seth godin and stephanie ward


When I read Seth Godin’s daily blog on October 18th the content of his blog stopped me in my tracks.

The post described an event he was hosting in New York on December 10th, I knew immediately – I had to be there.  I took action and made it happen within a few days, I went and boy am I glad I did.

I encourage you to follow your heart and intuition if there is something that crosses your path that speaks to you deeply. This Lewis Carrol quote says it all: “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

I took a lot of notes (some more legible than others) and Seth shares brilliance at a rapid rate, so I’m not sure which of his words are exact quotes and which ones are paraphrased. So for the sake of being through, please consider everything from this point forward as belonging to Seth Godin.

And in case you’re wondering if Seth would mind that I’m sharing that with you, I think he would say that’s the whole point. Your goal is to do something that is remarkable, worth remarking about. And this event was that.

Insights from Seth Godin

Find tiny threads of interest and connect them together and amplify them.

Be willing to change your mind.

Be willing to stick with it.

When you get to the other side, it feels different.

Attention is a precious resource. Time is precious, there is no refund.

You need a dating mindset. You don’t ask someone to get married on the first date. You need patience, it takes time.

The question to ask yourself is this: Would they miss you if you didn’t show up? This is the definition of permission.

We are all different. We used to be told we were all the same (the mass market).

People who care are the weird. Not the average, they are at the edge.

People who don’t care are the masses.

The internet equals unlimited shelf space, unlike in the past.

People define themselves as having a specific problem. Or, you have to create an environment where they think they have a problem.

The question becomes: How can you reach enough of the weird people?

Weird people talk to each other.

Connect people with each other. Go outside your comfort zone.

Seeing the problem is the hard part.

Here is a quick video recap of the event I made in New York before I left.


The Two Questions You Need to Be Able to Answer

  1. Who is it for? Who are you trying to reach? What are the demographics? Psychographics are more powerful (example: people who have a gun rack on their pickup truck). You need to look at both. The internet is the giant psychographic Mixmaster. It lets us find each other.
  2. What is the change you want to make? We all exist to make change happen. What we get to do for a living is find a change we are proud to make and make it.

Why will they pay attention? Why will they trust you? What will they tell their friends?

Trying to get assurance is futile, because there is never enough.

If you’re not committed it’s never going to happen. Don’t worry about the method (of how famous writer’s write for example). You shouldn’t be shopping for the method. You should be shopping for committment.

There is a distinction between hard and difficult. Hard is lifting boxes all day. Difficult is doing work that requires emotional labor and dealing with fear.

We are held back because we think it (the thing we want to do) is emotionally hard.

Narrow down who this is for. Focus on finding customer #5 and then the next ones after that.

Ask yourself, what problem do I need to solve first.

How many clients do you need? Once you know this, then you can say, “This is not for you.” Different people are attracted to Shake Shack than are attracted to McDonald’s.

Be the best in the world (not the cheapest, not the fastest).

Be the best in the eyes of the person you’re trying to engage with.

Social Media is a little bit of proof.

Awareness on social media is almost irrelevant. Awareness does not equal trust.

Social media builds enough trust so that you can tell your story. Twitter -> Blog -> Trust.

If the story resonates, then people will tell someone else. People they trust.

But really it’s just people talking about you.

Tell someone what your problem is (if you don’t know). Problems have solutions, if there is not a solution then it’s not a problem.

If you don’t have enough clients, it’s a trust issue, not a capturing attention issue.

There are not enough people who trust you. You need to show up in the center of a community. Help everyone, make connections, and turn on lights.

Show up and be the person who makes things happen.

Be the human being that is causing connection to occur.

People will give a 1 star rating on Yelp if they are not greeted in a warm way, even if the food is really good. You need to understand what people are keeping track of.

“Do people like us do things like this?” is the question you have to ask.

Your Job as a Maker Is

  1. Start with who they are
  2. Build things about which people can say: people like us do things like this

You can’t out Amazon, Amazon.

Do a small thing for a small group of people.

If you can’t find the right clients be willing to work to find them. Find the people who care. Companies don’t have values, people have values. Look for individuals.


