Are You Crying About Others’ Success?

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I recently read an article that really got me thinking about how often I hear people grumbling and murmuring about the success or the luck of others who are making it big.

This article is a public response to Keith Bloemendaal’s article entitled Are You Being A Cry Baby?

Just because it’s written to Keith, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention. In fact, I want you to not only read it but take the time to leave us your take on the matter. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree. We want to hear from you.

You’re not a sellout simply because you make money.

People act like your selling out if you make any attempts to profit from your ventures online. Would you tell a plumber that he’s a sellout if he tries to charge you for working on your sink? He would slap you in the face and remind you that as wonderful as it sounds to give away his services for free he still has to feed a wife and daughter at home.

Making money online is not unethical if it’s done in a way that is ethical. If you can make money from selling a valuable product that you create, from advertising with Adsense, buysellads or any other advertising platform, or by selling affiliate products and making commissions then you are not a sellout. You are a business person.

Why do we demand online what we would never demand in the real world?

Who are we to demand that people immediately respond to our comments on their blog or even respond to them at all? I’ve come home from training exercises as a member of the United States Army and found comments that essentially criticize me for not responding to them sooner. I had been away from the internet entirely because I was serving my country and these people had the gall to criticize me. It was ridiculous.

We need to stop whining about others successes and simply develop the skill of learning from them. In the Army, I’m often placed under leaders who may have character traits that I don’t like. I don’t, however, have the luxury of bashing them or publicly stating how much I dislike their style. Even if I had that right, I wouldn’t use it. It’s distasteful.

Rather I learn from them and determine that as I grow, develop as a soldier, and get promoted I will be a better leader. I will learn from the character strengths as well as from the flaws and I will determine to do better.

Learn from others. Don’t gossip about them.

You’ll not hear me bashing the ‘A’ listers. I hope someday to be among their ranks. I won’t be doing things the exact way that they do them. As I’ve made clear, I’ll learn from the things that I don’t like about them and determine to do them differently, but I won’t let the few things I dislike about them deter me from learning the many great things that I can absorb.

I don’t know about you, but I’m headed to the top. I hope that you’ll come with me. I’d love to see you up there and although I’ll do my best to answer your comments on my blog when I get there, I may not get to every single one of them.

Call me a sell out if you will, but I’m going to keep learning and growing.

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42 Vibrant Comments

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  1. March 23, 2010

    FlashyKiwi said:

    Hi Nick,
    I totally agree. I also can’t stand seeing people being bashed for making money online. Good on them. It’s the way the world is moving. The world is moving online, so business has to move online too.


    • March 23, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      I agree. And a large number of the people doing the bashing are probably people who are searching in Google for “Ways to make money online.” I agree that we shouldn’t be making money in ways that would be considered unethical, but if someone is doing things right and making it big as a result then why are we so bothered by it?
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  2. March 23, 2010

    Dave Doolin said:

    Nick, I seem to site down for my few minutes per day on twitter just about when you publish these into your twitter stream…

    There’s no doubt you’re going to the top of whatever game you’re in. I’m planning on it myself. You may get there before I do. But that’s ok, because at the top, there’s plenty of room. It’s getting through the pack that’s hard.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Why the Apple iPad Will Make Me More Productive =-.

    • March 23, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      You’re exactly right about that. I want to go to the top and I know that I’ll see you and many others up there with me. There’s plenty of room for each of us to create online business models that work for us and to drive on to great success each in our own way.

      I look forward to reaching that summit and seeing you there. Of course, when we get there, we’ll have to find new mountains so that we never stop climbing!
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  3. March 23, 2010

    Nathan Hangen said:

    I’m with you man…it drives me nuts.

    The only thing that bothers me, and it’s only happened with 1-2 bloggers, is when you think you’re in one place with them and then they let you down.

    I’ve had to guard my feelings of friendship closely as a result.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Other Side of a Virus =-.

    • March 23, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      I guess that I’m not entirely sure what you mean. I guess I haven’t really experienced the being in one place with a blogger and then being let down. If they say something to you and then do the opposite then they are being unethical but that has nothing to do with simply being jealous because others are successful. I guess I would have to have a clearer idea of what you’re talking about to fully understand what you mean.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

      • March 23, 2010

        Nathan Hangen said:

        Well, here’s an example…

        Blogger A made a few promises to me, and when he got “big,” he forgot said promises and never looked back down to guys that hadn’t made it yet. Case of forgetting where you come from and always looking up.

