Download: MP3 (52.8 MB)

e135-full-video-preview

The world population will increase 35% in the next 35 years. By 2050 there will be 9.7 billion people in the world.

Not only that, but technology is becoming more and more accessible. Devices are cheaper and the number of people with access to the internet is growing.

The average age of a person in 2050 will also be higher. Along with your potential audience size being higher from increased population and wider spread internet access, the average age of a person will be even higher than it is now which means the percentage of people able to buy from you and become a customer is greater.

You have a ridiculous advantage right now.

The potential size of your audience in 10 years is staggering. It will almost be automatic if you simply show up consistently, but in this episode we talk about making the most of this advantage.

Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins
  • The people you’ll hear about in ten years are working hard right now.
  • World population will reach 9.7 billion by the year 2050.
  • More people will be in the world, which means there will be more people to serve.
  • More people will be online, which means more people in your audience.
  • More people will be older, which means more people of buying age (due to increased life expectancy).
  • Speaking to your audience like you’re addressing one person is going to help you grow.
  • If you’re planning to grow, make sure you’re not making promises right now that you can’t fulfill later.
  • When you have a backlog of work, it shows people that getting where you are now wasn’t magic.
  • You will always be dissatisfied with your past work if you’re constantly improving.
  • As your audience grows, make sure your business model is what you want—if it’s not, start shifting in the direction you want to be.
  • It’s good to do the unscalable things as long as you can.
Show Notes
  • 04:40 Sean: I don’t think people realize what an opportunity they have, how good they have it right now, that they exist and are alive, what’s about to happen, where they can be, and how they can set themselves up for that if they play their cards right. It’s super exciting to me. Even if you just show up every day, you’re going to be in a really good place. This is the episode to optimize that—how can we be intentional about it?

More People On the Internet

  • 05:17 The world population is projected to be 9.7 billion by 2050. That’s a lot more people in the world, first of all. Secondly, life is getting better. I saw this YouTube video of a professor who used this analogy, that there are a lot of people in the world right now, and he was stacking crates to show the population for different wealth levels, all the way down to poverty. He said, “There are some people who’s biggest thing right now is finding shoes.” He goes up a level. “These people would love to have a bike.”
  • 06:10 “These people are saving up to buy a car,” and, “These people are flying around in jets.” He was showing the different wealth levels of the world. The way things are trending, life is getting better, technology is getting cheaper and more accessible to more people, and as long as we don’t royally screw things up on the planet, things are getting better for more people. More people are getting access to the things they need, and the people who have their bare essentials covered are going to be upgrading in the future, to where they’re doing better than covering bare essentials. That’s the way things are trending.
  • 07:01 Ben: Today, we have our smart phones with internet access, and that feels like a necessity. If I didn’t have this, sure, I could live, but it really becomes part of your livelihood.
  • 07:23 Sean: It feels like a utility, like water and electricity.
  • 07:28 Ben: Even though it is an entertainment device, in a lot of ways, it serves my ability to support my family, pay my bills, and that kind of thing. The kind of comfort we experience with central heating and air, plumbing, electricity, infrastructure, and all of that stuff, the lifestyles we lead are really extravagant compared to even the people who were very well off hundreds of years ago.
  • 08:03 Sean: Having water at all that was clean, let alone with ice in it or flavored, was a luxury. Things really are getting better, and that’s exciting to me. You’ve got more people coming in the world, 9.7 billion by 2050.

Infrastructure is improving, things are getting more accessible, and technology is becoming more affordable.

