deep focus

Profit or Popularity? How Deep Focus Might be the Key to Your Success

Deep focus and work is a topic which is really popular these days. However, it tends to go against the prevailing advice on how to become an online entrepreneur/personality. Personally, I’ve seen a lot of benefit by incorporating it in my schedule. In this post, I’ll share with you how I learned the hard way about the benefits of deep focus as a creator.

Setting the Stage

If you’ve been following the blog and podcast, you’ve probably realized that I’ve cut back on how many of each I publish. For a few months now, I’ve been on a schedule where I post a blog post one week and then the next week, I publish an interview.


But that wasn’t how I did things when I first started my online journey. In fact, I posted a blog post and an interview each week.

Even though I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to do as a new entrepreneur/thought leader, I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. But I kept pushing through for two years, believing I was doing what I was supposed to do.

However, towards the end of that two year period, I started hearing and seeing signs that I had to change things up.

And eventually those signs lead to the discovery of the M-6 Business Evolution Plan.

Signs to Change

So what were these signs? Here’s three I can definitely remember:

The Importance of Deep Work and Focus

One of the earliest signs I can recall is hearing Jordan Harbinger’s interview of Cal Newport discussing his book Deep Work. In the interview, they discuss why focusing on your work for long periods of time is the only way to create anything meaningful. The reasoning behind this is because it takes awhile for our brains to snap into the right gear to create. If our days consists a lot of checking email, posting to and checking social media, you’ll never get into this deep work or deep focus state.

I knew I wasn’t getting into that deep state because I was EVERYWHERE!

Profitability vs Popularity

The second sign I remember was when one of our guests mentioned that her coach constantly has to ask her a simple question: Do you want to be profitable or do you want to be popular?

It had never occurred to me that in the online digital space, there was a choice. I thought that the only way to create revenue was to be popular. The more people who knew of you, the more chances you had to make a sale, right?

Apparently, that’s not the total idea.

Even more interesting is that in another interview we had, our guest mentioned how there are plenty of popular people on the web who can barely afford to keep their own business doors open. In fact, there’s way more of them than there are people who have followers and have an income from that following.

Start Where You’re At!

The third big sign was during my research of this whole thing about having a Personal Mission.  This course of interest started when I heard David Anderson share about how important it is to him in his interview in session 92. I knew it was a piece I was missing. Uncover Your Personal Mission is the result of this 6 month study to figure out what my starting point should be. I now fully believe it’s imperative for someone to know where they’re at

Using the Right Road Map

So, it’s interesting how traditional online business advice suggests that you should be everywhere. I think it makes sense in the long run. But the market is so saturated with other entrepreneurs and thought leaders, that we have to realize we don’t have a chance in that game by ourselves. There’s just so much work we can do in a given day.

So what’s that mean for us? What’s our course of action? Well, this is where we need a new road map.

Road maps for entrepreneurs are nothing new. Fizzle has theirs, Pat Flynn has his in Will It Fly?, and then there’s the one featured in the documentary Generation: Freedom.

There’s a lot of good content in each of these. However, I think they get ahead of themselves a little in the beginning stages.

So, let’s look at this new road map:

The M-6 Business Evolution Plan

There are 6 parts of this new plan which can be used simultaneously with the previously mentioned road maps.

However, the main difference is that this particular plan, again, focuses on early growth and sustainability of your business. So, once you get to a certain level of success, then maybe it’s a good time to start “Being Everywhere” as Pat Flynn talked about way back in session 28 of the SPI Podcast. Because, remember, in today’s market, you have to have a team to compete with the other names out there because they probably have teams themselves! 

So, here’s the new plan:

Mastery of Self

The reason that I start with Mastery of Self is because there are a lot of examples of folks who jump into a business idea because the marketing of a specific course said they’d have the potential to make all kinds of money doing that particular business. All they have to do is follow a step by step method.

Problem is, many people get burned out of these half-baked businesses because they didn’t do the inventory on themselves or they didn’t have the right frame of mind starting the business. They might have expected awesome results in a week or month and now it’s way beyond that point.

