The Boy Who Cried Blog (Based on a True Story About a NONtrepreneur Who Was Destined to Fail From the Very Start)
He’s a typical, twenty-something young man, born and raised in the middle of America, who, like most of his high school classmates, didn’t go to college because he knew what he wanted to do with his life, but rather because he had absolutely no idea what he wanted to do with it.
Like most of his classmates, Devin didn’t pursue a degree in anything super-specific, such as could have seen him become, say, a doctor, a robotics engineer, or a computer programmer; instead, he pursued a degree in something very vague: “Communications”. The way he saw it, why should he spend tens of thousands of dollars on an education in a field he wasn’t sure he’d enjoy when he could just do something simple like a degree in “Communications”, which he was quite sure could lend itself to many situations, or whatever it was that he’s decide later on to do with his life.
After wasting an entire year of his young life chasing after and spending money he didn’t have on a degree he really couldn’t have cared less about, all while working 30-plus hours a week, bussing tables at a local Chinese restaurant, just to earn enough money to buy a tank of gas every week and enough food to survive, Devin wasn’t enjoying school the lack of free time attending it entailed, and so he decided to “take a year off” from it to “find himself”.
Unfortunately, for Devin, all he “found” in his first year away from school was a life of indentured servitude at the same Chinese restaurant, bussing the same tables, now for closer to 40 hours a week. Additionally, because he’d decided that “finding himself” also entailed living independently—as in, not in dorms, student housing, or at his parents’ house—he’d taken out a one-year lease he really couldn’t afford on a tiny, one-bedroom apartment with no roommate, thereby putting himself in a position where he’d either need to get a second job or end up homeless in a matter of months.
TAKING THE ROAD MOST TRAVELED
With his back against the proverbial wall, Devin did what any red-blooded American in his position would do: He put countless job applications in at countless local businesses, hoping to score a second job—preferably an early morning shift, which would complement his evening hours at the Chinese restaurant—and eventually earned himself a very lucrative position as a cashier at his local grocery store chain, working another 25 hours a week for a piddly $9.00/hour.
Sure, the pay wasn’t that great, Devin would think to himself, but at least he had a job (or two!), unlike most Americans, according to the news report he saw every night when he watched CNN. And besides, he’d assure himself, there was a hidden benefit in working such shitty jobs with such low levels of responsibility, which was that he could dedicate what little free time he had to rekindling the “career” in music he had started for himself back in high school as a member of a local band with a few of his buddies.
Unfortunately, as Devin would come to find out, most of his old, musical buddies, who he’d once had jam sessions with in his parents’ garage and done a “tour” of local coffee shops and bars with in the summer following his senior year, weren’t doing much better than most of the Americans talked about incessantly on the CNN nightly news and were hardly in a position to “get the band back together”, as he’d say.
His friend Joe, for example, who had once been the lead singer in his band and had quite a way with the ladies, was now a “crew chief” at McDonald’s who still lived with his parents and spent almost all of his free time smoking pot, eating pizza, and playing Call of Duty online. Similarly, his friend Marcus, who had been his band’s drummer and arguably the most talented musician in the group, had continued to drum for other bands in and around the local area after Devin had started college—a situation which led, ultimately, not to a successful music career or a major record label deal, but to an addiction to the alcohol that flowed quite freely at all of Marcus’s musical gigs.
“DESTINED” TO BE DIFFERENT
Undeterred by this unfortunate turn of events, emboldened by his belief that he could “make it in the music business”, regardless of whether his friends could do the same, and convinced that he was talented enough to “make it” on his own, he set out to start writing some songs of his own, despite having never been much of a lyricist, not to mention a very average singer whose talents lied mostly in the field of guitar-playing.
After crafting a couple of what he thought were “really good” songs, Devin hit up the local “open mic” circuit, only to find that the only people who ever came to his “shows” (which he, by the way, had promoted ad nauseam on Facebook and Twitter for weeks, each and every time he’d “book” a new “gig”, much to the mockery of his “friends”, who never paid them any attention) were the “regulars”— as in, the everyday drunks and alcoholics who showed up at the same bars at the same time every day to drink far more beers than any productive member of society should and to flirt, quite hopelessly, with the young, twenty-something bartenders in low-cut tops and push-up bras that were oh-so-eager to keep pouring drinks, just as long as the “regulars” continued to drop 25-50% tips on them.
