Have you ever heard of the article titled “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly?
This article came out at a powerful moment in my life, back in 2008, just after I transitioned into full-time self employment.
I was looking to find a way to build a profitable business around the content, products and services that I created.
Sure, I was blessed to have already grown a relatively nice sized audience from my first two years of podcasting as a hobby.
However, I was not famous and I certainly didn't have millions of fans.
I'll admit that I had a bit of anxiety about whether or not I'd be able to build my audience to a level that would allow me to be successful with my new business venture.
However, when this article came it, it gave me a great sense of peace.
Kevin Kelly wrote…. “To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.”
You only need 1,000 true fans!
Kevin described a true fan as someone that will buy anything you produce.
He wrote… “These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month.”
In today's language, a true fan is someone who…
- will travel to your live event.
- will buy your book.
- will sign up for your course.
- will subscribe and follow you on every social media channel.
- and will share you work with everyone that they know!
Simply put…. A true fan is someone who dedicated to you and your message.
Can you really make a living with just 1,000 true fans?
Note: We are talking about “making a living” not “making a fortune.”
The following is the math that Kevin Kelly shared to explain what he meant…
“Here’s how the math works. You need to meet two criteria. First, you have to create enough each year that you can earn, on average, $100 profit from each true fan. That is easier to do in some arts and businesses than others, but it is a good creative challenge in every area because it is always easier and better to give your existing customers more, than it is to find new fans.
Second, you must have a direct relationship with your fans. That is, they must pay you directly. You get to keep all of their support, unlike the small percent of their fees you might get from a music label, publisher, studio, retailer, or other intermediate. If you keep the full $100 of profit from each true fan, then you need only 1,000 of them to earn $100,000 per year. That’s a living for most folks.”
Heres' the thing….
You could have 500 true fans and create products and services that allowed you to earn merely $200 in profit, per year, from each true fan and you'd still earn $100,000 per year.
The whole point is not that you need exactly 1,000 true fans. It's not even about the exact amount of $100,000 per year.
The point is that YOU CAN MAKING A LIVING DOING WHAT YOU LOVE and you don't have to be famous to do so!
Just imagine all the people who are working a day job, doing work that they hate, just to earn $30,000 per year.
Any one of these individuals could start some sort of “side job” where they simply grow a community of only 300 true fans who will buy products that will net them $100 per year, in profit, from each true fan to replace that soul sucking day job.
If you haven't done so, I encourage you to read the whole article by Kevin Kelly.
After doing so, you'll understand why I always tell people to…
STOP FOCUSING on THE NUMBERS and GROWING YOUR AUDIENCE and STAY FOCUSED on BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS with those who are already in your audience.
Here's the truth though…
Kevin said it like this…
“The truth is that cultivating a thousand true fans is time consuming, sometimes nerve racking, and not for everyone. Done well (and why not do it well?) it can become another full-time job. At best it will be a consuming and challenging part-time task that requires ongoing skills. There are many creators who don’t want to deal with fans, and honestly should not.”
While this approach is not for everyone. I have found that those who are willing to go this rout are able to find success in serving a specialized niche audience that can't be served by companies that are ill equipped to serve the focused interests of such small number of people.
There is so much opportunity out there for you if you are willing to invest in relationships with people who connect with you and your message.
I hope that you will find some encouragement and inspiration from this message.
Ps. Are you one of my true fans? If so, I'd love to learn how I may serve you better. Please click here to answer a few questions in my True Fan Survey.
Let's Work Together:
I mentor coaches, consultants and thought leaders through the transition from an unfulfilling day job to a profitable online business so that you can live the life of your dreams and do the work you feel most called to do in the world.
Over the past decade, I have had the privilege and honor of working with folks like Michael Hyatt, Pat Flynn, Amy Porterfield, Ray Edwards, John Lee Dumas, Dan Miller and thousands of others on the successful launch of their audio podcasts. The most exciting part of my work, with many of these folks, has been helping them create and build a profitable online business around their podcasting efforts.
If you are ready to take your message, your business and your life to the next level, check out my Work With Me page to see how we can work together.
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