Mastery of Self is important because not only do we need to figure out who we are, but where we and our skills fit in the world.

From there, as we naturally build on ourselves and our skills, we have the potential for amazing growth.

So, for example, if you didn’t know that you’re good at writing copy, then you wouldn’t know that you should be helping people do that. Without doing what it takes to figure out where you are in relative to everyone else, you might decide that your “calling” is to sell products on Amazon. At that point, any instructions sound like good instructions but they just don’t get you anywhere you want to be.

Monetize Your Natural Talent

Before we even think about hiring anyone else to help, scale in other ways, or saying our expertise is helping people do something, we need to make sure that we can successfully add that value while being paid for it.

If you do the homework on yourself, you already know what you’re naturally inclined to help people do. If you are just starting a business, instead of working for free, start at a monetary number you feel comfortable asking for your services. Then, as you get more clients, you can play with the numbers and find out what’s asking too much or just right for what you’re offering.

Here’s a secret: The longer you do things for free, the more people think you’re A.) Training Perpetually or B.) have a bad service or product.

Also, you’ll want to look into is a book called Win Without Pitching Manifesto. In this book, you’ll learn why it’s important to position yourself in a certain way and how you can successfully do that. If done right, you’ll become the buyer and your clients will have to prove to you why they need your help!

Another thing that makes this whole process even easier is starting to work on a script. It’s ok to use scripts while doing sales meetings/calls/webinars. That’s one of the biggest things that made Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street, as good as he was! His team used the script he used to make calls!

Market for Sustainable Business

Let’s say that you have an awesome product and you just happen to be really great with getting the word out there – say a video of yours went viral.

Is that a good thing when you’re first getting started?

I’d personally say that it’s a “Hard no.”.

Why?

Well, let’s say that your offer goes viral. Sure, that might be great in a Kickstarter situation or with a course (which you shouldn’t have at this point…), but if you’re offering a service or real product, you’re simply not going to have the capacity to keep up.

So, you want to find those first 3-5 clients who are ok with a price point that’s been proven. Once you do that, then it should be time to take it to the big market! You should have enough extra money to put into advertising on social media.

Mechanize Your Process to Scale

There’s something to be said about systems when you’re moving to the big market. The better our systems are when we’re working on scaling, the bigger that scaling can get before we have to hire someone to help us manage it.

So, Facebook ads, Instagram Ads, LinkedIn ads, Google… wherever your clients are, make sure you keep track of all the work you’re doing. What ads work? Which don’t? What audience works? Which doesn’t? Where should you put in pixels in your funnel? How long should your funnel be? Etc. 

Make sure when you’re doing this work that you’re only changing small parts at a time and you keep track of those changes. Changing everything at once doesn’t get you the experimental data you need. For example, if you’re changing an ad, only change the copy, the audience, or the image – NOT ALL THREE!

Also, don’t go overboard with your systems either. There’s a fine line between being creative and creating chaos.

Make Use of Other’s Talents

There’s going to be a point where we can’t do everything in our business anymore. Eventually we’ll have to either hire someone to help as an employee or bring on a contractor.

This is when we have to do what John Maxwell says all the time: “Play to your strengths, and hire help for your weaknesses.”

Just as you know yourself and how you fit into the world, the ideal people that you bring on your team should have that figured out as well. This means, besides them taking over a job you don’t want to do (or have the time to do) anymore, that they also have similar values and are internally motivated to do the job as well as possible. 

You’re not doing yourself or them a favor if you feel like they’re not committed to the vision and mission of the company.

Multiply Your Business

As we continue to scale, this is when we can go out even further. We can find other ways to market ourselves and our team’s talents. 

There might be products that you couldn’t do on your own, but now that you have a small team, you might be able to start a video series on YouTube or a podcast that goes out 3 times a week.

Also, this might be the time to package your skills into a course if you feel the demand is there. That way you can still get paid for your skills, but don’t have to put in the time factor into it.