  • 08:31 The connectivity and speeds of the internet are getting better, faster, wider spread. With any one of these factors, you’re not only getting more people in the world, but you’re also getting more people on the internet. That’s huge. I saw this mini-documentary about this black market for the internet in Cuba because they regulate things there. These guys will ship hard drives with a certain curation of that past days’ internet to the country, and then there’s dealers of the internet. People come into these shops, which might be obscured as being for something else, and they get their copy of the day’s internet.
  • 09:24 That could be TV shows, games, movies, articles, or whatever. There were several things there. Number one, everyone’s caught up on their downloads, statistics, and analytics, but that’s something you can’t measure. You can’t tell when someone downloads a copy of your thing and then distributes it on the black market internet where it gets copied a bunch of times. I’m not saying your podcast, necessarily, is one of the things in their daily ration of the internet. It was interesting to me realizing that these people, if they get internet at all, it’s censored, or maybe they don’t. It’s interesting to see people who didn’t have internet before starting to get it.
  • 10:15 That’s a censorship issue, but on a technological scale, there are a lot of people who don’t have access because there isn’t service or they don’t have phones. As technology improves, even the old phones, like the iPhone 3G that seemed so slow, will seem amazing to someone. If they could spend $50 or $99 to get that, maybe they have to save up a few months, but that could be life changing for them. The focus of this show is showing people that things are about to change. It won’t happen overnight, but we’re trending in the direction of a pretty significant change, and your future audience is going to be huge.

More People Who Are Older

  • 11:01 That’s not just because there’s more people on the planet in the coming decades and more people on the internet, but also, lifespan expectancy is getting better. The average age of people on the planet in 2050 is going to be higher. The population is greying overall because we’re lasting longer. That also means that of the 9.7 billion people, there’s going to be a lot of people of buying age. If you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? There’s a bunch of babies in the world. They’re not going to watch my YouTube videos or buy my courses.” Yes, but it’s not just the young kids. Come 2050, which is 35 years away, someone born tomorrow will be 35 by then. Someone born in a couple decades will be of age.
  • 11:55 Ben: I was looking at statistics for age distribution, and I think it’s somewhere around 65% of the population is 18 years or older. I almost looked at the 65 years and older and said, “I’m not going to include that,” but then I started thinking. 65 used to be really old, but nowadays, you could almost call 65 the new 40. Life expectancy is going up, as is the quality of living. People who are living longer are also staying more coherent. They’re on the brink of taking care of mental issues like Alzheimers, to the point that, within our lifetime, we might see some of that stuff go away. That’s a whole group of the population that once wasn’t really capable of having access to the internet and using it in a meaningful way. On several fronts, there’s growth.
  • 13:04 Sean: I read earlier that the number of people age 65 and older is expected to triple by mid-century, going from 530 million in 2010 to 1.5 billion in 2050. It’s crazy. You’ve got more people in the world, which automatically means that your potential audience and customer base is bigger, more people with internet access, which again makes your potential audience bigger, and then more people at an age able to buy something from you. This is huge. I was telling people in the chat earlier that if you’re listening to this, the kind of opportunity and advantage that you have is unreal.

The People You Know Now

  • 14:01 The people you know right now, that you’ve heard of, that are famous, have been working at it for eight or ten years already. You just heard about them last year, but they’ve been working for so long behind the scenes and under the surface to get traction. You might say they got a lucky break, but they had to work really hard to be in the place to take advantage of that lucky break. It’s all this behind the scenes stuff that you haven’t seen yet. A decade from now, the people you will have heard of as famous are people you haven’t heard of right now who are working.

The people you’ll here about in ten years are working hard right now.

