The state of work is changing.
Things are going digital, we know that.
Employers are hiring based on the content you share online, your public resume, we know that.
People are losing trust in traditional education while resorting to internet creators to teach them the necessary skills for personal & professional success, we know that.
Client work (like freelancing) is everyone’s first option. One, because they aren’t aware of another low-startup-cost opportunity. Two, because everyone screams to “learn a skill, sell a skill” and it’s conditioned into their brain. This usually backfires when they realize they’ve built themselves into another 9-5 with a capped income. Labor cannot be scaled as a one-person business.
Even then, there is one thing that a lot of people glance over. The current state of freelancing is 90% composed of people using software to manage aspects of people’s businesses.
Web designers use templates and website builders. Email marketers use writing templates and automation. While this may make money in the short term, it will not be sustainable over the next few years as tech continues to rapidly evolve (while putting the power back into the individual’s hands).
The highest-paid freelancers don’t get paid for this. They get paid for how they use the tools with the value they’ve developed in their mind. They have specific knowledge that allows them to use software in creative ways that get extraordinary results.
Sure, some people can schedule posts on Instagram and pay for a software that helps with growth (like interacting with other accounts), but if your content sucks? If your funnel sucks? If your offer sucks? You aren’t gonna make it. Intellectual development is increasing in importance as we transcend the material.
This has been a long time coming.
As humans, we’ve built tools, solutions, and technology that make our lives easier. The plow made farming easier. Shoes made urban living easier. Software made business easier – automations have replaced an immense amount of labor jobs and will not stop until the laziness of human nature makes physical life easy. And yes, these do all come with consequences, but who are you to judge how the cosmos chooses to evolve over a lifetime?
The next phase is to ideate, build, and earn with our mind to advance to the next stage of human evolution. What used to take thousands of dollars and a team of programmers can be built with a $10 subscription to a landing page-building software. Do not underestimate this power.
In the past few letters, we have discussed the one-person business model.
This one on how to productize yourself and this one how to find and profit from problems in your life.
In this letter, I want to introduce you to what I call a Value Creator.
A new career path for the intellectually curious that don’t want to turn into the stereotypical internet marketer. A career path for those that value independence, self-reliance, and having full control over how much you make, how much you work, and what you work on.
In short, Value Creators are those that:
- Earn with their mind, not their time (so they can stay as a one-person business without limiting their income).
- Research their obsessions and distill their learnings with writing, video, and other internet content.
- Get paid for aggregated knowledge and experience in the form of digital products (or physical products if you want, but everyone should have some form of digital product).
- Have a heavy focus on educating their audience (instead of posting memes, starting drama, or other things like that).
Value creators are those that dedicate themselves to their interests, take it on as their life’s work to explore them, and distill the information in the form of education.
Why does this matter? Because we need passionate individuals to become experts in their respective domain of mastery. Who else is going to do it? Will the government (that is intimately tied with the school system) nurture a curriculum as technology phases out an entire segment of work? No, they’re going to be the first to build the technology that does it, so they can have more money.
Lastly, the “value” space in the creator economy is so small. Everyone is focused on flashy gimmicks and cheap entertainment. We need individuals that can educate in an exciting way for the coming generations – because school curriculum won’t be able to keep up with niche advancements.
Exploring An Unknown Crevice Of Reality Through Obsession
It’s not about transitioning from consumer to creator.
It’s about transitioning from consumer to researcher.
Being a “consumer” implies mindless consumption of information.
Being a “researcher” implies intentional consumption of information.
A value creator earns with his mind, not his time. Meaning, his greatest asset is information, ideas, and knowledge that gets you excited to wake up and share the discoveries that came from your research.
If you follow my notion of the one-person business model (monetizing yourself), the person you can help the most is you.
Your niche is you.
Your brand, content, and offer are all based on your goals, interests, and personal experience.
This is a holistic approach to doing what you love for a living. You are opening up the potential to be paid for becoming a high-value individual by becoming an expert in a select domain of the interests you are obsessed over. Why would you want to create a business out of anything else? Business was, should, and return to being an extension of the self.
That all sounds great, but how do you research effectively?
By exploring the unknown aspects of reality through consciousness. You see, reality is infinitely complex, connected, and perspective based.
While most people navigate life on the surface, those that can dive deep beyond what they see are the ones that unlock the creative potential that others can’t fathom.
In Digital Economics, I talk about business being a vessel for self-actualization. Digging deep into the interests that you love researching is how you learn about yourself, life, and the people you plan to serve with your findings. Business, to me, is a medium for making the impractical practical. It is a way of adding intention and utility to everything that goes into your brain.
But how do you explore this crevice of reality?
By deconstructing wholes into parts. (Then, you reconstruct those parts into a new whole, that is creativity.) That’s what every single thing in this world is. A unit of thought. A figment of consciousness. A thing. Both a whole and a part. Atom, molecule, cell, organism. All parts of a whole and wholes in themselves. Human, bedroom, apartment complex, city, state, country, planet, galaxy. Everything is infinitely connected in all directions. Up, down, left, and right. This is what consciousness is. Seeing beyond what’s right in front of your eyes. This requires accurate perception of reality itself. The more closed-minded, reactionary, and quick-to-judge you are, the less likely you are to succeed in this space (or any space for that matter).
