some say imitation is the highest form of flattery. not in my book. i believe imitation is the lowest form of originality and creativity in the very noisy chaotic world where anyone who wishes to can build the platform of their choosing. technology is a gift and a curse for eventual entrepreneurs knowledge workers capable of monetizing their skills and abilities into creative entrepreneurship. as technology advances it becomes easier to connect and influence globally which means the noise will surely increase. so how do new creative entrepreneurs find their voice in this noisy space?
avoid the copy cat syndrome
inspiration is not imitation
there are so many dynamic individuals sharing their gifts and talents which translates into a constant inspiration drip. admittedly i am an information and development junkie and I'm not interested in finding addiction counseling. i can’t learn and apply enough. that’s a double edge sword but that’s also a post for a different day. it’s okay and expected to be inspired by others. as i consume content of any kind, connect with others, study my craft and peruse social media, i'm overrun with new ideas daily. the key however is to ensure that you tailor that inspiration to your voice, your message and your audience in a distinctively original manner. cut and paste or type and rewrite does not suffice. that’s actually impersonation not inspiration. i remember attending a Masters and Mentor event sponsored by a well-known business publication that will remain nameless because there wasn’t any wrong-doing on the publication’s part.
the facilitator of the workshop was prospecting for a well-known entrepreneur and now tv personality. in his pitch, the facilitator quoted a popular passage about Apple’s marketing strategy from Simon Sinek’s Start with Why TedTalk. at first I was like, wait... that sounds really familiar. my brain ignored the remainder of the facilitator’s pitch because I knew I heard that exact analogy, word for word, before. it dawned on me a few minutes later where I recalled hearing the original content. it's likely many or most of the individuals in this particular workshop were unaware of Sinek's existence. i was immediately turned off by the facilitator because he provided no attribution to Sinek which he could have easily done or at least paraphrased the content differently. instead the facilitator hijacked the analogy as his original content. okay this is turning into a rant but you get my point. just don't do that.
the creative entrepreneur content marketing bandwagon is in danger of tipping over.
when a new trend occurs, everybody seems to do the same thing, hence the term trend but to me it just doesn’t feel right. at the time of writing this post i notice the new thing for a creative entrepreneur’s website navigation is to use “start here” for these reasons. i’m not sure why a website wouldn’t be more intuitive for the reader inclusive of the right type of content to gain repeat visitors without seeming gimmicky but that’s just me. i'm aware SEO experts advise that we ditch the simple "home" page header but i am not a fan of jumping on the bandwagon. it doesn't feel authentic so i went with the phrase 'you made it!' for this community's home page to signify that yes after a likely exhaustive search for aspiring entrepreneur leaders in a similar journey as yourself, you are right where you need to be. as a startup empowerment coach having kicked the cubicle to the curb, i want all my fellow eventual entrepreneurs to know you finally found what you were looking for to continue your full time entrepreneur journey smartly.
i don’t get it but I guess that’s because I’m a bit of a rebel and anti-status quo by nature. i don’t fall in line or conform just because everyone else is doing it whatever it is. i'm not crazy enough to overlook proven marketing strategies but I will find a way to implement the strategies in a manner that resonates with my voice. all I’m saying is instead of blindly following the crowd of everyone doing the same thing, take a closer look...maybe a longer look, perform more research and identify if you can hack a proven technique and still get the results you need. just because it is proven does not mean it can't be enhanced. do what feels right creatively according to your personality and brand. you can be inspired yet authentic without recreating the wheel. on the other hand if you feel there’s a better way for YOU to do something then recreate the wheel and innovate. at some point, someone always disrupts what we know to be standard. maybe this time that somebody is you.
creating an online course that matters
there was so much great information provided by each presenter it was mind boggling. i invested in the premium pass because the content is just that good. it was important I had lifetime access to revisit the information as much of it I believe to be good advice that will serve me for the long haul. the value outweighed the cost exponentially. for me it was a no brainer. if you are wondering, no this is not a requested endorsement or sponsored post. my experience, my words, my truth, my case study.
each expert found what worked for him or her. the advice wasn't necessarily the same concept or beliefs yet each idea was relevant to list building. some speakers, concepts and perspectives resonated more with me than others which is to be expected. as I mentioned before, I am a bit of a rebel. you have to make a case to get me to accept conforming when it doesn’t feel right. even then my response may still be “not gonna happen.” when you duplicate what everyone else is doing because it “looks” like it works, i believe it will feel like a gimmick to you and your audience. i don’t do gimmicks but I will do clever and effective tactics using a method that is authentic for my personality and brand. i found a few fellow rebels in LBS that I'll share later in this post.
go your own way
i am not a fan of becoming so niche that your perspective is extremely narrow for an ideal client. instead I agree with Jeff Goins' worldview perspective when it comes to your subject and audience. "instead of doing niche marketing wrong, build a tribe of people that care about you, that you can empower, enable and help [by using your voice] to express your worldview to your tribe". i understand the rationale of drilling down to find your ideal customer yet I am more visionary. as an aside, if Goins ever reads this post he will surely pull his hair out as he is a professional writer. i'm sure he's losing his mind over my affinity for beginning each sentence with lowercase letters. sorry not sorry. anywho...I look at the professional relationships with individuals I've connected with and how I can help wholistically around the area of creating a fulfilled life through entrepreneurship. while my superpower is empowerment, one of my main strengths is ideation. my perspective is more strategic but comprehensive so I can't think in narrow terms. instead I immediately see the bigger picture and decide what portion of my worldview I wish to lend my voice to at the time to empower this community.
another common suggestion in creative entrepreneurship online course creation is to make email list building the main priority then build your platform and course later where the quantity of subscribers trumps the qualifying attributes of each subscriber. list building for the sake of gathering emails without an intentional funnel strategy never felt right to me. i found the same was true for Scott Oldford whose LBS presentation encouraged attendees to build a strategic segmented marketing funnel instead of concentrating on simply building your email list. Oldford believes, as I do, it’s important to have a product to funnel qualified segmented subscribers through soon into your list building process. know who they are, why they are there and where you want to take them. basically less can be more. when done correctly you won’t need an exhaustive list of email subscribers but a very targeted intentional email list to succeed. Olford's students have proven his ideology it and that’s what feels right to me.
the rationale is to understand what type of subscriber you are dealing with and where the person fits into the funnel process. target subscribers with relevant content then become known for what you offer as a paid product solution instead of being known more for your free content. another gem I received while attending LBS was given by Ryan Lee. Ryan’s courageous advice was “find out what you are for and against in your industry, draw a line and talk about it.” i couldn’t agree more because it's exactly why the Courage & Candor community was born.
originality is critical for entrepreneur leaders, i believe