Finding Your Perfect Niche

Brain Dump First

Write down a list of all the stuff that you're awesome at. No judgment, no editing, just brain dump. Ask your friends if you need to. You're probably taking some stuff for granted and are undoubtedly more awesome than you think you are.

Do Your Research

Is this profitable? Do people actually buy this thing? Go look on Google. Search your ideas and look at all the paid offerings that show up in the first page results. Who are they, what are they offering, and how much are they charging? Make a list. Do the same with Amazon. What's for sale and how many people are buying? We're just proving that people actually want what you do.

Feel Your Customer's Pain

How painful is this problem? If I break my arm, I don't give a shit how much it costs to get it re-set, put in a cast, and fixed. It's a huge pain point. How much people pay is directly related to how hard they're hurting. When you know who you're serving and how much they're hurting, you also know almost everything you need to about how to speak to them and serve them.

Scope the Competition

Can the people you want to serve actually pay you for what you do? If you have competitors, people who sell essentially the same thing, the answer is undoubtedly yes. You also have an opportunity to shake things up in that world and present a fresh alternative. Look at what your competitors are doing, what people are engaging with, and then think about how you'll do things better, do things differently, and add more value than your competitors are.

Listen and Adjust

If you're just getting started, you'll find your unfair advantage really fast. And when you dive headfirst into that and aren't set in your ways but are set on listening to what your audience wants, you can't help but grow fast. There's room for everyone, so don't let yourself believe that just because someone got there first, you can't make moves.

Test Everything

Finally, it's time to test. Experiment with EVERYTHING in the beginning. You have no audience yet, so you have nothing to lose. Once you start to have people follow and subscribe you, there will be certain expectations on you. Right now there are none. If you're consistent over time and adjust course as people tell you what they want more of, you can't lose. You never know what's going to work until you put things out there.

Test with free content to see what resonates - any feedback is good feedback, even no feedback. If people aren't engaging, it's probably not what they're looking for. Or, it's delivered in a way that doesn't speak to their pains. Test with pre-sales of a product you're building to get capital to reinvest or with a beta group of users who can figure it out along with you. There's no bigger mistake than thinking you know what your customers want without asking them or listening to what your testing tells you.

How to Be Unbeatable in Business

There is exactly one way to make sure you never lose, and that’s to keep trying over and over.

To get rejected and move to the next one.

To lose and play again.

To fall and rise again and again, as many times as it takes.

If cauliflower can figure out how to turn into fucking pizza, you can figure out how to get paid for that thing you like to do.

And you can do it by creating something totally rad and supporting other people who create rad stuff too.

That's about all there is to it - do awesome stuff that you love to do.

When you do that, it's really easy to keep going for a long time. And when you never give up, and you keep working hard for a long time, caring a lot, being kind, and getting disgustingly good at whatever it is you do...

You're unbeatable.

The 80/20 Rule for Entrepreneurs

20% of your work will give you 80% of your results.

Which means that most of the things you do, most of the things you think you "have" to do, aren't really all that big a deal.

They just don't matter that much.

Here's the 20%:

*Get really clear on who you want to serve and what you can offer them.

*Get really clear on how you want to be seen in the market.

*Engage consistently with those people where they spend their time (online and in person) by entertaining, educating, and inspiring them.

*Spend most of your time, especially if you're just getting started, offering to help. (That's called selling, by the way.)

*When someone takes you up on your offer, be ridiculously good at what you do and how you make them feel.

*Make it easy for them to tell their friends about you.

There are so many ways to check those boxes and get those things done. You don't need to chase the next shiny object every time one pops up.

It's easier said than done.

It's fun to come up with new logos and write mission statements and business plans and have people pat you on the back for that stuff.

But if you're trying to build a BUSINESS, you don't have to overcomplicate it. In fact, you should have a hell of a lot of fun with it.

Content Mistakes to Avoid

1 - Not having a plan.

Don't wing it. Please sit down and write out what you're actually trying to accomplish with the stuff you're posting. Otherwise it's just noise. Are you trying to generate sales? Make offers. Are you trying to build your audience? Add value and ask for shares (Tap the paper airplane and share this in your story). Figure out what a win looks like and then win.

2 - Not tracking your results.

Based on what your win looks like, what numbers do you need to know to see if you're moving in the right direction? Figure that out, and then you can actually evaluate.

3 - Not posting native to the network.

Don't act the same on Instagram as you do on LinkedIn. Unless you'd like people to completely ignore you on the one you're screwing up.

