It is said that all things come in threes.

Twice this week I have been asked, by fairly random sources, what my favorite article is on IttyBiz.

Since someone else is going to ask anyway, I’ll just repost it.

I assume that you are here because you want to become rich and famous on the internet in five easy steps. Either that or you don’t speak English and you’re looking for dirty pictures. Therefore, without further ado…

1. Find something you’re so passionate about that people think you’re alarming and kind of creepy.

When I worked for Sprint, a Very Enthusiastic Man worked in the department next to mine. He was so Enthusiastic With A Capital E that when we spoke, which was fairly often, I was convinced he was hitting on me. But he wasn’t hitting on me in a normal way. Oh, no. He wanted me to fly a kite with him.

Every day, a new request to go kite flying. Every day, a new discussion of the type of kite that would be just right for me. Every day, another piece of kite tournament trivia.

Eventually, I had to tell him that I didn’t think the direction our relationship was going was appropriate. For one thing, I was engaged. For another, it was really weirding me out.

He gives me this totally perplexed look and says, “I’m not propositioning you. I’m married to the most beautiful girl in the world. I just really like flying kites and I thought you might like it too.”

That is a man who could make a lot of money on the internet.

2. Know or learn more about this topic than 98% of the world population.

This step can best be achieved by reading lots of books. An intelligent person could fake it by reading the table of contents of lots of books.

Somewhere along the way, we got the idea that “expert status” was granted by other experts. For tens of thousands of years, an expert was somebody who knew a lot about something. In the last hundred years or so, we got it in our collective heads that expertise could only be attained by years of school, paid experience, or ideally, both.

You don’t have to be Johnnie Walker to know which whiskey tastes like a harem full of honey-covered virgins and which one tastes like rat pee.

3. Choose a brandable attribute somewhere between Out Of The Ordinary and Outright Offensive.

Combine your love of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with your passion for harness racing and you have the recipe for making some serious bank. Do gambling podcasts and end them all with, “And I say these things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.” That stuff gets you noticed.

Topless political commentary. Pajama-clad mommy vlogging while actually and exclusively clad in pajamas. Write under the pseudonym “Rufus” and bark when you get excited. Basically, be weird.

4. For the first 12 months, pretend you don’t notice the brand you chose in number 3.

Just do what you’re doing like there’s nothing strange about it. Just do your weird-ass thing. Do not mention it. Do not allude to it. Do everything you can to make people wonder if you’re so crazy you don’t even know you’re crazy.

Why? It’s a lot more fun to tell our friends about weird-ass crap we found on the internet when we feel like we discovered the weirdness ourselves. If we get a hint that you’re doing it as a publicity stunt, it’s not fun anymore. If I want to tell my friends I found this guy who screams his head off about wine, it kind of ruins the effect if his header says, “The Dude Who Screams His Head Off About Wine.”

(After 12 months, when other people have started talking about you, you may stop pretending you’re not a naked Mormon if you like, although I probably wouldn’t.)

5. Work your fool ass off at this and nothing else for somewhere between nine and 36 months.

Do not waver in your efforts, even when your website gets 6 visitors a day. Do not stop doing what you’re doing when you don’t get a comment on your blog for an entire month. Do not quit, even when any rational person would say you’re never going to succeed.

Continue being optimistic and gracious and charming, even though there is neither guarantee nor hope that you will make a damn dime from your efforts.

Bonus Step: Sell Them Something.

By this point, it doesn’t matter what you sell. You’re so insane that they’ll pretty much do whatever you tell them to.

Naomi writes more things like this in The Letter. Get it for free today. (It also comes with free marketing courses. You can’t move for free here.)

48 Comments on How To Become Rich and Famous On The Internet In 5 Easy Steps

  1. Jonathan
    May 7, 2009 at 1:40 am (8 years ago)

    THIS! This is why I stalk you on Twitter and on here. This is the kind of advice worth telling my friends about. You rawk, girlfriend.

  2. Amy Crook
    May 7, 2009 at 2:25 am (8 years ago)

    Step 1: Steal Underpants
    Step 2: Blog about it
    Step 3: Profit!

    You’ve solved the problem of Southpark’s Underpants Gnomes!


    What? It was a long day. We can’t all be as clever as you.

  3. Ali
    May 7, 2009 at 2:26 am (8 years ago)

    You’re crazy.

    (There’s a comment for you)

  4. Kelly
    May 7, 2009 at 8:26 am (8 years ago)


    When you’re hot, you’re hot. Funny as all get-out, and quietly true, too.

    In all seriousness, it’s number 5 that’s the kicker. Closer to 36 months, for a lot of folks not willing to go all the way to barking mad, and folks drop like flies around 6 months, so they never have a chance to see what might develop.

