Don't be part of the party, be the party!

Parties are great, but you don’t want to be part of a party, you want to be the party. The place where everybody wants to be tonight. How would you treat your website if it was a party and you were the host? Friends or foes, whoever was not on that party can’t tell the story. Make sure you have special events every once in a while that will attract a lot of additional guests.

Have a place to party

No matter if you want to through a motto party, a high society get together, an underground rave or a block-party everybody wants to meet people, flirt with each other, dance and have a great time. If the location can’t provide those features the party is going to suck. You might have a nice get together, but it won’t be shaking the walls. Make sure your website looks good, has the possibility to let people interact and delivers a good show.

photo by Wbs 70

photo by Wbs 70

Be a good host – Introduce others

On a good party the host knows most of his guests, it’s important to introduce your guests and hook them up. A party is great to build relationships and find people for later interactions. Don’t let this potential go by wasted and share links to people who are important, lead the way and you might profit from this on the long run. Guests should always refer to you as someone who is a great host and tell others about your parties!

Offer drinks and beverage

Throwing a bottle party is cheap and great, but a nice all inclusive fest is far better. Make sure your guest find everything they need! If you can’t provide everything yourself get others to provide it for you, there are catering services you know? Always make sure that the people don’t have to leave your website for things that you could have provided, otherwise you might lose those guys for good.

Organize a Band or DJ

Ain’t no party like the one I got. You need entertainment! You need music! People have to dance, a party without dancing and fun simply sucks and is a get drunk and hit each other get together. Offer activities that will make your visitors happy! Information is necessary, everything else is a bonus that will build a bigger connection to your site.

Invite the neighbours instead of annoying them

Don’t be afraid of the people around you. Your competitors are your direct neighbours, don’t leave them out, get them to join your party. There are great ways to do this through interviews, contests or reviews of their sites. Don’t limit yourself by being afraid of your competition.

Have strong friends in case trouble arrives at your party

Make sure your party is a save and fun place to hang out. No matter if you think about people trolling your comments and insulting others or people trying to hack your website. Your comment policy & moderation is your bouncer. Exclude people who want to spoil your party. Make enough backups and ensure that you have a backup plan once the living room is on fire 😉
party part of this collage is a picture by jaqian

Get a public party place in case your home is too small

In case you home is to small, start the party somewhere else! Write guest posts on big blogs and leave with a few of those people to have an after-show party at your home. You want your party to slowly grow and have a base of people you know at first.

Get a party photographer

Document your party, it’s important for people to give them another reason to come back to your site. Build a connection with those people and offer them ways to share their experiences with others. Share your fame, especially when you start out.

Every party has to end

No party is made to last forever! If it was a success people will talk about the party afterwards and come to visit your place. There will be new friendships made and people want to hang out with you at a later time

Doing Stuff you are uncomfortable with

Failure is no option! It’s easy to fuck things up and don’t do stuff we are uncomfortable with. Maybe it’s because neglecting the things you dislike seems like the right way to approach a task. Examples are all over the place… getting clients through marketing efforts, doing the paperwork, working on stuff others would judge you on or simply feeling bad to interact with someone else and coming off as spammy. Millions of different reasons might block us, a good example for this is the 31 day challenge.

31day challenge tasks I have brushed off…

The problogger challenge opened my eyes, taking part in it is a lot fun and the first tasks happened without hesitation. Which is nothing strange as those assignments already worked for me. Writing list posts every once in a while, posting comments on other blogs and improving the blog’s experience is something that I frequently do. Nevertheless there are things that I am good at ignoring. I did not…

…write an email to a reader.
…let other people who haven’t been on my site browse it.
…join forums in my niche (besides the problogger challenge).
…write a call to action.
…ask my readers a question.
…find a blog buddy.

Basically this pattern can be traced back to 4 different reasons.

Things people suck at…

There is a big fear of failure and most people don’t want to do things that they are bad at. Especially in public this rings true. Just do what you have to do and get over those fears. Failing or being bad at something is usually just a sign of insufficient training. I just have to start the stuff I am bad at and watch myself improve.

Things people don’t like to do…

Another reason why we don’t like to do certain things is that we simply dislike them. Paperwork sucks so does, cleaning up, or selling out …whatever… it’s one of the main reasons for procrastination. Nevertheless we have to complete those tasks in order to be successful. Getting over it is the only option and maybe we even start to like them along the way. And if we can’t find motivation within the job itself, looking forward to the outcome (more money, more free time, more output) can be motivation enough.
brickwall1

False models of reality…

We don’t do things, because we think(not know) that it’s not worth our time. The problem within false models of reality is that we think(not KNOW!) a certain approach towards a problem will not help solving it. Even though others might succeed that way, we think those ways are wrong and won’t work for us. Quitting with false models of reality is a great way to improve in different areas of life. You always have to re-evaluate which things are useful and which useless. If we constantly find ourselves running into a brick wall, then it’s about time to try something new.
Two good examples of this wrong behavior are

  1. follow many people at twitter to get a lot of useful followers. This is plain and simple wrong, the best examples are the power users at twitter who only follow a few peeps but more influence than guys with 1000s of mutual friends.

