Learning how to get rich is great - teaching how to get rich is better!

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Sensei Ono, founder of Shinka Martial Arts, is a teacher and student of life. His passion for helping others and self improvement is the purpose behind this blog. -- "If your purpose in any way includes making the world a better place, I urge to you read, and share the knowledge."

The Concept of Value

So many of us want one thing, and focus on the wrong thing to get it.

I think the biggest example of this, is in the wealth world.  I know I'm guilty of it numerous times, especially when I was younger, but, even still today.

People who focus on "getting rich", in my experience, tend to compromise their own ethics in a big way.  Conversely, people who focus on adding value often get rich as a "side effect."

Whenever you are tempted to "do SEO" or "increase brand awareness" or anything else, I would suggest pausing and taking a second to think:  "How am I adding value?"

Is my Facebook fanpage different than my youtube channel?  Is there any bonus to being a fan, for the fan?  Do they get special videos, access to contests, insider pics, or a celebrity's more private thoughts?  (that last one is probably more the twitter angle, but you get my point)

Another way to think of adding value, especially in the realm of facebook fanpages, youtube videos, blog posts etc, is "Would someone pay a penny for this information/graphic etc?"

A penny isn't much, but, at the very least, someone should, after being given that which you have to give, think to themselves "well, that was worth at least a penny."

If they don't... if, in fact, they think that they want their fictitious penny back after they've finished, then, you haven't done your job.  You haven't added value.  You've "increased your SEO" or "increased your brand awareness" or other useless garbage that does nothing to actually increase your sales.

IS being the top ranked google page important?  Without a doubt, absolutely yes.  I'm not knocking SEO.  What I'm knocking is when people inundate the world with something they've already seen, don't benefit from, don't emotionally desire, and wonder why it doesn't make them rich.

Value is simply a change of emotional state.  Everything we do, should always, always strive to change an emotional state; preferably for the better:  However, in today's viral video world, any state change is likely to still make you money if marketed correctly.

"Friday, Fridaaay, hey la la la its friiiday..."  a kajillion dislikes on youtube... on a monetized video that pays $0.003 p/view.  Yeah.  we all showed her who was boss.

At the time of this writing, she's made $108,643.76 off of the video views alone.  Not to mention the percentage of 182,000 people who "liked" the video that purchased it on itunes for a buck, not to mention the CD sales etc.

Never underestimate the power of a negative state change on the internet...


To simplify it, imagine you were in a dress shop, and you were looking for the sales lady's input.
"Hi, do you have any thoughts on this dress?"
"Its green."
"...yes...  well.  Thank you."

Result in sale?  Unlikely.

"That dress is okay, but, I think the blue one would really bring out your eyes.  Have you tried it on?  No?  Let's do that, humor me!  Ooh!  Yes, your eyes sparkle in this one!  I think we need a necklace to hilight that a bit more... no, you don't have to buy the necklace, but, let's just see... oh my!  Yes!  I think a belt would really make your waist pa pow!  YES!  Oh wow!  Do you have the right shoes?"

Add value.  Her opinions are helpful.  Do they have to get the belt there?  No, they could probably get a cheaper belt somewhere else.  Are they likely to get the belt there?  Meh, about 20% chance.  Are they likely to buy the dress, and really appreciate all your suggestions, input, interest and passion?  Yes.  Are they likely to recommend you as a great information source for dress buying?  Yes.  Was the experience positive?

Well, yes.

Add value.  Change people's states.

The same analogy
"Hi, do you have any thoughts on this dress?"
"Listen fatty, you ain't gonna get no woman to love you if you don't lose some weight and ain't no dress gonna help with that!"
"I'm not a lesbian, and I highly resent your negative comments about my weight!"
"I just assumed with a haircut like that!  Damn, you ugly, you fat, you stupid, too!  Haircuts are voluntary, at least get that fixed!"

Would you probably tell people about that experience?  Sure.

Only, on the internet, that equates to views (whereas that dress shop probably wouldn't last too long) views are monetized.

