The Art of a Kickstart (to Get What You Want Fast)
Spread your ideas like wildfire by igniting them with a bit of kindling
It was Saturday, October 18th, 2014.
I had just made my way through swarms of Londoners to the Prince Charles Cinema by Leicester Square.
The afternoon sun faded like lights before a show as I scanned the crowd looking for my friend. Diana and I had met five weeks prior through a mutual connection. We had bonded quickly as we were both twenty-four and new to London, from Canada.
So when she invited me to tag along to the Kickstarter Film Fest, I saw it as a win-win. It was an opportunity to attend a cool event and kickstart a new social circle.
Kickstarter in London
Kickstarter is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps creators raise money for creative projects. They came to London, in 2014, for a four-day event that culminated in the Kickstarter Film Fest.
I hadn’t thought about the event in ages. But on Thursday the memory came flooding back.
I’ll fill you in shortly. But first, let’s take a stroll down analogy lane.
A Powerful Analogy
I think in analogies. I always have. Maybe it’s the learning designer in me but I kickstart my process of understanding by relating something new to something old (and by old, I mean something I already understand). Enter analogy galore.
Teaching Tip: Once students have contextualized something new based on something they already understand, you have the green light to pile on more information.
Here’s an analogy I want you to think about (as you’re reading, reflect on whether you’ve seen this dynamic play out):
My question to you is, what’s something you want to kickstart and how are you going to “open the bag”?
Here’s an example to get you thinking. On Monday, I posted a Twitter thread I’d rewritten after it got a measly six likes on Saturday.
I hadn’t catered my delivery to my target audience so I tuned up the thread and then did something I had never done before. Based on a suggestion from Rob Lennon’s Twitter growth course, I messaged nine people asking them to kickstart engagement on my post.
I had low expectations. So low, I turned to the friend I was coworking with and said:
“I doubt people will engage but I’m proud of myself. Because having the confidence to ask for help is more than a step forward for me, it’s a lunge.”
But guess what? All nine people came through.
Three people Retweeted it and everyone else liked the post and commented. On top of that, one of them—Ed Latimore—also Retweeted a thread I wrote in May about making my first $100 online.
Ed has over 195K followers, so needless to say it catapulted my reach.
More importantly, though, it meant a lot because I have huge admiration for Ed. I attended a workshop of his on Sunday through Write of Passage and he’s built an impressive niche around creating impact.
His background is a fusion of physics, writing, and professional boxing. And his words pack a punch.
My point is, the real win in kickstarting something is people you admire adding kindling to your spark.
Driving, Destinations & Signals
I’ve been approached about becoming a recruiter a handful of times in the past ten years. At one point, during my stint in London, I considered it because I was referring so many people to recruitment agencies I felt like I should be earning a commission.
I’ve always loved connecting people but there’s a correlation between how clear someone is about what they’re looking for and how quickly I can connect them with someone who can help.
Think of it like driving. If you’re clear on your destination—or at least the next pit stop on the way to the destination—it’s easy for those who have completed the journey to offer directions. But if you ask people for directions before you figure out where you’re trying to go, you put them in an awkward situation. Even if they want to help you, they can’t.
This is where plotting destinations in your GPS and signalling as you drive come in. You have to make it clear to people where you’re going and how they can create space for you to cruise ahead.
I want to grow my social media following to grow my business. So I’ve set a goal to reach 10K engaged followers on Twitter. Here’s why.
When I see someone who looks to be an expert in their field, it’s usually because they offer:
Resources they’ve created
Clear and compelling profile
Robust feed of quality content
Vulnerable stories of failure on the road to success
When someone hits all those notes and has amassed 10K followers, I think “damn, this person clearly knows their stuff.” That makes them someone I want to learn from.
I want to adhere to those standards myself. I want to get more messages like this about people finding me and wanting to go down a rabbit hole of my work because it’s that good:
My 10K target isn’t a vanity metric. It’s symbolic of my desire to 10x my Twitter engagement from my current 1K standing. I want daily exchanges with smart, kind, interesting people who care about learning and development to be the drumbeat of my network expansion.
How You Can Help me
The people I admire most are those who tell me to think big. Then when I do, they tell me to think bigger. So my target deadline to hit 10K is my birthday, December 1st. That’s in 28 days.
The odds are against me. But I’m going to make Twitter growth my priority for the next four weeks, and if I fail miserably, “BFD” as my uncle—or Michael Scott from The Office—would say.
I’ll evaluate my growth and adjust my approach for the following month. Win-win, right?
In the meantime, if you want to help me reach my goal—or proactively dodge a message asking you to kickstart a post—here’s how you can support me. When you enjoy something I share, please like it, comment on it, and/or Retweet it. Bonus points for liking every Tweet in a thread.
It would help me tremendously in expanding my reach.
How I Can Help You
I would love to reciprocate Twitter engagement to help you boost your following. So here’s what I propose if you want to take me up on it:
Hit reply with a link to your Twitter profile and I’ll add you to a list of people to engage with regularly.
Shoot me a link to a specific Tweet or thread when you want to kickstart one.
Let’s support each other as we grow.
Your Weekly Challenge
I know I’ve asked you this already but I want to circle back so it’s fresh. What’s something you want to kickstart and how are you going to “open the bag”?
Remember, people you admire can’t add kindling to your spark unless you ask them to.
That’s all for today. Thank you for reading.
If you enjoyed this week’s edition, please like, comment, or share this post with friends. It would help me tremendously in expanding my reach.
Wishing you a wonder-full week,
P.S. I had a good laugh when a friend messaged me yesterday saying “So you've recruited Ed to your Twitter team?!” That’s definitely an overstatement. But it speaks to the gravity of well-respected leaders throwing weight behind what you share. People notice.