Search
Close this search box.

Not A Subscriber?

Join 140,000+ getting mindf*cked every Saturday morning while reading The Koe Letter (you’ll learn a bit about life & business too.)

This Deep Work Strategy Made Me $700K In 30 Days (As A Procrastinator)

I procrastinate… a lot.

But I’ve learned that this is a good thing. Procrastination is my superpower for achieving what most people think is impossible.

I wait until the last minute, but in that last minute, I launch into the flow state and my mind is impossible to distract from the task at hand.

When I do this, the work is of higher quality than if I were to do scattered “planned” work for weeks before.

I have other things to worry about, and if my work isn’t the only thing on my mind, the quality will suffer.

I’ve discovered that this is a character trait.

It’s how some people are wired.

You only focus when focus is needed.

  • You are bad at texting people back.
  • You rarely did your homework on time in school.
  • Client work is put off until the last minute.
  • You struggle to make progress in business (because you don’t have someone managing you when it’s time to publish a project).

If this is you, procrastination is your key to getting ahead of 99% of people… if you learn to harness that power.

The work you procrastinate on isn’t real-time like a video game or sports where you get immediate feedback on your effort.

Society has made you feel bad for this character trait. You constantly feel like you are falling behind others because you can’t, and shouldn’t, play the same game as them.

You don’t need to change. You need to understand yourself, structure your life accordingly, and make calculated decisions.

Tactical Stress – Forcing Yourself To Survive

The best decisions I’ve made are the stupidest.

I maxed out my first credit card at 19 for inventory on a business that failed fast.

I signed multiple leases on apartments that I never thought I could afford.

I got rid of everything I owned to fly across the country because I saw an opportunity.

I purchased an expensive software that cleared my bank account as a bet on my business success.

I built a landing page and accepted orders for a product before it was built. I’ve done this with every launch because, one, if it doesn’t sell, I don’t waste more of my time. Second, if it does sell, I’m forced to build it out before the launch date.

Every time I took these risks, I only gave myself two options:

  1. Figure it out
  2. Be crushed

It was a quarterly powerlifting competition for my mind. I put myself under my mental bench press max and forced myself to lift it without a spotter.

An example I see often in the business space:

“Should I purchase this software or take the free option?”

“Should I buy a course or waste my time learning on my own?”

“Should I start or wait until the pain is too great in my current situation so I end up starting 2 years later?”

The answer is obvious.

When I spent $1,000 on software (when that was the last $1,000 in my bank account), I was forced to learn and build with that software to make that money back.

When I spent $3,500 on a course, I was forced to make the teachings work to make that money back.

When I moved into an $8,000/month apartment, I was forced to increase my income to make that feel comfortable, resulting in $100,000 extra per month in my bank account.

When I made $700K in 30 days from a product that had yet to be built, I was forced to do the best work of my life to build it.

For clarity and those who may benefit, the number was actually $687,886 in May 2023.

A few things happened:

  • I created a 2-week-long cohort that was 4 calls long on one topic for $150
  • Things like cohorts have scarcity baked in because there is an enrollment date
  • I was increasing the price of another course at the time (more scarcity)
  • I had the usual sales from my other products
  • I used the strategy I will go over later to promote them
  • I have a pretty large audience at this point in my journey, and it wouldn’t have been possible without putting 4 years of effort into that

This concoction led to the most money I’ve ever seen in one month.

(Side note: With digital products, you can build fast and do this often. It only took me 4-5 hours to build the cohort material above. With physical products, you have to build them as you sell or put a lot of time into product development, like when I launched my book. This is why I heavily test ideas with content and digital products first).

You’re okay with where you are because you won’t take the risk that forces you to a level you can’t fathom right now.

There’s a myth that floats around occasionally:

Goldfish grow to fit the tank you put them in. But if you keep them in a small bowl, they never grow.

In reality, smaller tanks lead to poor water quality and less room to move freely. So, it’s not that they never grow, it’s that they suffer and die. A slight but important difference.

This is similar to my concept of Tactical Stress:

The conscious decision to force yourself into a do or die situation – knowing that you have the skill to make it work – and have no choice but to overcome your fears. The result is a season of intensity that propels you into the next level of your life.

The purpose of tactical stress is to launch yourself into the unknown, the land of infinite potential. Because if you don’t, entropy takes hold and you slowly begin to drown and suffer until the pain is so great that you have to do it anyway.

