Quality Over Quantity

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David Menidrey

I rarely redirect my blog to someone else’s. But Seth Godin has an important message I agree with and I can’t put it better than he does:

Don’t Buy Cheap Chocolate! 

It’s almost Halloween.

“Cheap chocolate is made from beans picked by poor kids in dangerous conditions.” Seth Godin

He goes on:

“On the other hand, expensive chocolate turns the ratchet in the other direction. The folks who make the bars, particularly those who do direct trade, keep paying higher and higher wages. They keep children out of the system. And they encourage their growers to use the tastier artisanal Criollo and Trinitario varieties, keeping them from extinction.

The race to the top often creates more winners than losers. That’s because instead of seeking to maximize financial returns at the expense of everyone in the system, they’re focused on something else.”

Seth Godin

 

The Hexagon

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Von Appen

I’m taking a podcast class. Seth Godin’s first lesson: start small. Your sister is your first guest…and then a neighbor…maybe a friend of a friend. But not until your sixth guest do you invite someone who has something “better to do.”

You’ll get more “yeses” once you’ve built your hexagon.

You need to develop your skills.

I love Seth’s closing: “Go make a ruckus.” I am thinking of my own…

 

To Market

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It’s on Amazon.

People ask me why I don’t market it more and try to maximize sales. At this point, I’m not trying to make profits or “become known.” I’m honing my craft and still learning a lot about art and writing.

My goal right now is to make meaningful work in my own voice and to do better with each project.

I’ve adopted Seth Godin’s philosophy (and James Altucher’s ideology) of “choosing myself” and that’s why I’ve chosen self-publishing.

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Variety.com

I’m on a hunger strike until racism is over.

I did not think I’d like this show.  But I’m hooked. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle had a vision and made it come true – despite many obstacles.  The title might refer to boys/men, but the show is ALL girl.  Erskine and Konkle are Executive Producers, writers, actors and creators of the show. Check them out on Hulu.com.

Their story reminds me of Seth Godin’s quote:

“Don’t try to be the ‘next’. Instead, try to be the other, the changer, the new. “

What is School for?

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I’m a teacher and I’m usually loathe to listen to any non-teacher who criticizes education. However, Seth Godin is a teacher in his own right and what he has to say makes perfect sense.

Godin published an education manifesto and I think everyone should read it. It’s made a deep impression on me and I’ve made immediate changes to my teaching. Rote memory is ridiculous. Deducting points off for trivial things is dumb. Let’s teach students how to learn and then CREATE things and take ACTION!

Please, read some of his manifesto or watch his podcast (Stop Stealing Dreams) if you care about education.

Just because it’s hard to make change doesn’t mean we should give up.

It’s All You

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Photo from Saffu

If you’re “climbing a ladder” in your work and you feel tired and discouraged, I recommend giving Seth Godin’s podcast a listen. If you have children who are considering a career in music (as I do), have them listen to it as well (click the link below):

Seth Godin’s Akimbo Podcast: You’re It

With echoes of James Altucher’s “Choose Yourself,” philosophy, it’s a must hear. Always a little ahead of his time, Godin offers sound advice regarding “going for it” and not working to “pay one’s dues.” Don’t buy into outdated and ineffective advice.

 

 

 

 

Freelancing – Inspirational Words

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31 Day Painting Challenge – August Wren

 

Freelancers podcast from Seth Godin’s Akimbo – the Conclusion (last 5 minutes):

You need to deliver the product of difficult work. Solve a problem in a new way. If you had a great boss, your boss would understand and encourage you to keep doing it.

Be smart about how good you are, who you do it for and how much you charge. This is an opportunity to dig deeper and do the work. This is what you signed up for – not to work a lousy job for a lousy boss.

 

 

 

Working for Free (Seth Godin)

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Watercolor with August Wren (Creativebug.com)

…and now, for the continuation of my notes on Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast on Freelancing:

The world will ask you to do work for free and promise that if this is good, then maybe they will buy it.

