The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book ‘The Wealth of Connection’ which will be published on May 2nd, 2022.
All customers are not created equal.
Kevin Kelley pointed this out brilliantly in his 2008 article titled “1000 True Fans”. Kelleys article, which has been updated consistently since it was first published, is a manifesto for creative entrepreneurs- both new and experienced. He contends that artists and creatives don’t need a million followers like so many falsely chase. They just need a thousand true fans. He describes a true fan as someone who will buy just about anything that you create. If you are a musician, they will drive to your concert and buy your music. Whatever your art is, they are buying.
So if you produce enough each year for them to buy $100 worth of material, all you need are a thousand true fans to make a good living. If you are thinking long term, if you simply created one new fan per day, in three years you would reach a thousand true fans status. That’s not counting word of mouth, referrals and anything else that would help you grow. It’s also not counting fans that are not so super. Meaning, the ones that will buy occasionally that will add to your number.
At the same time, a thousand true fans who pay $100 is just one part of it. What if you had a hundred true fans that paid $1000 per year? What if you had a $500 product or service or service with two thousands true fans? What if you had a subscription service based around your micro niche that was $100 a month? If you created a hundred true fans the paid you $100 a month, you have just figured out how to earn a $10,000 month recurring income stream.
Kelleys point is to focus on your true fans. Because the true fans will also bring in and attract the the casual fans. True fans have value in many ways. Not only are they the first to buy but they become your marketing team as well. Think about the things that you are a true fan of. Do you want to keep it all to yourself, or are you excited to spread the word? Do you want to be alone in your excitement or do you want to be a part of it with your friends?
The idea of gaining a thousand (or a hundred) true fans, in any micro niche, has never been more doable. With how connected we are online, and how even the most obscure item can be placed next to the most popular item online, even the most obscure niche product has a way of being found. As Kelley states, even if one out of a million people are really interested in what you have, that is potentially 7,000 potential true fans. And, it’s likely that your odds will be much better than that.
Kelley concludes that, instead of chasing stardom, creating a thousand true fans is a solid alternate path towards success. By doing this, you aren’t concerned with having the bestseller, or the vial video, or any other desperate or ego driven paths to success. Instead, you simply connect and serve your true fans. And not only will you not have to sell out and do marketing and promotion that is the “flavor of the month” to attain more instant success, but by focusing on your true fans, you actually have a much higher likelihood of succeeding.