    I only came over here to bookmark the post—imagine my surprise at being able to comment! It’s nice to be able to give praise where praise is due. :)



    (I’m gettin’ me a pseudonym right now. I knew something was missing…)

  5. Jennifer
    May 7, 2009 at 8:43 am (8 years ago)

    Hmm. I know I’m weird. Just have never been able to pinpoint how. Maybe now’s the time to figure that one out. ;)

    Great post!

  6. Writer Dad
    May 7, 2009 at 9:35 am (8 years ago)

    This post was awesome and EXACTLY why people love you so much.

  7. Lee Ann
    May 7, 2009 at 10:55 am (8 years ago)

    Honestly, even if I didn’t think you were a marketing genius, I’d read your blog anyway! You’re exactly the kind of person I’d love to have a whiskey with (but not the rat piss kind…)

  8. His Milkmaid
    May 7, 2009 at 11:32 am (8 years ago)

    WOW. I am just crazy enough to do this. I just need something to sell. LOL.

    Love your humor.

  9. Steve Averill
    May 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm (8 years ago)

    this post is so brilliant it annoys the piss out of me

  10. Catherine Cantieri, Sorted
    May 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm (8 years ago)

    1. Done
    2. Done
    3. Hmmm… not sure I’m all that out of the ordinary. But I’m working on it!
    4. Hey, maybe I *am* out of the ordinary, and I’ve managed to forget it already! (Maybe not.)
    5. Four months down, 5 to 32 left to go…

  11. Michelle - Word Ninja
    May 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm (8 years ago)

    Naomi, you’re on fire today. This list is hilarious!

    Currently working on #2 over here… :-)

  12. Shawna R. B. Atteberry
    May 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm (8 years ago)

    Thank you Naomi! I needed this. I need to stop being “proper.” Going to work on #1.

  13. Kerry Hargraves
    May 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm (8 years ago)

    Love this post.

    I’ve done it once already as a flamingo planter, but I’m pretty much over that (anyone want to buy a weird, crazy business?). Now I’m looking for the #3 in my newest enterprise.

  14. Charles Bohannan
    May 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm (8 years ago)

    Everything was cool until I got to number 5, then I started crying. Nobody gives a shit what I’m doing but me, and that pain is slowly taking its toll on my spirit.

    I am going MAD with my blog. Some days I feel I’m onto something great, other days I’m disgusted by my incompetence. All other days my wife screams at me because all I’m doing is blogging for free. I’ve got 4 kids!

    I feel like I’m on the verge of selling out to what people want to hear just to get some attention. But I also know that’s not going to work. Thanks for the gentle slap across my tear-stained face.

  15. Andrea_R
    May 7, 2009 at 5:10 pm (8 years ago)

    Darn it – two new clients this week said they love me because I’m so real and genuine.



  16. Deb Owen
    May 7, 2009 at 7:36 pm (8 years ago)

    Harness racing and the love of all things Jesus Christ — now that cracked a preacher’s kid like me right up!! ;-)

    All the best!

  17. Deveena
    May 7, 2009 at 10:08 pm (8 years ago)

    Dang it woman. I don’t want to like you, but you write crazy stuff like this that makes me LOL, and I can’t help myself.

    “And I say these things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.”

    So, seriously…what do you advise for someone who has already made a hot mess of branding their blog?

    @Charles :)

  18. Candice
    May 8, 2009 at 3:42 am (8 years ago)

    I wasn’t going to read this post because the thought of ANOTHER list of “how to make money online” had me reaching for my eyes to gouge them out – but when I realized your intro was only 2.5 sentences long and the first heading sounded like something I’d say, I thought that perhaps THIS is worth reading… I wasn’t disappoint!!!

    Going to get started right this second…

  19. Andy Fossett
    May 8, 2009 at 4:36 am (8 years ago)

    Why couldn’t you have told me this nine to 36 months ago?

  20. JoVE
    May 8, 2009 at 10:45 am (8 years ago)

    “You don’t have to be Johnnie Walker to know which whiskey tastes like a harem full of honey-covered virgins and which one tastes like rat piss.”

    I would totally tweet this if it weren’t 143 chars.

    Literally the best metaphor ever.

  21. parkerparker
    May 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm (8 years ago)

    Nice post — you lifted me up just when I needed it. I’m with Charles — been working my tail off for a L-O-N-G time and some days it just seems as if nobody notices. Then whammo, out of the blue, somebody buys something you NEVER expected would EVER sell. Proof that staying out there, staying focused, doing what you do — it all works out in the end.

