The Art, Science and Mental Models Behind Personal Branding and Dominating Your Market

Studies show most people quit easily. This is your competitive advantage if you employ the correct strategies and mental models
The Art, Science and Mental Models Behind Personal Branding and Dominating Your Market
Jake McNeill
July 4, 2021
5 min read
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Most people quit easily, this is your competitive advantage.

Want to have a podcast in the top 1%?

Feel that you’re too late? That the market is too crowded?

You’d be wrong.

There are 2 million podcasts.

If you publish 21 episodes you will be in the top 1% of all podcasts globally.

(Source: 54.32)


Here are the stats:

  • 90% of podcasts don’t get past episode 3. That’s 1.8 million who quit.
  • Of the 200,000 left, 90% will quit after 20 episodes. That’s another 180,000 gone.
  • To be in the top 1% of podcasts in the world you only need to publish 21 episodes of your podcast.
  • Your competition is not the 2 million podcasts. It’s the 20,000 podcasters who didn’t quit.

Does that guarantee you an audience? No.

Is it easy? No. That’s why so many people quit.

You will have to outwork the competition and grind it out, but knowing the process gives you more control and realistic targets

People Quit Too Easily

People think it’s too late to start a YouTube, a blog, a podcast, or a newsletter in a crowded market.

They believe it's too late to build a personal brand.

They are wrong.

When weighing up the competition in crowded markets that require a lot of effort; you can discount circa 90% of your competition.


Because most people are quitters.

According to the research, 92% of people who set New Years Resolution fail.

That's not a judgement. Just a fact.

Talent is not a predictor of success.

Some of my biggest selling acts were the least talented but the hardest working and the most consistent.

Some of my most talented artists never made it.

You need some talent but it’s not the most important thing.

Creative success is about lag and lead metrics

So, what are Lag metrics? They are long-term goals.

Lead metrics are predictors for achieving long-term goals.

For example —

Lag metric: John Grisham wanted to quit law and become a full-time author.

Lead metric: Write a page a day, every day.

Lag metric: Brian Koppelman wanted to be a Hollywood screenwriter.

Lead metric: He wrote for 2 hours with his writing partner every day before going to work.

Lag metric: Jerry Seinfeld wanted to be a famous comedian.

He needed better jokes.

Lead metric: Jerry wrote a new joke every day for years.

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.” —James Clear

Crowded Creator Markets

The top 8% of bloggers make a full-time living.

The top 8% of YouTube Creators make a full time living

The top 11% of gamers on Twitch earn a full time living

Your competition is not the entire market. It’s the 10- 12% that don’t quit. That’s your real competition.

Everything is a process. Find out what it takes to get into the top percentage of your creator market/ niche

  • How many blog posts does it take on average?
  • How many videos does it take on average?
  • How many live streams on average?
  • Reverse engineer the process. How many videos/ streams/ blog posts do you need to publish per week?
  • Then reverse engineer how many hours per day it will take you to achieve the weekly goal.

That is your lead metrics to achieve the lag metric in your niche.

Do it daily for a year or two or three and get into the top % age of your niche.

The key is to outwork your competition.

N.B The only guarantee is there are no guarantees. Everyone needs a bit of luck.

But this is the best way to position yourself for a successful career in the creator economy.

The Science Behind Not Quitting

Gabriele Oettingen Ph.D. is a scientist and Professor of Psychology at NYU.

She has dedicated over 20 years of research into goals and positive thinking.

In 1991, Gabriele conducted a study of women who wanted to lose weight.

Gabriele had the woman fantasising about losing weight, fitting into their favourite jeans, and wearing bikinis on the beach.

The results were astonishing:

"women who had strong positive fantasies about slimming down...lost twenty-four pounds LESS than those who pictured themselves more negatively.

Positive thinking actually stopped them from achieving their goal.

Gabriele has tested the theory with numerous different groups and all the results were the same.

Why does thinking positively alone impede and not promote success?

There are 3 reasons:

  • She discovered, that students who engaged in positive fantasy performed worse in tasks that require deliberate effort. The reality simply doesn’t live up to the fantasy. People get discouraged and quit.
  • Research has also proven, that our minds can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality. When we fantasise about success, our brain is releasing dopamine as though we have already achieved the goal. Our subconscious no longer believes we need to work hard as we have already achieved it.
  • Our minds remain stuck in relaxation and false achievement. We continue fantasising about success as it feels good and never actually start the task.

Mental Contrasting

Gabrielle created a method called Mental contrasting to combat positive fantasising.

It has been proven to increase your chances of success by up to 60%

This is fantasising about the positive outcomes of your creative project. But, crucially, also focusing on all the obstacles that will stop you from achieving the goal.

Then creating strategies to overcome the inevitable obstacles.

You need to know the successful outcome AND the negative obstacles it will take to achieve the goal.

WOOP: The Mental Model

Here’s the mental model to apply to all your goals:

Wish — Which goal do you want to achieve?

Outcome — How will you feel when you achieve the goal?

Obstacle — What are your main obstacles?

Plan — How are you going to overcome the obstacles?

WOOP is similar to inversion thinking. The most important part of successfully completing the goals is removing the obstacles that get in our way.



  • Getting into the top percentage of any market will be the hardest thing you will ever do!
  • The key to having a successful career as an artist or a creator is endurance.
  • You need some talent to get to the top. But you need mental toughness to keep publishing content week after week when things aren’t going well.
  • The key to that is setting realistic process goals and being consistent.

Interested in 1-2-1 Creative Business/ Personal Branding Strategy?

I help creators and solopreneurs become famous in their niches. I specialise in:

  • Creative business strategy
  • Personal Branding Strategy
  • Standing out in saturated markets
  • Overcoming creative blocks that are holding you back
  • Building audiences.

I do discovery calls to check we’re suitable.

Cost? $0.00 Commitment? Zero. Time? 30 minutes

More info? Go here

A bit about me

I’m an ex- multi-platinum artist manager. I created strategies and built audiences for artists who sold millions. I’ve challenged myself to write 50 articles in 50 working days. 30 down, 20 to go.

You can read more in the archives here. Find out more information on my website or connect on my LinkedIn

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