Don’t build product in a vacuum! The best way to create a product that will…
So you’ve got a solid idea, concept, methodology or suite of tools. You’ve been refining and practicing it for months, years or decades. You’ve written about it and have clients that embrace it. Maybe you’ve built a business or a series of businesses around your work or are considering doing so. Here’s a simple exercise that will help you gain additional clarity and better prioritize where you focus your time, energy and resources.
Money? Ego? Evangelism? Why are you doing what you are doing? In my experience every author and thought leader has three primary drivers that ultimately have a very strong influence on how they do what they do and why they do what they do. Most haven’t taken the time to think about how these variables impact the decisions they make or should impact the decisions they make. There is no “right” way to define how important these factors are to you. It is however, critically important that you be honest with yourself when thinking about the role they do play and should play in your work. At various stages of our lives and careers different things motivate us in different ways. In fact you should reevaluate these factors at least twice a year and adjust your strategy and tactics accordingly. The question is simple, what percentage do money, ego and evangelism play?
Take a look at the pie chart and create one for yourself.
Money is how important it is to you that you be able to effectively monetize your content. This could mean launching new ventures or converting your content into new mediums, or taking the leap into wanting to make a living from your content. We all obviously need a certain amount of money to live and fulfill our needs. Often time our work and content requires us to generate more revenue so that we can make additional investments into refining the content, conducting research, converting it into different modalities and developing our brands and expanding our reach.
Ego is pretty self explanatory; however we tend to be poor judges of how important our ego is relative to why we do what we do. I tend to double the ego number my clients tell me and it’s usually any accurate metric. In the context of being an author or a thought leader ego is important, in fact it’s one area that being somewhat narcissistic can often be helpful. Do you enjoy speaking to large audiences, being acknowledged as an expert in your field? Being recognized for your ideas and thoughts? That’s ego.
Evangelism can be a scary word, and I’m not suggesting you reach for the mascara and become the next Tami Faye Baker (unless it’s somehow tied to your work). What I mean by evangelism is how important is it that you get the message out? That you create a movement? That you feel deep down in your gut that you were put on this earth to spread the content that you’ve toiled over? I’ve seen first hand that some of the most successful thought leaders in the business space actually score higher in the evangelical category than any other; they also tend to be extremely successful financially. They are driven by a desire to get their content out so that it can change lives and business behaviors and practices and make a real difference.
Now That I Know How Important These Factors Are What Do I Do Differently?
What you need to do now is take a look at how you’ve been spending your time, energy, money and resources over the last several months across these dimensions and see if there is alignment or if there is a disconnect. For example if your ego number is 15% and you’re spending 30% of your time on activities that are primarily feeding your ego than something is out of whack. While many activities can certainly fall into all of the categories the objective is to identify patterns and adjust how you spend your time accordingly. If you spend a lot of your time on the keynote circuit than being paid to speak would certainly have an impact on money and ego but if your evangelical score is high than you need to make sure that you are speaking to the right audiences and be willing to make some changes and sacrifices.
Identify the area that is most out of line and develop a plan that will bring that number up or down accordingly over the next 90 days. What this will do is force you to make conscious decisions that are more aligned to your strategic objectives. When developing tactics make sure to ask what component of your strategy they are supporting and if they don’t clearly support them eliminate them or adjust them so that they do. You’ll ultimately need to make trade-offs and become comfortable not continuing to do certain activities that may have served you well in the past but no longer do. Is the column that you write for the Left Handed Plumbers Association a wise place to spend your time? Would it be better to spend the same amount of energy and find a better venue? Better yet to discontinue doing it and use that bandwidth to focus on what you need to focus on?