Doing Content Right just hit $100k in sales!

To celebrate, here are 20 of the most important lessons I've learned from years of creating online.

These won’t get you to $100k overnight, but they may keep you sane along the way.

Buckle up 🧵
1. As a creator, you’re at war... with yourself.

Your ability to succeed hinges on your ability to craft the right habits and mindset; to show up every single day.

“Life is a competition with yourself — not others. And if you want to win, you must make it easy for yourself.”
2. Speaking of mindset, the world is positive sum.

No matter your talent, there is always someone further up the mountain you’re climbing.

Learn to take note of jealousy and how it's a reflection of your internal state (your ambition), not external.

3. You can’t get very far alone.

Give more than you take, and you'll be surprised by the reciprocity around the corner.

When I first launched on @ProductHunt, I had no one to share my work with. This time, I had numerous ppl that shared my work before I even had a chance!
4. One way to give is simply by "opening your garage door"

Many people are afraid to build in public bc they're afraid of their ideas being stolen.

But, if you believe in your ability to execute, there's not much to lose.

"No one has ever become poor by giving." - Anne Frank
5. If you have the runway, build an audience first.

If you put everything behind a paywall too soon, your work can't *work* for you.

Had I launched the exact same book 3 years prior, I would've had 3 sales (my mom, my dad, and my bf), bc no one else would've been listening.
6. Everyone is an imposter.

Most people at most times don't "know what they're doing". The digital world is architected to highlight our best.

Self doubt is healthy, so long as it's not debilitating.

"He was one of you and yet he became Abraham Lincoln." - W. E. B. DuBois
This is still my all-time favorite quote.

Nothing is more empowering than knowing we are more like our heroes than we think.

7. Speaking of confidence, charge more.

Higher prices = better customers (on average)

When pricing, remember the importance of perceived value.

Book for $100? No way.
Course for $100. Too easy.

Have fun with your pricing! To my surprise, this was the most shared part of DCR
8. Perfection is an asymptote that you don’t want to chase.

When the book launched, it had typos. There still are! The MOBI file didn't work. The title is mediocre.

But unlike 99% of projects, it made it out there and continues to evolve.

Perfect is the enemy to progress.
9. Avoiding perfection != shitty work

With everything you launch, ask:

Would I sell this on a street corner?

Ppl think that audience drives sales, but sales also drive audience.

Everything you create leaves a mark on your brand. Don't sacrifice the long-term for the short.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Ppl think that to inspire confidence, you need to hide your flaws.

That works in the short-term, but blocks your ability to improve.

"The person who asks is a fool for five minutes, but the person who does not ask remains a fool forever."
11. Trust the long game.

Building something of quality takes time. Shortcuts may be quicker, but will it build a house of cards or of bricks?

Overnight success is the outlier.

"The outside world only sees the most dramatic event rather than all that preceded it." - @JamesClear
12. Iterate like crazy.

Your ability to innovate is correlated with your ability to iterate.

Don't spend 5 months on a project, only to realize that you never validated whether the world needed it.

"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas." - Linus Pauling
13. Don’t depend on launches.

They bring the dopamine, but are vanity metrics.

In fact, DCR has gotten a majority of its sales from the long tail.

In 240 days since launch, only 9 days had 0 sales, meaning 96% of days had zero... averaging $400+/day.

14. Help people help you. AKA, reduce friction.

Even if people buy a product, they won't always consume it. But, consumption is a precursor to being a promoter.

Reducing friction can be as simple as offering the product in multiple formats or teaching them how to use it.
15. Focus on small wins.

I've seen many creators come and go, bc they don’t see progress and quit.

Ppl get burnt out when input outweighs expected output.

"When you’re on an exponential curve, it’s weird. You look behind and it’s flat. You look forward, and it’s vertical."
Persistence is key.

This reminds me of story from Getting More.

A man that wanted a flight change fee waived. He called Delta 13 times.

Their answers?

"No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes."
16. Stop asking ppl what they want. Let the market decide.

I'm a fan of pre-sales bc ppl put their money where their mouth is.

"Netflix learned a lesson early on in its life cycle: don’t trust what people tell you; trust what they do." - Everybody Lies

17. If possible, separate your financial stability from your creativity.

It’s hard to stay sane as a creator. You put yourself out there and get criticized.

By separating your "life line", you can operate your passions with a clear mind.

If you fail? You'll be fine either way.
18. Mastery is a mindset.

We all know the world isn't fair.

We don't all start from the same line, but we have the same responsibility to get what we want from life.

Tolstoy had thirteen kids and wrote War and Peace. We can all do more than we believe.

19. Unstoppable people focus on what they can control.

If you orient around public opinion, anyone can stop you in your tracks.