Seth’s recommendation – “That thing you do…that you sell…you should sell it. You should find something else to do for free. Something you do to have people see you and understand you.” For example, Seth gets paid to fly to places and speak. But his blog is free. His speeches are expensive.

Differentiate what is free.

People will walk away. People will leave. But you’re work is so good, people will miss it. There will ALWAYS be people who will give away what you’re selling for free. Always. Your job, then: Build practices and skills that no one can give away for free because you are a category of one. Be comfortable advocating for yourself.

You’re the sales rep.

How does a freelancer get more? How to turn this into a career?

The alternative SEEMS to be that you have to work harder and longer hours.

Or, you need to hire people in order to get bigger.

The THIRD path (and Seth’s recommendation): Get better clients. Clients who trust you and want better…why pay better. What will happen? Word will spread and you’ll get better. Good clients lead to better clients who lead to the best clients.

Podcast for Artists and Consultants

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I’ve been following Seth Godin’s work for many years. He just gets better and better. This podcast episode got me jazzed. If you’re considering freelancing or being an entrepreneur (or if you believe they are synonyms(!)) this podcast is for you:

“Freelancers”

Here are notes from the podcast:

First of all, entrepreneurs are people who start companies, make money while they sleep and employ people. Freelancers actually create the work and usually work alone (might shop out aspects of their work, but mostly do it themselves). When he said this, I realized I am definitely not an entrepreneur! But being a freelancer resonated with me when it comes to my personality and goals.

Choose an industry that is glad to see you arrive.

Possess hard-earned skills.  You can charge a lot, but deliver more than what people pay for. 

Focus on the smallest viable audience – not a large one [This is the opposite of what so many failed businesses do!]. As a freelancer, you can only handle so much. This small group of people (your customers) will talk about you and wait in line for you.

Commit to the discipline of prospecting – you need to do your work and spend time getting work (building your business). Dedicate some time every day to honing your skills, finding new tools, spreading the word, earning the privilege of working for others (NOT networking parties).

Godin uses an example: He knows a photographer who shoots in a specific location at specific times and only those for clients. She

What gets you picked is you being in the Category of One. No one can substitute you. Get beyond being One of Many. Do quirky, unique, exceptional work – work that sounds like you, looks like you….the work that most people do not like. (Are you trying too hard to be liked by everyone?)

I’ve Been Asking the Wrong Question

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As a recovering Tiger Mom, I’m working really hard to unlearn some bad practices. I don’t expect my kids to get straight A’s. I just want to ensure they always do their best. HOWEVER, I’m aware that I often use grades as a default metric. It’s so easy to buy into the hype: competitive college scholarships, high tuition, “name brand” universities, etc.

In my heart, I know it’s wrong. It’s the wrong place to stress priorities with my kids.

A blogger on Huffington Post bragged wrote about how he and his wife ask their daughters 3 questions each night:

  1. How were you brave tonight?
  2. How were you kind today?
  3. How did you fail today?

Aren’t these more important concerns? Won’t these values take them further than a perfect GPA? Their third question, “How did you fail today?” opens the discussion about effort and not achieving the goal. The parents wanted to stress lessons learned from this taboo subject and, to in fact, celebrate failing! The word “fail” is  leaden with negativity in our culture, but it’s really the only way we get stronger. It’s how we get resilient.

I’ve been asking my daughters a question each day, too. I thought I was being positive.  I shared my experience on FB with my friends:

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What is school for?

According to Seth Godin, school’s purpose should be to:

  1. teach kids to lead; and
  2. teach kids to try things and to FAIL.

He says, “Fine, getting an A is good. But it’s not the most important thing.”

Personally, I’ve known many “successful” (read: high income) folks who burned the midnight oil to get the excellent grades, get into the perfect college and then obtain the perfect,  high-paying job. They’re still not happy.

Don’t we want our kids to lead happy, productive, creative lives?

If you want the right answers, you need to ask the right questions. Perhaps the right question is not, “How can my kid get into an Ivy League School?” but “How can I raise my child to be a compassionate, productive, happy citizen?”

What do we need to do to be happy? Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

*photo from unsplash.com