When you launch into new situations that can change your life, you become overwhelmed with information.

It’s too much for your mind to digest.

So, you’re forced to be consumed by chaos or to create clarity.

You set a goal that is borderline impossible, make a single decision that forces you to step off the cliff, and turn the resulting stress into a potent fuel that allows you to outwork anybody else. This does a few things psychologically:

  • Maintains Perspective – When you are in a do or die situation, you have no option but to focus on your goal. Distractions don’t register in your awareness, so you can’t fall to them.
  • Creates A Deadline – Most deadlines don’t work because they aren’t real. If you spend money on something or accept money for something, you are forced to deliver. A real deadline is created.
  • Narrows Focus – Survival mode puts you in a temporary state of stress. Stress narrows your focus on the task at hand, which allows you to survive. The only thing on your mind is achieving the goal you set out to achieve.
  • Makes Life Enjoyable – Since your goal is top of mind, anything you experience is filtered to aid in that goal. The books you read, conversations you have, and content you consume all “magically” seem to help you. Dopamine floods your brain as pattern recognition gets pushed into overdrive.

If your life isn’t enjoyable or you aren’t making progress, maybe it’s time to take a leap.

This isn’t for everyone, but what’s really holding you back from starting a new life? Quitting your job? Not having a plan B?

Only give yourself 2 options: win or die. And if you understand that success is a result of skill and knowledge, not luck, I have trust that you’ll figure it out.

I don’t want to hear any excuses, because that’s just a prime example of a lack of skill. You can’t control your ego and use your brain to create your own path.

Fabricating Urgency – The Deep Work Routine Nobody Talks About

To start, this will not work unless you take full control of your life.

The reason you show up to a job every day is because your survival is at stake if you don’t. If you want to be free, you have to recreate this effect in your own work. Most people quit because they have nothing holding them accountable to continue writing, building, and selling toward their vision.

Everyone has a desire to be wealthy because they desire to do the work they want to do.

Yet, most people suppress this desire because they’ve been conditioned to believe they don’t stand a chance. Or they just feel guilty for making money because they grew up an environment – physical or digital – that had a terrible relationship with it.

The only reason I was able to do this was because I had full control over my time and income… because I had a business.

Some of these strategies can help you at work, but you need a business to fully leverage the asymmetric payoffs that come from taking risks.

A business gives you the creative boundaries to increase your income as much as you’d like. That isn’t possible at 99.99% of jobs, and I’m guessing you aren’t in the small minority that will make over $500K/year by working up the corporate ladder for 10-20 years when you can achieve that in 1-3 years of focused effort on building your own thing. I’ve had multiple friends and students make that amount in that timeframe by trusting the audience-building and digital product process I teach.

The question now is:

“What exactly do I do when I take a risk that forces me to survive?”

I’m going to walk you through the exact quarterly planning that led to me making the $700K in 30 days.

Repeat this as much as you’d like. You won’t make a ton of money in the first few rounds, but as your skill set and audience for your work grows, you will be surprised at what you are capable of.

0) How I Structure My Days

You’ve probably read about my routine before.

  • I build new projects in the first block of each morning (right now it’s my next book).
  • I write for the second block of each morning.
  • I maintain different aspects of the business for the third block of each morning.
  • I go on walks to clarify ideas and set intentions for my work in between blocks.
  • I go to the gym as a hard cut-off time for my work.

I have a life to enjoy after work, so I know I have to get my work done in the time I’ve allotted myself in the morning.

It’s counterintuitive, but my health and life take priority over my work, and that makes my work more impactful.

I have to go to the gym at the same time so I can be free in the afternoons, so my work is naturally focused because of this.

1) Quarterly Projects

If you don’t sell your own product, you will be forced to sell someone elses.

There is a mind virus in the online space:

“It seems like everyone is selling something nowadays.”

“Look at this guy selling a product, he’s a sell out.” (I see this under many high level individuals posts).

“Ads ads ads ads.” (I saw this on Ali Abdaal’s promotion the other day).

Yes, silly, you need a product to earn an income. There literally is no other way. That’s how the economy works. Buying and selling. Sure, you can invest money, but where did you get that money? By playing a mechanical role in a company that sells a product and pays you a paycheck in return for your replaceable efforts. And if you don’t make a lot of money, good luck ever making anything substantial through investing.

