“Dan, what are the best skills to learn?”
“Dan, how do I make money online?”
“Dan, how do I do absolutely zero work, research, and execution of my own to build passive income in less than 3 weeks?”
Stop. You are asking the wrong questions. There are only a few skills that you need to learn. The others you learn should be the result of your innate curiosity. Taking small risks with your time for a potentially massive payout. Letting (good) novelty be your guide (per the last Mastery Letter).
Let me break down what you should learn in the simplest way possible. If you follow this learning path, you will never have to worry about money again — given you can stay on the path for 1 year minimum.
In the material world, your perceived value is correlated with the amount of problems you solve. In the personal sense — improving yourself within the eternal markets (health, wealth, and relationships) turns you into a “high-value” individual. People gravitate towards you because you fill a hole in their life. You solve a problem.
In the business world, these ‘improvements’ translate into the ability to solve biological problems for others — as you’ve already solved them for yourself. The thing is, you need to understand how to package up and communicate this value. You need to attract people. Followers. Prospects. Customers.
Improving yourself is only one piece of the puzzle. It relates to an education business more than anything. Coaching, programs, digital products, and the rest. This is tertiary but necessary to set the scene. It takes time to be able to monetize these skills — because it takes time to solve these problems for yourself.
While you are improving yourself, here are the skills you should acquire:
There are an abundance of skills that content creators create a lot of noise about. Yelling at you to learn them so you can pull in some kind of online income. I want to take it back to the root. The skills that will have the most impact and fast-track your way to monetizing anything you want.
There are 2 categories within the evergreen skills that will always hold value. They allow you to create and display your offerings to the open market.
The first category I call The Medium. There are two mediums. Writing and speaking. Writing is the foundation of proper, articulate speaking and should be understood first. Writing — the written word — is how you organize and deliver your thoughts in the modern world. Communication with other human beings — in its root form — is writing.
There are an abundance of resources online to learn how to write. I will teach you how to learn in future issues of this letter, but I can and will not give you step-by-step advice. That defeats the purpose of the entire journey. If I give you exact steps — as you will learn — it will not be fulfilling. You will quit as fast as you started. You need to let curiosity drive you. Start the snowball of momentum through self-education and diving into the unknown. Once you learn to walk, you can run. Once you learn to write, you can speak.
The second category of evergreen skills is The Message. Marketing and sales. How you write and speak to capture attention — the focus of others — to promote your solution. These are umbrella labels for understanding advertising, psychology, human nature, capturing attention, and what drives our decision-making. Without an understanding of these, you cannot write or speak effectively. You can learn a lot about these skills through self-awareness and observation of others. Paying attention to what they focus on and why they focus on it.
This is how you warm people up to your value. This is how you spark behavior change. Behavior change is the only metric that matters. Why? It means they will see positive results in their life. This is how you get paid for your efforts. Without marketing and sales, you will not make an income.
For some, these have a negative connotation because you have had a negative experience with them. Your negative focus on a message with negative energy created a negative reaction. Detach from this belief and see these skills for what they are — a way to spread your positive message and solve the deep problems of others. If you don’t market and sell your solution, you will market and sell others’ solutions for life.
Writing, speaking, marketing, and sales are the 4 skills that will set you up for a lucrative online career. If you pursue these through your own curiosity and don’t find a path to take… I don’t know what to tell you.
Shameless-mid-newsletter-plug: Marketing and sales are the core teachings of the business side of Modern Mastery HQ. Hundreds of resources, courses, roadmaps, and personalized support for you to find your lucrative path.
Complementary skills allow you to further the impact of evergreen skills. Photography, videography, web and graphic design, technical proficiency, audio engineering, business management, and the rest.
Understanding these skills one-by-one will amplify the effect of your evergreen skills and vice versa. They are the creative, technical, and business skills that allow you to display, visualize, and scale the impact of your evergreen skills.
These are what the majority of people learn first. The downside: they never learn to build online leverage or sell their products and services for a high price online. They fall into the “starving artist” trap. Avoid this at all costs by prioritizing evergreen skill acquisition.
Your evergreen skills can be used to market, sell, and monetize your complementary skills. All of these skills can be used to display your value relating to your interests and problems you’ve solved for yourself. As you trek along your self-education journey, these will make themselves apparent. Different projects require different complementary skills.
As a one-person business, you must learn many of these to even survive. Most of you know my story (and those of many other successful solopreneurs). I tried freelancing with multiple different complementary skills. Started a digital art page. Multiple eCom brands. And more. Everything changed when I started building an audience, learned marketing and sales, and focused on what would pull in revenue.
A Note On Saturation
Most eternal markets are saturated. There are a lot of competitors. Most of them are beginners. Most of them have not even hit the “valuable” stage. Very few are above average in the evergreen skills.
I do not want you to get discouraged as we dive into irreplaceability. That is a temporal game. It takes time. Understand that you can make an exceptional amount of money with curiosity, evergreen skills, and a few complementary skills. They all bleed into each other. They are interconnected.
To earn a living wage (not surviving wage), you must become valuable. To generate infinite income, you must become irreplaceable. In today’s world, becoming valuable is synonymous with being a commodity. Everyone can offer some form of value in terms of the skills they’ve acquired. Few can offer an irreplaceable stack of specific, applicable skills and knowledge to a unique situation that gets results.
The ability to guarantee that a problem is solved through a system of your design. Skill acquisition is necessary as we have discussed, but specific knowledge allows you to utilize those skills to the highest magnitude. You are able to fill the holes that others were not able to fill. If you want to become valuable, know the rules. If you want to become irreplaceable, know when to break them.
This is where the eternal markets, learning, solving your own problems, and experience come into play. Becoming irreplaceable is less about what problem you solve and more about how you solve it. I will be writing a letter about The Solutions Economy and The Experience Model in the coming weeks — but for now, understand that your ability to apply knowledge through your skillset is what matters.
Big players are irreplaceable because of their vast experience. They solved their own problems > gained experience > started a service business (consulting, coaching, freelancing) > gained experience + started developing their own unique system for getting results > added a dash of persistence and iteration > productized their system > repeated the cycle.
Going even further: the path to irreplaceability involves open-mindedness (being able to pivot and learn), studying all surrounding areas of your main offering, researching all sides, not becoming dogmatic about one way of doing things, etc. If you put yourself in a box, your income will remain in a box. Capped.
Jack of all trades, master of one.
Rather than focusing all of your energy on increasing your income — you must focus on increasing your income while reducing your time invested. Constantly iterating, systemizing, productizing, and not settling because you hit $20,000/month as a service business. Especially when you can hit $1 million/month while working less.
Many have not reached this level. I do not want to confuse or overwhelm you. Start with the evergreen and complementary skills. Start building leverage by growing an audience. Start a service business, help for free, and develop your system. The path will reveal itself to you after.
As always, if you want step-by-step processes, strategies, and my 3 beginner courses (starting a service business, growing an audience, and building digital real estate) that were taken down everywhere else, join MMHQ.