Great advice can come from anywhere! Don’t be put off the by the fact you probably aren’t a comic book illustrator, unlike the advice-givers in the video above. After you watch this video I think you’ll draw some parallels (like we did) that will motivate you to keep pushing in whatever creative business endeavor you choose!!!
Source: Fast Company
The other week, I was invited to a dinner hosted by a friend. Those attending included people I’ve admired for years. Halfway through the dinner, I silently asked myself, “How did I get here?” The answer lies in what I subsequently learned.
For years, I had heard people talk about their influential friendships and subsequent success, and each time, I would seethe with envy. It seemed unfair. Of course those people were successful. They knew the right people. They were in the right place at the right time. They got lucky.
Years later, however, I discovered that success is born of luck — I don’t think any honest person can dispute that. But luck, in many ways, can be created, or at the very least, improved. The truth is, life is not fair. For creative work to spread, you need more than talent. You have to get exposure to the right networks. And as unfair as that may seem, it’s the way the world has always worked.
The good news is, you have more control over this than you realize.
Are we doomed to failure if we don’t live in the right place at the right time? Of course not. But networks matter, maybe more than we care to admit. Vincent van Gogh’s work matured much more quickly once he met the French Impressionists. And why wouldn’t it? He now had a field of gatekeepers who both critiqued and validated his work.
Whether we like it or not, we all need some kind of objective standard against which to measure our work. And although van Gogh did not sell much of his work in his lifetime, it was the tenacity of a well-connected sister-in-law that eventually brought his paintings to market. In fact, most of the great art the world has ever seen came about not through a single stroke of genius but by the continual effort of a community.
Networks. Partnerships. Creative collaborations. This is where enduring work originates, and, incidentally, this is how we get works like The Lord of the Rings and The White Album. Creativity is not a solitary invention but a collaborative creation. And communities create opportunities for creative work to succeed. But how do you apply this approach if you don’t live someplace like Paris, New York or Rome?
Well, of course, you could move. According to Csikszentmihalyi, it’s better to move somewhere new than it is to will yourself to be more creative. And today, it’s easier than ever to transplant yourself someplace inspiring, even if your move is just temporary. I did this eight years ago, relocating from northern Illinois to Nashville and unknowingly inserting myself into what would become a hub of creativity, technology and entrepreneurship. I’m glad I did.
But you could also let go of your excuses and realize that there’s a network available to you right now, wherever you are. This may come in the form of an online mastermind group or a series of events you attend, maybe even one you organize yourself. The truth is, there are connections everywhere and always more resources available to those willing to look.
Five years ago, I decided to do something radical — well, radical for me at least. I let go of my cynicism and began reaching out to influential bloggers and authors, people I had watched for years and wanted to know. I asked them to meet me for coffee. And here’s the crazy part: Most of them said yes.
Even though I was a shy person, I met these heroes of mine and followed up with them, doing everything I could think of to help them. In some cases, it just meant buying their coffee. In others, I would interview them for my tiny blog, realizing that even the most influential people don’t mind talking about themselves.
I tried to be the kind of person these people would want to invest in — following every piece of advice they gave, doing everything they told me to do and not questioning a single word of it. And at some point, I got lucky.
It’s naive to say success doesn’t involve luck. Of course, it does. Crazy stuff happens all the time, stuff we can’t control that sometimes works in our favor. At the same time, luck is not completely out of your control. Luck can be planned. Although I can’t tell when or where luck is going to come from, I do know that the more you put yourself in the company of greatness, the more likely some of that greatness will rub off on you.
So if you want a seat at the table, the process might look something like this:
For Hemingway, this was Sherwood Anderson and eventually Gertrude Stein. These were the people who held the keys to the kingdom, and every domain has at least one. Find someone who is connected to the people you want to know, and be strategic in reaching out, tenacious in staying in touch and intentional in demonstrating your competency.
Stein introduced Hemingway to other writers in Paris who could help him, but he was also relentless about meeting with them. He used to spar with Ezra Pound on a regular basis, boxing with him and learning how to write terse prose in the process. If you show the gatekeeper you’re willing to learn, he or she will likely introduce you to others and keep investing in you.
This is crucial. It’s not just whom you know, it’s whom you help. People remember what you do for them a lot more than they remember how clever you were. In spite of his reputation as an alpha male, Hemingway did this, too — helping Stein get her work published, encouraging Fitzgerald when he suffered from creative blocks and bringing attention to the work of the Left Bank.
Of course, every person’s journey is his or her own. But what I am now more certain of than ever is that success in any creative field is contingent on the networks you are a part of. The question is, will you embrace the power of networks, or will you keep thinking those people are just “lucky”?
Luck comes to us all. But those who recognize it are the ones who succeed. Every story of success is really a story of community, and the way you find yours is by reaching out and taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves — whether the setting is Paris, Chicago or your own hometown.
Author: Jeff Goins
This article was originally published in Entrepreneur.
In this article, blogger Rodney Washington will show you a simple four-step process so you can better communicate with your target buyer while making more money from the very beginning.
1. Focus On Creating Connection – It’s tempting to only want to show or talk about your work and immediately ask for the sale, but often in the beginning people just want to get to know more about you, your personality and perhaps your process. Make it easy for your audience to connect with you.
Ways To Accomplish This:
~ Host a open house and speak directly with your guests, tell them about your latest inspiration, series, etc.
~ Ask them for their thoughts on your latest body of work, presentation, products etc.
~ Ask them about themselves (people love to talk about themselves)
~ Don’t worry about making a sale, focus on the connection
~ Follow up with targeted messages (more on this in Step 2)
2. Always Be List Building – Usually your customer will not buy from you on the first connection, they will want to get know more about you and that happens over a period of time. One of the most effective ways is through maintaining communication with your audience by sending a series of targeted follow-up emails and/or building connection using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for example.
When you send or post your follow up messages to your followers or subscribers don’t bombard them with “buy my stuff’ messages. That’s called spamming and it won’t work.
On the other hand, if you focus on providing lots of valuable usable content like photos, videos, audio replays, a worksheet template, an article, a 20 minute telephone or skype chat for example these will go a long way towards establishing and nurturing relationships with your followers that lead to sales.
Question to ask yourself: What do I have of value that I could freely to give to people who follow me?
List Building Tip: Whenever you meet new people invite them to connect with you on social media or to opt-in to your online mailing list on your blog or website to get your latest goodie.
3. Create A No-Brainer Offer – Often times new potential customers are not prepared to invest in your higher ticket items on the first encounter, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make easier for them to work with you.
Look for ways to create what I call “entry level” pieces. The key is to price these items or services under $50 dollars. Make it something that new customers can find high value in and easily say yes to.
Keep this in mind: It’s far easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one. So that $50 dollar entry level product could lead to higher priced sales if your customer perceives and receives value from the entry level items you offer. In other words, everything you create must provide value.
4. Always be seeding the next step – The most common mistake I see entrepreneurs make is never introducing or what I call seeding the next opportunity to work with you. For example, let’s say you want to write an ebook why not seed throughout the book the next logical step? For a new author that could be to work to with you directly or to sign up for your course on topics discussed in your book.
Think about last time you went to Starbucks, (assuming you drink coffee) were you offered a sample of a new blend, pastry or whipped drink? That’s called seeding. You may or may not purchase the item you sampled but if you enjoyed it, hopefully it made enough of an impression on you that you’ll order it on your next visit or better still, tell a few friends about it.
Source: Get Paid For Your Creativity
Author: Rodney Washington