September 17, 2022

5 Rules for a Permissionless Life

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Roughly three years ago, I came across Naval Ravikant's now-famous Twitter thread commonly known as, 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 lifestyle design. 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. And, 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 will give me access to 4.95B new prospects for anything I create.

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.


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 were 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.

Here's a picture of how I sold products back in 2020 before I had a personal website:
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.

The assets that you create are available all over the world, 24 hours a day, to those 4.95B internet-connected people.

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 my latest course, The Content Operating System, in about 97 hours over 40 days.

I sold $101,000 during that 30-day period for an average hourly value of $1,041/hour.

Since launching, I've sold another $177,000 and aside from one update (about 6 hours), I haven't spent any additional time on the course. That has increased my average hourly value to $2,705/hour and continues to grow with every sale.

In Summary

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 in 2020, 2021, and today.

My 5 rules:

  1. Scale yourself
  2. Diversify yourself
  3. Invest in yourself
  4. Replicate yourself
  5. Increase yourself

If you enjoyed this post and want to learn more about building extra income online, you can read my free advice here.

Thanks for reading.

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