Conscious Entrepreneurship is how you become a Value Creator.
Let’s make this a bit more practical.
1) Choose An Obsession
First, do not seek to outsource any of this. You have to adopt the mindset of an explorer. Nobody can tell you what you are obsessed with.
If you don’t know, try. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
Go to a local bookstore and buy the book that “calls” your name.
None of this “earn with your mind” stuff is step-by-step, predictable, or able to be described with words. You have to learn to trust your gut.
If you need a starting point:
- Look at your browser history
- Look at the videos you last watched
- Look at what you naturally consume to learn (FYI, distraction is not natural)
- Look at your life and see what area you have improved the most
Why would you not want to turn these things into a business so you can get paid for doing what you already do?
“Sensible people get paid for doing what they enjoy doing.”
2) Research From All Angles
One big problem with creators is that they get sucked into an ideology that prevents them from being unique. They get a whiff of “truth” and make it their entire brand (and identity). They aren’t able to artfully navigate a persuasive argument because they believe their way is the only way.
The health and fitness industry is what comes to mind here.
While most people are subscribed to a specific diet and training model (like carnivore and powerlifting) you have to understand that reality is composed of infinite angles. Infinite perspectives.
Perspectives are goal based. An individual’s goals are what determine whether or not specific advice is valuable to them. If you truly want to help people, you have to help them navigate your crevice of reality in accordance with their goals.
Or, if you are using your goals as your brand, you speak on topics from that perspective. You research your interests to aid in your journey toward your goals – this is how you attract niche, like-minded followers.
Meaning, you need to expose yourself with an open mind to all perspectives on the matter to begin forming your unique message.
- Follow people that you disagree with
- Buy a best selling book on the fundamentals
- Buy books that offer opposite insights (different diets, different religions, different mindset techniques)
- Listen to more long form content than short form (because short content is crafted to get an emotional reaction out of you more than it is meant to educate you).
Make it impossible for yourself to not see the full picture. In short, immerse yourself in your obsession.
Learn about it everyday. Unfollow anyone that doesn’t talk about it. Make a conscious effort to expose yourself to as much information as possible in that space that you choose. This will give you creative firepower.
3) Note Down Ideas, Discoveries
As you are researching your obsessions and becoming an expert in that domain, it should be impossible not to note down interesting information.
If you need help, here’s what to look for:
- Ideas, anecdotes, or experiences that you can use in the content you post or products you create (so you can hold attention and never run out of things to write)
- “Golden nuggets” of information that spark excitement in you (so you can spark that excitement in other people)
- New ways of thinking about topics that you hadn’t thought about before (so you can change how others view the topic)
Understand that this won’t mean anything to you unless you are actively researching your obsessions.
By following those 3 steps, you have successfully begun to deconstruct the “whole” of your interests into its “parts.”
Here’s what you do next (important).
Simplifying Complex Topics Will Be The Greatest Skill Of The Next Century
This is where most people in the self-help space stop. They horde valuable information and close themselves off from true learning.
You have to apply what you learn.
You don’t learn how to write by reading about writing.
You don’t learn how to balance on a bike by reading a course on riding a bike.
But, with value or knowledge creation, you don’t apply what you learn in a physical sense. You must contemplate, think, and write to form a cohesive message that is actually valuable.
The next step is absolutely crucial:
Put your creations, writing, and content on the public market so you can get direct feedback on your work. You have to attract an audience. My favorite way of doing that is social media, of course.
The teacher learns more than the student, and building an audience gives you leverage, traffic, and a community that will set you up for life.
Now, we could talk about audience building all day long, but you may be wondering, “can everyone build an audience?” Let’s run through it real quick:
- Every single person on social media follows 400-1000+ people. Yes, even creators.
- Don’t forget the network affect, all of those 400-1000 people also follow that many people, and so do those people. Your audience is not just however many people follow you.
- All you need are 1000 true fans and a good offer stack to pull in 6+ figures.
- I could handle this objection all day… in short, if you think the market is saturated, you’re incredibly wrong (you wouldn’t be thinking this if you’ve been doing it for 3-6 months).
Value creation allows you to apply anything you learn. The essence (or lesson) from your everyday experiences can be used as firepower for compelling writing, videos, or even a product – similar to how I didn’t like any planners I bought, so I created my own to sell through an audience I built by talking about my interests.
However, you have to understand that others aren’t going to be interested in what you have to say. That makes most people want to quit.
You have to package up your findings in a way that others perceive as valuable and distribute them as a one-person media company.
The internet is code and media.
Media is how you distribute your value, code is what allows the media to be there. With a one-person business, you can pay for no-code software and focus all of your efforts on distributing valuable media.
Let’s make this practical.
How do you package up the knowledge you gain in a valuable way?
1) Choose A Media Platform
I prefer Twitter.
- You can post as much as you’d like (to test your ideas before you post them on other platforms).
- It’s writing based, meaning you don’t need to be a 10/10 model living in Thailand sipping coconuts on the beach.
- It is like a forum, you can find people much quicker.
