🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 048

Month 12 Strategy Update; The Samurai, The Smith & The Swordsman; The Psychology of Traction

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

It’s been 48 weeks (12 months) since I went full-time.

TODAY’S TOPICS:

📈 | Month 12 Strategy Update

⚔️ | The Samurai, The Smith, and The Swordsman

🧠 | The Psychology of Traction

A reminder that the local 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 worlds. If that’s you…let’s ride 👩🏻‍🚀

MONTH 12 STRATEGY RECAP

Month 12 Stats:

Posts: 65 (177) (10 shorts, 5 longs, 2 pods, 4 newsletters)
Views: 3.65M (8% Tiktok, 60% IG, 2% YouTube, 27% LinkedIn)
Audience Growth: +10,453 (net followers)
Revenue/Income: $1,544 / ($3,686)

Active Channels: YouTube | Instagram | X | Tiktok | LinkedIn | WavyWorld

It’s time for another monthly strategy review!

I structured the Blueprint series weekly, so Month 12 is not actually the end of year 1 (bc we’re only at week 48). I will do something fun for the 1st Year Review next month.

Two quick notes before we dive in:

  • 🎥 | Month 11 Review Video: The video versions of these monthly updates seem to be a cult favorite. Here’s our latest one from Month 11

  • 🪪 | Blueprint Patron: Blueprint will be free forever…but if you love reading it and want to help support, consider becoming a Patron.

Month 12 Learnings & Progress:

These are my biggest takeaways from last month (updates on channel-specific learnings first and then general mindset tweaks).

📈 | Shorts: Short-form is still my most dominant platform (3.5M views last month). Mid-month, I shifted to a “bangers-only” strategy. I’ve tested both broad and narrow aimed shorts across various editing styles. I’ve concluded that “max appeal bangers” is the right strategy for my goals. Leads to LOTS of empty calories, but generates the strongest digital gravity. I now need to figure out how to double my volume without losing the sauce. I have been making 2-3 videos/week at a 10/10 quality. This is suboptimal…the long tail of editing is wasted time in shorts. The ideal mix for short-form is probably 5-6/week at an 8/10 quality. There is a point where you’re posting too much that varies per medium. I think beyond 1x per day for shorts is that point. The good news is, I know exactly what works to go viral with shorts every single time (and am beginning to work with brands to execute against this). The harder part is having the discipline to execute consistently against it day after day. Goal here is to make more than 10 shorts next month.

🎥 | YouTube: I’m starting to see long-form work (I think?), but it has been a humbling process. Spending $4-$5K/month on professional YouTube team (this is my only major expense rn). I don’t know how one could win on YouTube without a team unless they loved editing or had 99th percentile rizz. The biggest benefit of my YouTube experience is that it has shattered my egoI no longer fret poor performing content because I’ve had so much of it. YouTube is a completely different game than shorts. The reason my shorts worked so quickly is because they don’t require packaging. YouTube is all packaging. If you aren’t good at packaging, don’t do YouTube without a team…it will just frustrate you to no end. My team is amazing at this, and we still haven’t seen outsized traction. I’m 100% sure my channel will blow up in the next 6 months, just need a spark. One weird hypothesis on why I’m not growing is subscriber mix. My channel grew mostly from shorts (33K of my 35K subs came from 5 viral short-form videos). This means most of my subscribers don’t want my long-form. When it gets shown to them, they don’t watch and it drives poor retention metrics. I’m starting a second YouTube channel and reposting my biggest hitters, long-form only. Real ones will subscribe here too. Will report on how this evolves.

👨‍✈️ | LinkedIn: LinkedIn right now is the biggest content opportunity I’ve seen since I started. Complete blue ocean…most existing short-form content isn’t business relevant and can’t be ported over. Their video feed has only rolled out to ~10% of users. When it goes full scale, I will go nuclear. This is where all the business buyers spend time. If you’re not selling business services, LinkedIn can still be effective, but doesn’t need to be your top priority. If you are selling B2B services, which I will begin doing shortly…LinkedIn is gold. I have several playbooks in progress here and will share more as they start working. Best place to learn how to make good content for LinkedIn is WavyWorld (free).

