I’m not sure where I first heard about Johnny B. Truant. Maybe it was an Ittybiz post; maybe it was a mention by some star or other in the blog stratosphere. All I know is that once Johnny came onto my radar, he basically stayed.
The man is everywhere.
In fact, he’s so everywhere, that he’s kind of famous for being everywhere. Which I guess makes sense, if you think about it.
In any case, it seems Johnny got his start in the blogosphere limelight in March of 2009, when he offered himself up as a public guinea pig to Naomi Dunford of Ittybiz. His offer:
“Why don’t I use your stuff and your advice to make money online. Publicly. And show everyone that an average guy who’s never done this before can actually do it. And you can coach me through it. Make course-corrections. Turn me into a millionaire. And together, we can make this whole ‘make money online’ thing a reality for everyone.”
Naomi took him up on it, and for the next year he blogged about his experiences building an online business. (I was actually practically oblivious to the blog world during this adventure, so I missed the excitement while it was happening in real time, but it’s all on Itty Biz if you want to catch it in reruns. Just do a search on Johnny B. Truant.)
The point is, Johnny’s actually done the work and built a financially successful business from his creativity in less than a year. In other words, he knows his shit. (Oops… I mean “stuff.” Sorry Mom.)
The arrival of Question the Rules
So when an email from Johnny landed in my box, announcing the imminent arrival of a new, DIY, punk rock course that Johnny made with his friend and fellow punk, Lee Stranahan, I took notice. The sales page promised a “nonconformist’s punk rock, DIY, nuts-and-bolts guide to creating the business and life you really want, starting with what you already have.”
“Well, dang,” I said to myself, said I, “that sounds like me!” (Except for the punk rock part, being more of a jazz music person myself [but very much appreciating the punk DIY attitude, nonetheless.])
I figured it was worth the gamble. (Plus I was on the pre-pre-launch advance notice list, so I got it at the pre-pre-launch price — sweet! Note: for the best deals on info products made by your blog heroes, get on their advance notice list!)
So what is Question the Rules, exactly?
QTR is basically a bunch of audio recordings, which you can listen to via a streaming player on the password-protected QTR member site, or you can download (if the links work; some of them were broken for a few weeks, post-launch, but I believe they’re all working now.) Each recording stands alone, so you can go through them in any order, though there are essentially two modules:
- The Johnny & Lee conversations (The punk rock, DIY mindset; Setting your real goals; Belief and faith; Networking outside of the box [3 parts]; and The Wrap-Up and the Aftermath)
- The Rule-Questioner Guest Interviews (eighteen interviews, most about an hour long, with really cool people who are doing really cool, unconventional things and making a living at it)
PLUS, Johnny and Lee recently added a whole slew of Bonus Material, including some more audio recordings (Best of the IttyBiz SpeakEasy; Charlie and Johnny Jam Sessions), some e-Books (Beyond Blogging; 52 Weeks to Awesome; Idea Catalyst), and discounts on a bunch of cool stuff (20% off a Great Bowl o’Fire; 50% off How to Get A-Listers on Speed Dial; 25% off everything Beyond Blogging offers; and possibly some other stuff I’m leaving out because it’s late and I’m too tired to check).
Basically, you get a lot of shit. I mean stuff.
And on to the review
Okay, Johnny and Lee, if you’re reading, I’m going to be brutally honest. Your course has some flaws. The conversations frequently ramble and go off on tangents for long, long, long stretches. (Insert yawn and eye-rolling here.) And although I find the whole “un-schooling” concept quite interesting, not being a parent of a school-aged child myself (or any child, for that matter), the extended talk about un-schooling (in several of the interviews) gets a little, well, annoying. (Oh, god, do they have to rattle on about un-schooling again?) Plus there were a helluva lot of technical glitches at the start (like mp3’s not downloading, or only a few minutes of an hour-long interview downloading; all of which I believe have been resolved at this time [?])
So do I wish I’d spent my hard-earned clams elsewhere?
No! Absolutely not!
Am I glad I spent my hard-earned clams to buy Question the Rules?
In bullet form:
- it’s inspiring to hear so many totally rad people chatting informally about how they got where they are (and so much more besides, like, um, un-schooling)
- it’s eye-opening (“wow, you can do that?“)
- I got some great new ideas
- I learned about some really cool people I’d never heard of, and am super-glad to know about (hey, I got the “Multi-Passionate” part of my job title from Marie Forleo, one of the interviewees)
- it’s validating to be introduced to other people who are successfully doing exactly what I’m working on doing with my own life (but in their own, unique ways)
- I’ve been exposed to several different viewpoints
- it’s pretty darn entertaining (despite the aforementioned rambling, which, I must admit, does have the benefit of making one feel a bit like a fly on the wall of Johnny and/or Lee’s living room)
And I’m probably less than half way through!
As someone who’s been a solopreneur for going on 15 years, I have to admit I’ve found all the pep talks about how great it is to work for oneself a little tedious (you’re preaching to the converted, guys), but I would imagine it would be appreciated by the Cubicle Nation dwellers who make up QTR’s main target group. (If you’re looking for validation for quitting your job, you’ll certainly find it here.)
If you want a step-by-step guide to building a sustainable “lifestyle” business and working for yourself, check out Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guides, $100 Business Forum [watch for a review soon] and Empire Building Kit (when it becomes available again in the summer). If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to creating products from what you know in order to grow a sustainable income, check out Dave Navarro’s Creating Products That Sell and Building A Responsive List and The Launch Coach Library.
But if you want to immerse yourself (at your own pace) in conversations and ideas with a whole bunch of really cool people who are living unconventional, question-the-rules lives, SUCCESSFULLY (and if you don’t mind a bit of aimless rambling as part of the package), you’ll get a lot out of Question the Rules.
I know I am. Lee and Johnny, thank you. You guys rock.
*Disclosure: If you buy Question the Rules, or any of the other products linked to in this post, I’ll get some affiliate income, and will be forever grateful. If you don’t buy at all, or you buy through another link, I’ll never know, so don’t lose sleep over it.