How to build a $100k/year brand¶
The magic number is 2,500. When you have 2,500 true fans, most anyone can establish a recurring income that allows them to earn a respectable living out of doing what they love.
With 2,500 fans, all you need to focus on is creating value for your fans (more of what they already love about you), year after every year.
A perk of creating a full-time income from doing what you love to do is the freedom from having to fund ‘life distractions’ to make up for a lack of a fulfillment in your work. What would the marketers have to sell us if we all enjoyed what we did?
You may not earn as much as your friends working for someone else in a job that gives them 2 weeks of vacation a year, but doing what you love day after day is the surest way to break free from the keeping up with the Jones’ game.
How quickly can you gain 2,500 fans? If you aim for ten fans per week, your goal will be met within five years.
You may spend the first five years honing your craft, finding out what fans actually want, and then the next five (or more) years promoting your work (and earning those 2,500 true fans). Given this real-world view, are you willing to commit yourself to your craft for the next ten years? Whether it’s writing, making music, or creating art, you will need to find your audience.
Keep your fans top of mind, for they are the equity in your $100k/year brand.
In 12 months, 2,500 fans can generate an income of over $60,000 when you earn an average of $25 per fan. When you increase your average to $50/fan, you’ll be earning $100,000/year!
It’s a simple calculation to determine how many fans you to need to generate your minimum yearly income. To earn more, you will either need to add fans or increase the income per fan.
What are some of the ways ‘creatives’ are building value for their fan base?
• Live, in-person events (concerts, workshops, etc.)
• Selling books, CDs, software, or subscriptions
• Selling merchandise (either their own, and/or for others)
• Services, coaching, consulting
• Affinity programs (offering a discount to a specific organization & co-marketing)
The bar has been set higher because talent is more plentiful today than ever before. Furthermore, the cost of living continues to rise for all of us. Since ‘fans’ (consumers) have more options available to them, you have to work harder than ever to stand out.
Authors, musicians, and artists can’t take their hobby full-time until they find out how to do this.
An alternative strategy would be to find 100 people who will pay you on average $500/year. For your specific audience, ask which is easier: to get 100 people to pay you $500 each or 1,000 people pay you $50 each? The point I’m trying to make is that you need to discover what your own magic number is. 2,500 is a common one, but as I alluded to earlier, it may take you five years to get those 2,500 fans.
All you need is one to start¶
When you give value, you can expect value back. Whether the value is returned in the form of money, a review, or a referral, there’s progress to celebrate.
Take a hard look at what you need to earn each month to sustain a living. For discussion purposes, let’s go with $5,000/month. That’s $60,000/year. What is the value of the ‘service’ you provide on average to each ‘fan?’ Let’s say it’s $50 per fan on average. You would need to gain 100 new fans per month, or 25 fans/week. If the value to your fans is on average $500 each, you’ll be fine with 10 new fans per month.
Again, I trust you get the idea. I want you to run through some scenarios for yourself.
Although there’s an abundance of tools available to keep track of your fans, there’s nothing wrong with starting with an excel sheet or even a simple piece of paper. The important step is to establish value with your fans. Find out what they want, what they are willing to pay for, and tailor your offering to fit it as best you can.
Smart authors have learned to give themselves a boost by tapping into the fans of other authors. You can take the concept of fan fiction far beyond the traditional definition*
Most every successful band or performing artist began as an opening act. Access to the fans of an established artist (who already has a fan base) is a huge advantage. This advantage is exploited by some authors who charge other authors money for an endorsement!
The path to 2,500 fans begins with one true fan. Are you ready to be mine? If I’ve provided value, stay on board a bit longer and subscribe, there’s more value to follow.
Next, I’ll be highlighting some of the creative ways artists, authors, and musicians have accelerated the attainment of their 2,500 true fans (or whatever that number is for them).
*upon which I will elaborate shortly.