Little is the new big: Why you shouldn’t brush off the little guy

little big

Don’t you hate it when you email someone and they just brush you off because they feel like you are a “nobody”? A lot of famous people are known to engage this type of behavior but the reality of it is that if you don’t do it you can actually improve your brand. Here is how you can build up your brand by helping people that others consider to be a “nobody”…

No man is an island
If someone emails you, never ignore them! If you don’t have the time to help them just let them know with a kind response. If you do have time make sure you help them out because it will mean a lot to that person. I know this sounds simple like it is common sense, but most people don’t realize how big of a difference it can make by helping out the little guy. If you think about it, the little guys make up the majority and if you brand yourself in a positive way with the majority it will carry over to the rest.

Show some appreciation
By giving away prizes or free advice in a public manner you can create some buzz for yourself. In most cases the little guy can’t afford everything the big companies can so by making an effort to help them out for free it can do wonders for your personal branding.

Another way you can show some appreciation is by posting comments on small industry blogs. In the past I talked about posting comments on popular industry blogs, but why not post comments on the little guy’s blog? Although you won’t get much traffic you will get tons of loyal followers and really show people that you care.

Eat up the leftovers
You are always going to have competition or other people in your field with a bigger name. In most cases people will ask them questions publicly through blog posts or forums, but they usually don’t respond. If you respond to all of the people that were looking for advice from your competition but did not get it, you will start rising up in their eyes and these people will inevitably tell others how great you are.

Give them support
Every once in a while you will see a big guy pick on a little guy. Everyone usually backs up the big guy because the chances are they are going to win, but if you feel that the little guy is right back them up. Let it be known that you are going to backup the little guy and that you are the spokesman for all the little guys out there.

These are just some of the things that I try and do to gain support from the little guys but the possibilities are endless. One thing that really comes to mind here is that by responding to the little guy you are setting a great example. To me, that’s part of leadership. Some of the great people in the past were made great by responding and interacting with the people, not by politicking with the senate types. If you want to make a brand for yourself you’re going to have to realize the importance of certain people and it might not always be the obvious ones.

P.S. If you want more tips on growth go here.


  1. Dan Schawbel :

    This is all proper salesman ship and ettique. The golden rule we learned years ago plays into effect here. I think ignoring someone who is “not famous” is a very bad idea, because that person might be famous in a year from now and there was a loss of opportunity.

    Never close the doors to someone knew because you never know when they could help change your life!

  2. esotericsean :

    I love it when I actually hear back from someone. The other day, I posted on a famous movie director’s blog and in return he emailed me and gave me some advice! I really look up more to him now.

  3. John Wesley :

    Very well put. This is the reason I do my best to respond to all commenters and to leave a comment myself on blogs that link to me.

  4. Boris Mordkovich :

    I think that you definitely see this happen a lot with celebrities and other well-known popular figures. They often neglect to show their appreciation to the people that got them to where they are right now.

    On the SEM front, for some reason this reminds me of the story of (as a little guy at a big conference).


  5. Thanks Neil for stating this simple but true thing. I know from experience you practice what you preach and that it creates loyalty


  6. There is a definite halo or ripple effect from interacting with your ‘long tail’ (just as there is a feel-good factor when someone famous responds) but the trade off is in how much time you should invest into responding to dozens, hundreds or even thousands of communiques across blogs, forums, emails and IMs.

    How do you do it Neil?

    I’m by no means a ‘big guy’ but I have to deal with enough stuff that I often wonder how ‘A-listers’ manage their time? A philosophy like GTD may help but I usually end up spending an inordinate amount of time communicating – and the only thing that gives is sleeping hours!

  7. Great advice – I have to get better at this myself. The cost of not responding to all the people who care enough to contact you is greater than most realize.

    I sure hope the power of “nobody” is as great as you say it is. πŸ˜‰

  8. SEO Practices :

    Very true Neil. Let’s put it this way: “A person’s reputation is built upon thousands of unknown ones”

  9. The reason why most big guys are ignoring us nobodies is very often the time factor.
    But I think if you really love your topic, you don’t care about the time πŸ˜‰

  10. :

    Great quote SEO Practices.

    We tend to give honor and respect to those who dress well, are well groomed and seemed to have plenty of money. But sometimes it is ‘small insignificant’ person that holds the power.

