When I was young, I made a crucial observation.
I had to earn with my mind, not my time.
I made the distinction between labor workers and creative workers.
Labor workers would try to accomplish as much as their bodies could handle within a specific time frame.
Creative workers would focus on solving the problems that would lead to the most results, regardless of time spent.
Labor workers were locked into a salary and schedule that paid them a certain amount of money for their efforts.
Creative workers created their own salary and schedule that paid them according to the level of problem they solved.
There’s nothing wrong with labor work.
But understand that you are trading time for money.
And your time is limited.
Doctors can be paid a great salary, but they are paid the same whether they save someone’s life or tell them to take some aspirin.
A writer can be paid as much as they want depending on what they write, what their product is, and how far their writing spreads.
Writing is one example here as we will discuss how to monetize anything you wish later in this letter.
The difference between creative workers and labor workers is owning a business.
Business is about solving a series of creative problems until you create the income and lifestyle you desire.
As soon as you stop solving creative problems around product and reach, your income stagnates and you become a slave to the work you built yourself into.
My Evolution From Time To Mind
When I first started in business, the logical option was to freelance with a valuable skill.
It seemed beginner-friendly and cost zero dollars to start.
With years of manual effort, the joy that came from building the business slowly fell as my responsibilities rose.
I could only take on a specific amount of clients.
I only had so much time in the day.
Unless I wanted to stay in a self-made 9-5, I had to get creative. I had to evolve.
Creativity is dependent on the expansion of your mind.
So, through education and exposing myself to the unknown, I registered new opportunities to solve my problem.
I began writing online to attract new clients.
This removed the time-suck of manually reaching out to potential clients with cold email, cold call, and and cold messages.
I built a digital product that could sell while I sleep.
This removed my absolute dependence on client work to survive.
I pivoted my freelance offer into a consulting offer.
This cut my client work times in half. I could charge more and do less because I was helping someone rather than doing it for them.
During this time, I made a discovery that changed the direction of my life:
If I could gain one reader, I could gain one million.
And if I could gain one buyer, I could gain one thousand.
2.8 million readers and 20,000 buyers later, my discoveries held true.
Now, my creative problem-solving has evolved beyond a one-person business.
Now, I am focused on building Kortex, delegating work without reducing the quality delivered, and not overworking myself.
One lesson before we begin:
You can’t eradicate manual labor from your life altogether.
It is a slow and painful evolution, and sometimes you regress.
Now that I’ve taken on the responsibility of starting a larger company, my manual work has increased substantially, but I trust that I can lower it quickly with my prior experience.
What we will discuss:
- The macronutrients of business
- Progressive overload of skill
- Time under attention
- How to reinvent yourself
- Documenting your mind on the internet
- How to create a brand, content, product, and promotions that make you money
One other thing before we start – we have opened up more spots for VIP and Mastermind. If you are a founder, creator, writer, or marketer who wants to work with us directly on your social media brand, content, and product… apply here.
This letter is long, but worth it.
Bodybuilding & Businessbuilding
When you deconstruct the mind and body, you can map patterns that deepen your understanding across most domains of life.
We will connect these patterns to the financial domain by starting a business.
We can think of the mind as your mental body as we talked about in Mental Aesthetics.
We can also think of your business as the body or character you display externally.
A business is just that, a vessel for value exchange.
Personal growth is self-development, business growth is other-development.
In nutrition, there are 4 macronutrients:
In business, there are 4 pillars that determine your success:
In nutrition, there are a plethora of micronutrients that maintain bodily functions.
In business, there are skills, interests, experience, knowledge, creativity, and personality that determine the potency of your efforts.
Your job is to fuel your business with the proper creative nutrition to succeed.
You can opt for the business keto diet and take away content as carbs.
Many people go the direct response marketing route and only use ads to fuel their business, but the benefits of content make it an unreasonable approach (especially for beginners without money to invest in making mistakes to learn advertising… I learned this the hard way).
