Today, there is a plethora of content being consumed. From TV to the Internet to our smartphones, we are consuming content more than ever before. Just out of curiosity, how many hours do you spend consuming content on your computer? Smartphone? Tablet? Television? Video game console?
Now, let me ask another question: How many hours do you spend creating your own content? If that creation number above is less than the consumption number above, then, Houston, we have a problem.
The reason: As entrepreneurs, it’s pretty easy to fall into full-time consumption mode and procrastinate from our creative mode. So, why not try something different today? Decide to create. Hopefully, the following three creatives I've been lucky to know will inspire you, too, to begin anew.
1. The action taker -- Jason Zook
Last year, I got a chance to interview Zook and he spoke about how he'd made a million dollars simply by wearing T-shirts promoting brands. Zook has always been a go-getter; he even made $75,000 through sponsorships before he wrote one word in his book, Creativity For Sale: How I Made $1,000,000 Wearing T-Shirts and How You Can Turn Your Passion Into Profit, Too.
I subscribe to Zook's newsletter, Action Army, and that’s what prompted my post about him. Zook says that when you are in a constant state of consumption, you are denying the world of your gifts. He suggests you do the following instead:
- Close your email inbox. Simply shut it down for a few hours. Life, he says will go on, and your email will be waiting for you.
- Build your creation zone. Create a comfortable space of your own to start creating. Zook also uses an app called Letterspace that allows him to just write and create.
- Turn off your notifications. Turn them off on your phone. Don’t be controlled by devices. You are the entrepreneur, which means you are in control.
- Close your tabs. Zook says it’s important to close all social media and website tabs. If you’re easily distracted, then this action is crucial if you want to create more. In the end, when you create, opportunities open up for you.
Zook ends with a quote from James Clear: “Our lives were meant to be spent making our contribution to the world, not merely consuming the world that others create.”
2. The Risk Taker -- Teneshia Jackson Warner
This year I attended the Dream Project Symposium, the brainchild of CEO Teneshia Jackson Warner. Before Warner started her own business, she worked a normal 9-to-5 job like the rest of us, but the one thing she knew was that if she didn’t change, nothing would change for her.
“One day while, at a conference, I bumped into Russell Simmons,” Warner said. “I knew this was my opportunity, so I pitched myself to him and told him I wanted to volunteer to work for him in exchange for an opportunity to learn from him. He gave me his fax number, when faxes were all the rage, and for 30 days straight, I faxed him my resume.”
Her strategy worked. She eventually began working for Simmons as a volunteer and gained valuable experience that led to her starting her own marketing company, Egami Consulting Group (the word "image" spelled backwards). So, Warner's example is that she refused to let an opportunity pass her by; she took a risk every day for 30 days, and it eventually paid off.
A quote that Warner loves is, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare,” by Baruch Spinoza. “For me, this quote means the road to realize my goal will be difficult, but it will also be worth it,’ she said. Warner approaches everything she does from a standpoint of service to others. One of the best ways to serve is by creating.
What risks are you willing to take to take your company to the next level? Will you add to the content that’s already out there by starting your project, or will you continue to stand on the sidelines of life?
3. The Giver -- Selena Soo
If you don’t know Selena Soo, let me tell you a little bit about her. Soo is a publicity and business coach. In one year, she went from $0 to $157,000. Do you want to know the secret to her success? She simply gave. Her success can be attributed to what I have called the "reciprocity rule."
In a case study Soo sent me, she mentioned how at first she starting consuming content from others, like Ramit Sethi and Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte, because she wasn’t fulfilled in her job and wanted to have the same type of financial freedom she was reading about.
Then there came the day when her life took a new direction. She stopped simply consuming and starting creating, by connecting with influencers and mentors. This led her to meet and eventually work with New York Times best-selling author Sethi. She was able to do this when Sethi asked for Soo's feedback on his new website.
She provided him with a detailed report, giving more than he'd asked for. Her example was that she stood out from the crowd because she provided massive value to him. She gave.
In her case study, Soo mentions four ways you can connect with influencers:
- Identify the influencers in your industry. Make a list of your goals. Research those who have already achieved these goals. List them all. Choose the top three people from your list that you want to start building a relationship with.
- Research their needs. Brainstorm three ways in which you can add value to them.
- Connect with them and add value. Soo connected by going to conferences and tapping into her network.
- Follow up. You want to nurture the relationship and remain top of mind. Use social media to promote your influencers' content or leave a message on their Facebook page.
So, that's my advice about creating. Now go out and create. But, remember, don’t get stuck doing these five things:
- Don’t allow consumption to stunt your creative growth.
- Don’t allow yourself to sink into a self-induced content stupor.
- Don’t constantly consume content in such a way that it prevents you from moving forward on the key project that will move the needle in your company
- Don’t constantly consume content because you are afraid to start.
- Don't just be a hearer only. Be a doer.