🌎 | WavyWorld: WavyWorld is up to 817 members. There are 13 tutorial videos in the classroom so far and I continue to make new videos mapping to what the community is looking for. A month ago, this community didn’t exist, so I’m super excited for how it’s progressing…lots of day 1s in there. Also hosted my first livestream for the community to share content feedback/ideas which was really fun - will do more of these moving forward. Again, there is no better free resource for going 0 to 1 on short-form content than WavyWorld.

💰 | Monetization: As you can tell from the monthly summary stats, I still haven’t figured out how to Rumplestiltskin my views into dollars. I’m testing lots of things here and will eventually figure it out. For reference, most creators are barely making ends meet. I saw a stat that more than 50% of creators make less than $13K per year. I share my numbers transparently (good and bad) to help illustrate how hard this game is. Most people you see flaunting internet money are not telling the whole truth. The ones making real money are not giving away their playbooks. Be weary of who you compare yourself to and how you let that comparison make you feel, because most of the peacocking is nonsense. When I started, I expected it to take ~3 years before I was able to replace my full-time salary with creator earnings. Unless you’re extremely capable, I’d recommend not quitting to become a full-time creator until you’ve made 75% of your replacement income for at least 3 months in a row. If you’re looking to get rich, being a creator is not the way. The way to get rich is to sell B2B services or software. I didn’t appreciate this at first. The way to make selling B2B services/software 100x easier is to have an owned audience that creates a zero or negative CAC (customer acquisition cost) environment. I’ll get there on the monetization front…I have several interesting things cooking that I’ll share soon. But for now, it’s ramen noodles again. Or you could become a Blueprint Patron and help me graduate to rice & beans.

🧐 | Approach: This will be the month that I took a big step forward mentally. You can probably already sense it in my writing. My rate of learning and intensity has gone way up. To increase your rate of learning, you need to spend more time with people that have had more reps doing what you want to do (for me, building businesses online). This month, I started doing that intentionally. When you spend time with relative experts, you’re able to distill ~50% of their career learnings in a 60 minute conversation. But here’s the important part…if you’re a beginner, most of these people do not want to spend time with you willy nilly. The cold reaches “to jam” are not what they want. If you want to get time with people like this, you can either buy their time (via consulting or live courses) or acquire a skill they want but don’t have. If you have that skill, they will sense it and flock to you. This is what I failed to realize when I was younger…if you just do interesting stuff and acquire valuable skills, the doors will start opening for you. Most people want the doors to open before building the skills.

😃 | Likeability: Likeability is the most important intangible ingredient to winning. I severely underappreciated this. Because when you’re likeable, people want to help you. And nobody in history has ever won without help. Ego and likeability are opposites. Ego is to want something selfishly. People don’t root for people with ego. And if you want to win, at anything, you need people to root for you. I’ve found people root for people that are net-givers. This means serving when it doesn’t necessarily serve you. I’ve begun a super intentional effort to become a net-giver in every interaction I have. The most likeable person I know is JT Barnett. Watch his content for 5 minutes and you’ll start rooting for him.

🧮 | Automation: My first season of being a creator was all about mastering “the work.” But the amount of things I make on a weekly basis is at an unsustainable clip. So my options are either to do fewer things or figure out how to automate. Do less = lose. My goal for the next month is to automate my entire workflow…to get more juice out of the lemons I already have. I’m working with a team to do this. Will report back on what ends up working. The goal is automation without dehumanization.

THE ART OF STORYTELLING

I’m aware I look questionable in this photo lol…need to do another YouTube thummy reshoot

The Art of Storytelling

This was my favorite video made in the last month…The Art of Storytelling

I took my 6 favorite content storytelling formats for scripting better short-form videos, and explained them using a famous storytellers (South Park creators, Steve Jobs, Christopher Nolan, Casey Neistat, etc.)

You can check out the video here.

THE SAMURAI, THE SMITH & THE SWORDSMAN
The Samurai, The Smith & The Swordsman

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how to best monetize the craft of content creation.

My initial thought, as a beginner, was to just “be the creator”…and by that I mean, grow my personal channels, make content for those channels, and sell ads/partnerships against my personal content.

If I make 10 videos per month, then I can sell up to 10 ad slots.

If I want to make more money, I either need to increase the value of those ad slots (bigger reach per video) or create more (add other channels).

But this is level 1 content monetization…and if you do the math, this tops out at ~$300-$500K/year for 99.9% of creators.

