Of Soup, Circuses & Quirkipreneurs (part 1)
Somewhere in last week’s series on Gossip Drama Soup, I promised to explain how the whole internet marketing scandal relates to Circus Serene & the merry band loosely identified as Quirkipreneurs. Since both concepts are still evolving, I’ll start with how I currently define them:
>>> The Circus Serene (this site, yay!) is largely about process – the process of creating a fun, creative, successful business that reflects our identity and ideals. So a lot of the content here follows thought processes, creative processes, productivity processes, or anything else that develops and evolves. (I just figured this out yesterday, so there’ll need to be a bit of tweaking done)
>>> Quirkipreneurs (still more an idea than a thing) is about business identity & community; an identity & community that supports people like me in our unique, sometimes difficult to define goals. A community that helps us find services geared to our needs, a community that inspires, instructs, troubleshoots, networks, and helps promote.
But this Gossip Drama Soup, everyone-is-a-scammer scandal thing? It’s made me second guess the whole idea of what I’m doing, and brought them up a whole lot of issues worth examining. I’m going to tackle them one by one, over the next few days. This first one I already ranted about, but it’s worth revisiting:
Realistic Business Models & Expectations
“You can’t make money online, and anyone who says otherwise (especially based on their own experience) is a scammer”
That seems to be the core message underneath the recent “exposé” – in fact, the scam-busting site that blew this all recently changed it’s tagline to “You can’t make money online”.
And the attack wasn’t just on get-rich-quick-via-the-internet schemes — the type of internet businesses that Quirkipreneurs frequently seek to build are being dismissed as “pipe dreams and unicorns.” If someone claimed success? They were branded unethical, accused of lying about their own success so that they could resell their pipedreams and fluff to the next generation of starry-eyed dreamers.
And to anyone wanting to build such a business? The message was “Keep your day jobs” not as insurance, but in the classic sense… because that they had no chance of succeeding, and that they were suckers for thinking otherwise.
I spent some serious time
re-evaluating those points.
In the end, I decided the scam busting robot and his merry band of commenter’s were, in fact, full of shit in regards to this message – at least in the broad-strokes that it’s being applied in.
It’s tough to make a living purely as an artist-musician-writer-actor-dancer-designer-visionary-entrepreneur-creative-of-any-type. So to make it work, most creatives either keep a day job (not a bad thing) or create multiple income streams (<—evil internet term!). Traditionally, those income streams have included teaching others, writing books, producing tutorials, and marketing products and services related to their chosen focus.
That’s how creatives have earned livings for – well – pretty much forever, certainly long before the internet. We do what we do, and we give others the tools to do what they do. There’s nothing unethical about it. And unlike the “get rich quick” make money online schemes? We know the odds are against us getting rich. Yes, we sometimes sell inspiration. Yes, we look longingly to examples of success in our fields. Yes, we remind ourselves of what is possible, not probable. And yes, we’re honest about the odds (which is why some times we’re so prone to depression).
- As both individuals and as a creative community, we need a crystal clear focus on exactly what we each are (and are not) qualified to teach, and why. That’s tough, sometimes, since quirky types are usually knowledgeable in many areas, and we make good collators of information. But there’s nothing wrong with selling what we collate, as long as we make it clear we’re not the experts – our sources are.
- If we’re promoting/developing experimental ideas? We need to be clear on that, too. Being groundbreaking isn’t a bad thing, and we don’t have to spin our marketing to make ourselves or our projects seem more than they are.
- We need to stress the business end of being in business, as well as the creative side. And we do, indeed, need tools and approaches for doing business, tools that are suited for hour our brains work – not just formulas and excel spread sheets and advice for our field, but visual, active, engaging methods that we can embrace, rather than avoid.
- We need to be sure that while we’re inspiring clients, readers and customers, we’re also keeping their feet on the ground, with reasonable expectations, and concrete knowledge of the risks. (Staying grounded and level-headed keeps creatives out of our typical roller coasters of inspiration and disillusionment, as a side benefit)
Ok, That’s It, For Now.
Next up, Issue #2: Icky vs Ethical Marketing.
And I’m very likely to start babbling a bit in my own comment section, so be sure to visit the actual blog, subscribe to the comments, and follow along.