All that glitters is definitely not gold


The economy sucks, your boss is a jerk, you are over-worked and under-loved; maybe it’s time to quit the day job and try this internet social media thing; I’m sure there is big money to be had. I mean really, how hard can it be?

What prompted you to jump in? Maybe leaving the job was not a choice. Did you put together a business plan, or did you think all you needed to do was show up?

I am somebody 

You jump in, maximized the ‘tools’ available, gamed the system and quickly got many followers; this has to be success, right?

Wait a second; you certainly should be able to sell something now with this throng of followers. In fact, go ahead and tweet them all ‘hello’ just to remind them you are here and see the response; this should be great, right?

Why isn’t anyone replying back? Maybe if you tweet about the trip to Starbucks this morning you will get a response. What is wrong with these people, can’t they hear you; maybe your tweeter is broke.

The better mousetrap 

It looks like everyone has a blog with their site and talking about all the easy money you can make and how to do it; yeah, that’s the ticket, do one of those. And when you set it up put ads all over the place and let the advertisers pay you; easy money indeed.

Ok, here’s your first post; you are ready to hit publish and just hope to keep up with all the responses. Damn it, where is everybody; is your site broken as well?

Who are they talking to? 

This doesn’t seem to be working; so maybe you better go see what the popular people are doing. Wow, it looks like they are talking with each other, what a novel idea. Well, you can certainly do that, so this has to be where the money is, huh?

This is so cool, you can’t believe people are coming by and responding. I wonder if they will buy anything now because your stomach is starting to growl. Is ketchup really a vegetable; do they have crackers in the condiment trays at McDonalds?

How do you measure success and what does it look like to you? 

You want measurement, how much money did your activities generate? Can you eat; pay the bills, how about a vacation?

Huge number of followers, an active blog, a  Klout score of 80; what does all that mean if you have no green; looks like fools gold to me.

Are you just dreaming, or do you really have a plan? 

Reality check; there is no free lunch. If you are going to play the game you better show up prepared, practiced and have a clear vision of not only where you want to go but what it looks like when you get there.

Oh, it’s fun, don’t get me wrong; but very few will be able to make a sustainable income from their social media activities alone. It will probably be a one-off endeavor you generate from networking, providing knowledge in your specialty, or creating awareness of your brand. And don’t plan on automation putting it on cruise control; it will always take hard work and lots of attention not only to detail but staying abreast of all the changes.

What do you think; do you have the staying power to remain ‘all in’? Have you hit the ‘wall’ or is that just growing pains?


58 thoughts on “All that glitters is definitely not gold

  1. Mornin’ Bill!
    Social media to me is social. ( I’m very naive and I like it that way). Yup, I probably will be the breadwinner some day soon. But I don’t talk to people to get business. I share what I do because that’s who I am, and I ask about what other people do because I want to help promote what they do. If and when I have something to sell it’ll be to feed my family and pay the bills. I know my friends will support me emotionally. That’s what friends do. Only a fraction of them will want what I have to offer. I’m NOT putting my eggs all in one basket. Maybe I’m just accepting that I wouldn’t mind living with less, so I’m not as driven as some. Nothing replaces my connection to my friends. I think there are different types of people. I’m just one. If you need help, I’m there for you. But I think we all have to admit that there’s a lot to learn about online relationships and how really they just show us who WE are!

    • I hear you loud and clear because that has been my platform entirely. I did not get into this thinking I would or could make money doing it. If I found some niche in there along the way I wouldn’t be opposed to exploring it. I think part of my struggle now is just trying to figure out where I want it to go from here.

      I do appreciate seeing you twice today, very much appreciated.

      I think as long as we stay true to ourselves and remain sincere then everything else will take care of itself, huh?

      Hope all else is well with you this fine Monday.

  2. Are you reading my mind Bill? As you know, I’m narrowing the focus of my blog, re-prioritizing and adjusting my plan (yes, I do have one), and learning from the experience of the past 6 months.

    I’ve certainly hit the wall, and that’s what’s prompted this re-evaluation. And yes, these are growing pains. The most important thing for me is to learn from this experience, adjust as necessary and forge ahead.

