Kevin Kelly wrote a hot article titled, “1,000 True Fans” that blew my mind. I first heard Seth Godin comment about and found the link on his blog. If you know anything about Mr. Seth Godin, you will not think twice about reading this article.
In a nutshell, Kevin presents a concept where 1000 True Fans are enough for a creator (artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, videomaker, speaker, author, etc.) to make a six figure income.
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
Then there are your other fans (not true yet faithful) which will buy some of the things. In essence, you don’t have to target a whole continent to make a decent living. 1000 True fans are enough.
This concept is very cool. It has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. Yet today, I met a true fan at a Lakers game in Los Angeles. My friend Brian Dowd and I, sat next to Betty and her husband (a cute Chinese couple in their early 60’s) who on a couple of seats which have been part of their lives for 21 years. Even before the Staples Center existed, the couple owned seasoned tickets. As I talked to Betty, my excitement for the Lakers (and basketball) increased. Betty’s joy is contagious. She has not missed a single home game in 21 years!!! She wore a Lakers shirt, jersey on top, cap, and carried her Laker jacket to keep herself warm. I asked her about her Laker goodies and learned that she has drawers filled with apparel, posters, photos, memorabilia, a “Lakers room,” and even a real-size Kobe Bryant mannequin. Her custom license plate spells Kobe and Lkrs . No doubt, Betty is a true fan.
The goal of reaching 1000 True Fans is achievable and can be highly rewarding. Now imagine 1000 more fans like Betty. Ten-thousand, a hundred, or a million.
Ask yourself: Do I have true fans? Who are they? Why do they rave about my art or my brand? Where are my true fans? How can I get more of them? What tools can I use to nurture our relationship? How can I add more value to this relationship?