Roughly two years ago, I came across Naval Ravikant's now famous Twitter thread, How to Get Rich (without getting lucky). At the time, I was working 80 hour workweeks at my executive job, making a very good living, but starting to burn out.
His perspective knocked me for a loop.
He talked about using leverage to create wealth, and these particular statements stuck out to me:
Code and media are permissionless leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep. An army of robots is freely available — it’s just packed in data centers for heat and space efficiency. Use it.
- Naval Ravikant
I started thinking about "an army of robots" and how I could use them to my advantage. I'm not a coder. I don't build software.
But, I do have some knowledge that would be valuable to others.
This realization took me down a long, winding path of building online. His perspective helped me move towards building my own income, a cornerstone of an idea I was already contemplating at the time: designing a more intentional life.
Forging a new path
Since 2018, I've been reading about life redesign. It was driven by the depressing realization that the average "American dream" was, IMO, a trap:
- Go to high school
- Go to college (maybe)
- Get a job and work 40-70 hours per week
- Switch jobs
- Buy "stuff"
- Save money (most people fail)
- Try and retire (most people fail)
- Finally retire at 66
- Die at 78.
12 years to enjoy your hard work. No way.
This unacceptable timeline of events was enough to send me studying to understand why this happens and how to avoid it at all costs. Naval's thoughts were simply the guide to income creation that I needed to start.
Circumventing the traditional path of life to win.
To begin creating my own income, I needed to give myself permission to try something new. If you're anything like me, permission needs to be rooted in facts and self-discovery. Here are two very simple learnings that led me to embrace a new path:
Fact: The internet has given me access to 4.66B new prospects for my products and services.
Self-discovery: The biggest competitor working against me is myself. My own mind. Trying anything new is difficult.
Once I was armed with these simple facts, and accepted that I was my own gatekeeper to success (accountability matters), I started to think about a new set of rules I could use to give myself a high likelihood of success.
The 5 New Rules
To start outlining my new rules, I sat down with a pencil and piece of paper and started brain dumping everything that I thought could be related to my new intention. After many days of thinking, here's what I came up with:
Rule #1: You earn 33% of the day. Move to 100%. (Scale yourself)
Up until August of 2019, I earned every dime between the hours of 9a to 5p. That's only 33% of the day.
Sure, I worked longer hours, but my pay was based on a 40-hour work week. Outside of that time, making an income ceased. I had zero scalability. 8 hours of earning in a 24 hour day. That meant I was spending 67% of the day not earning.
"You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep. An army of robots is freely available..."
In order to scale my earnings, I needed to use my knowledge and that army of robots to my advantage. Plus...
Rule #2: Building is less risky than working for companies that don’t care about you. (Diversify yourself)
Building something of your own has always been deemed "risky" by society, but is it really? Look at what has happened in 2020 and 2021 with COVID. The number of people who have been laid off is staggering. A peak full-time unemployment rate of 12.9%.
We're all familiar with the phrase, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket", but that is precisely what the average person does with their income. Diversification is necessary in such uncertain times. And diversifying is not difficult.
Rule #3: Nearly anyone can offer an online product in 2 weeks. (Invest in yourself)
The amount of internet tools available to people has never been more open and available. You can build your entire tech stack (landing page, email automation, blogging, products) on Gumroad for free.
You can set up your entire Gumroad page in less than 30 minutes, and timebox your first product to 14 days or less.
But, the best part about building knowledge products is the scale.
Rule #4: Your products are digital salespeople that work for you 24/7/365. (Replicate yourself)
Creating an online business means taking advantage of global E-commerce, which is absolutely wild. Assets that you create are available all over the world, 24 hours a day.
With social tools that let you schedule posts at all hours of the day, you can create a promotional machine that runs while you sleep.
If you can create a product or two, and promote them online, your income scales massively.
Rule #5: The hourly value of your asset goes up every time you make a sale. (Increase yourself)
Unlike traditional service-based work, producing a product means an ever-increasing hourly value. For instance, I created Idea.Audience.Proof.Product. : The Side Hustle Playbook, in a total of 91 hours over 30 days.
I sold $40,247 during that 30 day period for an average hourly value of $442/hour.
Since launching, an additional 7 weeks have gone by and I've made another $6,470 and haven't spent a single moment on the course. That has increased my average hourly value to $513/hour, and it continues to grow with every sale.
Everyone has a different opinion on how life should be lived, what's important, and what isn't. If following the traditional journey and working a 9 to 5 is your chosen path, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
If you're open to considering a new path (or just creating some side income and diversification), I'd take some advice from Naval, from my own experience, and from the recent events that have rocked people's world during COVID.
My 5 rules:
- Scale yourself
- Diversify yourself
- Invest in yourself
- Replicate yourself
- Increase yourself
Thanks for reading.