I couldn’t resist the headline.
You may be wondering what the bucket “The Real Housewives” has to do with WordPress (at least I’m hoping you are). No worries, I’ll explain my ‘not-so-obvious’ choice of titles.
First I have to explain what brought me here.
I’ve been thinking a LOT about the economy of WordPress and the wide spectrum of opportunities there are to create a business around WordPress. As someone who has created a business around WordPress I can tell you there are times when I feel like “one of these things just doesn’t belong here” (queue the Sesame Street song). Which I’m guessing might surprise some people, but the more I thought about this the more it seemed to me there were a handful of different ‘tribes’ within the WordPress community.
I kept thinking about the ‘Third Tribe’ membership site (now part of Authority), which was built on the premise that the other two tribes were: 1) hypey internet marketers who constantly pitched things to to you and 2) purist bloggers who didn’t want to charge for products (I’m totally paraphrasing here. I was a member at one point and the content was great). The Third Tribe was the bloggers who were also marketers and were intent on creating communities, providing value AND making money.
So in my quest of understanding and looking at the economy of WordPress it dawned on me that there seemed to be similar ‘tribes’.
HOWEVER….(BIG OL’ DISCLAIMER)
Clearly these are simply my perceptions, which, when thinking about this I realized I needed to change those perceptions because they don’t really ring true (I found myself presenting proof that I was in fact wrong about this…can you see how exhausting a day in my head can be?).
To simplify things let’s look at my ‘perceived’ tribes within WordPress (I’ll go into more detail below):
1) Coders, programmers, really smart people
2) People who create WordPress sites, build a business around WordPress but aren’t coders or programmers
4) People who understand WordPress, use it for their business but don’t make a living with WordPress (pretty much everyone else who doesn’t fit into one these other ‘perceived’ groups)
5) The Real Housewives
Mind you as I write this I’m feeling a bit of angst because one of the things I love most about WordPress is the community.
So why the division?
This hit me like a ton of bricks a few months ago when I joined a JV community on Google+. It seemed to be pretty straightforward, some guidelines to follow and no crazy scarcity tactics. I joined with the intention of getting the word out about Webinar Engine (our premium webinar plugin). One person I connected with invited me to a Skype group, so I joined.
I had to remove myself from the community because every post listed the product, price, epc, upsells, etc. I don’t keep skype open unless I have a call scheduled, but every time I opened Skype I was hit with a TON of new messages or people that wanted to add me. This is exactly what I don’t want to do with my business.
O.K., back to the different ‘perceived’ communities in WordPress.
At one point I remember thinking maybe I should learn php. I know enough html and css to be dangerous, but that’s about it (although truth be told I will probably take a udemy course on CSS3… I freakin’ love it!). Then I realized… um, yea no. This is not where my talents are. Let’s leave that to the people who love it and are good at it.
So I knew I didn’t really fit in to the first group and know that’s just not me (but Amen for what they do… I have a ton of respect for them and wouldn’t be doing what I do without those minds!).
Then comes group #2.
I’m way past newbie, I use it for business, create client sites AND make my living with WordPress. I love working with great clients but know that my talents also translate into the marketing side of things. I love digital publishing (all formats), graphics, blogging (I never knew I was such a prolific writer! … haha…kidding) and most of all I LOVE teaching! I like breaking things down in an easy to understand way for the everyday user.
Group #3 – self explanatory.
Group #4 – also self explanatory.
Which leads me to…
#5) The Real Housewives of WordPress
I’m fully prepared to get some flack for this, but let’s just say that if you get pissed off by this you’re probably a “Real Housewife”.
Let me also clarify that I have a huge aversion to reality t.v.
The only reality show I ever really liked was ABC’s Extreme HomeMakeover show, which is off the air now (although I’ve seen a few specials here and there). Obviously because it speaks to my inner Pollyanna.
The noise of the arguing and drama on these shows just feels like an attack on my senses. Nuff’ said.
Here’s my definition of a ‘Real Housewife’ of WordPress:
You don’t have a blog or primary site where you create content.
You do anything you can to get people on your ‘list’.
