Every content creator is trying to build an audience. How can they build one as engaged as Tim Ferriss’ audience?
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Transcription – Build an Audience Like Tim Ferriss
Welcome to the intake, create podcast, a podcast where I’m trying to help content creators think differently about content creation, stay healthy in the way they do it and reach new levels of success. Whatever that may mean for you
last week was the first episode. Really just challenged myself to hit record, hit published the same thing. Every time 10 creator needs to constantly be challenging themselves to do until it becomes second nature to be recording or performing or speaking or reciting or writing or creating, drawing, editing all of this stuff.
It eventually becomes second nature. But first thing you got to do hit record, hit publish. That was last week. And now we’re out of the starting gate off to the rain. And this week, I want to do something a little bit different than that this week. I want to take a look almost like a case study at the way that Tim Ferris build an audience off of the four hour work week and how he really planned and forced him.
Onto the New York times bestseller list without just buying a ton of copies of his own book, like some other people do. In other words, what this episode is about is that dirty word, that content creators don’t really like to hear… Networking
when we hear things like networking, our Anxiety and introvertedness just shines and we want to crumple ourselves into a little ball of paper and just be in the bin behind our sketchbooks. But unfortunately, and fortunately, okay, well there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news networking is pretty much essential for any career, especially a creative career, especially in online career.
The good news is that you’re probably thinking about networking. And I want to explain this through how Tim Ferriss did it with the four hour workweek. The four hour work week was his book. He published in 2007, I believe. And he had never written a book before he had never really published anything before his main claim to success.
At that point was the company he had founded automated, and then eventually. Uh, bring Quicken. It was a supplement company for brain power and alertness and all that stuff. Almost like a protein powder. More for your brain than it is for getting them gains the brain instead of the gains. But that was a success.
And he did a great job at that. He had a lot of skills that he built over the time of running brain Quicken, where he was learning how to. Automate things and basically get the business running without him being hands-on for more than four hours a week and it’s the name. But then he wanted to take that value, that expertise of automation and outsourcing and entrepreneurship, and he wanted to put it into a book and obviously writing a book.
Your big goal is getting to the New York times bestseller list. And whether that’s a good goal to have or not that’s that can read the bit. But that’s where he wanted to go. And he planned and executed a perfect set of steps to get there. So first he wrote a book proposal, which is what you do with nonfiction books.
Normally you have a really solid concept, and then you write a book proposal before you write the book, you shop that around to different publishers and see who wants to. Pick it up who wants to be the ones pushing that book out. And he got the four hour work week. One of the most successful entrepreneurial books of all time, that book was turned down by 26 publishers.
Absolutely ridiculous. 26 publishers turned him down and told him it was a ridiculous idea that would never go anywhere. And it would be.
They later found out they were pretty wrong about that. When he finally got it onto one publisher who stuck their neck out and gave him their faith, he knew that they weren’t going to really put the entire engine behind this book. It still had a small chance of being successful. There wasn’t a ton of faith in it, and he didn’t have a baked in audience from any other success.
None of his brain Quicken customers were chomping at the bit to read his book. He didn’t have them on his email list. They were still on a brain Quicken email list. So the issue then how do you start at zero and get to the New York times bestseller list in a single. Well, the key was that dirty word. We were trying to avoid networking.
And the way we understand that working a lot of the times, especially early stage creators is just. Getting in front of people and selling your pitch or your one sentence tagline for what your product is, what your website is, what your book is, what your video is or what your YouTube channel is, what your podcast is.
Just get in front of as many people as you can every single day and sell your product. That is not a good way to network. That’s more spam than it is not. What networking actually means is building a network. Connections and friends and mentors, experts, and customers. And just like in a computer system, if you you’re networking all this, your wifi router to your laptop, to your Plex server, to the net, Flix servers, that’s all your network that you’re putting together in networking in social networking or career networking.
All these connections that you make serve different functions and they fulfill different needs. The most important one, just being social, being around like-minded people, other creators, and other people who have already done what you’re trying to do or want to do what you have already done. There’s two sides to that coin and both are so very important.
And now what Tim Ferris did. Here’s let’s look at what Tim Ferris did to actually sell his book. He knew that his big ticket would be in-person events, just getting in front of people. Like we said before, but most importantly, he was not aggressive in pitching. Honestly, he didn’t pitch his book. Didn’t go there to pitch his book.
He went there to learn. He went to south by Southwest. This attended by a ton of successful people, a ton of creative people and a ton of consumers of creative work. And Kim Ferris went in and he just soaked in as much information as he could and hovered around conversation circles, join conversations where nobody knew.
But he wasn’t pitching his book. He was just joining conversations, and was listening and he was asking pertinent questions. Tim was taking notes. He was shaking hands. And after long enough of being around these conversations and asking a question. Someone was bound to ask him, who are you again? And that’s where, oh, well, I’m Tim Ferris.
