Let's look at how some successful knowledge entrepreneurs started out:
- Maria Popova's Brainpickings blog began as an email that she sent to 7 co-workers in an agency. From there she grew it into a newsletter and then blog with 3 million page views and more than 7 million monthly readers... in 2014. I am sure these numbers only went up from there.
- Yuval Harari's book Sapiens started as lecture notes, that was not only used by his students but began circling the university. As he noticed the popularity of the topic he grew it into a book that later sold more than 12 million copies.
- Daniel Vassallo started out in 2019 with a blog article on how he left a good-paying job at Amazon to start working for himself. He used his Twitter account to give updates on his journey and answer questions. That way he build an audience of more than 50.000 people. Two courses, one about Amazon and one about Twitter, generated more than 250k in sales in 11 months.
What's the common thread there? At the core, their expert career started by sharing their expertise with other people. At a time when they were not (yet) successful, they put their thoughts out there, in a newsletter, a blog post, or lecture notes. This made it possible, that their thoughts could be shared with others.
Showing your work online may be simple but not easy. It could be the single biggest obstacle to becoming a knowledge entrepreneur. Seth Godin refers to it as shipping. To make it easier for you, he even created a small Journal for it.
Here's what I shipped to start my Knowledge Entrepreneur journey:
- A blog article (on medium.com) where I summarize key insights about knowledge entrepreneurs and the huge potential to earn additional income from your knowledge
- A landing page (with ConvertKit) so that those interested in the topic can easily stay in touch
- A Zoom event series (with Lu.ma) as space to explore this topic with others
What all of these have in common is that they allow to take my expertise on this topic to other people. They can scale.
A start is naturally just the beginning. There are many more important steps waiting down the road. Just like turning the key of an engine won't bring you magically somewhere, you still need to start the engine. However, a start makes all the difference.
What's the best piece of knowledge you recently created but didn't put somewhere online? An idea, an insight, a video, or a picture? Now think where you could potentially put this online so that others can benefit from it. Your favorite social media? A post on Reddit or another community? Or an email to a group of friends or colleagues?
Do this as a mental exercise first and then decide whether you want to ship it 🚢✨Who knows what this could be the start of. And don't forget to share it with me. I'll cheer for you! 🥳
A lab for your mind (Ness Labs)
Anne-Laure Le Cunff left her job at Google to study neuroscience in London. On the side, she started the blog Ness Labs and the newsletter Maker Mind. There she writes about mindful productivity, personal knowledge management, and mental wellness. Launched only in July 2019 her newsletter already hit 25.000 subscribers in December 2020. She just published the post Curiosity and consistency: thoughts on growing a newsletter and also have a look at 50 lessons learned from writing 50 newsletters.
Not WordPress (Ghost publishing platform)
Ghost is a sleek and performant blog platform alternative to WordPress. Similar to WordPress their code is open source and the organization earns a living from paid hosting plans. Last year they added membership functionality (onemanandhisblog.com), which includes features like member areas, subscriptions, and even newsletters. I am currently comparing blog platforms for a "digital garden of expertise" (more about this in one of the next newsletter issues) and Ghost is a very strong candidate.
Highlights from around the web
- 🎙 Five Lessons From Dave Chappelle (stratechery.com) — an amazing example of story-telling and the power-shift from distributors to creators.
- 🌟 Come for the course, stay for the community (meatspacealgorithms.com) — I had a similar positive experience with the altMBA cohort course back in 2017. I expect cohort-based courses to become a big thing.
- 🏡 Built Bill Gates’ home, then his own dream bunk-studio (youtube.com)— This video is full of wisdom of a masterful creator with a beautiful mindset.
With that being said... I'll look forward to seeing you next week 🙂
PS: If you found this useful, consider to connect on Twitter.