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The Tortoise and the Hare: a Blogger’s Tale

Posted By Guest Blogger 8th of June 2011 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This guest post is by Chris The Traffic Blogger.

I was out living the Internet lifestyle a little bit ago(you know, cruising to Bermuda) and I started talking to a random stranger at a bar on the boat we were sailing on. I had some time to kill while I waited around and we started chatting about how rough the ride was and other small talk.

Eventually, the man asked me what I did for a living, and I told him that I was a professional online writer, a.k.a. a “blogger.” You should have seen how wide his eyes got, as he apparently blogged about his hobbies, fishing and hiking, although it obviously wasn’t his real job. He asked me how I was doing as a blogger and once I told him, oh boy did the questions start coming.

I had a little bit to drink, so my answers were somewhat on the silly side, although in retrospect they were actually surprisingly insightful. His number one question was how I had so many subscribers so quickly on my sites, even though he had been working at it for almost six months and had virtually nothing to show for it. I asked him if he had ever heard the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. He replied that he had and then I told him:

“Have you ever considered that maybe you’re the Tortoise and I’m the Hare?”

He sort of looked at me strangely, blinked twice and then said: “What do you mean?” I explained to my new friend that the Tortoise is slow and careful because he is persistent. However, the Hare is fast paced and rushed because he is whimsical to the point of risking his success. The blank stare continued, until eventually he asked me whether I started off as a “Hare.”

I told him certainly not and went on to explain that although the Tortoise is slow at first he picks up speed as his careful persistence leads to wisdom. The wise Tortoise, after building up enough experience, eventually can trade caution for risk taking and let loose the creative, whimsical nature of the Hare. Had I started off as a Hare, I explained, then I would have ended up just like the rabbit in the story: completely off course and losing the race for success.

His next question was obvious, and I had the answer ready for him right away. He asked me how he could go from being a Tortoise to a Hare and I replied:

“You can’t transform yourself into a Hare until you’ve mastered being a Tortoise.”

After a small curse at me, my friend began to get up and leave. I said hang on a moment, I still have a few minutes here, would you like me to explain what I’m talking about? I waited for him to sit down and let out a sigh before I continued with my alcohol inspired story.

To become a Hare, you need to master the elements of a Tortoise that make him so successful at racing the rushed, whimsical Hares. First off, a Tortoise is cautious but he’s always trying to learn new things, which is exactly what makes him wise. The Tortoise is not afraid to try new endeavors but he understands that experience is more important than what anyone else says online. This mentality allows the Tortoise to absorb new information and remain open to trying new things without sacrificing his primary goal: winning the race for success. If you, as a Tortoise, cannot stay focused and maintain a strong work ethic while being open to new ideas then you are never going to be able to successful morph into a Hare.

Once you’re ready to become a Hare, it simply happens. You become more social and far more creative because the vast majority of your time is spent taking risks outside of your own blog. You put yourself out there and you build relationships, but it’s your attitude and wise yet helpful manner you acquired as a Tortoise that brings the masses to your blog daily.

My friend at the bar left with a big smile on his face, I just hope that he was sober enough to remember my words. Maybe he’s even reading this post, I never did get his name!

How can you take the best of both approaches and create the ultimate successful blogger? Are you a Tortoise or a Hare? Are you too afraid to come out of your shell and become a Hare?

Chris is a self proclaimed expert at showing bloggers how they can get traffic, build communities, make money online and be successful. You can find out more at The Traffic Blogger.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. When I first started reading, I was thinking, “But there hare lost!” You pulled it out, though. :) It turns out, I like this analogy.
    You have to take the time to figure out what you’re doing and build relationships before you can really “take off.”
    I tend towards “tortoisness” anyway, and I am definitely in that stage with my blog. I’ve had a couple of hare-like experiences in the last couple of weeks, and they actually freaked me out a little bit. I still see myself as a tortoise, not a hare, and that may need to change. I need to learn to balance both and manage things in my own way.

    • Balance is the key with everything in life it seems. Great analysis Amy!

    • I agree but not totally..
      Because, I have 2 blogs. In blogwith.in, I work as a ‘tortoise’ and in teknoise.com, I work as a ‘hare’. Both of them moving with the same speed. But, destination not arrived and let’s see what happens next.

  2. I think a lot people hope they one day go from Tortoise to Hare, but the reality is most won’t.. It takes a lot of skill, a little bit of luck, and a few big breaks.. I’m still waiting for my big break, but I’ve been featured on a few big times blogs lately which is giving me hope that I will eventually burst through the wall to become a Hare..

    Until then, I’m still hanging out with around 200-400 visitors a day.

    • I like the part of having a little bit of luck. Especially if the competition is very stiff luck is something we also have to hold on too aside from the skills, experiences, etc.

  3. Hi Chris,
    I love fun analogies like this. I once wrote one called “Are you a Grasshopper or an Ant Blogger?” that focused on preparation.