I’m working on a book. And really I’m just here to learn as much as I can about blogging or some other. He would fit that to what they were talking about. And so that would lead into a little bit more, if that person was generous enough to ask them, well, what’s your book about, he’d give a very succinct pitch and then follow the very succinct pitch that they were already interested in and asked for.
That’s important. He’d follow that up with an action statement. So he would tell that person, well, I can send you an advanced copy of that. With a sticky note put in at this part where I think you would really benefit from, or you could add a lot of value or I think it would resonate with you the most.
He was hand-picking the section of his book. He would recommend to the person without expecting them to read the entire book. That’s a big undertaking is to read an entire book, especially reading an entire Tim Ferriss’ book because they’re long, not because they’re hard to read or anything. They’re long books and of course that’s, that’s a personalized offer.
That’s not a general I realized offer or in today’s language. It’s a copy and paste. It’s not going to work. You’re personalizing the offer to the subject you’re just meeting. So for example, if I wanted to pitch this podcast to a creator that I just met or a successful creative person, one chances are I probably wouldn’t to, if they ask me what the podcast is that I’m working.
I would give them a very quick pitch of it’s a podcast about content creation and thinking about it differently or using content creation to live a better life. Something along those lines. I’m still nailing down my pitch, obviously, but I wouldn’t just leave that out there and expect them to search it up and find an episode they might find.
Last episode, which is my first episode, and it might not resonate to them personally, or I could have an episode where if I’m meeting a children’s book author, and I ended up doing a episode about children’s books, I would recommend them that episode, maybe even a timestamp of just I’d really like to hear your thoughts, or I think you’d find a lot of value in this.
You personalize that offer to what would be more interesting to the person. Now I’ll repeat it. This is after they have already asked and shown interest. If they’re not showing interest, it does not matter how personalized you make it. It’s spam. It’s a waste of time. They’re not going to check it out.
They’re not going to find the value. You’re just another salesperson at that point. And we all know what the telemarketer sales calls and sales pitches. We don’t want to hear them. We hang up on them. We’ve listened politely sometimes, and then ignore it immediately afterwards. And then the second step to that process is actually doing the work.
So when the advanced copies of his book came around, he followed up and he sent copies with the sticky notes and a personalized message to those people. Usually sent them an email as well saying it’s on there. And opening that conversation if you did it right. And they really, really dig that personalized section you recommended to them, they might read a little bit more, or they might listen to a few more episodes of your show, or they might watch a couple more of your YouTube videos or scroll further on your Instagram feed, whatever, whatever you’re trying to.
Pitch. If you personalize it properly and it hits the mark, you’ve got them. That’s your hook for lack of a better word, that one. And that’s good. So big lesson to learn from Tim Ferris, there is just leaving your pitch behind. Be interested in the other people. So ask questions about the work that they do, personalize your offer to the work and interests that they have in what they do.
But the most important lesson I learned from Tim Ferris is networking is. His next step was one very important question. He would ask contacts after he established a pretty good conversation with them. So after chatting with someone for about half an hour or so, maybe even longer than that, having a drink with them, who knows once there’s a good connection there and the person understands what Tim was there to do.
He would ask them, well, who else here do you think would be important for me to meet? Or who else do you think would be valuable bull to meet? Who else do you think? I would have a great conversation with or learn a lot from who here? Should I. And often the person would recommend someone and walked him right to that person and almost introduced them.
And just by having another person there, like a mutual friend or. Someone that the other party already knows involved that’s social proof that just makes the invitation even warmer to them. So this new person meeting Tim. Is so much more likely to actually be engaged in the conversation because there’s now a mutual third party.
That’s connecting the two. This is so extremely powerful. You may think it’s only growing your network one by one, which is fine. You don’t need to go at super speeds, but growing one by one is how you get personalized and inland. Contacts in your network. And I’ve actually started doing this myself. So on Twitter where I’m the most active intake underscore Anthony, I am really, really active in my DMS IDM, almost every single follower, IDM big accounts that I really appreciate and find a lot of value in.
And I let them know that I open conversations, IDM, smaller accounts that are putting out a lot of value. That I can’t wait to see, get bigger. I’m putting, sending DMS to people who really support the stuff that I’m doing. I have a super low follower count right now, but I have some strong supporters. And so I open these conversations and just having conversations one-on-one with people is so much more powerful than anything else or copy pasting my pitch to them.
I am asking them what they do and what they’re interested in and getting to know the people who are following me. And there’s a few people who I asked, well, who else on Twitter, or what other creators should I reach out and connect with? And this question has proven to be so valuable. I asked a good friend of mine yesterday, who else I should meet?
And she provided. Four or five accounts that I would jive with or other creators, other writers, other podcasters, and each one were just so incredibly in line with this work that I’m doing. And I didn’t know them already and I’ve reached out. I’ve connected with most of them. And now I have this strong almost group now.
