Post-Publishing Note: I fully admit, I wrote this post at 2AM. I also fully admit, after losing a few subscribers and re-reading the post, that I sound like a smug, overly-confident jackass. To clarify: anyone who can embrace their unique quirks is capable of being the only one on earth capable of doing what they do, in the way they do it. Make no mistake, I unappologetically kick-ass at marketing small businesses, but I have no illusions about being the best in the world. Aspirations, yes. Illusions, no. That said, on with the show…
Artists make art for the sake of art. No care or consideration at all to if the audience will come, just blind faith that an audience will come.
Craftspeople make art in exchange for money. They love the art, but either are commissioned to create it or seek out an audience to buy their art.
Assembly Workers make commodities in exchange for money. There’s no art in what they do – just a cold buildout of individual components, piece by piece, in line with a pre-arranged plan.
The E-Myth style of systemization only works for assembly workers. Quirks are the things that make Art and Craft so artsy and craftsy. The very thing that grinds the gears of the business crowd, the thing that forces artists to create outside of the systemic, and craftspeople to seek out new venues and audiences is the thing that prevents them from being assembly workers.
The fact that I’m a swaggering, Klingon-swearing, Picard-quoting, Prime Directive spouting marketing expert who is more at home with technology than I am with most people – these are quirks. And they work positively for my business, for the most part. My unique combination of quirks, experience, client work, failures and successes make me uniquely capable of providing the kinds of marketing insights I do. It’s no understatement to say that no one else on earth could do what I do. No one else could write in exactly the same way, with the same passion or intensity, as Ash from The Middle Finger Project.
There’s a lot of confusion which leads Artists to attempt to become Assembly Workers. You can’t systemize Art – when you do, it fails as Art.
The best quirky businesses can do is organize crafts – create processes, steps to build kinds of art, (but very rarely systems – step by step instructions to create identical results) – and only then, when the system is somewhat closed. That is, if the environment doesn’t change much from time to time, you can keep the processes in place (and reliable cash flowing for quirky, non-assembly-type businesses).
For instance, if I know Pinterest is around for a while – and will stay relatively similar from one iteration to the next – I don’t have to worry about rebuilding my processes each time a new business signs up. No matter the number or type of businesses that sign up (the open side of the system), Pinterest stays stable (the closed side) and so my processes stay valid for as long as that stays true and I can feel free as a craftsperson to make art and money.
Quirks don’t hold you back – quirks create your business.
(Photo Credit: Artist by vigo74)
This post is part of the monthly Word Carnival series. This month’s topic: Quirkology: How to Be Brandtastic by Embracing Your Weirder Bits. Filled with endless amounts of #awesome, the Word Carnival features myself and several other small business experts. Not reading it? You’re missing out.