Are You What's Missing?
A tale of two mindsets.
*Note: this is part 7 in a series. Start here.
When I started the KyleBrush Photoshop brush business, there were already literally thousands of free Photoshop brushes floating around on the web, ready to download. Free brushes. Thousands of them.
And I had the NERVE to charge for mine.
Why should I have even bothered entering such a crowded market?
I may as well have been introducing a new breakfast cereal.
But hang on a minute– let’s actually take a look at breakfast cereal. Even with over 70 cereal production brands in the U.S. producing thousands of different cereals (there were over 4,500 in 2012, alone!), new brands emerge every year and try their luck.
What does this tell us? It tells us that the demand for breakfast cereal is still, shockingly, large enough to allow for new competition. Supply < demand, in this case. In fact, demand continues to grow. Apparently, the global breakfast cereal market grew from $67.55 billion in 2022 to $71.95 billion in 2023, according to the Breakfast Cereal Global Market Report.
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You can’t throw a cheeseburger on the corner of a New York street without hitting three restaurants. You would think there are far too many to begin with, yet every year, new restaurants open up. And some succeed.
Simply put: a crowded market is not always a blocker to the success of new players entering the field. This is really the key question: is there enough demand to allow room for more suppliers?
Let’s talk about you. Say you’re a creative professional looking to enter a new market. Regarding the competitive landscape in your particular area of interest, what is your mindset going into it?
The way I see it, there are two ways to look at things:
1. “This market is really crowded. I’ll just get lost.”
2. “This market is really crowded but it’s still missing something: ME.”
If you can shift into this second mindset, you will be amazed at how everything changes. Your confidence in your ideas, the creativity and enthusiasm you bring to your business plan, and the drive you find within yourself to succeed will all feed off of this new belief. And since you have convinced yourself that YOU are what’s missing, this will also allow you to more clearly see those unique traits you bring to the equation, thus helping you to design your personal brand in a more authentic way and help you stand out from the crowd.
This mindset was a great help to me, to say the least. Despite how crowded the brush market was, I decided that not only were my brushes the thing that was missing from artists’ lives, but that they could truly transform the brush experience for everyone. And as I explained above, this mindset allowed me to more quickly hit upon a clear message about how my own brush sets were different. Even superior. I could use this messaging repeatedly to set myself apart right out of the gate.
And it helped drive a lot of sales.
The crazy thing is that this brand message of mine wasn’t even a new concept or idea. What made it work was something embarrassingly simple: I merely said it out loud when others did not.
I’ll tell you about it in next week’s issue.
Meanwhile, start thinking about why we all need you and your talents. How is the art world, the business world, the design world, or any other world empty without you? I may have written about the fact that none of us are all that different in some ways, but you’ll recall that I also wrote about how each of us have unique talents and abilities – some even expert-level – that we simply haven’t noticed or used to our advantage. Take some time to reflect.
As always, scroll down for some great resources!
And, thank you so much for reading. I hope you will consider sharing this newsletter with some friends. It means a lot, it helps me grow my audience, and it keeps me writing.
Take care of yourselves, take care of each other, remember to be kind, and I’ll say, Ciao for now.
Resources for You
The Andrew Loomis books are classics when it comes to learning the fundamentals of drawing. They became part of the public domain a few years ago and here is one of my favorites.
If you have ever wanted a better way to organize your Photoshop brushes, look no further than Derrick Barth’s brilliant plugin, ‘BrushBox.’
Speaking of plugins, I updated the ‘Lasso Fill’ plugin for Photoshop - you can now draw and delete with it. It’s the fastest way to draw shapes in Photoshop!
Christoph Niemann is a friend, mentor, and marvel of human creativity. His 99U talk from a few years ago remains one of my all-time favorites and is a must see.
In recent months I've actively tried to shift to that second mindset and it really helped settle the nerves and quieten the doubt. Both are still there, of course, but it's not the raging whirlind it once was.
Great post as always!