Is selling out necessary? The shorter answer is no! Selling out is totally unnecessary.
You probably got into influencing or got to where you are as an influencer because you’ve got some sharp creative skills and marketing instincts. Provided that’s true, I feel pretty confident that you care about both artistic integrity and success, which can sometimes mean effectiveness, which can sometimes mean profit. I’m going to guess that you have if not agonized, then at least think about what the balance between the two looks like.
Recently, we separated the hustlers from the sellouts and defined each. I know that when I’ve been operating on default mode, I’ve made the mistake of confusing the two, of mistaking compromise, changing direction, accessibility or popularity as a form of selling out. But there is a line between the two, and that line is integrity.
The problem with integrity is that no one really knows what it means. Loosely speaking, it’s A.) keeping promises to yourself and others, and B.) being thoughtful about the promises you make. That sounds a lot like reliability, accountability or trustworthiness, and integrity is something different, so let’s add: C.) changing your mind when your mind changes – and D.) giving both yourself and other people a heads up.
So that’s a blueprint for being “in integrity,” which in business terms is the same thing is not selling out. The problem is it’s a very vague blueprint, so vague that it sounds like what we call platitudes or bullshit. You could stretch the guidelines and make some very shady business fit well inside them. This is because integrity operates on a case by case basis; its standards are entirely individual.
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