But I Don’t Want to be a Linchpin! Do You?


Remember how I went to bed with Seth Godin last year? I've been at it again.

But this time he let me down. At least to begin with.

The problem was that I decided to read his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? backwards. Mainly because I don't get it. The title bothers me. You see I don't want to be a linchpin. I want to be free. I don't want to be a linchpin, I just want to be me.

Being a linchpin sounds scary, it sounds like someone who's needed so badly if they're not around the whole world will fall apart and that's not what I want at all.

I'm a mum. My job there is to teach my kids and raise them to leave the nest and be independent. I believe that the mother whose kids stay tied to her has failed at her job.

I used to be a teacher. Same story there. My job was to teach my students good enough english so they could communicate effectively when I wasn't around.

My Business Goal

As a web and blog designer my job is the same. I don't want to be a linchpin. I want to design blogs and websites which people can take control of and grow themselves. I want to empower you to take control of your own blog and business to get the results you deserve.

When I first posted my blog writing magic series I offered to help workshop people's about page and improve them. Big mistake. Most people got into it and did a great job of improving their own copy but some just wanted me to do it all. That doesn't happen in real life unless you hire me as your copywriter which is certainly an option.

But the main aim here on Successful Blogging is that I teach you everything I know so you can do it yourself.

My greatest desire is to empower other small business owners and writers so that eventually they won't need me at all. Most clients do come back when they need site updates or their business has outgrown their existing site, but mainly my clients get on with things themselves and we stay in touch through our blogs or social media outposts.

I like teaching people to do things for themselves because I believe everyone is capable of doing great things if they want to and there's no better feeling than actually doing something yourself and doing it well.

How I Achieve that Goal

But back to the book Linchpin. Reading a book backwards is not a good move because the first thing I learned about being a linchpin is that you have to give gifts to people and I'm already giving away as much information in these blog posts as I have time to.

Because there is only so much I can do with my time I wrote Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps as a way of empowering more people so that they can succeed online.

Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps different from other blogging books because I wrote it for writers and other creatives who struggle with technology so that they can compete and succeed on the Internet. I wrote it for small business owners like me because I love that the Internet allows us to compete fairly and successfully against much bigger businesses.

When I read Linchpin the right way round (from beginning to end, not backwards) I found plenty to motivate me and I definitely recommend you read Linchpin too (you can find it on Amazon here). I'll be writing more about the great things about Linchpin in another post.

But if you're into blogging and you're determined to succeed then do buy Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps because I know it will help you. It's available as an ebook or an audiobook/ 

If you've already read Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps then try reading something by Seth Godin. I love all his books even though the title Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? makes me uneasy the content is superlative. Read it. I'd love to know what you think.

What About You? What are Your Goals? What Do You Want to Do and Be?

But the real aim of this post is to get you thinking about what you do and don't want to do. To answer the burning question: What do you want to be? Because knowing the answers to those questions are steps in the right direction to helping you understand what your personal and business goals are and how blogging can help you achieve that.

My Mini Manifesto

I believe in empowering small business owners by setting up their website or blog and suggesting simple, smart and effective online marketing solutions so they can manage it themselves.

What's your business manifesto? Please share it below in one sentence. Do you want to be a linchpin? Or do you aim to empower people so they can eventually get along without you?

Photo credit: Interactive Data


  1. laura says

    Agree wholeheartedly – too easy to be that irreplaceable person who can do it all – and to keep projects close at hand; far harder to teach and encourage independence, and let mistakes happen along the way. A good read – thanks.

    • says

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you for being first to comment and breaking the ice:) I hadn’t really thought about it being the harder path but I guess it is. Doing it well takes time but at least it’s not forever!

  2. says

    Brilliant, Annabel! Love your mini manifesto and your courage to put forward your point of view against the big names. Congrats.

  3. says

    Hi Anabel, interesting post.

    My manifesto (not sure my boss would agree with it) is similar to yours.

    ‘To educate and encourage, to give away enough that people come back for more over others by choice.’