There’s all kinds of ways to multiply your business. But just so you know, you can’t expect to start here. You have to actually have a proven system of success. I wish I had known that before I started my podcast, but hey, at least you guys understand why only publish one session every other week now! 🙂

Action Steps

As a lot of my posts go, you fall somewhere into this list. You’ll need to figure out where.

Personally, I thought I was going to be a podcaster and be like Pat in a year or so. Well, that’s not going to happen. For one, even when he started his podcast back in 2010, he already had a fairly good number of people following him on his RSS feed for his blog (check this out for numbers at the top!). I didn’t have that when I started my show. Another thing is that there weren’t nearly as many online entrepreneurs in the market. Nearly 10 years later, the market has been completely saturated.

This plan consists of parts of the more traditional way of doing things, true. But, we have to realize that if we don’t start from the foundation of figuring out where we fit in the world, then we really don’t have much to build our future success on. 

We can’t scale from nothing.
So, put in that foundational work if you haven’t. Find out what interests you and how you can add value to others. Again, you can start with the guide if you need help.

self growth

How Self Growth and Your Filtering Process Affect Your Life and Business

They always say, you attract who you are. When I was at the start of my self growth journey, I really didn’t know what this meant. I remember exactly where I was when I first realized it though. I was in grad school. And, interesting to me, it wasn’t too long before I realized that not everyone is looking to climb a mountain in their career.

Up until that point, I thought just about everyone worked like I did.

I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

What I’ve realized since then is that there are different personalities, different motivators, and even different needs that we have to consider when we’re interacting with other people.

Because of this, we have to be aware of where we are on this personal journey so we can understand how they see us.

The better we can use this power, the easier it is to get what we want in the long run.

Or as Zig Zigler said, “If you help enough people get what they want, then you automatically get what you want”.

Here’s a few things to think about…

You Attract Who You Are

Recently, I was listening to a lesson that fellow John Maxwell Team member and future guest of the AoL Podcast, Jeff Gamble, was talking about on his FB Live show “Going Executive Director”. 

In the video, he was talking about how people tend to attract others like themselves. 

Here’s the thing. Jeff might have been using the MLM world as a reference, but it’s true across the board. And it’s especially true in life and business.

For example, when I was in college 10+ years ago, I was pretty insecure about my future. Like many engineering students, even though I liked having a good time, I learned to prioritize studying. I never had time to party.

Many of the friends I had in college were that same type, especially early on. 

After I changed majors, I felt more at ease and because of that, I started attracting new friends who didn’t fit this previous mold. They were confident in where they were going. And because of this, I started to see that I had decent control over my own future.

It was during this time that I started getting involved in clubs and other organizations on campus. Interestingly, I started to understand that not everyone is wired the same way I am. And like Jeff was talking about, I started to understand that not only are there different personalities, but different people have different needs.

Start with Your Needs

In the video, Jeff talks about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Tony Robbins’ 6 Human Needs. It’s uncanny how similar they are:

self growth

Early on in college, my esteem took a beating. It seemed like no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t be the student I was used to being in high school.

What I later realized is that I just had no idea how to study. And once I figured that out when I changed majors, I’d put in the needed work to fix that. As a result my confidence rose and I allowed myself to venture out and do other things. Interestingly enough, I started trying to connect with other students around me by becoming part of different organizations (that’s the next level of needs!)

So, here’s my question for you. Where do you fall? Do you have the basics figured out? Do you have safety figured out? How significant do you feel?

If you’re still in search of those, as Jeff was saying, you’re going to attract those people into your life – either as friends or as clients.

Setting Up Your Business for Success by Filtering

That being the case, as a business owner, you might not necessarily want to attract those who are in your own situation.

This is where the importance of setting up a filter comes into place. 

A filter is nothing more than a system used to qualify potential matches. Most businesses should use a filter when they’re trying to fit people to certain roles.

Here’s a few examples of where filters could be used:

Recruiting In Direct Sales

For example, if you’re affiliated with an MLM company like Jeff was talking about, then you’ll want to filter the right people in. You’re looking for people who want to learn about the system and how to leverage it properly to grow their own business. What you’re not looking for is people who are naturally not coachable and rebel about everything. You want to surround yourself with other students of the craft.

