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It's easier to get free labor than to get paid customers. This is a secret every content creator should learn and remember.
Really, it's remarkable what people will do for you if you just ask them. I myself keep forgetting this. Mainly because I generally consider myself a decent chap who doesn't ever want to come across like I'm trying to take advantage of somebody.
Unfortunately there are unscrupulous people out there who take advantage of people's generosity. They use folks to get ahead, and then discard them at the drop of a hat when they no longer serve a purpose. They don't care that they're poisoning the well. They don't realize they're degrading the culture and sowing mistrust with every step. (Or maybe they do and they're simply hoping their scorched earth approach to life won't catch up with them.)
Surely you're not one of those people! We're all in The Good Place over here. 😜
Ask people to help you, yes, but in return actually care about them and find out how you can help them get ahead as well. This is what makes the whole creative community so much better in the end. People looking out for each other and being generous to one another.
When I think back on all the times I've been successful at reaching out to someone, it's because I went out of my way to come across as a real human being, not some marketing droid. It's not that difficult. You just need to be yourself.
Want them to write a guest post for you? Just be yourself and ask them.
Want them to contribute some code to your open source project? Just be yourself and ask them.
Want them to come onboard your podcast for an interview? Just be yourself and ask them.
The other key point to remember is that when potential collaborators or clients do come knocking at your door, you need to follow through, and you need to have a system of following through consistency and regularly. Lex Friedman recently wrote about this:
Your potential clients and customers have a lot on their mind. They actually want you to follow up, if they want to spend with you. But I don’t automate the nudges, and I don’t write obnoxiously — I just check in, typically on the same thread where we were before.
But seriously: You can win so much business by just following up with people who want to work with you. This sounds obvious and simple, and in my experience many, many people are terrible at it. Don’t be!
In my capacity as a freelancer, I've heard many horror stories from clients about past freelancers or agencies they've worked with who were flaky and disrespectful. Customers will forgive many honest mistakes in the course of doing business together (and I've had to apologize for many mistakes over the years!), but you know what they're unlikely to forgive? Falling down on the job and not doing right by people.
And that's my Creator Class for today. 😅 I'm not normally this preachy, but I feel like these are Very Important Perspectives which will benefit anyone trying to get a leg up as a content creator or freelancer.
What's your take on this? Feel free to shoot me an email or chat with me on Mastodon!
Pocket Casts & Goofy Kids—just not together!
I recorded a whole episode of Fresh Fusion about my journey as a listener of podcasts, and why I recently settled on using Pocket Casts which I now consider to be the best podcast player in the world. (At least on iPhone/iPad/Mac!)
I also posted a very goofy video wherein I interviewed my kids about their aspirations to be gamers on YouTube…then they turned the tables and put ME in the hot seat! Mayhem ensued…enjoy. =)
(In case you're wondering, the "Bunny" video source mentioned on that page is Bunny Stream CDN, a service I'm now using to host all recent and future videos in addition to YouTube. I don't consider myself to be a "YouTuber" anymore, but rather that I'm a video creator and YouTube is simply one of the destinations I publish to. I tried this route once before with Vimeo but found myself unsatisfied with that solution—and their pricing! So far, I'm much more pleased with Bunny.)
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