    I hope that if I’m not yet a Hare, that I’m at least making major strides as mastering this Tortoise phase. I know one thing: patience is definitely required, because it’s so easy to look at a lack of results and want to quit.

    Nice one!

  4. That was a fun analogy, Chris. I only wish I’d been there when you told it while half drunk. Haha.

    I certainly agree with you though. The transformation just happens, without you even realise it.

    The problem a lot of people have is they try to start out fast. They want everything to happen quickly and positively, but it doesn’t. You have to take it one day at a time, one blog post at a time, and learn your lessons slowly but surely.

    Good post!


  5. Great story, great analogy! And very entertaining!

    I am a tortoise at the moment, but an happy one!

    There is so much to learn about kid’s tales and this one goes very well with the blogging world!!

  6. Hey Marie, I hope that this style of post gives people the idea to make their own analogies in their own niches. Fairy tales and other kid’s tales are great for doing this because they are so easy to relate to and often have a very easy to follow lesson.

  7. Fabulous story (yes, pun intended) and charmingly told = I’ll remember it. Thanks for this.

  8. I really enjoyed this analogy and I am definitely a tortoise. Not just with blogging, but in many aspects of life. In my previous life before staying home with the little ones, I was a Career Counselor for about 7 years. I taught a lot of workshops about career choices and our satisfaction within our careers. One of the most popular workshops was the MBTI assessment. Now I’m curious how our MBTI types play out in blogging. Are certain types more apt to be the tortoise? Which types thrive on Twitter? (definitely not me) etc. Have you ever come across any information about this? Perhaps I need to do a study… :-)

    • Christi,

      I think I was a tortoise for much of my career. I did various things, thinking that they weren’t related, and only after ten years realised that they all tied together and gave me a firm foundation to build a career on. Some people start off as hares, look at Justin Bieber, but it’s probably healthier to be a tortoise.

    • A study would be cool, feel free to email me and we can discuss.

  9. I’ve been moving very slowly in the world of blogging. It’s is still very new to me and I am learning a lot. I do plan to step it up a notch eventually, but I’m a researcher, and the past couple of months have been just that, researching and learning everything I can blogging related.

    I will make it a goal to be a little bit more “harey” (I know…I make up words all the time) in the next couple months…I’m not a big risk taker, but I’m willing to try new things!

    Thanks, Kendra

  10. Hi Chris,

    That is some solid marketing advice in a bar. Of course your answer is brilliant that one cannot become a hare without mastering being a tortoise. And that takes lot of patience and perseverance.


  11. Thank you Chris. I had always assumed that “slow and steady” had to be an unchanging condition. Now I know that there’s a time and a season for everything :)

  12. Thank you for this nice story of yours… Thanks to you now I know what is bothering me for several weeks now. I’ve always been proud to be like the tortoise… That’s exactly who I am, and who I’ve always wanted to be! Yet lately I thought it would be kind of cool to become a little more of a hare!

    If it simply happens then I’ll keep on doing what I do until I’ll become one… But maybe I should help it a little bit :)

  13. I am still in the early stages of my blog, but its my passion, so the work doesnt seem so overwelming, but there have been times where I have struggled with continuing, especially during those slow traffic times, but then a few cents roll in and my inspiration continues, probably not the right approach but sometimes a small success keeps me going. Thanks for the article.

  14. Great post and really useful for me – I’m taking part in the 31Days challenge and am spending lots of time considering where I want to go with my blog.

    I like the fact that being a tortoise can be fine in the early stages (and maybe longer term), although I do find myself feeling glimmers of hope that I might one day have some more hare-like qualities and be able to stretch myself further.

  15. Great post! I’m definitely in an annoyingly ponderous Age of the Tortoise, which would usually make me give up most things far too soon. With my blog I got really lucky when my 7th post went wild on StumbleUpon and though it was short lived, it gave me a lot of confidence that there was potential to be realised. Now I just have to, you know, do that.

  16. Nice analogy, Chris.

    I think most people are a bit of both the Tortoise and the Hare, when it comes to certain circumstances in life.

    In one particular area, an individual may be a raging success(Totally competent), full of poise and brimming with confidence.

    Yet, that same person in another area of their life(Under different circumstances), becomes like a “fish out of water” unable to cope with things which seem far less challenging, or confronting.

    As you suggested in your reply to Amy, and I agree 100% “Balance is the key”

    I think each individual needs to get their own particular balance right.

  17. Wow I wish my drunk stories were that insightful! What was the point where you knew you’d made transition from shell to fur?

  18. Hey Daniel. I’d say I went from shell to fur with a past blog when it started successfully drawing and retaining new readers consistently. I was able to get out to where my potential new audience members were, get their attention like a hare and keep them subscribed like a tortoise.

  19. Congratulations on another guest post Chris. You will catch up with me now. I’m straddling 600. :D

    This is an interesting story. In a lot of ways I see the truth in my personal experience. I couldn’t be accomplishing what I am today without a LOT of trial and error.

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