Kevin Kelly's short and brilliant essay, 1000 True Fans will take five minutes and to read and could improve your life. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
To paraphrase, it's message is that, thanks to the internet, you only need to connect with a relatively small number of people who absolutely love what you do, and you can make a living doing those things.
My work is all about business communications. And 1000 true fans in the business world is a lot.
I write fairly arcane stuff for people who care about authentic business communications - particularly in the professional and financial services community. I write for people who enjoy words like 'arcane' and don't get turned off by the words 'business communications,' If that's you - we're kin - and it's good to meet you.
1000 fans would probably be too much for me, but if I can inspire one marketing or brand person to communicate with a bit more heart - I'll consider it a job well done.
If those people hire me to help them, I've got a client who's going to respect me and my work - and really, one true fan like this, is all anyone really needs.
That's why the long tail, and the True Fans message, is so powerful. It says - go ahead, be yourself, do your job, and commit to it, because your audience is out there.
While your particular shtick might not be for everyone - if you do the thing you really want to do with passion and humility - eventually you'll find your audience, and your days will be filled with the things you like doing best.
A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living. A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.