rinse and repeat

Rinse and repeat – Video making by volume

I’d like to let you off the hook.

If you’re like me, you are a bit of a perfectionist. Any time you’ve thought of bringing your work into the world you’ve wanted to make sure that it’s your best. And you take a lot of time polishing and tweaking before you feel ready to show it to anyone.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, your work will get a whole lot better if you focus less on perfecting and more on creating and sharing as often as possible.

How do you ensure you’re doing your best work? Get out in front of people and get their feedback

Case in point comes from a cool little book called Art and Fear. A pottery teacher split his class in half and asked the first half to focus on making one incredibly wonderful piece of pottery. Then he told the other half to make a lot of pots saying they’d be evaluated on their quantity (rather than quality).

So, who came up with the best work?

Invariably, all the best pots came from the group making as many pots as possible.

You can apply this lesson to whatever endeavor you’re engaged with: if you want to make something really great, you need to start making. Striving for perfection will just get in your way.

I know. You just don’t feel ready. You have a Goldilocks mindset. You want everything to be just right.

Don’t let your inner perfectionist hold you back.

Treat your work as an ongoing experiment and embrace the mess you create. Expect the unexpected. Treat everything you do as a learning process.

Do this often. Rinse and repeat.

Case study: Pulse reader

In 2010, right at the time the first ipad came out, two students, Ankit Gupta and Akshay Kothari, were in a one-month course called “Launchpad” in which the students have to start a real company. In order to get into the class you have to pitch a business idea so our two heros raised the question, “why is the experience of mobile news browsing so bad?” And they pitched the idea of a creating a news reader app for the ipad.

rinse and repeatTheir first assignment was to build a functional prototype in 4 days.

To get the job done quickly, they chose to sit in a cafe (a room full of prospective users for their reader) where they had a quick, rough version of their app open on an ipad. Since the ipad was brand new, this was super attractive to everyone who passed by. People who had never seen one would ask about the ipad and they’d let them play with the basic version of their new app. They got tons of immediate feedback from cafe patrons and, as a result, went through hundreds of small revisions each day.

Their published app, called “Pulse Reader” turned out impressive enough to be shown off by Steve Jobs himself and, later on, was sold to LinkedIn for $90 million!! (this story came from the book, Creative Confidence)

How can you get into the rinse and repeat mindset?

Move from planning to action. Share quick, rough versions of a product or service your working on to get fast feed-back. Put a time constraint on yourself. Imagine you have a boss who’s telling you, “I want to see something by the end of the day.” See how quickly you can turn your ideas into action.

Rinse and repeat is a core principle of my program, Video Power Strategy™. It’s about engaging your audience in a way that they ensure you’re doing your best work.

As an experiential educator I’ve seen first-hand how well learning by doing works. If you want to do your best work (and if you want your business to thrive) then you need to jump in with rapid innovation cycles of creating a piece of work, showing it off and learning from the feedback you get. Learn by doing. Rinse and repeat.

Want instant feedback for the next video project you’re working on?
Join our group on Facebook and share often >

target audience

3 ways to get your target audience thrilled about your big idea

There are few things more frustrating than pouring your heart into your big idea only to see it struggle to take off.

Whether you’re organizing a project, promoting an event or selling a product or service, there’s nothing worse than spending weeks or months of effort to make something happen – and then nobody shows up, or your phone isn’t ringing, or you’re making videos that nobody’s watching.

When this happens it’s problem of enrollment – you’ve failed to fully enroll your target audience.

In their fantastic book, “The Art of Possibility,” co-authors Benjamin an Rosamund Zander spend an entire chapter talking about what it takes to get someone fully enrolled. “Enrolling is not about forcing, cajoling, tricking, bargaining, pressuring, or guilt tripping someone into doing something your way. Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share. Have no doubt that others eager to catch the spark”.

Can you imagine a world where others are eager to catch your spark?

The Zanders suggest that you approach enrollment as lighting a spark of possibility in others and then be ready to catch their spark in return. Enrollment will take courage in the face of possible rejection(s). Maintaining your passion and a mindset of possibility is essential.

Ready to fully enroll your target audience? Here we go.

1. Join the conversation

In my earlier post on how to introduce yourself on video so that it matters I was dissing social media by saying it’s turned us all into one-way broadcasters – and you only have to spend 10 seconds looking at anyone’s Twitter feed to see the sad truth in this.

But, there’s also a conversation going on about your thing.

To find the conversation, search hashtags on Twitter and Instagram (like #smallbusiness or #communitygarden or #climatechange) or join a Facebook group or go to a local Meetup – you’ll find out what your people are talking about.

You’ll want to look for what they’re saying about the problem that you want to help them solve.

2. Look for questions, frustrations and desires

These are the things that are most relevant to the people who you are wanting to enroll. Personally, the place where I’ve found the most engaged conversations have been in a few of the Facebook groups that I belong to. (and, of course, my own Facebook group)

What you’ll discover are points of engagement. You’ll see questions that generate long threads of discussion and learn which kind of frustrations or desires resonate most.

It doesn’t matter if you think they’re asking the right questions – these are the questions they’re asking – so that’s where you want to start engaging.

3. Respond with something different

You’re going to discover that people have already tried a lot of things to answer their questions, fix their frustrations, and make their dreams come true. If it’s available they’re checking it out. You need to take the time to study what else is out there too, so you can respond with something unique – something they haven’t tried yet.