    True story. Once a newly hired Manager went to his new office to meet the Chairman of the company. When he arrived bright and early, he saw an elderly man in the office sweeping the floor.

    Curtly, he told the elderly man to be quick and feeling important, ordered him to get he and the Chairman a cup of coffee. The elderly man said nothing and just went to get the cups of coffee.

    Imagine the horror and shame the new Manager felt when his new colleagues came into the office and started greeting the elderly man, “Good morning Chairman!”

    Shows you never know!

    Abundance Always.

    • That is a wonderful story, and it just re-emphasises the importance of being true to yourself, no matter who you are dealing with. Humility costs nothing, and it leaves a lasting impression.

      • That’s really what it all comes down to. If you can’t be true to yourself, who can you be true with?

  11. Drew Stauffer :

    Great advice Neil. It’s nice to see that all of your success hasn’t gone to your head. Very refreshing.

  12. So true, so true. Thanks for this, Neil. It had to be said. You wouldn’t believe how many well-known bloggers have done this to me. I praise their work in an email to them, but only after we’ve had a bit of dialogue first. And what do they do? They never respond to me ever again, not even in their blog comments section. I guess it’s a crime in the blogosphere to tell someone they’re doing a great job. I thought I left this kind of “feeling threatened” mentality behind when I stopped working offline.

    I’m not a big name blogger but I’m not an unknown, and professional courtesy even would dictate a response – even if it’s “my apologies but I’m very busy right now.”

    It’s this attitude that has prompted me to mentor a select few people who ask. (I’m mentoring someone right now.) I’m still learning, but I’m happy to teach what I know.

    Anyway, I’m so glad you’re not like that, and it’s probably part of the secret of your success.

  13. Great advice, Neil.

    A friend of mine, who used to promote a certain person’s products as an affiliate, has finally stopped doing so because she never responded to his several (polite) emails asking some additional questions about the products.

  14. Once thing I’ve learnt through years of experience working with people is that what goes around “really” comes around, if you have a company and treat your employees with respect and encourage them to improve themselves, you will be building a solid network of potentialy influencial people

    • Yea, it is all about motivating them. Not only from a verbal aspect, but you also want to show it. This could mean company outings outings, dinners, or anything that sounds fun.

  15. Programming company :

    A very good piece of advice indeed. That is same as our philosophy too.. “customer is always king and every customer is valuable no matter how small or how big”

  16. Mayank Dhingra :

    Great quote SEO Practices

    Neil, you’ve hit the nail on the head with this post.

    I’ve seen this happen a lot and especially with famous/successful people with old school thinking. These guys never bother to reply to lesser known people’s emails, comments, @’s etc. What these people need to understand is that by closing doors to li’l guys they are damaging their own prospects and they need to be a bit more far-sighted.

    reminds me of this quote “to lead people, walk behind them”

    Thanks for sharing.

  17. Lalitha Brahma :

    I learned about you from Yanik Silver’s emails. What an excellent article! I love the way you have explained “Eat up the left overs”. I have experienced it myself and got some good leads. Thanks.

  18. VentSmart Dryer Vent Cleaning :

    Now you got me thinking………….we were all little guys at one time or another…..building relationships always pays dividends

  19. I’m so guilty of not replying to emails. It’s not because I don’t view people as important, I just don’t prioritise them high enough.

    Thanks for the reminder. I’ll definitely move it up my list from now on.

  20. I like the helpful info you supply on your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at again right here regularly. I am slightly sure I’ll be informed lots of new stuff right here! Good luck for the following!

  21. Thanks for the tips Neil.

  22. David Karanja :

    Hi Neil,
    I love the way you link back to posts you wrote years ago cause the advice is still the same and just as powerful.
    The ‘little guy syndrome’ is pervasive everywhere and its good to be on the look out that I don’t catch it.
    Thanks Neil

  23. Extreme Clean Dryer Vent Cleaning :

    Great article. I always tend to root for the little guy. Almost everyone starts out small. It all comes around as they say.

  24. Thank for sharing your success secrets, Are you able to make money with your blog so far?

  25. Executive Programs :

    Very nice post.This is the reason that I always try to comment on top commentators posts.

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