    Thanks for a great post!


  22. Mike Drips
    May 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm (8 years ago)

    1. I don’t know how I came across your site, but I suspect it was from one of the many Brazilian prostitutes, mental cases and unemployed Russian dancers that follow me on Twitter, where I am known as MDrips. Not enough coffee that morning to spell out “Mike”.
    2. I know you’re married but I love your site so much that I want to carry your child. Plus I too used to work at Sprint a million year ago, so that should count for extra credit.
    3. Thank you SO MUCH for leading me to the WeightLifting Diabetic! I too have diabetes and in my dream world SOMEONE else would do all the exercising but I would lose the weight. I would pay serious money for that to happen.
    4. I’m probably going to buy some of your crap once you have a garage sale. I know it’s not crap (here, have a Kleenex and blow your nose now) but whatever one buys at a garage sale is someone else’s crap.
    5. Even though I have been out of work (OK, unemployed? Between engagements?) I definitely will be following your advice, reading your blog, stalking you on Twitter and sleeping until noon.

    Thanks again for a truly GREAT blog!

  23. Johnny B. Truant
    May 8, 2009 at 9:45 pm (8 years ago)

    I was going to leave an insightful comment, but the I noticed point #3 by Mike Drips above.

    I will lose your weight for you, Mike. Kindly PayPal $50k to [email protected]

  24. Havii Brookes
    May 9, 2009 at 9:41 am (8 years ago)

    (Warning: Contains 50% humor by volume.)

    Dear Ms. Naomi NoPants:

    So now you’ve opened comments on your site, and you must think you’re all special and everything because people come and tell YOU how much you rock.

    That used to be MY special thing, you know. And my duck. (Funny story about that duck — I first saw it on the wing of an airplane during a night flight from Berlin. But none of the other passengers could see it at all, and they all thought I was crazy.)

    Well, I don’t use questionable language like SOME people but if I did I’d call you that word that ends in “itch” — oh, big fiddlesticks, you’re a WITCH! There, I said it!

    So now you’re telling people how to be rich and famous on the Internet. Did you ever put your pants on long enough to realize that if MORE people become famous then you and I will become less special? That the Cult Of Havi and Naomi (I know you call it “The Cult Of Naomi and Havi”) will just fade away to a few shut-ins living desperate lives in South Carolina with their smelly little pug dogs?

    And to top it all off, you’ve got the PLATINUM BALLS(tm) to try to take away my new ghostwriter, the esteemed Mr. Carlson! (He’s been writing my blog for the last six months since I hurt my wrist at the dogfights in Tijuana.) You can’t have him! He’s mine, all mine!

    You can just go off with that new Sonja person and have fun at your new site, and I’ll be here in Portland with the duck. Don’t worry about us — we’ll be fine. I’ve got a new recipe for l’orange sauce…

  25. Alli Worthington
    May 9, 2009 at 6:29 pm (8 years ago)


    {rubs your feet}

  26. Molly Gordon
    May 11, 2009 at 6:17 pm (8 years ago)

    I’m thinking this one is 20% humor by volume. Maybe more. And maybe I’m not funny. Oh well!Friggin’ brilliant, as usual.

    And Havi is wrong (though it pains me to say so). The more famous weird people there are, the more room there will be for famous weird people.

    Besides, as with most good sense/good advice, 98% of the people who read this will ignore it or go half way. The real truth about marketing (or anything) is generally so simple and radical that is scares folks.

    I adore your work. I love that Sonia’s people are hippies and mine are creative professionals and yours are, well, I don’t exactly know, but they do, and that’s all that counts.

    BTW, ages ago you did a post on cool socks from a store in Portland (I think). I ordered 7-8 pairs of delicious knee-highs. They’re cozy and sexy, if I do say so my 55-year-old self.

    Thanks for being you. (God knows, I don’t want to do it!)


  27. Wendy Maynard
    May 13, 2009 at 11:41 pm (8 years ago)

    Love this post. It’s all about taking our oddities and coming out of the closet with them! I just did a brainstorm with my husband about my quirks. Now to just exploit them (rubs her hands in glee)

    Thanks, Wendy

  28. Spinny
    May 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm (8 years ago)

    Okay, you’ve heard this lots but you rock. I was steered your way by Jonathan (first comment ‘way up there) and now I’m grateful to him and twitterstalking you.

    I’ve come to realize my stodgy do-nothing studio website is, well, doing nothing. You’ve helped me see a path through the nothingness and towards some semblance of Awesomeness. I am resolved to tread this path forthwith. Methinks I have enough quirks to cobble something together that’s niche-y and (dare I say) unique.

    More to come.

