How To Get Attention In The Market

your social media is not your portfolio if you think your social media is your portfolio it limits what you can post and how you feel about yourself when you post something i look at it as a way to have a conversation with people so that's kind of how i like to use social media if you scan my instagram account very seldomly will i show myself my work or anything else all i want to do is create value for people who who show up for me and when i made this this deliberate change i went from 5 000 followers to almost 500 000 followers in a little over a year now it took me several years just to get to that 5000 number the fundamental difference was i stopped talking about myself i found a way to have a conversation with people and to give them value because then they show up for you you have to give people a reason to care and a reason to share and seeing your work is not enough i hate to break the news to you so that means that we have to get off the uh the starting line we have to go join this race and the race is ongoing and we have to say that this is a long-term long commitment of creating value over time for other people and eventually you'll find your voice and you'll find a rhythm and you'll be able to do that but you can't get there without taking that first step so that first step it's brutal it's super scary it feels like you're standing on top of a cliff it's a 100 foot drop and there are like live crocodiles underneath but it's all an illusion there's a glass bridge you don't realize as soon as you take a step you don't fall and you'll be able to take the next step and the next step and the only way you lose at this game is one you give up and two you don't take in any feedback at all you lose that way because the whole idea is i'm having a conversation with you so if i say something to you and you say something back to me and i don't listen after a while people like this person doesn't want to listen to anybody i'm really not interested in you anymore so those are some changes okay so stop thinking about social media as a portfolio place it's a conversation and and try to create content that people care about now i've found something that's kind of interesting especially for all you creative designer types is if you can learn to write a few sentences and couple that with an image and and incorporate your lens into the world you're gonna start to build an audience that shows up for you let's get real the real part is you have a lot of student loans yeah so everybody has a student loan that they're worried about paying off raise your hand right now yeah so if you don't have a great grant or scholarship or rich parents i'm sorry i don't either then you have you have a student loan you got to deal with and we're worried now about how to make money we really are and if you're graduating i guess in the summer i hope things will be better i believe they'll be better but let's not start working on building relationships with people and companies and establishing our our our body of work right now so if you listen to me and here's the challenge i have for all of you is that some of you actually a very small percentage of you who are listening to what i'm saying will actually do something about it starting today having a conversation with people in a genuine way that you're giving in a in a general out of spirit of generosity if you start today you'll see how far you get come july and some people will say oh okay i'll do in december and then december comes i'll do in the new year and you'll see the difference in progress i bet since there are 41 people on this call right now and i'll take myself out there 40 people on this call that less than two percent or three percent of you will actually listen to what i'm saying you got to go do something all this knowledge required is meaningless if you can't apply it okay and i'll tell you how to do it in a second okay you can go out and find a job but you become like every single other person who's going to be looking for a job come july and can you imagine how many people are looking for work not just of graduating seniors but people that are in a graduate degree program people who have been out of work freelancers who've been out of work people have been laid off they're all trying to get your job so you can go out and find a job horribly competitive i would like for you to enter in a position of strength and confidence and have the job find you okay so if today i'm gonna put some ideas together right some ideas we already talked about so if you pick a niche you say i'm going to do this for this industry and the more narrow that you could make it the better off you're going to be and from this day forward i'm going to obsess over what this industry this group of people need i'm going to make a long-term commitment to give value to them non-stop if you can do that consistently playing the long game stay out of the results business for a while and see who shows up for you there's a woman who who was on our our podcast early on i think it's under episode 10. her name is jeanette liao and she was a graphic designer a hand lettering artist and she had been working at a bike shop doing their identity design i think like a bicycle shop and nike reached out to her because they were like fascinated by her her musings her thinking along with her lettering it's a pretty deadly combination if you could draw and you have a level of polish but you have ideas you have a point of view people reach out to you just like me it's natural we like it we think there's something and then so she wound up getting this amazing job over at nike and i think she's still there today and they even allow her to do freelance work on the side that's pretty cool i would love for you to be in that position of power versus being one and one thousand people that's super generic they're like yeah who are you again yeah we won't even remember who you are after we we look at your resume you need to stand out and art center professor errol garrison talks about this you only need to stand out an eighth of an inch imagine everybody standing in line if you do something that's a little bit different to stand out they'll remember you so he he he loves his phrase that he i think he coined it's stand out by one-eighth of an inch how are you gonna do that okay so you pick your niche you're giving value consistently on the platform that you think best suits you and you're doing this in a native way and you're engaging with people on that platform in a