How We Can Grow Using Kindness


Episode Notes

Today on the podcast got jamie russo

[00:00:04]Blake: I want to talk about your book.

[00:00:06] Obviously. I want to talk about Twitter. And I want to talk about some of your strategies so far for reference this podcast, usually podcasts try to get the biggest possible guests, regardless of how interesting they actually are. I've tried to go the opposite direction and get interesting people that can actually teach us about.

[00:00:26] Building an audience at any stage. So right now, for reference across social, your different platforms, you care about how many followers do you have?

[00:00:36] Jamie: Yeah, basically I've just been hanging out on Twitter for the last six months. We're at about 3000. I've been growing a newsletter slowly for the last two or three months as well.

[00:00:45] We're at around 400 subscribers there. So super, super small community right now. I'm obviously on a ton of other social platforms, Instagram, Facebook, I dunno, you probably name it and I'm there, but I'm not active. And so it's pretty much just, I'm trying to build a flywheel between a newsletter and Twitter right now.

[00:01:05] And we definitely dive into that a little bit. Yeah, no, I

[00:01:08] Blake: love let's. Let's just go right into it because I'm always a proponent of creating focus upfront. Basically for anything you're doing, like whether you're building a landing page, an email newsletter list, whether you're starting community or going on social, the Gary V approach of spread yourself thin everywhere that works for some people that have media teams.

[00:01:28] I don't know if I really believe in that. So it sounds like you are all in on Twitter. To drive to the newsletter. That's your business model quote

[00:01:36] unquote

[00:01:37] Jamie: a hundred percent. Yeah. And I was playing around on LinkedIn last year. For about three months I published 500 words a day for 90 straight days on LinkedIn and ended up building a really big audience there.

[00:01:49]But I noticed. That they weren't the type of people that I was really interested in building a network and community around. And I wouldn't even describe it really as a corporate community, at least the ones that are checking their LinkedIn every single day that I don't even know how I would describe the community that I had built on LinkedIn.

[00:02:08] But. I grew a newsletter on LinkedIn last year from zero to 8,000 subscribers in 90 days and was like this isn't working like this isn't these aren't the people. And jumped on a Twitter and within probably 30 days ended up finding all of these really interesting micro communities, whether you call them like the indie hacker community.

[00:02:28] I found another writing community. You've got marketing Twitter on there and all of these little sub communities. Who are sometimes built around one individual personality are thriving and highly engaged. And I found that to be the right place for me to begin building my own little micro community as well.

[00:02:46] And so that's really where it really took off despite having an audience now of 10,000. Subscribers on my LinkedIn newsletter. I just use it to repost some of my existing content. I don't put any thought or strategy behind it. I just keep them warm. They're like lukewarm right now. But Twitter is where it's at for me.

[00:03:03] And yetyou hit the nail on the head, really just using Twitter as a place to share ideas with the hopes of some people coming and liking what I write about and. Going and visiting my website and signing up for my newsletter. I'm not really one to care too much right now about metrics.

[00:03:17] I'm really more focused on what I call finding Jamie market fit. And that's really just my way of saying yeah, I've got some ideas, I've got some stuff I love writing about. There's also some stuff out there that the market loves reading about and learning about that I can share with the world. And I'm just trying to find where that intersection is between those two concentric circles.

[00:03:35]Blake: Let's talk a little bit more about that. Cause I like that, that you market, what insert your name here, market fit. So for the Jamie market fit, what are the actual qualifications of somebody that you would want in that community and who would you boot out of it for their own good.

[00:03:51] Jamie: Yeah, I think there's that famous, like Matthew Kobach saying of be a lighthouse for like-minded people.

[00:03:58] So what I think has been really astonishing so far in the six months that I've been building on Twitter is I have been fortunate enough to not. Attract the wrong people to my community on LinkedIn. I don't know how their algorithm works, but I was attracting folks that I just didn't find to be interesting or intellectually stimulating.

[00:04:14] But as a result of like me putting out my ideas into the worlds, I attract other people that are attracted to those ideas. The type of people that have been really drawn to the stuff that I've been writing about and the stuff that I've been doing on Twitter are the people that kind of fit in my community are those that are interested in starting careers as creators.

