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[FIRST: PRINCIPLES] - Minimum Viable Audience

This week's issue is sponsored by Benchmark - a new tool to help creatives, artists, and small busine
[FIRST: PRINCIPLES] - Minimum Viable Audience
This week’s issue is sponsored by Benchmark - a new tool to help creatives, artists, and small business owners better understand how to start, fix, and grow their business.
Learn more at

The Minimum Viable Audience and How It Can Save Your Business
Many creators and artists get into business to reach everyone.
To affect the entire world with their art or their work.
While unrealistic, that doesn’t dampen the passion that artists have about what they do.
However, I’ve seen a number of times where artists give up because they aren’t #1, or making millions of dollars, or have millions of fans or subscribers.
That’s a problem that we can prevent ever happening again!
We just need to look at our businesses a different way.
Enter: The Minimum Viable Audience
Last week I wrote about the importance of knowing your numbers. This week I want to put that principle into practice.
How Many People Do You Actually Need?
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.
What If You Don't Know?
I understand this kind of numbers game is not one that everyone enjoys playing as much as I do.
But I would encourage you to play it at least once, as it may surprise you how few, or how many, people you actually need to have the kind of business you want to have.
Gaining that knowledge about your business will help you better lead and grow your business to be something that can support the life you want.
That’s a good enough reason to run the numbers, if you ask me.
See you next week!
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Daren Smith | Craftsman Creative

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