Over the years, I’ve noticed one healthy pattern among people who’re trying to do something new — they want to please everyone. That’s one of the reasons why they would share the links to their new blog, YouTube channel, or Facebook page with their friends for “feedback.”
And I believe that very act is also one of the reasons why most projects don’t get off the ground. Why? There isn’t enough validation, encouragement, traction, likes, or comments. The question is this — does it matter?
Ask any seasoned creative who’s building something great — art, literature, music, instrument, or heck, the Cybertruck — they know who their audience is. And it is not everyone. Why? Because they realise that pleasing everyone is a futile attempt to attain mediocrity.
Their argument is simply this, “why bother with people who won’t ever appreciate the stuff I do or buy what I’m selling anyway?”
I’ll pause here and let you reflect on that.
They would also go on to say that spending energy on convincing these ‘non-believers’ will take the time away from focusing on the select few who care about what they make. And ignoring the ‘believers’ doesn’t make any sense.
So, if everyone around you thinks selling artisan carrot cakes isn’t a scalable business model or that your cakes aren’t that great, they may be right. But could they be wrong in thinking that you’re making the cakes for them? I guess so. You just might be baking the cakes for the six people in your neighbourhood who place multiple orders every single week!
Maybe they genuinely dig what you do, or they’re just crazy (about you or the cakes! Your job is to find the others who’re just like them. That’s how you scale.
Ignoring your fans to make everyone else happy is the shortest path to create a mediocre carrot cake that you may be able to sell more, but deep down, you know that it sucks. Especially compared to the artisanal version you used to make.
More isn’t the answer. Better is.
Your biggest goal as a creative and a practitioner is to focus on that smallest audience and make them happy. Yes, they may have high-standards or way more demanding than everyone else, but they will challenge you to be better and grow as a professional.
So, the choice boils down to being mediocre or a thorough professional. If it’s the latter, know that ignoring your ‘believers’ won’t do you any good; instead, you’ve got to be bold enough to ‘shun the non-believers’ as Seth Godin would say.
It’s a bolder and way more risker option than pleasing everyone. But that’s the price you pay to become a professional.
HT: Seth Godin. If you haven’t read his latest book, The Practice, you’re missing out on something great. It’s that damn good!