In his new book, Show Your Work! (Workman Publishing Company, 2014) Austin Kleon, an author, artist and frequent speaker on creativity at companies like Pixar, Google and TEDx, discusses how creators and entrepreneurs can be discovered in the digital age. His message “In order to be found, you have to be findable.” His book explores how people can utilize their resources, skills and connections to network in meaningful ways. Before he delivers the keynote speech at SXSW this Friday, we wanted to give you a little glimpse of Kleon's latest book.
In this edited excerpt, Kleon provides innovative techniques for people to get noticed.
Imagine getting a job offer because someone reads your blog, not your résumé. Imagine turning your hobby into your career because you have a following to support you. Imagine being able to grow your business or focus on your art while also developing a community of like-minded people. It’s all possible.
But it’s not about “networking” at cocktail parties -- it’s about taking advantage of the network. By openly sharing your ideas, knowledge, and process, you can gain an audience—for fellowship, feedback or patronage.
Need more tips on getting noticed? Here are 10 principles to follow:
1. You don’t have to be a genius. If your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist. We all have the opportunity to use our voices, to have our say but so many of us are wasting it. If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share.
2. Think process, not product. By letting go of our egos and sharing our process, we allow for the possibility of people having an ongoing connection with us and our work, which helps us move more of our product.
3. Share something small every day. Once a day, after you’ve done your day’s work, go back to your documentation and find one little piece of your process that you can share. A daily dispatch is even better than a resume or a portfolio, because it shows what you are working on right now.
4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities. When you share your taste and your influences, have the guts to own all of it. Don’t give in to the pressure to self-edit too much. Be open and honest about what you like because that will attract people who like those things too.
5. Tell good stories. Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made and who made them. The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel and what they understand about your work, and how people feel and what they understand about your work effects how they value it.
6. Teach what you know. Teaching people doesn’t subtract value from what you do, it actually adds to it. When you teach someone how to do your work, you are, in effect, generating more interest in your work. Best of all, when you share your knowledge and your knowledge with others, you receive an education in return.
7. Don’t turn into human spam. If you want fans, you have to be a fan first. If you want to be accepted by a community, you have to be a good citizen of that community. If you’re only pointing to your own stuff online, you’re doing it wrong. You have to be a connector.
8. Learn to take a punch. The more people come across your work, the more criticism you will face. The more criticism you take, the more you realize it can’t hurt you.
9. Sell out. If there’s an opportunity that comes along that will allow you to do more of the kind of work you want to do, say "yes." If an opportunity comes along that would mean more money, but less of the kind of work you want to do, say ‘no.’
10.Stick around. Instead of taking a break in between projects, waiting for feedback and worrying about what’s next, use the end of one project to light up the next one. Just do the work that’s in front of you, and when it’s finished, ask yourself what you missed, what you could’ve done better or what you couldn’t get to and jump right into the next project.