The Artist Paradigm Letter

Connecting The Dots

When I stopped freelancing and started my own company I was determined to succeed.  I devoured every book, course, video, and blog post I could get my hands on.  I learned tons but my results were sketchy.  Not to mention most of the new marketing techniques I was using felt like a wool suit that was two sizes too small.  

Eventually I developed my own sales and marketing style.  It was different than just about everything I came across but it worked and (most importantly) felt right.  I knew I was on to something but I didn’t know why.

That is until I heard Megan Macedo talk about the Business Paradigm (BP) and the Artist Paradigm (AP).  Megan’s paradigm busting philosophy set my mind on fire.  She helped me connect the dots as to why some content was amazing for me and why some was about as useful as my old Sony Walkman.

Paradigms, Shifts, and What To Do When They Break

First, what the hell is a paradigm?  In Joel Arthur Barker’s book Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future, he said a paradigm is a set of rules and regulations that do two things:  It establishes and defines boundaries; and it tells you how to behave  inside the boundaries in order to be successful.

“A paradigm, in a sense, tells you that there is a game, what the game is, and how to play it successfully.”  So, when you ‘shift’ or break a paradigm, you have a new  game and new rules. 

This means if you’re trying to get your coaching business going, or if you sell courses, or want to take your biz to the next level, you need to know which rules to play by.  

My goal in writing this is to give you the tools to:

  • Enjoy marketing.
  • Play a bigger game!
  • Earn more money.
  • Turn your clients and prospects into fanatics.

The Business Paradigm

When most people start a business they instinctively use the Artist Paradigm.  The problem is gurus, most schools, and just about all companies follow the rules of the Business Paradigm. 

Macedo said the rules of the traditional Business Paradigm say:

  1. The thing that counts is the work you get paid for.
  2. Your number one job is to serve the market and build the business.
  3. The guiding question is, “What will generate a profit?”

Maybe you’ve heard some of Business Paradigms greatest hits?  BP people love to talk about:  

  • Scaling.
  • How rich you’ll get.
  • Metrics.
  • SEO

Often while using over-blown used car-salesman like hype!   I don’t mean to rag on the Business Paradigm but…  Well, maybe a little.  

Scaling and those things DO have their place.  And honestly Business Paradigm tactics are the safest way to build your business.  That’s why there’s so many experts selling you their products.  

For Linkedin marketing you need this… 

For Facebook marketing you need that…

For Facebook Messenger marketing you need this…  

Products like these are OK but this type of approach is ALL REACTIONARY.  Internet gurus will have you buying their apps, books, and courses FOR-EV-ER!  It’s like Groundhog Day but the money in your checking account keeps getting smaller.

The Business Paradigm is based on setting up a system so you can get away from the work (hire a manger, contractors, employees, etc.) and build the next thing.  Or go hang out on an island with Tim Ferriss.  The Artist Paradigm is the exact opposite.  It’s about getting deeper into the work.

The Artist Paradigm

In the Artist Paradigm, Macedo’s rules are:

  1. The thing that counts is your real work, your art, the work you care deeply about that only you can do.  Questions about which parts of that work you can get paid for are important but they come later.
  2. Your number one job is to serve the work and build a body of work you can be proud of.
  3. The guiding question is not “What will generate a profit?”  The guiding questions is, “What’s worth doing even if it fails?”

How many coaches do you know that coach just to make a buck? I’m sure they’re out there but I haven’t met any.  The coaches I know do it because they know something that can help people and they want to share what they know.  

This is true about most artists and skilled producers like photographers, consultants, make-up artists, marketers, trainers, web developers, etc.  Most photographers I know didn’t turn pro because the world needs more photographers, they did it because they love photography. 

For years I wasted time focusing on Business Paradigm stuff and NOT building a body of work to be proud of.   For a while I was consumed with…

What will make the biggest profit? 

What does my market really want? 

What’s my exit strategy?  

