Cloning Yourself for Fun and Profit- Guest Post

The following is a guest post from someone I admire a great deal. Chris Guillebeau is out there doing some amazing things in the world of helping others design lifestyle businesses. His latest book, The $100 Startup (amazon affiliate link), is worth grabbing, too!

It’s everyone’s fantasy. When you think about imaginary superpowers, you first wish for the ability to fly—doesn’t everyone? Then you wish for the power of invisibility, the ability to eat as much ice cream as you want, your own Batmobile, and so on. Specific superhero aspirations vary.

But sooner or later you dream of another impossible achievement: the creation of a clone, who can work while you sleep or take on tasks in your absence. You have so much you want to do—good things, not the unwanted obligations we all need to reduce—and you wish you could begin more projects without killing yourself.

It’s not about scale for the sake of scale; it’s about growing your influence. It’s about creating more positive change—mixing it up and reaching more people in a different way. As a business grows and the business owner begins itching for new projects, he or she essentially has two options for self-made cloning:

Option 1: Reach more people with the same message

Option 2: Reach different people with a new message

Either option is valid, and both can be rewarding. For the first option, it may be helpful to think of the “hub and spoke” model when building an online brand. In this model, largely popularized by Chris Brogan, the hub is your main web site—typically an e-commerce site where something is sold, but it could also be a blog, community forum, or something else. The hub is a home base, with most of the content curated by you or your team, and ultimately where you hope to drive new visitors, prospects, and customers.

The spokes, known as outposts by Chris, are all of the other places where you spend your time. These could include social networking sites, the comments section of your blog or other blogs, actual meetings or networking events, or something else. You can see how this works in the image below:

Credit: Mike Rohde

Credit: Mike Rohde

The goal for each of the outposts is to support the work of the home base, not usually the outpost itself. It can be a trap to spend too much time with any of the outposts, because things change—some outposts become less popular over time, for example. You also own the content and work you create in the home base, whereas most of what happens in an outpost is “owned” by another company.

For example, I see a lot of great photographers on Instagram. They get hundreds of “likes” with each amazing photo. But for many of them, it seems they have no other home—everything is lost in the Instagram archives, which aren’t conducive to longevity. Don’t leave your followers on someone else’s site! Bring them to the hub.

You’re Only One Person… or Maybe Two

Hub-and-spoke is great for reaching more people with the same message. But there’s also another way to think of it. What if you could effectively clone or franchise yourself to work in totally different markets, with more than one hub? This isn’t just “doing more”; it’s about applying your skills, activities, and passions in a totally different way. The difference is that you take the time to be strategic—just like Nathalie Lussier did.

Nathalie was an up-and-coming software engineer. Originally from Quebec, she had interned in Silicon Valley and then had the chance to take a big job on Wall Street. Her family said it was the job of her dreams… but as Nathalie thought more about it, she realized it was the job of someone else’s dreams. Turning down the offer, she returned to Canada and decided to pursue a different idea.

Nathalie had a personal success story of dramatically improving her health after switching to a raw foods diet. Eating only fruits, vegetables, and nuts sounded crazy at first, but the results spoke for themselves: in the first month, she lost more than ten pounds and suddenly had energy throughout the day. As she talked with her friends, Nathalie was a natural evangelist—not pushy or judgmental, but offering tips and strategies that people could use to make real improvements, even if they weren’t ready to jump into a completely raw diet like Nathalie had done.

After relocating to Toronto, the idea was to build a small business helping other people make the adjustment to raw foods. Being a software engineer (and a self-described geek), Nathalie programmed a database, set up an app, and built her own website. The first incarnation was Raw Food Switch, which correctly represented the concept, but seemed a bit boring. One day Nathalie noticed that the same spelling—and therefore the same website—could be rendered as Raw Foods Witch, leading to a new theme. Dressing in character with a pointed black hat for photo shoots, she rebranded the whole business around herself. Nathalie created programs, one-time products, and individual consultation sessions in the same way we’ve seen others do throughout the book. Raw Foods Witch grew into a $60,000 business after the first year.

