Superman Syndrome

The Importance of NetworkingI have a confession to make: I am utterly, utterly terrible at networking. And on top of that, I have a “I’ll-Do-It-All-Myself” complex. It’s a character flaw that I really need to get around to improving. It’s what I aptly like to call Superman Syndrome and it’s a terrible disease that affects more people than I suspect. Why is it so debilitating? Because you will never, ever grow all on your own. It took me 26 years of my life to figure that out.


 
When I started Kapitalust (formerly The Silver Maple Leaf), I thought I had this brilliant and original idea in the summer of 2013 to start a personal finance blog. I was brimming with ideas and eager to expose it to the world. I had a bit of cocky confidence and felt I was smarter, better, and sexier than 99% of the blogs out there. Yeah, talk about inflated ego and big head.

I thought I could produce amazing content and readers and other bloggers would come flock to see my genius. Oops, didn’t go that way. I mean, I was connecting with other bloggers but I wasn’t placing much importance on it. I thought to myself “pfft, who needs to connect when you’re already this good looking?”

Quite frankly, I carried this attitude for a long time. It’s probably a major reason why I lost interest and almost quit on this blog during the beginning months of 2014:

From the Brink of Failure Stats

Why did it lead to such an existential blogging crisis? Because I wasn’t becoming a rock star blogger as quickly as I thought I would become. I foolishly thought to myself “I’m brilliant, I’m a great writer, what am I doing wrong?!?” Wrong, wrong, wrong. My whole approach was embarrassingly wrong. I was afflicted with Superman Syndrome. I had my head so far up my ass I was asking the wrong questions.

I thought I was so great and I thought because of that I was going to be great.

Except, it doesn’t work that way. It never has and it never will.

Growth comes from helping others. There is a great quote by Zig Zagler:

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.

Another personal favourite is by Napolean Hill:

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.

Those quotes really resonated with me and they opened my eyes to my folly. Let me show you concrete examples of what I mean.

I really got back into blogging at the end of July 2014. These are the page view stats since July 26, 2014:

superman syndrome

Now, do you notice those big spikes in traffic? What were their cause? Was it because of my brilliance and good looks? Hell no. Those traffic spikes were due to recommendations and referrals by bloggers bigger, better, and sexier than me:

July 30, 2014 spike? Rockstar Finance picked up Inflation: When $5 Billion Can’t Buy Bread.

August 15, 2014 spike? Reddit traffic for Cash: The Loser’s Game.

October 11, 2014 spike? Dividend Mantra recommend 36 Successful Bloggers Reveal Their Investing Styles.

October 20, 2014 spike? Rockstar Finance picked up Outstanding Financial Pornography.

superman syndrome edits

I’m sure you get the picture. Funny story about that graph, and it just goes to hammer the point home. Do you notice that spike a few days before the spike from Dividend Mantra? That was the day I unleashed the Blogger Investing Styles post. And up to that point, it was my strongest traffic day ever. Yet, that post I had worked so hard on putting together was surpassed in traffic 5 days later by a referral from a much bigger blogger.

So I conclude by saying this my little kapitalusts: make connections in a sincere and genuine way; reach out to people you admire; and aim to add value for the people you want to connect with.

For expertly details on how to go about doing such things, go check out Ramit’s stuff over at IWT. He has a great resource on how to effectively use network with anyone and what the pros know about effective networking.

Suffering from Superman Syndrome yourself? Than you should honestly be reading more Kapitalust and get it sent directly to your inbox automagically. No spam. No nonsense. Ever.

  • Great post…my experience exactly! Helping others succeed is the right thing to do!

    • I’ve noticed a newer blogger from the summer who just got a massive jump in the ranks and traffic simply by commenting, guest posting, and helping other bloggers like a fiend. It’s very evident that her good will got reciprocated by more traffic and followers and comments. It really is all about giving and giving to others.

  • It’s such a compliment when people comment on my posts or share my blog with their network, so I started doing the same to the blogs that I enjoy reading. Then I noticed my blog love being reciprocated and more people coming through from referrals. Referrals now account for over 50% of my blog traffic. It really pays off!

