Work less. Earn more. Enjoy life.
That’s my motto.
Success is counterintuitive, and living by this motto has led to the most growth in my life.
Working less for the sake of rest and recovery leads to higher-quality work.
Earning more is subjective, but I believe anyone can earn more than enough to do whatever they want.
Life enjoyment is usually the byproduct of both. With enough free time, capital, and a business network you can do almost anything you want in this life.
But, don’t worry, I also fell into the trap of wanting to live the life of someone else.
Sand in the toes.
Tanned like Hasslehoff.
Coconuts served with a straw for those sweet sweet electrolytes to top off the tropical vibes.
That was, until I experienced it.
It started off awesome, as the dopamine treadmill goes, but once you possess it, that lifestyle quickly loses it’s shine (unless you swap the neurotransmitters fueling your well-being through appreciation, gratitude, and present moment awareness).
The crappy Wi-Fi connection got old.
The partying and language barrier got old.
The working from your laptop on the beach got extremely old.
I mean, who actually wants to do that?
Do you want to work in a place where you can’t even see your screen because of the sun? Let alone overheat after 30 minutes and have to go back inside anyway?
The purpose of this letter is not to talk bad about the digital nomad lifestyle. I’m leaving out the positive side of the coin to paint a picture here. See if its the right lifestyle for you.
“As with everything, it’s useful in moderation.”
As Watts would say.
I’m here to talk about just that.
A business model that allows you to create your ideal lifestyle through practice, experimentation, and iteration.
A way to make a creative income source with skills, interests, and people you align with.
A new path that is here to stay, but is still seen as “taboo” because people are so tied to their beliefs and comfortable ways of living.
Thanks to the internet, clash of ideas, and solutions that have been built over the years — anyone can increase their value through self-education, turn themselves into a brand, and have opportunities coming to them.
Ask your parents if they could build a website, upload a product, and accept payment with $10-$20 and some self-education.
Seriously, go ask them. Then tell me why you still hold the belief that you need X, Y, and Z to start a business. Those aren’t excuses anymore.
Do you perceive this as an opportunity or “just something that people more successful than me do”?
To top it off, you can start right now.
Not in 1 year when your skills are perfect.
If you are reading this letter, I’m assuming you are 18-35 years old (with some outliers, I see you ;))
Meaning, you have 18-35+ years of unique experience.
You do not see the value in that experience. You think your life is boring… or at least too boring to be able to profit off of being yourself. Which is funny, because there are hundreds of thousands of people that would love to hear why you do what you do, they won’t think it’s boring.
From my experience, the highest-paid individuals are not the ones that bank on their body or flashy lifestyle to earn an income.
People of depth and value are the ones that get paid the most. They aren’t one-dimensional. They train their mind just as much as their body. They are the generalists that hire the specialists — and the specialists, 90% of the time, are going to be the robots that were designed to take on repetitive tasks. Automations, no-code tools, and software that weren’t a thing 10 years ago.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. —Robert A. Heinlein
Even more of a problem (than not seeing in the value in your personal experience):
You don’t know how to communicate your experiences in a way that people can find the value in.
That’s all anyone is doing on social media.
Some are more fake than others, but that’s their problem. Not yours or mine.
It’s not about being interesting, it’s about learning what makes your words interesting to the other person.
What Is The One Person Business Model?
The one person business, in my eyes, is for those that value self-reliance, time freedom, and location freedom.
- Social media for building leverage, attracting like-minds, and building a name for ourself (from nothing)
- No-code tools and software for digital real estate, product hosting, and email lists (that can’t be taken away like social media)
- Lifestyle design to create a work schedule that best suits the individual – usually 2-4 hours of work a day at the start, sometimes more if you get into the flow
It is an incredible time to be alive.
The internet has given everyone the ability to become an entrepreneur, choose their working hours, and earn an income based around their obsessions.
No two people are going to be obsessed with the same crevice of reality. And as you evolve and experience more, no two people are going to be obsessed with the crevice of reality that they gained awareness of (through action and doing).
There is no saturation… when done correctly.
The one-person business model is the best option for 95% of people, especially if you are just starting out. Every single billion-dollar founder started their entrepreneurial journey with 2 things – an idea and themselves. They didn’t just start with a billion-dollar company, but we tend to believe what we see and limit our mind from diving beyond the surface.
Why do people fail with their one-person business?
There are quite a few reasons:
- You don’t believe it is possible or that you don’t have enough experience
- You don’t realize that every aspect of your business is a skill that needs to be improved (you will suck at the beginning)
- You don’t listen to feedback or understand how to pivot how you talk about things (if your knowledge isn’t interesting, you have to make it interesting by learning how to think)
- You lose momentum because you try to overcomplicate your message to seem unique, intelligent, and over the top
The list goes on. The lesson is that you must value self-reliance. You have to take matters into your own hands and understand that nobody is going to give you a paycheck every Friday. You must learn to hunt.
2 Paths To Start A One-Person Business With Zero Experience
The biggest killer is that people don’t believe that business is for them, or that they don’t have enough experience.