  • 14:51 I’m trying to say that if you apply yourself right now and pace yourself, if you play your cards at all and just don’t screw it up, you’re practically going to be a celebrity in 15 or 20 years.
  • 15:27 Ben: Merlin Mann is a common celebrity for you and me. If you’re just looking at his Twitter account, he’s got 350,000 followers or something like that. I look at that and think, “Wow, this guy is so well known. He’s got all these followers.” Yet, I could go to the grocery store and I could ask ten different people if they know who Merlin Mann is, and maybe one of them might say, “I feel like I heard of him.”
  • 16:04 Sean: Gary Vaynerchuck has about 1.2 million, and he considers himself, if anything, a Z-list celebrity. He automatically assumes, even with a million followers, that nobody knows or has heard about him. He should, because they probably haven’t.
  • 16:22 Ben: 1.2 million really is a small number. Think about a slice of pie. How big of a slice of pie do you need to consider yourself a celebrity? I did a quick calculation here, taking the global population into account—which is probably unfair because there’s only a percentage of the global population that’s on the internet and in the right demographic—but let’s throw the whole 7 billion in there, that’s 0.005% of the world’s population. The moral of the story is that this is a tiny, tiny piece of pie. You couldn’t even feed a mouse with it.
  • 17:51 Sean: How does this apply to the person who’s thinking about themselves ten years from now?
  • 17:55 Ben: 350,000 people seems like a ton of people, but it’s really a tiny, tiny slice of the pie. If you’re thinking, “How can I reach all these people?” If you’re trying to grow your audience, you really only need a tiny, tiny slice of the pie.
  • 18:25 Sean: If you’re going in a direction, showing up every day, producing content, serving your customers, and making products, if you continue doing that and don’t even do anything differently, if you continue, survive, and play your cards at all, you will naturally grow. You will naturally have more audience ten years from now. It is a thing that happens naturally, but all these factors are going to come into play. You’re going to have more people on the internet who are just now discovering everything for the first time.

Should You Write for Your Future Audience?

  • 19:22 Scott says, “Should you initially be writing/creating content like you are talking to your future audience? I’ve been trying to focus on anticipating the bigger picture.” I do want to do an episode in the future on creating evergreen content, but I don’t think you should necessarily be writing right now as if you’re talking to thousands and thousands of people. Most people in the future aren’t going to backlog through all of your stuff from years and years ago. I know I don’t. When I find someone I really like and I enjoy their content, I subscribe and, for the most part, I consume the new content.
  • 20:06 In rare cases, I’ll go back through the backlog, if it’s a really good show. I’ll want to know where they came from, where their beginning was. I’ll do it a lot with podcasts, but for the most part, it’s forward, from here on. The people who are going to be coming into your audience years from now are probably just going to come on board and consume the new stuff. You don’t have to overthink how you’re creating content now to consider them. They come in, and you can answer their questions by pointing them back to old content. You can bring it forward again, recycle and repurpose it. I don’t think you need to create content for your future audience.
  • 21:00 Ben: You don’t need to be thinking about writing to people in terms of a large group or audience. Even when you have a big audience, you want to be focusing on a single person, and you want that to come through in the way that you speak and write. Right now, what you’re building likely feels more naturally like you’re speaking to one person or a small group of people. You want to keep it that way.

Speaking to your audience like you’re addressing one person is going to help you grow, because people are going to feel connected to what you’re saying.

  • 21:40 Sean: That’s probably the best thing to do. Instead of writing to your future audience, write even more focused to your current audience, even more to one person. It’s amazing, when you change your mindset. Here’s a tip: go in your Gmail tab, click the Compose button for a new email, and think of someone who would benefit from this post you want to write. Put their name in the To box, and compose your blog post in the email box. Notice how it changes. Immediately, you’re in a different frame of mind. You’re speaking to this one person, and this is what you want them to know and how you want to help them. If that’s different from how you’re blogging, that’s a problem.
  • 22:40 Ben: People don’t often go through the entire backlog of someone’s content. When I go to someone’s website, though, I notice whether or not they have a backlog. I notice whether or not they have a large body of content. Some websites don’t do a great job of making that evident. You don’t want to advertise it, “Look at all of this stuff we’ve been doing for years,” but you can tell when somebody has been active for a long time. You can tell whether or not they’re active when you arrive.
  • 23:16 Sean: That’s a value that a lot of people don’t realize in their old content. It’s purely the quantity. Even if people don’t go back into your backlog, if they land on your Instagram feed and they see your grid of the most recent photos and they also see 897 photos, they’ll think, “Oh, this person’s been doing this for a while. Maybe I don’t have time to go through 900 photos, but I know it’s there. I know that this most recent blog post is one of hundreds since 2004.” It lends some credence to it. A lot of people don’t realize that the post they’re writing now, even if they hate it and look back and think that you’re a terrible writer, is okay. Not everyone is going to go back and consume all of this. This collective body of work helps give you a better presence for people in the future.
  • 24:15 Ben: Daniela asks, “What does having a larger audience change? Will I have to do things differently when I have 30,000 subscribers rather than 100?” Certainly, there are different things you have to manage when you have a larger audience, but your communication style should stay the same.
  • 24:33 Sean: Look what got you to 30,000 from 100. If you don’t want to keep growing, change it up. You made it this far doing what you’re doing, speaking to one person, so that’s awesome. I don’t think there’s anything you need to purposefully change about that.

