I stuck around even after I decided blogging for profit is not for me because like the other commenters, I like your voice and that you’re honest and genuine. You’re a good writer. I continue to follow you because I love that you’ve built an income doing non-traditional work — I am a huge fan of anyone who’s done that, bucked the mainstream and made it work. I am working on building a non-traditional income myself and so listening to you helps. The work is different but the spirit behind it is the same, and that’s where the commonality lies.

    I want to mention too, because I don’t think I did at the time, that I really responded to a comment you made in the post about your mother’s stroke. You had said how you fell in love with fellow humanity seeing the people at the hospital who genuinely cared. I knew exactly what you meant as I had had the same experience during the years that I helped my father with his medical issues. I was so tremendously grateful for the doctors, nurses, assistants who gave genuine smiles and seemed to honestly care about him (there were those who didn’t, so those who did shone like angels). It was great to hear that impression put into words so well by someone else.

  • Kathie

    I forgot to say that I hope your Mom is improving every day. I hope 2013 will see many positive steps forward for you and yours.

  • Hey Yaro, Happy new years mate. Heres to another big year for 2013!

  • Dan

    Hey Yaro,

    Great article!

    My focus in 2013 is on helping my already existing clients build their business online by creating information products of their own, but I’m also looking to put together an evergreen sales funnel of information serving internet marketers who want to create a marketing funnel of information products, or tweak their already existing product line to increase profits and decrease hours of work.

    I have been trying to drill down deeper into my target market and this article certainly helped. Thanks again bud!

  • Great insights, I believe in the 1.000 subscriber “frontier” as well.

    But when you write about 20% opening your Newsletter and 5% clicking -> is it always the same people or always different readers?

    • Benedikt, I thought it was the same 5% every time, but now I don’t think it is because the numbers fluctuate based on the subject matter. It’s probably something like 10%. I’ve implemented a 90 day active engagement sequence now though, which will determine who really is opening my emails and who are not.

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