eBiz Weekly is a free newsletter packed with tips, insights and opportunities to build your online business. We send it out every Friday to 7,145 legendary subscribers. We also post the content of each email here on the website.
- Satisfying Your Octopus
- Chefs and Cooks
- The First Billion-Dollar YouTube Business?
- Porter’s Five Forces
- 3x revenue in only 4 weeks
- Million-Dollar, One-Person Businesses
- An ebook that earned $61,392 in 3 days
- How To Lose
- 26 years old, $29k a month
- California’s First Millionaire
Satisfying Your Octopus
If you read only one thing today, let it be Tim Urban’s deep dive on how to pick a career that actually fits you 👈
When you overrate the impact of innate talent on how people fare in their careers—and you also conflate talent and skill level—it won’t leave you feeling great about your chances at many paths. Because we better understand the trajectory of traditional careers, we’re less prone to do this with them.
A first-year medical student sees an experienced surgeon at work and thinks, “I can get there one day—just need to do about 20 years of hard work.” But when a young artist or entrepreneur or software engineer looks at the equivalent of the experienced surgeon in their field, they’re more likely to think, “Wow look how talented they are—I’m nowhere near that good,” and get all hopeless.
My current job description is: “Writer of 8,000-to-40,000-word articles about a bunch of different topics, with cursing and stick figures, on a remarkably sporadic schedule.” Think conventional wisdom has any job openings for me with that description?
The landscape today is made up of thousands of options—some 40 years old, some made possible only three months ago because of the advent of some new technology—and the way things work today, if there’s an option you want that’s not already out there, you can probably create it for yourself. Pretty stressful, but also incredibly exciting.
Chefs and Cooks
Also from that Tim Urban article:
Chefs look at the world with fresh eyes and build conclusions based on what they observe and what they’ve experienced. Cooks arrive at conclusions by following someone else’s recipe—in the case of careers, the recipe is usually conventional wisdom.
[…] cooks improve at a snail’s pace, because their strategy is just following a recipe which itself barely changes. What’s more, in a world where career games are constantly evolving and morphing, the chef’s tactics can evolve in real time and keep up. Meanwhile, the cook’s recipe just grows more and more outdated—a problem they remain oblivious to. This is why I’m pretty convinced that at least for less traditional careers, your level of chefness is the single most important factor in determining your pace of improvement.
Cooks get a bad rap there, but I reckon your best bet for becoming a successful online entrepreneur is to start off as a cook and gradually become a chef.
Or to paraphrase Mason Cooley, “Begin with imitation and end with innovation.”
That is: you see something that’s working well for someone else and you try to do similar, put your own spin on it, constantly test and experiment, and eventually find yourself with a profitable business that’s a unique expression of you.
But you have to be careful that you’re a good fit for the kind of business you’re considering; that you have similar strengths, weaknesses and goals to the person you’re trying to emulate.
Oh, and you also have to be sure that said person isn’t full of shit and just trying to sell you a course (like this guy) 🧐
The First Billion-Dollar YouTube Business?
It could be a kids’ channel called Cocomelon, according to a recent Bloomberg article:
Cocomelon is the most-viewed YouTube channel in the world. In the average month, its animated videos are viewed more than 3.5 billion times, which means they are more popular on YouTube than Taylor Swift, Netflix and ESPN combined.
Here’s a 4-minute Cocomelon video from two weeks ago that already has 14 million views.
Social Blade estimates that the channel could have earned as much as $13 million from ad revenue in the last 30 days 🤯
Porter’s Five Forces
In 1979 a Harvard Business School professor named Michael Porter came up with a framework “to analyze an industry’s attractiveness and likely profitability.” 🤓
It’s explained concisely in this article and video.
The five forces:
- Threat of new entrants
- Threat of substitutes
- Bargaining power of customers
- Bargaining power of suppliers
- Competitive rivalry
Could be a handy framework to help you assess a business idea (though it does have its critics).
3x revenue in only 4 weeks
The folks at Income School took someone’s affiliate site that was earning $492/month and increased it to $1632/month in a few weeks 📈
They show what changes they made to the site in this video. Some good tips and ideas there that you might be able to apply to your own site.
I’m very skeptical though that it only took them 4 hours to make all those changes. And they made so many at once that it’s hard to know what had the biggest impact.
Regardless, a 3x revenue boost is impressive. As someone noted in the comments on YouTube, that likely increased the value of the site by $30,000.
Million-Dollar, One-Person Businesses
Dru Riley puts out a concise report each week about new markets and ideas 💡
His latest report is worth a look, about million-dollar businesses that are “operated by one person or built on a personal brand.”
An ebook that earned $61,392 in 3 days
Mentioned in Dru’s report is Adam Wathan. I wrote a bit about Adam’s multi-million dollar side-project in last week’s newsletter.
Turns out Adam has also earned $2.5 million the past few years selling books and courses about software development 💰
How did Adam get started?
He wrote a book in 2016 called Refactoring to Collections – yeah, I don’t know what that means either 🤷♂️ – which earned him $61,392 in three days and let him quit his day job.
The most amazing part to me is that the book did so well despite Adam having a relatively small audience: 1500 email subscribers and 4000 followers on Twitter.
How To Lose
Words from three-time Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph 🏅 via James Clear’s newsletter:
“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”
26 years old, $29k a month
Preetam Nath is a co-founder of SuperLemon, a WhatsApp plugin for Shopify e-commerce stores. It basically allows an online store to communicate with visitors and customers via WhatsApp.
Earlier this month Preetam wrote that SuperLemon’s revenue had reached $29,000 per month with a 70% gross margin 🤑
And last month he wrote on his personal blog:
14 months ago, my co-founder Sankalp and I set out to build a business that can sustain our livelihood while allowing us the freedom to live life on our terms.
When we started, we each had roughly 12 months of savings to survive on, assuming we made $0.
14 months later, we grew past $25,000 in MRR while remaining a 2 person team.
Note that Preetam and Sankalp didn’t build an online store; they built a tool for online stores.
Which brings us to…
California’s First Millionaire
From the end of an article about MasterClass…
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how prospectors in the California Gold Rush rarely struck it rich. In 1849, the ones who did well were those who supplied prospectors with shovels, tents, and jeans—they kept the dream alive. Samuel Brannan, who sold shovels and other goods, was considered California’s first millionaire. Levi Strauss, who co-invented blue jeans, died with a fortune of $6 million, worth $175 million today.
That’ll do it for this week.
Was there anything above that you found particularly useful or interesting?
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In case you missed em, here are the last three editions of eBiz Weekly:
- #83 – $1000/day passive income in her 20’s
- #82 – $0 to $20k/month in 1 year making beats
- #81 – Elon Musk, Donald Trump, and GPT-3
- Full archive
Until next week, rock on with your legendary self 💪
Niall Doherty – Tbilisi, Georgia
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