As a Consultant

Likewise, if you’re a consultant, then you’ll want to use a filter to see if someone really wants to achieve a new version of whatever you’re helping them with. You’ll need to learn how to ask them qualifying questions about themselves, their business, and what they’re looking to achieve.

As a Doctor

Another example, let’s say you’re a doctor. You’d need to filter people based on their needs on whether or not you can help them. If you misdiagnose someone and give them bad advice on their next step, there’s a good chance you might be sued for malpractice.

In an Everyday Situation

Or here’s a final example. Let’s say you’re actually in HR for a company. Do you think you should hire people like yourself to fill in jobs in the company, or should you hire people who fit the characteristics of the role that needs to be filled. Obviously, you want to hire to the role and to do that, you’ll need a filter to find out if they fit. Otherwise, you’ll hire someone and they’ll either quit or be fired.

Action Steps

So, I hope those examples give you a bit of an idea of the importance of a filter in your business and perhaps in your life as well. My trajectory changed completely for the next 10 years after college. If it wasn’t for the input I received those years, I wouldn’t have started on my current path.

And because of that, I wouldn’t have been able to eventually realize that these people had used a filter on me – whether consciously or subconsciously.

So don’t throw people at the wall and see what sticks. Otherwise, you’ll get more people like yourself. If you’re trying to become a new version of yourself, that might not be ok.

Instead, learn to consciously use filters in your day to day life. If someone isn’t going in the direction you are and doesn’t have the same standards that you want, then there’s a good chance they’re going to be a drag on your life and your business.

lifestyle entrepreneur

Corbett Barr – The Story Behind Fizzle.co – The Basecamp for the Lifestyle Entrepreneur (AoL 150)

If you’ve been following the show for awhile, you’re probably aware that I’m a big fan of Fizzle. Personally, I think they’re one of the best resources I’ve seen out there for the lifestyle entrepreneur.

Why?

Well, there’s a couple of reasons for that. For one, their library of courses available to their members are geared for those who need an Entrepreneurship 101 or 201 course. They cover all the fundamentals.

But that’s not all that’s there.

In fact, the creators joke with the idea that people come for the courses, but stay for the community.

Which is so true. In fact, I’m still interacting with several people I met on there 4 years ago. Including Veronica.

In today’s interview with co-founder of Fizzle, Corbett Barr, Veronica and I talk to Corbett about the founding of Fizzle and what he thinks about the online entrepreneurial space 10 years after he started his first blog Think Traffic.

It’s my hope that you get a bit of an understanding of why Veronica and I both believe Fizzle is such a great resource.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How did Corbett originally get started in the tech startup world? 9:11
  • What was his initial plan in starting Think Traffic? 17:29
  • How have things changed online since the start of Fizzle? 22:24
  • Where did the idea for Fizzle come from? 28:51
  • What kind of advice does Corbett have for those who want to get off the fence and develop the business they truly want? 36:23
  • What’s the future for Fizzle and Palapa look like? 41:37
  • Who are three influences that have helped him get to where he’s at today? 47:20
  • Is there something he’s excited about that’s going to affect entrepreneurship in the future? 49:06
  • What topic should more people be talking about yet hardly anyone is? 50:54
  • What is something Corbett believed as a 35 year old that he’s changed his mind on? 52:41
  • What does it mean to live a life of abundance? 54:53

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

7 Big Lessons about Entrepreneurship

Best Places to Work and Live around the World, FB Productivity, and Managing a Remote Team

4 Simple Productivity Practices and Apps

Chase Reviews the Evergoods CTB40


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

reinvent yourself

Cross the Thinking Gap and Reinvent Yourself!

How do you reinvent yourself? For the longest time, I questioned how this is possible. Aren’t we are who we’ve always been? How do we get another identity than the one we’re so familiar with?

