🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 012

Content is digital land, struggle & happiness, jedi mind tricks to beat procrastination, Dispatch is dope, Costco

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

It’s been 12 weeks since I went on my own.

Today’s topics:

  • 🧮 | Week 12 metrics & earnings

  • 😔 | Struggle & happiness

  • 💡 | Jedi mind tricks to beat procrastination

  • 👩‍🎨 | Dispatch is dope

  • 📍 | Content is digital land

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 ✌🏼👩🏻‍🚀

WEEKLY RECAP
Weekly Recap

I struggled this week. Badly.

Struggled showing up. Struggled with motivation. Struggled to find inspiration.

I noticed the work started feeling like work for the first time since I started creating. Until now, it had felt like a game.

There was a low point in the middle of the week where I noticed myself rationalizing why I wasn’t spending more time making videos. Justifying every other busy work task as something that needed to be crossed off the list. Spinning.

Usually I’m the kind of guy that will just run into the wall over and over delusionally until I break it down.

Sometimes I’ll get frustrated in the moment, but I almost always force myself to persevere.

This week was different.

It was the first time in a while where my instinct was to stop running into the wall because I didn’t want to anymore. Which is not a good sign for someone that now does this full-time lol.

I share all this not to broadcast negative vibes, just as a way to continue documenting my real-time thoughts and emotions.

Because someone out there reading this is struggling too…trying to figure out their own answers in the lonely vacuum of their own head.

Creating consistently at a high level is really fucking hard, especially when your environment, obligations, schedule, and routine is consistently inconsistent.

Fortunately, by the end of the day Thursday, I was able to pull myself out of the funk. I think this will be a “bounce off the bottom” moment for me, and I’m glad it happened.

It sucked, but there was one major silver lining…

During my mopey malaise, I found myself thinking about the relationship between struggle and happiness. In the moment, I was struggling hard and definitely not happy.

But then I realized something…

The great myth is that happiness comes from a struggle-free life. That if all your worries and struggles were taken care of, you’d always be happy.

This is what society conditions us to believe. It’s why people chase money. They think they’ll be able to buy themselves out of struggle.

But it isn’t true.

Most of the people with all the money in the world are as sad as it gets.

Because the truth is, there is no way to outrun struggle. Everyone struggles with something.

What I realized is that happiness comes from the privilege of getting to struggle on things you choose to care about. Projects, companies, skills, hobbies, physical challenges, relationships, etc.

And the long process of struggling on those things will unlock more happiness than the short burst of achieving them ever could.

Now there is nuance to this.

Struggling to pay your bills, find shelter, put food on the table. Those are things you need to do and don’t get to opt into. Struggles like these will always feel painful and enduring them will never make you happy.

It sucked to struggle this week. Saying it didn’t would be a lie.

But boy am I grateful, I get to struggle on something I choose to care deeply about.

The game is fulfilling because of the struggle to beat it, and I’m finally starting to be grateful for the chance to struggle at a game of my choosing.

Gratitude really is the master key that opens every lock.

THINKING

Beating procrastination

Above I shared my higher level thoughts for how this funk impacted me.

Now, here are the tactics for how I got out of it…

First, it’s important to know what procrastination actually is and why you’re facing it.

Procrastination is your mind avoiding discomfort.

By nature, humans are wired to seek safer and more comfortable things. If what you’re trying to do is less comfortable than something else, you will likely procrastinate and do the other thing.

For example, if you need to write a mid-semester college paper but the Xbox is near, you may procrastinate on the paper and play video games.

Now the other variable in the mix is the relative importance of each task.

If that paper is required for you to graduate and $50K of scholarship money is on the line, you will choose to write the paper over the video games.

At the end of the day, you have three mental paths to get yourself to do the hard thing:

  • Trick your mind into liking discomfort (e.g., I know I hate writing, but now I enjoy being uncomfortable. This is some David Goggins shit and very hard for most to do)

  • Trick your mind into thinking the uncomfortable thing is actually a comfortable thing (e.g., I actually like writing now, so this is fun for me)

  • Trick your mind into weighting the importance of the uncomfortable thing higher than the offsetting comfort of the alternative (e.g., I know I hate writing, but it’s now more important that I get this done than I thought, so I’ll prioritize it)

For me, I usually need to start by tricking myself into the third option, which eventually converts the task into the second path if I do it for long enough.

For example, my thought process might be something like “Making these videos is the only way I’ll grow a deep connection with an audience, so it’s really important that I start doing it.”

