SHIFTER’s Kevin Bourne says professionals should be “levelling out” instead of levelling up in media and entertainment.
I recently had an epiphany. I’ve always talked a lot about levelling up. It’s become a popular flex on social media, but I recently had a change in mindset which has affected my personal growth and the growth of SHIFTER. It this industry and in life, it’s not just about levelling up; it’s about “levelling out”.
When people are deciding to construct a building they have to decided whether they will build up (like a skyscraper) or build outward (like a warehouse or factory). Buildings built upward and outward can be the exact same size in area, but building up is often more sexy and ambitious, while building outward are more stable.
It’s the same when you’re building your career or business in media and entertainment―levelling up sounds sexy, but levelling out brings stability.
So, when we talk about levelling out, what are we talking about? Levelling outward is about expanding our reach.
As creators and entrepreneurs in the media and entertainment space, I believe we need to start talking more about levelling outward instead of just levelling up.
Let’s take a deeper look at what this means.
1. Expanding your network/peer group
When we talk about levelling outward we’re talking about expanding our network and peer group. One of the reasons why creators and entrepreneurs remain stagnant is because they don’t expand their network and peer group. I’m not just talking about quantity, but quality. Your peer group needs to include not just your homies but people who can elevate you to the next level.
Now, let me say this―I like to differentiate network from peer group. Your network can include mentors and people who are at a higher level than you in the industry. Your peers are people who are at a similar level to you in the industry and are people you can collaborate with.
I remember a few times in 2021 when this really became clear to me. I was at an industry party and it was bumpin’. But there was one problem; I was bored. The reason I was bored was because I realized I was one of the most influential people in the room, if not the most influential. I was other people’s network up, but there was no network up for me in the room. The lesson is that if you’re the most influential person in the room you’re in the wrong room. It happened again a few months later when I was going through my Instagram Stories and realized I needed to upgrade my peers.
Since then I have intentionally put myself in rooms where I have to network up and it’s led to incredible growth. As a result, my social media contacts have also upgraded and so has my career and business.
Many creatives are introverts who find it hard to network and get to know people, but if you want to level outward, this is 100% essential to your growth.
2. Expanding your audience
The next thing you need to do to level outward is expand your audience. This is the hardest part; it requires the most strategy. You’re talking about fanbase development, PR and marketing. This requires honesty, intimacy, vulnerability, authenticity and intentionality. It was requires you to know your personal brand and build your public profile. Again, this is an area where many creatives struggle. They just want to focus on their craft. But if you want to level outward you need to engage with and expand you audience.
3. Expanding your geography
Lastly, “levelling out” or expanding our reach includes expanding our geography. This means getting out of your city and travelling. Exposing yourself to how things are done in other cities allows you to grow professionally by helping you to grow in your craft and work ethic. It also helps you with #1 and #2, expanding your network/peer group and audience.
Although, literally travelling to other places is the ideal, the internet is also an important way to expand our geography. Zoom, social media and other internet applications can help to expose you to other cities. Personally, I’ve already expanded my geography significantly in 2022 without leaving my home. But now that travel is opening up again, you can be sure I’ll be getting on a plane very soon.
If you want to start levelling outward and expanding your network/peer group, audience and geography, but need some guidance, SHIFTER has created a coaching program where we can give you our strategy for doing exactly that. Tap here to book a call to find out more about how SHIFTER can help.