[00:04:32] Because I'm starting my own journey myself. And whether you want to say that I'm building my community or building my audience in public or building other things and experimenting with other things in public, and as a result, those types of. Yeah, those types of creators are now attracted and want to follow me and learn from some of the ideas that I'm sharing.

[00:04:49]That's certainly one of those groups also noticed that another group that I really love working with and collaborating with are the micro community of writers on Twitter as well. I'm a first time author basically didn't start blogging until maybe 12 months ago at all. And so I'm really new to this game and I love meeting other writers that are very early on.

[00:05:09]The writing community is a really cool community because it is a little bit entrepreneurial in nature, but absolutely not cut throat whatsoever, chimpanzees at heart. And so I, I really love Sharing ideas with them. I love collaborating with them. And so those are two groups that I've really loved working with.

[00:05:28] I think. There are a lot of other micro-communities on Twitter. Those people that are building their own online courses, whether it's like the cohort based course model people that are really interested in taking those types of courses, people that are considered like lifetime learners, philosophy, Twitter, there's so many really great thinkers that I love.

[00:05:44] Just interacting and weaving into my own little circle myself and try to like, just bring some of those folks in. Yeah I've

[00:05:51] Blake: actually said multiple times that I think writers are the most interesting people on Twitter and LinkedIn. They, for some reason that okay. Not for some reason, it's really obvious they write well, so makes their content more interesting, but.

[00:06:04] Just as people, I find them very interesting to follow writers. So if you're whoever's listening to this, if you're not following any copywriters, you really should, because you're going to learn a lot about how to say things maybe in different ways more effectively, but that's just a side note. I want to.

[00:06:20] Dive into the book a little bit more, because so far we've talked about how your funnel is Twitter really works finding the right people. Even when it's small it works really well. And then you can funnel that into the newsletter where you can cultivate that a little more. How does the book fit into all that?

[00:06:37] Jamie: Yeah. The book is the first physical product that I've launched out into the world. And I think it's really the first opportunity for folks to get a sensor and understanding of who Jamie is and what Jamie's about outside of 280 characters or less. And yeah, I've been blogging for the last year, but I dunno, there's a huge difference between writing on the internet and creating a physical product that people can hold in their hands.

[00:07:02] And so the book for me is my first foray into putting a product out there into the world that. People can like physically hold and come to know and understand is this is Jamie Russo. For me, it's really just like the foundation to a whole lot of other things. Now I basically spent two years studying what I call underdog strategies, underdog theory, the idea behind people that have overcome such extraordinary adversity or in their own personal lives prior to starting businesses.

[00:07:32] Those are the people that I interviewed for this book. These are the people that I've been studying for the last two years. And there's a lot that I have. Learned from that. And my favorite way to possibly understand something is through writing. So I think one of the reasons why writers are some of the more interesting people on Twitter and LinkedIn and any other social platforms for that matter is because.

[00:07:52] There, there are people that have put in the research, done the deep thinking and have tried to decompose an idea down to different unique principles and make sense of something. And my book is really different. I, it's called the underdog paradox. I talk about underdog stories in it, but really a lot of the research that I've done is.

[00:08:12] Psychology and sociology research. I have sat down and worked with some of these people that I Chronicle in my book for 18 months to get a better understanding of how they operate and how they think and how they've overcome in many cases really difficult circumstances and come out of the other end with this idea of almost like post-traumatic growth in some ways.

[00:08:33] So I think. I think the book is a way to say yeah, Jamie, he can like stick with something for two years and produce something out on the other end. I think also it goes to say I don't know. I've met a lot of people that are like, yeah, I've been thinking about writing a book for 20 years. And  what's stopping you.

[00:08:48]So it just goes to show that I can ship. But yeah, it's the first thing like it's who the heck knows what's next? A lot of people have been asking me what I want to experiment around with a lot of different things, but but the book is the first me. First me product out there.

[00:09:02] Blake: I got a lot of questions, but we don't have too much time.

[00:09:05]Let's let's go with this one. With the book itself, I'd love to peel back the curtain a little bit, go behind the scenes on what your strategy actually was for,  not writing it. We could get into that another time, but once it was written, How are you actually going to use that to grow your existing audience?