I’ll start doing it for a while, feel myself getting better at the task (making videos), and then start naturally seeking out the behavior of making videos because I start to like it.

Now the issue is, when you’re depressed/sad/frustrated, it’s harder for you to generate the mental persuasiveness to convince yourself of the importance of a task you don’t like.

In other words, it’s harder to trick yourself when you’re in a funk.

So in this case, I needed to get out of the funk first.

I find having a little “funk breaker” routine is really helpful.

So whenever I feel this way, I stop working, go to the gym, lift heavy, walk my dog in the sun, and then go get frozen yogurt at my favorite place. Takes 3-4 hours.

Once I come back from the frozen yogurt place, my funk is usually clear which resets my mental barrier for persuasiveness lower.

Then, I can convince myself to plunge into the discomfort again, and eventually, the discomfort will become comfortable.

DISPATCH
Dispatch is dope

If you’re like me, you have lots of creative output, but your visual aesthetic/design is not where you want it to be.

You look at your favorite creator’s stuff, then you look at your stuff, and you feel like your stuff doesn’t look cool enough to stand out.

The reason for this is your visual design. It’s probably lacking…mine definitely was.

To improve your visual design, you typically have three options:

  • Option 1: Spend lots of time to get better at it yourself

  • Option 2: Hire a contract designer/agency/freelancer to work on one-off design projects

  • Option 3: Hire a full-time designer

I’ve found out the hard way that there are flaws in each path

Option 1: Getting better at visual design yourself is always preferred because that creates the most direct path from your own head to output.

But here’s what I found…

Your eyes will improve way before your hands. Meaning your taste for what looks good will come before your ability to replicate it. And closing that gap is sooo painful.

The frustrating process of getting good yourself will last years as you struggle through sub-par creative projects. Nobody wants to feel like their idea failed because their design wasn’t best in class.

Option 2: What most people do is they hire a graphic designer/agency to work on one-off design projects.

And my problem with this option is that I often spend more time and energy finding someone good and managing them than I do on the creative direction for the actual project.

Since it’s a one-off, most creatives don’t treat it as a full-time person would. The work gets done, but it’s almost always a 7/10 job with high stress to manage.

Option 3: If you have the resources, you could hire a full-time designer on staff. This will cost $80-$150K annual salary plus benefits.

If the cost weren’t an issue for you, the constraint in skillset might be.

Most designers aren’t full stack. They have areas where they’re specialists and amazing (e.g., logo, brand identity) and areas where they might have less experience (e.g., UX design).

But if you’re paying $8-$13K per month for a designer, you want them to be great at everything because you can’t afford more than one.

Enter Option 4…Dispatch. This is the design solution I’ve wanted my entire life.

For $6K/month, you get access to a team of designers that are “always on” for you.

Meaning you can ask for anything, from brand identity to landing page design to social media graphic templates and they have a specialist on the team who can do it for you.

The turns are super fast. You’ll have something new to review every 2 days.

So it’s like the speed of a freelancer with the breadth of an agency and cheaper than both.

Here’s who I think it’s the perfect design solution for:

  • A creator that already has some success and wants to take their visual identity to the next level

  • A startup that wants to scale design capacity without bringing on several design hires

  • A small to medium size business that wants to add a design arm for quick-turn design experiments without taking up the capacity of existing full-time hires

I’ve been working with the Dispatch team for 6 weeks. 

First we started with my personal brand identity. If you look at my social media profiles, you will start to see a visual change in my content thumbnails, graphics, fonts, etc. This had led directly to an increase in conversion of new followers that land on my pages.

Our second major project, which we’re in the middle of right now, is designing the branding for my new podcast and “lifestyle brand concept" that will become a big part of my digital identity moving forward.

We have lots more in the pipeline including landing pages, a personal website, and some other surprises. Will keep sharing progress as we have it.

Dispatch is scaling slowly because they want to be super intentional with their client selection. Their goal is to become long-term partners with the creators, brands, and startups they work with.

Luckily, I have direct access to the team and can help you jump to the front of the line.

If Dispatch sounds like something that would move the needle for your business, brand, or digital identity, shoot me a note and I’d be happy to intro you over to the team.

DOING
Content is Digital Land Ownership

I was talking to my parents this week about buying vs renting a home. The age old debate.

And while on the topic, I had an interesting thought…

Making content is kind of like owning digital land.

A quick aside…during the web3 craze, there were NFT projects like Decentraland and Sandbox that were selling parcels of land as NFTs.