First, stop thinking of business as anything more than an exchange of value. You get something useful, I get something useful. If you want to truly make a dent in a world that revolves around money, drop your noble charity act. Acting selfless to feel good about yourself is just another version of selfishness.
If you’ve helped your friends or family with any topic that you’ve ever learned about in your life, you have enough experience.
Even more, how do you think you gain experience?
I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t gain experience without stepping into the arena. You gain experience by practicing your skills in a real-world setting.
If a freelancer can reach out to clients with zero experience (to gain experience) in exchange for money, why can’t you post something valuable online without expecting anything in return?
Make it make sense.
Your imposter syndrome is self-deception.
Here are the 2 paths you can take:
Path 1) Skill Based
This is the most common route that people tell you to take.
- Learn a skill
- Teach the skill
- Sell the skill
This is great, but as I said, you don’t want to end up one-dimensional. You don’t want to be a slave to client work that can’t be scaled. You don’t want to pursue something else with absolutely nothing to show for it. It happens all the time. Freelancers earn an income through cold email and referrals, and when human nature kicks into play and you want to change direction, you are starting from scratch all over again.
Build an audience of diverse, yet connected interests.
Path 2) Development Based
This second route is more my speed.
It’s based around the 4 eternal markets.
The 4 eternal markets are where burning, profitable problems exist. They are where people have lofty goals that you can help them achieve.
Path 1 only pays attention to wealth. Marketable skills to help people make more money. By default, you build a one-dimensional brand.
With path 2, you quite literally pursue your own goals in life (brand), solve your problems as you are pursuing those goals (content), and create a system to help others do the same (offer).
That is how you be yourself, improve yourself, and profit off of yourself.
“But Dan, I’m just starting out!”
It’s not like you have to write content on “How I made 1 million dollars in 3 days.” Less and less people care about that nowadays. They register it as a scam in their mind.
Branding and content are all about perspective. Or “positioning” in marketing. All you have to do is be honest.
What is going to perform better?
“How I made 1 million dollars in 3 days”
“How I plan to make 1 million dollars in 5 years”
Which one would you click on? Which would you follow? Which would you believe and implement for yourself?
Self-awareness and behavior change are the great determinants of your brand’s success. Are you aware of how YOU would view your brand or content as an outsider? Are you putting out content that will actually change people’s lives?
Path 3) Both
When you start a one-person business, it is on you to learn the skills necessary to make it work.
You will have to learn how to create a compelling profile photo, banner, designs, persuasive bio and content, landing page, and other software that others don’t know how to use.
And of course, writing, which is the foundational skill for any business success (that I teach in 2 Hour Writer)
As you talk about your journey towards achieving your goals, you will be learning skills (through direct real-world experience) by building your brand.
Then, you will have skills that you can sell to help other brands if you don’t already have an offer in mind.
Jose Rosado, as an example, made a full time income selling profile banners, then transitioned into web design and made multiple 6 figures. Then transitioned again into digital products. The one person business model favors your personal evolution. That’s what makes you unique from everyone else.
If you don’t see the opportunity, it’s because you aren’t in the arena. The opportunities can’t register in your awareness because you haven’t even stepped through the door.
The 4 Pillars Of A One Person Business
For those that want to do what they want and help the people they can help the most – traditional branding, marketing, content, and offer creation will lead you in the wrong direction.
The personal brand is the most powerful storefront in our times. It builds a human connection.
The traditional business model will have you create a customer avatar based on someone with a profitable problem you can solve.
My way, The Experience Model, turns YOU into the customer avatar.
That way, you can solve your own problems, attract people that are on a similar path as you, and help them do the same.
Another bonus, you don’t have to spend countless hours doing market research to understand what will sell.
All you have to do is become obsessed with achieving a goal, solve problems that arise, and create a system to help others do it faster.
A system is just a step-by-step method for how you would go back and solve that problem quick.
Like climbing the stairs to the first floor and sending an elevator down to help someone up.
You will find the best results helping people 1 level under you (and you will learn the most from the same, your awareness level needs to be able to register all of the teachings).
Pillar 1) Branding
Your brand is who you are, what you do, and what you are doing.
What goal are you working towards?
Why are you working towards it? What is the desired outcome that you are trying to achieve? That is what people are going to follow you for.
The thing about branding is that it doesn’t have to be directly stated in many places. Maybe on your website where you can explain your brand message, but aside from that – people will pick up what your brand message is through your content.
Pillar 2) Content
Beginners need to understand this:
Your brand (especially on social media) is formed through 1-3 months of content.
Content compounds. And I don’t mean in terms of views or reach. I mean the message compounds in people’s minds until your entire message *clicks.*
People aren’t going to understand you from one tweet, video, or article alone.
You need TIME in the game if you want to have a shred of authority.
Now, what do you write about?
You write about the interests, skills, and topics that you plan to master. The ones that will help you achieve your goals in a way that is unique to you.
Remember the tweet from above? The one about not finding a problem, but setting a goal?
All content (and human attention / behavior in general) revolves around problems. Problems are the starting point of your content, but you and your followers must be working to similar goals for those problems to be relevant.
