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What American Gods Taught Me about Being an Entrepreneur

What American Gods Taught Me about Being an Entrepreneur

By Shaun Taylor


Joe Shuster.

Does the name sound familiar? It should be since he was one of the creators of Superman. What about Stan Lee? Ah! Now that is a household name. The difference is relevancy! Stan Lee continues to exist based on his fans, his tribe, and his believers. Celebrities, business owners, and religious figures are only as good, as powerful, and as relevant as their believers. As soon as you lose that tribe and that connection you cease to exist.

Somehow that connection became more relevant after watching American Gods. (Sidebar: The show actually does the book justice.)

Let’s focus on the core lesson of this story. You are only as relevant as your tribe believes you are. Every day we watch stores close. (Do you remember Warehouse Records?) Actors drop off the face of the planet. (Where is Michael Schoeffling these days?)

You have to ask yourself why. Why do some people and businesses stand the test of time? Just like the gods that traveled to America, it is their tribe. Their believers. Their fans. They are the ones that speak their name and buy what they are selling. This is true whether it is salvation, a movie, or anti-aging cream.

So what does that mean for you and your business?

You are a demi-god, so to speak.

You must give your tribe a reason to believe like Mr. Wednesday.

Write amazing content. Show up for your community consistently. Understand your competition. Form partnerships with other entrepreneurs that can help your audience. Gain access to their followers to grow your numbers. Fitness trainers, online marketers, mothers who sell on Etsy and yes even you can be the next big self-made person.Through the art of persuasion and marketing–and hopefully phenomenal goods or services–individuals have become successful business owners. These entrepreneurs find it far more rewarding than being someone’s employee. This is not just because of their talent. I know you can think of quite a few talented people who are not being paid for it or if they are, they certainly are not being paid what they are worth. Businesses that have people who believe in them, trust them, and support them are the ones on top. It does not matter how good you or your product are. If you don’t have a following you don’t exist.

Are You Ready for 'Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story'?

Offer solutions to their problems like Technical Boy.

Currency is exchanged for goods and services and you need to really make it your mission to solve your customers’ problems. Do you remember when Disney bought Marvel Studios? I do. Marvel was super successful, but their movies were not. Disney may be the happiest place on earth, but even they must change with the times and appeal to larger crowds. This purchase gave Marvel Studios the capital they needed to make the films they desired and by doing so expanded both companies’ reach and legacy. With the success of Marvel Studios, Disney then bought the Star Wars Franchise. Lucas retired as a demi-god in his own right and will be remembered for his canon storylines, but new generations will now be taught an entirely new set of stories. History is rewritten to stay relevant in an ever changing world.

Be like Media.

Cultivate a perceived intimacy with the ones they hold most dear. THEMSELVES!!!! Everyone wants to feel special. We all think we are going to make it to the end of the movie or natural disaster or fill in the blank. We all follow influencers, actors, musicians and even reality TV stars. These are people who literally do not know us from a hole in the wall. We know when we get an email from a department store that they are trying to meet their sales quota, but when someone includes us in their daily via Snapchat or goes live on Facebook or responds to us on Twitter, somehow that perceived intimacy gains our loyalty and trust. Every business owner knows that you buy from people you like, know, and trust which equals a recipe for success.

Watching American Gods as an entrepreneur is like a soldier reading the Art of War (which you should also read as an entrepreneur). I have touched on three points that will keep you on top, but I am sure when you finish the series or read the book, you will find a thousand more. Thinking like a demi-god (old or new) is what will keep you on top. It is what will make you money and it is what will keep your tribe.

Your tribe believing in you will keep you around. They are the ones that dictate your legacy.


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