- The retweet button is a low-friction share feature, that’s how you gain followers (other platforms are harder to grow on as a beginner)
- You can just screenshot your tweets to grow on other platforms (this is what everyone else is doing).
The basics of growing on Twitter are simple.
- Post 1-3 times a day (and start getting your “failures” out of the way)
- If you are under 1000 followers, focus on networking with other people in the replies and DMs to leverage their audience
- Have a clickable profile picture so people know you are a creator
- Use your big goal in life OR the 3 interests you talk about as your bio (what are you leading people towards and how will they get their through your unique interests?)
- Write threads based on your story and personal experience (but make sure you have a network that will share it so it goes semi viral)
Start with beginner level educational content. Make it actionable. That’s what everyone does to grow at the start (on any platform) and 95% of the market are beginners. Don’t try to be super clever or wise until you build a name for yourself.
2) Learn To Capture Attention
Attention is the currency of the 21st century.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to become a sleazy salesman to join in on the social media party.
This is a matter of looks VS depth. Dopamine VS the “here and now” neurotransmitters like serotonin and oxytocin.
You must capture attention and then deliver the value you promised to give that attention. Nobody wants to be perceived as a scammer, clickbait conman, or shallow platitude slinger. We will fix that in step 4.
In Digital Economics, we dive deep into the psychology of capturing attention, but here are a few principles so you can start now.
Problems – every good story captures attention by starting with a problem that the reader is facing. It opens a curiosity loop and makes them want to find the solution. Problems are at the root of human behavior.
Numbers – specific numbers are a pattern interrupt when you are scrolling on social media. “I read 347 self-help books so you don’t have to” is an example.
Statistics – similar to numbers, statistics set the scene quite nicely. “97% of the population has seen a decline in focus, here’s how to fix yours” is an example that could use a bit of work, but you see the power in it.
If you want to learn the art of capturing attention, start immersing yourself in headlines, Twitter thread hooks, and other social media posts in general. Fill your subconscious with creative firepower, then go on a walk and let ideas flood your conscious mind (have your note capture system ready 🙂
Start researching instead of consuming. Deconstruct why people’s posts are working rather than just scrolling by them mindlessly.
This is the best hack I could give you.
3) Treat Yourself As Your Ideal Reader
When someone is building a readership or audience for the value they are creating, common advice is to write to your ideal customer.
With the one-person business, you are your niche. You are your customer avatar. You are your brand, content, and product.
I have people go through the Myers-Briggs personality test in Digital Economics so they can understand themselves more. When you understand yourself, you can write to yourself. The test results are your customer avatar.
Now, what do you write?
- If you are going through a tough time, give yourself advice and write it online in your “public journal”
- Give your past self advice on overcoming the problems you faced, but faster
- Give your future self-encouragement to achieve the goals you are trying to achieve.
These are just a few of the many ways you can create content, but they are a great (and accessible) starting point.
4) Prioritize Depth And Clarity
Every single Sunday, I outline my newsletter for the week.
This newsletter is used as a YouTube script (I literally just read the post from my phone to the camera and edit out the pauses).
After that, I can condense the main points into a Twitter thread, Instagram carousel or caption, LinkedIn post, and more.
I can also skim through the newsletter to generate Tweet ideas, which then get crossposted to every platform (if you follow me, you see this every day… but are you conscious of it?). I also read my best tweets to the camera for reels, shorts, and TikToks.
Why start with the newsletter?
Because of depth.
Depth is how you build authority.
If you are a value creator, I can tell you right now that only writing short form content will lead to pain and a lack of authority. Sure, it works for ecommerce brands that are going for quick cash… but if you want to do something that you don’t think is monetizable (like spirituality)? Depth is not an option. It is a priority and the only way you can monetize effectively.
By outlining my newsletter at the start of every week, I give myself one big idea that I can munch on when I’m on a walk, at the gym, or other forms of “rest” that activate the Default Mode Network in my brain (the key to creativity).
Whenever an idea pops into my head, I open up my outline on my phone and write it down. This makes it seamless to never have writer’s block.
How do you write a newsletter?
- Choose a high-performing topic based on your tweets or other content that you know will do well (like your favorite YouTuber’s most popular video).
- Start with a personal experience or story that illustrates the problem you faced relating to that topic.
- Give actionable steps to overcoming that problem.
That’s all you need to start with, you can get fancy or go longer if you want. I write long newsletters because I love it. The mental benefits spill over far beyond business.
With all of that said, Digital Economics starts in a little over a week.
I have an entire Notion dashboard with systems for everything we’ve just discussed (and more) so you can manage your entire one-person business in 2-4 hours a day.
Here is 30% of what’s inside the Notion dashboard (each of these contains systems to make business easy on you):
In 60 days, we master one-person branding, content creation, creating your offer (regardless of experience), and craft a marketing strategy so you can start monetizing immediately.
I’ve iterated on this curriculum for 3 years. The information gets results, is time tested, and breaks you out of the creator rat race.
If you’re interested, read more here and consider enrolling.
We start on the 26th!
Lastly, thank you for reading this weeks letter. I hope you got a lot out of it.
– Dan Koe