Working toward an unknown reward
September 20, 2021
Building an asset is one of the most mentally challenging things to do. There's no guarantee of payout when you're finished. But I also think it's one of the most important things to do. The key is to help others in the process.
When I hear the word "asset", the first thing I think of is real estate. It's typically considered an asset because it will appreciate in value over time. It can also be rented out to make recurring revenue.
The reason it is an asset is because it provides value to other people: shelter, amenities, experiences.
The same concept is true for other types of assets, physical or digital. Another asset is owning your own business. It can then be sold in the future, or make money for you and your family if operations continue.
I intend to build a digital asset first. Some form of an information product or a software asset. However, a service might also be a good way to start so I can learn what people are interested in receiving.
I can't remember where I heard this, but giving away valuable information is like stretching a rubber band. The more you give away, the more you stretch it. Then someday when you've built up a lot of tension, you can ask for something in return from the people you've been generous with. The ask could be anything, but typically it's to buy a larger, more in depth product.
This works because giving away information builds trust with your audience and they will know the value you can provide.
I still don't find this intuitive, but there are countless examples of this. Anyone with an email funnel leading to a product understands this. They add value in each email leading up to the pitch. Then at the end, they say there's more to learn and offer their product. If it's something that is a big enough pain for their audience, they'll make the sale.
Granted, they need to follow through and deliver on their promise. But if you have experience with your topic, that's not too difficult.
I'm still narrowing down what I can help others with. This is where I think platforms like twitter can be extremely helpful. Finding the proof that people are interested in a topic is much easier when you have an engaged following.
David Perell first introduced me to the idea of using twitter as a proving ground for topics. He has an information gauntlet starting with conversations and twitter, then ending with blog posts, essays, and even courses. There's no reason I can't learn to do the same.
Writing is the key for any chance at communicating this value. I also think writing will tease out these ideas. My experiences are all connected to me. My mind will likely make connections between them. By writing, I am pushing myself to contemplate these ideas and giving my brain a chance to breath.
Certainly, there might be more value in writing by hand. I've seen the research that indicates writing by hand does more for making connections than typing on a keyboard. However, it's much more difficult to share those thoughts with others once they're in ink.
This is where I struggle between the two. Perhaps I should start writing more by hand to gain these benefits. Another reason I like typing is for the word count. I could probably estimate by page length, but it's nice to use the tools.
Anyway, back to adding value and using twitter. I read a nice synopsis by Andrew on twitter. He shared how he uses twitter to gauge interest in topics. He'll rephrase something or dig deeper if he thinks he struck a chord. THAT is how I want to use twitter to grow a business.
No ideas are original, they're just building on other ideas or thinking about them in a different way. And execution of ideas is where the rubber meets the road.
Slipping into an existing market so you can simply supply for the demand is my dream. But there needs to be cash flow there to make any money. If I supply for demand of a free product or service, that isn't going to get me very far (unless I explore alternate forms of monetization)
Sell things to people who are already searching for and paying for a solution to their problem. I've heard this a few times now. If people are actively searching for and paying for a solution to a problem, there is sufficient demand AND payoff for your efforts. There still isn't a guarantee that you will make money, but you significantly reduce risk.
I have been burned by the amount of effort I put into ideas before validation. Topple is still a great project that I learned from and that helped me land a great job. But it didn't fulfill my goal of making money from it.
Keeping the effort in mind from previous failures will hopefully keep me on track. I knew I should validate first, or better than that, look for something people are already paying for. But sometimes you need to let yourself learn the hard way. And like I said, I still benefitted from the project in other ways.
These ideas have been top-of-mind lately. I have a great job, but that doesn't mean I can't push the boundaries, add value on the side, and build an asset for myself and my family. I find it fun to challenge myself in these ways. I wouldn't have pushed myself to write like this a few years ago, but that's the beauty of personal growth; You learn new things and get better at self-discipline if you work at it.
I'm not to the point where I can write words that don't need editing, but I don't think everyone gets there. Maybe I'm thinking too small. I know my writing has already improved since college. I'm excited to see how this habit and skill change me and the way I think.
That's all I think I have for this morning, I just hit 1000 words so I've reached my goal! It's hard not to stop and edit as you go. I think that's why I used to write so much slower, I was constantly rereading and editing my previous sentences. Now I just let the words come out (as best as I can) and worry about brevity later.
Does anyone else find beard hairs in their keyboard? Just me? Alright...