My first milestone
NXT ANIMAL is 6 months old now. During this short period of time, we have built a passionate community of founders and professional artists from all around the world.
Did I say you are awesome, my friend?!
Here are 3 things that I have learned so far while building this media company:
1. Agency model vs. Internet business
I started building this company as a video agency more than one year ago. This was the biz model:
Running a video agency ⇒ Bringing in cash by providing service to the clients ⇒ Using the money to make digital products and getting rid of the service part over time.
It was the wrong model. You have to chase more clients and deal with them because you have a team and overhead. As a result, we never found the time to work on our products.
It was a traditional and broken model that I was mixing with some new models.
Then the second lockdown happened in Los Angeles. This forced me to let the team go and change my model:
A one-person business instead of an agency ⇒ Working for very selected clients who appreciate the quality ⇒ With cash and more free time, I can build an audience online ⇒ Producing products and digital assets for them ⇒ Transition slowly to a digital publication / digital media.
I feel much happier now! Here are things that changed:
One-man biz vs. an agency model
Gradual transition vs. chasing different models
Audience > product
If you want to dig deeper, I wrote about the benefits and concept of “the business of one” here, and about “the audience first model” in this article.
2. People need time to trust
For the most part of these 6 months, I was the only one who was writing, making graphics, editing, etc. I was mostly working in isolation. I received some cool feedback and communication through the readers of this newsletter, but not much from social media.
But as we were getting closer to the first milestone (becoming 6 months old), our audience automatically started talking to us. It felt as if someone turned on an invisible switch.
Now I get messages from around the globe every day. People want to say thank you or they want to ask questions.
This is one of those lessons that you can’t find in any book or school. You have to do it to learn it. If I want to translate it to myself, I would say: Put your head down, do something consistently for 6 months in public, and people eventually will trust you and will want to be part of your brand.
3. Do things that don’t scale
This is a concept from Paul Graham, the founder of YC. He believes that at the beginning of any startup, you need to do things that no one assumes would work or be efficient. For example, he encourages founders to manually recruit their first users. He believes you need to create an "insanely great" experience for early users and cater to their every need.
Here is my version of doing things that don’t scale:
I started going through my recent comments and messages and selecting those audiences who want to begin a new business or projects and who are struggling with how to start.
Next, I offered a free coaching call in order to help and brainstorm with that audience. And that’s how in the last week I had Zoom meetings from Indonesia, Latvia, Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles, Georgia, and San Francisco.
These amazing artists share some very common problems:
Consistency in content creation
How to start creating a product
Clarity in audience building
Finding a niche market
Help others to help yourself: What I got from those sessions has been priceless! I came to have a deeper understanding of my audience and their problems, and why they are following NXT ANIMAL.
Also, the content that I created after those sessions on Instagram turned out to be some of my most engaging content because it helped solve real problems.
If I want to kind of formulate this for myself, I would say:
Don’t assume you know what your audience needs. Connect with them. Ask questions. Try to figure out what their pains are, and try to create content and solutions for what they need the most.
That’s all for now!
God bless your creative brains,
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