Let 30,000 people feel like you’re speaking to them—that’s how you’re going to get to 50,000 and 100,000. people

  • 25:01 Cory: Don’t focus on growing YOUR audience, focus on GROWING your audience. You’re growing the audience you have now, you’re just speaking to one person, and you’re feeding those people. More will come on board.

Adjust Your Business Model for Growth

  • 25:38 Sean: Robert says, “What parts of my business make sense to scale up now in anticipation of a bigger audience? What parts make sense for me to wait on until the growth is there?”
  • 25:53 Ben: Certainly, you’ve got to scale back on some things you’re doing so that if you want to stay engaged with people, you have more time to do so. You also have to deal with the fact that, as your audience grows, you’re not going to be able to engage with every person in the way that you used to.
  • 26:15 Sean: It’s not going to happen overnight, and that’s kind of good. You’re going to adjust to this. This isn’t the end of the world, so it’s not going to be a bunch of people knocking down your door tomorrow, but it’s going to happen. To me, 10 to 15 years is around the corner. This is coming. I don’t think you need to be super concerned, but there are infrastructural things. If you’ve got a website, and you’re going to be receiving more people viewing it, that costs more. There’s things like that.
  • 26:58 Be mindful of what kind of business you want to be running ten years from now, what that business model looks like. You could continue to scale exactly what you have, but make sure that’s what you want. If what you have now is 10,000 followers and 2 customers, if you scale that, you’re going to have 100,000 followers and 20 customers. That’s bad. Sure, you could have that model, but you better make sure those 20 customers are covering all of your expenses, everything that makes what you do possible for the 100,000 people.

As your audience grows, make sure your business model is what you want.

If it isn’t, you need to start shifting in the direction you want to be.

  • 27:47 Maybe where you want to be is not giving away a bunch of free stuff, having more customers, the having the percentage of your audience be significantly customers instead of non-customers. Maybe you need to start shifting in that direction, if that’s what you want. If you’re not happy with the current percentage breakdown, then you might want to change things, unless you want to support an even greater number of non-customers, proportionally.
  • 28:21 Ben: I’m thinking about population growth and more people having access and how that could influence your numbers, and some of that seems a little bit out of your control. You want to drive the percentages closer, but there are always going to be new people coming into the ecosystem. It may not just be about trying to optimize what you have as it exists today, but also think about, if you want to be intentional about the kind of people that you let into my brand, there could be some thought given to how you shape your brand experience. Sean, you openly say that people who listen or consume your content, with no intention of ever compensating you for the value you’re providing, are freeloaders.
  • 29:20 That does something to shape the kind of audience you’re going to retain. I like that, because that’s Sean wielding control of that growth. He’s drawing a line in the sand. Some people can say, “Sean can afford to do that, because he’s got a lot of people coming to him,” but it’s the same principal as having a form that clients have to fill out in order to get access to you. They have to go through your process, and you can define the process by which people come into your brand.