        So, while I’m not jealous of success, I am frustrated that some successful people act in a certain way…which could be perceived as jealousy.
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Other Side of a Virus =-.

        • March 23, 2010

          Kevin Muldoon said:

          I’m a little curious as to what kind of promise someone would give and then not give back once they have become successful.

          Can you expand on this?
          .-= My Latest Blog Post: Will Canonical Plugins be a Success? =-.

          • March 23, 2010

            Nicholas Cardot said:

            Too be honest, I was just wondering the same thing.
            .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

          • March 24, 2010

            Nathan Hangen said:

            It’s a private matter, so I won’t say exactly, but I’ll use an example…

            Let’s say maybe they promised something as simple as an interview, or something as complex as a JV.

            Hell, maybe it’s coffee every week.

            Or let’s say that my next project went big and I left Mike CJ hanging dry on the Beyond Blogging Project. ..being too big for that now.

            That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about…make sense?
            .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Other Side of a Virus =-.

        • March 24, 2010

          Kevin Muldoon said:

          Not sure what promise he went back on, but I get what you’re saying.

          Though I don’t think that this kind of thing is done out of badness. The more successful your blog or website becomes, the busier you will likely be.

          I’ve been asked to do interviews in the past and have agreed but when the person came back a few weeks or months later with the questions I was swamped and had to apologise and say that I didn’t have the time to do it.

          It’s a simple matter of priorities, and I’d busy I’m going to work on my own site before I do interviews or guest posts elsewhere.

          One thing I will say about interviews though is that there are far too many newbies trying to get interviews with larger blogs and bloggers, yet their own site is starved with content.

          I’ll give you an example. Last year I got a request from a blogger for an interview. He boasted several interviews with well known bloggers. However, it wasn’t an interview site – it was one of the make money online sites.

          But the guy was just obviously lazy. He had designed a list of a dozen or so questions for everyone. The questions were generalised and not personalised in any way. Now I don’t have a major issue with this per say. It was more to do with the fact that the guy wasn’t even updating his own site. The last several articles on his blog were weeks apart and all of them were interviews. The guy didn’t spend more than a few hours a month on his site yet he expected me to spend 2 hours answering some questions. No thanks.
          .-= My Latest Blog Post: 50 Great Portfolio Themes for WordPress =-.

  4. March 23, 2010

    Tom | Build That List said:

    Really good point Nick! The internet has made especially our generation even more of a ‘need it now’ generation.

    If it deserves a reply the person who needs to reply will do so when they get a chance. But the majority of comments and correspondence do not actually require a response.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Flipped: The Complete Guide To Flipping Blogs For Profit (Review) =-.

    • March 23, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      The best part about the whole conversation that was taking place in the comments section of Keith’s blog was that one person keeps talking about a social media expert who preaches accessibility and then refuses to respond to blog comments on his site. Whether the person in the comments sections was thinking about Chris Brogan or not, I know that many people do get after him about it.

      How do we get off telling a New York Time’s Bestselling author that he should respond for free to everything that thousands of people correspond with him about. Do we not think that he is busy? He shares how busy he is all the time.

      Or maybe he and others like him should just give up eating, sleeping and spending time with their families so that they can cater to you and I on our timetable.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  5. March 23, 2010

    Suzanne Vara said:

    Best part of this blog:
    It’s distasteful.

    Rather I learn from them and determine that as I grow, develop as a soldier, and get promoted I will be a better leader. I will learn from the character strengths as well as from the flaws and I will determine to do better.

    Having never been a soldier but being a part of a team in various stages of life … reality is that yeah there are people we do not like, many in authority, but really instead of being distasteful or going at people is really letting them know that we believe we could do it better. Ok so then do it better – channel the energy there instead of going and trying to make them change or telling why they should and make c change in a positive way.

    this is not to say that you should not disagree but support your position in a manner that is not going at someone for the simple reason that they have achieved more.

    I say read Keith, he is a good guy!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 10 Tips for Building an Online Community =-.

    • March 23, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      You’re exactly right. And for that matter, if someone is messed up do you criticize them behind them back or do you speak to them alone and face-to-face about it? Wouldn’t you go to the person and then if they refuse to change then you leave it alone and go your own way.