A book that I found during my years at Purdue, called Reinventing Yourself made me start thinking more and more about this. And I realized that I had started on this path early on.

When I was growing up, I understood competition. In fact, I remember the first time I “lost” in the real world. It was in 4H in a shooting sports competition. And frankly, I hadn’t practice – and apparently it showed. I ended up getting 7th out of 10 competitors in my age range.

reinvent yourself

I was pretty upset when I heard the news. Up until that point, I felt that I was good at about just anything I put my mind to. I just couldn’t believe that I didn’t do as well as I thought I was going to do.

I vowed that next year I was going to be better.

That next year, I made it a point to get up super early on Saturdays and go out to the firing range with the club.

That next year, I didn’t do much better. In fact, if I remember right, I got 5th place. Still not nearly as good as the champions and grand champion ribbons I was seeing in my other projects.

However, one thing did stand out to me. Everyone at this event, which was supposed to be highly competitive, got a small trophy.

This was the first time I was exposed to the idea of all participants get a trophy.

I remember being pretty ticked off. Why should they get something for not even placing? I worked at my loss!

So the next year I opted to focus more on Dog Club and left the shooting sports group all together.

Generation Entitlement?

Many argue that Millennials are the most entitled generation. In fact, there are all kinds of books and articles that suggest that the reason for this is because of the rampancy of participation trophies.

Whether that’s truly the case is unknown. However, a lot of Millennials have been told their entire life that they can do anything they want if they put their mind to it.

Well, that’s simply not the case.

What’s worse, is that when things don’t go a certain way, many blame others for their downfalls.

It’s my parents’ fault.

The professor screwed us!

The government needs to do something about that!

Society teaches us that using phrases like this are ok. Unfortunately, they’re only ok if we plan to stay stuck where we’re at in life and in our careers.

Owners Win & Victims Lose

You might have heard the phrase “Own up to it!”. If so, you know that this is slang for taking responsibility for one’s actions.

When you own up to doing something wrong or incorrectly, you’re acting in a space of courage. You say something like “This is my fault. I will do better next time”.  

When we’re denying that we didn’t do something we’re accused of, we’re shedding responsibility. We think “I didn’t do anything wrong. Why should I change?”

Here’s the thing. We can only get better if we acknowledge our failure. If we don’t acknowledge that failure, we’re setting ourselves up for that same failure in the future.

So, really, it’s not much of a stretch to say that what you say on the outside starts with what you think and feel on the inside.

Become an owner and reinvent yourself

If you’re tired of losing, then it’s time to turn things around. But how? How can you reinvent yourself?

Well, here’s a few things that you can become a bit more aware of as you’re living your daily life. Once you break your habit of doing these things and turn it around, you automatically set yourself up to win.

1. Life is Hard! It’s Me vs the Rest of the World!

No, it isn’t. It really isn’t. Life is what you make out of it. 17 years ago, I believed that the world was acting against me and my goal of graduating. It felt like all professors were conspiring against me.

Truth is, engineering is just super tough and I wasn’t putting in enough work to get it done. Once I realized that it wasn’t working out, I switched majors and life started getting better. I got into a study group and started making the grades that I knew I was capable of. Heck, I even had time to do extracurricular activities for once!

2. I’m Not My Fault. They Made Me Do It!

Here’s a phrase that you’ll hear in movies quite a bit. Often times, you’ll hear it from a villain who’s trying to get back at the government or some kind of company.

We as the audience know that while they might have gotten a bad rap, it’s their fault that they’re acting the way they are. They’re making active choices to take the actions that they are.

Soon after, the villain gets what he deserves and the hero rides off into the sunset.

In our own lives, while using this phrase might not involve high stakes as a building exploding or aliens from another dimension being released into our own, it does have the same effect.

It’s our job to realize that we can totally change our perspective of the world at any time.

For example, there are plenty of people out there who have lost a limb and think they can’t be their former selves. That might be true, but it’s also totally possible that they could now be a better version of themselves now.

Also, there are homeless people who are constantly miserable and there are others who are fighting to get out of their funk. I’ve interviewed two people fairly recently who were both homeless in high school and now, years later, are living their dreams.


