Years ago, Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired Magazine and amazing beard haver
, wrote a post called 1000 True Fans.
It’s one of the most-read articles on the internet on this topic. I’ve heard it referenced by no less than a dozen other podcasters, authors, and coaches.
What it states is that if you, as an artist, for example, were able to create 1000 true fans - people that came to all of your shows, bought all of your albums, all your merch, and paid to be part of your fan club - and the amount that those true fans spent each year was $100, you’d have a six figure business.
That’s great and all…but what if we don’t charge $100?
What if we sell something that only costs $20?
Or what if there’s no way that we could service 1000 clients in a year, as each project takes 6-8 weeks to complete?
This is where Minimum Viable Audience comes into play.
Coined by Seth Godin - one of the best marketing minds on the planet - it simply asks us to look into the numbers a bit to determine how many clients we actually need.
It’s fairly simple - say you are a wedding photographer and you’d like to make $100,000 per year.
Your average wedding is $1,500.
How many weddings do you need per year?
Now, is that doable? Probably, if you want to have a wedding every weekend and one or more a month during the week, sure!
What if you want to only do 20 weddings a year?
Well then you need to raise your rates to $5,000 - or charge $2,500 for the wedding and $2,500 for prints…
See how this works?
One more example: Say you sell something you make, like dresses.
Your average order from someone who purchases from you is $60.
How many people do you need to sell to to make $100,000?
Now, what if we were able to sell to those people three times a year, because you’re constantly releasing new fabrics or new designs?
Cut that number down to 555 people.
Now you have a goal to reach for this year - 555 people, each purchasing an average of three times, for at least $60 each time.
This is how you determine YOUR minimum viable audience.