More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
10 months ago
A simple go-to-market formula
“Poor distribution, not poor goods, is the main reason for failure” — Peter Thiel.
Here's an easy way to conceptualize "go-to-market" for your distribution plan.
One equation captures the concept:
Distribution = Ecosystem Participants + Incentives
Draw your customers' ecosystem. Set aside your goods and consider your consumer's environment. Who do they deal with daily?
First, list each participant. You want an exhaustive list, but here are some broad categories.
In-person media services
Financial education and banking
Draw influence arrows. Who's affected? I'm not just talking about Instagram selfie-posters. Who has access to your consumer and could promote your product if motivated?
The thicker the arrow, the stronger the relationship. Include more "influencers" if needed. Customer ecosystems are complex.
3. Incentivize ecosystem players. “Show me the incentive and I will show you the result.“, says Warren Buffet's business partner Charlie Munger.
Strong distribution strategies encourage others to promote your product to your target market by incentivizing the most prominent players. Incentives can be financial or non-financial.
Usually, there's money. If you pay Facebook, they'll run your ad. Salespeople close deals for commission. Giving customers bonus credits will encourage referrals.
Most businesses underuse non-financial incentives.
Motivate key influencers without spending money to expand quickly and cheaply. What can you give a client-connector for free?
Here are some ideas:
Are there any other features or services available?
Titles or status? Tinder paid college "ambassadors" for parties to promote its dating service.
Can I get early/free access? Facebook gave a select group of developers "exclusive" early access to their AR platform.
Are you a good host? Pharell performed at YPlan's New York launch party.
Distribution? Apple's iPod earphones are white so others can see them.
Have an interesting story? PR rewards journalists by giving them a compelling story to boost page views.
More time spent on distribution means more room in your product design and business plan. Once you've identified the key players in your customer's ecosystem, talk to them.
Money isn't your only resource. Creative non-monetary incentives may be more effective and scalable. Give people something useful and easy to deliver.
9 months ago
I finally achieved a $100K freelance income. Here's what I wish I knew.
We love round numbers, don't we? $100,000 is a frequent freelancing milestone. You feel like six figures means you're doing something properly.
You've most likely already conquered initial freelancing challenges like finding clients, setting fair pricing, coping with criticism, getting through dry spells, managing funds, etc.
You think I must be doing well. Last month, my freelance income topped $100,000.
That may not sound impressive considering I've been freelancing for 2.75 years, but I made 30% of that in the previous four months, which is crazy.
Here are the things I wish I'd known during the early days of self-employment that would have helped me hit $100,000 faster.
1. The Volatility of Freelancing Will Stabilize.
Freelancing is risky. No surprise.
Here's an example.
October 2020 was my best month, earning $7,150. Between $4,004 in September and $1,730 in November. Unsteady.
Freelancing is regrettably like that. Moving clients. Content requirements change. Allocating so much time to personal pursuits wasn't smart, but yet.
Stabilizing income takes time. Consider my rolling three-month average income since I started freelancing. My three-month average monthly income. In February, this metric topped $5,000. Now, it's in the mid-$7,000s, but it took a while to get there.
Finding freelance gigs that provide high pay, high volume, and recurring revenue is difficult. But it's not impossible.
TLDR: Don't expect a steady income increase at first. Be patient.
2. You Have More Value Than You Realize.
Writing is difficult. Assembling words, communicating a message, and provoking action are a puzzle.
People are willing to pay you for it because they can't do what you do or don't have enough time.
Keeping that in mind can have huge commercial repercussions.
When talking to clients, don't tiptoe. You can ignore ridiculous deadlines. You don't have to take unmanageable work.
You solve an issue, so make sure you get rightly paid.
TLDR: Frame services as problem-solutions. This will let you charge more and set boundaries.
3. Increase Your Prices.
I studied hard before freelancing. I read articles and watched videos about writing businesses.
I didn't want to work for pennies. Despite this clarity, I had no real strategy to raise my rates.
I then luckily stumbled into higher-paying work. We discussed fees and hours with a friend who launched a consulting business. It's subjective and speculative because value isn't standardized. One company may laugh at your charges. If your solution helps them create a solid ROI, another client may pay $200 per hour.
When he told me he charged his first client $125 per hour, I thought, Why not?
A new-ish client wanted to discuss a huge forthcoming project, so I raised my rates. They knew my worth, so they didn't blink when I handed them my new number.
