Reinventing Your Career in The Influencer Economy with Ryan Williams


I was interested in Ryan Williams‘”Reinvent your Career in an Influencer Economy” talk on the Influencer Economy because I’ve been working on pivoting #Hashtaggery into a micro influencer marketplace where advertisers can reach micro-influencers with the kind of scale that larger influencers give them.

Here are my notes from the excellent presentation from which I drew a great deal of inspiration and interest, all stuff I can apply directly to the projects I’m working on.

If there were such a thing as a Horatio Alger story for the influencer economy, Ryan Williams would be the poster child. Rising from the lowly depths of stand-up comedy (just kidding, some of my best friends are lowly stand-up comics), Ryan reinvented himself with intention and forethought and created his own course in the world.

First, as the host of the ongoing podcast Stories from the Influencer Economy where over five years he has attracted such notable influencers as marketing legend Seth Godin, What’s Trending creator Shira Lazar, filmmaker Freddie Wong, and many, many others. This experience grew into writing and launching The Influencer Economy book and on to his forthcoming Influencer School.

Craft a Big Vision
Find what drives you and start. Think big for the longer term. But pick a smaller project to pursue, something attainable and doable that supports the big vision.

Pick Your Platform
This does not mean to chose Mac vs PC [but if you have a choice, Mac is the answer]. Instead it means to “be” the platform. Embrace your personality. Also, there’s a tactical part to this too: find a brand name, create a logo, and buy the domain.

Book your own gigs
This is one of many places that Ryan’s background as a standup paid off. Find every possible place you can to talk and present about your product. To create a speaking tour for his book, Ryan ran an entire tour which he booked himself. He partnered with General Assembly to do it.

Adopt New Technology
Influencers are tech-curious. It doesn’t mean you have to go all-in on every new tech that comes along. Be aware. Experience it. Also, start building your email list ASAP. It is the lifeblood of the Influencer.

Or as he likes to say “co-lab.” He spoke a LOT about collaboration. One way is to collaborate with your community and they will feel more invested in your project. Listen. He used his podcast listeners as a source to copyedit and read his book and to vote on cover options as he was writing it. He was’t beholden to every (or any) suggestion that was made and the payoff was that when he launched the book, he had a community that felt invested in his project. Collaboration is in the DNA of influencers. When you want to work with influencers, don’t ask to have coffee with them. Ask to collaborate on something. They see they payback that happens with collaboration.

Be a Giver
Avoid takers. Givers give back.Takers only take. If you are going to open metaphoric doors for other people, make sure you are opening them for people who give back. Don’t worry it that giveback is direct or indirect, if you are reaching out to givers, it comes back one way or another. Develop a way to separate the two and focus on the givers. Influencers are givers.

Meet People In Real Life
Attend conferences. Figure out a way to make a smaller conference out of a bigger one. For example, at the mammoth VidCon event, he created and Influencer Lunch. There, influencers met each other and started collaborations which, even though he wasn’t directly part of, he was part of because he brought them together.

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Ryan Williams’ book The Influencer Economy: How to Launch Your Idea, Share It with the World, and Thrive in the Digital Age is available on Amazon Now. [Click here to buy it.]

If you are in the greater Pasadena area (or anywhere in LA for that matter) and would like to attend Innovate Pasadena‘s Friday morning speaker series, the best thing to do is join the Meetup group. They communicate regularly there about upcoming sessions.