We can’t hear what people are thinking. The compass is: Where are people, who if they do this thing with me, will be able to tell a story to others. Because people telling the story spreads the word.

Describe the story in a way that resonates with them.

Go to the edge of your story, the extreme.

If there is no one looking for you, you have to tell a better story.

Change people for the better. Focus on the benefit, the outcome, the result.

Tell yourselves and the people around you.

Ask the question, what’s it for?

Become the standard among a small circle.

Do projects for the same customer going in the same direction.

Look for clues of what works.

The definition of culture is that most people want to do what everyone else does. The bell curve distribution.

The masses will ignore you.

Early adopters pay attention.


Authenticity is a made up idea (here are two of Seth’s posts on this topic: Authenticity and Is Authenticity Authentic?).

It’s not the literal truth. The story is the way we communicate to make change happen.

People ask Seth to help them find their voice. You need to speak your truth.

Always do the smallest possible project to test the idea. If it’s too small, it’s not a project.

If you can change one person so you have enough money to change two more then keep going.

Seth made a mistake early his career. He was trying to figure out how to get a one million dollar advance for his book. It was the wrong question. He should have been asking how he can write a book that some people will love so much that you earn the right to write another one. Create forward motion.

“You’re never going to persuade the non-believers.”

Resistance looks different to different people. You may not have changed enough people yet.

Make the decision: I’m going to make this change for these people.

You can shop around all you want for your niche, but it’s really just hiding from making a decision.

Ship It Journal

Ship It Journal, download your copy here.

If you write things down it makes it more real.

The magic is about getting over the fear to act.

If you’re having problems as a freelancer, get better clients. The clients determine the freelancer.

Copying in entrepreneurship is allowed. Being an entrepreneur is about building a system that benefits your clients.

The hardest part about being a coach is getting clients. The difficult part is getting clients.

People who have a coach don’t need one.

And people who don’t have a coach aren’t looking for one.

Ways to Connect With Clients

  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Mastermind
  • Coffee shop

Focus on reaching people who already believe, people who already get it.

Making products for your clients is much better than finding clients for your products.

Find people who are already enrolled in the journey.

Tony Robbins ends his workshops with walking on coals, fire walking. That is something worth talking about. No matter what happened throughout the training, this is what people remember and talk about.

How did Tim Ferriss sell copies of his book The Four Hour Work Week? Five hundred people read it and they each told twenty of their friends. That is 10,000 people.

If you’re on the Atkins Diet, you have to talk about it.

Make something for people that get the joke. Then they talk about it with their friends (who are like them) and then they come to you.

Most things are skills you can learn and are not things that you are either born with or not. So let go of the fear and get into action to build the skill over time.

Everyone here is responsible. If you were a serf in the middle ages it wasn’t your fault. Now you are responsible.

There’s no easy way out. There’s no excuse.


Lowering your prices is a race to the bottom.

Price is about the story you tell.

You can get a massage for $120 at a fancy hotel and then you have the story that you are a fancy person.

You can get the same massage (quality wise) at a small place in a strip mall for $30 but then you don’t have a story.

We spend money based on the story we tell ourselves.

The purpose of price is to fuel the story you tell.

The people the people in the middle (between the most expensive and the cheapest) are never happy.

Are you getting closer to charging more people?

Change three people and keep going and then you can change four or five. Keep going.

Doing what you do without changing anyone doesn’t help.

Engage with the people you want to change.

If you told ten people you trust, would they tell other people? If not, it’s not good enough. People have to tell other people about it.

You want to have people who are transformed by you, people who feel incomplete if they don’t tell someone about it.

Go for levers that keep people using it and talking about it.

Everyone has a different opinion about what makes something attractive and interesting. Ask yourself, who are you choosing to remind people of?

Your work will remind people of something and if it’s a match for them they will feel a connection.

Your Brand

Brand is not a design or a logo.

Your brand is a promise about what people think they will get.

Brands can be invisible, it’s up to you what you want to promise.

You need a point of view about how you want to be in the world.

The hard work in marketing is choosing to matter.

©  Stephanie Ward

What’s your take? Which concept resonates the most with you? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below. I respond to every single one.


Stephanie Ward

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