My social media consumption is at an all time low. At best, Twitter & Facebook are boring. At worst, they’re perpetuating the model of business that got us in this economic mess to begin with.
All I see is formula headline after formula headline, 6 ways for this and 3 tricks for that. They all promise big returns. They are almost (and I’m only saying that to be nice) all fluff.
The bits of brilliance are few & far between. But they’re enough to keep me around.
Radiant self-promotion doesn’t bother me. Scrambling for a just-slightly-bigger piece of the pie does.
Let me explain.
It’s not that organizing information in an easy-to-read way is bad. I could do a better job of that myself. It’s not that writing clever headlines is bad. It’s not.
What is unfortunate is that this trend means solopreneurs are simply resorting to what corporations have been doing for years, going after their competitors instead of bringing more customers & value into the market.
“Now hold up!” you might say. “How is a formula blog post going after a competitor?”
Excellent question. You don’t have to slam a competitor or blatantly try to steal traffic, sales, or customer loyalty to be playing the competitive advantage game.
Competitive advantage is the name of the Them Economy game.
They try to eek out a percentage point here, pennies on the dollar there. Sure, it works. But for how long? They see the market as finite. There are only so many eyeballs — better optimize my business to attract the highest percentage.
They are going for a slice of the lifestyle design pie, the handmade marketplace pie, the travel hacking pie, the minimalist pie, the app pie, the self-publishing pie. They’re not bringing new customers into the fold. They’re not offering new ideas or fresh perspective.
They parrot others ideas in the hope that speaking the same words will yield the same results.
They show up in your Twitter stream to claim what’s theirs.
They see innovation at an end. Sure, the chips get smaller & the resolution gets brighter — but new? Nope, not right now. They don’t see new ideas around every corner, new opportunities for advancement just over every horizon.
They are more concerned with their social media strategy than they are with making your life better, easier, healthier, more connected, or more meaningful.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to buy it.
And we don’t have to rely on carving out a bigger piece of the pie for ourselves at the expense of others.
You Economy businesses know that the market is infinite. Click to spread the word! It is only limited by their ability to invite customers to the table.
You Economy businesses know that it’s not a matter of capturing a piece of what already exists but about creating something new, uniquely you, and in service of others. Baking a bigger pie leads to the greatest success.
You Economy businesses create welcoming spaces that use meaning, relationship, and experience to provide multidimensional value to a wider audience. They propose new ideas and invite others to participate in making them whole. They connect people to ambitions greater than any individual company or person could hold for themselves.
And yes, you can do this 140 characters at a time. Try it.
Want to learn how to craft a business that gives back more than it takes while leaving you wealthier than you could ever imagine? That’s what I’m teaching at The Art of Earning LIVE. Grab your virtual ticket today.
A good life is one rich in, above all, “human potential,” the capacity to seed, nurture, and harvest all the many different kinds of wealth.
— Umair Haque, Betterness
Building your own business on your strengths, passion, and self-determination goes a long way towards generating wealth on many levels.
You’ll find your reserves of creativity rising, your relationship accounts overflowing, and your energy reports firmly in the black. Raking in a nice profit doesn’t hurt, either.
This is old news.
You Economy businesses must not only support their owners but support others.
This is not as simple as “do no harm.”
It means working in a way that leaves your commercial ecosystems qualitatively & quantifiably better. As Haque describes it in his book, Betterness, it’s a positive paradigm of economy – not simply a “not negative” one.
The positive economic paradigm isn’t just based in the trade of financial assets but the growth of real wealth in all its forms.
In this system, your business thrives because you’re not just solving problems for your customers but helping them live richer lives. Your business doesn’t make life “not bad” it makes life better.
You know your business can make your life richer in many forms: relationally, creatively, financially, intellectually, emotionally, etc.. But have you designed it to make your customer’s lives better in all those ways as well?
Do you make business decisions with the intention of making your customers richer?
