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Creative Calling

Lesson 13 of 14

Building Audience

Chase Jarvis

Creative Calling

Chase Jarvis

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Lesson Info

13. Building Audience

Lesson Info

Building Audience

with respect to communities that you build. I like building communities around my work. In 2000 uh, four. I started writing a block and I started sharing my own experience of being a photographer who sort of outside the industry. I had made money as a photographer. And yet I looked at the industry as this big black box because at the time, this was really, really early, maybe in pre early early Internet, right. I couldn't understand how anyone was making ago. I couldn't I didn't know how toe, like how much to charge or where to go or what kind of picture stick. I told you I was looking at Barnes and Noble, but I could just see it from the world. And in the same way that jazz was talking about it, I said, You know what? If no one else is talking about it, I'm just gonna start putting out there what I would love to see in the world. And it's like I want to see people's process. I want to know how they work. I don't know what their struggles are, And so by sharing my own struggles, I almo...

st unknowingly, almost ignorantly immediately had a community. Because you know what? We're all in this together If you have a problem. This is why Crit critique exists in art school. Because when a teacher is criticizing your art and giving you feedback, that feedback is relevant toe way more than just you. And so as I was sharing my struggles, this is where I'm losing clients. This is how I'm spending too much money on equipment. This is where I'm failing in my aspiration to become a professional photographer. It just so happened that there was a 1,000,000 other people going through the same stuff. That's the cool thing about community on the Internet. So I didn't even really have the idea that I was building a community around my work. I just started sharing. And this is why I think when people say, What does it mean to build community? Jasmine talked about making searchable content. That is an advanced way of thinking about it because she is an advanced operator in that world. What if you just started telling stories about your experience? Just share what it is that you're actually doing and ask if there's anybody else on the Internet saying the same thing. I am Shoot up a flare asked me a question. I thought we could probably learn something from one another, this gap between where you are right now and what it means to build a community around your work. We talked about that earlier, and what we decided was you have to take small in perfect actions. This is the same recipe. Don't know how to build community. Film yourself on the Internet, Shea said. To do this, I don't know. I mean, I barely even know the guy. But like, I'm working to find my very first client of the designer and I've been designing for X long and I feel like, you know, I went to the A G a meet up here in Seattle. I did a few other things, and I bet that there's more than one of us is having trouble getting a client. And I'm wondering if anybody wants to get together at this coffee shop. I'm gonna be there Tuesday at two o'clock. If nobody shows up, no problem. If you sent that to everybody, you know it work. You sent that little video online? Maybe no one will show up. That's okay, But maybe one person will show up. That is the first step in building community. All you need is one other person. And you might have to make that video four or five times. You might have to actually just commandeer somebody at work and say, I noticed that your you've got a side hustle is the designer. I'm wondering if I could pick your brain, take you out to coffee. Then you know what? You've got someone in your community that you can rely on and ask some questions. Even if they say, Sure, I've only got 20 minutes. But I'd love to, you know, grab a mocha coffee, Frappuccino or whatever. If you're in Seattle, um, and get started. So again, just like the other things we've been talking about, this small and perfect actions are critical. Now let's fast forward this for a second, because when this is on steerage, you have something that is so powerful that well, Drew said nice things about my book. Early on, you mentioned that it had become a national best seller in the first week that was out. Why do you think that is the case? was it because I wrote a great book in my parents basement and didn't tell anybody about it? How long have I been building community? 15 years and arguably before then in a smaller scale. But plus years. And for every creator who you look at and you say, Yeah, I wonder why all their work, its traction and gets noticed. Because what are we told in our culture? Will told that what the cream rises, where to the top and those of us that have been making stuff and putting it out in the world for a really long time. Some of us are talented, some of our not talented, You know what we knew? We knew that that was B s a long time ago. How many people know super talented folks that could be so much more? Could could have a much richer, more fulfilled life create more success for themselves and their business if they just leaned into community that there were their belief is that their work should stand on its own. Anybody know anybody like that? Is anybody in this room like that? Thank you for being brave. You want your work to stand on its own. It never will. Okay, the best work in the world are you are you tune in to the fact that the best artists of our time the ones that paint the roof of the Sistine Chapel, that they were out there building community, promoting their work, connecting with other artists long before the Internet existed, right? True, these air people, they were. They were amazing at pitching their work and their vision. And we don't think of Leonardo da Vinci as someone who was overly promotional, do we? So you're starting to understand my point. The concept of building community is not a nice to have. It's critical. It's mission critical, and it's available to everyone because another cool thing, How much are the tools? How much do they cost? How much does it cost to build community? Virtually $0? Now, if you start traveling to in real life events like this today or you go to a trade show are you belong to a trade organization, those things you can spend money there, but it's not required, and what I'm looking for you to do tomorrow is to take small in perfect actions, joint become a joiner, join a community and most importantly, start sharing your work. You all know Austin clear on steal like an artist. Share your work like sharing your work is so fundamental. I talk a lot about it in the book. And again, this is just a nover view because I want to be able to take some questions from you all. But there's something powerful that happens when you share your work, because what you're doing is of course, you're getting feedback, maybe even feedback that you don't want. But this act of recognizing that you created something and that you want to put it out in the world is actually a celebration of that work. And I'm telling you right now, it's important to celebrate the work that you do, even if it's not great, even if it's a halted, stilted, half ass attempt to do something rather than nothing. People just like you are going to respect and admire it because you're showing up and there are people who were look at you as the beacon and you know what? You just got your