Book Notes: ‘Perennial Seller’ by Ryan Holiday

Perennial Seller defined: “They are the kind of art or products that we return to more than once, that we recommend to others, even if they’re no longer trendy or brand-new. In this way, they are timeless, dependable resources and unsung moneymakers, paying like annuities to their owners.”

Mindset

Ideas are cheap. Anyone can have one.

Key question: What is your motivation to create? Why?

Key proposition: Motivation matters a lot. 

It will take time and sacrifice. Great things don’t happen overnight and require an eye for the long-term.

Test early, test often. Catch your mistakes quickly, get feedback.

Pick a lane, define your niche, know who you are creating for.

Know what problem you are solving.

Ask yourself, “Is this the best I can do?”

“Deep, complex work is built through a relentless, repetitive process of revisitation.”

Positioning

You’re the CEO. You own the whole process.

“…there’s no one to take this thing off your hands and champion it the rest of the way home…the person who is going to need to step up is you.”

Find an editor and trust them. Your work will need to be critiqued. Listen to the feedback.

“Getting feedback requires humility. It demands that you subordinate your thoughts about your project and your love for it and entertain the idea that someone else might have a valuable thing or two to add.”

Build a prototype or beta version. “Then, with fresh eyes, attempt to write our exactly what your project is supposed to be and to do in …

One sentence.

One paragraph.

One page.”

“What are you trying to accomplish with this project?

I am making a  that does  for  because .”

Marketing

Who is going to sell your movie, your app, your artwork, your service if not you?

The rule you can’t forget: Nobody care about what I have made. How could they? They don’t know what it is.

“There is no silver bullet…No, we’re going to have to use a lot of lead bullets” – Ben Horowitz

“Only one thing matters: Word of Mouth”

“The best strategy is to try everything and see what works for your project—because it’s going to be different for every single project. When you find something, stick with it.”

Platform

“Becoming a perennial seller requires more than just releasing a project into the world. It requires the development of a career.”

On Iron Maiden: “Other acts are dependent on promotion—PR, advertising, store distribution, artist collaborations, and big-budget music videos—to stay relevant and reach an audience, but Iron Maiden cultivated a direct and intimate connection with their fans that allows them to skip those tricks.”

Platform: combination of the tools, relationships, access, and audience

What investments can I make now that will lengthen my career by strengthening my audience and fan base?

Build Your List. Build Your List. Build Your List. (email)

Making is also marketing. (Build a Body of Work)

Moby-Dick wasn’t Herman Melville’s first book, and it wasn’t his last either.

Questions to ask:

What are other people in my field afraid to do? What do they look down on? (These are almost always great opportunities.)

On your platform:

Build it so you can have a career—so you can be more than just a guy or gal with a book or movie or app. Because you’re more than that. You’re an entrepreneur, an author, a filmmaker, a journalist. You’re a mogul.

 

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