3. Why Should I Take Responsibility of Something I Didn’t Do?

I’ve mentioned this before, but Andrew Luck is a great example of a leader. In all of his post game interviews, he always takes the responsibility of a loss. And when the team wins, he sheds the glory to his teammates.

We all should try to be this humble in our own lives. Take responsibility even if it’s not our fault. And when we’re awarded, give thanks to those who have supported us.

Action Steps

As far as additional action steps to reinvent yourself, it might be worth your time to listen to a couple of interviews from those who had plenty of reasons to be a victim.
David Anderson, Antonio Smith, Jr., and Kristian Aleixo.

Also, you can learn more about crossing the thinking gap by checking out the newest version of Reinventing Yourself by Steve Chandler.

internet business

Generation Freedom: Telling the Story of Online Entrepreneurs & Internet Business with Michael Hall and Chris Sakr (AoL 149)

For many, internet business is something that is pretty simple to understand. Create a digital product or service, get a couple of clients, and then scale. If done right, you can build yourself a great lifestyle.

The problem, however, is that the majority of the population doesn’t know that this opportunity is available. In fact, your own family or friends might still wonder about “that thing that you’re doing”.

Today’s subject and interview might just help people you know get a grasp on that thing.

In the documentary Generation Freedom, creators Michael Hall and Chris Sakr give us an overview of what it means to be an online entrepreneur.

Does it look entirely the same for everyone? Of course not. But there are certain ideas and concepts that we all have to know to comprehend the true powers of internet business.

In this chat, Harrison and I have the opportunity to chat with Michael and Chris and find out more about why they made the documentary, how they made it, and why they started filmmaking in the first place.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How did Michael and Chris get into filmmaking so young? 8:54
  • What kept them from giving up on their aspirations? 12:35
  • Is there anything they would say to their past filmmaking peers who have put their dreams on the backburner? 17:06
  • What’s their view on the current state of Hollywood? 19:38
  • What do they think about leveraging Netflix and YouTube to get films out? 21:50
  • How did Shohawk Media get started? What kind of work can we expect from them? 26:59
  • How were Michael and Chris able to distribute the Generation Freedom documentary? 29:29
  • What kind of advice would they offer someone who’s struggling to make money from their art? 33:31
  • What was the process like for putting together the documentary? 39:12
  • Where does Michael and Chris see Shohawk in the future? 46:57
  • What song, book, and film should be added to the national curriculum? 50:08
  • Who’s their favorite filmmaker? 54:45
  • Is there an issue that more people should be talking about? 55:52
  • Something that has cost under $100 which has changed their life? 57:36
  • Are there any pieces of equipment that up and coming filmmakers should look into? 58:33
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 1:01:04

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Generation Freedom Trailer

Who is Shohawk?

WhiskeyFest Northwest Promotional Video

Episode 1 of the Make This Movie Podcast


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

organic marketing

Organic Marketing Methods for the Artist and Musician

As an artist or musician, should you be using paid or organic marketing? Short answer: it depends. But let’s look at what might work for your situation.

Last night at this month’s Amplify Indy Experience, we showcased 2 speakers and 2 performances. The speakers consisted of an artist who works with steel as a canvas for his paintings and the president of the Indiana Filmmakers Network. We also had a couple of segments of future play performed as well as a band.

It was a pretty fun event!

As I was watching the event unfold, it occured to me that these individuals were very passionate about the work they were doing. Unfortunately, as I looked them up after the event, I realized that some of them weren’t doing much service to their work. They weren’t really getting the word out to the public that they existed!

Getting the Word Out

Since there’s not much difference from a business which fulfills a personal mission to being an artist, there are a lot of transferable skills and ideas that each side can teach each other. And to be frank, in the end, both want to do things they care about and they also want to make a living doing it.

So when it comes to getting the word out on what they’re doing, what can these artists learn from the online business world?

