Seth Godin on 5 ways that Creators can make the most of their effort they're already putting into their work.
Disciples of Seth Godin are those who want to do meaningful work in the world of today. From what I can see he mostly addresses freelancers and marketers. While “everything that touches the market is Marketing” many of the lessons he has for freelancers can be applied to the Creators and the Creator Economy at large.
The key themes revolve around understanding your role, selecting the right audience, focusing on a niche, creating value that's worth talking about, bringing about positive change, standing up for your values, and practicing genuine empathy. All these insights aim to guide creators towards meaningful, impactful, and sustainable work.
Are you a freelancer or are you an entrepreneur?
Understand your role: Are you a freelancer (someone who gets paid when they work) or an entrepreneur (someone who uses money to build something bigger)?
As a creator people show up because they except you. If they read your blog they expect you to be in a video, they expect your insight, wit, and humor (or none thereof).
If they hire you, they hire you because of you. As a freelancer, you get paid when you work.
As a creator you most likely start out as a freelancer. When you have a YouTube channel with that one video that gets watched even when you sleep, then you are an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs should aim to build an entity bigger than themselves and should be ready to sell their company when the time is right.
The lesson Seth Godin gives: Avoid the trap of constantly hiring yourself to do tasks. Delegate and focus on growth.
If It Touches the Market… It Is Marketing
Every interaction you have with the market is a form of marketing. Everything from selecting your audience and collaborators to how you communicate acts is a form of marketing.
Stand for something, and don't be afraid to turn down things that don't align with your values.
Choose Your Audience, Choose Your Future
Your audience determines your daily experience and the nature of your work. Aim for a great audience who challenges you and promotes you.
Word of mouth is powerful. Ensure that your work is so good that people talk about it. It's not about promoting yourself but creating value that your audience wants to share.
To attract a great audience, you may need to let go of less ideal ones – those who do not see value in the value you create, those who do not allow you to do your best possible work.
The Smallest Viable Audience
One of the most valuable things Seth Godin has to teach creators is to understand that success comes from serving your smallest viable audience. Instead of targeting everyone, focus on the smallest audience that sustains your business.
Embrace niches and be proud of serving a specific group exceptionally well. If you stand for everything you serve no one.
Beyond your message you should think about the impact you want to make: What change do you bring about? How do you impact lives or businesses? Seth Godin loves the example of how Harley Davidson gives a sense of belonging, “Harley Davidson does make motorcycles. But what Harley Davidson makes is a chance for a group of people, disrespected outsiders, to feel like they mattered. To feel like insiders. that is what Harley Davidson makes.”
And even one step further think about who do you want your audience to become?
Envision the transformation you want for your audience and avoid the race to the bottom (competing on clickbait, controversy, hype…). Instead, aim for excellence and uniqueness. It is way harder to create positive tension. This is exactly your chance to differentiate and create value.
You want to show up with work that matters for people who care to do this work that causes a change.
Understand your audience's perspective. They might not have the same knowledge or context as you.
Serve them by acknowledging their viewpoint and designing solutions that cater to their needs and understanding.
With this perspective of “I see you; I understand where you're coming from” you can actually create a change in the people you're seeking to serve.
Seth Godin's teachings remind us that success means making a profound difference to a chosen audience. With his tips Creators can amplify their impact and ensure their work resonates deeply. As the lines between freelancing, entrepreneurship, and content creation blur, it becomes paramount to adopt strategies that foster growth and authentic connections.
In general does his entire record of work present a plethora of insightful ideas for creators and is definitely worth a read. I would start with “This is Marketing” as it provides you both with a framework and comes from a customer-centric perspective.