Million-Dollar, One-Person Businesses: Leverage, Monetizing Trust, Unique Value

An animated illustration of a seesaw depicting leverage

“To get rich, you need leverage. Leverage comes in labor, capital, code and media.”

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❓ What You’ll Learn

  • What are productized services?
  • How to find your core competency?
  • How to build brand awareness?
  • How to build high-leverage skills?
  • How to build multiple streams of income?
  • How to outsource non-core competencies?
  • How to build your personal brand?

💎 Why It Matters

These are strategies and tactics to build leverage.

🔍 Problem

You need to find a unique way to provide value. At scale. 

💡 Solution

Ask yourself…

What am I best at? 
What am I most interested in?
What can I stick with the longest?

Find your highest point of leverage.

Eliminate, automate, outsource or delegate everything else.

🏁 Players

🔮 Predictions

☁️ Opportunities

  • Find a way to provide unique value. At scale. What can you stick with? Compounding takes time.
    • Joe Rogan signed a $100 million deal after a decade of podcasting.
    • Annie Duke earns $50,000 per speech after decades of playing poker.
    • Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million after 5,000 consecutive days of releasing art.
  • Build an audience first. This is a common pattern for million-dollar, one-person businesses. Paula Pant taught thousands to invest in real estate (for free). Before earning $1 million from her courseTrust can be monetized in many ways.
  • Keep it simpleMike Perham lets enterprise clients contact him up to once per quarter for support. Sam Schrup says “My job is to eliminate support emails.” Mike and Sam invest in scalable documentation. Complexity costs. Especially for teams of one. 

🔑 Key Lessons

  • Building trust is hard. Monetizing trust is easy. With digital productscoursespaid newsletterspaid communitiesNFTsangel investingphysical products, ads and more.
  • You have a unique set of interests and experiences. Use this to build a micro-monopoly. Li Jin says monetize your individuality. Naval says escape competition through authenticity.
  • Focus on your comparative advantage. Once you’ve found a game that works. Focus. Concentration builds wealth. Put your eggs in one basket and watch that basket. 
  • On terms
    • Million-dollar businesses have at least $1 million in annual revenue.
    • One-person businesses have one full-time employee.

😠 Haters

“These are million-dollar, one-person jobs. Not businesses.”
We looked at value ladders and the shift from leveraged to passive income. Play and work are often indistinguishable to those above. What feels like play to you and work to others?

“These people have help.”
Mike reached $1 million in 2017 as one person. Taylor made more than $1 million each year from 2014 to 2017 with no employees. A purist may still be unsatisfied if these guys had an accountant. We’ll ignore the purists. Don’t miss the lesson on leverage.

“These are outliers.”
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. As Naval says, code and media are permissionless forms of leverage. Our examples emphasize judgment over innate abilities.

🔗 Links

📁 Related Reports

🙏 Thanks

Thanks to Jack Butcher (Visualize Value), Stewart Townsend (Channel as a Service), Jeremy Abraham (Spiffy), Yarty Kim (Bourne Fighter), Alex Pethick (LeadTree), Yolanda Stephens (Sprint as a Service), Wit Sumathavanit (Builders’ Sun), Rick Segal (CRAAG Angel Group), Kimsia Sim (GreenDeploy), Lu Doan (Agent Shield), Sam Schrup (TextRetailer), Vishal Srivastava (Trainedge), Vincent Haywood (Vhdigital), Monika Birkner (Freedom Business), Ray Deck (Sustained Ventures) and Jamil Abreu (Substack). We had a great time jamming on this report.

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What you’ll get:

  • 26 Players (271% More)
  • 6 Predictions (100% More)
  • 7 Opportunities (133% More)
  • 7 Key Lessons (75% More)
  • 16 Links (433% More)
  • 9-minute audio episode with exclusive Million-Dollar, One-Person Businesses stories, insights and opportunities.

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