By having a daily content writing habit:
- You can validate high-performing ideas as content to use in your ads or promotions.
- You get to keep the audience you acquire. You aren’t always burning through money to acquire new customers.
- You create customers over time by writing content for all levels of awareness.
You can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on ads.
Or you can build a 100,000 follower audience over a year and get the same amount of impressions.
Or you can do both, your call.
Progressive Overload Of Skill & Challenge
When you are starting out, it is unwise to take on too much as a one-person business.
You must become the marketing, sales, operations, and media department.
To create a brand, content, product, and promotions, you will need to learn at least the fundamentals of:
- Marketing & sales
- Graphic design
- Web design
- Content writing
- Email marketing
- Social media
This is a blessing and a curse.
If you’ve never learned any modern skills, this will take a while.
You will get overwhelmed and anxious at the thought of a future you don’t have the skill to create clarity with.
But social media is the perfect vessel to build as you learn.
In bodybuilding, you progressively overload the muscle by adding weight to the bar over time.
If you ego-lift and put on too much weight, you won’t be able to lift it, and you’ll probably look like an idiot.
Start small and build your skill stack with time.
Do not start learning until you start building.
Buy courses, books, and search for content that teaches how to do all of this well as you are building.
Create one project.
Set one goal.
Learn one skill.
Get good at it so you have mental energy for the next.
Build your profile. Study social media and graphic design (for your banner and profile picture).
Start writing content. Study copywriting, content writing, marketing, and post structures.
Ideate a product. Study marketing, sales, and offer creation.
Learn to promote. Study email marketing, promotions, and copywriting.
With all of this, don’t get complacent.
If you don’t seek a higher challenge after you stop seeing good results from the first, you will get bored.
Boredom leads to thoughts of quitting because you feel like there is something better you could be doing with your time.
In the gym, a great thing to do is observe what others are doing to correct your form. You can also watch videos of people online.
Emulate what others are doing in the creator space.
Pull inspiration from creators’ bios, content, and marketing.
But – and this is a big but – realize that people more advanced than you are at a different level. What they are doing may not be what they did when they were starting out.
This is a long process of experimentation.
Time Under Attention
In weight training, there is a concept known as time under tension.
Some argue it is the main driver of muscle growth (paired with progressive overload).
I want to make the same argument for business, but as time under attention.
This is arguably the most important thing to pay attention to when building an audience with your writing and content.
Attention is the currency of the 3rd millennium.
The more people pay attention to you, the more power you have.
Authors, podcasters, and YouTubers often have the most loyal audiences.
Why? Because information creates identity.
The more attention you hold, the more information you deliver.
You program the minds of your audience in a way that is conducive to actually changing their life.
You can write short posts for social media all day long, but someone who has held more attention will always outperform you.
James Clear will get more engagement and reach because:
- People have adopted his worldview.
- People quote him in their content, newsletters, and podcasts.
- Any time someone else posts a related idea to Clear, the authority is given to Clear because he comes to mind while reading your content. Clear is still holding their attention while they read others’ content.
This does not mean that short-form content like X, Instagram, or LinkedIn are useless. Quite the opposite. They have their own benefits and use cases.
Don’t think in black and white here. Think holistically.
I see short-form platforms as a way to attract a broad audience quicker to fuel your long-form platforms that are arguably more difficult to grow.
I almost always recommend starting with short-form to build an audience, build a network, and validate high-performing ideas that you can then turn into long-form videos, newsletters, or combine all of them into a book.
And, the longer you do it, the more attention you hold. Quitting after 1-6 months is stupid.
1% of 50 years is 6 months.
If this is the work you see yourself doing for your entire life, don’t quit during the tutorial phase.
If I create 365 posts a year (on all platforms) and those posts hold attention for 30 seconds, that’s 3 hours of attention held – per reader – on each platform over a year.
