No bullshit, what would it take?
This is a thought-provoking concept that I discovered from one of my favourite entrepreneur/motivational type people, Tom Bilyeu. And it's a question we don't ask ourselves often enough. Usually people admire the success of others, and disregard the thoughts about what it actually took to get there. We're all guilty of this, judging each other's social media (highlights-reel) and ignoring the sacrifice it took to succeed. So I think we all need a healthy dollop of perspective to remind ourselves that it usually takes a lot to succeed. At anything. Whether it's business, love, relationships, family, art, career, personal development: success is never easy. It just isn't. So if you haven't yet achieved the success you're after, it's time to ask the question:
No bullshit, what would it take?
It's kind of like asking yourself, if I won the lottery, what would I do? Which let's be honest, I probably ask myself once every 6 months. Even though I'm not a money-focused person at all, my brain still likes to wonder. So the slightly less delusional version of that, is no bullshit what would it take? If there's something you're not quite succeeding at yet, or not sure how to get where you want to go, I've found this train of thought quite refreshing. For instance, a few months ago I asked myself this question. I thought, what would it take to earn a decent income from my art? Again, money is largely irrelevant to my choices, but it's more like the money is a marker of how much value I'm providing to others through my art. Ya know? To put it in a measurable way, I asked what would it take to earn $500 a week from selling my art. Now, this question does not need to be realistic. That's the point. It can be impossible:
No bullshit, what would it take to colonise Mars?
It's by asking the impossible questions that we are able to achieve greatness. And for me, a few months ago I couldn't even sell one piece of art a month - let alone $500 worth a week! To break it down further, I realised I'd only need to sell 2 prints a day to meet my wildest fantasy. Suddenly doesn't sound too unrealistic does it? Now this is super lame, but I made a mood board. Or a vision board, as the kids like to call it these days. I pretty much just chucked together some imagery that signified where I'd like to be. And then started taking concrete action - no bullshit, what will it take to realise my dreams?
That was all very well and good, but if I knew how to sell two prints a day, I'd already be doing that. So, I had to learn how to sell my art. I'm not sure how I figured it out, but I realised selling isn't actually about selling at all. And as someone who studied advertising and had a brief career in advertising, you'd think this would be my area of expertise. Nope. Selling is really this: entertainment, familiarity, value. Then the selling naturally happens within that. If you offer entertainment, your audience will grow. If you develop familiarity, barriers will disappear. If you offer value, your audience will become a customer. Probably sounds like a lot of flashy words that are essentially meaningless.
But for me, in the last 9 months I've had more sales than the last 9 years combined.
Pretty damn proud of that. Sure, my sales are still very modest. But I'm making huge progress. And I'm learning so much. My secret weapon has been Instagram, but I know that wouldn't work for everybody. It took me a while to realise that I'm very entertaining (lots of people had to tell me this before I truly believed it). For some reason, I get a lot of positive feedback about my blog posts and Instagram stories. The discovery of Insta-stories were huge in the type of content I was sharing. I think I'm very honest and genuine, making it easy for people to connect with what I'm doing. That was the first step for me. Then sprinkled amongst this entertainment, people became familiar with my art. They'd see it being made in my stories again and again, before it was ever released for sale on my website. And then once it was put up, bam I'd be plugging it a few times a week at least. Then in emails too. When people are entertained by what you're doing, and become familiar with your work, they are a BILLION times more likely to buy from you. Truth: someone will buy shit that they are more familiar with over the amazing unfamiliar they've never encountered before. We just like what is familiar to us.
Anyway, this whole journey started when I seriously sat down and thought, no bullshit what would it take? I try and re-ask this and check-in with myself regularly. Am I moving closer towards my goals? Am I doing something every day to achieve success? And just for the record, success is not a final destination, it's a constant journey. You never really hit one moment of success and then stop trying, success is an every day part of what drives you and brings you fulfilment. It never ends. But it is a journey that some people never begin. Don't be afraid to ask that first question and see what you can actually achieve when you give it everything you have.