You Need 1000 True Fans. I Have 12.
You’re worth something. You need to hear that today. There’s value in who you are. There’s something unique in you, and the world needs to know about it.
So go paint a picture, write a song, or do a dance, and wait for the world to change. Sounds like a plan, right? Not as easy as it sounds. But it’s far from being impossible as well.
Try thinking of it like this: you’re a farmer, and the value in you is a seed. Not just any seed, but that one seed that brings the crop that brings the highest value with the most reasonable effort. Again, it’s going to be hard, but it’s not impossible.
Focus on that seed. What’s that one seed that you have? It’s likely that you don’t know what it is, or that you have an idea of what it is, but you’re not sure. That’s ok. Even the farmer needs help figuring this out. But what is a farmer best known for? Hard work. And that’s what this process takes.
Don’t just feed yourself – change the world
Once any seed grows into a crop that’s ready for harvesting, you still need people to benefit from that crop. You could argue that the farmer and his family are the ones that benefit. But I’m talking about a kind of increase that goes beyond the self, beyond the family, beyond the community, and to the world at large. I’m talking about changing the world.
But “changing the world” still needs to be framed in some sort of context. So I will use the context provided by Wired editor Kevin Kelly in his excellent article from 2008. He says:
A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1000 True Fans to make a living.
According to this, if 1000 people support your message – exchange value for your crops, if you will – you can make a living. Think about it, if you can find that value within you, somehow get it out of you, share it with others, and then find 1000 people who will exchange value for it, you’ve reached growth and sustainability.
That’s huge. It’s also really hard. And it’s what I’m doing.
The first 20 years are the hardest
From printing a homemade skateboard magazine as a teenager, to recording and releasing my own music, to doing non-profit work in Israel, I’ve been trying to reach people with a message for over 20 years. This blog you’re reading has been around for a little over a year and a half.
But here’s the thing: after 36 blog posts, I have finally found a core group of people who read my posts, comment on my site, engage with my posts on social media (like, comment, and share), and respond to my emails. This is huge.
Michael Hyatt has 1000 true fans (I’m one of them)
I know what this is like. I’m a true fan of somebody myself. His name is Michael Hyatt. I wasn’t always his true fan, he had to reach me and build trust. He did this over time. How? By providing consistently valuable content, exceptional educational products, and a beautiful and authentic brand. As long as he continues to be consistent and give value, without breaking trust, I intend to remain a true fan.
And that’s how you get true fans:
- Adding value
- Building trust (and not breaking it)
6 Steps to Get Your True Fans
Think it was easy for me to reach a core group of true fans? Guess again. I struggled with the topics to write about. I struggled with finding time to write. I struggled with designing a logo. I struggled with creating a brand statement. I struggled with building a website. I struggled with using social media to share my message. I struggled with consistently delivering a podcast and reaching people with it. And I still struggle.
But I’d love for you to learn from my struggle.
Here are 6 steps to reach a core group of true fans without going beyond your means:
- Write, write, and write. This is the most effective way to find the value that’s in you. Try writing for 20 minutes a day, right when you first fire up the computer for the day. Don’t edit, just write.
- Be consistent. Find a writing rhythm that works and stick with it. Publish something at least once a week. And yes, this takes time – it took me over a year.
- Find the social media channel where your people are at, and invest your time there. Forget about the other ones (for now…).
- Don’t get hung up on your website design – “design is never done.” Ship your content now, and tweak your design later. The same thing goes for your branding.
- Set up an email list and a signup form at the very beginning. If you want, do it after you write the first draft of your first blog post. But don’t do it any later than that.
- Treat email as the most valuable part of this entire process. Getting your message out there requires people to connect with you in the digital world. And in that world, email is the most personal connection you can have with your audience. Craft your emails with care:
- Make them as brief as possible, and then lead people to the rest of your content or some other action.
- Address your subscribers by their first name.
- Use text-only email newsletters. Don’t risk your email not displaying properly in someone’s email client.
Are you ready to get farming? For the sake of the world, I hope so. What you have in you is just too valuable to be kept inside. Remember, this is not about finding a quick fix. It’s about establishing a rhythm that you can be into for the long haul.
And to my true fans – thank you. I want to give you more and more value for as long as I can. You’re awesome.
What’s the one thing you can do today to find the value in you and share it with the world? Let me know in the comments below!