      And you’re right about disagreeing. It’s alright to disagree, but you shouldn’t disagree simply for the fact that they are making it big.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  6. March 23, 2010

    BIZZNURSE said:

    Hi Nick..
    I often face the same thing. Well, I have my own aim when I started blogging.. that is learning to make money. You know, some people ( the real-blogger-for-life) just think that monetizing are just for those who crave for money. I sometime got irritated with this type of people. However, as time goes by, I started to make friends with hundred of blogger that agree making money blogging is just part us. Never mind what others would say.. Thanks for the share Nick!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: I think I should blog about this! =-.

    • March 23, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      You’re right. Many people want to make money online. If that weren’t the case then why do we all have Google Adsense accounts?

      Many people start blogging fueled with a desire to make extra money from this new and exciting source of income. And yet, as soon as we dig in and begin to learn how difficult it can be, we often find ourselves looking on with contempt at those who are successful at it.

      There is nothing wrong with trying to make income from online ventures…unless of course you are scamming people. But you are not a sellout for promoting affiliate products, for allowing advertising on your site or for getting paid to write.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  7. March 23, 2010

    Tracey Rissik said:

    Hi Nick,

    Some great insights, thanks as always.

    I wish many more people would learn how distasteful their attitudes & actions can be – I think we’d be in a better place 🙂

    I had someone sign up to a free mini-course I offer on one of my sites – then he started spamming my comments. I asked him to stop, so he unsubscribed (no great loss, I assure you 🙂 … what I wondered was, how he thought such behaviour was acceptable!

    Keep on doing what you’re doing – it’s inspiring for many of us who take responsibility for our own lives & our own successes!

    Kind regards

    • March 23, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Your response is refreshing and it’s very much appreciated. Don’t ever get discouraged about that fact that we may not be making as much money as the ‘big’ names. Be patient. Determine to work smarter and harder and just keep moving forward.

      Our attitudes can be a tremendous revelation of our character.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  8. March 23, 2010

    Dennis Edell said:

    As I commented on Keith’s, I’ll be doing my own article also… although, more of a rebuttal. 😉

    I’ll be sure to add this link in as well. 🙂
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Would You Like a FREE Banner Ad Position? =-.

    • March 23, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      I hope that you know me well enough to understand that I welcome and embrace apposing opinions. You are welcome to disagree with me in fact I would love to hear from you and discuss it with you. Don’t ever be afraid to disagree with my take on the topic at hand.

      I respect you enough to hear you out as I can tell you respect the myself and the discussion at hand. I would love to hear your differing views. I think that they would probably shed some great perspective on the conversation.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  9. March 23, 2010

    Robb Sutton said:

    +1 on all counts!

    It is easier for some people to whine about why they are not successful and someone else is rather than actually do the work to get there.

    9 times out of 10…if someone is whining about another blogger’s success…it is out of jealousy and an awareness that they have not taken the action to do what it takes.

    Talk is cheap and action is the only way to make things happen.

    Did I say +1…lets make that +1000
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Destroying The Road Blocks To Success =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Robb Sutton » Thanks, Robb. I’m sure that you probably get some grief but you obviously have an excellent business model and to any but the jealous or misinformed, it’s pretty obvious that you go out of your way to be fairly personable and to reach out in your community.

      Do find that you face backlash from these complainers very much in your line of online work?

      • March 25, 2010

        Robb Sutton said:

        I ran into some issues with typical “internet superheros” that cared more about their post count on a forum than actually getting their bikes dirty in the beginning. That fizzled out once I stopped paying any attention to them. They are really attention whores when it boils down to it so acting like they don’t even exist makes them move onto the next guy.

        I did get some problems from bloggers and other outside influences with the release of Ramped Blogging because people assumed (without reading the ebook of course) that I was just in this for the free review product. That couldn’t be any farther from the truth and if they would actually read the book they would see it is about much more than that.

        But…there is one thing that rang true amongst all of the whiners. They were NOT DOING ANYTHING. It will always be easier to criticize than create. If you plan on being successful and sticking your head above the crowd, there will be those that want to shoot it off and see you fail. Luckily, there are far more that want to see you succeed.

        There was my soapbox rant for the day!
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: How to Find More Time to Blog =-.

  10. March 23, 2010

    Aaron Mielke said:

    Seems like there’s been a rash of complaining about making money, twitter blocking, and bad commenting lately in the “blogoshpere.”

