076: Pre-work and Product Market Fit
☕️ I’m working on an edition where I talk about how to be ‘in the scene’ when you don’t live in London or New York. To be a valuable member of a scene, you will first need something that you can contribute to the scene. And that’s the topic of today’s letter.
💪 If you can’t afford to support this newsletter then don’t, but if you can you’ll be buying me a few extra minutes to refine the sentences, check the spelling again, and generally make this a little bit better for a thousand other creatives. Alright you got me, I spend the money on coffee okay, this thing is made of coffee. Thank you, for the coffee ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️
When I was developing my ‘style’ and product market fit, I would frequently comment on the work of artist I admired. More then one replied, it takes years to get here! Sure I took the same classes as them, but they’ve been working on it for hundreds or thousands of hours.
And I should need to accumulate those hours before I had something I was happy to show customers. And these are not Netflix and draw hours, these were focused intentional strategic hours developing the specific range of skills that I want to bring to the market.
There is a certain amount of work you need to do alone before you announce yourself to the market. In the meantime it’s important to dip into the market for feedback, and use that feedback to guide you.
The next phase is easier if you invest in this phase.
Product Market Fit
A portfolio review, or meeting should be at minimum an equal opportunity, you want to be an opportunity for the person you’re meeting. You want to at least have the potential to solve their problem. You need to know the problem they have that you might be able to solve.
It’s a mistake to think someone is going to look at your work and try to nurture it to a point that it can solve their problems. They have specific problems that need solving.
You need to decide the particular problems you want to solve for particular clients, then build a competency and be able to demonstrate this particular skill. Once you have a particular marketable skill, you’re off to the races. Until then the focus should be on getting this right.
In the startup world this is called a product-market fit.
Some current ‘problems that need solving’ (that I solve)
Through reading trade journals and attending ‘Live’ online classes. And scheduling one-on-one zoom calls with top pros and industry professionals, I was able to discover a set of problems/opportunities that aligned with my interests and competencies.
The need for distinctive yet commercially viable styles, with a tactile analog feel.
The need for narrative nonfiction for the picture-book market
The need for diversity in subject matter (and creators)
The need for joyful and humorous stories and characters
The ability to draw a variety of ‘boring’ subjects in interesting ways.
🕵️♀️ Discover a space to concentrate your skills and talent, you are not looking to bend to market needs rather you are looking for overlaps between your interest and existing needs.
Spend 500 hours becoming the solution to this market need that you have discovered and defined for yourself.
Ps: Yeah, it takes audacity to be an artist, to believe that you are the solution to what the market needs.