Thoughts On Being A Quirkipreneur: It’s Not About You

Aug 22

The Antlered & Quirky.  We Rock.

Having spent the last few days in a summer-cold-coming-on haze, I’ve had plenty of time to think. It’s not been a very productive think, but it’s been a very long one, so there have to be a few gems in there, right? This is my Dayquil enhanced attempt to capture a few of those gems, in their rough and unpolished state.

Being a successful Quirkipreneur is more than just throwing your henna’d hands in the air and celebrating your weirdness while perching it jauntily atop your head like a set of off-balance antlers. (although I have to admit, that IS fun)

Being a Quirkipreneur means approaching your unique oddities and creative strange-ness with intent. It means honing your presentation and message until your weirdness evolves into a highly marketable & palatable brand.

Knowing just how to hone that presentation? It means understanding and accepting not just your own quirks, but the quirks of your Right People (and probably those of your Wrong People, too.)

Because as a Quirkipreneur? It’s not all about *you*.

Really. It’s not about you.

And it’s not about your quirks.

If you’re going to be successful in business (quirky or not) your brand and your offerings have to be about your customer. And as a Quirkipreneur, your success depends as much on your customer’s quirks, as your own.

One risk of this wacky approach of quirkipreneuring? We can get so involved with ourselves, so enamored of our weirdness that we forget almost entirely about our potential customers and clients.

Having customers & clients is kind of important, after all — it’s what sets us apart as business people, and not just eccentric hobbyists.  (though being an eccentric hobbyist is a perfectly awesome thing to be, by the way. I fully intend to be one again someday.)

So to be really successful at this Quirkipreneur thing?

We need to understand not only our own quirks, but the quirks of the people we want to reach.  We need to know what makes them unique and different.  We need to know what makes them uncomfortable about themselves, what they’re self conscious about, what oddness in themselves they are at war with.

No, I don’t mean we should do in depth personality profiles or hire a psychologist to put our customer base through a battery of tests.  I just mean we need a sense of who they are, and how putting our own quirks on display affects them.

Celebrating Quirks - with antlers!

It’s easy to say “Oh, well…. if they’re uncomfortable with my rainbow hair, they aren’t my right people” or “If they don’t like my nudie dragon sketches, they’re clearly not my market”, and that may be true.

It might also be true that with a slight adjustment in how you present things, the most conservative people in your circles may be more intrigued than put off.   Could your ideal client for your nude-dragon artwork turn out to be those same pearl-clutching society women who gasped and tsk-tsk’d at your new tattoo last month?

Stranger things have happened.

How does it work?

The trick is to present your quirks in a way that intrigues, rather than repels.

To packaging your oddness in ways that people can *relate* to, so that they see a reflection of themselves in you, however slight, so that your success shows people that their own hidden weirdness is maybe not as weird as they thought.

You want your Right People to see in you an aspect of who they believe they are, inside, or who they’d like to be.
Mirror, Mirror...
So as a Quirkipreneur, one of your goals is for your brand, in all it’s wacky glory, to serve as a mirror-of-permission for your people, and to demonstrate that it is ok for them to be who *they* are. (Even if being them means clutching their pearls and tsk-tsking as they hit the buy button for your products and services)

What’s the big payoff here?

When your customers see your success (quirks and all) as evidence that they, too, can be successful as themselves, with their quirks intact – they become invested in your success.

Let me repeat that, in fancy letters, as a reinforcement:

It's A Flourish!

When your customers see your success (quirks and all) as evidence that they, too, can be successful as themselves (with their quirks intact), they become invested in your success.

It's Another Flourish!

When that happens, your success matters to your Right People, not because they like you, but because it’s proof of their own potential success. It’s evidence that being a little (or a lot) odd doesn’t doom them to a life of either faking it or living on the streets.

When you strike the right note as a Quirkipreneur, you’ll become a  bellwether for your Right People. They’ll become your fans and evangelists, supporting you as your blaze a path through the wilderness, because they want to follow in your footsteps, because they want to be ok with being who they are, because they want to be successful in life while being who they are.

That’s why it’s not about *you*.