Everyone can have the same goal of “living the good life,” but how are YOU going to make that a reality?
For me, it is by studying the human mind, philosophy, and creative work.
For another person, it could be web design, mindset, and fitness.
And another, it could be automation, marketing, and productivity.
If you put 5 people at the bottom of a mountain and asked how they would get to the top, they would all draw a different path.
The unique combination of these topics IS your niche.
They are broad because we want to build a large, leverageable, and flexible audience – rather than put ourselves in a box and be limited in what we talk about.
If I ever wanted to pivot into fitness, turn my training regimen (that I’ve experimented with for years) into a course, and sell it for an income, I could. I would market it to my audience (who has similar goals and interests as me) in a way that would appeal most to them.
But HOW do you write about these topics?
In Digital Economics, I teach about the Domain Of Mastery.
You choose 3 broad topics that you can then break down into principles, mentors for inspiration, and sub topics.
Then, you can research books, podcasts, articles, and social posts to see how others are talking about those topics.
This is more than just business. This is how you get paid for improving yourself, learning how to think, and creating a meaningful life.
Understand that this is just a starting point to get you moving forward. You will pivot when you become aware of something you truly want to do (because you weren’t aware of it at the level you were at before).
At the beginning, your job is to emulate what works.
You need to build authority in the topics you talk about by writing beginner-level content that has guaranteed growth time and time again.
Go look at your favorite YouTuber.
Did they grow their audience at the start with cool little vlogs?
Or did they make it their full-time job to educate their audience and teach them about new skills and interests?
Pillar 3) Offer
No, you don’t have to wait to start monetizing. I’m tired of hearing that sh*t. Gatekeeper mindset.
You need to start monetizing (charging low) ASAP.
You NEED something to iterate on. You need something to build, improve, and make more valuable.
Your first offer WILL suck. There’s no escaping it. You should get that first crappy iteration out immediately.
You can’t improve something that doesn’t exist.
You need to learn what it’s like to sell. You need a real-world vessel to apply all of your marketing and sales learnings to.
“Okay Dan, but what do I sell?”
Let me introduce you to the Minimum Viable Offer.
The MVO is either a:
- Single-skill freelance service that you can sell for $500-$1000
- Single interest consulting service where you can sell a pack of 4 consult calls for $500-$1000
I would almost always recommend option 2 if you are joining the creator economy. I would not start off with time-sucking client work that makes you feel like you don’t have time to create content.
(And, if you’re anything like me, you like to learn and experiment for yourself. Most, not all, creators do. I don’t like having work done for me).
Health, performance, mindset, and business consulting are a given.
But, you can still do this if you want to sell a skill as opposed to an interest. You would simply frame it as “tutoring.”
You can tutor or mentor people on how to build websites.
You can tutor or mentor people on how to write.
You can tutor or mentor people on how to start email marketing.
What’s the beauty in starting with an MVO, especially if it is a pack of 2-4 consulting calls?
1) You can start monetizing immediately.
No need for a landing page if you understand the sales process. The ability to DM someone, a questionnaire software, and a calendar booking link is all you need. (And a way to send invoices of course).
You get on the calls, help people with their problems, and dedicate yourself to researching effective solutions for those problems. You don’t need all of the answers at the start, you just need more time than the other person has. They don’t have the time to solve the problem themselves. That’s why they pay for your service anyway, speed, convenience, and accountability.
2) You can build out a scalable product based on what gets results.
To increase the value of your consulting offer, you will be outlining a curriculum of sorts to help organize the structure of calls. You should also create things like worksheets and Notion dashboards to help your clients get more results.
These can be turned into a product that you can sell as your audience grows. The product buyers can lead into your consulting and become clients.
That means, less time spent on prospecting and more free time if you choose to decrease how many clients you take on (your prices will skyrocket too, of course.)
Pillar 4) Marketing
Let’s imagine you created your MVO.
You want to sell programming tutoring.
Now, you need to build authority and trust in order to sell that service.
So, you write a weekly newsletter or thread based on a beginner-level programming topic (so that it can reach more people, 90% of the market are beginners).
You network with others in the programming space to get eyes on your content with their audience.
If you plug your service at the bottom of a thread and get 100,000+ impressions (on the LOW end) on your thread, you’re almost guaranteed to land your first client.
Boom, with the right strategy and not listening to the limiting beliefs in your head, you just made a third of the average salary. If you do this on a weekly basis, within 3 months you can outearn most salaries.
Unlike freelancers, you are building an audience along the way as well. Your content and promotions are not going to waste. You have future potential to sell new things as you grow.
The point being, you need to promote yourself on a consistent basis.
If you don’t promote your offer, you aren’t going to make money.
Simple as that.
With all of that said, Digital Economics is open for enrollment.
I give you plug and play systems to create an effective brand, content, offer, and marketing with the skills, interests, and expertise you have right now.
It’s a holistic masterclass with a complete Notion dashboard (that will run your business), accelerator recordings, and a Discord community for personalized help as you are building your business.
If that interests you, and you’re ready to finally build something that gives you the time / location freedom you crave, consider enrolling.
– Dan “do whatever you want” Koe