“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.”
You want freedom and equity.
You’re willing to work hard. But on your terms.
What do you mean?
|One-To-Many Channels||Email, Podcasts, Blogs|
|Social Networks||Twitter, YouTube, Instagram|
|Paid Demand||Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Reddit Ads|
|Membership Platforms||Patreon, OnlyFans, Substack|
|Productized Services||ManyPixels, Bean Ninjas, Catalog|
|Marketplaces||Amazon, Etsy, Gumroad|
|On-Demand Computing||AWS, Heroku, Netlify|
|No-Code Tools||Shopify, Mailchimp, WordPress|
|On-Demand Manufacturing||Printify, Shapeways, Printful|
|Open Source||Ruby on Rails, Laravel, React|
|APIs||Stripe, Twilio, Plaid|
These power million-dollar, one-person businesses.
Code, distribution and manufacturing are being commoditized.
Build wealth by focusing on what’s scarce.
Ask: “What would the business sell for?“
Operated by one person or built on a personal brand.
- Paula Pant
- Adam Wathan
- Forrest Funnell
- Jack Butcher
- Ana Gavia
- Vik Duggal
- Pieter Levels
- Brian Dean
- James Clear
- Spy Guy
- Closet Tools
- Visualize Value
- The Million Dollar Homepage
- Silk Road
- Services like Printful will commoditize manufacturing. Kylie Cosmetics reached $1 billion with 7 employees using SEED Beauty. Most FBA sellers slap labels on generic products. Oberlo takes this further.
- Growth and product skills will remain valuable. These are areas of innovation. Unlike accounting. Unless you’re Enron.
- Develop high-leverage skills. Invest, write, entertain, code, sell, market, design.
- Start with services to find valuable problems. As a consultant, Tyler Tringas had several clients ask for store locators. He built Storemapper, sold the business and launched Earnest Capital.
- Automate, outsource or delegate non-core competencies. Focus on what’s scarce. As Li Jin says, monetize your individuality.
- Show your work. Dan Rowden, Dianna Allen and Pieter Levels share progress as they build. Stay top of mind with exhaust data.
- Build a personal brand like Paula Pant, Pat Flynn or Seth Godin. Finding problems, validating products and acquiring customers will be easier.
🔑 Key Lessons
- Don’t be the best. Be the only. There are no comparables in a category of one. Ben Thompson, Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan have micro-monopolies.
- Niche. Sarah Dunn does SEO for wedding professionals. Rich Rosen only recruits for 3 types of roles. Use small to your advantage.
“How do you value an unsellable, service business?”
You don’t. But for this report, look at single-year net income.
“Code, distribution and manufacturing will not be commoditized.”
All code, distribution and manufacturing will not be. Apple and Tesla are vertically integrated. If it’s a core competency, keep it in-house. Otherwise outsource.
“I have one million in revenue, so I have a million-dollar business.”
If you buy $2,000,000 worth of iPhones and sell them for $1,000,000. You also have $1m in revenue. As Lauryn Hill says, “… it ain’t what you cop, it’s about what you keep.”
“Some of these people have teams.“
Joe Rogan and Tim Ferris have teams but they’ve built businesses on personal brands. Pieter Levels has a sysadmin. Ben Thompson has an assistant. Elaine Pofeldt addresses this in her book. Most million-dollar, one-person businesses get help.
“Screw this. I love my job.”
That’s all that matters.
- Looking for million-dollar, one-person businesses. Know any? — The thread that started this report.
- Product and Media are New Leverage — Naval talks about the role of zero marginal cost products in building wealth.
- One-Person Media Companies — Stew Fortier on why you should share ideas online and how one-person media companies make money.
- 🧱 Trends #0033 — No-Code
- 🔹 Trends #0032 — Micro-SaaS
- 🧲 Trends #0031 — Marketing Funnels
- 👥 Trends #0030 — Audience-First Products
- ⚙️ Trends #0029 — Lead Generation
- 📦 Trends #0028 — Subscription DTC
- 🤑 Trends #0027 — Million-Dollar, One-Person Businesses
- 📍 Trends #0026 — Drop Culture
- 📣 Trends #0025 — Referral Programs
- 🏟️ Trends #0024 — Equity Crowdfunding
- 🤩 Trends #0023 — Personal Brands
- 💻 Trends #0022 — Digital Products
- 🕹️ Trends #0021 — Gamification
- 🙏 Trends #0020 — B Corps
- 🥾 Trends #0019 — Bootstrap Funds
- 😇 Trends #0018 — Angel Investing
- 🛠️ Trends #0017 — XaaS: Anything as a Service
- 🧰 Trends #0016 — Growth Tools
- 📖 Trends #0015 — Open Startups
- 💬 Trends #0014 — Paid Communities
- 🍎 Trends #0013 — Online Courses
- 💰 Trends #0012 — Micro Private Equity
- 💌 Trends #0011 — Paid Newsletters
- 🦄 Trends #0010 — Startup Studios
- 🌐 Trends #0009 — Virtual Meetups
- 🏋️ Trends #0008 — Remote Fitness
- 🦠 Trends #0007 — Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- 🧱 Trends #0006 — No Code
- 🥾 Trends #0005 — Bootstrap Funds
- 💸 Trends #0004 — Income Share Agreements
- 🏠 Trends #0003 — Co-Living
- 🎙️ Trends #0002 — Podcast Memberships
- 🍳 Trends #0001 — Cloud Kitchens