Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

My name is Jim Connolly and I am a freak!

It’s true: I am a freak!

Having now outed myself as a freak, I’d like to explain why you too should embrace your inner freak, if you want to achieve the potential you are capable of.

I want to begin with the man in the photo on the right.  He is an amazing artist I met this week.  His name is Ben Wilson and I have followed his work for years.  Ben makes art from the pieces of gum stuck to the street; transferring each one from an eyesore into a unique piece of art.

Ironically, I took this photo of Ben on Monday; outside The Royal Academy of Arts, London.  Of course, Ben is as much an artist as those whose work is displayed within those rather grand walls.  Indeed, his own work is regularly covered on TV and he has exhibited (inside) galleries all over the world.  What you may not know until you meet him “at work” creating, is that huge numbers of people stop and look at his art and talk to him, film him and take photos of him and his art.  That connection itself, is part of his art.  It’s beautiful.  He loves what he does and BOY does it show.

Defining freaks

Jim connolly, Nile Rodgers

Nile Rodgers and me in London.

I discovered Ben creating his art, as I walked from the train to meet with another amazing artist, my client, friend and inspiration, Nile Rodgers (that’s us on the right.)

What struck me, was that these 2 unconnected people are both similarly passionate about their art, because it matters so much to them.  To coin a term Nile is famous for, I believe that people who are driven to create and share in this way, are freaks.

When I say freaks, I am referring to those rare people who embrace their difference, rather than fight it and conform.  When Ben transforms gum into art, he’s not doing it for the money.  When Nile gets on stage and performs, he’s not doing it for the money either; with an estimated fortune of $40million, Nile’s doing OK, financially.  They are both doing it because it matters so much to them.  Freaks are the type of people Steve Jobs referred to as “The crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels.” in Apple’s 1990’s Think Different ad campaign.

Embracing YOUR inner freak

It isn’t just painters and musicians who match this definition of freaks.  We have them in every industry and profession, delivering their unique style of; web design, school teaching, marketing, legal representation, cooking, training, team building, medical care, circus skills, consulting, etc.  In fact, you see them every time you witness a person applying their craft to work that matters.

I wrote about this in detail in the following 2 posts, which are among the most popular pieces I have ever written:

  1. What you need to know about Work That Matters.
  2. Discover the key element that’s missing from 99% of businesses!


Yes, it’s perfectly fine to get your head down and do what’s expected of you.  However, it’s far more rewarding in every way to raise your head, raise your expectations and embrace YOUR inner freak!

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  1. Loved to read about what you call ‘the inner freak’. I know exactly what you mean by that.
    Somehow, everyone’s a freak.
    No one is truly in touch with reality, because everybody lives in their oen reality.

    • Hi Seph. Glad you found it interesting. I agree every one of us has their inner freak. We just need the confidence to let him or her out.

  2. This article connected with me on a very deep, personal level.

    The reason I read your articles is that you are different from anyone else out there.

    I love your freak Jim.

  3. So, maybe its just me but after reading this twice it feels like the final piece of my puzzle just appeared Jim.


  4. Hey Jim. Love this, man. I am actually old enough to remember that song. Freak. form Niles and Le Chic. Wow. I am old. Ha ! This post is great. People need to be encouraged to embrace their inner selves (their FREAK) and really connect with their passion and purpose. That is when the real beauty and great work is produced. The life and world-changing stuff. For Real. Gotta thank Frank Dickinson for finding you, Jim. Grateful.

    Take CARE and stay Freaky.


  5. The message I got from this article is that money is not the motivating factor, it is the passion to do the things you love. Like my favorite freaks, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple, these freaks dared to dream big not just because of fame or fortune but it was also the dream of making things practical, beautiful and functional.

    • Hi Donna. Yes, the reason the 2 Steve’s carried on LONG after they were both extremely wealthy, is that they were driven by passion.

      Thanks for the feedback and welcome to the blog.

  6. I won’t call it my inner freak. Tap my creativity.

    All artistic people are stranger than the average person. Its the gift that makes us that way.

    • Hey Tommy. Thanks for the comment. I believe all of us have capacity to be extremely creative, though very few of us see ourselves that way.