After performing at several of these “shows” on his rare nights off from the Chinese restaurant with little to no fanfare, posting video of the same to YouTube, to the tune of only maybe 10 to 15 views per video (even after half a year of their being online), and finding that his rekindled “career” just wasn’t working out, Devin began to experience depression-like symptoms as he slowly came to the realization that maybe, just maybe, he’d never “make it” and would instead be relegated to spending the rest of his life slaving away at a cash register or cleaning up after other people.
But then, one day, seemingly from out of nowhere, Devin received what he considered to be “a sign”—possibly from God himself! —in the form of a Facebook post by one his “friends” about starting a blog and running it like a business, whereby one could make money by simply writing about what they know and then “monetizing” their writing (or what is known as “content” in blogger slang) by placing advertising all over their blogs.
What a great idea! Devin thought to himself. And so much easier than making music, not to mention a hell of a lot more fun than bagging groceries or bussing tables! And who knows, he thought, maybe if he did well at it, it could even become a full-time job and maybe even make him rich, like some other well-known bloggers who’d seemingly made a living out of simply sharing their opinions with people online!
To be sure, Devin thought to himself, he was at least as good a writer as most of the bloggers whose “content” he’d seen online and, realistically, he figured he had to be at least ten times more interesting, especially given his super-unique backstory—his having survived his post-high-school-struggles, en route to “finding himself” (which he now, for a fact, knew he’d done), despite his being handicapped or set up for failure from the start by his formative years having been spent in a middle class household, complete with a nurturing mother and a father who’d actually found time to spend with him when he hadn’t been working, which, now that he thought about, he now realized had been far more of a detriment to him than a benefit!
AN A-HA MOMENT, IF EVER THERE WAS ONE
Yes! Devin thought to himself, That’s it! I’ll blog about how hard it was for me growing up in a middle-class family and about how doing so has set me up to fail as an adult, due to it having been way too easy! But—and here’s the kicker, he thought, rather gleefully—despite all of this, I still “made it out alive” or “survived”, to the point where I can now use all of what I’ve learned from my hardship to not only help myself, but to help others as well, who have maybe grown up under the same extremely unfortunate circumstances!
Yes, yes, Devin thought, he was onto something, for sure, as there was no way that people couldn’t relate to him and his problems, and with just a few weeks of blogging, he was sure that he would not only develop a devoted following that would make Gary Vaynerchuk blush, but also a never-ending stream of passive income from the ads he would run on his blog. It was pure genius! And it could easily be his way out of his current lifestyle and pave the way for him to become the multi-millionaire he’d always known he was destined to be!
With that, and with a zeal for living he’d never before experienced, Devin set out to create a blog with WordPress—the free version, not the one that would require him to pay for his own domain name, because, the way he saw it, paying for such a thing would have little to no bearing on his readership or his ad revenue and would thus be a waste of money.
Within days, he had written his first blog, entitled “The Hardship of Devin (And What You Can Learn From It)”, which was an introduction of sorts to him, as well as a word of advice to others with regards to the need to work harder in one’s younger years, rather than “taking it easy” during high school and allowing one’s self to be “babied by Mom and Dad”, for the sake of ensuring that one doesn’t become “too soft” and therefore incapable of “making it” on his or her own later in life.
As soon as Devin hit the “publish” button on his blog post, he knew he had a hit on his hands, and he expected readers to come pouring in to it from all corners of the Internet; readers who would then be amazed and leave comments such as “Wow, Devin! This post is so insightful and spot-on!” and “Wow! This post has changed my life so much, Devin! Thank you so much for sharing!” and then click his ads so he could make a little money for his troubles.
