When I was 10 years old I worked as a newsie. Yes just like the movie. Not all the time, but when special events came to town I’d sell newspapers on the street for a $1. Every year we had a huge car auction where I lived. People would come from all over the world. Now the papers we sold weren’t anything special, just a typical Sunday paper with a special cover wrapped on the outside for the auction.
I set up outside a busy restaurant serving breakfast and made my pitch to customers on their way out. One man approached me and asked for a paper. When I gave it to him he handed me a $10 dollar bill and said keep the change. When I asked why he said that he owned a line of hardware stores and that my pitch was different from all the other kids selling papers that day.
See I had looked inside the special wrapper and saw that the day’s events had been printed inside. In my pitch to potential customers I kept repeating “Get your paper, full list of events”. Whether I had realized it or not I had found the paper’s USP or unique selling proposition. To all the visitors they could care less about a small towns news, but a full list of the days event’s was worth a $1 or to this gentleman $10. The man continued to tell me to keep discovering what people are truly after and someday I’d have no trouble building a business of my own.
I didn’t know I was going to go into advertising when I was 10, but this event has always stuck with me. A few other similar things have happened along the way that have probably steered me to where I am today, but if I can share one lesson with young creatives, it’s this. Sometimes it’s as simple as understanding what people truly want and making sure they understand how your offering can fill that need. Creativity can do amazing things for brands, but a clear vision and unique proposition can take you miles.