If You Build it, They Will Come | #MyFridayStory #234

Frans Nel
3 min readJan 21, 2022


Photo by Todd Trapani from Pexels

There’s a certain kind of innocence to dreaming big.

The 1989 film Field of Dreams, features Kevin Costner as a farmer who builds a baseball field in his cornfield to attract the ghosts of baseball legends past. He’s troubled by his broken relationship with his late father. He’s afraid his life has no meaning, that he hasn’t achieved anything significant. While walking through his cornfield one evening, he hears a voice whispering, “If you build it, he will come.” He sees a vision of a baseball field in the cornfield and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson standing in the middle.

He goes on to build the baseball field believing the reality of its presence will make his dream come alive.

After over 25 years of corporate life, on Leap Year’s day, 29 February 2016, I resigned from my job. I couldn’t endure another day of handing someone else the purse strings to my life. After another incident, I typed up my resignation while sitting at my desk. I printed it and slipped it into an envelope. With no idea of what I’m going to do, I knocked on my boss’ door and handed him my resignation.

Leap first.

In 2015, Seth Godin released his audio lecture called, Leap First: Creating Work That Matters. In an hour, Seth explains what we all already know: We all have a fear of being wrong, of being vulnerable. This fear is so debilitating, it holds us back from shipping our work. Overcoming the resistance to procrastinate seems impossible. We all experience the resistance. The timing never seems right to ship our work. Delaying pulling the trigger feels safe.

I knew I wanted to start a marketing agency and asked my friend and mentor what to name the business. He never hesitated:

Leap First.

Marketing is all about creating a fertile environment for your brand to be loved. This is also true for you as an individual. Your personal brand also needs a space where you can pitch your best self. I hadn’t done a great job at building my resume — working with only a handful of brands over the 25 years. I set about building a persona. I knew it would take time, consistency, and effort if I wanted to build something of value.

Leap First has 4 foundational pillars on which the business rests.

· Permission

· Brand

· Content

· Target


People’s attention is scarce and thus valuable. When a client or prospect has permitted you to “interrupt” their day with your message — they’ve given you their attention. You respect their time and attention — their permission — by only delivering relevant, expected messages.


Most folks gravitate towards people like themselves. We love the familiar and trusted and don’t like taking risks. Brands work hard at finding a place in your heart and mind that resonates emotionally. A loved and trusted brand is made up of much more than a logo and a strapline. It has built a connection through consistently delivering on what the brand promises.


Everything is content. Content is everything. For marketing to create a fertile environment for a sale to take place, they communicate the brand’s message using all forms of media. The company has an area of authority that it must communicate to prospects. From advertisements on billboards or handing out flyers at stoplights to business cards, branding on a delivery vehicle, and sharing a post on LinkedIn — it’s all content.


Using permission marketing as a yardstick, choosing a target audience is helpful in two ways. When you’ve discovered your “Audience of One” — you no longer need to spray-and-pray your message. You can feed your prospect relevant, welcomed messages with an eyedropper. Secondly, finding your niche keeps everyone honest about where to invest resources.

Leap First is not a business name, it’s a mantra. It’s a constant reminder to overcome resistance. To overcome the fear of being vulnerable. It’s a call to be generous, caring and kind. It pushes you to do the brave things, the things that take courage and hard work. The things that make the world a better place.

Leap first.

Anything else is hiding.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