  7. I feel like I’m getting my freak on often, including every couple of weeks when I have my own disco night. It’s interesting that an old skool term is showing up these days, but I’ll embrace it as I can. Good one Jim.

  8. What a creative idea turning gum into art, legend! The only way is to follow your passion, anything else will just be a job.

    • Hi there Chris. Yep – Ben is a remarkable person, which is why he captures our attention and encourages us to “remark” on him.

      When a business owner adopts a similar stance, they attract attention and word of mouth. Give people an interesting story and they share it.

  9. Hi!
    Found you on the website! And found you very inspiring! So I thought i’d follow and sign-up to your emails. Some people do tend to forget about their inner freaks, and too much concentration is just on their job, making it very simple, but can you imagine if you apply your ‘inner freak’ on the job!? Definately get something better on the other side!!!

  10. I LOVE your articles Jim, like someone else said you are very different. Getting my freak on now haha :D

  11. I wonder if you could replace the word “freak” to “unconcerned about what others think about their true selves”. We hide our inner desires so much from the scrutiny from the world.

    • Hi Craig. I could change that the word ‘freak’ for that phrase, but it’s a little less effective from a marketing perspective. The term freak is in common usage, to denote someone who is doing it their own way. It’s effective shorthand.

      Apple could have called the iPad, the ‘tablet computing device for those looking for a bigger experience than is possible with their iPhone’ but they used the term iPad, as shorthand.

      Thanks for the feedback, my friend.

  12. I like the word “freak.” Catchy.

    I ask clients to find their voice. Same thing though I like your metaphor better.

    People are afraid to show their true colors, freak or voice, because they’re afraid of being freaky.

    The sooner you own your freakness, everything changes.

  13. Hello, Mr Connolly.

    I do so hope being called ‘an acquired taste’ fits within the field of having found my inner freak (good heavens – that was a mouthful!).
    More than once I’ve been told I ‘take a little getting used to’ -though a dear friend did say the first 20 years were the worst…

    That being the case I vow that no longer will I try to forfeit my freakiness and hereafter will encourage others to embrace their wickedly weird ways too.

    Let’s hope it’s good for business!

    With kind regards,

  14. Hi Jim,

    I can truly relate to what you’re saying, even though what I do is not anything like making art from the pieces of gum stuck to the street. I have never even thought that was possible, but people are amazing. And that’s one of the coolest things I’ve heard of in a very long time.

    Doing work that matters and not doing it for the money, that just gets me pumped with energy. Passion is what drives us, and if we’ve got the passion, we’ll eventually get paid. That’s how I feel about it.

    • Good morning, Sir.

      I do so hope you won’t mind me plagiarising a piece of your prose :
      ‘Passion is what drives us and if we’ve got the passion, we’ll eventually get paid.’

      I think it’s a good mantra for young people to adopt as they start their working lives, especially in these days of tough competition for employment. Maybe it would help encourage those who are hesitant about taking their first steps into making a living through something they enjoy doing, instead of automatically feeling they have to jump into a corporate career.
      All too often we see curiosity, creativity and some extremely good ideas being shelved until a later date, only to be lost for good as the person becomes entrenched in the world of work, mortgages and such like.
      How good would it be if from the start of their careers our young people were encouraged to follow their passion, rather than just what they can get in their pocket – and more importantly, how much happier/ less stressed would they be?

      Kind regards,

      • Hi Linda. It can be soul destroying to work at a job that doesn’t inspire you.

        What amazes me, is that some people build a business of their own, which leaves them uninspired and stressed. You see them on Twitter every Friday, excited to get the heck away from their and hit the wine.

        I’m not sure if they know how strange that looks. :)

        Thanks for the comment, Linda.

        • That’s very sad, Mr Connolly.

          But it sounds like an awfully good reason for the rest of us to try to brighten the day with a little happiness and good humour. Maybe then they’ll see the error of their ways and reflect on what damage they do themselves, their reputations and businesses.

          Yep – that’s me – the eternal optimist or idiot, I’m not sure which!
          Kind regards,

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