If you’re a creator who aspires to make it to the top and stay there, Ryan Holiday, the bestselling author of Perennial Seller, has some news for you:
It’s f*&%ing hard.
Consider yourself to be a climber at the base of an unknown mountain. You have no idea how high or hospitable the mountain is, or what what the weather will be like. The only way to find out is to risk venturing up into the unknown yourself. But, as Holiday shares, there are some ways to offset that risk a little bit.
Get In Shape
A vital first step is to get in shape. We’re not talking “I go to spin class and yoga” levels of fitness here; we’re talking “I just won the CrossFit games.” Remember you have no idea how challenging the mountain will be.
For a creator, getting in shape means spending months, or years, building your product. Not only are you battling this unknown mountain, but you are also competing against an untold number of other climbers, both past and present. You better be at least as fit as them.
Don’t think you can train yourself either. To have any chance, you better get yourself a coach. For you that may be an editor, an engineer, a producer, a mentor. Just not yourself.
Get a Mule
No matter how fit you are, you’ll be hard pressed to carry all the gear you’ll need to make it to the top and stay there. That’s why you need a mule.
As a creator, your mule is your platform. It’s your base of true fans that will follow you wherever you go and help you get the momentum you need to go wherever you want to go next.
You can’t just buy a mule last second or hope one will come to you. You have to raise one yourself and earn its loyalty over the same years you are also getting fit.
Have you ever seen a donkey on the top of a mountain?
That’s because your mule can only take you so far. After a certain altitude you’re on your own. That’s where you need your gear.
For a creator, your gear is your marketing. You need to be innovative with what you use because if you use what everyone else uses, you’ll only get as far as them too. And you need to know how to use it yourself. Don’t think you can hire someone to do it all for you. They don’t care as much as you do about getting to the top.
Like it or not, luck has a huge part to play in determining whether or not you’ll make it to the top and stay there. Bad weather, landslides, or an untimely injury could derail you at any point.
All you can do about it is be prepared. That way, even if you don’t make it to the top you won’t freeze to death or have to retreat back down. Preparation allows you to wait it out for another attempt. Or possibly find another peak you hadn’t initially considered.
Don’t Get Comfortable
As Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist says, once you’re on top, “It feels nice for a moment, then surreal, then back to work.”
If you want to be a perennial seller, you’ve got to fight to stay on top—to survive the elements and ward off others will try and push you down. That involves continually promoting your creation, strengthening your bond with your audience, and…
Getting ready for the next summit.
Do You Really Want to Be a Perennial Seller?
If you’re still not repelled by the idea of dedicating everything you have to probably fail at slogging to the top of a mysterious mountain you’ll have to fight endlessly to stay atop of, at least you better get yourself a guidebook.
Luckily, one just came out.
The guidebook is Perennial Seller, by Ryan Holiday. It is a practical guide that will teach you how best to prepare yourself, make the climb, and stay up top.
Speaking of which, I’ve got to go get back to my own preparations. Hopefully I’ll see somewhere en route!
P.S. If you’re interested in building a six-pack brain as part of your training, make sure to check out my list of favorite books (& more!) here.