    I, for one, have absolutely ZERO problem with A-listers, and any blogger, making an income doing what they love. After all, isn’t that what every person aspires for – to make money doing what they love? Isn’t that what ultimate happiness is supposed to be about?

    I really get riled up reading these accounts of bloggers receiving this kind of criticism from the “free loaders” out there.

    Personally, I think those kind of people don’t deserve an ounce of your time, my time, and any bloggers time. If Chris decides to reply to one of them, then that’s his deal. But you won’t find me spending time in trying to convince the person who is so adamant to brig me down of buying my products and services.

    Sorry, my time’s worth much more than that.

    I’m working really hard on a new project, and I’ll meet you at the top my friend!

    Great post, Nicholas!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Hopslam: Part 2, “The Experience” =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Aaron Mielke » There really is a rash of it. In fact, some people are actively building their online presences around the fact that they bash others. That’s simply inappropriate in my mind. There are much better ways of educating our audiences.

  11. March 23, 2010

    Kevin Muldoon said:

    I think most people who work online do it for money, why wouldn’t they.

    If I couldn’t make money online from my websites I’d probably sell all of them except my personal blog.

    I’d personally ignore anyone who has a problem with someone making money from their online work. If they are moaning then they either don’t understand what’s involved or are just pissed off because they aren’t making good money on the web.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the A listers get a lot of criticism. ShoeMoney, John Chow etc in particular. But I seriously doubt they give the criticism a second thought.

    You’ve got the right attitude Nicholas. Keep doing your own thing and working hard at it and you will surely become more and more successful 🙂
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Will Canonical Plugins be a Success? =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Kevin Muldoon » I agree with you and there is nothing wrong with working online with the purpose of making income. I have nothing against the man that makes 5 times more than I make. In fact, that is an inspiration to me. I want to make more. I want them to make more. There is enough out there for all of us to enjoy. We just have to continue learning and working to improve our income potential.

      Thanks for the encouragement, Kevin. I really appreciate it.

  12. March 24, 2010

    Nathan Hangen said:

    I think a lot of people get jealous because they don’t see the hard work that went into getting where they are.

    Classic example is Chris B…who happens to have suddenly popped up on everyone’s radar as this “guru.”

    The thing is…he’s been working on this for a decade.

    Same with almost every other successful bloger…they’ve been working at it for a long time.

    The exception I think, and it’s kind of what I was referring to in my comments below, is that it’s not always what you know as much as it’s who you know. A lot of the jealousy comes from not getting invited to the dance. The key then is to just make your own dance.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Other Side of a Virus =-.

    • March 24, 2010

      Kevin Muldoon said:

      Yeah I agree. There are a lot of people who think that established bloggers got there by sheer luck or by picking up a winning ticket at the lottery.

      I haven’t come across anyone who has become successful through sheer luck. Sure, some people get lucky and find a profitable niche at the right time (which is how most affiliate marketers get started) though they still worked hard for it.

      Take SiteSketch101 for example. I used to own (recently sold it). When Nicholas launched this site he advertised on my site and was actively commentating and doing guest posts etc to make him self known.

      At that point the site only had a few hundred subscribers. But you could tell the blog was going to do well. Not just because Nicholas connected with readers and replied to comments etc, but because he was clearly putting a lot of energy into the site. Fast forward a year and this site has around 4,000 subscribers and is still growing every month.

      Nicholas is not alone though. There are lots of great bloggers who are just starting out today who could be established in their field within the next year or so.

      You don’t need to be a genius to do this. It all comes down to determination and hard work. That’s it. There is no secret method to make money online, and if there was, everyone would use it and the secret would no longer exist.

      Work your butt off, who cares if the trolls give you grief about getting too big for your boots 🙂
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: 50 Great Portfolio Themes for WordPress =-.

      • March 25, 2010

        Jordan Cooper said:

        Kevin, you’re spot on with the “they’re just so damn lucky” attitude.

        Sure, it may take *actual* luck to win the lottery, but outside of games of complete chance – there is really no luck involved whatsoever. It’s a combination of hard work, compelling talent and simply… positioning yourself to get opportunities.

        A lot of the “moaners” tend to understand the first two (although they may not know what it is themselves) but totally are befuddled with the third. They view this as pure luck – like success just fell in people’s laps. But that’s what positioning & networking is… getting in the middle of the cross fire and trying to latch on to a bullet that happens to come your way.