I don’t doubt that some of you already do this. However, in striving to make our businesses work “better,” we often crack open the annals of Them Economy business. We assume the answer lies in the dots that remain unconnected in our non-MBA-trained brains. We assume the answer is hiding in more persuasive marketing copy, finely tuned profit & loss statements, and better launch strategy.
But you are not just another cog in the Them Economy machine.
I love persuasive marketing copy, finely tuned P&L statements, and rocking launch strategies, but the basis & understanding for those facets of business must now arise from an other-focused culture. Your overall business culture must emerge from a focus on generating multidimensional wealth for those you come in contact with.
What is business culture?
Your business culture (and yes, you have one!) is the point-of-view & values that make up all business decisions, communication, and development.
“The thing is, every business has a culture. It may be strong or weak, positive or negative, or just plain hard to spot, but it’s like a form of internal brand in a way. It’s the collective impression, habits, language, style, communication and practices of the organization.
— John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing”
You’re not an entrepreneur, you’re an anthropreneur.
An anthropreneur is part of & is creating a commercial culture that serves human beings to their full potential. The language, habitat, rituals, and beliefs of service & those you serve are at the center of your business culture. As an anthropreneur, you are concerned with building wealth into every facet of life – beyond mere profit – both yours & your customers’.
This is why you find the usual answers to business questions lacking. It’s not that those answers are wrong. It’s that in a different time, a different economy, a different culture, you could start with those answers & build from there.
In the You Economy, you must start with your other-focused culture. You must start with the intention to build wealth on all levels for all parties involved. You must know what that looks like, feels like, tastes like. And then you can layer the business-as-usual answers on top of that context. You can evaluate them. You can mold them & manipulate them to work for your business culture.
Consider social media. No, really.
I am a lover of social media. Both for what it has allowed me to access in commerce & for what it has allowed me to communicate to a mass audience. But I’m not a “how to” social media strategist. I’m a user. And maybe a bit of a philosopher.
But social media is an acute & accessible example of the generating multidimensional forms of wealth.
The gurus will tell you how often to tweet, when to post updates, and what types of headlines will generate the most response. That’s fine. There’s even research to prove it, which I highly recommend reading.
You can construct tweets & updates that have no purpose, no greater message, no call to action. They’ll get retweeted. But does that give your business traction? Is anyone really paying attention? Or is it simply part of a paradigm that rewards competitive behavior? I, of course, would argue the latter.
Instead, starting a movement around a single ideal – even for entertainment, internet memes, FTW! – encourages others to build on the conversation. Develop a #hashtag around something you’re passionate about, use it, and watch others add their own emotional & intellectual wealth to the conversation.
Your output is valuable, sure. But the spontaneous conversation created around your output is exponentially more valuable. If that conversation is tied to a business and you leverage it for sales, your financial wealth increases. If that conversation is tied to a nonprofit and you leverage it for action, social wealth increases. There is greater value for you, your customers & compatriots, and those you all touch in the shared wealth than there is in the value of a single source output.
What I’m not suggesting is that we build other-focused cultures at the expense of profit. Sometimes, these cultures will impact profitability – or our ability to squeeze every last cent out of the business model. Businesses & anthropreneurs should be encouraged to profit – lots of it – as one simple indicator of the wealth they are building into the system.
Responsibility to generating all forms of wealth doesn’t negate your responsibility to generate a profit. And it will probably help.
Yes, building your own business is a big step towards you living a better, more fulfilled life. But to get there in the You Economy, you must begin with making the lives of others better. Unleash their human potential – they’ll help you unleash yours.
What’s your anthropreneur angle?
The Art of Earning LIVE is now available as a VIRTUAL experience! Join us from the comfort of your own office & yoga pants via LiveStream. Build a road map to the business of your dreams. Learn more.
Invest in experiences you’ll remember with fondness. Avoid spending money on things that are easily forgotten.
