When I heard that Seth Godin would be the inaugural speaker for the Made in Buffalo series, I was shocked.
How had I missed knowing that he grew up in my hometown?
That shock quickly turned to excitement. My husband and I jumped right online to buy tickets, we were surprised at the checkout page.
Right before you clicked submit to purchase your tix, you were asked how you're creating change locally and contributing to the new economy (the topic of Seth’s talk).
There was a note on the page that said they would select from these answers a group of people to attend a meet and greet with Seth after the talk.
Naturally, I wrote about being a mompreneur.
And how Seth’s teaching and creation of permission marketing had allowed me to have the best of both worlds. To be a fully present mom, and to feel pride in a growing business that I built with my own hands.
I clicked submit and, honestly, felt totally dumb afterward. I told myself (and my husband) about how no one would care about that story. And how dramatic it all sounded.
Well, imagine my surprise when the email came that I was chosen for a slot at the meet and greet! (And adding to my surprise, Seth ended up covering imposter syndrome during his talk.)
"You're not as good as you think are." Seth is referring here to our internal dialog. What we tell ourselves while we run our businesses. (What I told myself when I submitted my response about being a work-at-home mom.)
I asked Seth’s sister later, and she said the local team chose a little over 30 people to attend the meet and greet. (350 tickets total.) So it really was just such a special surprise.
Because Seth’s a local guy, there were a lot of his personal connections there and they gave us some insight into who he is as a person. They said he loves to cook, and canoe (who knew?!). And he’s really loyal to friends.
They gave a ton of honor to his parents, also. Particularly his mom, who was a long-time volunteer and benefactor for the art gallery the talk was held in.
It was really a special night.
And then Seth’s talk began, and he blew my mind with some business-changing realizations.
Met @sethgodin tonight at the 1st ever Made in Buffalo event, hosted by @buffalojewish at the @albrightknox. Hadn't realized he was a local before tonight! -- 350 person event with about 10% chosen for a "Golden Ticket" meet-and-greet based on your answer to a ? when buying your tix. I wrote about being a mom biz owner. -- Amazing talk about jumping when you're prepared, but not ready; and about the idea of empathy in business. "If failure isn't an option, then neither is success." It was amazing. Blessed.
Here were my main take-aways from what Seth had to say about content creation:
1) Customer service takes empathy
Seth shared a Zulu word, sowubana, which means: “I see you.” He said that “different people hear differently”; connecting with your audience takes empathy. We need to know that they don’t hear what we hear. What a difference it would make if we internalized that principle and embedded it into our policies, communication and products.
2) Don’t ignore the importance of trust
A big theme of the talk was the idea that we must create trust with our customers. Seth said multiple times that we’re dealing with a shortage of trust, so we need to pay attention to this.
“Value is created by coordination”
Seth said that business owners need to “find small threads of interest and amplify them.” We create value when we give our audience more of what they want.
Have you ever heard someone give course feedback and say: “The course was OK. But I could have found all the content elsewhere online. All they did was package it.”? I’ve heard that a bunch of times about products I've purchased, and I always think - but that’s where the value is! She did the work for you!
When we stop marketing to the masses, and provide something really unique that’s a reflection of who we really are. And therein lies true connection and trust.
3) "Who's it for? What's it for?"
Seth really drove the point home that we need to be clear about who our audience is, and to make content that really solves their problems. He likened it to Tinder, and said that we need to "date the people" we're "seeking to change."
When we have a track record of not adding to the noise, of creating things of substance that really solve problems, that's when we build trust and loyalty in a group of people. That's when we start to lead.
4) "People like us, do things like this."
Leadership was something else Seth mentioned quite a bit. Just like we talked about coordinating information in #2, we can also coordinate people. When you create a space for a tribe to emerge - you're able to speak to your people.
"Make stuff for the weird people who care."
Rather than marketing to the masses, we need to bring those unique parts of ourselves to the table. Recognize what makes you, and your perspective, weird - and talk to the people who are just like you. (Some people refer to this as creating a movement.)
They're looking for someone to follow, why not have it be you? Don't be afraid to infuse yourself in your business. It's your business!
5) "If failure isn't an option, then neither is success."
Seth talked about the fact that our educational system ingrains in us an idea of industrialization. That we're trained for doing what we're told; as in a factory assembly line.
But what that does is get us ready for mass production, not for making connections and connecting the dots. And it makes us afraid to step out of the box, for fear of failing.
“Revolutions are expensive and they are painful.”
Success is risky.
If you've been considering stepping outside the box and trying for that risky success, but you need some support, come join us in the Solopreneur Strategy FB group! We'd love to help you workshop through your ideas!