1,000 True Fans

All you need is 1,000 true fans.

I originally posted this ten years ago, over on BurningPine.com, but came across it again, today. I think it’s still relevant for creators and sovereign professionals, especially with regard to the discussion on passive income streams. The original posted (as linked) has also been updated  …

1,000 True Fans

What a beautiful concept from Kevin Kelly.  A consequence of all that Chris Anderson talked about in The Long Tail is that it is easier for creators (photographers, musicians, writers, whatever) to reach directly to their audience, their market, their fans.  Cutting out the middle-man, and the middle-man’s filters, has never been easier.  What Kelly offers in this insightful post is something of a bridge or staging post between impoverished artist and mega-star.  Simplistically put, all an artist needs in order to provide a living is “1,000 true fans”.  Kelly defines these as follows:

“someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”

Crucially, Kelly suggests that the true fan will spend one day’s wage per year on your product, nominally pitched at $100.  Thus, 1,000 x $100 = $100,000 = a reasonable living.  Of course, the real figures will vary by geography, by muse and by the size of the artistic unit: a six-piece rock band will require a higher income (= a bigger number of true fans) than, say, a poet.  However, it’s a great concept.  Simple, elegant and worth pondering.

Kevin Kelly — The Technium

 

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Work to be one in a hundred

You don’t need to be one in a million to succeed, but you should aim for one in a hundred.

One hundred is an interesting number. In ancient Rome, a Centurion commanded one hundred men (usually between 60 and 150). Even today, an army company will comprise about 100-150 soldiers. Reaching 100 employees is a landmark, and a step-change, for a growing business.

The anthropologist Robin Dunbar proposed, in 1992, that the human brain can maintain a maximum of around 150 social relationships (Dunbar’s Number).  In more recent research, he has found that the average number of Facebook Friends is 155. You can have more links, of course. Clicking is easy, but maintaining real social relationships is hard.

Take that across to a typical professional scenario. Your business relies on the relationship (not transactional) model: clients need to know and trust you. When your client faces a problem, they can choose from just 100-150 trusted relationships to solve it.

You want to be that one per cent – the one person best suited to save the day.

 

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

Financial independence in your 40s

Today’s Times has a piece on the so-called Fire (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement that, having taken off in North American is growing in the UK, too.

Here’s the magic formula:

The basic mathematics of Fire are that you need a net worth of 25 times your annual spending, invested sensibly in the stock market in low-cost tracker funds or in buy-to-let property.

Financial independence, whether you  choose to continue working or not, must represent true sovereignty. It’s therefore a worthy goal for the sovereign professional.
“If you can save 50 per cent of your take-home pay, it will take 19 years to go from broke to never needing to work again. If you can save 75 per cent, it will take seven to eight years.”
The basic requirements are a long-term focus and an ability for deferred gratification.
It reminds me of a great book, Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, which is well-worth a read.
Photo by Sonja Guina on Unsplash

Passive income streams for sovereign professionals – Forbes.com

Here’s a useful post from Abdullahi Muhammed on Forbes.com: 4 Passive Income Streams Freelancers Should Create To Secure Their Futures.

One of the ongoing challenges that sovereign professionals face is the direct relationship between time and money: if you work, you earn; if you don’t work, you don’t earn.

It manifests itself in other ways, too. When you’re busy you can quickly hit an earnings ceiling: there are no more hours to work and you feel like you’re leaving money on the table.

A useful goal, therefore, is to create passive income streams: ways to generate revenue even  when you’re on the beach. An obvious example is the successful novelist or recording artist who earns royalties from a popular back-catalogue.

Abdullahi offers four routes to passive income, here.

 

Photo by Salvador Martin Yeste on Unsplash

Memories matter more than money – the freelancer’s challenge

Tom Albrighton, on ABC Copywriting, reflects on the freelancer’s dilemma:

While freelance work will come again (touch wood), each precious summer will never come again. We may only have a handful of whole-family summers left, and to wish them away is ridiculous. Memories matter more than money.

All too true. Read Tom’s full piece, here.

 

Photo by Adrien Tutin on Unsplash

On phones, open plan, distractions and focus

The Economist’s Bartleby column on human behaviour in the face  of relentless “on-ness”:

In the face of 24-hour communication, we rebel in our own quiet way. We put personal communication first, and we reply in our own sweet time.

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 

Focus! How to get things done – @Chris_Bailey

Anyone who prescribes meditation, coffee and wine deserves attention.

Yesterday’s Times has an interview with Chris Bailey on his new book, Hyperfocus: How to Work Less and Achieve More.

Our inability to focus, because of our digital aids to productivity, is the bane of our times.

In a fascinating article, Bailey prescribes:

  • Set yourself no more than three daily tasks
  • Do a phone swap
  • Set an hourly awareness alarm
  • Switch environments when you need to
  • Ditch brain training apps for meditation
  • Buy a cheap alarm clock
  • Save your first coffee for work
  • Play a song on repeat
  • Take a mindful shower
  • Have a glass of wine

It’s definitely worth a read and some consideration. Over a glass of wine.

The interview is here.

The man, via TED, is here.

The book is here.