Month of Learning

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Three Lessons From 2020

Let me share the three things I didn’t know at the start of 2020 that I know now.  

1) Build A Space, Before You Need It

When the pandemic struck during spring one of my first thoughts was to go quiet and wait until everything had passed. This meant that the weekly YATM weekly email would keep on going whilst all the events paused. It meant there would still be activity.

During March I was confused and felt uncomfortable not knowing what to do.

When I asked people we would put the scheduled You Are The Media Lunch Club Online to Zoom on March 26th (Jake Moore was huge support in making this happen) everyone who had booked was ok with seeing how a new space looked. Taking it further we raised money for a food bank in April when Mark Schaefer was our first International guest and we just kept going. 

LESSON – building an audience ie. customers or subscribers, is so much more than having people to address and sell to. Keep everyone in the loop with the work you share to the point that people trust you. When people trust you, the decisions you make become easier for others to commit to you.

2) Be Familiar

During lockdown I found myself watching with my daughters the TV shows I used to enjoy when I was a kid. My two daughters are now up to speed with Thundercats and Fraggle Rock. I even took comfort in Karate Kid spin-off, Cobra Kai. Maybe you did too?

People like comfort. Even when the world went dark by having the YATM weekly email (that has been around for seven years) it was a rhythm to my week. As things got worse, nothing changed, you still received the weekly email at 6.30am on a Thursday. What I did during the summer months was take things back to basics such as how to get your first ten email subscribers and topic ideas for your creation efforts to think about and commit to.

We all like things that feel familiar. For instance, I had been looking at investing in new software to host the YATM Month Of Learning, but in 2020 we have all become accustomed to Zoom. It would be wrong to give you instructions on how to download a new app, that you probably wouldn’t use much or take up more space on your phone or computer. 

Have a read of this article from Darren Slade (he’s the business editor from The Bournemouth Echo) on simplifying what we need to say.

LESSON – We have all had a tough year, let’s not make it complicated for others. Being familiar helps connection and others to understand, clearly, what they need to do.

3) Be Creatively Resourceful Is What Makes You Different

You do not need to spend huge budgets on Google and Facebook in the hope for people to see your work. When people have committed to you, it becomes so much easier to test in front of everyone. 

Being creatively resourceful means being ok with trying out something new where you don’t start with a wealth of knowledge. For instance, I know Justin Cohen can play an array of instruments, so I asked him if he could play his guitar or piano for the singing section in YATM Online. We sing at every event. It is so important to reach out to others for help.

Being resourceful means your work can travel. For instance, I save short video clips from YATM Online, that are then posted on social channels. It could be an answer to a guest question or the singing at the end.

LESSON – You don’t need the put huge budgets aside to produce the perfect piece of work. Having your own platform, be it email newsletter, video, podcast or blog, presents the perfect opportunity to steal a march on less agile companies. Don’t over-think, your creative freedom becomes a differentiator.  

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