second community member when you put that out there and they saw it, and they were like that was super credence. I love what you did. That is your second commitment that is your third community member now. It's also important. I want to acknowledge that when we're thinking about community, there's definitely some people. Right now they're saying, You haven't I'm scared because there are some haters. I put something out and someone told me how bad it was or if you're a photographer. There's a lot of what I call pixel peoples out there that I call it slightly out of focus under that other, like everyone's got something to say. And this when I come up against this stuff, I like to reference my dear friend Dr Byrne A. Brown, because Bernie Brown has a reference of phrase or saying around the man in the arena. Let's just say it's the woman in the arena, okay? And this is a think. It's Roosevelt, um, that it's essentially I don't know the quote by heart, but it's essentially if you are in the arena. If you are in front and you're putting work out in the world, there are going to be people in the cheap seats that throw rocks But where are they? I just said it. Where are they? They're in the cheap seats. So what value should you ascribe to their feedback? A very cheap, low value. You are the woman in the arena. You are the one who is out there taking a risk. And you cannot let the cheap seats affect the work that you're doing in the arena. Bernie has a list. My interview with her in 2012 or something like that. Um, I love this interview. She puts it right on her front of something senate on her website. I know she loves it, too. She talks so eloquently about having a little teeny piece of paper one by one inch square that she keeps in her wallet. You know what's on that one by one inch square? Five names. These are the five names of the people that she actually cares what they think about what she does in the world. Very powerful. And I have seen this piece of paper with my own eyes. It exists. And when the world from the cheap seats is telling or something something she doesn't want to hear, she looks at this piece of paper and, she says, is anyone who is saying that stuff about me on this piece of paper? No. Okay, good goes about her business, which is pretty cool now. There also is some feedback that comes from people who are also in the arena, and I've had that feedback before. You know what that's the most fun is to pick up the phone, call that person and have a conversation. Have a cup of coffee with them, connect with them. They become a part, a person who's in your community, and you might actually learn something. They are in the arena. That's fun. That's like collaborating and connecting and learning don't have to do that. But I understand that some of you may be trepidatious about. I'm about connecting or about receiving feedback. This is the key. Be ready for this one. Now we're told that the cream rises to the crop, that the best work will be discovered, I told you, and we know that it's not true. We are then said, Oh, OK, so if you originally thought that the whole pie was your craft, craft is everything. Kraft matters Kraft and being good at your craft or aspiring to be good, like that's That's again we're talking about. It's important, but those air the table stakes, right? That's you want. If you want to be a designer, you want to be a good designer. It's OK if it's not what you want to do for a living, but I think it's fun to try and get better. That's why we learn and we're humans and we try and grow. Growth is a personal value of mine. I don't have to be world class and everything. But we're taught that promoting our work is bad or were uncomfortable with promoting our work. For whom does that mean that match up anyone uncomfortable promoting their work? Okay, I'm gonna put that at 50%. So if we're originally said okay, it's just the craft, And if you're the world's best, fill in the blank or if you're really good, then you should get noticed and then that doesn't happen and then say OK, well, I gotta promote myself. I don't like promoting myself cause I feel dirty, and I'm trying to sell something about blah, blah, blah. I just told you earlier that celebrating your work if you can think about it is celebrating your work, and you wanted to reach as many people as possible. It gets 50% less weird. He's like blue at a lot of. But here's Who promotes the people that you love that promote their work. They're sorry. The people that you love of them, who promotes their work, everybody. The movie star. They go on tour for the movie. They appear on the late night TV shows, the artists at the gallery. They show up at the gallery opening to sell some paintings, and you can look at it like they're selling pains. Or you can look at it like I want my work to be in the hands and heads and hearts of people because I made it for you. I'm here. I'm showing up for you. I created this for you. I think it's gonna help inspire, motivate, teach, uh, any number of things. Right? So then we go, OK, cool. Then if I'm creating and promoting, that's the whole pie. This is where it's wrong again. And this is where this is what I'm about to say, somewhat controversial, but I believe deeply in it because it's them in the result of everything that I've ever known and the work of everyone who I respect, that I deconstructed their work even if they didn't know it. All of that creating and promoting is only half of the pie. The other half of the pie building, community building communities, like literally half of the pie because what you're doing when you're building community, you are making it such that when you put something out in the world, it has a place to land. It's like it's like you're fertilizing this plot of land and what you're doing is you're flicking seeds into that land. This is the work that you create. If there's nowhere fertile for those seeds toe land, if it's just concrete, they're not gonna grow. So this this universe, we say, OK, great. What does it mean to build community? All it means is showing up, brother, it means everything that Jasmine said. It means everything that I've said for the previous 18. minutes. It means all those things, and if you are creating work and if you are promoting it when you create it, like right now I'm very proud and excited to be standing in front of you talking about my new book I'm creating and promoting. And I've spent how long? Building community 15 years. And that's just from what you know. That's what makes a national best seller. That's what makes take the accolades out of it. Impact. That's what makes connection. You want your work to connect with other people when you worked the land to inspire, to create hope, to create jobs, two great options to create inspiration. It's all about community are actually 50% of it. So to me, I think this is something that's wildly misunderstood, and I think it's OK that it's misunderstood. But it's something that I really want to help you understand. Very. It's very critical that we talk about it right now, and I know that there's 100 questions and I tried to put as much out there as I could with the brain, a story and all that kind of stuff. But now I want to hear from you because right now there's 1/2 a dozen faces that are sort of side. I'd like I believe you because you said a bunch of other smart stuff earlier, but I'm confused here. So I want to take a couple questions from the audience specifically about community. And then we're gonna open it up to questions overall for the whole day, and then we're gonna wrap it down.

