Stuck in the idea of having to come up with original ideas? Do you feel like you have to recreate the wheel every single time? Sometimes you just have to copy different ideas from great people and rearrange them to make it your own. This is how you can move that needle from being a starter to a thriver.
Today’s guest is Jeff Goins. He is a writer and he also runs an online business helping writers and creatives succeed through teaching online courses. He has built a million-dollar business, has published four books, and has become an online marketing expert. A lot of the skills he has utilized can benefit you and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
One of those principles comes from his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age. He explains why he believes great artists steal before they can create.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Jeff:
In the book, Jeff mentions 12 rules that will move you from starting to thriving in any creative profession, including sales. One of the rules of the book is to:
Steal from Your Influences
Starting salespeople try to do something original and come up with original ideas. Thriving artists understand that the best way to do creative work is to steal from their influences. Borrow from great people who have come before you. Build on their work and re-share it.
When you steal from just one person, you become a copycat. When you steal from many people, you will become an artist. Jeff quotes Will Durant saying, “Nothing is new except arrangement.”
Study then Copy
Don’t do your work as if you’re creating something from nothing. Do interesting work by becoming aware of all the greats who have come before you. Study the people who have mastered this field. Study them and copy their work.
Do this from a bunch of different people and reassemble and rearrange it into something interesting. In a way, you have created something new by pulling together a bunch of old pieces from different sources and reassembling it into your own.
Finding Your Voice
Take what you’ve learned but make sure your personality still thrives. The only way you get to your style is to copy other different styles. Try what feels like a good fit and over time, you discover something unique to you.
Take your favorite salespeople and copy them. Reinterpret it and share it in your own way. This is an exercise. Understand the first 100 reps of this is going to feel weird and forced.
If you’re interested in mastery. Copy them just as a means for practicing and over time you will understand why they do it this way. You start a thief, you end an original.
It Doesn’t Take Just One Great Idea
A lot of salespeople think they just need that one great idea and everything will be alright. That’s not how business works. Lewis Schiff, in the book Business Brilliant, did a survey on 700 American households who are self-made billionaires and 700 middle-class households. The same question was asked to them about how to build a successful business and their answers were very different. The middle class said it just takes one great idea. The self-made billionaires said you have to borrow from what somebody else has done and then do it better.
Borrow From What Somebody Else Has Done and Do It Better
One end of the extreme would be getting stuck trying to come up with something original and you will stay where you are. The other extreme is just do what other people are doing. That will get you into the end of the game but you won’t get to the top. So you have to do it better or different. Take something and twist it in some way. Instead of trying to add something original, take two different things and combine them.
Looking Into Other Industries
Find what everybody is doing. Get into that game. Copy the base level stuff they’re doing. Then borrow from some other industry. Apple, for example, combined engineers and artists to come up with beautiful products. Bring in two unlikely ideas in a new way and now you’ve got something interesting. You don’t want to do so different that it doesn’t work but you also don’t want to do what’s expected since you’re not going to stand out that way.
Marketing Partnerships and Collaboration for the Sake of Creativity
We don’t do our best alone. The idea that best work comes by ourselves is a bad idea. Genius almost always happens in groups. If you have an idea and you’re not sharing that with other peers or trust friends in your industry to give you feedback, you’re like to fail or not be able to perform at your highest level. Don’t go around sharing ideas but be a part of collaboration where you’re given feedback. Joining mastermind groups is the perfect example. The idea is to get around people you can trust, will tell you the truth, and will set some parameters to either help course-correct you or affirm your ideas.
Connect with Jeff Goins on www.goinswriter.com
Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins. Go to the book’s site to get a couple of bonuses there www.dontstarve.com.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Business Brilliant by Lewis Schiff
Maximum Influence by Kurt Mortensen
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