I spend a lot of time on this site writing about how you can use various tools and strategies to grow your fanbase and take your comedy career to the next level, but it’s likely many of you still aren’t as successful as you’d like to be despite your best intentions.
Today, I want to address a sobering reality, but one which also comes with a silver lining.
If your career isn’t where you want it to be, there’s only two reasons why: Either you’re not good enough or you’re not working hard enough.
You’re Not Good Enough
I tend to stay away from addressing the basic issue of “talent” on this site because it can be very subjective and ultimately my expertise isn’t in teaching you how to be more talented but rather in teaching you how to get the most out of the talent you have and get your talent exposed to fans.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the importance of having talent – if you’re not good at what you do, all the marketing tips in the world aren’t going to make you succeed.
You’ve got to be good in order to have a comedy career and I think it’s important for you to recognize that and attempt to honestly critique yourself and your comedy – do you truly believe you’re good enough to have more success than you currently have at this point?
If you’re not sure, or if you’re able to recognize you’re not good enough, you don’t have to despair and you don’t have to call it quits. What you have to do is acknowledge that you’re not good enough and commit to get better.
As difficult as it is to swallow the fact that you’re not good enough, it can also be a freeing (and motivating) realization. Because now you can concentrate on getting better. Just because you’re not good enough now, doesn’t mean you’re not capable of being good enough at some point – but to get there you’re going to have to work to get better.
Too many comedians assume they’re good enough to succeed when they’re not and so they stop working to get better and instead focus on a million other reasons why they’re not succeeding in their career which distracts them from what they really need to do (which is get better).
It’s ok if you’re not good enough, but it’s only ok if you recognize it and address it.
But what if you actually are good enough to be more successful and it’s still not happening for you? Well, that leads to the other reason for your struggles…
You’re Not Working Hard Enough
Just like you have to be able to honestly assess your own talent level, you also have to be able to honestly address whether you’re actually working hard enough to grow your career. Being talented doesn’t automatically lead to success – you have to be willing to work at your career and treat it like an actual business.
It’s amazing how many truly talented comedians are out there just spinning their wheels, not growing a fanbase or advancing their career, and getting more bitter by the day about how they “just can’t catch a break.”
That’s garbage. Those people can’t catch a break because they’re not working hard enough.
The days when you needed a break no longer exist – you now have the ability to reach the entire world at virtually no cost and with just a little effort on your part. If you’re good enough (a big if), all you have to do is put in the work to expose yourself to the world and create your own success.
The Silver Lining
Ok, after reading this you may beat yourself up about not being good enough or not working hard enough, but here’s the good news: both of these things are correctable.
If you’re not good enough, then concentrate on getting better. Perform more, learn from people who are better than you, experiment with different forms of comedy, find and develop your own unique voice and point of view, and concentrate on improving over time.
If you’re not working hard enough, that’s an even simpler fix. Commit to putting more time into your career, stop making excuses and looking for shortcuts, recognize you’re going to have to work to get to the point that you want, and don’t waste the huge advantage you have that you’re actually talented enough to succeed.
Just because you’re not as successful as you’d like to be at the moment, doesn’t mean that you can’t ultimately succeed. You just have to understand why you’re not where you want to be and figure out how to get there.