[00:09:23]Nurture people you already had in your audience? How did you promote it? Cause it's been getting good traction and you're yeah. I don't know how you went about publishing it and everything, but you're a first time author. You don't probably have all these resources in publishing people coming to you and asking, like begging you to write a book.

[00:09:41] So how did you do it all behind the scenes?

[00:09:45] Jamie: Yeah. Yeah. I think. This is such an important question. And I did not realize when I started writing my first book, that it was not just about writing. There's so much more that goes into publishing a book. And I wrote, honestly wrote the book first and foremost for myself.

[00:10:10] Like I wanted to make sense of some of the ideas that I was. Trying to understand at the time. So I wrote it for myself, but then I realized three months out, six months out from publishing, like why put a book out there in the world unless you're going to get other people to read it. And I really wanted to share some of these ideas, not necessarily just to inspire people, but also do really great justice to the stories of the individuals that I was sharing.

[00:10:39] So I thought. I need to find readers. Where can I go to get readers? Tried LinkedIn really? Didn't like it got on Twitter and really fell in love with it because there's some really thoughtful introspective people there. And. Probably spent the good portion of the summer, trying to find different ways to you start planting some of these seeds in the thoughts of future potential reader.

[00:11:14] I didn't come out and start talking about me being a, an upcoming author. I didn't do that. I did not come out and say, I have a book coming in December. As a matter of fact, most of the internet had no idea that I was writing a book. But what I did do is start building a reputation online as a thoughtful introspective person.

[00:11:35] I say my strategy for the first six months on Twitter was not finding followers. It was making friends and through building those friendships and starting to create a small feeling of a micro-community. I think that is what gave me the ability to come out of the gate the second week of December with a ton of hype, because I'd formed all of these friendships over the course of six months and everybody.

[00:12:01] That I had met along the way was super excited that I was putting something out there into the world. And so for me yes, I spent six months writing on Twitter. I used some time to convert some of those to newsletters, subscribers. I started helping them get a better understanding that I'm a thoughtful person.

[00:12:20] And that was part, one of the strategy. Part two is while doing all of that. I couldn't keep these secrets from close family and friends. So I used my close family and friends as a beta reader community. Completely separately. I actually did a presale over the summer. It was about six months before my book launched on Indiegogo.

[00:12:42] And I used Indiegogo as an opportunity to crowd fund the first $5,000 that I would use as a way to say I can physically sell this book. And so sold 200 copies on Indiegogo. Used those people that I sold the book to his beta readers and just started building hype there as well. So I had a complete group of strangers on the internet who started to know me and trust me as just a writer.

[00:13:09] I had a very trusted group of close friends and family, 200 people who were ready and raring to go when I launched this book. And when I announced it on December, 10th or 11th at, just brought all of this attention immediately. And it just started rolling from there. Did not do any big press pieces.

[00:13:27] Did not have a virtual speaking tour set up at that point in time. Instead, I just used Twitter as a hype engine. First when we hit that kind of number one new release on Amazon, it was a really exciting point for everybody hit that within 24 to 48 hours of going live, use that announcement as a way to generate more excitement and use that excitement to eventually hit number one, bestseller on Amazon in the small business category within 72 hours.

[00:13:52] And from there, it just all continued to roll. So I think. If you can hit some of those early milestones to really great way to create a snowball effect. And there's little tiny strategies such as using a beta reader community or using six months on Twitter as an opportunity to build friendships as a way to just get that ball rolling.

[00:14:10]Blake: We could go a lot more into the book, but there's a lot that you're doing on Twitter as well. That's probably interesting to people, especially those that are wanting to go from zero to a hundred to a thousand followers, try to build up that community upfront. And I think a lot of people listening and will know you as like you're one of the nicest people on Twitter.

[00:14:28] I'm sure you hear that often. You mentioned you were, you try to be a thoughtful person that definitely comes through how. Has kindness, like how has that basically been your strategy? How have you used it? What's your engagement strategy? What's your strategy for actually, instead of just going out to followers, how do you make friends on Twitter?