Class Description


Renowned artist, author, and CreativeLive founder, Chase Jarvis, teaches us how to unleash our creativity, transform our lives, and add value to everything we do.

Now imagine your big dream- whatever you want to create or become in this world.  Are you unsure of where to start? Do you have trouble finishing your projects? Are you struggling with finding a way to channel your creativity? Regardless of age, income, or stage in life, use Jarvis’ unique IDEA framework to activate your life with the actionable tools necessary for becoming unstuck and creating a more meaningful life. This class will help you ask the right questions, eliminate old habits that are not working and test new approaches to create the life you truly want.

In this class, you will learn how to: 

  • Design a daily creative practice that supports your health and happiness

  • Tame distractions & spend time on the right things

  • Figure out & address what’s blocking you

  • Bypass excuses and get to work

  • Find your supportive community

  • Examine your mindset and reprogram the ideas that aren’t serving you


You will enjoy life and be more successful if you focus on creating... and Creative Calling is an engaging guide to doing just that. – Richard Branson

Chase is the perfect guide as we learn how creativity has the power to change everything. – Brene Brown

It's a must read for any creator or entrepreneur. – Daymond John

Creative Calling will whole-heartedly change the way you think and it will provide you with the inspiration to make a bigger life than you ever thought possible. – Debbie Millman

You won't find a better resource to unlock your true potential. – Jimmy Chin


Friends! Life isn’t about “finding” fulfillment and success – it’s about creating it. Creativity is a force inside every person that, when unleashed, transforms our lives and delivers vitality to everything we do. Left unexpressed, it can be a poison in your life leading to unhappiness, unfulfillment, and that feeling there is something missing.

I’ve been there. The good news? We are all born creative. By creating regularly, we access a new source of vitality. Establishing a creative practice is therefore our most valuable and urgent task – as important to our well-being as exercise or nutrition. Every day is an opportunity to tune into your creative calling. You’re never truly lost no matter how far you’ve wandered. It’s all meaningful. The frustration, boredom, or resentment you might feel is your intuition’s way of telling you that there’s a turn up ahead. Will you be ready?

This is a book about creativity, but in a larger sense it’s about life and how you live it. Whether your ambition is a creative career, completing a creative project, or simply cultivating a creative mindset, I wrote this book for you.


Artist, author, entrepreneur, mischief maker... Chase Jarvis is well known for many things. As a photographic master, he’s regularly cited as one of the most influential in the past decade. Chase has won numerous awards including Prix de la Photographie de Paris, Cannes Lions, and The International Photography Awards. But Chase has always cherished community over competition.


Tristanne Endrina

I think this class is an amazing supplement to the book. It's an extension of the ideas Chase wrote about ... with conversations with amazing minds like Chris Guillebeau and Jasmine Starr and a lot of great questions from the audience. You take their thoughts and feeling and interpret them to apply to yourself and what you want to create in life. Thank you, Chase, for having me in the audience. I thoroughly enjoy learning from classes like this. Thank you so much. ~ Lifelong learner, Tris


I’m enjoying the book. I find Chase’s story inspiring and it’s great that he wants to share it and to help everyone learn to be successful at being creative. I am not looking for a career, I am looking to find creativity I seem to have lost in photography and in other hobbies. So far I am learning that I need to make a plan to get where I want to be. I know it’s still in me somewhere, I will just need to put in the work to rediscover and develop it. Interesting book and class and I just discovered the workbook tonight. I tried to watch the live class but the volume wasn’t as loud as other classes and it was difficult for me to hear on all my devices. I am going to connect my laptop to my stereo speakers to watch it soon.


Thank you for this course- I can't wait to read the book. Working through some big projects and struggling to finish the last few miles, these were all great reminders and I love the compass analogy- so true! You can tell Chase really cares about what he's teaching.