Well, as we know, there’s currently two types of marketing methods being used today. There’s paid and organic marketing. If you use Facebook and Instagram as a creative entrepreneur, you’ll probably see a lot of hype about paid marketing methods. But interestingly, a lot of people that started their online businesses 10 years ago used organic methods to to get the word out.

So which one should you be using to get your work out into the world?

I think it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish and what kind of resources you have available to you.

PAID OR ORGANIC marketing? WHICH should You use?

Let’s say that you’re just starting out like some of the artists from last night’s event. You’re going to approach things much different than someone who already has a following and money to spend.

For one, since you’re not pulling in much income from your work, there’s a pretty fair chance that you’ll be frugal about where you’re spending your time and resources. Since that’s the case, paid marketing might not be the best idea.

Another thing to consider is that even if you have a budget to spend on advertising from say a previous company or work, you have to consider if you have the systems in place to deal with a huge influx of interest and leads.

If you’re a painter like our artist, for example, then having this big campaign for your work might not make the most sense.

Why?

For starters, you can only physically produce so many pieces. However, if you were doing prints of this work and had a website set up that automatically took orders, then that might be a better match.

Of course, you’d have to think about how you’re making those prints. Are you physically making each one yourself or is a third party doing it? (Just make sure that third party is up to your standard in quality.)

Something else to consider is exclusivity. Do you want to even have prints and/or copies of your work out there? If not, then you’ll definitely want to work in the organic world vs blasting it out to a million people on Facebook and Instagram.

Types of Organic marketing

So, as we’ve looked at why you probably don’t want to touch paid marketing yet, let’s look at the options you have in organic marketing.

Simple Posts and Videos

You need to start somewhere. But where? Well, that’s a good question. There’s several answers to this, but a common one is start where you can post for free. There’s nothing wrong about posting on your FB personal profile or Instagram account. If you’re an artist, post about your process of creating the piece. Break it down about why you’re creating the piece that you’re creating. It has a story, share it.

Obviously, if you’d prefer to do it in video format, you can do that too on YouTube. There’s plenty of makers who do one project, talk about the process, and then move onto the next project.

Direct Outreach

So maybe, posting all the time on Facebook or Instagram isn’t your thing. Sure you might post something here and there, but you don’t want to run on some “fake” schedule. Maybe you don’t want to document EVERYTHING. Or maybe you’re more introverted and only want to talk about your work with those you think might benefit from it. If any of these sound familiar, then you might want to consider using my personal favorite of marketing, direct outreach.

Just like in the real world, there’s tons of groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. If we’re going with the painter example, search for a handful of groups that interest you. (Make sure you stick to only a handful however, you don’t want oversaturate your feed!!) Start participating in those groups regularly and before you know it, people look at you as an expert in your craft.

Once that’s the case and people are pretty familiar with you and your work, they might actually ask to have a commission done, or if your a musician, buy your album.

Make People Take Notice

When I was growing up, I remember receiving samples of products in the mail. Cereal seemed to have made it through a couple of times. Toothpaste was one we received at one point as well. And if I remember right, bars of soap were sent a couple of times as well.

What’s interesting is that I remember these particular products because they were in the mail. They stood out from everything else.

Back in first half of the 20th century, there used to be all kinds of ads that were placed on the side of the road. One of which I remember in particular was a product called Burma-Shave. They would have multiple red little signs spaced far enough apart that would only make sense if you were going 35 mph or more. These signs would actually spell out a short sentence and at the end of the series of signs there was always one that had the logo on it.

What do these promotions have in common? They were noticeable. They weren’t promoted like other items similar to them.

So, as an artist, how might you stick out from the pack? Perhaps if you’re a painter, you might go to an art fair. But on top of that, why don’t you paint while you’re there? Or if you’re a musician at a music festival, go out and meet the crowd before you play.

Leveraging Pre-Existing Networks, Local TV and Publications

If you’ve been in business before, you might have heard that it’s a good thing to own your own list. This is true for anyone who’s trying to make a living from their work.