Ignore the blind hypocrites and launch a product anyway.

Ever since I started my business, I’ve launched a new project every quarter. Why?

  • It gave me plenty of ideas to write about relating to the product (because I was fleshing out the outline). I wrote most of the product as tweets and newsletters to test what ideas and marketing angles worked before I launched.
  • Product launches are the most profitable part of your products timeline. Like a graph that shoots up fast, drops hard, and levels out at a certain number.
  • I wanted to diversify my income streams. When you’re building an audience, one product can do well, but you wouldn’t bet on one stock to make you rich.
  • I became more experienced and had something more valuable to launch each quarter. If you’re doing this whole business thing right, you should have something new and better than the competition that you should launch. This leads to a lot of people copying you to capitalize on your good ideas, but you still get most of the sales and reputation. Quarterly launches keep you on top.
  • I don’t have to worry about being extremely successful with one launch because I know I’ll be iterating on it within 3 months.
  • It gave me quarterly public deadlines to hit. I didn’t have to guess when my next project was going to launch (so I couldn’t get stagnant with my business). If I wanted my income to increase – rather than decrease – I had to launch a product to survive.

People often ask, “What is the one thing that helped you get so far ahead of other people in this space?”

I would confidently say it’s launching a project every quarter.

It built my authority, kept me focused, and prevented me from trying to fuel a dead product.

What kind of products can you launch in such a short time frame?

  • Courses
  • Cohorts
  • Coaching
  • eBooks
  • Templates

You can build and test these fast. If one fails, that’s fine, build another. If it works, great, start building complimentary products and consider turning that idea into a business that demands more capital or resources. As an example, the success of 2 Hour Writer is what led to the idea of building Kortex. The idea is already validated with sales and engagement because the product and content that led to it were validated.

At the start, these should form the foundation of your brand and build cash flow. Don’t try to get complex with the products you create until you have the resources to do so.

Then, you can plan for bigger products like a software to launch in one of those quarterly spots, but still keep launching other things.

Now, you don’t need to launch an entirely new product. You can:

  • Combine products into a bundle and launch that.
  • Add a new module to a current product increase your prices – you would promote the price increase “launching” on a specific date.
  • Run the same cohort over and over again each quarter. This is probably the simplest way to go about this. I would recommend having different topics for each cohort so you can attract customers with different needs.

By doing this every quarter, I could measure the impact and authority of my brand based on my revenue from the launch.

When I launched a freelancing product around 500 followers, I made around $3K. When I launched a branding product when I hit 10,000 Twitter followers, I made around $10K. 3 years later when I launched a writing cohort, I made $700K. People who only sell one product (and don’t improve it) end up marketing too hard and destroying their trust with their audience while making much much less in revenue.

There is a lot of nuance to product launches. We guide you through it all in the Builder tier of Kortex University.

The Lesson

Your deep work sessions are fueled by your quarterly product launches.

  • Embrace procrastination at the start. You have time before the launch.
  • Work on the product outline and plan for 1-2 months leading up to your launch.
  • Set a public launch date. Set a first promotion date 3-4 weeks before that. Build the sales page to accept orders first. Execute the launch and get the product built.

If you read the last letter on The 12 Rules Of Creation, you understand that these projects are crucial for structuring your life and work. They are the single thing that move the needle toward your vision and goals. If you aren’t building, you’re dying.

2) Public Writing

In online business, you need three things:

  1. An audience for your work.
  2. A valuable product for that audience.
  3. Good arguments to attract people to your audience and product.

Writing is the foundation of all three of those.

I want to harp on this again:

A valuable product for that audience.

If you own a business, this newsletter won’t bother you in the slightest because you are reading it through an enlightened lens.

If you don’t own a business, you may misinterpret or only read it from a one-sided viewpoint, especially if you have a bad relationship with money. You have to zoom out and realize that people buy products because they want them and benefit their lives. This isn’t only about making as much money as possible. It’s about solving a problem in someone’s life that is worth more than what you are asking.

And, I’d also ask you to zoom out and think about all of the useless products you buy that don’t benefit your life and ask yourself why you don’t apply that mindset to other areas. People will spend $100 on drinks without batting an eye (and destroy their health as an outcome), but won’t spend $100 on their skill development (that increases their earning capacity and therefore quality of life).