        It’s almost like the lottery, but much more calculated… yet the overriding factor is: you gotta be in it to win it!
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: How I Ripped Off David Risley For $70 =-.

  13. March 24, 2010

    Kevin M. said:

    I think that what it comes down to in a lot of ways is jealousy from those who are not “making” it. It is always easier to criticize those that are successful than trying to make the necessary changes to be successful yourself.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Do You Share God’s Heart? =-.

  14. March 24, 2010

    Jay (HelpfulAdvisor) said:

    Nick, once again, you’ve made some very good points. I think it takes maturity to be able to see other people’s successes as something good.

    When I was younger, I would be very jealous when someone got promoted, or made it big, and always had some kind of negative explanation as to how someone got where they are. Far be it from me to think they actually worked HARD to get where they were.

    As I’m much older now, I realize that it’s a fact of life that things may seem to always come easier to the person standing next to me. BUT, what I now see is encouraging proof that if that person can be successful, so can I.

    PLUS, if I am humble, and approach that person and ask them how they did what they did to become successful, 9 times out of 10, they are more than willing to share.

    My whole life, I have had positive experiences working with others, where I’ve modeled their steps to certain success, and in shorter time than making my own mistakes and learning from those, I’ve had my share of success as well.

    Bottom line: We can all help each other in some way to reach our own definition of success. Why step on each other to get there?

    Thanks Nick, once again, for a great article.

    P.S.- Sorry to have been a stranger. Have had a lot of things to take care of the past several weeks.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: HelpfulAdvisor | =-.

  15. March 25, 2010

    Srinivas Rao said:


    Great thought provoking post. It kind of blows my mind that people criticize the very people that are enabling them to learn. The thing is you give away so much for free when you’ve been running a blog as long as somebody like you has. Also, when you think about the importance that relationships with more established people will play in the growth of your blog, it makes no sense to bash them.

    You’re not forcing me to buy anything. If I want to buy something from you, I’ll buy it. If not, I won’t. So, in other words I think you’re spot on about the fact that we’re not doing unethical.

  16. March 26, 2010

    Jen said:

    Great post Nick. It is nice to see this addressed. It really annoys me when I see other bloggers being bashed. As Nathan said Chris B is on a lot of peoples radars right now but he’s been working at this for a long time to get where he is. Saying someone should respond to everyones comments on that scale seems madness to me, it’s really not going to make the biggest difference to others and sometimes (not always) the reason comments are left is to drive traffic to the commenters own website, whether they would admit that or not.
    We need to treat others as we would like to be treated on and offline. We need to support and celebrate each others successes, not try and pull others down for being where we are trying to be too!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Interview with Henri Junttila of The Wake Up Cloud =-.

    • March 26, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Jen » You’re exactly right. It would be impossible for these people to work as much as they do and to achieve the success that they are achieving and still ask them to respond to 50 comments a day. And I’m becoming more convinced that your statement about people commenting only for the link or for the traffic is incredibly true. We need to start jumping in and getting involved for love of the conversation and not simply to self-promote.

  17. March 27, 2010

    Iain Mclean said:

    Hi Nick

    Great post.

    Look back and you will find critics have always existed. Their job is to warn people of sub standard offers. And sometimes they get it right.

    Take apart what they say and see if it has any validity. If it does improve on what you do. If not forget about it.

    Remember you will always have a lot more defenders than you will have critics. It is basic human nature. Make sure you provide your defenders information to use in your defense. They will defend you more ferociously than you will defend yourself.

    If you are monetizing your blog, let people know why you are doing it. Do you need the money to plant 1,000,000 trees to combat global warming or is it to give money to your wife so that she doesn’t get upset at how much time you spend on the internet?

    Make sure the message you are sending out is consistent and understandable.

  18. March 31, 2010

    Jennifer Brown Banks said:

    “Learn from others, don’t gossip about them.”

    This statement should be embraced and practiced to “the third power.”

    Great post, Nicholas. I’ll see you at the top!

    • April 1, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Jennifer Brown Banks » That’s right you will. Will climb up there together, you and I. I know that I’ll be seeing you around as I head up that way!

  19. March 31, 2010

    Ed said:

    im one of those people with that attitude. i need to learn handle it and study others success to increase mine
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Prank Your Friends And Spam Their Inbox =-.

    • April 1, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Ed » Don’t get upset about the success of others. Just learn from them and determine that you will learn whatever it takes in order to pass them up and achieve success yourself.