That’s a great living, but you’re on a treadmill.

So to me, this path is suboptimal.

As I’ve played the game longer, I’ve gone deeper on other ways to monetize the content creation craft…that are much more lucrative.

Logically, I should go all in on figuring this out ASAP, even if it means taking my foot off the gas with daily content.

But something weird is happening…

Emotionally, I’m having a hard time letting myself ease up on the content.

Part of it is that I actually do enjoy making it. I feel like I’m getting better at it and it’s a fun daily puzzle for me.

The other part is that I know how hard it was to get to this point and I don’t want to let my channels atrophy by taking a few weeks off.

Here’s a metaphor I’ve been using to help me think through what to do.

Let’s take another craft…sword fighting.

Consider these three approaches:

  • The Samurai - this is the fighter…the one that wields the sword in battle

  • The Smith - this is the master craftsman…the one that makes the swords for all the samurais

  • The Swordsman - this is the master teacher…the one that trains the samurais to prepare for battle

If I asked you which role you want to play…most people would say the samurai.

Why?

Because the samurai sounds the coolest. They are the ones on the front lines…the main character. They get to battle and secure all the glory!

In a vacuum, let’s assume:

  • The samurai is paid $100 per battle he/she fights

  • The smith is paid $5 per sword he/she makes

  • The swordsman is paid $20 per samurai he/she trains

Now which would you rather be?

It depends…how many battles can a samurai fight per month? How many swords can the smith make? How many samurai can the swordsman teach?

And also, what is your goal?

You can go on and on with this example, adding more and more factors.

And this exercise may seem silly, until you realize it’s the same set of tradeoffs for making content.

  • The creator (the samurai) can only sell ads on as many pieces of content as they can create. For me, let’s say this is 10 short-form videos per month. Even if I freed up capacity (had someone make for me), there’s a max limit of inventory I can sell on my own channels

  • The agent (the smith) can sell done for you content packages to as many clients as they can serve in a month. The difference here is that this operation can be scaled beyond the individual smith

  • The strategist (the swordsman) can sell hour blocks of content strategy consulting across as many hours as they have in a month (160). Again, this can be scaled

I’m not embarrassed or shy to say that my goal is to build massive online businesses. The north star is to get to $1M/month by week 520.

To do that, I need a more effective vehicle to monetize the top of funnel attention I’m generating.

To continue the metaphor above, the best strategy seems to be what I call…purple swords.

You take a skilled samurai but have him battle with a purple sword (something that is memorable and no one has ever seen).

During the battle, the crowd may not remember the samurai, but they will for sure remember the purple sword.

The next day…a portion of the crowd will go see the smith and ask for a purple sword.

The samurai only wins if they own a piece of the smith’s manufacturing business.

Without being an owner in the smith business, the samurai will have to fight battles forever to stay fed…sound familiar?

I’ve been focused on the wrong thing…I need to find my smith.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TRACTION
The Psychology of Traction

This will be a quick, but an important one.

Humans have an unusual ability to adjust to new normals.

If a meteor hit the Pacific Ocean tomorrow, and dropped global temperatures by 40 degrees…we would find a way to adapt.

We’d figure out how to exist in the new climate. Our food sources, travel patterns, job markets, etc.

Traction works the same way.

When I started making content, 10,000 views seemed impossible.

Then, I hit it once. Then, it became my average. Now, I look at 10,000 views as a colossal failure.

It’s the same 10,000 views, but I let my self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence change based on how I looked at it.

This same psychology applies to every numerical category in life…money, age, food prices.

Here’s the hack…

Just focus on the inputs.

For me, all I really care about is hitting certain input thresholds. If I can make 5 quality videos per week, then that’s my goal.

I let everything else after that take care of itself.

The emotional whiplash that comes from numerical comparison is eating up your creative spark.

Don’t let it.

WEEK 48 BEST CONTENT

My best content from last week:

  1. 🎥 | AI video just took another huge leap forward: Watch

  2. 🏠 | Why is Airbnb rebuilding these famous houses: Watch

  3. 💬 | If you're serious about Instagram, you should be using THIS tool (Full Tutorial): Watch

  4. 🧑🏼‍🚀 | Blueprint 047 - Spinning plates, invisible AI, mystery box, marketing 101, green chutes: Read