Matt W. Kane

Body of Work

Body of work: Finding the thread that ties her story together.
by Pamela Slim

Chapter 1: your body of work.

  • After decades of observing my dad work, I realize that he was just not building a career (although he was very successful professional photographer) to see but he was creating a deep and rich body of work that not only had great meaning and significance to him but also created considerable change and value in his community. It didn’t really matter if the project was overwhelming, or even impossible; if it’s fit with his vision of what he wanted to create for himself and the world, he embraced it. It was an inspiring lesson for me.
  • How do you make sense of your career and a work environment that no longer has any predictable career paths?
  • I have watched organizations start, grow, shrink and implode. I have sat across the table from longtime employees and watch them get laid off. I have helped start hundreds of new companies. From these experiences I know the following to be true: no one is looking out for your career anymore. You must find meaning, locate opportunities, sell yourself and plan for failure, calamity and unexpected disasters. You must develop a set of skills that makes you able to earn an income in as many ways possible.

Chapter 2: define your roots.

  • When you face difficult moments, I like to ask the following questions:
    • Why are you doing this (business, parenting, difficult project, and job?)
    • What will happen if you succeed?
    • Will it be worth it even if you fail?
    • Why does it matter?
    • What will you regret not doing?
    • What will you rejoice leaving as a legacy at the end of your life?
  • If you ask him what is at the root of his work, his passion becomes visible on his face and resonates in his voice. “I don’t want any child, anywhere, to suffer from bullying.”
  • Eric Proul is a filmmaker who is inspired by the city of Detroit. He made a documentary called Lemonade: Detroit about the rebirth of a city plagued by poverty.

Chapter 3: name your ingredients.

  • This element of support from people who have been through it before is the core ingredient in Dan’s latest venture, his website www.clarity.FM which connects entrepreneurs with questions to experts who have answers. Dan’s vision is to reach 1 billion people in the next 10 years with his “instant mentorship” startup.

Chapter 4: choose your work mode.

  • Most people are not aware of the many ways they can apply their various talents to different work modes in order to earn a living while creating a meaningful body of work.
  • Suddenly it all makes sense. You realize that you are not broken or noncommittal or afraid of your own success. The reason you can’t find your One True Calling is because you don’t have a singular calling, you have many. The zigzagging, the sporadic obsessions, the weird side projects, they all now fit. They make sense.
  • Questions to ask yourself to help find new markets (assuming they are aligned with your roots and that you can really put your ingredients to work.
    • Is there a larger company that serves my market and has something that would truly help my customers grow and develop?
    • Is there something I have to offer a larger company that serves their market and could offer significant value to their customers?
  • If you are still working a corporate job, a side hustle is a great way to test and try new business ideas. It can also be part of your backup plan in case you lose your job.
  • They would be safer if they viewed their employer as a client. A side hustle is a form of courier insurance.
  • Freelance websites.
    • Gorkana Jobs alert:
  • Virtual assistant sites.

Chapter 5: create and innovate.