Your goal is to make thousands of dollars selling a product you have no intention of supporting.
You’re constantly going after “the next big thing”.
You’re a ‘band wagoner’ (how’s that for making up terms?).
Everything you do consists of long sales pages with testimonials from all your friends promising the latest, greatest plugin or tool that will completely dupe Google and get you to page one in NO time!
Your products use words like: Ninja, Ultimate, Automating, Automatic, Robot, Fast Start, Covert, Secrets, Smasher, Ultra, Tiger (kid you not… found a product with Tiger in the title…), anything promising 5 figures a month, Hijack, Warrior, Max anything, Guru (really?), Rush, Viral, Goldmine, Super Hero, Crushing, Killing it, Amplifier…
You get the picture.
Where do you find most of this?
The Warrior Forum.
First, I know a few people who have sold things through the warrior forum, so by no means am I lumping everyone who uses this into my ‘Real Housewives’ category. However, the few people I know who used the Warrior Forum used it to test a product, copy, etc. They also have solid business models, websites where you can follow them and content that provides value.
They also leave the Warrior Forum.
I’ve bought a few WSO’s, but for me it’s usually graphics. The few plugins I have purchased end up in no man’s land with no support, no training and no one to get a hold of. The bummer about this is that there are so many new people out there trying to “make it” online that they get sucked into the promises made by these products. Then they get discouraged and give up after they’ve spent thousands of dollars on crap that doesn’t work.
The SINGLE (yep, that one deserved ALL CAPS) best thing I’ve done for my business this year and probably ever, is to focus on connections and value.
Tooting my own horn here, but for the most part I think I’ve always provided value. We all test and try new things, some work, some don’t. But my intention has always been to help make WordPress easier for people.
The connections part of the equation is because I played it safe, but I’m not going to get into that in this post because I’ve written about it a few times recently and have talked about it in my podcast (a couple times there too).
When I refer to connections I’m not talking about just promoting people you know, like and trust. I’m referring to stepping outside of your comfort zone and sharing valuable content with people who may or may not be well known.
… and the list goes on, but I think you get the picture. I made a conscious decision a year or so ago that if I was on a list that didn’t share valuable content or write often on their blog then I would unsubscribe. The same is true of people who only promote themselves or are so concerned with an image that you feel like you’ve connected with a real live Stepford wife. Life just isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. If you don’t have the courage to share the less-than-perfect stuff too I’m unsubscribing.
I don’t know at what point having an online business became about “not working”. It is work. It’s hard work.
But if you love it, it’s also good work.
Work that feeds your soul and pushes you past the carpel tunnel that seems to be intent on working its way into your wrists (repeat after me… “my hands and wrists are healthy and strong”….yea, my mantra when I walk).
If you’re fortunate enough to be doing work you love, stick with it!!! It will pay off.
But only IF…
You trust in your gut what you know is right.
You RUN from the Housewives… whatever ‘forum’ they seem to be on.
Create valuable content and make quality connections. NOTE: List size has nothing to do with the quality of the connection.
Quit freakin’ hopping from niche to niche! You have to nurture your business to see it grow. Your business can evolve (and probably won’t survive if it doesn’t), but unless you’re a niche marketer the only way to see a return on your investment (both time and money) is to stick with it and be consistent.
My guess is that this post will either resonate with you or it will piss you off. I’m not usually quite so black and white about things but in this case I don’t think there’s a whole lot of wiggle room.
Step outside of your comfort zone.
Look for someone else you can support simply in terms of sharing their content or commenting on their site. Reach out to someone you don’t know and just say thanks for what you do. Even if it is an “A” lister. Never make the assumption that because someone has achieved a certain level of ‘status’ that they don’t want to hear that you appreciate them.
Find a blog to comment on.
Share a great post.
Leave a message on someone’s Facebook page.
Tweet something you’ve just discovered.
If you’re up for this challenge I’d love to hear your results! And let me know if there’s something you’ve done in your business that has made a significant difference.Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go mark off another day on the calendar until HBO’s “The Newsroom” is back, because summer TV is the epitome of reality TV hell.