    I’ve met wonderful people, with whom I’ll remain “social”. These are the folks that, as Betsy mentioned above, “I don’t talk to…to get business.” I started my blog with the goal of ceasing self-editing in my writing: mission accomplished. But now it’s time to scale what I’m doing to support the business I’m in. And I will hone that focus to attract the target market I serve.

    Does that mean I’ll give up my “social” friends, or cease being “social”? Not at all. It just means that I will be far more strategic in my writing and my works, and that means that the appeal of my blog/words will continue to resonate with some, and others, not. That’s OK. If I hadn’t started where I started, I wouldn’t be where I am. And to everything there is a season…and a reason.

    Yes, it’s frustrating some days, and I smiled in harmony with your post. I recognize what you’re saying. I’m energized and emboldened, a tad overwhelmed and up and down like a toilet seat some days, but I trust my gut: the timing is right for a shift in direction and a crystallization of my intention and my plan. The vision is clear: the work is beginning. Cheers! Kaarina

    • You said ‘scale’………..that sounds like a non-social term………….:). I leave the toilet seat up in the middle of the night because I like to hear my wife’s reaction when she sits down and realizes it’s up……………not really, I would be dead meat……..but it sounded funny, huh?

      I think as I get more involved with the corporate blog it might take me out of commenting so much on my social site and that might dry up some traffic, but I’ll just have to learn to live with it.

      I’m looking forward to your direction and I do appreciate your support. Was this ‘thankful’ day something Al came up with or was everybody supposed to be doing this? I think I must have missed the message……………

      • Ah, back from Danny’s place, I see…you’re just blowin’ up the blogosphere, my friend.

        I just saw that on Al’s Twitter he was hashtagging ##gratitudemonday, then over to TheJackB with a gratitude post, so flexed my typing fingers and figured I’d dovetail onto the topic and write a post.

        “Scale” a non-social term? I’m always social, my friend…but you know what I mean, and the direction I’m taking. Always fun. And remember…Howie, Danny and I are coming to your house in the dead of night to remove that statue from your front hallway and put it out on your front lawn. Can’t wait! Cheers! Kaarina

      • Hay Bill
        You are funny. Got 5 males and
        i’m all so yelling to put the seat down.
        I learned my lesson with hubby not to
        say it to him.

        I’ve been joying reading your blog post.
        Ever thing you said is so true here.

        thank bonnie

  3. Sounds vaguely familiar…we all grapple with this and I think it’s a cyclical thing. Every 6 months or so, as your community expands, your knowledge grows and your style adapts, things change. It doesn’t mean that we’re done or that we should go home. It simply means we have to be nimble and adapt to our changing circumstances. There isn’t a “power blogger” out there that is the same today as when they started 3 years ago. The difference is that they continued to adapt and change based on their audience, their goals and their opportunities. I see that with you, Kaarina, Adam, myself and many others out there in our similar phase of blogging and social media development.

    I’m planning to stick around! Hope my contemporaries do as well! 🙂

  4. Hi Bill! Great post and a very brave topic. People need to read and heed this. I love social media. It’s true, I’ve gotten the bulk of my large clients through social media engagement, but that’s not why I use social media. I never ever sell my services or even talk about my services when engaging on social media. I love to share my knowledge, my support, and my love for humanity with others through social media. I love hearing what others have to say and connecting with them in a meaningful way.

    It’s true that some people (a very few) have made ‘easy’ money off of the Internet. But easy money doesn’t last. It’s the truth that rings loud and clear from the old saying, “Easy come, easy go”. Real wealth is not money — real wealth is family, personal interaction with others, spiritual fortitude, and honesty. Money simply makes the necessities of life easier to obtain and the hardships that both rich and poor endure, a bit easier to endure — sometimes.

    I’m going to get clients for my business anyway — despite a website, despite social media, and any other “magic” formula. I don’t know how to articulate how I know this, but I do. I perform my services for a much greater purpose than simply making money and making a name for myself. It’s evident when my phone rings and the emails come in with new potential client inquiries. Thanks for this post.

    • Hey Samantha, that was a very nice thoughtful and thought out reply. It sounds like you have the right approach; just be yourself and everything else seems to fall into place. That is pretty much my philosophy as well and it has gotten me this far.

      I’ll make sure I come by your place and pay you a visit. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by; it was much appreciated ma’am.

