Starting Out as a Creator? The Real Work is to Stand Out

The work to stand out is harder than ever

If you're just starting out as a creator – writing, blogging, shooting video, and posting on social – the real work is figuring out how you stand out.

I wrote you the other day about standing out when you build products. But what does it mean to stand out as a creator?

It won't happen automatically. Here's one of my favorite quotes by Arnold Glasow.

Of course, you can't talk about standing out without referencing a purple cow, right? My favorite quote from Seth Godin:

And lastly, I'll make the case to you directly – from one of my talks on building a brand.

What makes you unique?

I create a post on a daily basis. Today is 165 days in a row. That's pretty unique for non-news blogs. But do you have to write daily? Not at all.

I often write comparison posts that help you evaluate several competing products. This often requires buying several products, testing them out, and then writing a single post (often with some sort of comparison chart). Does that mean you have to do that? Not all all.

I tell a lot of stories. Often on a stage. I love public speaking, but it's one of those items that most people are terrified by. Does it mean you have to do that? Not at all.

Just because I do it doesn't mean it's a formula that you have to copy.

That's the biggest lie I see in Facebook Ads every day. It's the “I found success, and you can do if you imitate my 23 step formula,” Facebook Ad strategy.

What you have to do is find out what makes you unique. How do you stand apart from everyone else?

How to figure out your formula?

How do you find out what makes you unique? I suggest looking at the four Ps.

Your Past

Everyone's past is unique. But something you've done, something you've accomplished, may help you stand out. I'm not saying you have to talk about it all the time, but it can create your perspective – and that perspective may be unique.

My friend Jennifer ran a micro-agency for more than a decade. What made her unique is that she never needed a virtual assistant, no matter how fast they grew. Why? Because she created so many automations that she didn't need one. That perspective helped her stand out.

Today she sells those automations as part of our her course.

Your Passion

Another friend of mine, who I know I've mentioned recently, is Shawn Hesketh – the guy behind WP101 – the video course that teaches people how to use WordPress.

His passion for learning is only matched by his passion for audio gear. But when you're creating an online course, these two passions combined perfectly.

His online courses have taught more than 2 million people – because he understands how to create learning material intelligently, and because the quality of his material is so good.

Your Pain

For years Brad ran a digital agency. Every year was faced with several growth challenges. Trying to figure out how to scale a service agency was work – accompanied with a lot of pain.

That pain is what drove him to shift GoWP from an agency to an agency-enabler. He now offers tons of white label services for agencies that allow them to grow.

His success comes not only from delivering top-notch services, but also because he's felt the pain directly, and built services that reduce that pain for companies just like his old one.

Your Persistence

My buddy Steve has been running Zeek for 26 years. They're a digital agency that started by building interactive games on floppy disks (200k) for the movie studios. From there they shifted to putting those games online – and you may have played them if you played astroids in an ad on a web page in 1997 or 1998.

They then stepped into websites, eventually added mobile apps, and finally started creating SaaS products for customers a few years ago.

You know what never changed? Their focus on account management, customer expectations, and building digital solutions for companies (who need a development team to come alongside internal development teams).

In one word: persistence. No matter how technology changes, Zeek navigates the changes and continues to evolve what they offer.

Still not sure how you are different?

What I know, from working with all four of these friends, is that they can't see how they're unique. Each one will humbly suggest that there are a lot of companies out there doing similar things.

It's hard to see how you stand out simply because you can't see from a perspective outside of yourself. And you see all the ways you're not perfect, which eliminates some of that confidence you need to be able to make bold differentiation claims.

So how do you do it?

Talk to a friend who can be honest with you. Talk to someone who has hired your competitors and ask them honestly for an assessment of what makes you different.

It will do wonders for your confidence and help you stand apart from the crowd.