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🧑🏼‍🚀 The Blueprint 009

What's next, Fuji X100V, transparent brainstorming, the health audit, Brandon Wang, the pursuit of craft

Welcome back to The Blueprint, a series where I share an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look into my journey as a full-time creator & entrepreneur.

It’s been 9 weeks since I went on my own.

Today’s topics:

  • 🧮 | Week 9 metrics & earnings

  • 🧐 | What’s next for the Kallaway brand?

  • ❤️ | The Health Audit

  • 📸 | New Toys - Fuji X100V

Feature creator:

A reminder that this internet game is not zero-sum. Everyone reading this can win at an unlimited scale. I’m writing this for the internet astronauts building their own digital worlds. If that’s you…let’s ride ✌🏼👩🏻‍🚀

AUDIENCE GROWTH
Weekly Recap & What’s Next

Here’s the truth…my videos have “stopped working” on Tiktok.

4 weeks ago, I generated 5.1M views on Tiktok with 3 videos. This week, a measly 29K (which drove $2 in Tiktok CPMs lol).

I’m not sure why it happened, although my hunch is that it’s a combination of:

  • My content wasn’t good enough

  • Tiktok is trying to monetize via their dropshipping ecommerce play, Tiktok Shop (and so they are juicing tf out of videos promoting Tiktok Shop products and cutting everything else)

  • Tiktok realized they were paying a fortune in the Creator Fund (videos over 1 min) and it wasn’t materially driving ad revenue for them, so to help cut their costs they stopped juicing videos over 1 minute

Whatever the reason, my engagement is down, my revenue is down, and my spirits were a little down.

But then I thought…I’m sitting in my San Diego apartment listening to Flume hammer synths live at crssd down the street. I’m flying to Tokyo in 3 days. Life is grand.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity spiral when things don’t go your way for a few days. That’s why I’ve started including the monthly audience & income growth charts in the dashboard graphic above.

It helps me (and hopefully you) zoom out when you’re in the doldrums like I’ve been.

Weeks like this make me reflect on why I write this newsletter.

Here’s the answer…

If you want to learn tactics…the “how to do” something, there are dozens of YouTube videos on nearly every topic.

But few people talk about how they actually solve problems when things stop working.

You see a lot about the initial obstacle and the final solution, but you almost never see people transparently share their struggle in-between.

The truth is, people don’t like showing the struggle because it makes them look weak when they don’t have all the answers.

Imo, that’s where all the gold is.

“How did that mf figure this out? What was he/she thinking in that moment? What did they try before finding the thing that eventually worked? Why didn’t those things work? How’d they know what to do next?

These are the unanswered questions that keep beginners up at night. This is what is keeping me up at night!

I write this newsletter because I want to be the one to share how I’m thinking through problems and making adjustments in real-time.

Because 3 years from now, when a 24 year old kid is looking at my engagement/audience/income/brands and feeling bad about where he/she is, I want them to be able to come back to these posts and read my thoughts from when I struggled.

With all that said, here’s how I’m thinking about things today and why I feel the need to make adjustments:

  1. 🤓 | Lack of focus: Point blank, I’ve been inefficient, undisciplined and unfocused. I’ve spent too much time daydreaming about what could be, glossing over the what is. When you mail it in, you get average results. That ends now. For the next 6 months, I don’t care about building a side brand or what happens when I have a million followers or generating cash flow or making hats or perks or vanity metrics. All I’m going to care about is learning how to make the best videos possible, making them, and iterating them to better serve my target audience. That’s it. I am going to become obsessed with the craft of making videos. If I win at that, everything else will come

  2. ♟️ | Content Strategy: When I started printing money from Tiktok’s Creator Fund, I went all-in on trying to “game the Tiktok algo.” Tbh, I got to the point where I didn’t care how my videos performed anywhere but Tiktok. My requirement for videos were that they a) had to be 60-90 seconds and b) had to be about pop-culture related topics/brands that were designed to go viral on Tiktok. And that worked for a few weeks (made ~$10K). But the problem was that I sacrificed finding a long-term “who” for a short-term payout. Right now, I don’t have a target lock on who my videos are for, meaning they are for no one. The following I am building is fractured and doesn’t have loyalty around a certain subject. This is obviously a problem. Without a focused audience, I will never be able to deliver consistent value. Without delivering consistent value, I will never be able to consistently monetize. The audience I want to attract are creators and entrepreneurs. That’s what I am and who I think about all day long. I will know I have made progress when the creators/entrepreneurs I admire begin to admire me as well. I don’t feel like that is the case yet. Moving forward, I’m not going to optimize for what will go viral on Tiktok. Instead, I’m only going to make content that provides value or entertainment for creators/entrepreneurs. Without a who, it’s hard to have an obvious why. Without a why, you have zero durability

