By any definition, Beyoncé is a superstar entertainer, so it’s hard to believe that she would release an album without any fanfare or advance warning. But that’s exactly what she did when she dropped her fifth solo album, a “visual album” of 14 original songs and 17 music videos.
What can you take away from this move? The importance of connecting directly with your fans — and for “fans” you can substitute clients, customers or what you will. “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” the singer said in a statement. “There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”
Many of the most successful businesses and professionals have managed to create this kind of personal connection. And it’s working for Beyoncé: She sold 80,000 copies of the album within the first three hours.
Originality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Candy Crush took the mobile gaming world by storm, but not because of its originality. “Crossing the arbitrary waiting of Farmville with the one-more-swipe addictiveness of Bejeweled catapulted Candy Crush into something that no one had seen before,” says Adam Toren, a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. Which is to say that originality plays second fiddle to perfection in the tech world.
The best organizational or note-taking app is likely to share elements with other apps of its kind. Your goal when building a new app should be to cross-breed and perfect existing ideas, says Toren. “The best way to find ideas for your next app is on the top free/paid lists on any app marketplace.”
Ignore your email in the morning.
Email is a useful tool, but too often we let one aggravating or demanding email set the tone for our day. Instead of rolling over in bed to pick up your phone and check email first thing in the morning, wait until you’ve set a plan of action for the day. Or at least wait to respond until you’ve showered and eaten breakfast, recommends James Reinhart, the co-founder of thredUp.com, a fashion resale website. “Immediately getting into an email conversation with a colleague is the fastest way to derail a productive morning,” he says. “Remember the old adage your emergency is not my problem? Its the same with email.”
Your first employee should be a generalist.
Making your first hire as the founder of a new company can be a tense and difficult process. Should you hire someone who is simpatico with you, or someone who will challenge your assumptions? There are sound arguments to be made on both sides. One thing you should do is to hire a generalist, says Karim Abouelnaga, the founder of Practice Makes Perfect, a nonprofit that works with underprivileged students.
When it comes to employee No. 1, he says, “I’ve found that having someone who is good at a few things is better than having a colleague that is an expert at one or two areas.” Unless you badly need help with technical issues or a specific facet of the business, don’t hire a bonafide expert just yet.
Learn from the best.
When Josh Flagg, a real-estate agent who stars on the Bravo network TV show Million Dollar Listing LA, was a kid, he spent his Sundays going to open houses. “By the time I was in high school, I already knew several top brokers,” he says. One broker in particular captivated him with his ability to sell clients on home purchases. “This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I would go home and practice saying the same things he said,” Flagg says. “There are probably scripts for your field too — learn them from the top producers.”