If I create 1 long-form post a week (for a newsletter, YouTube, and podcast all being the same) and these posts hold 20 minutes of attention, that’s 52 hours of attention held per reader for all platforms.
I’ll let you come to the conclusion of why I wrote a book that may be purchased by millions.
So, it’s important that you treat short-form platforms for what they are:
A way to build a broad audience faster, validate ideas, and funnel people into various products and long-form content.
For writers, I always recommend using X and a newsletter.
One short-form and one long-form platform to start.
Then, when you’ve spent enough time actually seeing growth, you can repurpose all of your best short and long-form content for different platforms. This is what I teach in 2 Hour Writer.
Turn Your Self Into A Business (Mental Monetization)
Your self, or identity, is your mental body.
The “self” is a web of concepts, beliefs, ideas, experiences, and perceptions that allow you to navigate the world.
The information you learn and use since birth is what shapes the self.
Your identity shapes your perspective, and your perspective is the most important thing you can understand and expand.
Your perspective is your reality.
A perspective is a frame composed of goals, problems, and skill to overcome those problems to achieve those goals.
It is also composed of beliefs, knowledge, and experiences that either limit or aid in the achievement of goals, solving of problems, and understanding of knowledge.
When we aren’t conscious of the goals or problems that compose our perspective, we are not choosing how we act. The goals were assigned to us.
If we don’t have the skill to overcome problems to achieve goals, we get anxious, overwhelmed, and negative to the point of lashing out.
When you don’t seek to understand the goal of someone else in life, social media, politics, religion, or the rest – it is easy for us to misinterpret their situation and think they are stupid for doing what they do.
In reality, we lack perspective.
We can’t open our minds to see that we are not the only perspective.
The goals and problems that compose your perspective determine what information you perceive as important.
Given time, the information you consume either reinforces who you are or changes who you are by expanding your perspective to contain better problems and meaningful goals.
From those meaningful goals, you can acquire a unique combination of skills to achieve them.
Person A has an unconscious goal that was assigned to them by society.
They were made to believe that getting a job as a doctor was their only path in life.
So, whether they know it or not, all of the information, books, podcasts, social media content, and conversations will be interpreted to acquire information that helps them achieve their goal.
Their skillset will form from that information as they attempt to achieve the goal.
There are more goals and problems influencing interpretation here – like watching memes on their phone all day because they don’t have a stronger goal that requires them to self-educate to achieve it.
Person B has a conscious goal that they chose for themself based on a problem they became aware of.
This sets them up for success in more ways than just achieving their goal.
First, it prevents them from being a mindless product of the social matrix (the groundless loop of webbed information passed down from the government, schools, and parents just so they can teach their children the same).
Second, the path of changing who they are, creating a unique path in life, and achieving goals that solve burning problems sets them up for a life of meaning, money, and mastery.
Documenting Your Mind On The Internet (And Getting Paid To Do So)
Now we understand a very brief description of the human behavior feedback loop.
Identity influences perspective influences perception of situations influences choices influences identity and loops back around to infinity.
To turn your mind into a business, your job is to change your behavior for the better so you can change others.
1) Brand Is Your Online Character Or Identity
The front end of a business is a brand. This is what they display online to attract the right people and illustrate their digital identity.
Since we are turning your self into the business, your job is to attract the people you can help the most:
People that are like you.
The people who share the same goals and problems as your past or present self but don’t have the skill to achieve and overcome them.
You already have the knowledge, experience, and skills to pass down to those who are one step behind you. That’s all you need to start a business.
So, your job on your website, social media profiles, and anywhere your brand is displayed is to:
- Imply a meaningful goal you help people achieve.
- Imply a burning problem you can help them solve.
- Imply the interests or skills that you teach to bridge the gap between problem and goal.
This creates your digital reality.
It creates the frame that you and your customers share so you can exchange knowledge and skill.
This does not have to be explicitly said in your branding.
It must be implied in your designs, writing, and video.
