Who’s the one you want to be with? And if you’re thinking ‘I didn’t know who you were with’ Godfather thoughts, you’re not far, minus the ethical dilemmas. I mean who are those you can never get enough of? Because working with them gets you in the zone, is sheer delight and pays the bills. A tall order, but humour me.
Who’s your ideal client? I got the question a million times in B-school. It makes words come out of me like shaky paintbrush strokes in the hands of a diligent first grader. Someone with an idea. Which is pretty much 7 billion people. If you ever got nailed on that question, you recall the feeling with scalpel precision: eyes to the ceiling, ducky, pumped lower lip, sighs and cheese crackers.
Wait, I got this. An entrepreneur who has an idea but it’s not worked out yet and they need someone to word it out and pour it into product. So is that like a new fried chicken recipe? Well, only if the fried chicken is made of words. I work with entrepreneurs who have an idea for a word-based product or service to lay it out nicely on the page and make it fly.
And who might that be, if you don’t mind? They’re idea fire starter club members like coaches, tech entrepreneurs, energy lawyers and green investment advisors, or social changers. UNICEF is one, as is a small start-up in crypto. Still wide, so let’s trim it on the sides a bit. What do these guys have in common?
They know their stuff really well. They don’t really call themselves that, but they’re innovators. They’d be the rock stars of TEDx if they went [, although they’re clueless about that.] They do pretty conceptual work that needs to be translated into simple messages a 4 year old would understand. That’s the ultimate test, by the way. If you can’t do that, it won’t work much.
How they present themselves and their work needs to make flawless sense. Did I say why? Oh, because they’re good people. And they’re driven to die empty. And I love making them irresistible.
So how’s this? I help good people with good ideas move them from their head onto the page and into the world. If what keeps you up at night is making the best fried chicken in the world, I’ll get your fried chicken recipe out of you and out there for people to order.
I got a call yesterday. He sounded lively, if a bit uncertain how to start. He cleared his throat and asked if I knew anything about his work from our common friend. And then he blurted out: “I feel I can do more. I’ve done all these projects [i.e. a worldwide revered school, a health centre for the elderly, among others]. I have more to offer. I just don’t have the consistency [in communication] and I don’t have the blueprint.” Imaginary hearts ballooned out of my phone. He was the one. One of them, anyway.