For the record: followers mean jack, attention is king.
With that said, all of us (including me) started with zero followers. You’re not alone. Whatever your big idea is you are probably going to need people to know about it. The sad truth is that it’s now done via social media.
You’ll need a combination of shares, likes, views, recommends or whatever other form of measurement these crazy social media platforms decide to implement. These metrics equal attention and that’s how people are going to know about what it is that you do.
Let’s not pretend that social media is useless. That would be naïve.
In this bustling, new age world, everyone owns content now. Anyone can go viral and anyone can be heard. Some find this reality a sad fact, but then these same people find something to cry about no matter what so ignore them.
The journey from zero followers to thousands and even millions looks like this:
1. We all started somewhere
Quit your complaining we’ve all started at zero followers at some point. Starting with nothing and then building your community up is an amazing feeling. Embrace the journey of creating a following.
The game of comparing follower counts with others will distract you from creating content and force you into consumption mode. Then you’ll over consume and regurgitate all over yourself. Yuck!
2. Stop trying to game the system
You can’t buy followers and not have people notice. We can all scan your follower list and see that you cheated. More importantly, the number of followers doesn’t matter.
3. Engagement is everything
Ever seen a social media account with millions of followers and one or two likes/comments per post? That’s because the followers were paid for or tricked into liking the page. I’m going to say it again; the number of followers doesn’t matter.
What matters – if you are creating a community or awareness – is engagement and whether people care about what you’re posting. This can’t be gamed. People will only interact if you are doing and saying stuff that is of value. How do you do that? See the next point.
4. It’s not about you and your ego
That’s right. I don’t care, nor does anyone else, about what you had for lunch or who you met at the basketball. What we all care about is what’s in it for me buster?
If you answer that question and do so regularly, people will follow and engage you. That’s how you go from zero followers to millions.
5. It takes a while
Zero to a million followers takes times. Like interest on your bank account, your results will compound once you cross the tipping point.
What’s the tipping point?
It’s the point at which you have nailed the following:
– Your message to the world is clear
– It’s consistent (ideally daily)
– It’s unique (not better but different)
– It’s not about you and your ugly ego
– You give more than you ask for (Jab Jab Jab Right Hook)
When you do those things, your follower count and engagement will regularly start to increase.
6. You need a breakout moment
The way you do that is my channeling all of your energy and emotion into every piece of content you create. If you do this for long enough, then you’ll eventually have a standout moment. That’s a moment where the world listens and you go viral. It takes time though. You could be waiting five years young Power Ranger.
7. Followers like to follow stories
Don’t throw boring stats and pictures at your followers all day, every day. It should come as no surprise that social media works best with stories. The best stories I’ve found are personal stories. Rather than produce content that feeds your ego, put yourself into every story you tell.
8. Tell stories that inspire
There are hundreds of types of stories. If I were to encourage you to do one type and one type only it would be to tell inspiring stories. Stories that inspire people to take action, think differently or be emotional about something.
9. Say it quickly now!
A story is great but people have a low attention span. This means you’ve got to be able to communicate succinctly. There is a lot of waffle on the Internet. The way to stand out is to plan what you are going to say and cut out the filler. People will love you if they can get value from you and have it delivered in a brief manner. I get this compliment in the form of feedback all the time and I love it.
10. There is no one big break
If I look at my online success, there is no one single moment. Going from zero followers and beyond is made up of a whole lot of factors which you’ll never quite work out. What I can tell you though is that all those factors require you to show up.
“Each day you have to show up with something of value to say”
11. It doesn’t need to be new necessarily
People think you have to say something new every day. You don’t. Sometimes it’s about saying something in a slightly different way. Sometimes it’s taking a popular idea and saying it in a better way. For me, it’s often about taking something that already exists and saying it in my way, with my story attached.
“Saying something new doesn’t create followers; saying something different does”
12. Find your channel
Everyone’s channel for creating followers is different. Try them all and see which one resonates the best for your niche. Facebook doesn’t really work for me, but Medium and LinkedIn are phenomenal. I would have never known this if I didn’t try them. Experiment like you’re playing with play-doh.
13. Quit being romantic
Don’t wait until you have tons of followers to get started. Be the same as you are with zero followers, as you are with a million followers. Being romantic about social media doesn’t work. When I say romantic, it’s kind of the same as saying being precious.
You think you need influence right now. You don’t. You think you need money and lots of it. You don’t. You think you’ll try harder when you’re like Gary Vaynerchuk. You won’t.
So now do you understand that we all start with zero followers and that’s cool bananas?
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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