Creators in the digital age are entrepreneurs and CEOs in many cases. They have to be in order to gain any sort of success online these days.
The last time I had a "regular" job was in 2005 when I was working as a pasta boy, making noodles for local restaurants in my town of Eugene, Oregon. One day, I walked in and quit and told myself that every dollar I made from that day forward would be through music in some way. I had no backup plan so a lot of people saw that decision as a mistake, but today I recognize it as one of the best choices I've ever made. That was when I decided that I would take my fate into my own hands and try following my passion, with no real plan of how I would do it.
Today, I treat myself as the CEO of my very own brick and mortar business. As a creator, my storefront is how I grab the attention of people surfing the web, and my interior is where all of the really good stuff lies: my passion, all of the behind the scenes work, and most importantly my relationship with my supporters. Over 50% of my time is spent as a community manager, and I actually dedicate a very small portion of my day to recording music. The majority of my work involves building meaningful relationships with the people who enjoy my art. In this digital age, there is so much value that you can provide to your supporters and there is so much goodness that they can bring to your life as well.
In the business world, it's obviously important to create a product that you can give to the world (music videos in my case), but my product is only a small portion of what my business as a creator represents. At the core of my brand is how deeply I truly care about all of the people that follow my work. I want to connect with each and every one of them. I want to know who they are, what their interests and hobbies are, why they are the people that they have become…
This concept is not one that I think many brands and influencers have been able to realize. As the leader of my own brand, it's important that I emulate this value into every single interaction that people have with my business. I care much more about providing value to my audience than I do about making money as an artist. The relationships I’ve built with them have proven to be what makes me the happiest and therefore what makes my business the most successful - not how many songs they download from me or how many times they view my music videos. I think of these people as my family, and I do what I can to show them that I care deeply about every single one of them.
A question for you: How do you nurture the relationships in your own life, both professional and personal? Let me know in the comments!
Check out my thoughts about this in a new podcast segment I did with Kirby Ferguson - A New Kind of CEO: Creators In The Digital Age
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