TLDR: Increase rates periodically (e.g., every 6 or 12 months). Writing skill develops with practice. You'll gain value over time.
4. Remember Your Limits.
If you can squeeze additional time into a day, let me know. I can't manipulate time yet.
We all have time and economic limits. You could theoretically keep boosting rates, but your prospect pool diminishes. Outsourcing and establishing extra revenue sources might boost monthly revenues.
I've devoted a lot of time to side projects (hopefully extra cash sources), but I've only just started outsourcing. I wish I'd tried this earlier.
If you can discover good freelancers, you can grow your firm without sacrificing time.
TLDR: Expand your writing network immediately. You'll meet freelancers who understand your daily grind and locate reference sources.
5. Every Action You Take Involves an Investment. Be Certain to Select Correctly.
Investing in stocks or crypto requires paying money, right?
In business, time is your currency (and maybe money too). Your daily habits define your future. If you spend time collecting software customers and compiling content in the space, you'll end up with both. So be sure.
I only spend around 50% of my time on client work, therefore it's taken me nearly three years to earn $100,000. I spend the remainder of my time on personal projects including a freelance book, an investment newsletter, and this blog.
Why? I don't want to rely on client work forever. So, I'm working on projects that could pay off later and help me live a more fulfilling life.
TLDR: Consider the long-term impact of your time commitments, and don't overextend. You can only make so many "investments" in a given time.
6. LinkedIn Is an Endless Mine of Gold. Use It.
Why didn't I use LinkedIn earlier?
I designed a LinkedIn inbound lead strategy that generates 12 leads a month and a few high-quality offers. As a result, I've turned down good gigs. Wish I'd begun earlier.
If you want to create a freelance business, prioritize LinkedIn. Too many freelancers ignore this site, missing out on high-paying clients. Build your profile, post often, and interact.
TLDR: Study LinkedIn's top creators. Once you understand their audiences, start posting and participating daily.
For 99% of People, Freelancing is Not a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme.
Here's a list of things I wish I'd known when I started freelancing.
Although it is erratic, freelancing eventually becomes stable.
You deserve respect and discretion over how you conduct business because you have solved an issue.
Increase your charges rather than undervaluing yourself. If necessary, add a reminder to your calendar. Your worth grows with time.
In order to grow your firm, outsource jobs. After that, you can work on the things that are most important to you.
Take into account how your present time commitments may affect the future. It will assist in putting things into perspective and determining whether what you are doing is indeed worthwhile.
Participate on LinkedIn. You'll get better jobs as a result.
If I could give my old self (and other freelancers) one bit of advice, it's this:
Despite appearances, you're making progress.
Each job. Tweets. Newsletters. Progress. It's simpler to see retroactively than in the moment.
Consistent, intentional work pays off. No good comes from doing nothing. You must set goals, divide them into time-based targets, and then optimize your calendar.
Then you'll understand you're doing well.
Want to learn more? I’ll teach you.
10 months ago
Ads Coming to Medium?
Could this happen?
Medium isn't like other social media giants. It wasn't a dot-com startup that became a multi-trillion-dollar social media firm. It launched in 2012 but didn't gain popularity until later. Now, it's one of the largest sites by web traffic, but it's still little compared to most. Most of Medium's traffic is external, but they don't run advertisements, so it's all about memberships.
Medium isn't profitable, but they don't disclose how terrible the problem is. Most of the $163 million they raised has been spent or used for acquisitions. If the money turns off, Medium can't stop paying its writers since the site dies. Writers must be paid, but they can't substantially slash payment without hurting the platform. The existing model needs scale to be viable and has a low ceiling. Facebook and other free social media platforms are struggling to retain users. Here, you must pay to appreciate it, and it's bad for writers AND readers. If I had the same Medium stats on YouTube, I'd make thousands of dollars a month.
Then what? Medium has tried to monetize by offering writers a cut of new members, but that's unsustainable. People-based growth is limited. Imagine recruiting non-Facebook users and getting them to pay to join. Some may, but I'd rather write.