Obviously, I prefer a positive state change.  The world becoming better because we were here, and all that.  Still, if something is "so bad its funny" or "unbelievably bad enough to share with your friends"... it still ultimately has a positive effect.  Raising awareness or spirits, depending.

Change people's state.  Add value.

Don't post a picture from your website on your fanpage and expect your fans to be grateful.  Post how you created that picture, your thoughts on the picture... something that adds value.  They took the time to be your fan.  They've already seen your webpage.  They want the insider scoop, the update, the future plans, the interviews...  and, they probably want to know when the webpage gets a new update, as well.

What Every Artist Should Read

Something that I think a lot of technician archetypes can get caught up in, is how little people offer them for their masterpieces of excellence.

What I would suggest, is that its all relative.

Let's say you created the Faberge egg, or, an amazing robot sculpture, and, you showed it to a farmer, a lawyer, and the King of England, and, they all had the same exact love for the art piece.

One would be in tears of joy over the beauty of your masterpiece, and offer you three out of 5 of his chickens for it.  The other, would offer upwards of $30,000 and the other, your weight in gold, some property, and employment to commission further pieces.

When people say that something is "too expensive", they are saying "for them."

This is not a reflection upon the quality of the work.  To use another analogy, it is as if someone were saying that speaking in front of people was "too hard" or "too scary".  Yes, for some.  For others, they look forward to such a thing.

Everything is relative.

Ergo, it is not the quality of the product that is as important as who sees it.  

Yes, if someone with the sufficient funds sees your product, it would indeed be best if the product was worthy of them purchasing it.  More importantly, an artist should always strive to improve their style, as how we do anything is how we do everything; and our art is ultimately a reflection of our values and sense of self.

But this self improvement is for personal growth & expression, NOT SALES.

Even the shoddiest pieces of art have sold to those with deep pockets.  (how many times have we all said "hell, I could paint THAT!" next to the red dot on the canvas which just sold for a hundred grand??)

Grow and improve your art because it is a piece of your soul and an expression of the gift God gave you.

Remember that marketing is the missing piece in EVERY unsold, or undersold piece of art.  Ever.

Remember the red dot on the white canvass.  The difference between that, and something immeasurably better (but unsold) is that the right person saw it, and was emotionally motivated to purchase it.

So, then, how to expose your art, with whom, and where?

That is a question for an agent.  It doesn't matter if they take 90% of your sale price.

One more time:  It doesn't matter if they take 90% of your sale price.  (which, they don't)

Why doesn't it matter?

Most artists want 100% of the profits they get from the farmer, instead of 1% of the profits they get from the King.

Or, they want 100% of the profits they get from the one lawyer they sold to last year, instead of 80% of the profits they sold to 300 lawyers instead.

Agents, like realtors, affiliates, or anyone else who works as a middleman who works on commission have one thing in mind:  Sell your work.

Their only focus is finding people to buy things.

Just as I answer yahoo answers with the focus of connecting questions to products, so too does an agent see people who would like his clients' work.

And, if they work on commission, they will always be trying to get as much as they can for your work.  If they undersell it, they still sold it.  If they oversell it, they, and you, make more money.

Get affiliates working for you, and get represented.  You don't even need a gallery.  Using a service like paydotcom to sell your art is perfectly acceptable.

Offer insane commissions, especially in the beginning.  Make it appealing.  Sell the first sculpture at a loss simply to get the affiliates interested.  If you have 5000 affiliates spamming the internet about how great you are, someone worthwhile will see the pieces you have.

To stress the point home:  Take the focus off your work for one month and apply yourself exclusively to the marketing of your work.  And, by applying yourself, what I mean is increasing the number of people who are exposing your work.  Facebook fan pages, Twitter accounts and the like are only as powerful as the amount of people who see them.  Getting affiliates to run countless blog posts in hopes of landing you a sale will still increase your awareness and yes, those facebook fan pages are important to have as landing pages for those interested in your products, just as a website is, but widening the field is immeasurably more important.

If I double my facebook fan page, I get an extra few thousand followers.  If I increase my exposure on the internet by 0.0001% that's still thousands and thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS more people who will see my work.

Get the bloggers, affiliates, promoters, agencies all working for you.