    • You getting to know me; priceless. I mean really, you can’t even put a price tag on that.

      I’m just curious to see the success model of some of those who have ‘made it’ online and is it sustainable income or are you out there just hitting the road running as hard as you can every single day you wake up? To me, some of this seems so fickle to truly be seen as sustainable.

      It appears some are hoping to reach a certain level where their ‘influence’ is worth something and somebody is willing to pay them for that.

      Good to see you twice today, much appreciated. Hoping the Rays have enough juice to overtake the dreaded spankmes.

  5. Hey Bill!

    I get frustrated with individuals who think they can make a quick buck off those who are truly in need of social media/SEO/internet marketing assistance. There is no ‘easy’ way to make money. Everything takes time.

    Honestly, I love social media and I’ve been involved in it for the past 10+ years. I have hit a couple walls here and there, but I’ve gotten through them with just taking a step back for a second.

    The thing that most people don’t realize is that it takes a lot more than just a Twitter and Facebook to grow a business. Utilizing both online and offline marketing will prove to be extremely effective.

    This is an ever-changing industry in which I love to be constantly learning! While it can be a lot to handle sometimes, it’s all very much worth it.

    Great post!

    • Thanks for stopping by and the comments. It’s also refreshing to hear the length of time you have been at it and the success in working through hitting the ‘wall’.

      It is ever changing and you definitely have to be willing to keep learning or it will just pass you right by.

      I do appreciate you taking the time to stop by and comment; very much appreciated sir.

  6. I was thinking about this just the other day. I am attending an all day SEO/Affiliate Marketing seminar on Saturday in NYC. I do have a plan, and it is getting to that time where I need to execute said plan.

    I am now working freelance, which means stepping up my blog posts and just continuing to get my name and face out there. I am also looking into passive ways to make money as well.

    I am glad you brought this up Bill. I need to remind myself all the time that wanting to make money and be successful does not mean I can’t help others.

    Have a good one my friend. 🙂

    • It’s a fine line; you want to be helpful, but somebody has to pay you for your time, right? I just think it’s hard to make sustainable income online only; there has to be something you can ‘build’ and has sustainability to it. If you can’t ‘build’ anything, then you are starting from scratch every single day.

      I look forward to seeing where your ‘plan’ takes you; sounds like you are ready to execute.

      So good to see you twice today and hope you have a great week.

  7. So how did you get so smart if you aren’t even doing the online thing? Oh, I know! Learning from the rest of us that this takes hard work and dedication to actually make a living doing this.

    I get so frustrated with all the junk going around online enticing people into how easy this all is. The bottom line is that you can have 200 comments per post, 500 tweets, 750 Google +’s but if you aren’t bringing in any money, then you aren’t really making it! Ouch! The truth hurts.

    Thanks for telling it like it is Bill. I love your honesty! Keep it up, like you would be any other way!


    • Money is the only true measurement and if you can do that w/ 5 customers, 50 customers or 500 customers it doesn’t matter if you aren’t getting paid, right?

      You look like you have a good plan but have certainly encountered some bumps along the way. You know first hand how hard it can be and frustrating at times as well.

      I know you are living it, so always appreciate your input and I wish you continued success.

      So good to see you and I appreciate the support very much.

  8. I *still* haven’t figured out how to monetize my blog and, frankly, that’s not why I started it. I wanted my own place to share my opinions, in more than 140 characters (because I had already fallen in love with Twitter by then). However, it does translate to income, even if it’s not direct; because that’s what potential clients go to, and being active both online and offline helps grow the blog community… which all adds up.

    It does take a lot of work; you’re spot on about that, Bill. And at the end of the day, the hardest work is in building and maintaining relationships, as you well know… and are a great example of!

    • It is just another resource you have at your disposal. If someone can come to my blog and see what I’m all about then I feel that is a win for me. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to keep pace but will probably be best served engaging on my terms.

      You are a great example of how to use SM in a one-capacity to enhance what you do in real life. This is probably how I will continue to evolve but will use our corporate site to blog my ‘business-speak’. I don’t think my social crowd would be around for long if I tried to spring that on them.

      So good to see you today (twice), very much appreciated too. Sorry to hear you missed boot camp but I’m sure Grant Hill can double up now, huh?