But then a “funny thing” happened: After a day or two of the post being live, and despite Devin having, as he’d put it, “promoted the shit out of it on social media” for almost 48 hours non-stop (including during all his 15-minute breaks at work) and having made all his “friends” and family aware that he was a blogger now, it had only been viewed five times. Not only that, but at least two or three of those views had undoubtedly come from Devin himself.
Immediately, Devin became angry. What the hell is wrong with these stupid people? he thought. Don’t they recognize genius when they see it? And don’t they realize that I’m trying to help them?
Devin began to wonder, as he paced around like a caged lion inside his 12′ x 12′ bedroom, Is it even worth it for me to write this shit when nobody even reads it? I mean, I put so much work into this blog—into getting it set up with all the Google ads and everything and then putting up my first post—and this is bullshit! If no one wants to hear what I have to say, then forget them and forget this stupid blog!
GIVING UP AND GOING HOME…OR MAYBE NOT
And with that, Devin swore to himself that he’d never blog again. And then he made sure that everyone on his social media knee he’d never blog again as well, by way of him stating, in no uncertain terms that he was “done with this blogging thing already. complete waste of time. nobody cares about blogs.”
Of course, Devin didn’t delete his blog or his social media accounts, however, as he figured he could use them again for some other purpose at some point in the future.
But then, another “funny thing” happened a week later: Devin, who had only days earlier completely disavowed all things blog-related for the entire world (or at least his own little world, complete with “friends” he hadn’t seen since high school and family members that only saw him every once in a while), got, as he put it in a pair of new tweets and Facebook posts, “bitten by the blogger bug” again, and he was going to a new blog—a bigger, better blog, and this time it would be about something he knew everyone would love and which he knew quite a bit about: Music!
Immediately, Devin set out to create his new musically-themed blog, but unlike the last time he’d worked with WordPress, he decided to “splurge a little” and register an actual domain name for himself, DevinsMusicZone.com, as he was serious about running a blog as a legitimate business this time around and felt that a domain name of his own would lend a lot more credibility to the writing he’d be doing.
Within a week or so, Devin’s brand new music blog was finished, complete with a flashy logo on top, a contact page, social media share buttons, and banner ads all over the whole thing, not to mention a brand new blog post entitled “Taking It From Garage to Gig (An Indie Musician’s Guide to Booking More Shows)”, wherein Devin shared some of what he considered to be his “sage wisdom” with regards to talking bars and coffee houses into letting “garage bands” do some live gigs locally for starters, en route to booking bigger and better paid gigs at some point down the road.
A TURN FOR THE “BETTER”?
Much to his delight, Devin found that this blog post performed much better than the first blog he’d written, although it topped out at only 25 views after its first week online. Not to be discouraged, Devin followed up with a second blog post, which, like the first, he promoted heavily on all of his social media, and when he checked his Google AdSense accounts few days later to see how his blog was doing financially, he was thrilled to see that he had earned $0.01!
Finally, Devin thought, he was on his way, and he was finally “on the board” with some actual income—not much, mind you, but at least a little something—to show for the hard work he’d put into designing this new, and he thought, brilliant, blog concept!
He was just about to start work on a third blog post when his phone rang. It was his boss at the grocery store. Apparently, they’d had one of their long-time, full-time employees quit and so there was an immediate full-time opportunity that needed to be filled, and the boss wanted Devin to fill it, as he told Devin that he’s been doing such a great job and was deserving up both this promotion and the $1.00/hour wage increase it would entail. All the boss wanted to know was, Would you like the job, Devin?
With no hesitation, Devin said he would, because a full-time job at the grocery store would allow him to quit his other job at the Chinese restaurant and free up more of his time for him to focus on his new blog, which he was still quite sure would go on to become massively successful and eventually replace the grocery store gig as his full-time job.
A few days went by, followed by a few months, with Devin working 40-plus hours a week at the grocery store, and although he thought about his blog nearly every day, even scribbling down ideas for new blog posts during his lunch breaks and even writing up several hundred words of what he imagined could be his next post in emails to himself in his spare time, he just couldn’t find the time he’d used to for sitting down at his laptop and actually publishing anything.