Spend, invest, & give generously so that you can receive generously.
Do business with companies with which you have an aligned purpose.
Choose to have a relationship with the individuals & companies that make your life work.
Share the Truth of your experience with the things you invest in and ask that others do the same. Don’t buy hype.
Seek solutions. Don’t chase quick fixes.
Use commerce as an opportunity for alignment.
Be motivated by service. Allow yourself to be served.
Add your own principles in the response section below.
What does business look like in the You Economy?
It looks like that. After working with passion-driven entrepreneurs for the last 3 years, I’ve created this cycle to explain what it takes to create a thriving business that allows you to earn with ease while inspiring you to do greater & greater work.
You can download a .pdf copy by clicking here. (right click then “save as,” if necessary)
This is what I’m teaching next month at The Art of Earning LIVE.
But I wanted to give you the rundown here. Now. Because this stuff is important.
Why | Mission | Purpose
People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.
— Simon Sinek, Start With Why
You’ve been hearing this from me for the last year. But I refuse to stop preaching it.
From a different perspective and discussing the craft of writing, Anne Lamott says, “The core, ethical concepts in which you most passionately believe are the language in which you are writing.”
Those core, ethical concepts are also the language in which you are doing business. When you communicate – whether through visual design, social media, product packaging, customer service, etc… – with your customers, you are doing so in the language of your fundamental beliefs about your world, your community, and yourself.
Without a crystal clear understanding of your core beliefs, working on any other part of your business is going to be unsatisfactory at best.
Because your core beliefs are yours, your personality – the person of YOU – becomes key to how others will understand your business. I believe this is true of all businesses in the You Economy. Not just solo entrepreneurs or microbusinesses.
A larger organization may look towards a strong, internal company culture instead of an individual personality but the result is the same: the work has a clear sense of humanity.
Decisions are made based on the human element & human origin of commerce. The customers that come into contact with that brand remember the humanity first & foremost.
Commerce is changing rapidly. In a world of instant feedback & minimum viable products, you need a place to experiment.
You have the tools at your disposal to set up your own laboratory in the form of an online community. This could be as simple as engaged Twitter stream or as complicated as a niche social network.
The future of your business relies on you creating a space where people can not only talk to you but talk to each other.
Manifestation – Product or Service
Last, yes, last, is deciding what it is that you sell. It’s not just the particular item on the shelf or the offer of service. It’s the experience you’re creating for your customer. It’s the connection they feel to you, to others, or even to the product. It’s the deeper meaning that seeps out of your offer.
Manifestation means simply “an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something.” Your mission, your personality, your community: your product or service must embody those things.
Until you understand the first three steps of this plan, it’s impossible to create a product or service that truly claims your premium value. And, baby, you’ve got premium value – manifest it.
The beautiful part of this “road map” is that it’s a round trip. You don’t start at one point & end up at the destination. It’s a continual cycle of evolution & innovation. It’s recalibration & experimentation. It’s dynamic.
This is what we’re working on at The Art of Earning LIVE. Why tell you in such detail? It’s not so much about the “what.” It’s about the experience of discovering how it works for you, with expert guidance, and a supportive network. It’s about seeing your genius reflected back to you and witnessing your value for what it is.
You are ready to reconnect with your business. You are ready to realize artful earning & effortless marketing. You are ready to do your work with heartfelt inspiration. This is the road map. This is your experience.
Care to share?
Business in the #youeconomy is a round trip. Download your FREE road map via @taragentile! http://bit.ly/bizroadmap
Click to tweet it!
Media is the great engine of the You-Centered Economy.
Why? We are all producers, writers, broadcasters, and personalities. Access to all forms of media has never been so open. You are at the center of media creation & media consumption.
Media is also a source of connection (to each other, to our communities, to the world) and a source of experience (trust me — watching True Blood is an experience). Meaning? Well, we’ll get to that.
