What’s the story behind 1,000 True Fans?

Many of you may be familiar with the highly popular article 1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly, but what you might not know is he “rewrote it to convey the core ideas, minus out-of-date details.

This revisited essay appears in Tim Ferriss’ new book, Tools of Titans.”

Mr. Kelly essentially states…

“To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.”

Here’s how the math works.  You must meet these 2 criteria:

  1. First, you have to create enough each year that you can earn, on average, $100 profit from each true fan.
  2. Second, you must have a direct relationship with your fans.

Right away you can see the two main elements (1) Creating Content and (2) Cultivating relationships.  

You can read Kevin Kelly’s article to learn more about the exact math behind how true fans can lead to a well-off living for most people. What we want to get across in this post is Kelly’s point that ‘1,000 true fans’ is an alternative path to success other than stardom.

How to Practically Attract Your First 1,000 True Fans

This concept of attracting raving fans may not be new, but the online landscape is always changing with the advent of new social media channels and innovative advertising strategies.  What doesn’t change, however, is the need for that personal touch – the feeling of connectedness a raving fan has with the creator.

So how do we attract these “raving fans”?

The best way to build raving fans is to convert average fans to ones that rave about you every chance that they get.  And here are some practical steps for doing just that…

Know Your Audience As Much As Possible

It’s important for you to define what it is to be a raving fan for your brand if you are going to cultivate them from your existing fan base.  

If you don’t yet have an audience or email list, or maybe yours is not as responsive as you’d like, check out these 3 questions you should ask about your audience to make sure you’re attracting the right people.

After knowing what your ideal fans look like, act like and sound like, take a good hard look at the steps they will need to take to reach “raving fan” status.  Keep this process in a place that’s easily accessible like Google Docs or Evernote and update it as you learn more.  This leads us to our next step…

Give them something that they want – and overdeliver!

First impressions are very powerful, therefore when creating each piece of content keep in mind the person that is stumbling upon it for the first time.  If you provide massive value and offer them some quick wins they will be more likely to see more of what you have going on.  

Also, it’s important to note that this doesn’t always have to be free all the time.  You can use platforms like Patreon to have fans help fund ongoing projects on a monthly or per-content basis.  

This type of micro-funding has become very popular.  It even offers you a chance to grow closer to your community as this creates an exclusive sub-group of your fan base that gets patron-only perks or inside looks that the crowd at large may not have access to… yet.

By the way, here’s a shameless plug for our Patreon page, check it out!

You could also nurture your audience from lesser fans to raving fans by offering a low-dollar product or a “tripwire” to give them a taste of what you can really do.  Don’t take this lightly, make your tripwire short, concise, and filled with actionable insight that your fans can take and go get results right away.  If they see that your low $7 checklist got them incredible results they will be very likely to consider your larger, more comprehensive courses or products.

You can also invite them to become raving fans, going back to the beginning of this section, tell them what it is to be a raving fan and how they can become one.  Explain all the perks that go along with it and invite them to be a part of your ongoing conversations.  I like to invite people to our Brave Creative Pros Facebook Group where hundreds of entrepreneurs get together to talk strategies and helpful tips.  P.S. You can join too!

Whatever your tactics become it’s important to document it and regularly review it for how to improve it.

Building Raving Fans is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

If you see your first 1,000 True fans as a short-term tactic rather than an ongoing principle in your business, you’re likely to get frustrated and burn out.  It’s important to be realistic about this approach to building success and that it will be time-consuming and hard, intentional work to fulfill, but it’s incredibly worth it.

If you were to gain 1 fan each day, it would take a little over 3 years to gain 1,000 which is not bad.  But with the evolution of social media, online forums, and niche websites, it’s easier than ever to connect with people who love what you’re passionate about.  

It’s going to take time and a sound process, but you can do it.  You just have to get started.  Don’t worry about what you don’t know.  Act on what you do know and ask the right questions to find the answers (or people who know the answers) to what you need to learn next.  

I’d love to hear your pains, questions or lessons that you have about building raving fans for what you’re creating.  

Remember, just get started and keep moving forward – even if it’s a little each day.

Much love. ❤️️