Even when you’re approaching this as a business & marketing strategy, it’s still about your people: your clients, customers, readers, target market, your niche. It’s about your customer’s needs, their desires, their quirks… and it’s about how you reflect a little part of your customers, both in your quirks, and in your steps towards ever greater success.

It's Another Flourish!

So. What do you think?
Writing this was eye-opening to me.
I’ll share what I got out of it later,
but now, I’d really like to hear from you.

Yes, in the comments. Yay, comments!


  1. I seem to be a natural at Christy-repellent. I need to work on the intriguing part.

    • Tori Deaux /

      Really? Really? That’s what you got from this, Sweetie?

      Man, I really missed the mark, huh? 😉

    • Btw, Christy, we use different words for the experience, but I totally understand what you mean in your post referenced at the end of your comment here.

      Best of Fortune to you in your Journey! 🙂 :>

  2. I think you just explained why I love a certain blogger and her rubber duckie so much. And that other person who talks about gongs a lot. Oh, and the Sufi dude and the surfer dude. And, and, and, oh heck, my whole tweetstream is a little odd.

    • Tori Deaux /

      The certain blogger and her rubber duckie were definitely on my mind when writing this, Taryn!
      Also, the gong person & the Sufi dude I know — but who is the surfer dude?

      • Surfer dude = Srini Rao. He’s @skooloflife on Twitter.

      • Tori Deaux /

        Aha… a quirky new discovery. Thanks, Taryn! For anyone left wondering, the blogger with a rubber duck is Havi Brooks (@havi), the gong person is Fabeku Fatunmise (@fabeku) and the Sufi dude is Mark Silver (@MarkHeartofBiz) all wonderful people with heart, soul, and marvelous, shiny, wonderuful quirks worth aspiring towards.

  3. Now I know why people always comment on my infectious laugh (spreads faster than the flu but doesn’t make you nauseous!). I’m giving them permission to have fun while doing finance. Somewhere, somehow there became this unspoken rule if you laughed and joked while crunching numbers it meant you weren’t a REAL businessperson. You weren’t serious and therefore wouldn’t / couldn’t make money.

    While I knew my approach was working, I also knew there were some elements to they why I had not yet fully explored.

    *Clutches pearls while laughing and calculating profits*

    • Tori Deaux /

      Oh, really good point about your laugh, Nicole! It definitely grants permission to others to have fun… ok, its more like your laugh says, “I DARE YOU NOT TO LAUGH — TRIPLE DOG DARE!!!” And I thought of both you and Monette (@ShinyDesigns) when I wrote about pearl-clutching. I figured you both had lovely strings of pearls to go with your kitten heels.

      (for anyone wondering about the kitten heels reference, it’s from an exercise we did in an #Emmit Tweetchat a few weeks ago, soon to be an ebook, webinar, or blog post, depending on my energy levels. I’m still sick. Whine.)

  4. I actually don’t have a string of pearls. But, I am in the market for a butched-up Steampunk leather wrist cuff – seriously!

    I swear you and I are on parallel paths in some alternate reality – the all-new Shiny Designs is about making other people (my people) brilliant – so not about me…

    It’s starting to creep me out a little 🙂

    • Tori Deaux /

      Well, see, there goes my image of you, Monette! (I don’t have genuine cultured pearls, but I’ve had several fake strands that I lived in and clutched frequently)

      • For the record I own more than one strand of pearls (I lived in Asia), but no kitten heeled shoes.

        And what exactly does a steampunk bracelet look like

    • So true, Nicole! lol what is normal awayny?! Nothing more than a label used to compare, and pass judgment on ourselves when we inevitably come up lacking in some way. I say inevitably because normal is like perfect in that it doesn’t really exist. It’s nothing more than a concept of an ideal. As such, we can’t possibly measure up. Letting go of concepts like normal and perfect instantly relieves the pressure and stress of constantly striving for something that is unattainable. Much better to embrace our own brand of crazy.

  5. I always thought that you had to be rich to be “eccentric.” Us poorer people are considered just “crazy.”

    • Tori Deaux /

      Hey Sonny 🙂

      Here at the Circus, we define ourselves (and rarely by the size of our trust funds).
      And I’m rather liking the idea of a label of “dirt-poor eccentric” or… oh! “minimalist eccentric” 🙂