What’s not to love? Just one thing: “From the outside,” she told me, “It looked like all I talked about was raw foods. No one realized I had done all the programming and really enjoyed the intersection of business and technology.”

The second business came about unexpectedly, after Nathalie began getting tech inquires from her raw foods clients who were also creating businesses. She decided to create a separate brand for tech consulting, operating under her own name instead of the moniker she used in the other business. Raw Foods Witch is still a powerful brand—friends and clients report that other shoppers have mentioned her in the grocery store when they see a cart full of avocados—but she restructured the business to run on 80% autopilot. It still brings in a good income, but now Nathalie spends her time building the second business. Instead of doing one or the other, Nathalie effectively franchised herself.


In your own business, you can hone your efforts, producing one killer project that changes the world and brings you a good income. Or you can indeed be in more than one place at a time, without killing yourself. The key to the latter is to be strategic, like Nathalie was, and to set up the right systems that allow you to divide and conquer—if you want to.

Whatever you do, always focus your efforts on making a difference in the lives of the people you serve. This focus will ultimately determine your success.

How are you working to grow or improve your business?


Chris Guillebeau’s new book, The $100 Startup, provides a blueprint for creating freedom by building a business with no special skills and a small amount of money. Chris also writes for a small army of remarkable people at runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Raul Colon

    This post comes at the right time. I am currently working on multiple things and they might all seem like completely different but at the end of the day they all complement each other and are aligned. 

    To my clients and consumers it looks like something different I see it all connected. Now based on the recommendations of this post I have to focus on planning and strategy. Will be looking into the New Book! 

    • Marcie_Hill

       Raul, all of my projects are related to writing and blogging, which, like your projects, are connected but look different to clients. It’s hard trying to explain them all but I get it.  So, like you, I will be focusing on planning and strategy.

  • Nathalie Lussier

    This just made my day, thanks for sharing my story with everyone Chris! I think it’s a great analogy to cloning, because it’s almost like shining a light on a different aspect of yourself… and we all know we have infinite sides and interests. :)

  • Tommy Walker

    I love this. It’s also exactly what the Offbeat empire is all about. I don’t follow it personally, but my wife loves everything they do over there and it seems like a very sustainable way to do lots without burning out. 

  • Alex Moon

    I love this.

    • writingbee

      I like too.

  • Turndog Millionaire

    Being Strategic is the key. Sometimes you can keep everything under one brand, and sometimes you can’t. If you create a framework for everything though, and look at things on an individual basis, you can target the right methods for the right situations.

    Great post and some really good ideas and example. 

    Thanks for the good read

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  • Muhammad Ayaz

    Great Post and creating strategic is very crucial in improving any business but the important point is to implement that strategy in a right way that you are achieving your goals. for that I set small goals after creating strategy than time to time checking that and sometimes I changes it keeping in mind the short time goals.

    I like your tips in the article, will consider them in future now. 

    Thanks for sharing a nice article!

  • Marcie_Hill

    Chris, I think of clones on a daily basis and it’s great to know that I am not the only one. After reading this post, I am definitely going to figure out how to automate my projects so I, too, can be in several places making more connections and having fun while making money.

    To be perfectly honest, if I did have clones, I would be a bazillionaire with all my ideas. As it is, I’m going to have to take Turndog Millionaire’s advice and be strategic…..and automate.

  • Den Valik

    This post comes at the right time. 

  • Arwin Adriano

    Great post, love the concept of cloning and I think for us to be able to multiply more we should learn to carefully select the circle we wanted to be with.

  • Becca

    Research based and
    fresh contents are always very useful to increase the traffic for a site.
    These contents are very helpful to enlist the site in organic searches.

  • Jason Heilpern

    This was a fantastic article!  The idea of the hub and the spokes was amazing and it really made a lot of sense to me!  Thank you for sharing!

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