How I Swim With The Big Fish at Inc. Magazine

Recently, I got my contract renewed for another six months with Inc. I was holding my breath to see if I would be renewed or not. You see at Inc.; I am a small guppy trying to swim upstream against some of the biggest and baddest fish on the planet. Blogging is a competitive world. Other bloggers I know haven’t been renewed.

Inc. has some of the most well-known entrepreneurs and influencers in the world writing on the platform. They also receive hundreds of applications each month from great bloggers wanted to contribute.

So, like anything else in business, blogging takes real dedication, strategy, and skill to do at a high level. Here are some things I do daily to try to stay at the top of my game and stay competitive with those who are truly out of my league.

1) Always be hustling (ABH)

To start, give up your worst habit and use the time to create. For me, that was watching television in the evenings after work. I gave up watching tv about five years.

I realized that to get ahead, I needed to start hustling in the evenings. I put in the time long after my day job had ended. I got an MBA, started writing blogs, and using social media to build a robust business network.

As beBee USA CEO, Matt Sweetwood says, “Social media isn’t something you just do, it has to become part of your lifestyle.”

Your talent can only get you so far in your career, and for me, it led me into a brick wall that I kept running myself into over and over like some sort of idiot. I was only able to finally break through that wall after several years of hustle and working well into the evenings. Which, I continue to do every day.

2) Always be connecting (ABC)

Who remembers the old sales adage, “Always Be Closing.” Well, there couldn’t be worse advice for today. People are tired of being closed, spammed, and constantly being sold to. In today’s world, people want to connect with other people and establish genuine relationships before doing business.

Well, you are here on Medium (make sure to try beBee too!) that shows me you have a vested interest in your career! Use this platform and the others to be prolific with your networking.

3) Always be creating content (ABCC)

Take Jim Murray as a great example. I am always in awe of writers like him that can consistently deliver engaging content almost daily. His prolific blogging efforts on beBee are to be admired. To be a great writer and create content that people value you always have to be producing. I know I have written some awful blog posts before.

However, I also know that I’ve written some excellent ones that got read by 10’s of thousand of people that enabled me to have a platform with an audience and generate real business opportunities from writing.

There is no doubt that good ones would have never come without the ones that totally sucked. I’m sure I will write a bunch more bad blogs too. However, I will keep writing and ignoring those that tell I cannot do it.

You can’t score if you don’t take any shots! -Unknown

4) Always Stay humble (ASH)

When I made it to Inc., I knew the work had just begun. I realize that writing on Inc. is a privilege that can be revoked at any time and I treat as such.

I never self-promote myself as an expert or a guru. I let my writing speak for itself. If the content is good enough, people will come back for more, and they will begin to use wonderful adjectives to describe you.

I’ve embraced the underdog role, and use it to help me stay motivated.

5) Always Be Sharing (ABS)

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make on social media is that they make it all about themselves. While personal branding and blogging are often about self-expression, you must be a good community member to have others engage and share your content (That is unless you are already famous or simply “the best” blogger…LOL).

When I say that blogging is competitive, I do not mean that I view other bloggers as my competitors.

When I say that blogging is competitive, I do not mean that I view other bloggers as my competitors.

A couple of weeks ago at Sarah Elkins, No Longer Virtual Conference, someone in the room mentioned Milos Djukic as a great community member and someone who regularly shares and engages with other people’s content. Milos was recognized in the room despite not being physically present at the conference. In fact, he was not even on the same continent. I think it was a true aha moment for the many people at the conference. When you fully realize the power of promoting others, you will take a step or two forward with your personal brand.

To succeed in business as an underdog in a highly competitive market you have to be prepared to make sacrifices, cut out all activities that are not providing you with utility, and always seek to be inspired by the great work of others.

About the Author: I am the CMO and founder of Social Marketing Solutions. I am also the Social Media Director for beBee. I write at the crossroads of social media, entrepreneurialism, startups, and marketing. I live with my wife and two daughters in Fort Collins, Colorado. John White