A friend of mine posted a cool quote from the Founder of Basecamp: “If you merely replicate competition, there is no point to your existence.”
My friend (who is VERY well connected, respected and followed) went on to say: Do something different.
Hundreds and hundreds of comments ensued, from big names, small names, up and coming names… all saying the same thing: “love this”, “so good”, “this is how I run my business,” “yes, 100%” etc etc etc
I know A LOT of the people commenting mean well. They believe they are truly creative and creating and innovating and leading.
But, they’re just NOT.
Sorry. Not sorry.
Because every single one of them are CAPABLE of truly innovating and leading and creating truly unique, extraordinary, ICONIC businesses, but they’re just NOT.
Some of them have good businesses. Successful. With big revenues and great influence.
But, they spend their days toiling on a business that is steeped in mainstream strategy and philosophies.
They assess the competition – and they fill gaps in the market.
They research and listen to their audience – and create what their audience wants.
They run SWOT analyses. They have cool high ticket pricing plans. They scale and iterate.
But they don’t truly LEAD.
Beyond winning and influence though is a whole category that very few entrepreneurs really, truly understand and enter.
There is a vast difference between those who follow, compete and defer to their market in the mainstream and those who are Iconic.
Icons have no competition. They pay no attention to the people around them. They don’t look backward or sideways. They only look forward. They create a unique and innovative pathway with their gift. They’ve got a legend, a history, a narrative that’s built into their persona that goes much deeper than a typical brand story. People treat icons differently. They treat them with reverence and awe. They listen more carefully and emulate more fervently. Icons behave like they deserve every accolade, dollar, and award, celebrating their extraordinariness alongside their followers.
Sounds lofty, right? And it is. But not to a true pioneer. Not to someone who is supremely frustrated by everything holding them back in mainstream.
We measure Icons every day of the week at Icons Incorporated where we represent some of the biggest and brightest innovators on the planet. Over time, I came to realise there are traits they all share. Some take hard work, others come naturally, but ALL are present in enduring, modern Icons.
- They have significant, audacious goals.
- They are an extreme pioneer. A revolutionary.
- They create a category of one.
- They have a unique point of view.
- They have brave, polarizing opinions.
- They are producers, bringing ideas into action.
- Their personal brands are inexorably attached to their business.
- They have multiple streams of income.
- They have supreme magnetism.
- They have devoted, evangelical fans.
- They have created what I call a Disruptive Legacy: They shaped the world, creating extraordinary change that will last well beyond their lifetime.
Richard Branson. Walt Disney. Anita Roddick. Vera Wang. Michael Jordan.
Measure them against those 11 traits, and they fit every time.
Moving from Mainstream to Iconic
All of those hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs who were so taken with the idea of doing something different, might be extremely pleased to know that Iconic stature is available to them by unlearning all of the mainstream strategies they have been conditioned to live by in their businesses.
Reverse the strategy – it starts with you (not your market), create your magical world (create what YOU know to be extraordinary and TRUST that), choose who you want to work with (start at the top, hold steady), gate yourself off (become truly untouchable and lead properly as the pied piper), innovate and create and grow (I mean REALLY not that pretending stuff where you take what someone else has done and make some tweaks and call yourself a creator or innovator or leader), and let your audience pay to experience you (and your pricing has no ceiling which is why our clients are commanding $40m deals etc). And beyond this is building your Iconic Empire where you think expansively about commercial opportunities outside of what the mainstream market tells you is possible, and build multiple wealth streams.
That paragraph right there might be the most important paragraph you could read as a potential Icon who is stuck in mainstream land, frustrated as all hell as a true innovator, pretending to be one right now.
The truth is you are not living your true potential in mainstream land.
You’re dumbing yourself down.
You’re watering down your gifts.
You’re wasting your genius.
So, I beg of you stop wasting time pretending to be an innovator and creator and leader.
Do it properly. Like Steve Jobs. Like Henry Ford. Like Sara Blakely. (But unlike them because Icons don’t copy… lol)
Become Iconic. It’s not easy. But it’s delicious and potent and magical and extraordinary. And those 40m deals… well. That’s just the start.
Come with me. Play big. Become Iconic. Build your Iconic Empire.
P.S. Want to dig deeper into your Iconic idea and build an Iconic Empire? My new Masterclass, “Beyond Influence” is live right now. Here’s the link.