James: Hello welcome. Negronis with Nord episode number 30. Yes. I'm still in this God forsaken cast. Excuse my French. We're a month in people. I haven't worn a suit in a month. Actually. This is really annoying because as you know, I don't, I don't buy my clothes yet. I get them made. I got this new suit made literally a week before I broke my wrist. And of course it is a linen summer suit. And of course the weather is starting to change in New York. I'm probably gonna have this cast on for another month, which means by the time I get the cast off and I can fit my arm through a suit, I will very likely no longer be able to wear the new, incredibly lightweight linen suit that I just had made choose. And it's an enormous bummer for me. So I appreciate your condolences.
Instagram's been around for about 12 years now. Tiktok is three or four years old, but the format is familiar. We vine before that, you know these formats, as they, as they get older and more mature, it gets harder and harder to do something interesting on them. Right? And I think that like why people like Be Real in this moment is that the format is different. You know? Whereas when you open up your Instagram, you're really not expecting to see something new. In some ways it's like a little security blanket. It's nice to just scroll through **** that like, you feel like you've seen a hundred times before TikTok, you're much more likely to see something new. But as that platform matures, I feel like the content is getting more and more familiar as they're doing more trends and things like this. Like you're no longer seeing new things. And so BeReal is allowing people to play with a new format.
On the Forbes Creator list...
James: Another thing that got me thinking about this was the Forbes list that came out on the top, most powerful creators, whatever. Let's not kid ourselves, that this is a comprehensive list. It also skewed much more towards like entertainment. It was really focused on money. And so didn't have political, you know, influencers. It didn't have a lot of like other categories. It was pretty kind of focused. But if you had made that list five years ago, maybe one or two of those people would've been on there, maybe a lot of people on that list that five years ago probably didn't even have accounts. And if they did, they certainly probably weren't doing well.
I think as you look at this as a career, understand that things are always changing and there's always new opportunity, right? And there's, there is always that time where, you know, if you kind of change something up, you find this, this thing that works, you can really change your life.
Thinking about your creative career long-term
James: I think that's, what's so exciting about social. I've always said, I think this is probably more true on Instagram than TikTok right now. But if you can get a hundred thousand followers, your life can change forever. And it doesn't mean you can do this full-time. It doesn't mean it'll be your career, but a hundred thousand followers will absolutely change your life dramatically. We also need to think about this longer term, right? We need to think about it like a career and understand that if you're focused on just the short term, your goals are going to have to be smaller.
I've said this many times, it's so powerful to be able to zoom out and think about five, 10 years from now, where do you want to be? What does that look like? What's success look like to you. I think all of that like manifesting energy stuff is kind of a bunch of, it's a, it's a kind of hippie way to talk about how powerful it is to have a north star, to have a place you're pointing. Right? And it's not about the fact that you, you know, you manifest things by, by saying that you want them, but by being clear with yourself about what you want, what you want your life to look like, what success looks like, you can start building towards that. You can say, okay, I want to be at this place in 10 years. And now I can kind of plot my path to how I get there. So it's focus, consistency, hard work, and a lot of luck that is like most of life probably. But you have to know where you're pointing. Right. And thinking about this, like a career and thinking it as a longer-term thing helps you do that.
How to hone your craft like David Sedaris
James: I was listening to, there's a new David Sedaris book out. I love David Sedaris. I think he's hilarious. I, I, you know, I don't think he had his first work published until he was like in his mid-thirties. That's another good example again, of like how your life can change. If you kind of keep at it, he had 15 years where he worked as a construction worker, a house cleaner while he was like, you know, writing and trying to like make this thing work for him. It took, it took him till he was in his mid-thirties. It's such an interesting comp for a creative life, which is ultimately what y'all are trying to lead.
Right. You know, I'm listening to this book cause I, I also think you should listen to Sedaris' books, not read them because he reads them and he's got an amazing voice and his deliveries amazing. So Sedaris has been writing these essays since the early nineties. So going on 30 years now of doing this, I've probably listened to a read. I don't half a dozen of his books. I don't know how many has and they're all the same. It's the same thing over and over they're new stories.
You know, he has really honed his craft. I think he found a thing he was good at. And instead of saying, okay, I found this thing I'm really good at now. I'm gonna figure out how to be good at 400 other things. He just was like, I'm just gonna do this thing over and over and get better and better and better and better at it. And it's when you hear these stories, they feel so natural. They feel like your funniest, most interesting friend telling you their best story.
But the reality of them is he is a meticulous and obsessive note-taker. He has a very structured life of when he writes every single day and how he takes notes and, and how he, how he then kind of collates and organizes this stuff. So that years later he can go back and find it, it it's, it's actually incredibly complex, but it is all built in pursuit of him getting better at this thing that he was already naturally good at. It's a really brave and laudable thing to, to kind of look at how he, he said, this is my thing. I've found an audience that loves this thing. I'm gonna continue to try and grow that audience, but I'm gonna keep giving them what they want.
And I think as a, as a creator, as an influencer, you know, there's this, there's this pressure to continue to innovate and to try new formats and to, you know, expand what you could do. And if you're in fashion, get into beauty. And if you're in beauty and fashion, get into home goods and skincare and, and you know, all this other stuff. And I think that stuff, I think it is important. I think it is important to keep pushing yourself. I think it's important to try new formats, but not as important as probably understanding why do people follow me. Like what do they want from me? And how can I consistently give that to them and have the quality level be really high and continuing to get higher. And that's it like, right. Consistency. What did I say before consistency?
Consistency, focus, hard work (and luck)
James: It goes back to consistency, focus, hard work. A lot of it is not glamorous. I've been grinding away at this business for 10, 15 years, 10 years. It's a grind every day. It's just like, it gets a little better. You know, we just try and get a little better. We try and grow a little bit more. We try and change something about the business. And that is that's the reality of it.
And I think as an influencer, you can still have a creative life that is structured and focused and purpose-driven and has a like goal and not feel like you're flailing around. And I think that if you can get that focus and you can understand what you want your life to look like, and you understand what your audience wants from you and the kind of content you want to create. And hopefully those things overlap and you build your life around, giving people more of that.
I think that's like a, that can be a huge unlock and you can stop feeling like you're, you're chasing all of these other projects in a world that celebrates those overnight successes and those, those, you know, those moments of extreme virality.
"It's a good time to step back and put some parameters on yourself. What is the content you enjoy creating? What is the content your audience enjoys consuming, and what do you want out of your life? And cut the rest out, cause it's noise."
The real reality of like most successful people. It is the grind. I hear all the time. Influencers are overwhelmed with everything they're expected to do now. And I think if everything that's being thrown at you is overwhelming. It's a good time to step back and maybe put some parameters on yourself. What is the content you enjoy creating? What is the content your audience enjoys consuming, and what do you want outta your life? And cut the rest out, cuz it's noise. You'd be amazed. What a weight is lifted when you no longer feel like you're spiraling. And like every day that you wake up, you're not doing enough already because you, you have a plan, you have a path and you have that focus anyway