6. Graduate School vs. the Blogosphere

Some people get an education without going to college; the rest get it after they get out.

Mark Twain

The Cost of Becoming an Expert

my MA thesis was read by a grand total of three people.
By contrast, an online manifesto was read by more than 100,000 people in the first six months of publication.
That experience made me realize that my online work had the potential to make a much more significant impact on the world than any graduate education.

As the site grew more popular, I paid more money to upgrade the design and add some new services (video updates, newsletter, and so on). However, I made these investments only after I had achieved enough initial success with the project to have a good estimation of what the improvements would be worth.

I’ve received thousands of emails and site com­ ments from readers who read the manifesto. Some of them have made radically different life choices as a result of reading it. I’ve heard from people who have quit their job, changed careers, started a charity, left abusive relationships, traveled the world, and taken all kinds of other extremely meaningful actions.

my influence is far greater as a writer than as the recipient of a graduate degree.

I also became a member of the LifeRemix network, a small group of personal development and productivity authors. Among others, the group includes popular sites by Gretchen Rubin (Hap­ piness Project) and Leo Babauta (Zen Habits), which allows me to associate with some of the most widely recognized authors in my industry.

Alternative and Independent Learning

Set your home page to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Randompage
Learn to write by listening to the Grammar Girl podcast.
Instead of reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, read The Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs, a good summary.

It’s Your Life

When you consider investing large amounts of time and money in something, you should think carefully about what you’ll get out of it.

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7. The power of your own small army

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.

-- John Quincy Adams

Why You Need Your Own Small Army, and Who’s Got Your Back

The price of greatness is responsability

-- Winston Churchill

Why will people willingly follow you? Because they’ll believe in your cause, and because your work helps them in some way.

Prospects have heard about you and are curious about what you’re doing. Before making any commitment, prospects look for the “reason why”—why should they care? Why should they be interested in what you have to offer?

Followers, the largest part of the team, learn of your cause, find it intriguing, and actively seek out more contact from you. If you have a website, they’ll join the newsletter list and follow it regularly. If you have a business, they’ll buy from you regularly.

True fans are hyper-responsive followers. They typically rep­ resent 2 to 4 percent of your follower base, and they are com­ pletely committed to your success.

Allies are like-minded individuals. You're both on a similar journey.

Lastly, friends of friends represent your extended network.

THE REASON WHY

there are now more than 110 million blogs being regularly updated. Why should someone care about yours or mine?

“But what does it do for someone like me?”
I realized that I had to do more than just write a diary of my adventures around the world. a number of other topics focused on achieving big goals and creating a life of per­ sonal freedom.
With freedom as the primary goal, my followers could travel like I do—or they could pursue something else that was more meaningful to them.
Without the better answer to the “reason why” question, the project might have been interesting, but not tremendously helpful for anyone other than me.

THE WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT

You want people to feel encouraged by participating in some­ thing greater than themselves or in something that connects them with others.
Your message should be “Come join me. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. There are other people who see the world in a similar way.”

That’s the kind of message that caused me to move to Africa and work for free.
Don’t make the common mistake of believing that “everyone” is a potential recruit for your cause.
The wrong people will drain your energy, distract you from what is important, and may even try to influence you to give up.
Clearly tell prospects who you are looking for, and tell them that you’re not going to be like everyone else out there.

THE MOTIVATION

Motivation comes in three forms: inspiration, education, and entertainment.
Leo Babauta has done this to near perfection on his popular blog Zen Habits, where he writes about simplicity and goal-setting. In less than a year, Leo built a subscriber base of more than 100,000 avid readers and became a full-time blogger.

THE REWARDS

the printer was the only one who sent me an iPod. You can probably guess that my loyalty to that company went way up after receiv­ ing the unexpected package.
if you can provide other kinds of unexpected rewards and recognition, you’ll strengthen the relationship between you and your network.

The key principle is to go beyond the expected.

HELP YOU SPREAD THE WORD

The most basic, entry-level commitment a follower can make is to help bring in new prospects to your campaign.

HELP YOU CONNECT WITH ANYONE

You should connect with potential allies as early as possible.
introduce yourself to everyone who has influenced you and anyone in a similar field.

One of the most interesting facts about social networking is that most people love to introduce and connect other people.
the people known by your followers may end up being more helpful than the people you know directly.

HOW TO DEFEAT YOUR OWN SMALL ARMY

It all sounds so simple. Recruit people who care about your work enough to support you, provide them with continual motivation to follow along, and then charge off to storm the castle.

First, understand that it is not easy to get a significant number of followers and true fans.
Next, trust is hard to gain but very easy to lose.

To defeat your own small army, simply don’t do what you say you’re going to do, and don’t apologize when you make a mistake.

If you want to maintain the momentum and keep your followers happy, don’t give in to the temptation.

Remember that our lives are connected with other people all over the world. By identifying a specific cause and recruit­ ing a small army, you can achieve far greater success than you otherwise could on your own.

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