genuine way people are going to start to notice you right there's no mystery as to how people actually wind up working with us whether they're on the channel whether we pay them to do something or something else or we hire them it's because they made just enough effort that one eighth of an inch to reach out and have ongoing dialogue with me there's a young guy he's from africa i think he's from ghana and i didn't know this but he was commenting on every instagram post that i made within the first 10 minutes his name is michael and michael wrote really thoughtful comments he wasn't just like yeah bro cool awesome dude he actually took time to sit there and think and synthesize and he wrote and i didn't know where he was from so eventually michael reaches out to me it's like can can you be a guest on my instagram live and i said yes that's only when i found out that he was from ghana and it was like this is amazing you see and for him that was a big deal and so it only began because he had been engaging with my content for months in a meaningful way he stood out some of you may know melinda libsy who is on our show and is somebody that i've mentored the reason why she was on the show was because i put out a design challenge in one of my facebook groups and she consistently just did 10 times better than anybody else and it provoked me to take action because i messaged her and said hey melinda i noticed you do this what's your deal i'd like to have a call with you and that's how our relationship began and once i talked to her i'm like whoa okay here's your story you're very interesting person i'm looking for a female co-host to do some design conversations with me are you interested and you know we're 20 episodes in and she's her career has gone on a totally different trajectory now so this is what i mean okay i hope that was clear to everybody i'm okay with doing free work sometimes i really am or work at a reduced rate but i i want us to be honest about what's being done let's level with each other as designers we have a vivid imagination that's what makes it so interesting sometimes and the vivid imagination is we're good storytellers except we tell ourselves lies the unfortunately the stories we tell ourselves are not that good okay so what's happening here we we do a project with somebody potentially we're afraid to talk about money we're afraid to negotiate we're afraid of the friction that might come and that the opportunity will be lost and that we're worthless people afterwards right and we fear all these things and so we just negotiate ourselves down like yeah i'll do it for like whatever i don't want our decision to be made from a place of fear and from a mindset of lacking it's a dangerous place right when you're really desperate you do desperate things and people could smell it on you you could see it a mile away right and what is true in relationships in life is generally true in your business relationships and your business life so i want you to be mindful of that right so i i know this personal story you guys are always gross but here's a personal story is that there was a period in my life where i wasn't dating anybody i was like a design monk i went to school and i literally either like slept at school was in the computer lab or in the library until they kicked me out each time i would just go home and i found it very difficult to date anybody because like god i just had that air of desperation on me like god you know oh my god and then it it just so happens that the minute you actually have a girlfriend or a boyfriend and that then all of a sudden these other people pop out of the woodwork like who was that i'm like i've been here for years where you been okay so when you talk to a client and they see that you need this job so bad you're changing your terms before they even speak like you're like well i could do this for two one thousand and they could see that it's so desperate don't do that to yourself don't negotiate against yourself before the client has an opportunity let them do their job so they can feel good about it as well alright now you've learned how to do the negotiation game but there's this project and you you just really like ah this is one of my dream projects and they're they're coming to you even though you came and presented yourself strong they're coming to you and saying hey yeah we don't have what you normally charge would you consider doing this and this is when i switch over i'm like i'm not looking at this as a business transaction anymore i'm looking at this as a marketing expense to me right look if i could buy that project with adidas or nike or issei miyaki or whatever i'm like i would buy that project because i'm going to use that to trade up i'm a big believer in the up principle okay i want to trade up so i look at this now as a marketing expense and we say like what should we spend like 10 of our annual revenue on marketing yes so allow yourself a budget to do marketing projects or feel good projects where it's like a good cause like some kind of um you know something that's going to be more about taking care of the planet or other human beings or helping the poor or building shelters for the homeless i can buy i'm totally okay with that but i'm going to be honest and i want to make sure that there's the distinction between when i want to do something because it makes me feel good or because it's a marketing expense i'm going to trade up for another relationship or it's because i don't know how to negotiate so i'll accept any terms that's presented to me don't mix those things up whenever i do projects at below rate my clients know that the normal rate is this this is what i would charge do this work and they're very appreciative and after the fact they will write me a letter especially if it's not profit the work that you created for us was worth forty five thousand dollars is the market value you can then use that as a deduction on your taxes so you're still getting value from that okay and you may ask for other concessions from them since i'm not able to get paid do you know uh some some wealthy patrons of yours who i could actually do work with if you like the work that i do so these organizations are built up from the generosity of people um who are very philanthropic and so they'll they should try to introduce you now they won't unless you ask so be clear about that too okay so i'm okay with doing free work just be honest with yourself what you're doing it for and don't just always give it away at the job you don't want to do that