4 - Putting your head in the sand.

When people comment, answer. When people don't get what they need from you, make it right for them as much as you can. Don't ignore the problems. Address them.

5 - Talking to the wrong person.

You have an audience of one. One person, your ideal customer, that person you'd most like to serve. When you turn the camera on, you're not talking to the camera, you're talking to them. Act like it.

6 - Being sketchy.

You post 3 times a day for 5 days and then you disappear for 2 weeks and then you post once and then you're gone for 5 days before the next one. You're unreliable, and people don't want to spend their time with unreliable people. Be where you said you would. Be consistent.

How to Reach Your Perfect Customer

1) Figure out who you're trying to reach and what they need - what are their glaring problems that you can help with? What's keeping them from reaching their goal?

2) Figure out how you'd like to position yourself, your brand, in their eyes. Branding is hard, but it's simple - it's what people say about you when you're not in the room. Your reputation. List out all the adjectives that you'd like people to use to describe you.

3) Figure out how their needs and your branding intersect to create an unfair advantage. Are you the lowest cost? The fastest? The most fun? Do you get them there in a socially or environmentally conscious way? It isn't enough to define who you are and who they are. You have to answer the 'so what' question.

4) Figure out where your perfect customer spends their time - and then start spending your time there. Once your positioning is defined, interact, engage, add value, and start to act in all those ways you want to be perceived.

5) Figure out what you can offer them to make it a no-brainer for them to do business with you. Orthopedic surgeons don't spend time worrying about what color their add to cart button is. They don't set up complicated sales funnels or try to lure you in. When you have a broken arm, you go to them because they're the only ones who can fix your problem. That needs to be you.

6) Figure out how to deliver AWESOME service. Once people are doing business with you, amaze them with how much you help. Do the stuff that doesn't scale. Treat them like family. Give a shit.

Congratulations. You win now.

You Have Permission to Suck

It takes a lot of courage to be new. To be bad at it. To struggle, and keep struggling.

It takes patience, and it takes determination, and it will make you better.

It’s lonely, though, and frustrating, and awkward, and you just feel clueless.

So many new business owners (and established ones) avoid it. Avoid being bad at stuff. Avoid the hard parts where you’re running on wobbly legs.

So they don’t do the things they know they should do and they focus on the stuff that’s more fun, more interesting, easier to show off to the people who you want to pat you on the back.

They order a new book on Amazon because if they can just read ONE MORE book about how to do that one thing then that’s when everything will fall into place.

They make sure their fonts are right on their website and the blocky sans serif is just the right weight to complement the scripty serif that will really set things off. That’s what my customers have really been looking for, right?

They sign up for new subscription services or watch another YouTube video that tells them the same thing the last one did, which is what they should be doing, which is not complicated - but it is hard as hell.

They need to try to sell and be told no until they get told yes.

They need to help someone.

They need to get feedback that maybe they’re close to the perfect offering, the perfect service, the perfect product, but they’re not there yet.

Then they need to iterate. They need to refine. They need to try again.

But that’s hard and it’s painful and they’re going to take a few punches to the jaw before they get it right.

But more importantly than any of that is that it’s necessary.

You have to fail more times than the other people will even try.

And you don’t have to get it right the first time. You have lots of tries.

In fact, if you did nail it right away, you probably didn’t reach high enough.

Try again. Try better. Fail again. Fail better.

Allow yourself to be a beginner, and get to work.

Love you.

Hey. Have fun.

Have fun.

With your business.

With your friends.

With your customers.

With your ads.

With your weekends.

And your weekdays.

Have fun.

With your craft.

With your purpose.

The ones who are having the fun, who are unapologetically authentic, who don't take themselves too seriously.

They're the ones who get to play the long game.

They don't deal with the burnout.

They don't get caught up with hustle and grind.

They don't work 18 hour days.

They sleep at night.

They can't tell when work stops and play starts.

Because it all ends up looking about the same.

On Influencer Marketing

You move to a brand new city. You don’t know a soul, but you love rock climbing, so you decide to check out the rock climbing gym a couple blocks down the road.

While you’re there, you kind of keep to yourself because it’s your first time, you don’t know anyone, and you’re just trying to get in a good climb. But you need someone to secure your rope, so you walk up to someone you’ve seen who looks like they know what they’re doing, you introduce yourself and ask if you can work together for a little while.

This person holds the rope for you as you scale the wall, making the toughest wall in the place look easy.