NEVER ENOUGH TIME
Indeed, even though Devin was now technically working less with the one job than he’d been with the two jobs only months earlier, he found himself so tired and worn-out from having been on his feet for 8 to 10 hours a day that, by the time he’d get home every day from work, all he could think about, let alone do, was kick off his shoes, eat a little dinner, watch a little TV, and then fall asleep, only to wake up and do it all again the next day. After several more months of this behavior, Devin began to seriously doubt that he’s ever find the energy or the time to blog again.
But then, as seemed to be a recurring theme in Devin’s life, a “funny thing” happened again, and this time it happened in the form of Devin becoming aware of a website called Fiverr.com, whereby people like him could pay people from all over the world to do odd jobs for him, like design him a new logo, do a voiceover for a podcast intro, or even—and when Devin saw this, it hit him like a ton of beautiful bricks—write blog posts for him!
This right here! Devin thought. This is it! The solution to my problem! Since I don’t have the time or energy to blog myself, but quite a bit more money now that I’m full-time at work, I’ll just pay someone else to write for me, at least until I can get back into the swing of things and start writing myself again.
With that, Devin began shelling out $10 a post to a man on Fiverr.com who would, much to Devin’s delight, churn out music-related blog post after music-related blog post, almost as if he were doing so in his sleep. And while Devin still couldn’t find time over the next couple weeks contribute any writing of his own to his blog, he did manage to find the time to tweet and post on Facebook about the new posts his Fiverr man had produced for him. Also to Devin’s delight, Devin got an unexpected yet very pleasant surprise in the form of his blog’s ad revenue tripling after only a month or two of this new system!
A BROKEN BUSINESS MODEL
There was just one problem, though, and although it didn’t seem so serious in the short-term, Devin could see it becoming a big problem if something didn’t change shortly: Devin was spending upwards of $50-80/month on having his Fiverr man write posts for him, while the ad revenue he was generating monthly amounted to, on average, less than $5.00.
Simply put, Devin’s business model wasn’t sustainable, and he knew it. Not content to sit idly by and watch as his “hard-earned” grocery store money was essentially flushed down the toilet, Devin knew he had to do something, and so instead of making the decision to start writing his own blog posts again, now that his blog was off to a great (albeit it very expensive) start and he could easily build on that momentum, he decided to negotiate with his Fiverr man; to try to get him to come down on his per-post price. And by “negotiate”, Devin meant “get him down to about $1.00 per post, or $2.00 at the most.”
Unfortunately, the Fiverr man wasn’t willing to negotiate, and so Devin had a choice to make: He could either continue to pay exorbitant amounts to the Fiverr man for his work—amounts he would probably never recoup—or he could do something he really didn’t feel that he was prepared to do and start blogging again himself.
Ultimately, Devin did neither. Instead, he went with his unconscious Plan C, which involved simply going back to his full-time job, committing himself fully to cashiering (at least for the time being), and working towards being promoted to Manager, which was a gig he assumed would earn him some real money, unlike his fledgling blog, all the while—and here was the silver lining for him—clinging to the idea, to the hope, to the dream that someday, when the time would be right and the stars would be aligned in his favor, he would be able to blog again and do it full-time, like he’d originally intended to.
“SOMEDAY” NEVER COMES
But then, “someday” never came for Devin, just as it never comes for anyone who is willing to put off their hopes and dreams until later, and eventually Devin’s dreams of running a blog as a legitimate business fell to the wayside and became nothing more than a memory of “what could have been”—something like that guy or girl you could have dated in high school and who could have become your husband or wife, but never did, because you never had the courage to even ask them out.
Of course, this didn’t stop Devin from thinking about blogging. As a matter of fact, the more he worked at the grocery store, the more he longed for “the good old days” of his youth, when he could find time to write songs and blog posts between his shifts or late at night when he still had some energy left after bussing tables all evening. And so, one day—after a particularly long, grueling day spent unpacking boxes and restocking shelves during some overtime at the grocery store—Devin decided to give blogging one last shot. And if this didn’t work out for him this time, he thought, then he’d give up on his blogger dreams forever and never mention it again.