Tiered subscriptions ($5, $10, $25, etc.)
and these may be short-term fixes, but they're not as profitable as allowing ads. Advertisements can pay several dollars per click and cents every view. If you get 40,000 views a month like me, that's several thousand instead of a few hundred. Also, Medium would have enough money to split ad revenue with writers, who would make more. I'm among the top 6% of Medium writers. Only 6% of Medium writers make more than $100, and I made $500 with 35,000 views last month. Compared to YouTube, the top 1% of Medium authors make a lot. Mr. Beast and PewDiePie make MILLIONS a month, yet top Medium writers make tens of thousands. Sure, paying 3 or 4 people a few grand, or perhaps tens of thousands, will keep them around. What if great authors leveraged their following to go huge on YouTube and abandoned Medium? If people use Medium to get successful on other platforms, Medium will be continuously cycling through authors and paying them to stay.
Ads might make writing on Medium more profitable than making videos on YouTube because they could preserve the present freemium model and pay users based on internal views. The $5 might be ad-free.
Consider: Would you accept Medium ads? A $5 ad-free version + pay-as-you-go, etc. What are your thoughts on this?
Original post available here
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4 months ago
I talked to ChatGPT about the adoption of cryptocurrencies.
OpenAI's ChatGPT is an amazing AI-powered chatbot. It can write poetry, fiction, and marketing ideas. I was impressed how well ChatGPT followed the interview, albeit there were a few classics “I’m afraid I can’t do that”.
Full interview below.
Me: I'm your interviewer. We'll discuss crypto. Thanks for being interviewed. What do you think about cryptocurrency?
CGPT: Cryptocurrency is an innovative technology that could transform money and financial activities. It might boost the efficiency and security of financial institutions and let consumers deal directly without banks. Cryptocurrency is still a new and untested technology with many unknowns and hurdles before it can be broadly accepted.
Me: Over 22,000 cryptocurrencies exist, and many have little use. We need how much cryptocurrencies?
CGPT: The appropriate quantity will rely on a multitude of factors, including each cryptocurrency's use cases, adoption rate, and market rivalry. Only a few cryptocurrencies will likely receive widespread adoption and be successful. Many existing cryptocurrencies may not survive since they can't deliver new or valued solutions or compete with more established cryptocurrencies.
Me: Will cryptocurrencies grow? What's next for worldwide adoption?
CGPT: It's hard to forecast the future of cryptocurrencies because the acceptance of new technologies is unpredictable. I believe cryptocurrencies will expand and acquire popularity in the future years. Regulatory ambiguity, security concerns, and scalability issues must be overcome for this to happen. Cryptocurrency companies and organizations must engage together with governments and authorities to address these obstacles and establish a growth-friendly climate. Continued innovation and improvement of the technology, including public education and awareness, will drive acceptance.
Me: Do bear markets affect bitcoin adoption?
CGPT: On the one hand, a bear market might induce uncertainty and hesitation among potential consumers. Bear markets can present opportunities for long-term investors who can acquire cryptocurrencies at cheaper prices and are more likely to hang onto their assets. A bear market can also test the tenacity and power of the underlying technology and community, which can boost long-term confidence and adoption. A bear market might have profound and nuanced effects on bitcoin adoption.
Me: What are some likely outcomes if Bitcoin reaches $100,000 by next year?
CGPT: If Bitcoin saw rapid growth, it would undoubtedly have repercussions for the cryptocurrency market and economy. Possible scenarios include increased public interest and awareness of cryptocurrency, a surge in demand for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and a growth in the cryptocurrency industry's market value. By shifting their focus and cash to the cryptocurrency market, investors and traders may also affect other asset classes, such as traditional equities and commodities. Governments and financial organizations may focus more on the cryptocurrency sector as they try to grasp Bitcoin's rapid rise.
Me: Will other countries accept crypto as currency?
CGPT: It's hard to say if additional governments will adopt cryptocurrencies as legal tender. Some countries have recognized the promise of bitcoin and are exploring its use, while others are cautious. Adoption of bitcoin as legal cash may vary by country, based on financial infrastructure, rules, and political atmosphere. As cryptocurrency technology evolves and becomes more accepted, more governments may embrace it as legal tender.
Me: Final question: will the recent cryptocurrency hacks affect long term adoption?
CGPT: Hacks might tarnish cryptocurrency's reputation and public faith in its security, the technology underpinning it is continually improving. Many cryptocurrency projects have developed strong security mechanisms to prevent hacks and other dangers, and these safeguards will undoubtedly improve over time. The decentralized nature of cryptocurrency makes it more resistant to attacks. Hacks and other security breaches are a concern, but they may not affect cryptocurrency adoption.
11 months ago
Why I quit a $500K job at Amazon to work for myself
I quit my 8-year Amazon job last week. I wasn't motivated to do another year despite promotions, pay, recognition, and praise.
