The Embarrassing Evolution of Rich20Something Since 2007

This week we’ve been talking a LOT about the reasons why people have trouble starting projects, and how success usually takes years of silent hustle in the background before getting a “break.”

Dude — the tribe had a LOT to say.

Between Monday’s post about how long it actually takes to become successful, and Wednesday’s video discussion about why people don’t take action, the tribe has exchanged ALMOST 150 COMMENTS.

Sheesh.

One of the central points that we kept coming back to was the idea of “just starting.”

Just getting out there and DOING the freaking thing. So today, I wanted to show you where I began the journey that eventually became Rich20Something.

This blog gets tens of thousands of readers every month — but it’s really the first “successful” publication I’ve built online.

Before it was a long line of little-known failures that fortunately, are still floating around for you to view.

I want you to SEE where I started.

I want you to notice that it took me YEARS to find my voice, figure out what I wanted to write about, and generate enough consistency to actually grow a following.

Hopefully some of the more embarrassing moments will show you that it’s not an overnight process, I have no “Secret Sauce” and building a large audience is not an accident, but a deliberate effort over an extended period of time.

Ok.

Time to hop into my time machine.

First stop is 2007….

January 17th – February 4th 2007: Dan’s Contest Prep Journal

This was my first foray into online publishing, and it revolved around what I was obsessed with at the time — natural bodybuilding. The adventure lasted less than a month.

Lots of narcissism, not much engaging content and plenty of rambling.

It was essentially just a personal journal. Interesting post titles include “I feel like BLAH” and “Bringin’ Sexy Back”

……

…yeah…..

Number of subscribers: 0

What I learned: Writing is tiring. I wrote 12 posts in 2 months (11 of those were in the first month), then gave up.

 

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 Yes, this blog is still alive and well. Click here to go read it. But why would you want to?

January 31st – May 22nd 2008: Dan’s European Escapades

2008 found me moving past my semi-nude soft porn phase and into my pseudo-philosopher phase as I documented some of my travels in Europe while studying abroad.

I actually like this blog a lot because it helped to to capture many of the small details of very meaningful experiences that I know I would have forgotten if I hadn’t documented them.

The content is more focused, but I’d been doing so many essays in college at that point that it often reads like a term paper — which I think many beginning writers confuse with good writing.

The goal is to write something that the reader can emotionally connect with — not something that’s littered with as many graduate-level words as possible just to prove how smart you are.

Still, noticeable improvement.

Number of subscribers: 1 (my mom, just to check up on me in Europe and make sure I wasn’t doing drugs.)

What I learned: The value of consistency (the blog went for almost 5 months)

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Yeah yeah, it’s still around. Read it here.

October 4th 2009 – September 1st 2010: DanielDiPiazza.com

Ah, now I was beginning to understand the value of a personal brand.

I’d moved off the Blogger.com platform and on to my own self-hosted WordPress account (which I had no idea how to install or operate…I begged my friend Mark to set it up for me. He’s awesome for doing it.)

I didn’t post every week, but it did have content that spanned ALMOST a year. So at least I didn’t completely abandon it.

The blog mostly follows my acting career as I moved from Tampa to Atlanta. Some cool little insights. I know my grandma liked the pictures.

Also, around that time I was on some weird “The Secret” shit…so I had a lot of affirmational-ish things, including an Academy Award acceptance speech that I wrote for myself.

Oooook. Yeah. Moving on.

Number of subscribers: 0 (because there was nowhere for them to sign up)

What I learned: It’s good to put my FACE on the things I talk about. That’s how you build a brand.

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Thankfully, this URL now redirects to Rich20Something. But you can view the old site in all its glory here.

August 2012: Rich20Something (The Scammy Dark Ages)

By this time, I’d figured out I wanted to start talking about some of the work I’d been doing online — and had the bright idea to package it into an “information product.”

I had no idea what that meant at the time, but I heard people talking about those a lot…so I wanted to follow suit.

The problem was I had no idea how to write things of actual value — so I thought if  just put up some early 2000’s looking landing page, I could collect email subscribers and make BILLIONS.

Or even…MILLIONS.

Apparently that’s like…not the right way to do things.

I learned, took a HUGE step back and started from scratch and actually started being helpful to people. From there, the sky was the limit.

Number of subscribers: I dunno….like 50 for the first 6 months until I started actually writing valuable stuff.

