The biggest problem with ideas and advice
The difference between starters and stayers - and that's ok
You’re excited about an idea you have. Perhaps it’s an online community. Maybe an in-person mission. A podcast, or YouTube show, or a course.
It feels like the most exciting thing ever, and destined for success. But you also have a nagging doubt. You know that you’re a starter… and sometimes, you don’t have the staying power to keep something growing.
First of all, that’s ok. If you’re like me, you weren’t engineered to be a Stayer.
You are a Starter.
So now what we need to do is learn how to be strategic and responsible about starting things. Start too many things with no follow-up, and folk won’t trust you to follow you.
But on the other hand, burning yourself out trying to make something work when nothing is working isn’t always dedication.
Sometimes quitting isn’t quitting. It’s pivoting.
So, these ideas don’t really gather steam until we can kickstart an audience, right?
That’s the first challenge. Starting an audience. Finding a following.
So what do you usually do? You google ‘how to…’ grow a podcast. Grow a course. Grow a community.
Have you noticed how they all say the same thing? After a couple of tries, I got so bone-wearily frustrated. Everyone says stuff like:
Build a website.
Build an email list, and send out newsletters.
Share everything on your social media networks.
Reply to comments.
Post in online groups.
Collaborate with other influencers or shows to cross-promote.
And then for each one of these, I would find advice that goes totally the other way.
Launch your brand without a website. Just a Facebook page. Or nothing. Websites are dead.
Email is dead. Text instead.
Blast on every social network. Or none of them. Social is dead.
No one comments. Get on Discord.
Don’t post in online groups - you’ll get banned. Groups are ghost towns.
Set up 20 different ad campaigns on Google Ads and social boosting.
I would pull my hair out. I can’t do all that. I can’t make sense of it all. And I don’t have a budget for it.
The key thing that no one actually addresses is this: how do I build an audience of followers?
You can’t send out emails if no one is following you.
You can’t lavish a ton of time on your website if no one is using it.
You can’t just post and ghost on social media, because no one cares.
And since no one is commenting on your content, you have nothing to react to.
Everyone talks about what to do once you have an audience.
Except that last point - collaboration. We’ll get into that. Because that’s the key to everything.
But if that’s not clear to you, what happens?
You stall. You don’t create that course. You don’t build that website. You don’t start the podcast. You don’t do anything.
Maybe your idea shrivels and dries and dies. Maybe it is gently laid on a pile of past regrets that you trot out once a month.
Or maybe… maybe you find your own way.
There has to be a way that works for your personality type. Or mine. And if you’re like me, the process we’ll cover might work for you.
In the last ten years, working for three different agencies, I stumbled into something. I realized something.
Advice is never meant for you.
Advice is meant for me, so that you can be me.
Almost every time you’ve asked someone for advice, you kinda wished they’d just ask you to share more about what you’re thinking, right?
You probably only trust a few people for advice - because they get you.
So why do we google for advice from strangers? More importantly, why google for advice from people who want totally different things out of life than we do? Most marketing advice online is driven by people who measure success in likes, money, and data.
You don’t. I don’t.
Sure, that helps. Some of it is important. Money helps rent. But after living costs, you’re not in this for a private jet.
So I decided to make my own way.
That’s the rebel in me. I had a dream for building a community, and just went and did it. And then I did it again. Then burned out. Caught my breath, and did it again. And off the glints of success, did it again.
Each time I started, I learned something new that helped me grow it faster the next time.
So I won’t share advice, if I can help it.
I’ll share stories, and processes. My experiences of what’s worked, perhaps what’s bombed.
But I’m writing this book because I think I’ve learned something valuable.
All the pressure and deadlines and bills occasionally fuses me from a flame into a blowtorch. It’s that flow state that’s so hard to catch.
And when it lands, we fly. And we leave others in the dust, blinking in surprise.
We grow wings in freefall, because that’s when we need them.
Not on the couch.