For example, when Dane Maxwell started his music career a couple of years ago, he didn’t start from scratch. In fact, he used the list that he had already developed as he was building The Foundation. While on the surface the fans of each not be the same, there was in fact a lot of overlap because people knew Dane and wanted to see what he was up to next.

If you don’t have your own list, then there’s nothing wrong with using those of others. Whether it’s through an appearance on TV, or an editorial in a local magazine, take these opportunities to show your work. You never know who’s going to be in the audience!

Collaborate with other Artists

I’m sure you’ve heard songs over the years that are credit for one singer but are “featuring” someone else. Just like the previous examples, musicians often times partner with people who are more well known than they are. This gets them exposed to a larger audience.

Likewise, perhaps you’re a painter. Remember that thing about being noticed? Perhaps you can collaborate with other painters to make mural in your city or town? Or perhaps you can help host an event?

In the online entrepreneurial space, we would call these doing joint ventures. However, as a real world artist, you have so many more ways of working with others!

Action Steps

So there have it, folks. A few ways to get out into the world as a new artist or musician. If that doesn’t describe you, don’t worry about it! All of these are ideas that can be used in a regular business as well.

Again, I’d use these methods to build up whatever it is you’re doing before you start with the paid methods.

For one, you want to make sure that people want what you’re offering.

But two, you want to make sure that you have the structure (systems) in place that would allow you to benefit from it.

For example, if you were to do a webinar for a list of people who knew you from something else (like Dane), there’s a good chance they won’t buy your new thing. It’s not that they don’t like you, they’re just not interested in your new project. (There’s nothing wrong with that… not all of Dane’s followers from The Foundation days follow his music.)

However, if you were to use that same webinar with a well placed Facebook Ad which targeted the right demographic of people, then you might actually see a good ROI initially. Problem is, if you’re doing things manually on your end, it might be awhile before those folks who raise their hands as interested hear back from you. By the time they do, they might have moved on to something else. So, what looks like it was a great campaign at first, may end up not being as great because you weren’t able to follow through quickly.

Anywho, as usual, I could go on about this topic. But I hope that helps some of you struggling artists out there get your work to those people who need it!

athletic body

Running in Silence: Breaking Common Misconceptions of Eating Disorders and the Athletic Body with Rachael Steil (AoL 148)

Your body image can be a heck of a limiting belief. If you’re a creative who wants to be on stage, you might believe if you’re out of shape that you should be in shape before getting up there. Or, if you’re slim, you might think you need to get some muscles and size to you so you appear more confident.

When it comes to sports, there can be a bit of obsession about the athletic body too.

Maybe even more so.

A lot of athletes believe that if they’re going to stay at peak performance, that they need to control not only practice what they’re doing with their bodies, but what goes into them.

That’s fine. However, just like so many things, it can become a problem if taken too far.

In this interview, Veronica and I talk with former All-American athlete turned author Rachael Steil about her journey.

We find out what caused her to reach out for help and why she’s taking what she’s learned out to others.

If you find yourself obsessing about food and nutrition to an unhealthy extent, then this talk is for you.

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • When it came to Rachael’s eating disorder, when did she realize it was time to get help for herself? 9:16
  • What initially made her start her blog about her athletic body image journey? 14:33
  • What kind of writing process did Rachael have when writing her book? 18:08
  • Does Rachael have any advice for people who want to become known for their art or writing? 23:00
  • Are there any pointers she has in regards to someone finding their identity? 30:02
  • Is she looking forward to in the not too distant future? 31:55
  • What’s one song, one book, and one film that she’d add to the national curriculum? 34:22
  • What message out there is a disservice to our youth? 38:27
  • Has there been a new habit or behavior that she’s been practicing that has helped improve her life? 40:52
  • If she woke up tomorrow as her 10 year old self and all her memories were still intact, what would she do? 42:40
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 44:02

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Rachael on Binge Eating and Hunger

Eating a Diet of Only Fruits and Vegetables

Handling a Eating Disorder When You Can’t Exercise

Rachael presents her Athletic Body Image Journey at the Failure Lab Event in West Michigan


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