How do you create something from nothing? You don’t. You always start with something. Creation comes from chaos. And so will your next book, course, or big project.
One of the challenges of being a creative professional is that you aren’t always sure what people will buy. It often feels like a game of Roulette, in which you have to create a lot of work, hoping someone will buy something. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could sell something before you ever created it?
So many people set out to create a product—whether it’s a book, a coaching service, or an online course—and assume they know what people want. Don’t do that. Instead of assuming, just ask.
People don’t typically buy what they need. They buy what they want. Which is why I love the saying: Sell them what they want, give them what they need. But how, exactly, do we do that?
It’s time you started thriving, and that really begins with you changing your mind. But maybe you don’t realize that you’re a starving artist. Maybe it didn’t occur to you that the way you think about yourself and your work is actually holding you back.
What I’ve learned since leaving the nonprofit world and starting a business, which included becoming an author, speaker, and digital entrepreneur, is that you can do a lot of good through business. I now believe that the best way for me to help people is through business. I don’t think that’s true for everyone, but it’s been true for me and for many of my friends. I know a lot of people who come from a ministry or a nonprofit background who are now doing more good in terms of the number of people they are able to help through for-profit enterprises.
Learning how to be unapologetically ourselves in our writing and creative work is the first step to becoming effective at what we do. If we don’t do this, our writing will not resonate with our audience.
In life, there are so many decisions to make. And so it is with creative work. As is often the case, art imitates life (and vice versa). We are constantly choosing one thing over another. And this can be a real struggle for many of us.
How do you sell 1.7 million copies of a self-published book? You demonstrate unwavering faith and extraordinary effort. Hal Elrod knows a thing or two about that. A cancer survivor, bestselling author, and successful entrepreneur, Hal has been inspiring people for years to tackle their days with his Miracle Morning book and process.
The point of marketing is not to convince people to buy your stuff. It’s to help you find the people who need your work. Don’t create something for everyone. Create something for someone.