A good friend of mine once said to me, “I’ll talk to anyone for five minutes. You never know who you’re going to meet and where it will lead. After five minutes, I can always excuse myself.” He was a very successful businessman, blessed with the short attention span of a five year old child. But his comment stuck with me.
It’s true, you never know who you’re going to meet in life and where it will lead. Little did I know that meeting Chris Garrett one day would get me started writing a blog and subsequently blogging for money with my own digital media brands.
Rewind to 2008 in the UK, I’m instructing on a supercar day at Elvington, North Yorkshire, sitting in a big Lamborghini LP640.
The staff had been told there were some guest drivers, but not much else. It often happens, no big deal for me, as I always tried to treat everyone equally and tailor the instruction to whatever the individual’s ability. The big scissor door opens upwards, someone slides down into the driver’s seat.
“Hi, I’m Chris.”
“Neill, good to see you.”
We chat about the usual things about the car, horsepower etc, then I do my briefing about what Chris is able to do, what I expect, the usual motorsport instructor stuff.
“Ok, Chris, drop it into first, we’ll head out.” But just as we’re about to roll forwards, the session is red flagged, we have to wait. Small talk time…
Chris Garrett Explains Blogging For Money
Chris was marked on my sheet as being a guest driver. I’m curious about why he’s here, we talk about that. “So what do you do?”
“I’m a blogger.”
“A blogger. I write for a living, I suppose you’d say.”
Until that day, I’d only heard of blogs. Those college kids, all working away hoping to be the next Google pair of internet millionaires. But I’d never heard of a professional blogger.
The cynic in me says “Yeah, whatever…”
Outwardly, I say, “So what does that mean, then?”
“Well, my website is considered to be an ‘authority’ site by Google. So if I write something about a product, service or something, Google takes notice. I do other stuff too, but basically, the guys here want me to write about driving this car. It’ll help them. I also help other people with their online marketing”
“And that’s your job?”
“In a simple way, yes. There’s a bit more to it, but that’s basically it”
“So it’s a car website?”
“No it isn’t actually. Have a look later, you’ll find me at Chris Gee dot com”
The track is clearing now, so we head out, Chris enjoying a few laps at the wheel of the mighty Lamborghini LP640 before we head back in.
“Thanks, Neill, good to meet you, enjoy the rest of your day.” Chris hops out, melts away into the crowd behind the barrier, leaving me thinking about what we talked about.
I couldn’t get it out of my mind. At that time, as a writer and photographer, my traditional client base was falling into a state of confusion. I’ve written before now about how I felt that things were going, but in essence, Chris made me stop and think. A few days later, I checked out his website and saw his review of the day. In addition, I saw a whole lot more that stimulated me into working towards where I am today.
I started a blog, struggling at first, as I’m not a “High Five, Great Shot, Dude” kind of person. At that time, as a professional photographer, writer and race track instructor, I figure the fact that my work should be of a high professional standard should be the norm, not an occasion to be celebrated.
But studying Chris’ website made me understand that things that I take for granted in my industry, others found interesting and worthy of a read. Chris’ blog in particular has a degree of humility to it that many find encouraging. My own blog proved popular and after a while, other website owners began to contact me to discuss creating content for them.
Instead of worrying about the confusion of the print industry, I began to see the huge global opportunities of digital publishing and I fully grasped Chris’ concept of blogging for money.
Chris was instrumental in my change of direction and career. He helped me realise that my possibly unique skill set was something that owners of brands, websites and print media would find attractive. It took me several years to move from simply being a professional photographer, part time writer and race track instructor.
Chris pulled the trigger in my mind that made me transform the way I work. Today, through Winward Media, I manage marketing, video production and social media for different brands in a way that I would probably never have acheived had Chris not hopped into that Lamborghini that day in Yorkshire.
As for Chris, he moved from Yorkshire to Canada, but we kept in touch periodically as I became busier online, finding his colleagues such as Darren Rowse and Chris Brogan and additionally Tim Ferriss and photographer Chase Jarvis of great interest.
The opportunities in this field are immense, to the point of being daunting and confusing. Where do you even begin? It’s not easy, but it is immensley exciting as the new technologies enable us to be more diverse than ever before in the ways we communicate with each other.
And I have Chris G to thank for it.