I’d built it, little or nothing would happen, and then I’d start over.  I felt like a dog chasing it’s tail—with NONE of the satisfaction.  Creating a product and building my business around it didn’t work for me.  Instead I focused on my message, passion, inspiration, and desires FIRST, and then went after my audience.  

Some of us are naturally suited more towards one paradigm than the other.  For example I think Las Vegas real estate developer Steve Wynn is an excellent leader.  He’s creative and he’s got epic vision and good taste.  He’s also a Business Paradigm guy.  What he does is wonderful but I’m not built like him.

My DNA is 100% Artist Paradigm!  The AP is more fundamental and it’s more aligned with creativity and the laws of nature.  AP leaders that I model are people like Stan Lee, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, and Hugh Hefner.  They had a vision for a change they wanted to make, then they spent much of their lives making it happen. 

The Artist Paradigm guide to getting your shit together

1.  Your work is 100% selfish. You do it for YOU and your own curiosity and desires. I draw everything from superheroes to bikini models and I read marketing stuff everyday.  I do it because I love doing it.  Not because the market needs more of it.

2.  Your marketing starts with you and your story.  How did you get here?  It doesn’t have to be a big and awe-inspiring rags to riches tale either.  Copywriter John Carlton said this could be as simple as three sentences.  

You just need:  The set up, the action, and the resolution—and you can expand on them later.  This is important because anyone can copy your site or your product or service but they can’tduplicate your story. 

3.  Be bold and clear about what you do and the problem(s) you solve.   Are you a Weight-loss Coach or do you help women over 40 lose 20 pounds or more?  Simplify it and make it so clear an 8 year old would know what you do.

4.  Stand for something.  The marketplace is overcrowded and very noisy.  Communicating what you stand for sets you apart from all the clones  and wanna-bees out there who are trying to be everything to everybody.     

For example look at The Oprah Winfrey Show.  Oprah’s goal was to bring light into her viewer’s lives.  She knew that would never happen while she was doing shows on the KKK and husbands who cheated on their wives…  So she changed!  And whether it was her talk show, book club, or cable network her goal remained the same.  

Standing for something matters because it connects you to your audience on a deeper level.  It will attract like minded people who will love your message and want to rally behind it.  And then when you connect it to your service or offer, it takes the hard selling out of the equation.

Simon Sinek Was Right

Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action is must-see TV—his presentation has over 57 million views!  In his talk he explains why some leaders and companies inspire and form bonds with customers and why some don’t.

At the heart of Sinek’s message is this:  People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  Your WHY is bigger than WHAT you are selling.

“The reality is, strengths can be copied. It’s true for your company, and also for you. Products can be replicated. Benefits can be improved upon, secret formulas uncovered, winning systems beaten. People can outdo your strengths. But nobody can outdo who you are. Your personality is the only aspect of your work that nobody can copy. People can copy your product, your pricing, your actions, your recipe or program or formula. But they can never replicate who you are. Who you are is the greatest differentiator you’ve ever had.”  

― Sally Hogshead

It’s easy to look at industry juggernauts and think they had it easier than we do today.  Oprah didn’t set out to own a network or have a book club in the beginning.  She only had her WHY and she was using Artist Paradigm thinking… 

“What do I care deeply about and what’s worth doing even if it fails?”   

She wanted to inspire people so that decision led her from being a news anchor to hosting AM Chicago.  Which led her to the Oprah Winfrey Show, which led her to starring in the movie the Color Purple, which led to… 

One brick on top of another, on top of another, on top of another…

What work do you care deeply about?  If you could choose a movement or right a wrong, how do your skills, beliefs, desires, and your personality make you unique to do it?   

And once you start on this path something strange happens…  Marketing gets easy!  You send e-mails and people talk back to you and buy stuff.  You stop getting ghosted for strategy sessions and appointments.  People come to you!

I would love to tell you that the Artist Paradigm approach is the express elevator to wealth or success.  It’s not.  Honestly, it may take a little longer!  But the difference is, your success is nearly guaranteed.  

IF, you don’t quit.

― Adam

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