29 Lessons on How You Can Become a Content Entrepreneur

1. Believe in yourself

Joe talked about starting a business with his wife for years.

Finally, she told him “Look Joe, either stop talking about it or do it just fine. I’m fine with it. But you have to pick, you can’t just talk about this forever.”

2. Failure –> Success

Sometimes, we need to fail to succeed.

In his first two years, the business was failing and Joe lost his best customer, which had him dusting off his LinkedIn profile.

It was from that failure that Joe was inspired to pivot his business and he succeeded.

3. Traditional entrepreneur survival rate

50% of businesses survive three years.

10% of businesses survive five years.

Traditional entrepreneurs build a product, or an idea, and try to market it to an unknown audience.

We want to skew these odds in our favor.

4. Build the audience first

By building, and investing, in the audience, you know them better than anyone.

You know their pain points, needs and desires, and they trust you for it.

They rely on your consistent content, and are now prospects that are ready to buy from you.

5. Be patient

Because we’re reversing the model, money won’t come immediately.

It takes approximately 2+ years to really make it happen.

You are generally ~ 18 months until your first part-time hire, and ~ 26 months to build an ongoing sustainable business.

6. Find your sweet spot

Your sweet spot is the intersection between:

1. Your expertise

2. Your audience’s desires

LIst all of your strengths. Don’t be humble.

Match your strengths up with a target audience, and niche down as much as you possibly can.

7. Niche down

Get to the smallest audience possible, and then go smaller., and smaller.

You cannot get too niche when everyone wants to go wide.

You want your niche to be small enough that if you deliver consistently for a long enough time you can become a leading expert.

8. Establish your Tilt

Your content tilt can be two strong skill sets combined as you niche down.

The skill sets should make sense as a pair. Not juggling with Excel.

A python developer who is an excellent public speaker could be powerful. It allows you to niche down.

9. Create your category

Use Google Trends – put in your topics to see:

– what’s hot

– what’s new

– what’s trending

– what people aren’t thinking of

Ask yourself what platforms aren’t people on who have your skillset?

Can you bring your Tilt to a new platform and dominate it.

10. Have an Avatar

Your Avatar is a representation of your audience.

If you are a writer, write your content to a very specific reader – your Avatar.

If you’re a podcast host, ask questions your Avatar would ask your guest.

Pull out the information your audience wants.

11. Setup listening posts

Use listening posts to understand your audience.

Follow your audience on social media.

Create a Discord community with your audience.

Survey them or find them through a Google Search.

Do whatever you can to be in constant contact with the audience.

12. Listening post –> Product

Your audience will tell you what they want.

In the communities you are in with them, they will share their needs, wants and desires in the listening posts.

Your job is to hear them. To listen. To understand what it is they want * delivering it.

13. Product tracking

As we talked, Joe motioned at multiple monitors.

On the top monitor he had his Discord community.

On the lower monitor, he had his product roadmap of revenue ideas: sponsorships, merchandise, ongoing training, coaching, events & affiliate opportunities.

14. Be patient

Patience is so important, we are hitting it twice.

As Joe says, “hen you have to pay bills and you you’re doubting whether or not you can do this, that’s where you don’t know you don’t know until you know”

I refer to this as it goes slow until it goes fast.

15. It Goes Slow Until it Goes Fast

People think most content entrepreneurs were successful over night.

That their success came to them easily, which is almost never the case.

Creating content is hard work and the results will only come with consistency, hard work and time.

16. List your audience’s questions

Ask yourself what questions your audience would have.

List every question your customers, or prospective customers might have.

On every sales call, or interaction, you ever take part in, write down the questions you’re asked.

17. Wants > Needs

Wants are driven by emotions.

Emotional storytelling is the best form of storytelling.

We are going to sell our customers on the emotions, which will open up more doors than giving them what they need.

18. Start on one medium

Most major brands don’t start on all social media platforms.

The brands start on a single social media channel. Choose the right one.

Choose the social media channel that aligns with your:

– Style

– Skillset

– Target audience

19. Narrow then broad

Stay on one social media channel until you’re successful.

When you’re successful on a single media channel, consider expanding out.

When expanding out, continue to play to your strengths and outsource as you are able to do.

20. Platform control

When considering your social media platforms, the goal ought to be to choose the social media platform that gives you the most control over presenting your content and building your audience.

As much as you’re able, get your audience to email. You own it.

21. Own versus rent

You rent most social media platforms. You can be:

– banned

– suspended

– shadow banned

It is the dilemna of being a renter. You don’t have control.

If you own your audience, you aren’t at risk: your website, email list, or online community.

22. Be consistent like Norm.

If you’ve ever seen Cheers, you know that Norm comes into the bar at the same time, ever day. People greet him with a boisterous “Norm”, which is the same as “Same Bat Time, Same Bat Place”.

When you are providing content. Be consistent and regular.

23. Be Original

If you have a newsletter, don’t repurpose content.

Bring a level of originality to the newsletter.

Bring your audience something they cannot get somewhere else.

24. Steal an audience

Steal is a strong word. It’s about leverage.

You should engage with other influencers.

When you engage with peers in one industry, or cross-industry, or cross-platform, you are being exposed to that influencer’s audience, and vice versa. Everyone wins.

25. Minimum Viable Audience

Your minimum viable audience, MVA, is the smallest possible audience we need in order to monetize.

Know your audience.

Know the conversion rates.

Understand how it translates.

Work backward to determine your audience size to hit revenue targets.

26. Revenue streams

The average successful content entrepreneur has > four different revenue streams.

Six direct revenue streams:

– events

– donations

– advertising

– conferences

– sponsorship

– premium content

The two indirect ways are to sell a product or a service.

27. Strategic Leverage

When we’ve monetized, we can grow.

Now we can afford to branch out to other social channels.

As our monetization grows, we can built out our team and pursue other revenue streams.

We are only constrained by our capital and our ability to manage a team.

28. Your ideal customer

Find your ideal customer.

Joe found the ideal customers subscribed to three products: They listened to the Podcast, read the newsletter and followed the Twitter account.

When someone is following you across multiple channels, they’re a true fan.

29. Align with the Mission

One of the benefits of being a true content entrepreneur, which usually ties to success, is the alignment with the mission.

When you believe in what you’re providing. When you care deeply about your audience, you aren’t “selling”, you’re solving.

This thread was inspired by my conversation with

@JoePulizzi

, the content marketing Godfather, and his book – Content Inc.

https://amazon.ca/Content-Inc-Second-Content-First-Successful/dp/1264257546

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