“If you're too big to fit into fashion, then you just have to do your own fashion.” – Vivienne Westwood, Born Apr. 8, 1941.
When I first went freelance and was trying to figure out this whole guruhood-as-a-business-model thing, I had a worry.
What is going to be my “thing”? What is going to be the difference that makes me a worthwhile choice in my marketplace? Why is anyone going to follow me and do what I recommend?
Tough questions. Me being me, I put them on the back burner and procrastinated finding answers.
Instead, I figured, just start doing the “stuff” you know you’re supposed to do and maybe come back to that philosophical raison d’être stuff.
I’d need a website. And a portfolio. And a book. And some products. And an email list. And and and…
I got started. And failed. And failed. And failed.
I’ve tried writing the way other people have done it.
I’ve tried creating products the way other people have done it.
I’ve tried promoting my stuff the way other people have done it.
None of it was working because I couldn’t finish. If I did finish, I hated it and didn’t want to share it because it wasn’t “me” and I didn’t want to have to be a phony every day just to make my living.
Other people’s “thing” just didn’t fit. I didn’t know it wouldn’t fit until I tried it on. I didn’t know what I didn’t like about their styles and modes and methods until I got my hands dirty.
This is where the extinction line is for most people, I think.
If I had stopped there, I might have convinced myself that writing, teaching, selling, and all this were just not for me.
After all, I tried it, and it didn’t work.
I might have mistaken the undesirable work activity with the desired work output. I might have psyched myself out of this whole thing.
But instead, I just kept messing around, trying to reach my end goals, but playing with the process needed to get there.
Not because I’m determined. Because I’m stubborn. Not because I’m smart. Because I was screwing around on the Internet all day anyway – may as well screw around with this for a bit each day.
I decided what I didn’t like doing at all and eliminated it.
I decided what I did like and figured out how to do more of it.
I figured out how to make it work for me.
And here is the important part – I made these processes and personal work “innovations” INTO my “thing”.
What is different about me – different from everyone else who does what I do?
The way I do it is what’s different.
The reasons WHY I do things the way I do are what I have in common with my audience.
And I DO have an audience, and I DO have a successful business. And it’s because when I found out that other people‘s ways of doing things didn’t fit me, it revealed the path to something that did.
And SHARING that path is what I do for a living now.
Is it THE way for EVERYONE? No. But try it on, and you might like it. At a minimum, take what you like from what I do and use it to make your own thing.
You have to.