How does this work in practice?

Here’s an example based on how I like to engage. Let’s say my preferred method of connection is to go to a networking event or a conference. What I find at almost every business related event is plenty of people (like me) who offer marketing services of one kind or another. In fact it sometimes feels like the room is full of marketers.

And everyone there is introducing themselves with the same question, “What do you do?”

And everyone answers the same way – by talking about themselves.

At an event like try entering the conversation, by saying something different. What if you refused to give an answer by talking about yourself. What if instead you answered by responding to the questions, frustrations and desires that are on the minds of practically everyone in the room?

So, for example, after someone asks me what I do, I might answer with, “I like to help people have more meaningful interactions at networking events (like this one) so they meet the kinds of people they’re looking for, attract the right kind of clientele and so they don’t end up feeling like they’ve totally wasted their time.”

See what I did there?

Now I’m talking about the questions and desires and potential frustrations of practically everyone in the room. All of a sudden I’m positioning myself as someone who might have something different to talk about – and be offering the possibility of a unique value proposition.

Whoever I’m talking to is probably wondering, “What you just mentioned is something that I want to know more about – how do you do that?” So, we can keep talking and I can keep asking questions and learn more about their frustrations and desires.

This is exactly what you want to do.

Don’t enter the conversation by talking about your big idea – start by talking about the thing that is their top of mind frustration or desire. If you’re unsure of what that is, then ask a question.

You can craft content like this in your videos and share it on social media, and when you do people will start thinking you’re reading their minds.

if you’d like more interaction than this once-per-week blog post, join my Facebook Group and leave your comments there >

conversation questions

How to create good conversation questions for your business

Think for just a minute about the last time you spent in good conversation with one of your closest friends. Imagine what that conversation was like. What was the pacing like? your listening? their response? the times that you talked from your heart? It’s likely that your conversation was a two-way exchange.
Compare that with the last time you sent an email message to your audience. Or the last time you wrote a blog post. Was there the same kind of listening going on?

Can you imagine that your last email blast was, in fact, any kind of conversation at all?

OK, so now you’re thinking, “Well, Brad, how do I have a conversation when I’m sending a mass email or writing a blog post? I’m writing by myself and there’s nobody talking back to me.

conversation questions1. Ask a question

I have one idea for you which is: ask a question that’s very intriguing – and encourages a response.

2. Tell a story

Or tell a story that’s like some kind of mystery

3. Make a promise

Make a promise that at the beginning offers to answer the question and if people will only pay attention to what you’re saying, they’ll find out what the answer is.

4. Leave room – for your customer to be heard

Even better, when you’re on social media, make your customers part of the conversation. Ask a question – and people will answer – in the comments below. Listen to and engage with customers and your business will benefit in ways that you’ve never imagined.

My conversation questions for you?

What questions are you asking your audience? Or what questions are you going to ask your audience – today?

Join my FREE Videomaking Mastermind group on Facebook and leave a comment. I’ll answer every time. I promise to be a good listener.

camera shyness

Two Unbelievable Camera Shyness Success Stories

When you’re faced with a feeling of camera shyness, what’s it costing you in your life when you aren’t showing up?

Where does your shyness show up in other aspects of your work?

camera shynessI have a client who’s work is helping Moms feel less overwhelmed. She’s creating a daily planner especially designed for Moms called ‘The Artful Planner.’  But, when we first talked about making a video that would promote her work she said, “There’s no way I’m going to be in the video.”

Which, not all that surprisingly, is how a lot of people react when I first bring up video making.

Time to strap on the GoPro

In this case we came up with a creative solution that showcased my client’s planner using a you-are-there point of view with the help of a GoPro camera.

The cool thing about GoPro is that you get to be in the driver’s seat of whoever is wearing the camera on their head. (Think base jumpers, surfers and other extreme sport fanatics.) In this case we simply showed a-day-in-the-life of how any Mom might use an Artful Planner.

[bctt tweet=”Using a GoPro is a great tool for any small business to show off their process.”]

This was so much fun to make! I had my client wear the camera on her head and I controlled shooting via an ipad monitor. A 9-inch monitor!! I was also using a second camera – so I found that I could do a two-camera shoot simultaneously.

When you’re thinking to show your work, and promote your work to others, you really want to think process, not product. Share a unique glimpse of what you’re working on. By sharing your day-to-day process – the things you really care about – you can form a unique bond with your audience.

Show your work, share your creativity and get discovered

camera shynessI just put down Austin Kleon’s most recent book – which is great for quick inspiration on sharing your creativity with others (you can read the whole thing in about 10 minutes – there’s lots of pictures). Austin proposes that you show your work in the form of a daily dispatch. And that if we do, then over time the small contributions will begin to add up to something profound.

The process is nothing terribly involved: Austin recommends spending 15 or 30 minutes at the end of each day selecting and sharing something on your social networks.

That’s it.

“What I mean by that is one little bit of media that you push out every day, some little piece of your process that you share with people,” he says. Set yourself a daily goal to show your work: one photo (or a 15-second video) on Instagram, tweeting the favorite sentence you read that day, doing a blog post about something you love.

Imagine strapping a GoPro to your head and sharing moments from your work day. In 15-second Instagram snippets.

Just remember to give value when you share.

“The act of sharing is one of generosity — you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen.”

You can start sharing your work – and getting great feedback – by joining my Videomaking Mastermind Facebook Group and sharing your live videos there.