This guest post is by TT Fong of SpikingStrengths.com.
James Clear runs the blog PassivePanda.com, which generates a full-time income. It took him only six-months to reach that point.
After studying his site, listening to several interviews he’s done, and talking with him live, I uncovered one of the secrets to his success.
This secret? He taps into his strengths or “super powers” while building and growing his blog. Here are three key lessons I learned from him about Super Powers, and how to use them for successful blogging.
First, what are his super powers and why should you care?
I gave James an assessment which identified his top five strengths (out of the known universe of thirty-four). I refer to these strengths as Super Powers, interchangeably.
In a nutshell, Super Powers are those latent gifts everyone has which allow them to be energized, learn quickly, and develop certain expertise in less time and effort than others.
Most focus on understanding the right tactics to building a blog. James certainly uses those that worked well for him.
But without leveraging your Super Powers, even the right tactics may not give you the desired results.
Because it is your specific strengths that shape the tactics and strategies that work best for you.
In other words, an approach may work best for someone with strength A. But those same steps may not be right for someone with strength B.
If you have similar strengths to James, you could learn his specific tactics. And, if those tactics indeed played to your strengths, you’d likely see similar results.
But if your Super Powers were different from James’s, following in his exact footsteps may not lead you to where you want to go.
In other words, the foundation to your blogging success depends upon understanding and using your Super Powers.
Let’s use what I learned about James to illustrate this idea. Here are the top five Super Powers we came up with, based on the assessment:
- a learner
I’ll explain in more detail how these can be applied to understand his business, and also how you can apply your own strengths to build up yours.
Here are three lessons you can learn from Passive Panda’s success.
1: Create energy and motivation
Building a blog or a venture that matters takes time. We’ve all heard this advice: “It doesn’t happen overnight.” “It takes longer than you think.” “You have to pay your dues.”
Even if it doesn’t take quite that long (and it doesn’t have to—James hit his stride in six months), what’s missing from this common advice is that it takes energy to sustain effort over time.
Willpower alone isn’t enough. Relying on brute force is a recipe for dissatisfaction at best and burn-out at worst. The answer? Doing the work that, itself, gives you energy.
And the best way to do that is to align your work with your strengths.
James’s Super Power of “Significance” gives him the energy to start, build, and sustain his blog and business. For him, this means always driving towards a way to impact as many people as possible.
When he hits the inevitable areas where the going gets tough, he can keep going by tapping into this strength.
So what can you do?
Understand which of your Super Powers motivates you. If it’s also Significance, then you want to have impact just like James. But if it’s something else, understand and link you blog and activities to that. While Significance, a desire to impact large numbers of people in a visible and tangible way, can be a powerful motivator, so can Belief, Achievement, and Harmony.
What’s important is that you find the thing that gives you energy. Then tap into it from the beginning of your blogging journey.
2: Stand out from the noise
Passive Panda is in what James calls the “make money” niche—perhaps one of the most crowded on the Internet. Yet, in a short period of time, he grew his audience and now stands out in his field, attracting the attention of entities like US News and World Report and American Express.
In fact, his “space” is actually a conflation of several competitive markets—personal finance, freelancing, entrepreneurship, and career development. On the surface, this could make it even more difficult, yet he still manages to stand out. How?
One way was through the unique application of his strength as a Learner. Because of this strength, he’s able to, for example, interview 70+ people for a single post. As a result, his posts have the kind of uniqueness that separates his blog from the pack.
Here’s an important note: while the tactic is successful and makes sense, it wouldn’t necessarily work for others, such as myself, with a different strength profile.
My reaction to learning the amount of research he did was, “No way could I do that. Just thinking about it exhausts me!” The many others who have a similar reaction would probably not take this approach (or if they did, wouldn’t do so for long). As a result, he clears the field and emerges as a unique voice.
So what can you do?
Figure out one—actually, I recommend two strengths that, when applied to the way you develop your content, give you “energy,” but also help you stand out in your space.
3: Deliver value to customers
In the end, for your blog to become a full-time gig, you’ll need paying customers—ideally, the same people who read your blog.
To do this, you’ll need to find a way to not only stand out but deliver value.
One of James’s other strengths is Focus. While he’s certainly able to apply this to the actual building of his business, what’s interesting to me is how his customers value this Super Power.
His popular course, “The Remora Method,” helps people to increase their own focus on the immediate next step to build their freelancing or “side gig.” The course structures behavior around getting clients to focus. His direct, 1:1 interactions over email all focus on helping someone take that specific next action.
Especially for someone who realizes that they need focus, or want the step-by-step progress that focus generates, this Super Power provides great value that people are willing to pay for.
So what can you do?
Think about how your strength can be the vehicle for delivering a product or service that your customers will want. This will help you to lay the groundwork so your blog can ultimately support you as it does James.
Let your blog leap tall buildings in a single bound
Your strengths (aka Super Powers) are a valuable source of the basic building blocks to building a blog. Upon them, you can then layer the great tips and tactics out there (such as those on ProBlogger!).
This foundation includes:
- having the energy to pour into the blog, so you can…
- stand out in the way you develop content, so you can…
- deliver value to readers who become customers.
James shows how it can be done. And when you listen to the interview, you’ll get a peek into something even bigger he has in the works (as a result of the Super Power of Significance). I believe it is by understanding how his Super Powers enabled all the moving parts to work, that you can discover the deeper drivers of these tactics and, more importantly, better see your own, unique path to entrepreneurship.
TT Fong uses his strengths to help people discover and apply their “Super Powers” to do remarkable things with greater ease and less strain at SpikingStrengths.com. He uncovers how successful people build businesses, careers, and teams by spending time in their “spikes” — check out the cinematic trailer of the interview series.