Your brand is created with time under attention as people learn more about you through your content and products.
My brand slogan is: Work less. Earn more. Enjoy life.
My bio was occasionally: I write about human potential, writing, and mental mastery so you can do what you want.
I don’t recommend copying these as they probably won’t work for you. I have more time under attention than you and have the freedom to not be as explicit. This will require more study of my other letters like Value Creation or The Greatest Skill Of The 21st Century.
2) Content Is Your Mindset & Skillset
Content becomes a necessity when you realize its power.
Marketers know the power of traffic, a list of interested customers, and the power of long-form writing or video – but many of them come around to the content game late (like myself).
They don’t realize that the long webinar that made you millions can just be a video on YouTube that gets hundreds of thousands of views (once you get the hang of the social media game).
I understand a webinar funnel, or similar, can be more strategic, but it doesn’t rule out the other benefits of writing content:
- You enhance your thinking. Your ideas become clear with time and it ripples into the rest of your life. You can’t have a great idea if you don’t write a good idea first. Your first content won’t be that good, that’s okay.
- It’s free most of the time. You can grow organically, or you can move your ad spend to paid growth by connecting with and having big players share your posts (don’t listen to anyone that tells you this doesn’t work, they don’t understand it. It doesn’t work for them because their brand and content and strategy suck).
- You create customers. Unlike ads, you keep your audience and can remarket to them at any time. As you create educational content, people become customers because your information shapes who they are.
- You validate and test ideas fast. I can send out a tweet, and if it does better than usual, I can turn that into a sales page headline, YouTube title, or entire product that I know will sell.
Here is how I help people I work with to build their brand by dissecting their minds to turn into content.
First, answer these questions (write the answers down so you can write content with the answers):
- What are 5-10 beliefs that are seen as “extreme” or “crazy” to other people but are normal to you? (This is what differentiates you and leads to the most growth.) I.E. I believe entrepreneurship is for everyone and have reasoning from psychology, mechanics, history, and philosophy to back that.
- What are 5-10 interests or skills that help you create the lifestyle you live and help your followers achieve?
- Why are those interests or skills important? What do they help people avoid or gain in life?
- What foundational knowledge do people need to understand about those skills or interests? (This keeps you from being too advanced or high level so you actually resonate with people.
Now, pair these with the 10 Koemmandments of Engagement and try turning everything you listed into content. It also helps to understand the principles of Value Creation which I linked above.
During this process, write so a 5th grader can understand you.
That is a huge problem I see in the space. People overcomplicate their message with niche wording that doesn’t attract people to become interested in your interests.
You aren’t attracting people who are already interested. You are making them interested through persuasion.
Lastly, here are a few traps people fall into:
Trap 1 – They focus way too much on promotions or making sure they only talk about their product.
Talk about your beliefs, opinions, and educate people on the information necessary to become above average in your interests and skills 80% of the time. Promote sparingly. It’s like cashing in goodwill with your audience.
Trap 2 – They don’t understand the importance of structure VS content.
This goes far beyond writing content for business. It is a metaphysical principle.
For now, take your ideas and use high-performing structures and frameworks as training wheels until you actually develop your writing ability. Look at quotes, newsletter structures, post structures, and the rest and try plugging your ideas into them.
Trap 3 – They don’t research or use high-performing angles.
Any idea can go viral. But only when it is positioned in an attention-grabbing way that entertains, educates, or inspires.
You are a dopamine dealer.
You raise dopamine levels in your readers’ brains by teaching them something new, giving a new point of view, entertaining them, or showing them they are capable of more in life.
Study your favorite accounts’ most popular X posts, Instagram posts, YouTube videos, and start programming your mind to think in high-performing headlines.
The lesson of content:
Good content occurs when you attempt to inject your mindset and skillset into your readers over the course of 6-12 months, not in one post.
