Recently my class for creating/marketing media had Peter Shankman as a guest speaker. He gave us advice and shared his story of start-ups, which not only included great success but also failure every once in a while. Which shows you everyone fails sometimes, just don’t let it discourage you.
Shankman has started several start-ups, including Shankminds: Breakthrough an online community of professionals, Help A Reporter Out a platform where reporters can search for sources and most recently the podcast about ADHD Faster Than Normal.
The biggest takeaway I got from listening to and asking Peter questions is: You must be passionate about your product.
Not only is this important to you, because it will keep you going even through failure, but because if your passionate about your product and you see it solving a specific problem so will your audience.
You shouldn’t try to think of what will please other people, turn your thinking inward and find what you are interested in or a specific problem you’d like to see solved, most likely others do, too.
Some other points Peter made about developing a start-up is that you need to do your research and network the heck out of people you know. This means if you’re starting a podcast know what platforms to share your episodes on and what program to use to track your analytics. This also means reach out to people you may know who have a podcast or maybe even someone who has been a guest on a podcast and can connect you with that person who runs the podcast. It’s important to do research and network so that you are prepared for the industry you are stepping into.
You have to provide for your audience, don’t think about it like your audience is doing you a favor by viewing or buying your product. Your product should be giving something to your audience, providing them something. This is another thing Peter mentioned and it was quite interesting for me because I always thought about how I needed to get an audience but really if you focus on how to provide for them, the audience will come.
Acquiring advertisers is a tricky thing, Peter says to wait until the first one comes to you that way you can go to advertisers with one already in your pocket. When you first start just focus on the product, if it is well done then advertisers will come to you.
Now to touch on one last point that Peter made, and it’s not so much about building a start up. It is about living an equal life. Start ups are stressful and you have to have a healthy balance between work and your personal life. He found marathons and running made him happy. Find something outside of the workplace, and this can go for any career path, that makes you happy and relaxed because when failure comes in the workplace you will still have something to focus on that is good.
Be passionate. Work hard. Be patient. And stay sane my friends.