Sunday, March 8, 2009

Being a Local Celebrity

Are you a local celebrity?
That's a cocky way to start my first 'real' post in over 2 weeks. Turns out at an event in Orlando this week I was chatting with someone I just met and he was telling me about all the things I was doing. It was quite awesome to say the least.

Then I went back into the room and maybe a dozen people asked about one of the launch parties I just threw. More still asked how my show went on Friday night. Boosts your ego and confidence for sure.

So this post is about becoming a local celebrity - or rather a leader in your community. The reason is because I think its important for young people to broaden their reach, expand their networks and get off the computer.

My 5 step plan to dominating your local ego
  1. Starts online - You need to brand yourself online for what you want to be known for offline. The images, videos, text and layouts you portray online will go with you when you meet these people in real life. Your personality is expected to be an extension of your online brand.
  2. Network with the right people - When I first started getting Rollett Marketing and later Endagon Innovations off the ground the goal wasn't to meet everyone, just the influentials in each market. I joined AD2, a local adverting association for young professionals and hung out with the president a few times. Showed up to an event and chatted with the speakers and the people who put the event on. Now I get invites and referrals from the former president whenever she needs to hand something off. Next I went outside my industry and met a major player from every angle that I can. It doesn't pay your bills to know 100 marketers all selling the same Kool Aid. I'd rather know one heavy hitter in hospitality, one in real estate, a few local business owners, some artists, musicians, media professionals, some developers to code all the crazy stuff I'd like to do and boom you have a diverse network of people who can fill your head with very exciting ideas and problems.
  3. Become a leader - I serve on 2 Boards of Directors, for Rock For Hunger and doterati. Both have presented me with opportunities and introduced me to people that I never would have had. They are help me give back the community and see life in different ways than I have in my own life.
  4. Give, give , give. These days I am working on the Tim Ferriss mantra of no, no, no (unsuccessfully), but for years I was always about give, give, give. I would play free shows, volunteer for numerous charities, interviewed countless bands, stayed late at work, picked up extra shifts, gave rides, built websites, spoke on panels, gave countless free presentations, wrote a blog with good free advice and all kinds of other stuff. You know what, it pays off. When I need a favor, an introduction or help in an area, I have a great network that is happy to help me out.
  5. Love your city. Speaking at Ignite Orlando on the topic I did made me realize that I love my city, the people in it and the events that make it worthwhile. If I hated where I lived, the people didn't support each other and there was nothing fun to do - then it would be really hard to connect, grow and build your business.

This post was all in good fun and while I do have some Urban Outfitter tees that declare my Local Celebrity-ness, I am still eager to get on the town, get dirty and network my ass off, promote the hell out of my work and have a damn good time in my city.

What do you guys think? What makes you or someone you know a local celebrity or what makes them an egomaniacal (is that a word) asshole?

-Greg Rollett


Thirtyseven March 9, 2009 at 7:24 AM  

What makes the difference? Certainly half the control is on your end, but the other 50% is in the eye of the beholder.

Most of the solid, honest and good people in the industry I've met, over the years, were initially introduced to me as assholes, primadonnas, and criminals of various stripes. Once you're a local celebrity, you will inevitably become the biggest dickhead in town for some folks, too.

Either way, what people are talking about is just the simple fact you're doing more with your life than the average wage slave working on a demo.

Best thing to focus on is 1) are you putting food on your family and 2) can you live with the comprimises you're making in order to do that.

Greg Rollett March 9, 2009 at 7:31 AM  

@thirtyseven - good point on other people's perspectives. But I disagree that you have to be an asshole to be a) great and b) recognized. There are honest hard working mofo's out there that truly care about their business, the community and increasing the visibility of the scene. The assholes are usually the ones that have a goal to become a local celebrity vs. working hard and becoming a byproduct.

Thanks for stopping by.

Karla Stevenson March 9, 2009 at 12:05 PM  

Great post. Will share this with my students.

Just wanted to add quick comment- I think we all have to be careful of 2 things:

1. gender issues - how people perceive "local celebrities" or leaders varies - and a lot of that is based on gender performance. It might be a good idea to figure out how people see you BEFORE traipsing all over town and taking on leadership roles. Knowing what demographic you fall into - gives you the knowledge to either work with or against your stereotype.

2. Region - Knowing not just loving your region is important. For example - I dress a little differently and market myself a little differently when I am down south as opposed to the mid west. Figuring out the history, norms, and major players in your area are key to navigating your city's leadership "scene" if it has one (and most do).

Thirtyseven March 9, 2009 at 12:15 PM  

Just to clarify: I definitely wasn't arguing that you have to be an asshole -- that's only an effective strategy for being an asshole.

I was only saying that you will inevitably be perceived that way when you start gaining momentum and visibility.

"Enlightened self interest" should be the guiding OS for any primate in this day and age.

Greg Rollett March 9, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

@Karla - Thanks for chiming in. On your first point I agree that it is best to see how others perceive you, but am not sure that is based on gender.

As for point 2, that is very valid, although I think loving your region/location comes from knowing it. In order to care about your location, you need to know about who lives in it and what they do to make it a place that you love. You need to have the "know" before you have the "love."

@thirtyseven - I figured as much. BTW - I miss your music marketing stuff, real raw marketing tips from someone who was doing it.

karla March 9, 2009 at 12:53 PM  


To clarify - its not always based on gender but it is based on performance and gender is usually implicit. gender is not the only thing that helps people make decisions about you - you are right about that.

and yes - you need to have the "know" before the "love" but not everyone takes the time to recognize the details or research the history. You'd be surprised how many people move to major cities and immediately jump right in without taking the time to really figure out the culture of the place. But then again- maybe then its not "love" - can you be in lust with a place I wonder....

Greg Rollett March 9, 2009 at 1:59 PM  

Thanks for clarifying. I guess I am just optimistic about gender. Work hard and get rewarded, regardless. The real world just doesn't always operate like that.

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