In 2 Hour Writer (gotcha), I teach the 3-point content ecosystem:

  • Write tweets to test ideas.
  • Write threads to expand on those ideas.
  • Turn any of those into a newsletter to nurture your audience and promote your products.
  • Use your newsletter to write new tweets and threads so you never run out of content ideas.

My friend Nick Verge asked about this process the other day. Here’s a screenshot if it helps see it from a big picture.

Writing is the necessary foundation of this strategy. I can’t tell you exactly what to do because I don’t understand your situation, but I can tell you what I do.

If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands right now, you won’t be able to do all of this, and that’s okay. You don’t need to for your first few product launches that replace your income.

  • I write for 60-90 minutes every morning. I start with my newsletter and write social posts as the ideas come.
  • I promote my newsletter once a day. I don’t post opt-in pages asking people to subscribe. I post the actual newsletter (as a blog post) so people can read it, get value, subscribe, and see the products I promote in the newsletter. This is how I get newsletter subscribers and sell my products whenever I am not launching a product.
  • I focus my content during the product launch month. I will write about whatever I want for 2 months leading up to the launch, then write only about topics related to what I’m launching for the remaining month. (This is when I gain the most followers and authority… when I’m dishing out value and launching a product that shows my expertise.)
  • I outline and build the product along the way, but am forced to actually finish it before the public deadline.

How do I stay consistent with writing?

Because I understand that if I don’t write, my audience won’t grow, and I won’t survive. I keep myself in a constant state of good pressure that wakes me up in the morning and gets me writing.

If my audience doesn’t grow, my product launch won’t do well, and I’m that much closer to getting a job. Plus, as you build projects, you have much more on the line. If I stop writing now, Kortex as a whole will die. I need money to build it. And I will not let it die.

Once it’s stable, I can take a break, but I’m going to start a new project so my life can remain meaningful and not become mechanical / boring.

Please note that writing isn’t the ONLY thing here. You have to understand how to grow on socials. You can’t just post content into the wind and pray it does well. I’ve talked about this before and will talk about it in next week’s letter.

3) Tactical Promotion

So far our deep work routine is structured as so:

  • A public quarterly project that moves the needle toward our vision and goals. This creates a real deadline, but only if you charge for the value you are creating under a business.
  • Daily writing to fuel the projects success by building a tiered audience. I write tweets and threads to attract the audience, funnel them to my newsletter, and promote my products after I’ve given enough value.

Now, I’m not a fan of heavy marketing and sales on social media.

I’m a fan of tactical promotions.

  • I only promote my products on social media during the last week of launch. This keeps my profile clear of sales for all but 4 weeks out of the year. People like that and often compliment the fact that I’m not “pushy or salesy.”
  • I have a soft promotion in each of my newsletters like you’ve seen above. That’s how I fuel previous products I’ve built outside of launches. I think people are tired of hard sales every day in their email and want a lot of value with the choice to buy something. They don’t want to feel forced.
  • Leading up to the product launch, I promote more and more each week. Most of my income is made in the 1-2 days before launch because that’s when scarcity kicks in.

That’s my entire strategy.

That’s what holds me accountable to work and write every morning.

That’s how I’ve 80x’d (yes, that’s correct) my income since having a web design job 5 years ago.

If you quite literally plan for iteration and persistence and force yourself to do the work with proper strategies, failure is a myth.

Thank you for reading. Enjoy your weekend.

Dan

Who Is Dan Koe?

I am a writer & brand advisor for 7-8 figure creators, influencers, and social media brands. I am obsessed with dissecting human potential, lifestyle design, and one-person businesses.

When You’re Ready, Here’s How I Can Help You:

The FOCI Planner

Goals are important. If you want help reverse engineering your vision into bite-size goals and tasks — order The FOCI Planner.

The Art Of Focus Book

Find meaning, reinvent yourself, and create your ideal future. Now available on Amazon.

The 2 Hour Writer

Implement Our 2 Hour Content Ecosystem To Learn High Impact Digital Writing, Boost Your Online Authority, & Systemize Content Creation For Rapid Growth

Mental Monetization

Monetize your creative work with a digital product that sells while you sleep. Turn your knowledge, skills, and interests into a meaningful income.