[00:14:48] Jamie: Yeah. Yeah. I. I keep using the mantra over and over again, don't use Twitter to find followers, find use it to find friends. And I think that really works when you are new to Twitter. It really works because that concept of having zero followers or 10 followers or a hundred followers.

[00:15:10] Can be viewed either as a huge disadvantage or a huge advantage. So when you have a hundred followers on Twitter, you don't have everyone sending you a million DMS every single day. You have the ability to be super thoughtful in who you engage with. And and if you want to compare yourself as an up and coming writer to some prolific writers like David PRL, I have all of the time in the world when I am new on Twitter.

[00:15:33] To go out there into the comment sections and weed through and find really interesting people that are also up-and-comers. So one of my quote, unquote, underdog strategies here was not to necessarily go after the largest accounts. But rather find what I call sidekicks people that I can grow with people who are at a similar stage as I am in building an online reputation on a platform like Twitter.

[00:15:59] And in those first 30 days, it was basically going into a community like Davidcommunity or going into a community like what Jack butcher has built at visualized value and just find other newcomers. And it's pretty easy to find them. You just go into the comments section, find other people that are asking dumb questions, like I was asking as well.

[00:16:20] And and I think there's a huge opportunity there for you to find other like-minded people who are also at a similar stage as you, who are all really interested in becoming. Twitter famous if you want to call it that, but growth and working with them and collaborating with them and jumping from the timeline into DMS and just sharing some ideas.

[00:16:42] You're going to find people that you thought were awesome on Twitter. All of a sudden they get fumbly over their thumbs. When you get into DMS. Or they might be fricking amazing and you're like, wow, can't believe I just met this person. This person thinks exactly the same way as I do. And we have similar goals.

[00:16:58] So go from DMS to zoom calls. That's literally the best way during a global pandemic. For us to be finding friends and making friendships is by creating that bond and human connection. And so to me, like I'm not measuring any success metrics right now. People out there on the internet are going to be mad at me for saying that, but I'm not.

[00:17:17] If I were to measure any success metrics, it would be how many zoom calls can I have every week with interesting people because that's how I can start to build those. There's those bonds. And from those bonds from those small friendships, whether it's three sidekicks or five sidekicks of your, you can call them disciples, you can call them whatever you want.

[00:17:36] But from that small little micro community that you build around that small community builds a much larger one. And it happens in small phases. There's this idea it's called Dunbar's number. And this idea of Dunbar's number is basically a small little community of five people is usually as big of a community as you really need to build the heart of a much larger community around those five people.

[00:18:01]Maybe 15 others start to form any larger than that or any smaller than that.  The idea behind Dunbar's number starts to break. Yeah. But around those 15 disciples of yours, maybe a larger group of 50, and finally outwards from that, a larger community of 150 people. And you'll see this, like in the corporate world, like usually the teams are not much larger than 150, 170.

[00:18:23] You have 200 people. Because the moment you start to have groups, or micro-communities much larger than that, all of a sudden they start to lose a sense of direction. And so I start to think that way, what I've basically found in the last six months is very tight knit group of two other human beings who I've basically been growing with alongside we share ideas frequently.

[00:18:43] We have a weekly zoom call set up and around the three of us. We've made a ton of great friends and and this idea. Yeah, sure. Scales very beginning. Because I have time, I don't have any secrets or strategies to hitting a hundred thousand followers, but this is what's worked really well for me early on to go from zero to 3006 months.

[00:19:02] It's my metric for others that are listening. And yeah, just find friends, my followers. I

[00:19:09] Blake: agree. I started really taking this seriously in August of 2020, so it's been. Five, five, six months now. And I used a similar strategy where I just knew if I only tried to go after Gary V, then I'm probably not going to really grow.

[00:19:24]And I might not really meet anybody. And so instead just, I had a couple of people that for whatever reason, no clue, why started caring about what I had to say. And they were super nice and loyal friends, and that helped me just keep building and more of those people. Kept coming on, but just like you mentioned that I was, I don't know if you've ever read the book sapiens.

[00:19:45]That's an interesting one, but similar principle basically says in nature with like groups of monkeys and things like that, you'll never find among groups of animals really, except maybe insects groups bigger than 150 individuals. Because from there, there's just no way that you could possibly know every single one and be able to have a personal relationship.

