This Is MeAnalytical and Creative
How do you pick a title for yourself when your passions vary so much and you’re constantly learning and trying new things.
Some would say entrepreneur, but if it’s not always for business then what are you? Despite the ambiguity and snaking life path, the thread that has tied all of my passions together has always been creativity combined with analysis to bring value into the world. Sometimes that world is my family, sometimes that world is the world.
The first time I accidentally came upon entrepreneurship, without even realizing it, was in elementary school. The hot topic around that time was Pokemon cards. My friends were always comparing and showing off their new cards, trading them, and eventually they were actually banned from school because they were a distraction and big point of controversy. But before that happened I used to observe my friends that had lots of these cards. Some worth more than others, some more common and less valuable. I did notice one thing though, they often had multiples.
I used this excess to my advantage by simply asking for any cards that they had many multiples of and didn’t care to keep. At first I only had a few, but then my collection grew, and I began trading a few cards for higher value cards. I eventually got to a point where I had a card binder half full of these pieces of printed cardboard. I think I had only purchased 1 card that was in there. I didn’t care for them, I just did it for fun, and because I could.
But when a neighbour of mine came up to me and said “I’d like to buy those from you”. My immediate reaction was yes please! But we were young, and he needed his parents’ permission, and I mine. After a discussion with my mother of what’s going on I eventually met at his house to show the binder of cards, and they paid me $20 for it. With a little bit of work, I had taken the unwanted duplicate cards of many people, and turned it into a valuable asset to sell for much more than I paid (almost nothing).
Of course none of this was clear to me until much later in life. Now that I think of it, only when I started studying marketing and business did this story dawn on me. Despite this innate sense of commerce it wasn’t even an easy or direct path into marketing either. My creativity had been very strong near the end of high-school, and through an encouraging girlfriend (my wife now), and a jumpstart to performance through a high school musical I decided music was going to be my career. I loved to create art, and create something that others appreciated and valued.
I attended a 1-year music program at Douglas College, I had a rock band, and was teaching music, but after analyzing the path ahead of myself, and the path other musicians have taken I realized the catalyst for a music career wasn’t just the music. It was marketing, a story, a deep connection that’s created with a specific audience. I began studying these new theories, learning new skills about graphic design, branding, messaging, storytelling, and building a tribe. I listened to podcasts on social media, on building an audience, starting a business, entrepreneurship, and so much more…
I soon became so entrenched in the world of marketing I found myself enjoying it as much as the music. The fact that there is a creative component, but to do it well, an analytical component too, really struck a chord with me (pun intended), and even more so with content marketing.
What really put it over the top though was the realization that even a successful music career, likely touring, would not create a life that I wanted for my future family. Clearly marketing and entrepreneurship was going to be the way I make my living, and music would take a back seat.
Now long story short, I’ve worked in marketing positions, provided freelance marketing and consulting, and now I’m taking a deep dive into this world of content marketing because I connect with the way that it very clearly provides value for an audience in order to build trust.
This fits with my key value as a person, relationships, as opposed to the advertising and interruption side of marketing. But it does seem incredibly hard for small business marketers to provide content on a large scale, sustain quality, manage it, optimize it, and prove that it’s actually working. We might not be Red Bull, but success is still possible without that level of resources. This is exactly why I’ve started my latest project, Methodic Content – to learn myself, and to help other small business marketers learn to create effective content marketing strategies. I’ll help you analyze a very creative side of marketing so you can create value for your business and its tribe.
So I guess you could call me an entrepreneur, technically. But whatever you call me, call me passionate.
Joel M Harrison