Podcast Episode #169

Differentiating with Hugh MacLeod

Hugh MacLeod
Podcast Episode #169

Welcome to the WP Elevation podcast “Best Of” series where we dig into the archives to bring you the best golden nuggets and business principals from over the last few years. Yes, we even looked at the metrics to find the most popular podcasts so if you have missed a show or are a fairly new subscriber, you will love this!

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In this episode, Troy talks to Hugh MacLeod who knows a thing or two about differentiating yourself, finding your niche and going for it. If you’re struggling to find clients, or just interested in an inspiring story of one man’s unlikely path to success, then listen in.

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Show Notes

A Bit About Hugh

Hugh is a cartoonist, creative director and co-founder of Gapingvoid, a company that transforms business through art. He is intensely interested in what makes people tick and combines that with what they do for a living. Our work is such a huge part of our lives and so this is why his artistic focus is on the work environment, instead of making art for people’s homes or other places. And he’s been hugely successful in doing so.

Hugh is also the author of the book Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity.

An artwork from Hugh’s Elon Musk Collection


In 1995, Hugh was a struggling artist in London. It was the early days of the Internet and the very pioneer days of blogging. As a struggling artist, he realised that blogging was a tool that could help him earn a living by reaching people directly with his work.

Blogging gave him a powerful medium to reach his audience and has been a huge part of his journey.

Hugh now makes motivational art. He believes passionately that the right location, the right office, the right layout, and the right décor can be incredibly powerful. And art is really the key. Art disrupts and drives behaviour because it bundles together our primary drivers as human beings: love, hate, fear, beauty and sadness.

Getting Clients

Hugh explains that his business grew organically because he had fans inside businesses and they would buy a piece of his art that inspired them and then others would ask where they got it. He realised that art could really motivate people in the workplace.

Hugh also says that it is important to find the customers that your competition doesn’t want. They weren’t interested in the customers with the biggest budget, they wanted the companies with the biggest problems.

His advice is to go after a niche nobody else has thought of. “Too many people are trying to sell the same stuff to the same people.”

Gapingvoid had unique offerings so they didn’t have to compete on price. Hugh says that if you’re competing on price then you’re not differentiating your offers enough.

Hugh's Hot Tips

  • Know when to say no
  • Be clear about what you want when writing proposals then the easier it is to write
  • In order to keep your projects on track, you have to be vigilant and realistic when setting deadlines. Build in time for unforeseen events and constantly communicate with clients

There’s so much more in this episode, so be sure to listen in and let us know what you think in the comments below!

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