Stand-up comedians may be the artistic equivalent of startup entrepreneurs. You look foolish, all your most passionate goals are exposed to the world and, in most cases, you will fail. However, in each failure, the best of us will get up on stage again until only the most persistent and insightful remain to win.
Kevin Hart shared his hard-earned lessons on a recent Oprah Masterclass podcast. He kept banging his head against the wall until people began stealing his work - literally. Then he found success.
People don't care how they get your knowledge
After years as a stand-up comedian, Hart said he kept trying - and failing - to break into Hollywood as a comedic actor. His big break? A silly, low-budget movie called Soul Plane. However, the momentum behind it was strong and it was expected to be a moderate, if not big success for its size.
The problem is that it was bootlegged more than six month before it hit the theaters. People were watching the movie on DVD at home shortly after Hart finished filming the scenes. It was so bad, Hart said that a tone-deaf fan asked him to sign a copy of the Soul Plane DVD - weeks before it even hit the theatres.
The film flopped. Hart was livid.
Then he went back on the road and, suddenly, his stand-up rates went up. Why? Everyone had the bootleg of his big Hollywood debut - and were asking for him by name. They didn't bootleg the movie to disrespect him and his craft. They bootlegged the movie because they couldn't wait to get more of him and his craft.
In his words, that heavily bootlegged movie broke open his career - and Hollywood came calling again shortly thereafter. Today, he's one of the highest paid comedians in the world.
You shouldn't care how they get your knowledge, either
Here's the lesson: Give people access to you and they will get to know you and eventually support your work with both attention and money. Withholding your insight - holding back your light for the so-called perfect moment - means that audiences are only getting a muted version of your gift.
It is one of the reasons why I freely talk about my book content on major podcasts, share my coaching insights on social media, and reveal hard-earned wisdom to audiences I speak to whether it is a paid gig or not. It shifts the intention from hording secrets to building a tribe, and that very same tribe will be the same group that will pay for your services and help market your big idea when the time is right.
The deeper you get into your craft, the harder it is to duplicate - turning you bulletproof, as I share in The Productive Bite-Sized Entrepreneur. So it's not a matter of how people get to you, but that they get you, and the clearer your voice, the quicker they will realize how much you resonate with them - and the sooner they will happily give you the resources you need to continue your path.