"You can define a free person precisely as someone whose fate is not centrally or directly dependent on peer assessment" - Nassim Taleb
20. Ending with an obvious, but important one: chase your curiosities.

Investing in what you enjoy will not only enhance your chance of success, but it also means you cannot lose.

Along the way, remember that "you measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you."
** 96% of days were non-zero sales. Great example of lesson 8: perfection isn’t required for success. 😅

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More from @stephsmithio

4 May
Audio is all the rage right now.

And they say that "during a gold rush, sell shovels"

So, while everyone launches their new podcast, why not focus on building the tools... which span a whole lot more than recording software.

Here's how you can take part in this gold rush 🧵
1/ To understand the opportunity, we need to understand where we are.

Apple Podcasts launched its app in 2012.

And minus outliers, popular podcasting tools (ex: Descript, Transistor, Anchor) emerged in the last ~5y.

They reduced barriers to entry, enabling mass adoption.
2/ But innovation in audio is still really early.

Compare this evolution to that of written content.

Wordpress launched in 2003. Other popular writing tools have been around for a decade+.

In fact, we can look to this mature landscape to uncover some audio "shovels"! ⛏
Read 7 tweets
19 Apr
Success is never as straightforward as it seems.

A thread on the early days of founders that look successful today, but have felt just as lost as the rest of us.

Gusto's CTO, @edawerd on his project

"2 weeks after launch, and no real traffic. What should I do?

...I applied to YCombinator with this, but was rejected. Maybe for good reason =("

Years later, he founded Gusto, worth $3.8B.
Coinbase CEO, @brian_armstrong iterated (and failed) his way through...


"Took me more than 2 years to get 200 paying customers for my Web App"

He's now is worth $20B+.…
Read 7 tweets
7 Apr
It's so interesting to me that ppl ask what work will look like post-pandemic, as if working remotely never existed before.

Once restrictions subside, I think many of the same, very human dynamics will re-emerge.

As one of many long-term nomads, here's my take:

🧵 thread time!

An initial rush back will die out quickly.

Offices will exist, but far fewer and they'll become the watering hole. Ie: communal areas used fractionally.

Existing real estate will turn into part-time offices: cafes, clubs during the day, etc.

AKA anywhere with wifi.

Relationships are built off of who you spend the most time with. This is human nature.

Coworker relationships can still be healthy, but your closest relationships will be with those you're physically around.

Culture will benefit from semi-frequent offsites.
Read 10 tweets
9 Mar
If you watched the Meg & Harry doc, you may have been surprised to hear this name: @tylerperry

The man that offered his home to the pair has an incredible story of going from "poor as hell" to "billionaire"

How did he do it?

As Perry says, "ownership changes everything"

1/ Who is Tyler Perry?

You might recognize him in few films, but his on-screen performances are only a piece of the puzzle.

He built his empire as a screenwriter, director, equity-holder, author, real estate mogul... the list goes on.

And he's made sure to own every step.
2/ Tyler's net worth is $1B.

He's one of only ~3k billionaires and was listed by Forbes as "the highest-paid man in entertainment"

Comparative net worth:
- Taylor Swift: $365m
- DiCaprio: $260m
- Serena Williams: $225m

So how did he outperform these household names?

Read 19 tweets
2 Mar
There's a lot of hype around NFTs and very little nuance around them.

I tend to see 2 arguments:

1. This is the future
2. This is worthless

The world is not black & white.

NFTs are not useless, nor are they that useful intrinsically. But so are many other things in life.

1/ Let's first agree on a definition:

NFTS are unique, digital assets. You may liken them to a trading card or art.

Scarcity is built into the asset, so is often worth more than its inherent utility.

In buying an NFT, you are betting that ppl will care about it in the future.
2/ Now let's address whether "NFTs are worthless"

NFTs = tech, allowing you to monetize & track ownership of the underlying asset.

Ex: An artist can sell X to A, but also get a cut when A sells that asset to B.

This tracking mechanism is worth something. How much? It depends.
Read 16 tweets
1 Mar
Companies often make $ in ways that you may not expect.

People learning that Robinhood monetizes via PFOF is just one case.

Decoding companies & their biz models equips you to build more creatively, with more tools in your toolbox.

A few examples... 🧵

1/ Amazon: they just sell stuff online, right?

Yes... and no. Their profit center is AWS, making 50%+ of all profits ($Bs) for the giant.

Another sneaky tidbit about AMZN: their advertising business outperformed Twitter's last decade in 2020 alone.

2/ Airlines just sell flights, right?

No. In fact, their mileage programs are worth billions.

An appraisal of the U.S. part of the AAdvantage program was between $19.5-$31.5B... MORE than American is worth, total.

Airlines used these programs to secure $Bs in pandemic loans.
Read 7 tweets

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