  2. Telling people what you think they want to hear instead of what you want to say or what has to be said. It’s the wrong model of perception, people need honesty and it takes guts to tell the truth. There might be people who will not get along with someone like that, but those are the people who we should ignore anyways. We need feedback loops to improve.

The lesson to learn is always ask questions! Why am I thinking this? Does this really ring true? Are there other ways to approach it? Why don’t I do this in another way? What did I do to improve my situation? Did my actions improve my situation? Which actions will lead to results? How are others getting results?
Question models that make no sense or are not working, sticking to old models, just because “Those models have to be right”, even though they are not is just stupid. Realizing this mistake within our behavior helps us to clean up with false assumptions and ultimately improve our output.

It’s useless anyways…

This point is pretty simple, we are not doing the stuff we are uncomfortable with, because you know that it does not work or have found a better way to get the same results. This is perfectly fine and we should stick to it as it saves us trouble and time. It’s important to know what we want and what we don’t want, it’s a natural process that helps us mature, know who we are and forms our identity.

What does this mean for us?

Do what is working, not what we assume what should work… We should learn that quitting with false assumptions is the key to being successful. Don’t over-analyze what you are doing and just get stuff done. It’s not about what you think what works, it’s simply about doing what works. There are a lot of ways to get things done and there will always be more than one way. The important part is that we should not not do things, because you are uncomfortable with them. That’s just a sign that it’s a challenge, which is not necessarily a bad thing. We have to learn mastering challenges around us and become aware of reality and not our models of reality to fully. What does this mean for the 31 day challenge? It’s time to interact with my readers on a new level and quit being a wuzz about it 🙂

Art Books to fill your Library

Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere Those guys cause scenes, I mentioned them in a post about viral marketing vs word of mouth, and their book is just one of those things that’s a great conversation opener when you have friends visiting. It’s on my to get list.

Murakami Some say sellout, others say genius. I’m somewhere in between. I like those works and the idea behind it

Fight Club: A Novel This is the book & movie that changed more people’s life than one would admit. “You are not the things you own.” or rather “The things you own end up owning you.” The best way to escape this whole misery is to be creative and do what you love instead of chasing some bullshit that you don’t need.

Wall and Piece Banksy is one of the true underground artists that remain. His works seem to be everywhere and there are loads of people who pay a small fortune for his works. Still the books are his way to distribute his works, so go out and support him by buying one of his books.

Sticker City: Paper Graffiti Art (Street Graphics / Street Art) Stickers are a less offending way to plaster artworks through the cities. Streetart is the biggest chance to liberate art from it’s old boundaries.

Manuel Ocampo: Heridas De LA Lengua : Selected Works One of the artists that you either like or hate. A lot of people probably think he is messing around with them, but actually his works are more thought provoking than most of those boring beautiful paintings you usually see.

Street Renegades: New Underground Art Real street art, not graffiti, is the liberation of art. You don’t have to visit a high end gallery or pay a boatload of cash to watch thought provoking high quality works. They are everywhere around you, just open the eyes and stop calling people who paint the walls criminals.

Affiliate Marketing for Creatives – Develop a product

There are many fish in the river of ideas, but do you have what it takes to create your own affiliate product? It’s actually pretty easy to create one, especially for creative people like us, but do you think that there is a serious website to cover this issue from scratch?
The sites that offer a guide to affiliate products are usually plastered with their affiliate links and tell you something like this:

Man it’s great to create your own kickass product instead of just selling products from others without offering something yourself

Great. We knew that …. that really helped… not. *sigh*

Back in the days I have been thinking about offering my own affiliate product in the form of an ebook, somehow I never got along writing that, but it’s time to share what I discovered on my research concerning affiliate products & create a short 20-40 page book to accompany this guide and illustrate how it is done.

The idea behind an ebook and creating an affiliate program for it is creating a long term stream of passive income. There is still a big market for good ebooks, but a lot of the niches are saturated, and to be honest, most ebooks offered are not worth what you have to pay for them.

The questions are, how do you find the right partners for your venture and which steps have to be taken to be successful? This guide covers the basic steps from finding a site that will handle your selling, someone that will deliver your digital product and different ways to create a successful affiliate product site.

