028 – The Ugly Truth Behind The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship

by | Feb 16, 2024 | Podcast

Many are under the impression that they can understand a book without reading it in full. But even with books that have rather obvious titles, sometimes if you don’t dig a little deeper, you don’t come away with the gold.

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David shares what readers may have missed about The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship.


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00:17 – The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship: A marketing misstep
01:02 – Standing out from the crowd
01:35 – But it’s not just about standing out – there’s got to be strategy
03:26 – Finding resonance with an audience
05:52 – The value is in the process
06:24 – Becoming known for something is crucial to creating your celebrity effect
08:23 – Without work, your “Triangle” doesn’t work


A few years ago, I came out with the book, The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship, and I can admit it… I think it’s not the best example of marketing.

The subtitle was Making and Selling Your Neon Yellow Tiger. I don’t have the I think people got this right away, at least those who are familiar with Seth Godin, it’s kind of like Purple Cow. I felt that comparison could end up helping the book but I’m not sure it did.

And I also feel like people missed some important things in that book. It’s not just a book about being unusual and standing out.

Although that is huge today. Look at what music is right now. Every song has the same damn drumbeat. Every song has the same damn singing style. And it’s awful.

And if you were to go out there and release something that’s different from any of that but it still had pop appeal, it would stand out like crazy.

But as a book, it’s not just about “Hey, let’s try to be different and unique.” Those types of opportunities are rare. I hear people talking about micro niches and whatnot. I’m not a micro niche king, so maybe I don’t know. I just don’t think it’s a sound strategy for a lot of people.

Like, “Let me decide today that I’m going to be a jungle beat techno DJ guitarist Japanese oriental pop music fusion band.” Maybe it hasn’t been done, but what’s the appeal?

A few people are going to come around and listen and watch just because it sounds ridiculous, but trying to build a fan base… That I’m not so sure.

You must be sure about the impact you want to make. What’s the difference you want to make? Who are you appealing to? Who is your dream customer?

I have a friend who decided to start a college party band. So, they oriented their music and their look and their merchandise and their slogans and their website and everything around college parties.

And guess what? They did very well in the college scene. Weird how that works.

So, many artists don’t have that level of intention. It’s like, “I want people to notice how amazing my music is. I want people to notice how amazing that little guitar solo was. I want people to notice how amazing my vocal style was.”

Well, maybe true and maybe not. And competing on those things, it’s tough trying to find something that’s unique that has not been done before. Competing at that level, it’s not going to be easy.

But competing on brand, look, most artists don’t have one. They don’t become known for something.

Most artists don't have a brand, which means the bar is quite low when it comes to winning the branding game. Click To Tweet

So, here’s what’s being missed – it’s The Music Entrepreneur Triangle. I’ve talked about it many times before. At the foundation of the triangle is work. And then the other two sides of the triangle are celebrity and diversification. But everything is built on a foundation of work. You may need to try many things to find what resonates with an audience.

And you will know. It’s not like it’s going to be accidental. You post a bunch of YouTube videos, and you get three views, 15 views, 1,000 views, 50 views, and 100 views…

But then suddenly, having stayed consistent in your craft and iterating and trying different things, suddenly a video gets 50,000 views. And that’s when you must stop and go, “Oh, I think we just did something that people like.”

And now you need to look seriously at how you can iterate on it or replicate it or use those same ingredients to create something more, something new, something unique.

At that point, you’re tapped into a formula. You don’t need to start from scratch anymore.

At first, you’re throwing hooks out there to see what the fish bite on. But once you have a much better sense of what people are biting on, then it’s time to keep doing what’s working.

You don’t want to stop doing that. Keep the winners, and ditch the losers, right? Don’t worry too much about the losers. You’re going to have a lot of them. But when you find a winner, that’s a rare thing. That’s a unicorn. Hold on to the unicorns and ditch the donkeys. Poor donkey. But you don’t need donkeys.

Hold on to the unicorns and ditch the donkeys. Click To Tweet

What you’re working towards and putting in all this time and effort is to get to the unicorn. Guess what? It might take a while to get to that unicorn, right? But while you’re doing it, you’re finding your voice. You’re learning. You’re growing. You’re throwing stuff out there. You’re finding your audience. You’re trying different things. You’re experimenting.

So, the value is in the process and a lot of people are not willing to go through that process. But this is why rapidly creating and publishing and iterating and experimenting and iterating and adjusting and revising, continually going through that process is so valuable. One of these times you’re going to hit the video that gets 50,000 views, or 100,000 views, or 1,000,000 views.

But if you don’t put in the work, you can’t expect it to happen. So, you’ve got to become known for something. That’s the only way you’re ever going to achieve celebrity status.

You won't become known for anything if you don't put in the work. Click To Tweet

I’m not talking about becoming a worldwide global phenomenon that everybody knows. I’m not talking about becoming Johnny Depp or anything of the sort. I’m talking about creating a celebrity effect with your audience. And that’s a desirable thing because the celebrity effect will have people behave irrationally when it comes to you selling things. And when it comes to your customers buying new things that you create, you want them to be irrational.

You don’t want to have to sit there and convince them that it’s a good product that they should buy and why they must buy and why they should buy it. When you have a celebrity effect, selling will almost happen on autopilot and that’s a desirous thing that’s going to happen as you become known for something.

As I said earlier, you will need to try many things, but what you’re going to become known for is one thing. And once you find that one thing that resonates, you will have built a bit of a celebrity effect already.

When you have that celebrity effect is the time to diversify, but before then is not. You want to remain as focused as you can be, putting stuff out there, trying different things to see what works, to see what resonates, to see what your audience latches onto.

You look at someone like Dr. Dre, well, what did he become known for? He became known as a rapper. It’s as simple as that, but he was a huge part of the outgrowth of Gangsta rap, right?

And then later he built Beats, and maybe Dre will be remembered for that. I’m not saying he won’t. But the thing that he’s going to be remembered for most isn’t necessarily the brand that he created, but rather the music.

So, what are you doing? What does your work ethic look like right now? Without that, the triangle doesn’t work.

Even when it comes to time to diversify. Sure, you might have a lot of people around you whispering in your ears “Let’s do this. Let’s do that. Let’s create merch. Let’s put something new out there.”

But bottom line is it’s going to require something on your part. You can pay people to do many things, but you’ve got to listen to the right people too. Listening to just anyone is not going to do it.

And that’s the essence of The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship. So, if for some reason you thought, “It’s just Purple Cow and I need to stand out, that’s only a piece of it.