      Have a good one.

  9. Hi Bill,

    I definitively have the staying power to reamin all in. I think that it’s all about why we are doing it. If it’s all about the money, and especially the grow rich quick, then it won’t work. But, if it’s about passion, and if we love doing what we’re currently doing, and we can spend a lot of time doing it (every single day) and it doesn’t feel like we’re wasting a lot of time. Then, we’re doing the right thing, even though we’re currently not making any money.

    if we get many comments, and a lot of readers, the money will eventually come. At least, that’s what I believe. I’m in no hurry, it’s just great to be here, and meet new people and create long sustainable relationships and learn.


    • Hey Jens, I’m reading your comments and thought for sure I had replied to this but don’t see it anywhere. I must be losing my mind; I did have a GP at Danny Brown’s this week (didn’t know it was popping this week) and it got a little crazy, but fun.

      I like this comment: meet new people and create long sustainable relationships and learn’. I think if you do this everything else will take care of itself, don’t you? Some will depend on the product you are putting out and what you hope to receive out of it, but if you have a ready made audience it should certainly help.

      I’ve been tardy this week getting around but I’m slowly working my way there. Hope all is well and certainly appreciate the comments. Good seeing you Jens.

  10. Hey Bill,
    If one desires to monetize their blog they better treat it as a business rather than a means to primarily socialize. Many people aren’t going to buy something from someone just because they like them. Bloggers have to make and close the sale. They also have to learn how to how to target and promote to the right people and project an image of more than friendliness (competency and expertise would be a good place to start). I really think there are many bloggers that just don’t understand the basic principles of business/ marketing and will work hard but be ineffectual. I think that people who have a background in sales/marketing (like you and me) have probably learned this lesson the hard way.

    • The more defined and realistic your plan is, the better the chance of success. You can just show up and hope to emulate others but you still need a pretty good idea of what you want and what it looks like.

      The tone of some sites make it sound like it’s going to be a walk in the park and most won’t make it…………..just like real life.

      Thanks for sharing and appreciate your candid comments. Hope you are doing well and have a great week sir.

  11. Hey Bill!
    I’m in for the long haul…you’re not gettin’ rid of me! I agree with so many points made here. You want to have passion for what you’re blogging about. If you’re looking to make money, learn how to monetize it and close the sale. I had a lot of offline experience in sales, marketing and customer service coming in to this online world–but then I found it really is a different ball game. I learned a whole lot along the way. The great thing is that the information is out there to be had–you just have to pick through the scams to find the gems. For anyone out there who thinks it’s simple, easy and completely automated, they better learn a little more. It’s hard work but it’s worth it if you’re in it for the right reasons. Those reasons could be varied: money, lifestyle, more time with family. My hope is that the long hours I am spending now setting all of this up and making myself known will pay off in the long run. I think I can, I think I can. 🙂

    • I hear you and I think you can, I think you can. I think I’m coming to the realization it’s growing pains which should be good right, because it means you are growing.

      Part of it was I had much more success than I expected and just think it wasn’t sustainable at that level and just need to adjust expectations and then figure out my direction.

      The good news is I get to hang with people like you.

      I do appreciate you and your support; so good to see you, thanks for the comments.

  12. “Maybe leaving the job was not a choice.” – Applies to me perfectly Bill, bang on the money.

    Leaving my job has been forced upon me, but I have no regrets, I wanted to get out of there anyway. Ideally, I’d have an income set up to replace the old one, but then on the other hand, that reduces the fun of life.

    ‘Making money from my blog’ never enticed me – ‘making a business out of my blog’, that interests me a lot. It’s what I’m aiming for now, and it’s what is going to keep me sane during the unemployed hours. I want Unlock The Door to lead into a business, and that requires hard work, patience, passion, and persistence.

    But it’s still going to be fun 😉

    • Thanks for sharing this Stu; sometimes when things are forced upon you, you find a way to adapt and prosper. Can be scary but also can make you more focused.

      It will be interesting to watch you grow on this journey and certainly wish you the best of luck. I do appreciate your support and I will support you any way I can.

      Thanks for stopping by and hope you are having a great day, sir.

