Successful creators know how to focus and tap into their competitive advantage
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Think back to the first time you decided to take your creator career seriously. You face a sea of decisions that can feel paralyzing. It’s no surprise then that one question keeps getting brought up when I talk to creators: How do you break through in a sea of distractions, choices and competition?
I don’t want to talk about an algorithm hack that will get you lots of views today. Rather, it’s important to build for longevity. I’ve noticed that some of the most successful creators started by setting parameters. More specifically, they work from a mindset that maximizes focus. Specifically: Tap into your competitive advantage, and work to become the best at that advantage.
Create around your competitive advantage.
In September I met Taylor Bell and was drawn to her mindset. When she came on Creator Culture I asked her how she decides what to make videos about. Her answer was simple yet powerful—tap into your competitive advantage. The principle gets us to think about what is unique to us. It starts with an exercise of taking inventory of our experiences, privileges and passion. Creating around our competitive advantages makes starting easier since we know them so well.
For example, Taylor works as a management consultant, lives in New York and is an avid traveler. Those three elements are her competitive advantage. Defining the competitive advantage gave her focus and clarity. It didn’t matter what others were creating or what the next trend was because she defined her lane.
Become the best at one thing
In my free time I enjoy studying successful creative minds. Yes, it’s a nerdy pursuit but that’s my competitive advantage. I’ve noticed that focusing on becoming the best at one thing is a common trait amongst the greatest creative minds. It’s no surprise that Peder Cho (@utopia.us) is known to echo a similar feeling.
If you can master a skill, you can open a door. All you need is one door to open so you can prove your worth and start to build trust in other areas of your industry. For Cho it was sewing clothes. He spent thousands of hours over many years with the sewing machine. Cut and sew projects have become muscle memory for him. When the door opened he now had the opportunity to put his hand up for other fashion related projects. The trust built with his mastered skill became the gift that kept on giving.
Remember having to wake up for school and decide what to wear? Life could’ve been easier if you limited distractions by having a school uniform. It’s similar to mastering a skill. Every day you wake up with a clear focus and limit the time spent grabbing at many pursuits.
1 + 1 = 3
Think about all the time we waste trying to figure out what to do and trying to be someone else. Now, imagine how far you can get if that time was channeled into something productive like becoming the best at one thing.
Taylor and Cho have built systems to become the creators they are today. Their mindsets shield them against the many choices and distractions faced on a daily basis. It might not be the sexy option but their advice will certainly pay off in the long run.
Danny Desatnik is creator initiatives manager at #paid. He hosts the Creator Culture podcast.