Blogging for Benjamin

Even though I talk about being a Solopreneur on this blog very often I haven’t been solo for about 13 months. I’ve been employed a support ninja for WooThemes. I consider myself unemployable, but WooThemes is just about the only company I’d consider working for. I enjoy the products they produce and everyone on the team is super talented.  There are 33 in the company and the entire team is remote We’ve got 3 (sometimes 4) continents and numerous time zones covered. I love working remotely and having a flexible schedule.

Setting goals together

As a step to increase communication and camaraderie the support sub teams started having weekly meetings. Our CHO Mike Krapf would set an agenda of relevant topics and we would meet over Skype or Google Hangout. Mike recently challenged us on setting goals and some of the ninjas set goals to blog more often.

Later we started rotating the meeting leadership responsibilities and I volunteered to lead. I shared the concept of a ‘home base’ and ‘outposts’ that Chris Brogan had shared years ago. I encouraged the ninjas to build their home blogs as a way to share ideas with the WordPress community, build their reputation, be ambassadors for Woo, and flex the writing muscle. Since our support is via a help desk it’s important for us to have big league writing skills.

Leaders are more than just readers

After I led the ninja meeting I started thinking about why I’m so excited about writing. I’ve often said that “Leaders are readers” meaning that if you want to be an effective leader then you need to be constantly learning new things and exposing yourself to new ideas and knowledge.

Reading is a good thing, but left alone it yields a full mind that benefits only one person. The ideas and knowledge gained by reading need to be digested, debated and shared. There needs to be an outflow and expression of everything we learn. That’s where writing comes in! Leaders aren’t just readers; leaders are communicators. And the best form of communication we have is writing.

A friendly blogging competition

After this epiphany I had an idea for a way to encourage my fellow ninjas so I created a blogging competition called “Blogging for Benjamin”. The competition is simple:

  • Everyone can blog daily on their home blog a maximum of once per day (31 blog posts)
  • Posts can be scheduled for the future, but not back-dated
  • The post can be about any topic
  • The post needs to be a minimum of 300 words

At the end of the month I’ll tally up the ninjas blog posts and the top three will win a monetary prize. I wanted to make it interesting so first place is $100 (a Benjamin).

Why are you doing this?

I’m trying to improve my blogging and communication skills and recently tried to embark on a month of daily blogging. I have a high level of respect for daily bloggers and aspire to get there one day. My initial daily blogging effort didn’t last long as it was like trying to get up from the couch to run a marathon. Plus, there were some life events that happened that took away all of my extra time. I didn’t have the writing conditioning to be able to overcome this and needed to take a different approach.

You might ask: If blogging daily didn’t work for you why would I be encouraging others to do it? My goal isn’t to turn all of the ninjas into daily bloggers. My goal is to enliven the spirit of blogging in our company with a friendly competition and monetary motivation. I hope that on the other side of this month that the guys who blogged a few times per month will start blogging even more and the guys who blogged once per year (or never blogged) will start blogging a few times per month. If that happens then we will all be winners!