  13. I wouldn’t be surprised to see myself continue for the rest of my life or to just walk away. Two extremes, but that is me sometimes.
    I’ll keep going as long as I enjoy it or as long as I keep making millions of bucks.

    • One or the other, huh? Like you, I’m enjoying it but have so far to go to even come close to being able to write to the depth and creativity you do.

      I didn’t realize Danny was going to do my GP the same day I posted this; next time I think I will do like you did when you GP’d at my place and just referenced your GP at your site.

      Good to see you and thanks for stopping by here as well, certainly always appreciated.

  14. I don’t make money directly from my blog; however, it indirectly helps me demonstrate to potential clients that 1. I’m a good writer; 2. I’m an experienced marketer; and 3. I understand social media. I see blogging as an important skill in the marketing communications field. Although I haven’t been asked to write blog posts for a client, I definitely think the day will come sooner or later.

    I’m not dreaming of internet gold. I’m just trying to build a small business, one day at a time. 🙂

    • And I think that is a good realistic approach; you can use your blog as your ‘body of work’ and when people want to check you out, it is there for all to see. It appears you are making progress toward that goal.

      I also think the blogging helps improve your communications skills so you are getting good practice along the way.

      I’m glad you made it over; there was so much going on at Danny’s, I forgot about this; my poor neglected blog………….:).

      Now if someone bought me a lottery ticket and I won I might dream of internet gold.

      Good to see you and thanks for leaving some words of wisdom ma’am.

  15. Great EYE opener. I will take this one to heart. My only addition to what you said is to follow your heart. Some people just start up a website for the wrong reasons (money).

    • I think following your heart is good because that will allow the passion which will increase your chances of success. If money is your only objective then people see through that and it makes it harder to develop a level of trust and sincerity.

      Good to see you Vic and I certainly appreciate you taking the time to stop by. Please feel free to come again. I hope your journey has been a good one.

  16. Hi, Bill.

    If my blog wasn’t a company blog, I wouldn’t be making money out of it. But, as it is, it is providing me with a steady income to pay the bills and feed my kids. 🙂

    But, I understand what you are saying about people jumping into the bandwagon thinking that having a blog and making money out of it is an easy ride. So, great wake up call, Bill. Anybody reading this who thought that they’d become millionaires are surely in for a great knock on the head.

    Nice to see again, Mr. Dorman. Appreciate the support, the concern and the warm thoughts.

    Enjoy your week!

    • It has been a crazy week; I didn’t realize DB was going to put that post out on Monday. I sent him the final version on Sat and he sent me an e-mail early Monday saying it was live. Therefore, I’ve been bouncing around but it was fun.

      I think because you have access to so many people that maybe it would be easy to make money; and maybe some are making easy money. However, I see it just like a brick and mortar business and it takes hard work and direction to make it happen. No free lunch, right?

      Hope your family is still on the mend, and thanks so much for coming by.

  17. You know Bill, I thought I had commented on this and then realized… ooops.

    “… you better show up prepared, practiced and have a clear vision of not only where you want to go but what it looks like when you get there.” I think you nailed it with that one; that’s basically the conclusion I came to when I did the blog reset. It took that initial period to get to the point where I could find the intersection of those things; now I hope my activities moving forward will be more focused.

    I will say not everyone blogs for an economic goal, so for those people I think it is just about knowing why they are blogging.

    Great post Bill! I am looking forward to knowing where the new is headed! All the best.

    • Hopefully to the penthouse and not the outhouse, huh?

      Trust me, I know brother, it’s hard to keep up w/ all the posts and especially with some posting every day if not more. Throw a hiccup in during the week and it can cause you to just pass some up.

      We have both been in ‘business’ long enough to know you just don’t flip the switch and the money starts rolling in. I feel some think just because they have access to all these ‘free’ tools if you make it look a certain way then people will just start showing up. I have plenty of close friends who I will never do business with, so just because I know someone doesn’t necessarily mean we will have a business relationship. Same way online as it is easy to ‘know’ a lot of people.

      Glad you were able to make it back by; I did enjoy your 6 month’s post. I’m thinking of doing a ‘cleaning house’ 6 month post and what that looks like.

      Have a great weekend.