    • There really is truth to selflessly helping others and the two quotes above. Something that took me a long time to realize 😉

  • Strandedrocks

    I noticed the biggest spike in the traffic was from the financial pornography post, word choice is also pretty important.

    • I think the word choice was pretty good 😉 but from a deeper look into my analytics/stats, the traffic was driven primarily by Rockstar Finance (although maybe the wording got more people to click on it from there?) – conclusion: good writing, good headlines, and good connections make for success in blogging.

  • It’s amazing to see how the spikes in traffic coincides with other blogger’s recommendations. The advantages of networking are clear. I think you should do a post on specifically how you reached out to other bloggers, and the different responses that they gave. That way, we all know how you accomplished this.

    • That’s a great idea for a post and I will do just that – thanks Brian!!

  • Woo! My site sent the most! 😉

    Superman lives within all of us, ugh….

    • Yeah your site has given me the true taste of what it must be like to be a Rockstar*Blogger 😀

  • May

    I echo what Brian said – that would be a great post idea because in the beginning (and even now) I wasn’t really sure how to reach out and I was fortunate that a few others helped me out -otherwise I would have given up or been still waiting for Google to send someone my way and listening to crickets. Great post.

    • I will definitely craft up a post on the exact scripts I used to reach out to bloggers and the mental hurdles I got over. I’ll use a few examples from how I went about it. Thanks for the idea May!

  • Great read. I need to do more of this but work kills me in the 4th quarter. Wish me luck…

    Jay

    • I’m just starting to implement more of this – in life and in blogging. That initial mental hurdle is huge to get over, but once you see how easy it is, you wonder why you haven’t been doing it since the beginning!

  • Love it. Makes perfect sense to me. I think you’re right that people enjoy connecting and there’s often an opportunity to collaborate and help each other–in blogging and life :). I find myself so inspired by the ideas of others and I’m always thankful for advice and help!

    • It’s espcially difficult when you have a do-it-all-myself complex – it makes it harder to understand the simple yet integral importance of collaboration.

      It’s taken me a lot longer to understand the importance because of my stubbornness 😉

  • I love the idea of networking, especially among fellow bloggers here. In my few short months of blogging, I have found considerable support among the personal finance bloggers. I’ve really learned so much from following and interacted with blogging peers. It motivates me even more to share my journey.

    • 99% of bloggers are super nice and helpful. For the bigger bloggers, if you can provide them value, they would definitely be incentivized to collaborate if you are smaller. Keep interacting with the community and you should slowly grow your blogger social circle.

  • Sam

    Definitely important to help others out as much as possible first. Things will eventually come full circle.

    I remember commenting everywhere the first two years and engaging in friendly banter with everyone. I’m a fan of blogging. Just gotta stick with it!

    • It finally hit home your quote “selflessly helping others” after many, many, many months of blogging. It applies to all aspects of life and directly related to those 2 quotes above. In fact, I should add that quote with those 2!

  • I’ll have to take a few pointers from you on this. 😉

    • Hehe ask away and I’ll try my best to answer whatever questions you might have!

  • What a fantastic post. I love when people share their experiences like this and can really honestly reflect on their own thoughts and behaviours for the benefit of others. Funny, when I started blogging, I thought it was all about just ‘putting useful stuff out there for people’, but I never knew what fun it would be to connect and get to know other people, and to help each other learn and grow! And as you highlight so well, that’s where the value in this whole world comes from, connecting and adding value to others. I love it!

    • Yes, I definitely had the mistaken belief that adding value was enough. It was only after some time with blogging I fully realized how essential connecting with others was to the equation!

      Glad you found this post informative/entertaining. I’ll try to put out more along this theme because I feel like it’s something that’s valuable for anyone starting out!

  • Steve, great post!

    You’re absolutely right about making sincere connections. Being new to blogging and doing this alongside an intense job, I find it hard to find enough time to connect to other bloggers. My experience has shown, however, that’s it’s a sure-fire way to increase traffic and build a fun community on your blog.

    Cheers,
    NMW