David Burd also knows as Lil Dicky or LD , is an American rapper who grew up in an upper middle-class family in the suburbs of Philadelphia, graduated at the top of his class with a business marketing degree and spent nearly two years planning out the debut of his music career. He gained popularity with the release of the music video “Ex-Boyfriend”, which went viral with more than one million views on YouTube in 24 hours, which in itself a lesson for every entrepreneur. Burd released his debut album Professional Rapper feat. Snopp Dogg on July 31, 2015.
Dicky also started a Kickstarter campaign to successfully engage his loyal fans to fund his music recordings, music videos and tours when we was done investing of all his own money. This gave him to keep creative control of his content and dictate the pacing of release dates. Lesson here: Entrepreneurs keep things under control.
The genius struck again this around when Dicky decided to shoot “the most epic rap video” for his song “$ave Dat Money” with a self-imposed budget of $0. Pulling this off is a lesson for any entrepreneur who is looking to build a product while bootstrapping.
“$ave Dat Money” as Dicky explains in the video is based on the idea of making the “most epic rap video” without spending any money on the mansions, expensive sport cars, table service, A-List celebs and everything else which make a rap video. While they were at it, the crew also managed to make a 20min documentary covering the project which is must watch for any entrepreneur wanting to know who to push through the challenges, advocate your own brand and get results while having fun.
Learn To Sell Yourself And Your Ideas
I think the biggest problem entrepreneurs have is that they can’t differentiate themselves from their products. Before you sell your product/idea, you need to sell yourself. I wouldn’t buy an iPhone from a shady looking dude even if it was offered to me on half the price cause my gut feeling just tells me not to.
The key here is to be SuperYou. Think of yourself as a super hero version of yourself. Make a list of your best qualities and then talk the way the superYou would talk, walk the way the superYou would walk. With Lil Dicky, he is very much himself at every instance. He dresses and talks to people very much like in his casual manner. His enthusiasm and energy at every interaction while he is selling the idea of the “most epic rap video” is truly himself.
Its not enough to just be you. There is too much competition out there as an entrepreneur and you wont make it big while being in hiding. You need to be persistent in your own unique way to get what you want. In the 20mins documentary Dicky is seen negotiating with a club manager who doesn’t seem keen on the idea and demands the crew pays money as its “strictly business”, the manager finally gives in after LD repeatedly approaches the manager multiple times with a different approach. Similarly LD gets total strangers to open their mansions, give out their sports cars and boats for the video.
Learn To Leverage Your Network
‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’.
The leverage of people is key to your success to achieve your goals. Network and peer groups are two different animals. You have a deep relationships with members of your peer groups . Its like your inner circle. Network is more about weak ties and acquaintances, people you met at events, someone’s wedding, online groups, college alumni association etc. Though a lot can be said about value of networks and networking, knowing how to leverage your network once you have set a solid ground for your relationship could be crucial to the result.
Convert Your Network
First impressions count, make an impression when you first meet someone (preferably a good one). Nobody remembers average so be remarkable. Develop an authentic and memorable personal brand which is consistent and easy to remember. Pay it forward. Always try to find out how can you helps others first before asking anything in return.
Leverage Your Network
Stay in touch with your network to know more about how can you help them and how it can help you. When you help others or “pay-it-forward” you will be surprised by what returns it brings you in the future.
Whenever you need help, ask. People like to help and someone always knows someone who could be the guy to solve all your miseries. LD, dint hold back and when we wanted a sports car for the music video, he just tweeted it away using the power of his network. LD reached out to numerous A-list celebrities and actually landed a few free shots off T-Pain’s music video set, convinced Sarah Silverman to be featured in the video smoking weed and got Mark Cuban to send him a video singing the lyrics of his song.
As an entrepreneur your team doesn’t necessarily have all the skill, information, connections, and resources that can take your business to the next level. Leverage who you know to fill the gaps.
Learn To Deal With Failure/Rejection
With big hustle, comes big rejection. The number one reason for people to not start their dream job or business is the fear of failure. More than failure, the stress of the failure being public makes one more vulnerable and weak in the knees. Dealing with failure or rejection is a long topic to cover, as its a mindset issue. For the vast majority of entrepreneurs, they take rejection personally. When they fail to get a result they wanted or are rejected an opportunity they desired, they blame themselves for the lack of skill or doubt self worth. For the other half, they find a way to reframe the same situation into something else and walk away from the situation without hurting or doubting their own abilities and instead try a new approach to achieve the goal. LD had to go the traditional door-to-door to convince someone to let him in their house for 15mins, that is a crazy enough task in itself and I’m sure not everyone is up for such adventure. LD cold called celebs and direct messaged celebs on twitter to get the idea out to the people he thought would bite.
“There are no real successes without rejection. The more rejection you get, the better you are, the more you’ve learned, the closer you are to your outcome… If you can handle rejection, you’ll learn to get everything you want.” – Tony Robbins
The best way to deal with rejection as an entrepreneur is to prepare for it ahead of time. Rejection isnt as bad as you imagined it to be most of the time. Understand the situation not just from your point of view but from the person you are selling to. Knowing the difference between “No”, “No, I’m not sure” and “No, not right now” is the key. Someone who fears rejection will eject himself/herself from the situation hearing any of those “No..” statement but someone who has had the experience of facing 100s of “No” will instantly see how “No, I’m not sure” and “No, not right now” is a potential “Yes” waiting to happen.
Find below the 20mins $ave Dat Money Documentary which gives you a deeper look into the mindset of the rapper and dissect the creative process behind the project. LD must be credited for showing authenticity, conviction and hustle for his work in this video. Its important to note, not only did the team finish the project without spending any money, they made $600 in revenue from product placement.