So beforehand I will apologize for any typos or silly sentences in this post – My excuse is that all week I have been moving all week, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. After I write this (from the comfort of my local Starbucks) I will take on the monotonous task of finding a comfortable ‘desk chair’ and then my office will be complete. Warning for the future: when my office is complete I am going to kick some serious butt. If you are my competition be scared, because you are dealing with a ridiculously motivated, totally comfortable (in my new digs), change agent bottled up in 100 pounds of pure entrepreneurial adrenaline (Raawwwrr!!).
Now to a post that can CHANGE your life
Okay, I’m done, for those of you who are still with me I want to know … who is your favorite singer, actress or icon? What are you most cherished blogs or books? (Think about it for a moment) I bet each encompasses character traits you connect with – I bet each has it’s detractors that would call you a fool but you don’t care – You love X and will support them 100% because you’re a true fan. Now close your eyes, feel that feeling, that ridiculous love you have for Mariah Carey, that devotion you have to anything Seth Godin writes or the way you feel when you walk into the Apple store… the way you feel about your favorites you want, nay NEED people to feel about you within niche.
1000 true fans
In Kevin Kelly’s brilliant work called 1000 true fans he sums up the idea by stating:
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 1,000 True Fans to make a living.
I adore Kelly & think the man is a genius but I would dare to disagree with the wording anyone producing works of art. I think 1000 true fans is AMAZINGLY simple and incredibly life changing if applied correctly, but I don’t think it limits itself to artists. 1000 true fans can be used with wonderful results in business too, especially I will note in internet business.
So if you are an entrepreneur like me, a small business owner or even just a blogger it is time to not only digest the concept of 1000 true fans but embrace it and make it part and parcel of your product creation life blood.
1000 true fan stories
Below are two real life examples of people in various fields using the concept of 1000 true fans to change their life, free their time and allow them to pursue their passions.
1000 true fans for a timid, P.O. box conniseur
Virgil (let’s just call him Virg for short) owns a small business in a mid sized town, his business “type” would be called a mail box store. Now this is by far the most lucrative or exciting small business in the world, but since he bought it for a fair price Virg is determined to make it work.
Virg comes to me for some consulting, he is in the red every month even though he is continually expanding his services to try to grab more customers. The funny thing is the more he expands it seems like the less he makes. I tell Virg it is time to think of his 1000 true fans – a concept hard to grasp in a business where an exciting day means someone tried to Fed Ex their cat.
So Virgil focuses on finding 1000 true fans for his mail box business, he cuts down on 80% of what he sells (from kitty mugs to dry erase boards) and instead focuses on what a mail box store should sell: boxes, stamps, tape, etc. Virgil also fires the two grumpy employees he has and instead opts to put a craigslist ad out stating “good hours, decent pay, phenomenal work environment and if you really packing peanuts and licking stamps this is your nirvana”. Within a week 2 energetic, fun to be around, jokesters with a passion for bubble wrap sign on.
Quickly Virg’s business is booming, his customers know that the place to go within their town of 500,000 if you want exceptional customer service, fair prices and all your actual shipping needs met is Virg’s store. He has people driving from 20 minutes away just to do business with his quick witted, exceptional staff and because Virg specializes in doing one thing right – shipping and P.O. Boxes.
3 months after consulting with Virg ALL of his P.O. boxes were rented and his profits where huge. He had literally built 1000 true fans of his store and at 33 transactions a day, 30 days in a month it wasn’t that hard. All it took was out of the box thinking, a dedication to excellence in one small niche and a laser focus on developing and nurturing not a million customers but only 1000 true fans.
1000 true fans for a blogess with radittude
Myria started a blog on personal growth and tried to encompass EVERYTHING within that niche at the beginning of her blogging career. She read SEO books and checked out everything related to getting your blog ranked in search engines. Because of this for months she wrote for the search engines, cutting out any off colored language or sentence structure and made sure her keywords were used throughout her posts in a perfect ratio.
Surprisingly Myria had a terrible time getting good feedback, solid comments and building a community around her site. So she got frustrated, decided ‘screw it’ and started writing from her heart with nothing but her 1000 true fans (who weren’t materialized yet) in mind.
Within a few months Myria’s new “ratittude” had caught on and her blog was being linked to a lot. She was the new girl friday because she really didn’t give a crap and spoke only on what she wanted to, what she thought her 1000 true fans would enjoy. Myria realized that she loved what she did so much she never wanted to stop, she hated her 9 to 5 job and decided to quit to blog full time. But how to make any money writing about personal growth, development and awesomeness?
Well, Myria decided now was the time to tap into her 1000 true fans, she chose to create 3 products that would come out individually at 3 intervals during the year – this way her fan base wouldn’t be barraged or feel overwhelmed. Now remember your 1000 true fans are those who will buy ANYTHING you put out and support you 100% in anything you do. Myria knew this so it inspired her to produce only the most amazing, inspiring and world rockin’ content ever.
*an eBook on how to conquer the world with a great ratittude for $27 (79 pages)
*a 3 week course on blogging with a ratittude & how to take it to the bank where she outlined her own journey, how she grew her own 1000 true fans and much more for $37 total and it came with 10 videos, 83 pages of material and 3 bonus worksheets
*a 3 day seminar where Myria and others who were all about personal development & ratittude, taught, laughed and learned together while sharing their experiences with the attendees. For this Myria opened up only 10 spots (providing the person paid their own way/hotel etc.) at $497 each. She knew that they would go fast and was amazed when her 1000 true fans snatched up each spot within a day of her releasing it.
Total money earned by be rad, connecting with her 1000 true fans and providing them exquisite value:
1000 x 27 = $27,000 + 1000 x 37 = $37,000 + 10 x 497 = $4970 total: $68,970
Myria and her ratittude towards her 1000 true fans just earned her twice as much as she made working 40+ hours a week at her old job. Go Myria!
Finding your 1000 true fans
Okay, so hopefully you are JAZZED on the concept of 1000 true fans (thanks again Mr. Kelly for giving us such a jewel!). Now it is time to figure out not HOW to reach your 1000 true fans but WHO your fans are? Are you an artist? Are you an egineer, a mother, a wacky scientist? You must find your passion, then based on that you’ll realize what demographic your 1000 true fans are going to come from. My 1000 true fans are probably FAR different than yours – so focus on WHERE they will come from, then WHO they are and finally WHAT you can give them to ensure their fandom for life. Once this is done you site back and the law of compounding returns will blow the top of your 1000 true fans and then you’re brand, small business or enterprise is growing like gang busters!
What did you really think once you’ve gotten 1000 true fans it will stop? Did it stop with Copyblogger, Tony Robbins or Oprah – I think not… getting your 1000 true fans is the hardest part but once your there you’re golden. Just do what I do focus on one true fan at a time, then 10, then 100 and so on.
An encouraging word to end on from Mr. Kelly
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt,and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
- Tell me WHO your true fan would be?
- Go read 1000 true fans already!!