Looking to Others for Direction & Guidance

Here is the question: By describing in some detail a case study of a freelancer who achieved a decent living exclusively from social media activity - show how someone else can replicate that track record and can develop a professional practice by modeling their business upon that example.


That's my question. And that is now a real question. The example I am asking for is essentially "prior art" - how was this done in reality by a peer?

The conditions for this are: they started from almost nothing - they did not already have a reputation as an author, journalist or business owner. And they did this within the time era of Facebook and Twitter's dominance (say from 2009 on) - which places their business growth in the current period of social media activity. This means I want to know what it takes now, not, for example, what it took in 2001.

The standard assumption that is universally made in freelancing and startup circles is that social media is the one true "allowed" path to creating a client base. It seems to be recommended universally for everyone, regardless of their writing or storytelling or narrative talents.

Surely "everyone" is not capable of creating this mythic "engagement" that leads to sales. And it is often said that "thought leaders" arise out of social media. How do they start? This question is asked out of frustration.

I have been blogging, posting to Q&A sites like this one (under another alias), and participating in fora for years. I have landed a few thousand in billed and paid work from this activity, but invariably the clients have been small time and limited in scope.

More to the point, posting updates to a silent audience is highly discouraging. How do "top" social media users create that mind share in the first place before their enthusiasm collapses from absolute inattention by the world?

I want to know what the secret sauce is for freelancer B2B marketing using social media, where the goal is to find actual paying clients in significant numbers, and not simply broadcast of opinions to the social media sphere for the sake of ego.

As near as I can tell, busy managers, owners and executives with budgets to spend (not peers just wasting time online) are definitely not attentively reading and hanging even a small number of the words of blogged advice, Tweets, and FB updates that are pushed out by the billions by hopeful freelance wanna bes who are too shy to pick up the phone or to attend a networking meeting.

So this is the conflict I see between social media advocacy and the B2B world.

Prove me wrong with a real life case study. Use yourself or someone you personally know. A social media book author is not valid because they have product to sell, and you are only going on the public story, anyway.

Thank you.

Source -- content - Please Provide a Real Life Scenario of Self Marketing Using Social Networking... that WORKED - OnStartups - Stack Exchange

Come again?

From what I understood reading about this person's question, he (assuming it's a he, and henceforth, call him Mr. Jaded) wants to know if anyone who is a social media marketing professional, started from scratch and was able to make a good living out of it.

Apparently, Mr. Jaded claims to be a social media marketing professional as well, but that his past earnings did not meet his expectations.


Reading about his rant, it is evident that he is not able to express himself well with the written word. He used a lot of words, but his point did not come through loud and clear. If readers do not understand what you wrote, your call to action will not get any response.

In the different facebook groups that I am a part of, I can name several persons who are making a good living as a social media professional. From what I have learned from them, being a success doesn't happen overnight. You need to invest time, effort and resources to reach that tipping point.

My opinion

I did not bother to answer his question on the onstartup.com forum. I chose to answer them through this blog so I can first point out how I understood what the question was about.

One other reason is that I do not meet his criteria--not yet. I started on this business less than two months ago. I am making a living out of it, but it's enough to cover basic expenses. My wife is still the breadwinner in the family at this time.

In the two months that I have been growing my social media business, I can see the long term potential for growth. Businesses, public personalities will need social media marketing to communicate with their audience. Big companies even hire three social media professionals just to manage their online communities.

Looking for Shortcuts

In the end, what Mr. Jaded here is looking for is a template success to pattern his social media career after. Whoever decides to come forward will have to first prove that they are indeed the success that Mr. Jaded is looking for.

That's an "iffy" situation if you ask me.

I am learning python programming on my free time. When looking for anwers in a forum, members expect that you have used google extensively, yet failed to find a solution to the problem. How you frame your question tells everyone how much searching you have done before you posted your question.

Looking at Mr. Jaded's question, it is obvious to me that:
  • He did not look for answers on his own
  • He is looking for a shortcut

I have bookmarked the question to see what will happen in the coming days. What do you think will the outcome be for Mr. Jaded? Will someone step forward and show him the way to riches? Or will that thread be one of those long-winded discussions whether something works or not?