An Internet All-Star is miffed that we don’t get it. If we’d only listen to this yahoo, we’d all be cruising the golden road. He urges us to improve and become a better version of him. What a guy.
Another one floats out of the ether to cast his blessing. This Master claims I’m doomed. Yep, my best days are gone if I don’t shape up and provide more use than a left-handed monkey wrench.
The next smarty-pants read my dilemma and dog-gone-it, it’s a slam dunk: My fan base and email list are pathetic. The odds of becoming the next heavyweight champ are slim and none. Yada, yada, yada.
A student since my first web connection, I’ve seen these rock stars come and go. Here’s my road map for those who want to be more like them and less like me.
1. Rock Bottom: You have to start this shindig somewhere. Why not here?
This is where you get fired from that no-good job or just flat-out quit. Bonus points for the perp walk to the parking lot chaperoned by security guards. Humping your cubicle junk, as ex-colleagues witness the demise of another lost boy fried to pieces.
You break your lease and donate all belongings. No severance package or garage sale. This is for real. No incoming cash — you’re going broke, dude.
Relief arrives through the Salvation Army and Dollar Store. With no emergency fund and maxed-out credit cards, you hit the YMCA for cheap and basic digs.
The Y’s a great place to stay in the moment and be the real you. If there’s no vacancy, find a boarding house or a relative’s couch. Shelters aren’t for house cats. By all means, check them out and take photos — terrific material for future posts. Wink-wink.
2. The Crash Landing: The worst is over.
Your husk is battered, but you’re alive and molting. No paycheck to cash, but a Wi-Fi signal for your laptop that survived the wreck. You power up that puppy and read until your eyeballs shake loose.
Downtime is for monk spells. The cleansing of the heart, soul, and mind. The Zen of You is underway.
3. The Climb: Birth of the ‘Hustle’.
Like a goblin from hell, you post multiple times on numerous platforms per day. Don’t worry about spell-check or syntax. You’re a work in process, forgoing quality for quantity.
You also learn to master the basics: Click baits and algorithms. Speed writing and the art of photo shopping.
In between articles, you clap, like, and comment. You follow as many people as you can. Not to engage. It’s to collect fans, drones, and future minions to spread your love.
4. The Light: Welcome to ‘The Zone’.
You’re halfway home, grasshopper. Those funky beams of prism light is your muse — your north star. It’s the sun rays playing tricks, but every tale needs an anthem.
Gorging on flowers and crickets will be worth it. Nobody dies in the Devil’s Boot Camp. You either quit or get stronger. Still with the program? Great stuff. Hup to. Up and at ‘em.
5. The First Plateau: Breathe in, breathe out, Danielson.
Your following is bigger than your bank account. Your wisdom is eaten up by online pubs. You’re a top scribe in various categories, a go-to contributor on assorted platforms.
Forget those smoothie breaks when there’s work to do. Repeat the process. Remember your dawn crunches and jumping jacks. Why? No clue. Just do it.
6. The Escape: You reached that hole in the sky.
No more soup kitchens and curfews. You’re also done prepping the salad tubs for minimum wage and half-price hoagies at the Sub Stop. You did it. You graduate, you.
A concerned and mystified loved one meets you on solid ground. They also co-sign and float the deposit for that new apartment. You’re back in the game and moving into your own pad. Back to mac and cheese fusion, ‘Just Add Water’ pancakes, and other slick gourmet. It’s all you, chief.
You did the work and reaped the burn. Can you feel the magic? Outside your latest jig, limited life experience. No worries, mate.
Read books and ape the material. Rearrange those listicles. The minions won’t notice. Too busy living and dying, they trust you.
That self-help, self-discovery, and ‘how to make it’ fluff is rocking out. The folks on the web love this junk food and snarf it down. They don’t care who wrote it, they just wanna read it.
Rinse, repeat, recycle. Get those articles out there — shake and bake time. The masses can’t snort these lines fast enough.
7. Master Class: Success breeds success and other calls to action.
Once you become an Internet Elvis, you can’t be bothered with low-life fans and beneath-you peers. What’s a king to do? Cut ’em loose. From here on out, you only follow ‘influencers’ and other big shots on social media.
This is when the trolls arrive. By nature, they’re skeptical and jealous creatures who will call you out. That’s what the followers are for. Fanatics love to defend their hero and protect the cause.
You honor their loyalty with exclusives and other perks. Member-friendly pricing for your self-published books, bundles, and online courses.
8. The Coronation: You’re Brando in Cambodia — a Demigod.
And just like Colonel Kurtz, it’s the end of the trail. It’s where the gig goes up in flames. It’s spectacular, sky high, and your ticket to go out in style.
Stop crying in your jungle juice and focus on the upside. The minions have improved. Thanks to you, they’re headed for Beverly Hills.
What about the next wave of toadies? Who will lead them? I know. It’s tough leaving the stage and limelight behind.
Back when, while climbing out of your personal volcano, the next batch of wannabes answered the call. Headfirst, dive-bombing the lava beds. And here they come. The infinite, full of rage and spitfire, raiding the castle walls.
Just what we need: More Internet Gurus and more after them. So on and so on. Will this ever stop?
The horror. The horror.