      • Awesome Bill! From what I can tell, we’ve had similar but still fairly different experiences in our first six months. I would be very interested to see what lessons you have drawn from the experience.

        A great weekend to you too!

  18. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for sharing the reality of being online and that it is hard work. Money doesn’t rain down on you unlike many who claims that it is easy money. I was going to write a post about tracking your success because how do you know when you are there and where you are now, are you moving in that direction?

    I am at a point where I am staring to monetize my blog but not sure as to what’s the best way to do so. I am working on a plan 🙂

    • Interesting thoughts, because I could say for me success has been an active blog w/ comments. I truly thought I’d be invisible; I just did the blog because I thought you were supposed to.

      Using that as a parameter, then I’ve had huge success. Having said that though, you always know who is showing up and who isn’t and so you still have certain ‘people’ you use as validation points as to whether you think you have really ‘made it’. I know that’s a dangerous method to validate, but you have to have some measuring stick, right? What it does do though, is make you strive to always ‘up’ your game.

      To me, real success would be ‘new’ income that I’m not making now that I could attribute back to my online activities. My model right now is just networking and branding; if it helps me get in the door then I can take it from there. I’m in front line sales and I will tell you the # 1 stumbling block of any sales person is getting in the door and talking with the right person. I think most of us are pretty good when we get past that point, but that alone has meant the success or failure of the majority of people who chose ‘sales’ as a profession.

      I will have to stop by and check your place out; thanks for taking the time to come by here and comment. Good luck on your journey AND your plan.

      Hope you have a great weekend.

  19. Hey Bill,

    What really…no money for all this effort… 😉 Yikes, what am I doing here! 🙂

    I really don’t know the reasons as to why I started blogging (out of work was one of them) but then I enjoyed being around and the whole social media craze. I entered a blogging contest, won some cool bucks and now am a team member at a blogging site… so there’s a lil bonus there. But making like huge money out of it… If I do I wouldn’t mind.

    In the beginning I read about so many people making tons out of money out of their blogs and leaving their day job. I think if your offering services through your blog, it makes sense..but anything else, I would have to glitters, but it isn’t gold!

    • Hey Hajra, I certainly think there is money to be made in some form or fashion but I don’t think it will be easy money. Like anything else, I believe you need a sustainable plan. It would be nice to track and plan around a certain revenue stream.

      I think it’s cool you won a blogging contest; I drug my feet to even do a guest post, much less enter a contest.

      Thanks for coming by and hope you had a good weekend.

  20. Hey Bill – How the heck are you??

    Well, we didn’t start out with the intent of making money off of the blog itself, so no disappointment to be had there. We started with the intent of wanting to help others by challenging their thinking about the way they run their own agencies and they way they are interacting with their prospects & clients (sale process, marketing, etc.).

    While commenting remains slow, the numbers rise steadily and the off-line comments are also rising steadily. There is a lot of conversation generated in other ways that gets back to us, and we know it’s having the intended impact. I look at it as our job to also educate people on Why to participate online and give them some practical advice on How to do that. Until we make the effort to take it full circle, we can’t get upset about a lack of participation from a very targeted audience who doesn’t participate because they don’t understand.

    Yeah, we’re definitely in it for the long-haul!

    • You guys are doing a great job; you are really putting some quality stuff out.

      The niche sites for the most part are not going to be that social but with the information you are putting out I’m guessing people are still stopping by. I’ve had some crazy numbers at time but I do see it tapering off and getting to more of a ‘core’ group which is certainly ok with me.

      I’m still counting on using the corporate site as more of my business voice but I do want to do a better job of branding who I am, what I do and what I am all about. Monetization will come in other ways and I’m ok with that.

      I am doing well and we’ve had some P&C successes Aug/Sept so I’m happy and have some great opportunities still ahead.

      Hope you are doing well and good to see you; thanks for coming by.

      • Thanks for the kind words. : )

        You know, I’m with you on the core group idea. We are definitely a niche company, and I get really revved up about talking with that core group who is interested in making the changes and then being able to follow them all the way through the ups & downs that come with it. Having those conversations online is the tricky part.

        There are a lot of people putting out quality content I enjoy immensely, but I do feel that my efforts are focused on bringing this new group up to speed, and it can be painful at times, but like you – I’m committed!

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