Where once the first friend posts something and I interact this new friend will probably interact with, with me. And I’m just learning from these very successful, very powerful writers and creators who are now just network is getting closed at both sides a little bit, and things can. Kind of hyper looping.
If that makes sense, there’s a lot more active nodes in the network then. And so really, if you want to apply the Tim Ferriss method to your creative work, I broke it down in a pretty, pretty solid framework in my blog post about this. So the, how Tim Ferriss built an audience as a, what is it? Seven step formula.
So if you study how Tim Ferriss built his audience, These are the insights. I think you should take away to build your own. So very first is hone your creative expertise. No matter what stage you’re at, keep getting better at it. Tim Ferris was done of his book. The book was ready to be published and it had a.
He was done writing it, but he went to south by Southwest to learn more about blogging and writing and book publishing and book promoting. He went there to learn more, even though other writers probably would have finished the manuscript of the book and wipe their shoulders, wiped their hands clean and just called it a day and hopes that the public.
David A. Good push, but he was honing his creative expertise at all times. So step one, hone your creative expertise to distill it into a shareable format. So one of the really big expertise that he was honing was that automation, entrepreneurship, doing things differently in a fish gently, and he distilled.
Years of experience into a shareable format of his book. He distilled his expertise within the book into an even more shareable format of blog posts and furthering his learning in blog posts as well. He did YouTube video sharing things, and those are extremely shareable. We all know that. And step three, find who your work is valuable to and learn more about.
Don’t sell to them. Learn more about them. The more you learn about who you’re trying to help, the better you can help them. And the more natural of a fit your work is for them. They’ll come to you once you up your value, more and more to fit their needs, especially step four, share specific insights as well.
So once you do make a connection with someone share a specific insight from your work that would benefit them, share the most potent piece of information that you have for them, with them. Step five, find one connection of a connection. If it’s a strong enough connection, they can recommend you someone else to meet you.
Who is right in line with what you’re doing, what your message is and what you’re trying to accomplish. And you can make better friends, bounce around clearer ideas, brainstorm better, and just be happier. It’s having these creative friends who are doing the same type of work that you want to do is unmatched in how invigorating it is.
I know. Alex Lieberman. Uh, one of the founders of morning brew. He had a tweet recently about how just talking to other entrepreneurs, gives him so much energy for me, that’s talking to other creators, having a conversation with a other like Twitter, uh, profile who’s doing really well or who is being really intentional with their time.
Those are such exciting conversations to me. So step six, after that remain curious, Tim Ferris built his brand on his expertise, but then kept his audience along with him just by being curious, we follow Tim Ferriss now to learn with them to guest Segun vites on his podcast. Are teaching him. Tim has a personal interest in learning from his guests and we get to follow along in his learning journey.
And here are the questions he asks and all of that. It’s so powerful. So just stay curious and you almost have a gravity to your persona and seven. I haven’t talked about this one yet. Maintain direct communication and ignore algorithms. So Tim Ferris, I know he was a little bit before this whole algorithm conversation really blew up.
His book came out in 2007. It wasn’t really prime for being a big YouTube channel or being a popular Facebook page or anything like that. What he did was he built an email list and then. A website of his own, where his readers could come and read from him and an email list where he could communicate directly with his readers instead of trying to grow on Twitter or YouTube or Instagram, and hoping that the algorithm favors him or trying to game the algorithm, he didn’t waste any time in that he built direct communication.
And that is one of the biggest tips I think. Build direct communication with your audience and you will always be on top of what they need and how you can add value to their life. And what I recommend to do, I’m going to close with this. What I recommend to do with this seven 17. Is apply it to your creative pillars.
And so for him, his creative pillars, there’s three things that kind of hold up his creative work, it’s curiosity, direct communication and social. So take those seven steps and just really just promote your curiosity, keep direct communication with the people that you. Combined into your network and lean on social proof and word of mouth to be the most effective growth strategy.
You don’t see Tim putting a promoted tweet out, which is just a link to his profile and the follow button. He is relying on word of mouth. Someone on Twitter saying I found so much value in this episode and their followers see that and they want to dig in and he grows and grows and he grows. There’s no point in which Tim person’s growth is going to go backwards at with the value that he shares, the curiosity he emanates, the communication level he has with his audience and the social proof he has with his audience.
He will never go backwards, apply that to your creative career. And hopefully it takes things to another level. Fine. Tune it to you. Fine. Tune it to your audience. But it’s such a fascinating case study on audio. So I think that’s all I have this time. This is a longer one. I’m probably going to chop some of this out, but thank you for listening.
I’m very excited to keep going with this and find a groove that works for me. And hopefully it works for you too. So if you want to follow up. You can go to intake, create.com. You can subscribe, leave a review in your podcasting app. This is probably on Spotify. I’m still learning how that works. I’m using anchor record these so Spotify for sure.
Subscribe to this podcast and follow me on Twitter intake on discord, Anthony. As I kind of build intake. In public. Thank you for listening. Go be curious about something.