What to Do When You Lose the Personal Touch

  • 30:05 Sean: Tobi joined the Community about a year ago and asked a question at the time. She gave the example of a super popular blogger who alienated a lot of her earliest and most loyal customers because she couldn’t sustain the level of personal touch that was her biggest draw in the first place (Related: e108 Creating Ambassadors for Your Brand When You’re Not Well Known Yet,). She said, “I’m wondering how Sean feels about that now, over a year later, as compared to what he said on the podcast that day.” I’m not sure exactly what I said on the podcast that day, but it’s all about expectations.
  • 30:42 Everything is expectations. If I’m offering personal interaction, and that’s something you get when you come to the Community, I will talk to you. I’m in there all day. If you have questions, I’ll talk to you. I’m a real person, and I’m happy to have a conversation with you and help you. That’s not something I promise you when you join the Community. That’s a benefit you may get. That’s something you have to be intentional about when you scale. What are you promising? What expectations are you setting for people, and how can you make sure you can meet the expectations set? Maybe you need to scale things as you go, if you are providing something.
  • 31:26 If you are providing something like, “I will give you personalized consultation when you sign up for this thing,” make sure that if and when that changes, you’re communicating that clearly. My rate has changed because the demand for my time has increased and/or the number of people here is greater, so it’s impossible for me. My experience has grown, so the advice I have to offer or the consulting I have to do is more valuable. The people I’m bringing on are of this certain type. Now, I’m focusing on these kinds of business owners, or whatever. It’s mainly communication and expectations.

If you’re planning to grow, you need to make sure you’re not making promises right now that you can’t fulfill later.

  • 32:30 Ben: For the person who hasn’t made promises but has seen that people connect to their brand through them, most of the time, you are not the end-all, be-all of your brand. The value that Sean has to offer, for example, is stuff that’s come from his experience, but once it leaves his mouth and goes onto a medium, there’s nothing special about him being the one to personally hand that content over. People are consuming it through podcasts, the blog, the newsletter, or whatever. If, suddenly, they had no access to Sean whatsoever, that doesn’t take away the value of the content. It just means that they don’t get to have that personal experience with him.
  • 33:27 If that’s more important to somebody than the value of the content they’re receiving, yeah, they’re going to leave your brand. Not everybody is going to leave, because what you’re offering is valuable. People are going to stay because of the value you’re providing. I wanted to alleviate that fear. Some people may leave if you can’t be as personal as you used to be, but that’s okay, because you’re still going to be providing value consistently.
  • 34:05 Sean: This could change someone’s entire business. It could change the trajectory of where they go the next five or ten years right now. It’s only going to be for certain people in a very specific place, but this could be very significant for people. If you are scaling to the point of you no longer being able to personally be involved in something, what you can do is bring on very select people to essentially be certified agents of what you’re doing, delivering, or providing. If it’s a service or consultation, you can bring on people.

Put out some kind of curriculum and have select people go through an accreditation process where you certify them as your agents.

  • 35:01 You can have a fill-in-the-blank certified person who is able to help you with this thing. You get that personalized attention from someone who is, according to the person in charge, certified to administer this stuff. You get the personalized attention of this person, so it’s very similar, but you yourself are on a tier higher than that. Maybe your direct consultation is ten times that price. It’s an adjustment for demand, inflation, and experience acquired over time.
  • 35:42 Ben: I did a workshop a couple of weeks back, and there was a gentleman who had a pest control service. He takes care of squirrels, rats, bugs, and stuff like that. He talked about how important it was to his brand that he be there personally. He shakes his customer’s hand, talks to them, and he knows his customers. We were diving into that a little bit with him, and we said, “Your business is much bigger now than it was when you first started. Are you able to do that for every single customer?” He thought about it for a second and said, “No, actually, I don’t get to do that, but that’s become such a strong part of our culture as a business that the people who go out to the homes where I never get to visit treat people the same way that I’ve treated people all along.”
  • 36:45 They get that personal connection, maybe not with him, but they have the same experience, and they attribute that experience to the brand. Sean talked about agents and being certified, but even employees, if you’ve built it into the culture of your brand as you grow, can take on that identity of being personal.
  • 37:24 Sean: I want to believe that the people on the seanwes team are representing seanwes. They’re trying to provide value and personalization in the chat and the Community. This isn’t something that’s explicitly promised: “You will get someone on the seanwes team to personally walk you through…” It’s just an added bonus. Bottom line, be careful about what you’re promising. If you’re promising people that you as a business owner will shake their hand with every job, that’s going to be hard. Why not make that an added bonus?
  • 38:16 Make it your goal to shake as many hands as possible, but it’s something special when it happens. It’s not like, if you don’t do it, you’re out of business, because you baked this promise of yourself into your business. Gary Vaynerchuck talks about scaling the unscalable. A lot of people are focused on systematizing and automating, and that’s good, but a lot of people do it too early. He says, it’s good to do the unscalable things as long as you can. Rather than thinking about email automation, why not write 500 personalized emails? Hustle and do it. Reach out to people!
  • 39:03 Reply to emails, but also proactively reach out to people. Go to events and shake as many hands as you can. Take as many pictures as you can with people. Have as many sit-down conversations as you can. Be on as many podcasts as you can. Take as many interview requests as you can. Do all the unscalable things for as long as you can, because it’s going to have a really great impact. For the people who get to experience that personal connection with you, it’s very meaningful.