This guide will not teach you how to create your own affiliate service from scratch, here you will learn how to create your own products and to outsource everything else. So let’s create a product and let others take care of additional promotion and someone else should provide the hardware to handle all the monetary aspects of this side. The set budget for this upcoming experiment will be 100$ for everything from hosting to selling.

Enough introduction, let’s get down to business.

Step 1, finding the – product – publishing – pricing

Narrowing down a niche

How do you choose a niche? Do you want to be part in a hard fought or soft market? Here comes the big secret: It does not matter how hard the market is fought! It only matter how good your product is. A soft market has usually less competitions, but there are probably less potential buyers, hence the soft market. A hard market basically three things:

  1. first of all there are probably a lot of buyers

  2. there are people who have authority and a name

  3. there are a lot of people promoting the products of number 2

Harder fought does not have to be harder to sell stuff, you just have to create a great product. A soft market does not have to be enjoyable on opposite, as there might not be people who are going to buy your product. The golden rule is to make sure you offer an unique product that has big value.

Good niches?

A good niche is a niche where you have a set of knowledge and skills. There is virtually a market for everything, ranging from dating to creativity or internet marketing to name a few of the big niches. Just make sure there are people willing to buy your product.

The pricing?

Depends on your product and your name! For this guide we’ll play wit a product in the price range of 20-30$. To promote the product an offering of 50-70% to your affiliates seems to be reasonable. At least for a digital product.
Basically there are two possibilities, you either look for the big fish and offer expensive products or you sell some small-time stuff and have a supermarket mentality. The bigger and better your name is the more you can charge. A good way is to prove your status by creating a very solid product for a very fair price and offering follow up products and coaching, that will make you the real money.

To be honest, I never understood the price tag of some ebook guides. Most of those books are create to make the no-name author a fortune and offer some basic knowledge that you can find online for free! Do you think a price tag of 50-300$ for a simple ebook sounds reasonable? Go into a bookstore and have a look at the price tags, … tell me how many books you find there that cost that much money. Let’s not forget that most people would be better off with a printed book about marketing and sales management than a get rich book.
So pick an affordable price and start to sell. You want to sell those products to brand and underline your reputation as an expert. In case you create a great product it will sell.

The publishing

Self publishing has never been easier. A nice layout is great, but to be honest it’s not necessary for your first book, you probably don’t have the money for a great designer. And since you are creative, just do it yourself 😉 You can hire someone for your next books when you have the cash. In case you want to illustrate something buy cheap stock images and add them. The most important part is to get someone to proofread. Errors and typos have to be avoided at all cost
Then just go on a create a .pdf and add a disclaimer to it.

The goal

This is the first part, we should all have a general idea about what we want to create and should start creating our affiliate product. What’s on the list so far?

  1. Pick a niche you have knowledge in.

  2. A niche doesn’t matter, they all have advantages and disadvantages, make sure your product is good enough that people will be willing to pay your for it.

  3. Pick a realistic price tag.

  4. Offer a generous share of your profits.

  5. When you publish an ebook it should be available as PDF, you should know how to create one and have someone else to triple check your typing and grammar.

In the next episode we’ll cover how you find partners to sell your ebook, until then I will write a short ebook about creative capital.

Creative Capital in the Music Industry

Nine Inch Nails are the uber pioneers for the Creative Industries. Those guys do everything right and are testing out a lot of ways to monetize their creative output. Somehow they understand the new setting and don’t blame the fans, instead they offer plenty of their stuff for free. This interview over at digg dialog offers so much insight for everyone who wants to step out into the world to build his creative capital.

Some of Trent’s ideas summed up

Hopefully this is rephrased in the right way 🙂

  • Find your target audience and picture yourself in the future. Depending on your career wish you have to make different decisions in regard to your personal development. Mainstream artists should probably go another way, for example sign at a major lable, than underground or rather niche artists who would probably do best with word of mouth advertising and self publishing within their niche.
  • People are not willing to pay for digital products they can get for free. Trent mentioned some kind of Poll at NIN.com where only 18% of the people would pay a small price with the artists getting the full share. This just underlines that you have to sell more than simple digital goods. Something that has value, not some simple product that can be easily copied and found everywhere around the web.
  • The creative industries are changing and the big companies don’t want to lose their money and power, they don’t understand the natural evolution the internet has started. Being at the crossroads right now just tells us that we have no clue where this whole creative industry is going to. Just one thing is for sure, it’ll be a fun ride.
  • Share with your fans, give them insight and the possibilities to work with your stuff. Sounded like this is one of the best ways to deepen the relationship with your fanbase.
  • Build a business model out of limited and special editions, concerts and merchandise. Calculate your expenses and what you want to earn, moreover set realistic goals if you want to monetize your creative output. Selling just one thing is dead, you have to diversify your income streams.
  • Marketing stunts and viral marketing are great ways to kickstart a career, but be sure that you have something to follow up.