The appeal was that if there was going to be a “scarcity” of plots, and this was where everyone ended up spending time in the metaverse, then owning a plot would be like owning property in the real world.

I almost fell into that trap, but then realized that things like proximity to roads/neighborhoods don’t matter if everyone is one click teleporting into virtual spaces, the creators of the world could make more plots whenever they wanted, etc. Avoided catastrophe on that one.

But the reason I share that story is because I do believe the concept of “digital land” exists.

More millionaires have been created from real estate than any other investment class. This is mostly due to the fixed scarcity of physical land and the increasing demand for it.

Certainly if most people spend the majority of their time online today, there must eventually be some form of digital real estate as well.

Well there is…

The scarcity in the digital world is attention, and the digital real estate that captures it, is content.

But it’s a different kind of real estate with very different properties.

As I mentioned, the appeal of physical real estate is the permanent scarcity of the land. There will never be more (until Elon gg’s us to Mars).

With content, there will always be more. In fact, the number of new pieces of content will probably go up, increasingly, over time.

But that doesn’t change the fact that renting space on your content is akin to cash flowing from a rental property.

When I make a video, it’s like I build a digital house and put it into the world.

My “tenants” are the brands and sponsors that pay to be mentioned in the video.

Some videos have no tenants, but they all could if I was big enough and that was the format/strategy I chose to pursue (see Joe Rogan podcast episodes).

But the key difference between physical and digital property that works in digital’s favor is the variable nature of the property type and the frequency it changes.

With physical property, you buy it once every 5-10 years (unless you’re a flipper). If you buy beachfront property or a Brownstone in NYC, amazing, but you had to pay up for it because the market already accepts it as premium. Beachfront is beachfront and that won’t change.

With digital property, I get to build a new house every single day, and because of social algorithms, I can generate beachfront property (e.g., 1M+ view videos) with the investment of a mobile home (cost to create).

Advertisers will pay me more if my videos do better, but each video costs me the same amount of money to make.

This would be like if buying a physical house was a slot machine where the price to spin was $250K for everyone and you were equally likely to get a beachfront 2 acre plot in Hawaii or a shack in the ghetto.

But this is obviously not how it works. In the physical world, more cash means better property means better cash flow.

In the digital world, more skill means better content means more cash flow. And skill in ≠ cash in.

Anyone can acquire skills if they allocate time to developing them. In my opinion, it’s easier for beginners to acquire skills than to acquire money.

The idea of content being digital property completely changes how I view it.

If this is true and the metaphor holds, we should all be rushing to learn the skills that enable us to become digital land barons, creating as much high quality content as possible.

One other factor that gives content creators an unfair advantage…

Wealth in digital property can be earned through skill at an increasing rate from week to week. Wealth in physical property can only be bought, and the variability of the earning potential is fixed.

For example, I can grow my average views from 50K to 150K from one week to the next. This means my “digital houses” will earn 3x more in rent income in just 7 days. This could never happen in physical real estate..rents stay the same for at least 12 months at a time.

The point where this comparison breaks is when considering the durability of the property on each side.

A physical beachfront house will be there forever (unless the aliens come). A piece of content, even if it’s the best thing in the world, will fade from attention in a matter of days.

That means the cashflow potential of each digital property isn’t passive and recurring, it’s active, in bursts, and decays extremely quickly.

I suppose a better comparison to the recurring cash flow of a physical house is the ability to generate consistent active cash flow bursts every day from the content machine (you).

One physical house cash flowing monthly is kind of like one “of you” creating 20 digital houses every month.

The difference, as mentioned above, is that the cash flow from the physical house each month will remain the same and will only increase slightly over time. The cash flow from you as a digital land producing machine could scale very quickly depending on your results.

Also, certain pieces of content, like Mr. Beast’s Squid Games video or Joe Rogan’s podcast with Naval, do act more like a physical beachfront property.

I’m guessing Beast and Rogan still make five figures passively every month from those videos alone.

All that rambling above to say this…if physical real estate minted the most millionaires in the 20th century, digital real estate will be what mints the most millionaires in the 21st.

And content…is digital real estate.

VIDEOS FROM THIS WEEK

Here are links to this week’s videos if you want to check them out:

  1. 🍣 | wknds in Kyoto: Watch on TT | IG | YT

  2. 👑 | Costco is selling gold bars and they’re sold out everywhere: Watch on TT | IG | YT

  3. 🤯 | Adobe’s new video AI demo was wild: Watch on TT | IG | YT

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