In AWS, I built developer tools. I could have worked in that field forever.
I became an Amazon developer. Within 3.5 years, I was promoted twice to senior engineer and would have been promoted to principal engineer if I stayed. The company said I had great potential.
Over time, I became a reputed expert and leader within the company. I was respected.
First year I made $75K, last year $511K. If I stayed another two years, I could have made $1M.
Despite Amazon's reputation, my work–life balance was good. I no longer needed to prove myself and could do everything in 40 hours a week. My team worked from home once a week, and I rarely opened my laptop nights or weekends.
My coworkers were great. I had three generous, empathetic managers. I’m very grateful to everyone I worked with.
Everything was going well and getting better. My motivation to go to work each morning was declining despite my career and income growth.
Another promotion, pay raise, or big project wouldn't have boosted my motivation. Motivation was also waning. It was my freedom.
My motivation was high in the beginning. I worked with someone on an internal tool with little scrutiny. I had more freedom to choose how and what to work on than in recent years. Me and another person improved it, talked to users, released updates, and tested it. Whatever we wanted, we did. We did our best and were mostly self-directed.
In recent years, things have changed. My department's most important project had many stakeholders and complex goals. What I could do depended on my ability to convince others it was the best way to achieve our goals.
Amazon was always someone else's terms. The terms started out simple (keep fixing it), but became more complex over time (maximize all goals; satisfy all stakeholders). Working in a large organization imposed restrictions on how to do the work, what to do, what goals to set, and what business to pursue. This situation forced me to do things I didn't want to do.
Finding New Motivation
What would I do forever? Not something I did until I reached a milestone (an exit), but something I'd do until I'm 80. What could I do for the next 45 years that would make me excited to wake up and pay my bills? Is that too unambitious? Nope. Because I'm motivated by two things.
One is an external carrot or stick. I'm not forced to file my taxes every April, but I do because I don't want to go to jail. Or I may not like something but do it anyway because I need to pay the bills or want a nice car. Extrinsic motivation
One is internal. When there's no carrot or stick, this motivates me. This fuels hobbies. I wanted a job that was intrinsically motivated.
Is this too low-key? Extrinsic motivation isn't sustainable. Getting promoted felt good for a week, then it was over. When I hit $100K, I admired my W2 for a few days, but then it wore off. Same thing happened at $200K, $300K, $400K, and $500K. Earning $1M or $10M wouldn't change anything. I feel the same about every material reward or possession. Getting them feels good at first, but quickly fades.
Things I've done since I was a kid, when no one forced me to, don't wear off. Coding, selling my creations, charting my own path, and being honest. Why not always use my strengths and motivation? I'm lucky to live in a time when I can work independently in my field without large investments. So that’s what I’m doing.
I'm going all-in on independence and will make a living from scratch. I won't do only what I like, but on my terms. My goal is to cover my family's expenses before my savings run out while doing something I enjoy. What more could I want from my work?
You can now follow me on Twitter as I continue to document my journey.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
6 months ago
12 habits of the zenith individuals I know
Calmness is a vital life skill.
It aids communication. It boosts creativity and performance.
I've studied calm people's habits for years. Commonalities:
Have mastered the art of self-humor.
Protectors take their job seriously, draining the room's energy.
They are fixated on positive pursuits like making cool things, building a strong physique, and having fun with others rather than on depressing influences like the news and gossip.
Every day, spend at least 20 minutes moving, whether it's walking, yoga, or lifting weights.
Discover ways to take pleasure in life's challenges.
Since perspective is malleable, they change their view.
Set your own needs first.
Stressed people neglect themselves and wonder why they struggle.
Don't ruin your life to please others.
Calm people create more than react.
They love creating beautiful things—paintings, children, relationships, and projects.
Don’t hold their breath.
If you're stressed or angry, you may be surprised how much time you spend holding your breath and tightening your belly.
Release, breathe, and relax to find calm.
Rushing is disadvantageous.
Calm people handle life better.
Are aware of their own dietary requirements.
They avoid junk food and eat foods that keep them healthy, happy, and calm.
Don’t take anything personally.
Stressed people control everything.
Calm people put others and their work first.
Keep their surroundings neat.
Maintaining an uplifting and clutter-free environment daily calms the mind.
Minimise negative people.
Calm people are ruthless with their boundaries and avoid negative and drama-prone people.