3) Product Is How You Achieved A Meaningful Goal
When you are the niche, people follow you because they want to achieve the lifestyle you have. They want to do what you do.
You are already educating them on how to do it with your content.
The difference between content and product is convenience, clarity, and a replicable system that gets results.
What is the most meaningful goal you achieved in your life?
(My example: I earn a living writing about my interests.)
(Potential example: I got a six-pack without doing cardio.)
(Another example: I unlocked extreme focus to build my side business.)
What steps do people need to take to get there?
(My example: Write, build a readership, persuade, sell.)
(Potential example: Minimalist training and intermittent fasting.)
What do people need to learn to take those steps?
(My example: Social media, copywriting, content.)
(Potential example: The principles of training and nutrition.)
What can those people practice and implement in their day to get there?
(My example: the 2 hour content ecosystem.)
(Potential example: the executive training system for busy people.)
(I’m giving these systems fancy names because it is known as a “unique mechanism” in marketing. It is novel. Novelty catches attention and makes people think, “This may be the thing that finally solves my problem!”)
Boom, that’s the outline of your product.
Please note that those are all brief mediocre examples. Get more specific.
A “meaningful goal” that you help people achieve is determined by solving a burning problem within human nature in the eternal markets: health, wealth, relationships, and happiness.
If you haven’t already achieved a meaningful goal in a unique way, I will help you in another letter about mastering new skills fast.
- Set a goal in one domain of your life.
- Drown yourself in knowledge and education around it.
- Document that knowledge as content (teaching is how you learn and identify what you don’t know so that you can learn efficiently).
- Crucial: experiment with different techniques (like training programs, diets, ways to make money, etc).
- Identify the fundamentals, truths, and principles between the different techniques.
- Achieve the goal by creating your own way of getting there.
Then, distribute that as a digital product that sells while you sleep with obscenely high-profit margins.
From there, you have the resources (readership and income) to build whatever other business your heart desires.
4) Promotions Are Why You Achieved The Goal
People don’t care about features, they care about benefits.
Assume that everyone is selfish, because they are, even if that selfishness comes from feeling good about themselves by being selfless.
Marketing is about creating the most powerful “why.”
A “why” implies a transformation.
Transformations are what people want.
Like how physique transformation journeys always get a lot of views on YouTube.
Or how life transformations get you emotional and invested in the person.
A transformation is a story, and that’s what our minds’ are wired to be attracted to, trust, and connected to.
So, you need to do 1 of 2 things:
- Tell people why the product will change their life.
- Tell people why it changed your life (because they will read it as if they were changing there’s).
I’ve been a marketer for almost 6 years now.
Here’s all you need to know to actually make some money.
A story or transformation is composed of 3 things:
- A burning problem.
- A desirable outcome.
- A clear solution.
That’s your entire marketing campaign.
You will have to test each one until you strike gold with the right positioning, but then you are set for a while.
Those 3 components will be used whenever you ask someone to buy your product in your emails, landing page, IG story, YouTube promotion, or the rest.
Long-form promotions are like a full sales page, you have to fill up the page by guiding people through that structure (go and read the introduction of this letter).
Short-form promotions are like a call to action inside an email like:
If you’ve tried the “latest and greatest” business models without any success (and are considering accepting your fate at a day job), it’s because you are falling for tactics.
In Digital Economics, I teach the principles of building a purposeful business.
Brand, content, product, and promotions so you can talk about your interests and earn a creative income.
Now, when writing promotions, you have to know what part of your audience you are talking to. How long have they been reading your content and do they understand your philosophy?
I see this mistake often.
People have very high-level language (like manifesting a life of alignment to be a peaceful being) and their audience couldn’t care less.
If you haven’t defined “alignment” and “manifesting” to your beginner-level audience, then don’t write this way.
Be straightforward. Be simple. Be impactful.
Give people what they want.
Don’t give people what you think they want.
That’s it for this one, it’s already way too long.
I hope you enjoyed it.