Media is a unique entity in which we actually understand how we are both – constantly – creator & consumer. In the You-Centered Economy, this is true for all forms of commerce but it is less obvious. Media is a give & take of production, attention, and manipulation.
Chris Brogan has been considering what it means to be a “media channel” in 2012:
The ‘gee whiz’ has worn off, and now, if you’re looking to build professional value from this whole jumble of the social web, it’s important to start thinking like a TV station and a magazine and start building out content that takes advantage of that.
Right. So it used to be quite the marvel that you could create your own TV station all from your MacBook Pro. It’s not anymore. Now it’s your job. Your responsibility. Your livelihood.
Or maybe just a super fun pass time.
Either way, as Brogan said – the ‘gee whiz’ is gone.
In social media & online entrepreneurship, the ‘gee whiz’ has turned into formulas and proven techniques. It’s boring. It’s noise. I don’t want to read it.
What should be playing on your particular station? I write about what is currently inspiring me, nagging at me, or pissing me off. I’d like to read more of that from you. I want your analysis. I crave your insight.
For me, what adds “professional value” to this content is understanding my purpose & vision. It means I can take a story or inspiration and turn it into meaningful content at the drop of a hat. You get relevant posts that feel professional but immediate.
Use your own media channel to present professional passion. Click to tweet it!
Then you won’t be saying “Me! Me! Look at me!” to get my attention. Your content is already part of my attention because it’s what you’re paying attention to. I trust you.
Creating professional content doesn’t mean following a formula but it does mean understanding your purpose & vision.
Click to tweet that!
Creating professional content allows you to connect with your audience in a personal way. They see into your psyche. They get how you think. They know how to relate to you. You’re not an Every(wo)man but you are in touch & in tune.
Creating professional content enables you to create an experience for your audience. Whether it’s an experience of that very moment right on the page or an experience that is formed over time outside your media channel, your work has the capacity to affect your reader & the way they experience the world. Affect them.
Creating professional content empowers you to imbue meaning into every aspect of your business. Just as traditional media has provided channels for better understanding the way conventional news, trends, and entertainment create meaning in our lives, “new media” powers the meaning that drives our consumption. You suggest that a product, service, or application has a certain meaning and suddenly, it does.
Media, more than ever before, is helping us consume better.
True, you can listen to the hype. You can watch the ads. You can endure product placement after product placement. Or you can stop. And listen. Pay attention. Share what matters.
Media is now giving consumers more choice than they ever had before. We have the choice to put up with paid promotion. Or we can pay attention to media that educates us, entertains us, and connects us.
Media that educates, entertains, and connects is still media that we’re consuming. The media, in turn, is teaching us what to consume outside of the experience of the media. It is begging us to make lifestyle changes, associate with a community, and better understand our own role on the planet.
And, again I agree with Brogan, we have a greater responsibility to the media we consume:
1. Don’t just consume, absorb. Take it allllll in.
2. Share. And don’t just push the stumble, the retweet, etc, but give some value to the share by giving your points, adding your two cents, blogging a piece around it, etc. If you had time to read it, take the time to share it well.
If what we’re consuming – media or otherwise – contributes to a great relationship with the world we want to live in, it’s our responsibility to share that consumption with others. The more people we can bring into our communities of affinity, the better for us.
Share. And comment. Tell me why. Bring me into the fold. Connect me.
As you share, you are bumping up against those touchpoints: connection, experience, meaning. I need you to share with me. Connection, experience, meaning: that’s what we’re all looking for in this New Economy.
The context of our media consumption – and our general consumption – suddenly has a greater meaning. It’s part of our identity. It’s part of our network. It’s part of our movement.
Media: the great engine of the You-Center Economy.
We are in & of the media. We are creators. We are consumers.
The media drives our connection and our experience. It influences the meaning of what we pay attention to.
Don’t fear the media. Embrace it. But do so with purpose & vision. Do so in service. Do so with passion.