Today we are going to be taking about multi channel marketing, renaissance entrepreneurs. What I mean when I say this is that there is a portion of the business population who are multi-faceted and multi-talented and who don't want to get smushed down into a box. They want to be able to pursue their passions across multiple channels and learn about all different kinds of things that interest them.
Definition of a Renaissance Man
Miriam Webster defines a “Renaissance Man” as “a cultured man of the Renaissance who was knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields.”
Definition of a Renaissance Entrepreneur
Since Miriam was sorely lacking in a definition for Renaissance Entrepreneurs, let's get this out there so we can move on!
Renaissance Entrepreneurs are smart, passionate business people who are knowledgable, educated and proficient in a wide range of fields AND who share that knowledge with the world through building brands and companies that change the world.
I think that last part is super important to me because in this article we are talking about men and women who don't just have these kinds of interests and passions, but they are compelled to go out, learn about a genre and then turn and around and share it with the world via media properties like YouTube, podcasting, websites, books, movies and the like.
History of Renaissance Entrepreneurs
While there are hundreds of entrepreneurs from history that we could talk about, let's just look at a couple that fit in super nicely with this theme and who will give you a great overview of what Renaissance Men looked like while it was still socially acceptable to be brilliant at lots of things!
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci is one of my all time favorite old time content creators. Leonardo lived from April of 1452 to May of 1519, making him an old man for his time at 67 years when he passed. He was one of the first people who came to mind when I thought about “Big Content” which we will discuss later. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. According to art historian. Helen Gardner, he was “a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”. Hmmm sound like anyone you know?
Leonardo produced great works of art like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but he also delved into anatomy with with the Vitruvian Man, and came up with ideas for flying machines and manufacturing techniques.
facts about Leonardo from Wikipedia
Benjamin lived from January of 1706 to April of 1790, making him 84 when he passed (authors note: I have found that many of the true entrepreneurs and Renaissance men lived longer than the general population!) Ben was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. How neat is it that he was an actual media publisher, having owned the Pennsylvania Chronicle with two partners where he served as an editor and printer. “He became wealthy publishing Poor Richard's Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was also the printer of books for the Moravians of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1742 on)”
Along with his media activities and political affiliations, Ben played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania.
facts about Benjamin from Wikipedia
Who Are Multi Channel Entrepreneurs
Now that we have seen some of our brethren from the past, let's talk about who Multi Channel Entrepreneurs are. Specifically they are entrepreneurs who don't just have a lot of different interests that the float around to and from. Instead these are the rock stars who are not afraid to take risks and make something happen even though it can sometimes feel like they are jumping all over the place.
Here are some of my favorites from the current world of Renaissance Entrepreneurs:
Umbrella or Theme
I am feeling like there are are definitely two different kinds of Renaissance Entrepreneurs, those that have overlapping interests on a venn diagram and those that have all kinds of different interests that don't necessarily make sense to anyone but them.
While the overlapping circles are my recommendation, people like Marie Forleo definitely show that having totally diverse interests is possible.
That said, there is a one thing that IS an umbrella for all Marie's diverse bits, Marie herself. So even in the most extreme case I can find, there is still some kind of umbrella that covers all of her interests.
The Internet and Big Content
As you can see from the video above, Renaissance Entrepreneurs not only have diverse interests but, to be successful, they have to also show an outward manifestation of their work by producing BIG Content. This is where the Multi Channel marketing piece comes in. It is not just enough to have interests, but the turning point comes when they start producing content across a wide variety of channels. These can include:
- Social media
Functionally any sort of media that teaches, provides beauty or even just adds to the common good of humanity. It has been so interesting to me over the years, having spoken to almost 1,000 entrepreneurs that no two were going about their business in the same manner and that none shared exactly the same traits.
Renaissance Entrepreneurs are like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same!
Pitfalls To Being A Multi Channel Entrepreneur
The thing about being multi-faceted that is nice is all the rabbit holes you can chase down during a day, finding new things to learn about and being curious. The un-nice thing about being a Renaissance Entrepreneur is you can totally be so scattered and disorganized that nothing ever comes to fruition and you spend years working in circles with nothing to show for it.
There is a reason that the “squirrel” thing is so funny (that entrepreneurs see new shiney objects and yell squirrel, heading off in a new direction), it is because it is based in truth.
Have To Have Focus (Three Things)
While you can have multiple interests and goals, humans really cannot multi-task (Forbes says so, Why Multitasking Doesn't Work).
With that in mind, I (and all my coaching clients) focus on three things for three months. This makes us more structured and helps achieve more that we could if were all over the place doing a million things all at once.
After doing this for years, I have found that doing one or two things only bores entrepreneurs and that doing more than three becomes a juggling act that can't be sustained effectively. Three is the perfect number! Additionally, putting a three month timeline on it make it much more likely that the entrepreneur will stick with it. Having to commit for a year is sometimes too long to sustain and committing for only a few weeks or a month doesn't give anything time to work. Definitely three months is the magic number.
Old Dead Stuff Lying Around
If you are a true entrepreneur you probably have a bunch of “stuff” lying around. One time I had to delete over 10 websites that no longer served my purposes, totally built out, I paid for them for years, websites. There are two things to consider as a Renaissance Entrepreneur:
1. You might well be able to recycle something. One of my old sites was just hanging around and I considered letting her go, but instead I re-branded her with a realtor focus theme. While there was not a great benefit to having that site used, there were backlinks and other bits that made using it worthwhile.
2. Letting go of old bits feels SO good. If you have old ideas, plans and concepts lying around it can feel like you failed at a bunch of stuff. That you have tried and not completed many different things. Of course that is not true (as we will talk about in the next section) but stumbling upon some old videos or a blog that you abandoned can feel like unearthing a true dinosaur (and not the fun Barney type, the Jurassic Park, eat you type). If there really is a section of your business that is not serving you now, let it go! Take it down, delete the files, and truly let it go so that you won't keep “tripping” over it in the future.
I belong to Chris Brogan's daily-ish email group and one day he sent out a message that really hit a nerve with me about blowing everything up and starting over. I emailed back revealing that I had just had to shut down part of my business and take a step back and that it felt like a failure. This is what he said that helped so much…
“Failure's just an outcome you didn't expect. Remove some of the emotion from it and you'll see that it's all about learning and growing. If I were still sad that Grasshopper New Media wasn't what I wanted it to be back in 2006, you and I wouldn't be here.” Chris Brogan
I can't say it any better than that. Having to shift or reverse to get going again or any other “setback” can feel like failure, but thinking that it was just an outcome you didn't expect feels SO much better!
Changing the World
When I doing a video or writing a post or making a picture, I just hope it will help one person. Now some of my posts, books or pictures have achieved some level of success, but at the core all my goal is to make sure that I am doing my best to produce great content that will help someone be a better entrepreneur, business owner or person.
I love the Startfish Story that talks about a young boy throwing starfish back into the sea and the idea that while he can't save them all, the ones that he saves are helped immeasurably by his actions. Your content going out into the world is like that. It is helping people and making them better at something. Keep doing it…you are changing the world.
The Starfish Story
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)