As you come down, your new friend smiles at you and says, “Whoa! Great job! That’s a really tough wall - here, come meet some of my friends.”

They bring you over to a large group of people smiling, laughing, and having a great time enjoying their day in the climbing gym and introduce you to the group. As you shake hands and get to know these people, your partner from earlier walks behind the desk, answers the phone, and greets a new group of people walking in to climb -

“Oh man,” you realize. “that’s the owner of the gym.”

And the introduction that they made to the large group you’re now a part of is a phenomenon called social proof. They already had credibility in this group, and they let you borrow some of it.

So now, rather than having to look in from the outside or figure out what to say to get to know these people, you’re already in.

And the reason why is because you were good enough.

If you didn’t have a clue what to do when you were on the wall, the likelihood of getting that introduction in the first place is way lower. They may have helped you, maybe referred you to one of their coaches, maybe ignored you after holding the rope for you once or twice.

And that’s how influencer marketing works.

You’re intentionally looking for people who have a connection with a group that you want to connect with, and you’re demonstrating value to that person. It greases the grooves for them to show you off to their network, which is the network you want to be in too.

So influencer marketing requires a couple of things -

  1. The attention of an influencer: this can be gotten a number of ways - you can pay them for their time, you can be so good that they find out about you anyway, or you can play a numbers game and helpfully reach out until you get the attention of someone in your desired network who’s willing to give you a little time.

  2. The ability to deliver value: Maybe you aren’t the best rock climber in the world. Maybe you walk into the gym because you want to get to know people there and instead of showing off how awesome you are, you figure out a way to make their life easier by working for free on something or contributing in some other way. Maybe you can’t pay an influencer in the fashion space but you can take awesome photographs of their products for them to use on their feed for free. Figure out where the intersection of their needs and your skills is, and then leverage that.

If you can do those 2 things, influencer marketing can be the jet fuel that really kicks off your reputation and your network in any field. The gym is open. Go climb.

Also important to remember - there’s no one-size fits all solution for this kind of thing, so if you want to tell me a little more about your specific situation, I can help you build a custom plan that meets your needs. Schedule a call and let’s get to work.

The Stuff You Have to Do

How much time are you spending every day on stuff you “have to” do?

What if you didn’t?

What if you weren’t worried about what people thought or about those things you’re working so hard for?

What if you didn’t need them?

What if the journey and the process and the adventure of it all was the goal?

Then, as soon as you start, you win. You’ve made it. You get to enjoy it. Starting right at that exact moment.

And you get to get better at it. One day, one post, one customer at a time.

Because when it’s “as soon as…” or “once I get here I’ll…” you might as well stop.

Because those goalposts never stop moving. It’s the horizon you never reach.

But when it’s “let me tell you about…” or “today I get to…” and it’s the stuff that blows your hair back, that’s when you’re on the right track.

Because there’s always a way to monetize - that’s easy.

It’s listening to yourself and tuning out all the stuff that’s the really hard part.

The Kind of Marketing I Want to Do

I think a business is a really cool thing for someone to want to build.

And it takes guts and intelligence and a whole lot of grit to do it.

And most of the time good people start businesses because they see something wrong and they want to fix it.

And so helping good people build good businesses is, to me, a valuable thing, a worthy thing, to spend time on.

This means it’s really important that the companies I choose to work with are companies I admire, companies I really want to see succeed.

And it’s really important that the people who run those companies are talented and engaged and positive and give a shit about leaving the world a little better than they found it.

Because when they’re giving their whole self, I have no problem giving my whole self to see them succeed. I feel good about it, actually.

And the people who hold back and only check the boxes they have to check and only do the things they have to do make it feel gross and unfair and wrong when I give any more than that.

It’s important to do work that’s hard and that isn’t what you already know how to do. And that’s a little bit scary because as much as I like my comfort zone, I don’t want to spend a lot of time there.

It’s important to do work where the solution isn’t right in front of your eyes, or at least the best solution isn’t.

And that makes it fun to work with people who demand great solutions to big problems.

And I want those people who are fixing those big problems with their businesses to be doing it in a way that’s based on really delivering value and not just scamming people into the next transaction.

And all this stuff matters, or it should anyway, because it guides the critical decisions I make every day - who do I work with? What gets my attention? What gets my time, my effort?

I want to spend my hours, my days, my working life, helping people bring their visions to life. Visions that matter. That people rally around. Visions I can believe in too.