A few weeks ago, I did an episode of The Portfolio Life called “Don’t Build an Empire, Find a Few Friends Who Care.” It was about how the secret of marketing and getting your ideas to spread is really just about having a few friends who care. You want to create remarkable work and put […]
Often, we think the way to stand out from the pack is to be better. And sometimes that is the answer: to become an improved version of who you were yesterday, to do what the “other guy” is doing with a few added features. However, this is often a losing strategy, as you are making iterative improvements on someone else’s work. A better way to become world-class at what you do is to change the game completely. Don’t be better; be different.
I’ve often wondered what would it be like to be a nomad and travel the world. I did this for a brief time in my early 20s and then stopped, and recently I’ve been falling back in love with travel. I’ve bumped into some really interesting people who have traveled the world. I’ve learned that travel is not so much about the places you go or the people you meet, but instead, it’s about the person you become.
“Just be yourself” is probably the worst advice we could ever receive or give. Few of us actually know who we really are. And yet, if we can acquire this art of self-awareness, everything changes.
The best marketing you can do for your work is not to build an empire, but to find a few friends who care. We all want to reach the masses and see our work get into the mainstream. We want to have an “impact.” But the only way to reach the many is to first reach the few.
This is all marketing is: Finding a handful of misfits who appreciate your work before anyone else does, then giving those people the tools to help spread the message. The way we get a Harry Potter, Apple Computer, or Amanda Palmer is not by trying to reach everyone all at once. Quite the opposite in fact.