Why “How Can My Idea Go Viral?” Is The Wrong Question

You’ve seen it, heard it, maybe have even thought about it: “How can I make my idea, my mission, go viral?”

I get it—it’s tempting to short-cut years of hard work in favor of a single break-through moment (cue skies parting and angels singing).

But it’s the wrong question.

If you’re about long-term staying power, the question you really want to be asking is this:

How can you build the right sustainable business and community to serve with your idea?

Because viral is about the perfect idea at the perfect moment to a vast audience.

Sustainable is about making consistently successful transformations in your ideal audience over time. And designing a business model that allows you to keep doing it.

So if you’re after true staying power, forget viral. Go for sustainable.

Here are some worthy sustainable investments you can make in yourself:

Get hyper-specific on the slice of people you want to serve. Until you’re clear on your audience, it’s tough to speak their language, understand their problems or address their fears and dreams.

Know that serving doesn’t mean poverty or martyrdom. Design a business and revenue model that allows you to work from your personal genius zone and make a fine living putting your expertise to work.

Niche down to the kinds of transformations that you do brilliantly. Getting tech teams to launch new products 50% faster; coaching first time C-suite promotions to shift how they lead; improving sales close times for enterprise sales reps.

Start building your authority within your ideal audience: emails, articles, blog posts, podcasts, media interviews, video programs, social media posts and connections. Every audience starts small—the key is to keep at it, to find your voice and your tribe.

Keep forging connections between ideas and people—yes, it’s connecting the dots, but it’s also about building relationships that transcend a viral moment in time.

Look for kindred souls—not just the audience you aim to serve, but the others serving them too (directly or indirectly). Your work doesn’t have to be a competition—it can be a collaboration toward your end goal: the transformation of your audience.

Yes, sustainable moves are smaller. And while they’ll take awhile to build momentum, eventually they—and you—will be unstoppable.

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