    Simply put it, even though we show people what to do and how to do things without us, it is great when they choose to come back and read our blog and buy our products because they want to.


    • says

      Hi Andi,

      Sounds like a good one and I’m sure you’ve got some happy clients because of that:)

  4. says

    This really spoke to me, Annabel. I aim to empower people to develop and enhance their writing careers by sharing the strategies that have worked for me.

  5. says

    I couldn’t agree with you more, especially about mothering. My mother-in-law used to say… “You raise your children for someone else.” I always believed that.

    • says

      Hi Barbara,

      Lol, that’s a slightly depressing thought but true! I just hope I can teach them to be happy and independent when I’m not around:)

  6. says

    Great food for thought . . .

    I’ve mentioned to a few people lately that even though I currently have ongoing clients who I write and market for month in and month out, what I’d really like to do is move away from that model and teach people how to create killer content and use online marketing methods so they can market their small businesses themselves.

    Recently at a networking event, a woman was asking me specifically about social media marketing (which I offer as a service, but it’s not actually one of my favorite things to get hired for, partly b/c I really believe it’s so easy to learn and implement without outside help!), and when I told her I don’t take on ongoing social media clients anymore, but that I do offer sessions where I teach it to folks in one-on-one sessions, she was plainly disappointed. She said, “So, you don’t do it for me? You teach ME how to to do it?” When I said yes, she wasn’t interested in finding out more. : )

    Hmm, my one line business manifesto would go something like this . .

    I believe in empowering creative small businesses by helping them share their gifts and talents with the world online through excellent content, strategic content planning, and effective social media marketing so they can get more clients, customers and sales.

    And yes, my goal is to teach people how to do this for themselves! : )
    (I really wish I could make people understand that anyone can learn enough online skills to market effectively!)

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

    • says

      Hi Kimberly,

      Thank YOU for your lovely, long comment:)

      There is a lesson there, sounds like you need to get together with someone who does social media management so you can send them the clients that want to pay someone else to do it and they can send you the people who want to learn how to do it themselves!

      Love that you’ve worked out what you enjoy doing most and are best at and are changing your business in view of that. I’m sure it will be a big success as most people do want to learn how to do something themselves and even if you decide to hire someone else to do a job in the end you need to understand the best way to do it or you won’t know if they’re doing it right.

      • says

        Agreed — love the suggestion to refer people who want social media management done for them to someone else, and have people refer those who want to learn to do it on themselves to me! : )

      • says

        Umm, make that to do it “for themselves” rather than “on themselves.” Sheesh! : )

  7. says

    Hi Annabel, definitely with you on wanting to be free and to encourage independence.

    My manifesto is to share useful info that people need, in my little Sydney niche. Going to new places, even in my own city, is still travel for me. It’s a summer of beaches and swimming for me this year so that’s what I will be sharing. Only fun stuff for me for a while, I have got the serious stuff like autism and PND out of my system!

    • says

      Hi Seana,

      What a journey:) And surely the beaches and swimming are the perfect antidote to any problems we may be having. I can’t wait to hang out with you on the beach – if only virtually;)

  8. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living says

    “I’m a mum. My job there is to teach my kids and raise them to leave the nest and be independent. I believe that the mother whose kids stay tied to her has failed at her job.” That sounds like something I say all the time.
    I agree with you, however, I’ve come to the conclusion there are things I cannot do professionally, myself, and need to hire someone who does it for a living: book cover design, interior formatting. So know your limitations, especially when you run a business.

  9. says

    I had the same reaction to Linchpin the first time I read it-and I was a little afraid to admit it, so thank you Annabel!

    My message to my clients all the time is that they don’t have to do it all themselves, but they DO need to be at the source of their business and stepping into that responsibility will allow them to grow a stronger team ultimately. After all, if you don’t know what you stand for, someone else will make it up for you.

    There’s a big distinction between “being at cause” and “doing it for you” and that’s where we need to consider our boundaries-both inside our businesses and with our customers and clients.

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