The Value of Past Work

  • 39:45 Ben: Before the show, we were talkind about how the content you’re producing today, though future people won’t go through your entire backlog, you’re making it for the people who are part of your brand now. You’re being personal, focusing on a single person, when you’re producing that. When it comes to the volume of content you’re producing, don’t think about that in terms of trying to have as much as you can for the people right now. Think about the backlog you’re creating, the asset you’re creating, and the amount of content you’re going to build over time.
  • 40:42 It’s this conflicting idea. Yes, you want to focus on the people who are part of your audience now, and you want to make it very personal. At the same time, you’re building something for the future, not something that’s for you right now. Maybe that’s the difference. It’s for your audience, not for you, yet.
  • 41:19 Sean: I’ve talked about old work being very important. We’re tempted to delete old work because we see all the flaws, which is good because we’re improving. We’re tempted to hide that somewhere. For the new people coming along, they see you, and you’re so amazing to them. Your videos look great, you speak so professionally, and you’re so amazing that they feel like they could never be you. When you have a backlog, it shows people that what you do isn’t magic. You can say, “Go look at my early stuff. I started at the same place you did.” You get to be part of this journey here.
  • 42:03 Some people got value out of that at the time, even if it was less than perfect or amateur-looking, but that led to your growth and your journey to where you are now. It has this recycle value. Just the fact that it exists and is accessible is valuable to people now because of where you are now and the perspective of that. Aaron says, “I’m proud of my past work, because I know that it exists because I was trying my best. Your past work is evidence of your journey and hard work. It’s something to be proud of, not embarrassed by.”

You will always be dissatisfied with your past work if you’re constantly improving.

  • 43:12 Ben: I really like that Aaron Dowd said that to Daniela, who was really struggling with some of this. You want to look back at your work and think, “Aw man.” It really does mean that you’re improving. You’re writing this story for people who are going to find you later and will get to see how you’ve grown and where you’ve come from. I really like that as a motivator. I think about how discouraging it can be for someone who has an audience of 50 people. Maybe they’ve got 50 people on their newsletter, they send something out, and they’ve got a 5% open rate. What is that, 2.5 people?
  • 44:17 It can feel discouraging because there’s not a whole lot going on. Maybe a bunch of people did open it, but nobody responded to it. In the beginning, it takes some time to get people warm to where they feel like they can respond and you can have some dialogue. If my motivation is what’s going on in this moment and how I’m interacting with people right now, to continually show up and continually produce content, it’s going to feel a lot more difficult than if I imagine a future where my audience has grown, I have a big backlog of content, and people get to see my story and familiarize themselves with me in that way.
  • 45:10 They feel a deeper connection because I’ve shown them that I will show up consistently. I show them that I will continue to do that, so there’s already this built-in trust. If I imagine that future, that’s a much stronger motivator for me to continue showing up. I guess that’s why I like to think about that future focus, not as a way of taking away from how you’re communicating with the people who are part of your audience now, but as a motivator for the possibilities that exist.

What to Do When Your Audience is Small

  • 46:12 Sean: I want to speak to people who are in that place right now. Even if they’re in the place of having a decent audience, we’re talking about how much bigger this is going to be in ten years if you keep showing up.

