“I hate when women wear the wrong foundation colour, it might be the worst thing on the planet when they wear their make up too light.”
The worst thing on the planet, according to Kim Kardashian. (Take note inhabitants of Third World countries, victims of human trafficking, and dying cancer patients.)
While she’s certainly not the brightest star in the sky, she’s filthy rich, and many of us wonder why. She seems to be famous for being famous, and she makes tens of millions of dollars per year. What gives?
We could just chalk it up as a testament to our declining culture, but there’s actually a much deeper, practical lesson in her success—something we can all apply and immediately benefit from (and without degenerating into a mindless reality TV star).
You see, Kim has tapped into the incredible power of probably the simplest rule of making money that I know.
While the old adage “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t work, this one does:
If you get their attention, their money will come.
The Kardashians make an obscene amount of money every year because they get an obscene amount of attention.
Their search popularity has soared. Millions of people tune into their reality TV show every week. They’re some of the most highly followed and featured celebrities in the media.
When you command that kind of attention, you can’t help but make millions of dollars. And Kim and her camp knows it, which is why they ensure they’re constantly talked about in gossip columns, constantly featured on covers of tabloids, and constantly appearing in all manner of pop culture.
There’s a method to the madness.
So, where do we go from here? Do we create a sex tape and leak it onto the Internet, and then start pitching E! on a reality TV show?
We should look further into how we can stand out in our respective fields and get more attention.
Steve Martin is one of the most famous comedians of the 20th century, and many “modern” devices that young people think are so novel actually have their roots in Martin’s work. Martin is a highly accomplished stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and musician…
…but how did he do it?
In his memoirs, Born Standing Up, Martin wanted to share his insights on how he achieved his success, not just what he achieved. His advices are inspiring, spot-on, and applicable to any activity or field.
I want to share the essence of what I’m going to call the “Steve Martin Method for Dominating Your Field” with you here.
When people ask Martin what his secret to success in the entertainment industry, his answer usually disappoints. It’s one, unsexy line and it’s very simple. Here’s what he tells them:
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
Before you dismiss this as clichéd, let it sink in because it captures the essence of success in any area of your life.
While his “secret” might seem daunting, it can actually be invigorating. It simplifies the quest for success, which is often made to look very complex and overwhelming.
What Martin is saying is forget the secret backdoors, the gimmicks and tricks, the frustration of feeling like you’re missing some mystical element, and focus on just one thing:
Become really damn good at something. Become extraordinary at it. Better than everyone you know. So good that people can’t help but be amazed.
And what does it take to get there? Thousands of hours of hard, deliberate work is the primary factor. Remember, there are no shortcuts.
But also remember that in today’s Internet age, extraordinary skill is only a YouTube video away from being discovered by millions, and with that kind of attention comes the potential for millions of dollars.
Just over two years ago, an Alaskan stay-at-home mom named Ana White didn’t really know what a blog was.
Today, she runs one that generates millions of monthly page views and tens of thousands of dollars of advertising revenues every month.
What is it, exactly? It’s a carpentry blog. But not just any carpentry blog.
It has over 1,000 free, ready-to-build plans (complete with step-by-step visuals) for creating just about any kind of furniture that you could want. It’s very cool, and very popular.
And how did she start out? Did she know top industry insiders? Is she married to the CEO of Lowes? Hardly.
“This is a one-woman show from remote Alaska with no experience, no connections, no network,” White said. “I’ve just got a real passion for what I do and a huge desire to share it.”
She and her husband had built their home by hand, and she felt like doing something cool–namely, building more stuff, and giving away plans that other people could use to do the same.
Her first set of plans posted were for a farmhouse bed that she had made for herself. The stay-at-home mom then went on a posting frenzy, putting up over 400 plans in the first year for all kinds of furniture–dining tables, shelves, storage cabinets, and more.
What happened next?
Well, other stay-at-home moms caught wind of her work, and the traffic hit like a Biblical deluge. The blog broke 1 million page views in just 3 months, and did over 1 million page views every month thereafter.
Ana had accidentally struck a powerful chord with her audience–people eager to furnish their homes without paying exorbitant retail prices.
So, if you’ve got an idea that you think others will find cool, then start doing it, chronicle and share your adventures online, and who knows, maybe you’ll start waking up to a million page views per day, too.
When someone really speaks the truth–when they have the chutzpah to say it like it is (and say what most people think, but won’t voice), ears perk up.
We humans are instinctively drawn to the muckrakers and whistle-blowers. There’s something particularly refreshing about someone who melts the social veneer and tells us exactly what’s right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable.
A perfect lesson in this is the success of Rep. Ron Paul and the political movement and organizations that he shepherds.
For decades he was the odd man out in Congress–the gadfly that wouldn’t stop nagging about taboo subjects like the secretive Federal Reserve, the psychiatric drugging of children, the aggressive occupation of other countries, and much more.
Because of this, he was ostracized by many of his peers and the mainstream media, but he somehow kept winning his seat in elections, and his words kept reaching more and more ears.
Now, he’s the leading spirit of a cause millions strong and growing in influence every day, and issues that were once shunned as “crazy talk” are now openly discussed and debated in the mainstream media.
And at the heart of Dr. Paul’s rise was the fact that he never stopped telling the truth. He didn’t care if that meant he couldn’t play with the profiteers, get love from the lobbyists, or join in the oddball festivities at Bohemian Grove.
What he cared about was the truth, and he’s loved because of it.
So, if you want to get more attention in your industry, start telling the brutal truth. Be controversial, but be constructive. Don’t just give people a problem–offer a solution, too.
There are many, many more ways to get attention.
I could probably come up with a dozen more and fill up a book with examples of how they play out, but you get the idea.
There’s one surefire way to not get attention, and that’s being boring–being like everyone else. Looking the same, talking the same, behaving the same.
If you want more attention, you’re going to have to think and work for it.
So get out there, grab more attention, and the money will follow.