One of 1,000

Have you encountered the concept that you only need 1,000 true fans to make a living as an artist or a creator (of products and services)?

It's a concept introduced by Kevin Kelly in 2008 and non-mainstream artists and creators of every kind, from all over the world, are already applying this concept to make a living through their art. After all, all of us are artists. But, not all of us can become mainstream.

This concept (together with the rise of the internet) allowed creators to make a living even when they cannot compete with the bigger players and corporations. This concept gave us, that's you and me, hope. We only need to find a niche big enough for us to find 1,000 true fans. And that's very doable.

Ever since my high school classmate introduced me to the 1,000 true fans concept earlier this year, I became obsessed (in a good way) with having 1,000 true fans on the blog. This concept is also one of the reasons why I put up a paid subscription—to know who my true fans are. (But, really, I don't like using the word "fan." It's not personal. I'd rather use the word "friend.")

But, sometimes, I obsess with it so much that I forget that 1,000 true fans are made up of 1,000 individuals. Of one special person, and then another, and then another. I forget to write for one person. I usually write for a thousand. Whenever I write for a thousand, I forget to think about what the individual would like to know. I forget to listen. I forget to become genuinely interested in them.

It's a mistake we usually make in this world obsessed with volume and profit. We forget to love and serve each individual comprising the whole. We'd like to serve the poor someday, but we often forget to help and love the one poor person already right in front of us. (I'm guilty of this.) We forget to give our best for an audience of one. We forget to listen. That's why most businesses, and even our art, are becoming impersonal.

How about you? Are you still listening to your individual customers? Are you still listening to the individuals in your team? Are your products and services still helpful to them on a personal level?

It's always great to dream big. To dream of 1,000. But, you cannot get there without taking care of and building a genuine relationship with each one.