You have a unique opportunity right now to reach out and connect with your audience.

  • 46:32 Imagine Casey Neistat trying to respond to comments—it’s impossible now! He can’t even walk out of his building without being mobbed by people outside of his office, standing on the street for hours hoping he comes out. It’s insane. I’m not famous, I’ve just done something for five years and only a few years really seriously, and I’m starting to build an audience, and I have hundreds of emails that I can’t get to. It’s really frustrating. Eventually, you are going to get to that point. Maybe it doesn’t feel like it for you right now, but you will get there. I want to emphasize the importance right now of you reaching out to the people you have, those 50 or 10 people.
  • 47:23 Like we we’ve said before the 50 to 100 people you have are your ambassadors. Those are the people who are going to get you to that next level, who are going to spread the word. Invest in those people. Pour into those people. See this as a positive thing. If you feel like your audience is small and it’s not growing fast enough, it’s an opportunity for you to connect with these people. You’re at a scale where you can do that.
  • 47:51 Ben: We need to have an episode where we talk about optimizing for that kind of feedback and interaction. I think there are a lot of people in a place where they have a small audience, but they don’t feel like they’ve broken through that barrier of having regular dialogue. Yes, people are subscribed. Maybe you had some kind of lead magnet where they got your download, but you feel like you don’t get to connect. We want to talk to real people, we want to see an email in our inbox from someone who opened our newsletter and had a question. That really is precious.

The Power of Word-of-Mouth

  • 48:43 Sean: How many people don’t realize that you can go on your 26-person email list, open up the compose box, and write them an email? You can do this! Just reach out and say, “Hey, I noticed that you are a subscriber.” Check out their website and their work, and compliment them. “I thought I would check out your website. I googled your name, and you have really great work. I thought it was awesome. How did you get to this point? What’s the biggest struggle right now? I noticed that you have some recent projects up on such-and-such topic. How’s that going?” Strike up a conversation.
  • 49:43 It’s huge, because you’re feeding the word-of-mouth machine, and that’s the most powerful thing. For the seanwes podcast, and I wrote an article on this, there’s no title on the seanwes podcast artwork. I did this as an experiment. What if I didn’t have a title? I had read an article about one of Seth Godin’s books that has no title on the book, which is really strange. His reasoning was, “Think about the context of where people are going to see this. They’re going to see my book on Amazon, and it’s going to have the title in five places around the book. It’s going to be clear what the title is. If it’s on someone’s desk and someone just sees this plain orange book, they’ll ask, ‘What’s that?’ Then you’ve got a conversation starter.”
  • 50:47 I was thinking, with the podcast, any time you open it, you look in your list of shows and it has the artwork, the name of the show, and the name of the episode. You’re listening to the podcast, pull it up on your homescreen or your lock screen, and there’s the name of your podcast, but it doesn’t immediately say, “This is about business and growing your business.” In iTunes listings, people will think, “I want to grow my business,” and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I thought, what if I experiment with almost obscuring it? No one who’s just about surface-level stuff is going to check that out.
  • 51:35 They’re just thinking, “I want to know the best marketing tactics.” The people who will hear about it are the people who will come in from word-of-mouth. “I was listening to this podcast. It’s called something weird, like seanwes podcast, but what it’s really about is…” I see this all the time. I see it on Instagram, Twitter, blog posts, comments of blogs, people talking about this show. Because the name doesn’t mean anything, they explain in their own words what it means to them. That is that word-of-mouth ambassadorship.
  • 52:29 Ben: I didn’t mean to say that the future focus should take away from that. On those days when you’re feeling discouraged because you’re not seeing a lot of interaction, that can be something that helps motivate you and keeps driving you forward, just recognizing that, if you continue showing up, there’s going to be a significant audience that’s going to feel more trust with you because of the backlog that you’ve built. That interaction in the beginning is precious. It’s something you physically can’t keep up with once your audience reaches a certain size.