As soon as he got home from work, Devin announced on his social media that he was sorry for having not posted any new content on his blog for so long, but promised that, from now on, he was going to commit himself fully to fulfilling his dreams of being a full-time blogger, an inspiration to others, and the American Dream personified. And apparently his announcement worked—that is, it got him his desired result—as several of his Facebook “friends” “liked” it, and one even “loved” it.
The next day, in an energetic flurry, the likes of which Devin hadn’t witnessed in himself since the summer after his senior year of high school, Devin pumped out a 1600-word blog post—arguably the greatest blog post he’d ever written, and the most passionate to boot—about the importance of never giving up on one’s dreams, no matter how much “real life” (such as a tedious day job) gets in the way. At the end of the post, Devin signed off by stating that he hoped the post would inspire his readers and encourage them to do as he was doing with the post itself, which was committing themselves fully—and finally—to the realization of their greatest hopes and their biggest dreams, regardless of what life throws at them.
ISN’T IT IRONIC?
Ironically, the very next day, life threw a promotion to Manager at Devin and he jumped at the opportunity, despite it translating to only a couple thousand dollars more a year than he’d already been making and requiring him to work upwards of 60 hours a week, thereby eliminating any real chance of him ever getting back into blogging as a legitimate business. And with that, Devin became, unofficially and to each and every one of his “friends” and family members, The Boy Who Cried Blog.
After Devin’s three failed attempts at starting a blog, and in light of all of his promotional tweets and Facebook posts in support of them and which came across increasingly as more of an annoyance to his “friends” and family than anything, no one took Devin seriously anymore, not as a blogger, not as a grocery store employee, and not even as a man in general.
Despite his “success” in being promoted at work, and quite unbeknownst to Devin at the time (due in no small part to his general obliviousness to the world around him), Devin had become a joke to his everyone that knew him. He had made mockery or a fool of himself in the eyes of the people closest to him by parading himself around and presenting himself as some kind of an inspiration to others through his failed blog attempts, when, in reality (and as anyone with half a brain could clearly see), he was the complete opposite and a perfect example of the type of loser that permeates modern American society: Men and women who talk incessantly about what they’re going to do or what they’re capable of, yet, when the times get tough (or when they simply get bored and move on from one flight of fancy to the next, like a moth moving from a dimmer light bulb to the next, slightly brighter one), take no action and thus get no results.
TALK IS CHEAP
The world is filled with losers like this; like Devin: 22-year-old life coaches with zero life experience who think they’re the next Anthony Robbins. Self-titled CEO’s of straight-out-of-college start-up “companies” that consist of little more than one or two kids tweeting out motivational catchphrases and clichés that no one reads. Hobby bloggers who flirt day in and day out with the idea of turning their hobby into an actual, thriving, and profitable business, yet are too cowardly to commit any real time, energy, money, or resources to making their so-called “dream job” a reality.
These people are the personification of the phrase “talk is cheap”, and the moral of this story (Devin’s story—nay, most Americans’ stories) is that if you are really serious about working your “dream job” or creating what I like to call a life worth dying for, then at some point—hopefully sooner, rather than later—you need to shut the hell up, stop talking and tweeting about it, and actually do something about it.
People like Devin are not the people who “make it” in in their world; not in the world of music, the world of blogging, or the world in general. The people who “make it” are those who, if they can’t find the circumstances they want, as the late, great British playwright George Bernard Shaw once put it so brilliantly, make the circumstances they want, not by talking about making them, but by actually making them, via the setting of clear goals for themselves and the taking of inspired and consistent action in the direction of their dreams. In other words, the people who “make it” don’t just chase their dreams, they catch them, and they do it with their hands and feet, not their tongues.
In conclusion, I hope this story has inspired you in a way that people like Devin have never been inspired, to do not as people like Devin do, but to do as truly successful do; to say what you mean and mean what you say; to be a man or woman of your word, and to never make promises you can’t keep or run around telling the whole world what you intend to do, when you should simply be doing it instead.
REMARKS DON’T MATTER. RESULTS DO.
Now get out there and get some results….or don’t. #DontBeDevin
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