This strategy guide will help you, the creative entrepreneur, understand the strategy behind building a powerful brand, developing a sustainable business,and living the creative lifestyle you desire.
Content includes lesson write-ups, videos, audio,reference articles, activity guides & more.
1. Whats Your Story?
2. Who Are You?
3. Build Your Tribe
4. Start A Revolution
5. It’s Your World
6. Document The Journey
7. Create Value & Inspire Others
8. Life is a Funnel
9. Build Equity
10. Protect Your Future
After completing the (Un) Common Sense curriculum creators will:
- Have a greater understanding of direct-to-consumer entrepreneurship, including the 1,000 true fans theory
- Have a greater understanding of digital marketing & audience building strategy
- Be able to identify & explain common revenue streams for independent creatives
- Establish a basic understanding of intellectual property rights & legal documents necessary for business incorporation
- Have obtained the clarity & confidence to start/grow their creative business
SECTION 1 – BRANDING
Chapter 1. Who are You? — Self Awareness, Branding & Archetypes
What do your fans call you?
Brand Positioning & Archetype:
As complex beings, it isn’t always easy to articulate who we are in a simple manner. One tool that’s been used throughout our lives, whether we know it or not, is a categorization called Archetypes. Use the information we discussed in Chapter 1: Who are You? — Self Awareness, Branding & Archetypes to identify your brand positioning adjectives and choose which archetype best represents you. Write them below.
How would you like a true fan to describe you to a potential fan? List the three adjectives that best describe your brand/reputation below.
_________________ , _____________________, _____________________
Write the archetype that best represents you currently.
Building a powerful brand & reputation are both about consistency. Consistency builds trust. Trust builds relationships. Relationship enables transactions. In this chapter we explore Archetypes & Brand Adjectives to help us gain the clarity to be more consistent in our communication.
Before reading this chapter, how much have you already thought about archetypes? Which archetype did you choose and why? Which attributes of the archetype do you identify with most? How will you use this archetype and these adjectives to better guide your communication?
Chapter 2. What’s Your Story? — Artist Statement & Communicating What You Do
Focus is everything. Your artist statement is a powerful tool that can be used as a decision making device throughout your journey. The road ahead will be full of plenty of opportunities and plenty of distractions. The only difference between the two is that opportunities get you closer to your end goal. Any decision that doesn’t make your Artist Statement true is merely a distraction. Use Chapter 2: What’s Your Story– Artist Statement & Communicating What You Do to complete your artist statement below.
Intentionality is a super power. In this chapter we created an Artist Statement to help us clearly articulate our target market and value proposition to the world around us.
Before crafting an artist statement, how have you been communicating these ideas about what you do? Why is it important to craft a strong Artist Statement? Which section of the Artist Statement was most difficult to finalize? Why?
GO OUT AND APPLY IT! Check out free networking spots and events in your area and use your new knowledge. Introduce yourself to 10 people and say your artist statement. When you get home, reflect on how you felt. What kind of feedback did you get? What was the difference between the 1st and the 10th? Were you confident? Enthusiastic? How could it have been tighter?
SECTION 2 – MARKETING
Chapter 3. Build Your Tribe — Your Fanbase: Audience vs Community
The key to building a successful direct-to-consumer business is to understand ourselves well enough to build a fanbase of people who believe what we believe. When you think about building a fan base in today’s world, you must realize that people are not just purchasing products; they are buying into the brand or a belief in the people behind the product. They are buying into a lifestyle; into a culture. Read Chapter 3: Build Your Tribe – Your Fanbase; Audience vs. Community and use the prompts below to describe the culture of your true fans.
My community members are called: __________________________
We do things like: _____________________________________________
We spend time at places like: _____________________________________
Online, you can find us: __________________________________________
We say things like: ____________________________________________
Our core principle is: ___________________________________________
A symbol that represents us is: __________________________________
because ____________________________________________________ .
As creators, we get the opportunity to build a tribe of people who believe what we believe. These belief systems, made up of ideas, behaviors, language and symbols create the culture of our tribe. In this chapter, we break down the difference between an audience and a community, and how we can be intentional about the culture we build.
What’s the difference between an audience and a community? When building a community, what is your role as an artist? Take the time to put yourself in the shoes of a member in your community. What do they feel like when they participate in the things your community does? Is there room to feel left out? Is there room to feel confused? Think about what you can do to decrease the likelihood of those feelings now to avoid wasting time in the future.
Chapter 4. Start A Revolution — How to Get Your Ideas (& Content) to Spread
Early Adopter Hitlist (Gurus, Plugs & Influencers):
There are certain people in our communities that can help us spread our movement more effectively than others. Using Chapter 4: Start a Revolution — How to Get Your Ideas (and content) to Spread, develop your Early Adopter Hitlist below. When completing this section, be sure to only identify individuals who are (or serve) your target market!
- Gurus aka Mavens are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information”. List five blogs, brands or personalities you are connected with that can help you spread your message. List five you want to build a relationship with.
Gurus I’m Connected To Gurus To Build With
- Plugs aka Connectors are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. List five Connectors you know (or want to know) and list the people & resources they can connect you to.
Connected To Introductions & Resources
- Influencers aka Salesman are “persuaders”, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them. List five influencers you can currently enlist to help you sell. List five you want to build a relationship with.
