We can either try to please everyone, which includes a major percentage of critics, or we can choose to only appeal to the tribe that is already seeking us.
If you are doing unconventional work that is out of the ordinary, 98% of people will either never get it or simply say “Mhm…, interesting”.
Now, you can either try to please these people, or you can appeal to the 2% of people who not only get it, but are your raving fans, even if they don’t know you yet.
Aligning World Views
From day one, I decided that my business will stand out and that I will do work that matters. Therefore, I knew that trying to please the masses would never work for me.
A few weeks ago, my friend Kai Christen posted a wonderful quote on Facebook that deeply resonated and expresses really well what I’m trying to communicate here.
“Make your weird light shine bright, so that other weirdos know where to find you.”
In order to find the people who deeply resonate with us, we need to black out the 98% who don’t get it and only focus on the 2% who do.
Showing Up as Who You Are
How do you reach those 2%?
It’s actually very simple and at the same time, it’s extremely hard. The way we reach our 2% is by showing up as who we are.
This requires that we don’t hide behind others and that we don’t hide behind our shadows. It requires us to show up as fully self-expressed, no matter what others may think of us. It requires us to be brave and take the courage to express ourselves and act in alignment with our beliefs.
This is the hardest part because so many of us have forgotten who we are. We have been brainwashed to fit into the system, to give up responsibility and let others take the lead.
However, the only way to reach the tribe that is craving to work with you is through bold self-expression and by taking action that is aligned with your values.
That’s what true leadership is all about.
What Happens When You Are Uniquely You
In November 2015, I launched LinkedREvolution, an online program that teaches business owners how to do business on LinkedIn by building authentic relationships.
I worked extremely hard on the branding in order to make it attractive. First, I tried to make it attractive to everyone and went back and forth without ever being satisfied. I came up with titles and headlines that sounded great in the moment but when I looked at them a week later, I thought to myself “Did I really come up with that?”.
It just wasn’t me.
My coach and I worked tirelessly on making the program more aligned with who I am and eventually, we came up with this whole piece of doing business on LinkedIn in a more authentic way. Even though it did not sound very tangible, it deeply resonated with me.
I launched the program under the brand of doing business on LinkedIn in a more authentic way and it did exactly what I expected, it split the people who saw the launch video into two categories, critics and raving fans.
The critics saw it and said something like “Mhm, interesting, there are a lot of those LinkedIn programs out there” or “I don’t get it, how is this different from other programs?”.
The raving fans said, “Wow, this is exactly what I have been looking for” and even those who did not sign up sent it to their friends and colleagues.
About two weeks into delivering the program, I had a call with my coach and said, “This group of people is different from anything I have ever experienced”. When he asked me why, I responded, “Because I would do all of this even if they did not pay me”.
How to Deal with Critics and Find Your 2%
If you want to avoid dealing with critics and only work with the tribe who wants to work with you, not only because of what you do but because of who you are, keep reading.
First, you need to know who your 2% are. I often call them your tribe because they are the ones who want to follow you without having to be persuaded. In order to know who they are, you need to figure out who your ideal client avatar is. Read this article on how exactly to do this.
Once you know who the people in your tribe are, it comes down to figuring out where they are and how best to reach them.
For example, my tribe consists of former executives who turned into entrepreneurs (I call them Execupreneurs) and are now doing work that makes a difference. They are entrepreneurs in the learning and “knowledge” industry. They are on LinkedIn, hang out at TED events, personal development conventions and read blogs about growing a business to make a difference.
The way I reach them in the most effective way is through publishing post on my blog (like this one), articles on LinkedIn and through partnerships.
The Most Effective Way to Reach Your Tribe
Over the years, I have tried countless different ways to reach my tribe. However, in everything I have tried, there is one way that stood out, partnerships.
In fall 2015, I conducted a series of interviews with some very successful entrepreneurs and what stood out to me is that their success eventually comes down to the partnerships they have built.
I would argue that there is no faster, more impactful and more fulfilling way to grow a business than through partnerships. Why re-invent the wheel if other people have already built an audience with your tribe? It’s so much more fulfilling to work together than to compete with each other.
There are many different forms of partnerships you can build.
Maybe you want to get more referrals. Maybe you launch a new product and need joint venture partners. Maybe you want to get more speaking gigs and need connections with people who can get you on stages. Or maybe you want to enter a completely new market with a product or services and need partners in a new country or industry.
No matter which kind of partnership you want to build, they all require you to identify, connect and engage with people who have a certain influence.
That’s why I created some resources that will help you get in touch with influencers and decision makers to form partnerships.
They will help you get in touch with influential people you want to develop partnerships with.