[00:20:07] So animals do this. Naturally without even thinking about it, but we're always trying to just  grow. It doesn't matter. We just want the number to be bigger. Why don't we want the number to just be better? Two friends is way better than 2000 followers that don't care about you at all.

[00:20:21] So I very much subscribe to that mindset as well. Would love to just finish up with, to going a step back to when you were at zero to that, excuse me now, being at 3000 what were some of the actual, like strategies beyond just making friends and things like that? What was, what were some of the technical tactical things that you did that actually worked for you?

[00:20:43] And you mentioned your zoom calls with these two friends. What kinds of things do you talk about and what new things do you try? What's let's get a little tactical to finish off here.

[00:20:52] Jamie: Yeah, I think you'll find that the people that build and grow followings on Twitter very quickly are those people that are constantly like this is at the very beginning.

[00:21:10]Constantly like shipping products or shipping ideas or shipping. Something else. And part of the reason for that is like product launches are exciting. They're also an opportunity for you to put new ideas out there into the world. And. It's an opportunity for people to see that you are more than just an armchair philosopher, that you actually are someone that's putting effort into creating stuff.

[00:21:46]And it doesn't have to be physical products. It doesn't have to be info-products. It can be a lot of different things. Actually. One of the small little things that I did was I launched a pen pal program the past summer. And that pen pal program sounds. Literally like the stupidest idea ever, but it was an opportunity for me to create a human connection with real people in the real world and find out that random strangers on Twitter were okay.

[00:22:10] Sharing their physical mailing address with me. Like why I was like, why are people signing up for this? It was different,  launch new things that are really different that no one else has ever done or that isn't doing. And I'm not the first person to launch a pen pal program. But by doing that, it just put out this new idea in the world that like, You're Jamie writes, Jamie cares about human connection and around those ideas, the community started to form.

[00:22:39]So that's one thing. Another thing is. The more and more you create the more and more you ship, the more and more clear you get on where your product market fit is. And again, I came back to that same, like saying that Jamie market fit really it's just like your idea market fit. And for me one of the places that I found fit was in kindness.

[00:23:07] And in 2020, it was a time period where people on the internet really resonated with kindness. The world was crumbling and and many times cases, people jumped on the internet to find human connection and to just be told by somebody that everything was okay. And that's part of the role of what I played.

[00:23:31] And I think people really enjoyed hanging out. In a place on Twitter that was people shared optimism, people shared positive mindsets, and people can escape from the chaos of what it was. Kindness is a great principle on Twitter because it is a. Competitive difference than a lot of other people might think about Twitter being used for there's a lot of negativity and a lot of cyber bullying.

[00:24:00] A lot of people that think that Twitter is just a very hostile place where people don't share the same views and want to. Cut each other's throats. It's not just that. There's a lot of really thoughtful people there. And I think by giving off positive vibes, that enabled me to attract a community that shared a similar positive mindset.

[00:24:19] Blake: Yep.  Hope to have you on another time. Cause we're out of time here, but there's definitely more we can go into, but at this stage, we'd love to give you just a little timeframe here to talk about what you're working on. Promote anything, especially the book and whatever else where people can find you and close things out with what's next for you.

[00:24:41] Jamie: Thanks Blake. Yeah, no. First of all, thank you so much for having me for anybody interested, you can obviously find me on Twitter. It's all Blake and I pretty much talk about these days. So that's Jamie Russo, J a M I E R U S.  Similarly find me on the web Jannie, Russo dot M E And yeah, go out and buy my book.

[00:24:58] It's called the underdog paradox. It's a fantastic story. That's the culmination of the first chapter of my life. It's available on Amazon and pretty much anywhere books are sold these days. Go buy it at your local bookstore support small businesses right now, but also please wear a mask and socially distance.

[00:25:14] If you're more comfortable shopping from the comfort of your couch, it's available. Everywhere books are sold on the internet. Even if you are an anti Amazonian. And yeah, thank you so much for having me. It's been an absolute pleasure. Would love to do this again. Yeah.

[00:25:27] Blake: Thank you so awesome.

[00:25:28] Jamie Russo, you know where to find him. Thanks for coming on. It was a blast.