3 Successful Bloggers Who Have A Compelling Start Up Story Behind Their Blog
My morning commute time to work is about 50 minutes and I use that time to listen to podcasts. BlogCastFM is one such podcast I listen to regularly.
Srini (the host of BlogCastFM) interviews various bloggers from myriad of niches. The interviews are effortless to listen to (waking up at 6 in the morning, cursing my way to work amides traffic, gets a little bit easier with Podcasts!).
Practically every blogger that gets featured here leaves a memorable presence. After each interview, I feel energize and inspired; I walk away with a “If they can, I can too” sort of feeling. Often, I get a few ideas for blog posts too. This is one of those ideas which made it into a blog post.
At the start of every podcast, Srini asks the interviewee
“Can you share a bit about your background, your story and how you got started” (For someone who hasn’t missed a single podcast episode for the last 8 months, these words are engraved in my mind!)
But, if you really dig deep and find out their back-door story, we come to realize that once upon a time these bloggers also started just like us. They had to dodge many curve balls life has thrown their way. Often, those “curve ball” moments were seeds that got them into blogging. Here are some of those humble beginnings that really inspired me.
1. Greg Hartle
A 20 something healthy individual traveling all over the country competing in different competitions… until one day he got incredibly ill. At 25 years old, he couldn’t bear to hear that his kidney was damaged and he only had 6 months to live. Grey went from owning a successful business, healthy fit to somebody who’s business was falling apart because he couldn’t physically do any work. He was sleeping about 18 hours a day and badly needed to receive a kidney transplant.
His friends and family were supportive and got tested. Luckily for Greg, his mother was a match and went on to get the surgery he badly needed. Coming out of that surgery he gradually became healthy. Greg goes on to say that his predicament made him re-evaluate everything and everything changed.
It was 2008; the economy was getting back to where it was. Greg realized that he was not able to get his life back to where it was. The only thing he could to was to move forward.
Greg wondered, “If I woke up tomorrow and had nothing, where would I go, would would I do”
Greg took the plunge, walked out of the place he was staying. He walked out with a 10 dollar bill, laptop, a few pieces of clothing and went to Seattle. He tried to figure out what to do, including what to eat, where to sleep and how to make money etc. Documenting the process on the blog. That notion of experimentation led to 10 dollars and a laptop
Greg’s wise words,
Learn from other people. Apply pieces of what they are talking about to your life that resonates with you.
We fail when we try to do everything that they do or just say, “hey, it’s for you not going to work for me” and do nothing.
2. Marcus Sheridan
Marcus started out initially with his swimming pool company back in 2001 and grew it to be a large business. When the economy crashed in 2008, they were in huge trouble. Pool companies were shutting doors. Marcus realized they need need sales, but was not in a position to spend money on advertising.
That’s when Marcus discovered content and inbound marketing. He started writing articles about swimming pools and became the consumer voice for fiber glass in ground swimming pools. Within 10 months, he was able to to create a popular swimming pool website for their company.
Marcus goes on to say,
“A lot of small business are where I was once. They don’t know how to market, technology passing by.
I asked myself what can I do to help them that’s where The Sales Lion began. I am going to teach them everything I’ve done to be successful.”
Marcus’s wise words,
You have to address the questions that are on the mind of your customer.
He who gives the answers, dominates the niche.
3. Fraser Cain
In the mid 90s, Fraser was working at a web development firm creating customer for clients. He initially started by giving advice to clients based on “theory” he had learned. He wanted to expand his research and get direct experience in running a website of his own. So he thought of creating a hobby website on the side.
Can you think of the niche he chose?
Here it is in his own words,
“I’ve been an amateur astronomer since I was a kid. I’ve been looking through books about space and astronomy, so I decided that I was going to pick that as a site to just maintain, and it would teach me a little more about this thing that I was interested in, and at the same time would teach me a lot more about how to be able to provide better information to my clients.”
Fraser kept piling up valuable content that many ardent astronomy fans found useful.
The last time I heard his blog, Universe Today gets around 5 million page views a month, 70,000 RSS subscribers, and has a huge mailing list. OMG!
I guess what started out as a hobby turned out to be a good business!
Fraser’s wise words,
It’s the voice behind, it’s the words on the page, it’s the relationships and the connections that you make that really sustain and grow your audience from version to version over time.
3 very, diverse yet unique start up stories behind their blogs.
No doubt you will realize that they didn’t just wake up one morning to find success; they all started with nothing.
It’s all attributed to hard work, consistent actions and a few things they did to make the “break through”. It’s the foundation that was laid down back then, is what got them to where they are today.
Importantly, It’s in the story! They have a compelling story which is genuine, down to earth and inspiring. All attributes of good storybranding.
[Read more on, StoryBranding: Creating Stand-Out Brands Through The Power of Story]
What’s your start up story? Leave a comment below. Would love to hear about it.