Daydrinking in a bookstore?

Daydrinking in a bookstore?
How whiskey and books can help you sell yourself.

I spent some time in February in Portland speaking at the Together Experience, getting tattoos, and catching up with business friends. I also took a moment to visit the Multnomah Whiskey Library and Powell's Books.

If you know anything about me, you know that whiskey and books are quite possibly my second greatest happy place (behind travel, of course). The day that I visited these places, I started off in Powell's rare book room and finished with a taste of incredible whiskey I never thought possible. Both of these locations draw hordes of visitors but they have very different contents (try drinking at Powell's - I doubt you'll get far). Even though they're only a couple blocks apart, they're both wildly successful, despite their overlapping demographics.

It got me thinking: even if we cater to the same audience as someone else, we have something different to offer. There are actually studies out there that link a passion for whiskey with a passion for reading. Don't believe me? Consider this: New York City's five boroughs have no less than 12 bars that cater to reading while sipping your favorite beverage (most commonly: whiskey). Knowing this, it's safe to assume that visitors to Portland who want to see MWL also want to visit Powell's. Why might someone visit both places? Because they go to MWL to taste rare whiskeys and enjoy the environment that accompanies those beverages, while they go to Powell's to get lost down an aisle of books and smell that comfortable and familiar old book smell. 


Find your differentiator. Even if you're one of five photographers in your city or one of three calligraphers all focused on the same style, there's something that makes you different. Maybe, if you're Ashlyn Carter, it's the fact that you have a PR background and an incredible amount of personal heart behind your calligraphy. Maybe, if you're Justin & Mary, it's the tale of a dirt floor trailer that sets you apart. Everyone has their "something special" and you deserve to be known for yours. Identify the things that people want from you. Take some time, grab a notebook, and identify the thing that is so core to who you are that you can't help be different from everyone else for it.

Once you've identified that differentiator, tell me more. Why are you claiming it? What's so important about it that you need to be known for it? Why does it fit with what you do and who you serve?