Balls and Brains: The Lethal Combo of Online Business Success

If you rundown the list of successful bloggers, I guarantee every one of them has at least two traits in common, balls (the mafia kind) and brains. With a new blog born every two seconds and more than a million blog posts published every day, you have be better than your competition in order to stand out in the crowd. This holds true for every online business, including blogging. To be successful you have to constantly think like a businessman, and stay one step ahead of your competition at all times.


Do some self analysis and see where you stand when it comes to Balls and Brains.

If you have Balls, you’re likely to…

  • …push the envelope, try things others aren’t even thinking about. When everyone is is going right, you go left. When everyone else is playing it safe, you try something daring. If you truly want to stand a top a mountain of your fallen competitors, you have to think of things they aren’t thinking of and really push the limits of what you can do with your site.
  • …not back down from a good fight. Think of the number one person in every niche as the UFC champion. They might be tough, but no one is untouchable. If you have an idea that you think has potential, never let competition stand in your way. In many cases, you’ll find their roar is much mightier than their bite. If you need a little inspiration, try learning a few lessons from 300.
  • …exist in the Gray. Don’t be afraid to test the limitations of rules and find the right balance between good techniques and evil techniques. Rules exist for the masses and those who are unwilling to test how far they can bend. If you don’t push the boundaries of what content you can publish or the ads you can display, you’ll never tap the full potential of your site. Never be afraid to try something out.
  • …not be afraid of experimentation. That’s how innovation works and if you want to get ahead you have to constantly think of new ways of doing things. It’s cliche, but thinking outside the box really does apply. If for every 10 ideas you experiment with one idea converts into something long term, like increasing your subscribers or doubling your revenue, shouldn’t you hurry up and get the 9 that don’t work out of the way?
  • …try new technologies. Every day someone is publishing a new plugin for WordPress or a new programming language library for powering your website. Some of these technologies can save you time, money, and effort. Keeping on top of new technology and testing out new methods for achieving your goals can potentially give you an advantage long before your competitors catch on.  

If you have Brains, you’re likely to…

  • …diversify yourself. Never put all your eggs in one basket, and this goes for all aspects of online business. Don’t trust all your revenue to one or two ad services. Don’t trust all your site backups to one web host. Don’t trust all your money to be invested in one thing. If you diversify, your business will withstand the test of time. As the old saying goes, the one legged man has only one leg to stand on. The smart entrepreneur has many legs, like a tripod!
  • …network and communicate, expand your reach. If you want to be successful, than you have to extend beyond your own site. Form partnerships with advertisers and competitors help push your brand out as a worthwhile resource. At the end of the day, you could have the best site in the world, but if no one knows you exist, what good is it?
  • …not reinvent the wheel. By using other peoples hard work to your advantage, you can quickly climb the ladder toward your competitors without necessarily having to do everything they did. You can literally find hundreds of posts on the web detailing ways to increase your traffictools to use, plugins to install, revenue options to make money, or even ways to gain readers to your site. If you’ve got brains, you can take this hard work done by others and apply it to your own methods putting you that much father along toward your goals. Knowledge is power… 
  • …generate a brand that improves your image. When it comes to branding, a smart well designed logo and a catchy domain name can make the difference between being a star or being forgotten. Your brand should be an extension of what your site has to offer to your visitors. Something that grabs their attention, and is memorable enough to stick with them even when they leave your site.
  • …play to your strengths. Not all of us are web designers, and not all of us are web developers. Unfortunately, we can’t all be super heroes and single handedly take care of every single aspect of our online business. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is the first step to improving your productivity and ensuring your competition doesn’t pass you by while you agonize over a frustrating piece of PHP code. 

Some bloggers are intelligent. They are always thinking outside the box and analyzing all the angles. Without Balls though, they never get anywhere because they’re too afraid to act on their game plans and shake up the status quo. Some bloggers have balls. In a heartbeat they’re willing to try new things and test the marketplace with ideas that may or may not end up successful. Without Brains though, they never focus on the intelligent things you need to do to survive and all the balls in the world won’t save you from the fate you lay out for yourself if you push things too far and end up punished as a result.

It’s the combo of these two traits that’s truly lethal when it comes to online business. Keep your wits about you while never shying away from something new, and I guarantee you’ll have a long and successful blogging career.

5 thoughts on “Balls and Brains: The Lethal Combo of Online Business Success”

  1. Great post. I think a lot of people who start out blogging, or any other business for that matter, get really comfortable and forget to keep pushing and experimenting with new ideas.

  2. Good article Chris. I appreciate the link however the ‘man’ in me wanted to be put in the balls category and not the brains haha!!

    I think you need to have a combination of a lot of things to be successful. Brains, balls, focus, experience and luck. Theres a lot to be said about trial and error too (though you can probably include that in the experience category).

    play to your strengths – I agree with you on this one. It’s possible to make a living on the we without doing anything yourself eg. pay a designer, pay for content etc

  3. Haha. Well, everyone I linked to today I would consider a “successful” blogger, even if their revenue stream is not quite yet into the multi-million dollar monthly range. So that means you have both balls and brains! :)

    Actually, when I started this article the original title was brains, balls, and a good bounce, which was a bad title but was going to cover a whole set on luck. When I got into it though, the luck part didn’t really seem to hold up that great, so I just yanked it out (maybe for the Bookmark Bliss directors cut).

    I believe that luck certainly plays a huge part in getting out of the gate running, but I think you can be successful with or without it. Might just take a little longer, so you gotta be prepared for the long haul…

  4. Interesting that you started this article with one headline in mind, then changed it by the end. I recently asked my readers how they work their headlines through the life of a blog post.

    Your article is a great read, by the way, and I found myself agreeing as I went through. Thanks, also, for the link to one of my logo design articles. Very much appreciated, Stark.

  5. Yeah, it’s actually kind of funny. I’ve always been a sort of title first writer, even going back to university. It’s actually the same for me when designing a new site or product as well. I can’t get anywhere until I come up with at least a name…

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