  3. 🌊 | Vibe: The vibe I’m giving off is that of an educator. If you think about the “influencers” you love, consistently reference and buy stuff from, it’s people that have crafted a vibe/taste that you admire. They may also educate you, but you love them because of their taste/style/vibe/aesthetic. I have gotten pretty good at “edutaining,” but my vibe is not aspirational imo. This needs to change in order to built a cult following. The three biggest ways to change this are to revamp a) the way I deliver (my vocal intonation/style/pacing), the style I deliver in (my storytelling through filming/editing), and the visual aesthetic (my space/sets/colors/etc.). Mastering these are going to become a major focus for the next 6 months.

  4. 🙇🏻‍♂️ | The reason for craft: One of the things that held me back from making “valuable” content for creators and entrepreneurs was that I felt like I didn’t have the right to teach people things I didn’t know. I’m not a master at video. I haven’t built 8-figure companies. I would never get personal training from an out of shape person. It felt phony for me to make “advice style content” in domains where I had no expertise. The only area I felt like I had true expertise was analyzing businesses/markets/ideas and spotting the trend or opportunity, so that’s the type of content I made. In order to add-more value, I need to become a student of the crafts that my target audience practices. Over the next 6 months, I’m going to get laser focused at becoming insane at all things video. I want people to watch my videos and want to learn from me. This will help open up the range of topics I feel qualified to talk about

And if you’re reading the above thinking, “geez, this guy is hard on himself…I love what he puts out, idk why he is being so critical.”

I really do appreciate your compassion and support.

When you create, you will always be your own harshest critic. Everyone lives in a prison of their own mind. Frustratingly, mine happens to have an extremely high bar for success. And I hate falling short of that bar.

I look at this as a unique strength, but it makes it very difficult to be satisfied on a daily basis.

IDEAS

The Health Audit

Here’s a product I wish existed…the Health Audit.

I take my health and fitness super seriously…it’s probably my #1 hobby outside of “working.”

I’ve listened to a ton of podcasts on all things health, studied Huberman, etc. And I’ve done my best to implement everything they say to do.

But you never know what you’re missing…

I wish there was a service where you could describe everything you do for health (all of your protocols, your diet, supplements, practices/routines) and the platform would tell you where you are leaving opportunity on the table.

I’ve seen a lot of content from this guy, Gary Brecka. He apparently saved Dana White (UFC CEO) with his health system.

When Dana White found him, Gary said that Dana had just over 10 years to live.

Gary’s version of Health Audit is a paid blood test that is super thorough and uses biomarkers to identify weak points in your biology.

My idea is a bit more proactive and could likely be accomplished with AI for free.

In general, I just want to know if there is an easy health win that I’m missing because of ignorance.

Business model could be through affiliates recommendations for the things people are missing.

This same logic/process could be applied to other categories outside of health.

For example, if I screen recorded myself editing a video and uploaded the recording to a platform, could it tell me the 5 shortcuts/presets that would save me time if I incorporated them?

To boil it down to a single sentence…solving the “don’t know what you don’t know” problem in any domain where you spend significant time.

If anyone knows of a product that solves this for health, please share!

NEW TOYS
FUJIFILM X100V

This camera has been sold out everywhere for months.

I just got one and I am obsessed with it.

Here’s what I was looking for:

  • A small, compact point and shoot camera that didn’t change lenses

  • A vintage, film-looking photo straight out of camera that didn’t require extra editing

  • Easy transfer to my iPhone to post directly to social media

The cameras on iPhones are amazing…but they’re almost too good/sharp (iykyk).

I wanted to be able to get consistently creative with a photo camera that I could carry around everywhere.

The Fuji X100V gives you that and more.

Here are some of the images I’ve been able to take with it in my first weekend using it.

If you’re thinking about picking one up, they are on backorder everywhere. I recommend Adorama or Walmart.

Here are some of the other accessories I bought for it:

VIDEOS FROM THIS WEEK

Here are links to this week’s videos if you want to check them out (my favorite to make was #3):

  1. 🏈 | The NFL partnered with Pixar to experiment with a new kind of football: Watch on TT | IG | YT

  2. 💰 | College athletes are making so much money from NIL (Name Image Likeness): Watch on TT | IG | YT

  3. 👟 | Drake’s giving away free sneakers to fans at his shows via Shopify innovation: Watch on TT | IG | YT

SHARE

If you liked today’s post and you know another creator building their own kingdom on the internet, it’d mean the world if you shared this with them 🤙🏼