  • You may think that Mike’s story is about a one in 1 million chance of getting a big break by being discovered by someone famous. It’s not. Mike’s story is about an 18-year-old kid who mastered the most important skill of his era: creative innovative work that opens the door to opportunity.
  • In the new world of work, our ability to create a powerful body of work is what will determine our ongoing employability.
  • Your creative work will tell your story. And in order to tell a story, you have to get it out of your head and into the world.
  • As Scott Belsky, the author of making ideas happen, says about the future of work: “we will ultimately live in a perpetual data driven how it edition. Everything you create will be measured and tracked by others through comments, shares and likes. Your work will come up on the radar of potential employees and clients, and the data that will tell them if you are worth talking to or hiring.
  • Scott goes on to say that in all the years he has been writing and speaking about taking action and managing a creative business, the one piece of advice that helps the most people is to “tell people about what you are working on, especially when it feels immature or you worry about someone stealing it. You get priceless feedback. If it’s a bad idea, you get an amount of accountability tell people, here is what I’m working on. It is launching in three months. Then you will have two sweat it out to launch in three months.
  • Unfortunately, we often focus too much on the outcome of our creative projects instead of the fun, and often painful process of bringing them to life.
  • Learn patience. My mother-in-law has taught me that Dine people have ceremonies for every part of life. There are ceremonies at a baby’s first laugh, at puberty, and for the changing seasons. There are water ceremonies and lightning ceremonies and blessing ceremonies. In the sacred gatherings, conversation is slow and deliberate and unhurried. An elder can take an entire hour to share a teaching, or bless a meal. I have watched elders see young person squirm with impatience, then choose to talk slower and longer. They do this because they know that learning to settle down and develop patients is going to help the young developed thoughtfulness, depth and wisdom.
  • These can certainly help. But what will make or break your entrepreneurial journey is: the ability to think like a scientist. What I mean specifically is a willingness to create a working hypothesis, test it, observed with curiosity, ask why, tweak, retest, observed, until you are satisfied.
  • Few people are as enthusiastic and relentless, about testing as my friend Ramit Sethi. In a recent blog post, he lays out numerous examples of the power of testing your assumptions. My favorite is the best man who spent seven months perfecting a wedding toast.
  • Who were to have known that given a choice, more people would click a button that says “it’s free” rather than “sign up free or free sign up.” Or that changing a sign-up button color from green to red with boost conversation by 21%?
  • Look for models: the first place I send clients who are trying to do something totally new is in the search of business models that are already working.
  • Define the phases.
    • Define the target market.
    • Identify the key desires, problems are challenges in their area of expertise.
    • Create an initial offering of a product or service that solves the target markets problem.
    • Test the offering with a set number of ideal participants (at this stage, she can choose not to charge for it) to see.
    • Debrief the test and determine how it could be replicated.
    • Identify partners with access to the ideal target market.
    • The lot more offerings, perhaps of partners, and test them again.
    • Flesh out the business plan with lessons learned, identifying a ripe offering that can grow.
    • Accelerate marketing machine, which includes building a mailing list, utilizing social media and PR effectively, and participating in live events. Develop an online product to sell to the market when the list grows.
    • Test, debrief and continue building products and services.

Chapter 6: surf the fear.

  • If you are desperately searching for the answer to one question and not finding it, try asking another question.

Chapter 7: collaborate.

  • You will have everything in your life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.— Zig Ziglar.
  • There is a new type of intelligence, as important as intellectual quotient IQ and emotional quotient EQ, which she calls connectional intelligence. Connection no intelligence CxQ is the ability to build and realize value from networks of relationships, to harness units of knowledge and reuse them to innovate, to convene communities and to help Marshall a variety of resources for breaking through results.
  • The ability to bring together different kinds of people and ideas to foster the recombination of different ideas, and to see things from a different perspective—is a key part of connectional intelligence.
  • Are creating an encouraging “sparring zones”— places where people of very different backgrounds can discuss and debate ideas, and an open and healthy way.
  • No individual or company stands alone in its market. There are a whole group of other companies that market to the same people.
  • One fun way I like to help people figure out which is their primary network role is to ask questions like: “how would you get to the moon?” And take note of their instinctual response. Connectors think of anyone they know who may know someone who works at NASA. Mavens run through different scenarios and calculations to determine exactly what the task entails. Would they be flying in the rocket? Does NASA have any plans to fly to the moon, or are Mars and Jupiter more of a budget priority? Salesman think about what powerful story they could tell to convince Richard Branson that they are a great candidate for the next commercial airline flight to the moon.

Chapter 8: the definition of success.

  • I would have to be out there with people all the time and wouldn’t be able to spend days at home reenergizing. She is an introvert according to the Myer Briggs test, which means she needs time alone to recharge your battery.

Chapter 9: share your story.

  • At the end of the presentation, although I wouldn’t admit it to anyone in public, I still had no idea what the project was about. Seriously. None whatsoever. And I was no green bean; I had participated in large projects in large organizations for many years. Finally, once I was able to corner a smart looking person, I said, “can you tell me in 10 words or less what this project is about?” Sure, he said, it is a re-organization. They could have saved 299 slides and four hours worth of my billable time if they had just said those four words. There is a conspiracy cooked up by marketing wonks, consultants and executives to pay for words by the pound, and to question the intelligence of a corporate professional who does not create complex and obtuse presentations. They are wrong. Your instinct to keep things clean and simple is right.