It’s been an amazing, very thoughtful interview that really offers loads of different insights on the musical niche of the Creative Industries.

Graffiti Zen

Graffiti helps young people to express themselves, some of those guys seem to have developed deep philosophic thinking. There is definitely a lot truth in those words.
graffiti_zen

The secret of adding value to Everything you do

What the duck is value??
First of all we need to know what value is! Is value something that helps people out? Probably yes. Is value something you get for free? Mostly not. Will value help you to get more money? Probably yes. What does wikipedia say about value?

In ethics, value is a property of objects, including physical objects as well as abstract objects (e.g. actions), representing their degree of importance. Value(Ethics)

First of all you have to think about what is valuable to yourself, after figuring that out you can ask what’s important to people? How do you become important, or valuable to the masses?
First of all, you have to offer something they want! This one is a must and a given fact, that’s no secret though. The secret to stardom is exclusivity! Don’t let everybody be part of the party. Or at least pretend that you don’t! Don’t know what’s your creative capital yet? Here are 33 ways to build it.

What do people want?

People want something special, they don’t want to be one in the crowd. They want that perfect Man or Woman for their life, the perfect car, those expensive clothes and to be treated good everywhere they go. Simply put, they want to be celebrities. Most people will never achieve what they want, they have to stick to what they get and look up to others. It’s your goal to be one of those guys the man in the street wants to be. He does not want that boring life, he wants to do cool stuff and quit the office job! The Internet allowed a growth of elite party societies, online groups and limited member courses, all those play with the idea of exclusivity. Being part of something not everybody has access to.

The classic oldschool scenario of adding value is the club scene. By adding a bouncer to your club and only letting the sexy ladies pass you are not only making sure that there is someone in case bad guys make trouble. A bouncer more importantly takes care of everyone else who wants to get inside. What’s a club without a waiting line? One that’s about to close soon, that’s for sure!
Sure there will be subcultures, other people will do their thing, you can’t please them all! There are Rock-ers, Hiphop-ers or whatever. The important part is that a lot people want in, even if they don’t admit it. They will style up, make sure they look good, bring a few extra girls to make sure they get in and are extremely happy when they pass the gates to the inside!

The whole trick is that you make it exclusive. Creatives are the lucky ones, they don’t need a bouncer to make this happen in the creative scene, even though it certainly helps.

Ten ways to produce exclusive output that has value

  1. Create works with your signature on them. The signature is what makes those works special.

  2. Unique print editions are more favourable than endless prints. The same goes for special or limited editions. You can have a great output, but if you really want to create a following make sure that your works, even if you create a lot of them, are not available everywhere, that will make them more important to collectors and clients.

  3. Build a community around you and use it to create money through advertisements and sponsors. If you can’t monetize your work, make sure you find others who pay you for it, you don’t have to charge the consumers directly.

  4. Create a personality that attracts people. Rock Stars and Artists are naturally attractive, they have this out of the society Rebel bonus that helps them to deliver a message and most of all, to be real. Someone who does not give jack about what others think of him.

  5. Be someone people want to interact with, be entertaining and extravagant. It’s far easier to leverage yourself if you are someone who creates emotions rather than being a dull-boring-average loser no-one takes interest in. “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone.” Dae-su Oh

  6. You don’t need a bouncer to create exclusive value, but it certainly helps.
  7. Don’t let everyone in your circle, rather team up with friends. It’s good to interact with people around you, but you have to somehow keep some distance.

  8. Protect your privacy, sure you can share everything, but that gets boring faster than you can say Whupsie. Don’t make the mistake of thinking when share everything about yourself people will love you. People want to know everything, but once they do the interest fades away. Make sure there is some mystery around your life.

  9. Give away things for free to a selected few and charge the others. Just like the disco example you are letting people in who will take care of your promotion, make you more attractive and soon others want to be part of it.

  10. Be unavailable. Don’t reply or interact with someone right away, make sure you have enough stuff to do that you don’t have the time to simply do that. It’s not about faking something, it’s about creating rules for yourself. Set hours where you are available, it will help you to organize your life plus makes you more interesting.

  11. The most important lesson you have to learn when you want to add value to something is to value it yourself. There will always be people who won’t like your work! Do what pleases you and what makes you real, don’t be a fake puppet following trends, create them yourself with your works.

Conclusion

Being the best you can be and making the best out of your works is nothing to be ashamed of. Whenever you start to create something, you have get down to the roots, what do you want to be:
Do you want to be famous? Do you want to be commercial? Do you want to be a rebel? Do you want everyone to wear your clothes? Do you want your pictures to hang in every living room or in a gallery? How do you want to be recognized within your scene? …
Make sure you know what you want to do and follow a plan. Don’t let others push you around.