Seth Godin's AMA: The 10 Best Questions and Answers

To kickoff the launch of his new Skillshare class Modern Marketing Workshop, best-selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin dropped by the Skillshare Headquarters yesterday for our very first "Ask Me Anything" session. Seth generously shared his knowledge as hundreds of inspiring marketers, entrepreneurs and fans joined in on Skillshare's Tumblr to ask questions and seek advice. The marketing icon is known for motivating his tribe with words of wisdom on a daily basis, and the AMA was filled with personal guidance. Topics ranged from developing customer relationships and the network effect to how to make anyone a purple cow.

Here's a roundup of some of the best questions and answers from yesterday's AMA:

Seth, you've talked a lot about the importance of daily trying things that might not work. I'm coming to see this as a worldview from which to operate. I would love to hear your thoughts on making this a habit. I'm especially interested in how to help kids develop that approach to life. (Joel Wilson)

SG: Well, does your kid get a hug and an ice cream cone when he gets an A and a perfect report card, or when he experiments and fails? The deal with doing work that might not work is that we must reward ourselves for smart failures, and punish ourselves for not stretching. It's the only way.

As a recent grad, would you recommend living on a shoestring budget to pursue your dream or working a job and pursuing {your dream} during nights and weekends? Asking from the perspective of acceleration to 10,000 hours and mastering craft. (Davidsherry36)

SG: I think it might be both. It's hard to know without knowing you. I do know that living on rice and beans and sleeping on the floor of a friend's house to save money is a must regardless of which path you choose. Money in the bank and positive cash flow are the two backbones of the brave entrepreneur.

Being new to the professional world, I find it hard to show my worth.  Any useful tips? (Mathieu Bastiaens)

SG: Try this: Give credit, take responsibility and fail at small things. Repeat. They'll be amazed and come back to you for more...

What's the best avenue to market our online business? (Dr. Amy Dean)

SG: Hi Doc. I have no idea, since I don't know what your online business is. But in general, trust is what's in short supply. If more people trust you more, everything else will fall into place. So... how do you build trust?

What's the most common mistake companies make when it comes to marketing? (Ben Nesviq)

SG: They try to buy attention for their average products, aimed at average people. And they want it now. If you don't have time to do it right, you can't easily find time to do it over.

As someone entering a niche market, I know how important a differentiator is in presenting your product. I have that. What I don't have is the capital to invest a lot into the marketing. I have set up a site, I have given out free samples, I have found a couple fans that tout the praise and benefits of the product…What do I do next to drive sales? (Brandon Schoessler)

SG: Pick a tiny market. A village. A company. A corner of a neighborhood. The tinier the better. Win there. Repeat. If you can't win in the tiny, you can't win in the big.

I'm a full-time designer and filmmaker looking to make the transition to freelance and eventually start my own design firm. As a solo freelancer, my only marketing budget is my time. What advice would you give freelancers who are looking to get themselves noticed? (Monomyth)

SG: In the new model, you get noticed by building an idea that spreads. That means doing work that most clients would be afraid to approve. (See Jill Greenberg or Joey L.) Do it for love, help it spread, be the one and only. Then charge a LOT to the people who show up. (Not a lot to them, a lot compared to what you think you can charge.)

When it comes to marketing, what makes you cringe? (Audra)

SG: Selfishness, spam and deceit. Which are all the same thing.

What do you feel are the 3 most powerful emotions to target for marketing in our current culture? (h1tchr)

SG: Fear, Delight, Belonging.

Do you have any advice for young people on how to find passion and purpose in life? (Mai Nguyen)

SG: My advice is to do SOMETHING. To fake the passion and fake the purpose, but to make something. It's amazing how often the passion shows up once the fear goes away.