Why pandering to your audience never works. And playing safe is the riskier option.

When I left corporate life I didn’t really know anyone outside of the companies I had worked in. I didn’t have ‘a network’ of much substance. So, I went on ‘the circuit’ and set about building one.

I didn’t know what I wanted to offer either. I had done many different things in my career and had worn many different hats, and had been pretty competent at most things I had turned my hand to. I felt I could do pretty much anything.

So I did what seemed like the safest option. I had a network of people that knew me, liked me and trusted me. I decided to put something together that would appeal to my network. It couldn’t be hard, could it? I mean, I know all about defining requirements, creating products and services, marketing them effectively. It should have been a doddle.

I have had several ideas about what they want and what they need. I have started a few initiatives but none of them have sustained, none have got traction. It’s just seemed like really hard work. And the reason it’s not working, I have realised, is because I am doing it the wrong way around. I may care about them but I don’t really care about their issues. Don’t get me wrong, I want to help them but their stuff just isn’t my stuff. I am not passionate about what I am doing for them, and they can tell.

So, now I am starting with what I care about. What really gets my juices flowing, what I feel I really know about. And then I am going to find the market for it. And because I care about it, I know I will find the people I need.

It seems the much riskier option. But it feels a much better bet. I can’t wait to get started.

(I knew this, of course, from Seth Godin and Simon Sinek and others. But now I KNOW it.)

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