What I learned: Help people on a consistent basis.

This is the actual video I had on the home page. If anybody is still reading who signed up back then, bless you.

I call this “The World’s Shadiest Intro Video.” Watch at your own risk.

So there you have it.

I enjoy making fun of myself, but there’s also a purpose to this post — just like we’ve been discussing in recent articles…it takes TIME to find your voice, generate consistency and build a following.

It takes YEARS sometimes.

In the case of Rich20, I’ve been learning how to put myself out there and build a following for almost 8 years — and my message has gone through countless iterations.

That’ s why, more than ever, you just need to start now.

Start with what you have. Tweak as you go along.

Realize that what you’re working with now will NOT be the final product.

You may completely change everything. But it’s time in the game that counts.

*******

Want weekly insights on building a business you care about and living a happier life? Just join the tribe. (It’s free).

 

30 comments
Ash
Ash

Hey Daniel.. Read your post above and was wondering if you are still in Atlanta?

Ash
Ash

Hy Daniel.. read your story and was wondering if you are still in the Atlanta area...

Justin Tan
Justin Tan

Haha this is fantastic! Although your journey is definitely an eventful one, I really liked how you put what lesson you learned into it. When I wrote for Under30 for a while, it took me so much longer than I thought it would to crank out a quality article (only one a month!!!). Yet it's obvious that through consistently writing over the years, you've definitely found your voice, and I'm sure everybody is glad for it! 

BrittanyLA
BrittanyLA

Hahaha! I'm so glad I read this, I was laughing out loud by myself because I know exactly how you feel.  I'm at the point where I'm ready to direct people to my website and I've been going through some of the content on there that we wrote months and months ago.  So horrifying.  At the time it sounded great but now looking back I'm like, "Oh god I really hope no one has been on here recently." -__-  Also, I promised you that eBook link.  It's a free download and only 25 pages.  Would love to see what you think of it :)

http://planitgood.com/ebook.php

Zach Grove
Zach Grove

Hahaha, thank you for sharing this. I like your Billy Mays swag in the world's shadiest intro vid.

preneurpremier
preneurpremier

comes back to nike''just...'' always goes back to it..People wont always get what your vision is,and will always try to prove that they told you so.Execution done well is what you have proven,and you Daniel can always say, ''but I told you''

Just do it tribe, dnt matter how crappy it may seem,always use whatever resource you have.,

Terra_Stardust
Terra_Stardust

Thank you for this.  Seeing others start points helps so very much!!!!

Allison S
Allison S

Great reminder that we are constantly evolving. And kudos to you for not being too afraid to share your digital graveyard. I was  thinking about mine just yesterday and how I need to start taking some of my old blogs down. Glad to know we all have those hanging out there!

practicalcivilization
practicalcivilization

Daniel, awesome courage to put this stuff out! This is an awesome reminder on just doing the damn thing and tweaking as we go along. The end product ends up being much more refined and better than what we started with. But part of the process is figuring out what the hell to write about/inspire/help people. 


On my to-do list today is to go through and edit my site, deleting article that are no longer relevant with my message. 

Ismael Cortez
Ismael Cortez

dude...ur shady video is actually pretty good...now i want to see those 3 classes...send us the email with them?

David J. Bradley
David J. Bradley

Love the authenticity of this post almost as much as C.R.A.P. 

;) 

RobertJCollier
RobertJCollier

Love "The World's Shadiest Intro Video" ("ok..."). The Myth Monster, Sexy 6 ("boom!"), and C.R.A.P are awesome.

This what I call "Infomercial gangsta" :)

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Ash Hey Ash! I'm in California now. Where are you? :)

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@BrittanyLA Love it. Just signed up. Ok, here's a question: What type of platform are you hosting your site on? It's not WP, is it?

BrittanyLA
BrittanyLA

Nope, we are using Digital Ocean. We used Bluehost at first but had to switch because they don't support the most recent version of MySQL which we need for some stuff we will have on the site eventually. I'm actually making edits to the eBook right now but the one you downloaded is the general message, just refining it a bit right now. I will probably end up having 500 versions when it's all said and done ;) haha.

Terra_Stardust
Terra_Stardust

@Rich20Something @Terra_Stardust I  don't know if I would call it magic......... ;-)


Where did you get those product ideas from, for serious?  That is a stumbling block for me is building a product.  Producing blog content is even of an exercise for me!