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The Risks Can Work. Four Lessons From 2022

Continually tuning what you do and how it relates to others is better than accepting that everything is all ok.

The big thing I’ve learned from this year is that you keep going and that includes the work in the background, that people don’t see. It’s the iterations, changes and tuning into the audience you serve that keeps you two steps ahead of everyone else.

It’s about people knowing the role you serve, so it becomes easier for them to buy, commit and subscribe. What I am working on is how to be obvious that what you curate/nurture/grow is going to help others and also the possibility that when everyone comes closer, you get to know each other, learn from, work together and share.

This is what has made the biggest impact in 2022 and the four main lessons learned (that haven’t always been right).

You’ve got to keep testing and tuning

You don’t have to be fixated on one thing working, so why not spread the risk? During 2022 we restarted YATM Bristol (with the talented Catherine Adams and Fleur Cook), delivered YATM Game Nites (Liam Toms has been a huge help), had our YATM Creator Day, we enjoyed Schaef At The Seaside, we kept going with YATM Good Bad on LinkedIn Audio.

Making mini bets on your work is a way to see what can hit home, but without leaving you barren and despondent. If you fail to see a return, you move on.

It works like this:

— Invest time over money in delivering new projects

— Have other projects happening at the same time

— Be persistent, but not overly committed to time and resources

— Focus more when the results are apparent 

— Leaving when the outcomes aren’t showing

— When something is working, consider more resources 

If you don’t step forward though and make that bet, you will never know! 

This all comes from an approach to openly figure it out in plain view of everyone. That way you can garner feedback and continually experiment. 

The mindset to do this is when you recognise you are part of the audience you serve, you step forward, you deliver, you share how it worked, you get further feedback, you adjust, your audience wants more, and you repeat. It all comes down to being ready to share and learn at the same time. 

Making mini bets and building in plain sight means everyone is in for the ride.

If things don’t work, move on

When you lock in for the long term, naturally you change as a person alongside the work you produce. However, it isn’t obvious when you are in the moment and you keep going. Sometimes the best thing you can do is a pause. 

The YATM Online Offline (hybrid) events did not work as well as I wanted them to. I thought that I could cater to everyone (online and offline), when my goal was to bring people together and learn as a group. What I did was provide too many options. 

When you learn from what you create, you turn disappointment into something proactive (this meant clarity for YATM Creator Day). You’re not always going to be right and that’s fine. Better to stop and adapt, rather than persist and become irrelevant.  

We spend a lot of time reflecting on what makes us feel rewarded and bask in success. This also means we put a lot of time into avoiding fumbles and limiting mistakes. If that’s all we choose to do then we are limiting ourselves from creating amazing work and continually pushing ourselves.

You can’t stick to what you’ve always done

This year has been about making that step into areas that we haven’t delivered before, but the decisions have been made by progressing and connecting what we have already done.

The YATM Creator Day has a focus on people working and motivating each other (the format of conferences is now old hat). This is something no one else has done before (so much so, it’s going to be a part of Creator Economy Expo in the US in 2023). Following on from this the YATM Club (from November) is a private community that takes everything off grid and we deleted the Facebook Group. 

It has made me realise that taking conversations and connections off the grid, where it feels closer to your audience means you create the best, for some.   

I made that step by deleting the You Are The Media Facebook Group (it had been around since 2018) in October. From a b2b perspective, it’s a case of moving with the times as private communities flourish where volume isn’t always the objective.  

Social media still provides a way for reach and drive attention, but at the same time, there is importance to building something that is yours whilst places become overcrowded. Being relevant by keeping a relationship personalised, becomes a smart business approach as well as being happy. Finding a group of people and working with them, gives everyone a huge boost.

Have clarity on the people you serve and make it better for them 

It can feel great when people subscribe or buy into your work, but it’s what you do with the people who stay, that matters.  

More listeners, more subscribers, more clicks, more likes, more views and more downloads are what many people see as a measure of success. However, a bigger audience is irrelevant if people are not engaged.  

It pays to concentrate on the people with you as they will care far more. This makes your content proposition completely different from being one that concentrates on sourcing leads, keeps subscribers at arm’s length and only concerned with finding and converting the next lead. 

It depends on what do you want?

A lead generation goal – work that sells designed to get people to buy (and go)


A subscriber goal – work that matters, that people care about (and stay) 

It is better to lean into those that are around you and make something better for them. 

According to a September article from McKinsey called ‘The Community Flywheel‘, “building long-term loyalty is both the greatest challenge and biggest opportunity that brands face.” According to the article, the “big idea” in 2020’s marketing is community. 

What was once the ability to direct a message from the scale you could rent (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) is now a way for others to be a part of the conversation and to make the continual effort much stronger from what started. Progress is at the heart of what is around us all when we come together. 

Let’s Round-Up

2022 was a reflective year and at times I found it tough. Whilst there was activity, it was more around a strategic focus on why YATM has a role and a place for others. It is independent, it is not part of a wider organisation, so it answers to nobody apart from the people who join in around the campfire. 

This is what I want to focus on more. Perhaps it’s a system to share, perhaps it’s leaning into the right people (not more people) even more, or perhaps it’s the steps that people need to follow, so they can see the change themselves and put it into place. It all comes from clarity and how the experiences faced means the creation of your own manual.

What I take from 2022 is that we can’t stand still. You have to understand what it takes for others to feel welcome and what it is for them to make that commitment (or in B2B terms ‘why they buy’).

In a fragmented world, people knowing they are in the right place that is bound by trust, openness, contribution, cooperation and growth is how we can all enjoy what we do and the people we spend our time with.

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