Connected To Looking to Connect With
Every trend follows the same path from inception, to its peak, to its completion. In this chapter, we explore the science of ‘virality’ to better understand how we can get our ideas, content and movements to spread.
Of the five types of individuals involved in a trend, which group is most important for innovators to focus on? Why? Define the Chasm. What makes crossing the Chasm so difficult for brands to do? What’s your plan for crossing the Chasm?
Chapter 5. It’s Your World — Building Your Digital Ecosystem
Digital Ecosystem (Marketing Channels):
It’s your world! Set up your digital presence to intentionally drive your business goals. Your website will be the center of your ecosystem, where you will eventually drive traffic for monetization. Use Chapter 5: It’s Your World — Building Your Digital Ecosystem to identify which platforms you will leverage to build/engage your audience. List them below.
Username or URL
You’ve got a vision for the world. How do we use social media and our website to bring that vision to life for your fans? In this chapter we discuss the basics of digital strategy and how to set ourselves up for success online.
What two questions should we ask ourselves before posting to a social media platform? Why is it a bad idea to post the same thing across every social media platform? Why is it important to think of the internet and social media platforms as real world places? What’s one thing you’ve done to improve your digital presence thus far? What’s one action step you can take to continue that progress?
Chapter 6. Document the Journey — Mastering The Content Game
Content Marketing Strategy:
Every great creative needs a content strategy. How can we be as efficient with our time & money while still being impactful? By creating a plan that works for us. Use Chapter 6: Document The Journey — Mastering the Content Game to create and note your content strategy below.
For now, both time & money are limited resources. Because of this, we get to be strategic with our content strategy to ensure our marketing efforts are efficient and effective. In this chapter we discuss the HHH content strategy and how we can apply it to drive our business goals.
What are the three types of content in the HHH strategy? What is the purpose of each? Think about your favorite content creator. Can you identify content streams they use? Can you find one content stream to match each type of content in the HHH strategy?
SECTION 3 – FUNNELS, REVENUE STREAMS & TEAM
Chapter 7. Create Value & Inspire Others — 1,000 True Fans
You don’t need to be famous to make a living as a creator. In this chapter, we’ll break down Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 true fans concept and discuss ways to monetize a loyal following.
What is the definition of a super fan? What two factors must be considered to take advantage of the 1,000 True Fans theory? Based on how much money you would like to earn, how many true fans do you need and how much money will you need to earn from each of them yearly?
Chapter 8. Life is a Funnel — Driving Digital Sales
The purpose of a sales funnel is to metaphorically walk potential customers along your path of breadcrumbs from a place where they knew nothing or very little about your product, and with each breadcrumb educating them in very specific ways so that they end up at a place where they are ready to complete a purchase. A strong Sales Funnel allows you to measure success at each step, providing clarity on what’s working and not working in your customer journey. Read Chapter 8: Life is a Funnel – Driving Digital Sales and use the exercise below to track your funnel.
3 MONTHS FROM NOW
Driving digital sales is about inviting your audience on a journey with you. In this chapter we outline the steps to creating a strong sales & marketing funnel that puts your customers on a path to give you cash.
How will your audience experience your funnel? Build it with them in mind. Are there any significant drop offs as customers go through your funnel? How can we improve?
Find a creator that is similar to you and study their funnel. What do you like? What would you change to make it better?
- Build Equity — Thinking Like a Business & Building Your Revenue Streams
A wise man once said “life is like a sandwich– either way you flip it, the bread comes first.” With that being said, all of our strategy up until this point was about driving traffic to our revenue streams to capture the value we create and share. Use this space below to list out your revenue stream as identified in Chapter 9: Build Equity – Thinking Like a Business & Building Revenue Streams. Next, estimate your CAC & LCV and project your monthly sales as described in Chapter 8: Life’s a Funnel — Driving Digital Sales.
Typical revenue streams include: Digital products, Physical Products, Live Event Bookings or Production, Coaching/Teaching/Consulting, Sponsorship, Licensing, Publishing and Ad Revenue from Distribution,
Independent doesn’t mean alone. As your business grows you will get to enlist the right folks to help you win. Until then, you wear all the hats. Use Chapter 9: Build Equity — Thinking Like a Business & Building Your Revenue Streams to guide you in noting the roles of your team members.
Team Member Name
“If it don’t make dollars, then it don’t make sense.” In this chapter we explore common revenue streams for creators and breakdown important business metrics like Lifetime Customer Value and Customer Acquisition Cost.
Which revenue streams are you currently monetizing? Which will come next and which will you take advantage of down the road? What is the relationship between Customer Acquisition Cost and Lifetime Customer Value? What team members will be most important for you to enlist first?
- Protect Your Future — Owning Your Intellectual Property & Negotiating Deals
Protected IP & Key Partnerships:
We believe creators should own their future. One key way to do that is to maintain ownership of intellectual property. Another way to do that is to establish key partnerships. Use Chapter 10: Protect Your Future — Owning Your Intellectual Property & Negotiating Deals to brush up on your IP law and list the IP you own below.
Copyrights & Trademarks
Once you build something of value, you must protect it. In this chapter we break down the art of negotiation, and everything you need to know about maintaining ownership of your intellectual property.
What’s the difference between a copyright and trademark? What kinds of IP does each protect? Name a few deals that creators commonly enter in. What are the benefits and shortfalls of each? What have you already created that should be protected? What’s one thing you’ll create in the next 3 months that should be protected?