Letting go of passion projects that turn into monsters

Did you ever start something that was exciting at first, something you thought ‘well this is it’? That something, that project, then started eating away at your time. Or, you just downright avoid it because you’ve inadvertently fed it with expectations that turned it into an obese monster that foams at the mouth for more.

That is what I have been experiencing lately. I avoided writing on this blog because everything had to be perfect. The stars needed to align and inspiration? Well….when the stars align inspiration comes by default. In another post I wrote about how overrated inspiration is vs. being consistent. Raise your hand if you find it hard to take your own advice.

Let go

Letting go of the monstrous expectations we have of ourselves and the “projects” we dream up is akin to losing a great friendship that no longer serves its purpose. In the long term, you later realize that it was the best decision you ever made.

A friend recently posted something on Facebook about giving yourself permission to walk away from things that creep you out. Walking away seems simple enough, the challenge is walking away from the things you started. The ideas you breathed in to. Those are near impossible to let go of, but we should.

Be the villain

In Batman, we know who the hero is and the villain is the guy who reeks havoc on Gotham City. Bane, my favourite character in The Dark Knight Rises, is not Batman and in the end you want the hero to win.

What if the hero and the villain are both the same person? What happens when you have to cut ties with that small community project down the road, which helps cute little kids when your fledgling business suffers because of the time you spend there? The roles have suddenly changed, Bane is no longer someone external. It’s your turn to be Batman and save the day, but that might mean you may soon be unable to make a living.

Slay your monsters and get to work

Instead of my writing being the fun pastime it once was, it became a painstaking chore that had to be perfect every time. The more things compete for limited time, the less likely we are to do the ones we are not passionate about.

In ‘Do The Work’, Steven Pressfield talks about the resistance and refers to it as all the things we experience which prevent us from producing our art. That resistance for me was perfecting every post, it’s not putting something out there ‘til everything is perfect. That was my monster and I’m going out to slay it every single day going forward.

Do The Work is a book that shows you what resistance is and how to overcome it. Read a quick review here and go slay those dragons.

What are your monsters? What resistance are you grappling with and how are you dealing with it to keep your passion projects alive? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Starting a clan: Redefining what you sell

Image by: Isayx3 on Flickr

Image by: Isayx3 on Flickr

When the Wu Tang Clan first released their debut album ‘Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers)’ everyone was talking about them. They set out to build a trend with their music, which wasn’t difficult being the only group who had the sound of killer bees and Kung Fu skits.

Most of us developing new products, marketing ourselves and even branding our companies tend to overlook what we truly sell. Developing a clan and creating a culture are some of the many things that worked for the Wu Tang, with some lessons that can be adapted.


What you sell

More often than not, we sell the product without realizing what it is linked with. Many companies instead of selling a lifestyle, experience or hope, they sell a pair of jeans or a computer.

I went to the D.O.P.E Store in the Johannesburg CBD recently, a clothing store,  part of whose concept includes a basement where they host parties. Their venue is mostly booked by people who would wear clothing that is sold in the shop. It gives them greater access to their market and gets people talking within a context that surrounds them by reference.

Organize a culture

The Wu Tang Clan found people already listening to Hip Hop music, but separated their audience from the norm. Their debut reinvented the possibility of what can go into an album and directed the masses to listen in a certain way thereafter.

Clans make closed exclusive communities that everyone else wants to belong to. Distinguishing yourselves by how you sell your product alone doesn’t get your message out distinctively and make you memorable.


What is your Kung Fu Skit?

The Kung Fu skits made it obvious whose song was about to play and the everyone sang along. If a song was new we all listened  and tried to find out what it was.

Find the distinct things about your service that can make you a market leader, things can become your own Kung Fu skit. Your killer bee sound. That one thing that turns conversation around when you are mentioned.

How can you reorganize your target audience and direct the course of things from where you began?

Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin can transform your business model

When developing a business model, we often overlook implementing marketing tools to spread our concepts virally. Unleashing the Ideavirus, a book that I think requires a sequel, transformed the view I have of my current business model.

While there many concepts covered in the book, for the purpose of this post, only 3 significant highlights will suffice.

Loosely referencing The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell on how some ideas turn into social epidemics and others don’t. Seth takes us through the process of how companies such as Hotmail and Vindigo spread as viruses and the Toyota Prius, while an award winning vehicle, didn’t.

The second mind altering concept, though disputing all known marketing ethic, is focusing on a smaller target audience (called ‘a hive’) instead of setting out for large numbers. This makes sense if you view your client base as a community that can reach friends and recommend your product or service better than adverts and large marketing budgets ever can.

The steps below, a very short summary, are how you develop an Ideavirus.

Step By Step, Ideavirus tactics (summarized from the book)

  • Make it virusworthy – If it’s not worth talking about, no one will talk it.
  • Identify the hive.

You won’t get the full benefit of the ideavirus until you dominate your hive.

  • Expose your idea

Expose it to the right people, get them into the experience as quickly as possible and pay them if necessary. But never charge if possible.

  • Once attention has been volunteered request permission.
  • Amaze your audience.
  • Some viruses don’t forever, embrace the lifecycle of yours.

Any business model that has a viral marketing method built into it has a better chance at longevity, besides why not make it easy for your clients and customers to spread the idea? If there’s one thing I would recommend, it would be read it with an open mind and download the ebook or get the shiny collector’s version here.