  29. David Dittell
    May 25, 2009 at 1:40 am (8 years ago)


    GREAT advice, and very uplifting, even for those not necessarily trying to become rich and famous on the internet (THEN WHY DID I READ THE POST???).

    From now on, every time I’m hustling as a writer, I’m going to refer to it as Flying the Kite.

  30. Farnoosh Brock
    September 1, 2009 at 6:21 am (7 years ago)

    Not sure why this post is offensive. It’s pretty blunt and tells it as it is. Anyway don’t change your “offensive” writing voice please, some of us like this stuff ;)!

  31. Havana
    October 29, 2009 at 11:57 pm (7 years ago)

    LMAO I love your commentary on all this stuff. And it is so true! Being a nerd pays off big. I may not have been the most “popular” chick in high school, but man, am I glad I was a nerd all through my life. :)

  32. Diggy -
    November 13, 2009 at 5:03 am (7 years ago)

    Hey Naomi!
    I found your blog through John’s Jetsetcitizen interview!
    I can see why you are so successful with ittybiz! :) Love your site and style of writing already!

    I think point number 5 is the most important, that just carry on doing your thing even if you are not getting immediate results!

    Thanks for the great article!! :)
    You have a new reader!

  33. Mary
    January 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm (7 years ago)

    My favorite line, “That shit gets you noticed.”

  34. Toby Martini
    February 24, 2010 at 11:37 am (7 years ago)


    Had to read this after our talk.

    And of course, you’re right. If more people read this, their minds would be blown… and just maybe someone would take action and go create something great.

    Thanks for being a potty-mouth inspiration to the next generation!

    Now, I have to go work on bringing my RL weirdness into my online world.

    “Do gambling podcasts and end them all with, “And I say these things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.” That shit gets you noticed.”

    That made me laugh out loud and be thankful that I was not drinking anything at the moment!

    Toby Martini

  35. Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire
    June 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm (7 years ago)

    Number one is the thang that makes the world go ’round in small business. When you are so into a topic that other people don’t even want to be around you, then you are ready to start your small business for that thing.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  36. Phil Morse
    June 12, 2010 at 10:06 am (7 years ago)

    Genuinely felt you may be a kindred spirit when I read your last sentence. Thanks, you made me laugh out loud.

  37. Deb (Two Cheeky Monkeys)
    August 10, 2010 at 12:30 am (6 years ago)

    Oh dear, this made me laugh!!! Is including one’s children in the weirdness inappropriate?!?!?! Maybe I will just go and find myself a weirdo pseudonym, LOL.

  38. Duane Moore
    August 10, 2010 at 1:59 pm (6 years ago)

    So…what you’re saying is that I should somehow mix my fascination with cannibals in with the destruction of pop music?


  39. Aaron Kerr
    August 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm (6 years ago)

    Great post, but I still say the kite guy was a stalker.

  40. @TheGirlPie
    August 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm (6 years ago)

    I love rereading this classic posts!
    For the classic advice,
    the review of commenters (seeing who took the advice 15 months later, and who I don’t see anymore),
    and for the reminder to have someone check old comments to delete spam… ha!

    And the proof that you walk the talk of these 5+1 lessons?
    Your passion, expertize, original voice, organic sense of fun, and hard work — plus killer products (and valuable bonuses) — are true to this old post yet feel fresher than ever.

    Your great eye for the big picture while sharing a tiny detain knocks me out every time. Talent will do that.


  41. Jess
    August 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm (6 years ago)

    Ah Naomi, you rock!

    You make me feel okay about embracing my inner-weirdo-crazy-woman, and remind me I can actually let her out now and again.

    And yep, expert status is a whole new ballgame now-days…

    (and how many freaking times did I have to backspace when writing this. It’s 5am and I should be asleep, damnit)

  42. Graziella
    August 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm (6 years ago)

    LOVE IT! Your usage of profanity makes this all the more “real”- maybe because I’m a New Yorker, I don’t know.. but I love it! Thanks for the insight :)

  43. Moki's Fanfiction Blog
    August 10, 2010 at 7:02 pm (6 years ago)

    So much love for this post! It totally cracked me up because I am guilty of all 5 steps. Well except for number 5. First off because I will admit that *sometimes* I do other things (ducks head in shame) and also that I’ve only been at it for about seven months. So I’ve got a few more months to go before I hit the eighteen month mark.

    Thanks for this!

  44. Robert
    August 11, 2010 at 8:59 am (6 years ago)

    This shit is awesome! I love it.

  45. ana
    August 27, 2010 at 4:53 pm (6 years ago)

    I would totally and innocently go kite flying with that guy.

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