No: It’s not because you aren’t “hustling hard enough” or “staying consistent”.
Dan Koe is responsible for pulling over 50,000 (idk probably more) people into the "Creator Economy" with the dream of becoming profitable creators. Look around Twitter and you'll find an entirely saturated market of people trying to teach how to do the same as he did. But there's one big problem. Almost none of Dan's followers end up making money. And most of them quit less than six months into the journey. What gives? Why does Dan make a ton of money pursuing his interests, while his followers can't seem to make a dime? Here's what you're in for this week: 1. Oh shit - I'm back! 2. How does Dan make money? 3. For real, how does dan make money? 4. Why Aren't 90% of His Followers Making Money? 5. 4 Steps to Make Money like Dan Does.
OH SHIT – I’M BACK
Hey ya – I’m back on my bullshit.
Meaning I’m back to help all the solopreneurs, creators, and coaches who are building their way out of a 9-5 to …. actually make money. Without spending $2500 on 101-level courses that don’t move the needle.
Here’s the deal – advice is like assholes: everyone has one. And these days, everyone is trying to sell that advice.
Open your Twitter (instagram, tiktok, youtube) feed and find 1000 people telling you a million different ways to make money. If you’re like me, being on social media starts to feel like:
The point of this newsletter is to cut through all of that marketing bullshit, expose how people actually make money with their personal brands, and help you to do the same.
But without all the upsells.
If you’re tired of half-assed giveaways and shitty overpriced courses, you’re in the right spot.
Walk with me as I cut through the tangled web of bullshit and upsells that you’re used to.
HOW I MET DAN KOE.
Dan Koe is this guy. 350k followers on Twitter, a ton more in Instagram and Youtube. Check that profile description. We’ll come back to it later.
Before I launch into this five week case study, I wanted to mention two things:
- This isn’t a Dan Koe hate post. He was a large reason why I found my way into the awesome solopreneur/creator community.
- I dove deep with this guy. I spent months consuming:
I only say this to help you understand that I’m also a fan of his and owe quite a bit of my recent personal development to the free content that he’s put into the world.
No hard feelings.
But – I also noticed how the 100,000 people that also came into the creator economy view him. And how many of them took certain parts of his message to heart, while missing the most important data points he was giving out.
How did this happen?
Well, because you won’t find his most important data points in his newsletter, videos, courses, or tweets. You actually have to observe his approach, dissect it, and find what parts of it will work for you.
You’ll find it by removing any preconceived notions you have of what Dan does, and then following what he does with a critical eye.
If you remember anything, remember this:
Don’t judge a person on what they say. Judge them on what they do.
HOW DOES DAN MAKE MONEY?
Let’s take a look at how he says he makes his money via a symphony of screenshots.
What do you gather from these nine videos?
Really – take a second and think about these titles and tell me what Dan does to make money? Here, I’ll add a few more:
Alright. Here’s what I got:
- He writes two hours a day
- He only works 4 hours total every day.
- He talks about philosophy.
- He teaches people how to create a business from their knowledge.
- He helps people to make a shit ton of money and live the lifestyle they’ve always deserved.
In preparation for this week’s newsletter, I also asked 20 creators who are familiar with Dan (and one who isn’t) to tell me what Dan’s business model is.
Here was a summary of some the answers I got:
- He coaches people to self-actualize with philosophy and writing.
- He teaches people the solopreneur economy so they can escape the 9-5.
- He coaches people to find their unique set of interests and speak about them confidently so they can be a “niche of one”.
- He’s selling dreams at scale. Like, selling how to be a creator to creators who end up teaching other creators how to create. Kind of like a Ponzi scheme.
All interesting answers.
And all answers that that show how effective his marketing is (which we should definitely dive into at a later date).
His positioning has been executed so well, that there was only one person that could tell me what his business model actually is (and he isn’t really familiar with him):
FOR REAL, HOW DOES DAN MAKE MONEY?
Dan’s business model isn’t anything unique. And it’s definitely not new. It’s been around for decades. Let me sum it up in a sentence:
It’s a pretty similar business model to:
Dan’s courses are generally run-of-the-mill explanations on how to:
- Grow a social media audience (content marketing)
- Write more influentially (copywriting / content marketing)
- Segment and target an audience (content marketing)
- Cold DM and network effectively (sales/marketing)
- … so on and so forth.
But that feels like leaving it a bit short eh?
After it’s spoken out loud, it almost feels like he’s running a normal ass business.
BECAUSE HE IS.
So why do some of his biggest followers feel like his business model is making money from coaching self-actualization, navigating the solopreneur economy, or helping people to find their unique interests and profit on them?
It’s the same reason that most of them never make any money using his approach.
They confuse his marketing for his business.
Many of them take his promise at face value. Review the pictures that I pasted above. I’ll sum them up in one sentence for you:
You can make $1M by being yourself, pursuing your dreams, and writing about them for 2-4 hours a day.
Expertly crafted and repeated over and over again. Everything about Dan’s marketing says “I will help you get exactly what everybody wants. To do whatever you want, whenever you want, and make a fuck ton of money doing it”.
And it is so effective that most people never make it past this first sentence before they run off to Twitter to start a personal brand and cash in.
WHY DAN’S FOLLOWERS DON’T MAKE MONEY.
Well – it’s kind of like this:
Imagine that you’re in cold-ass frozen Siberia, and some guy comes along and says “Hey, did you know that you could be laying on a beach in California? Doesn’t it suck to freeze your nips off every day? Here’s some tips to get outta here so that you can spend the day in your swim trunks staring at the ocean like me.”
But instead of saving up money for a plane ticket and rent, you just buy some swim trunks and lay in the snow hoping that a beach comes to you.
That’s what 90% of his followers do – and it’s why so many don’t make it.
HOW CAN YOU ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY USING HIS APPROACH?
Not by following his blogs or buying his courses. He told you the secret to making money like him in a ton of his blog posts. It’s just that you missed the important signal amongst all of the philosophy and futurism noise.
Here is how to make money like Dan Koe, summarized in four steps (do them in this order):
STEP ONE: LEARN A SKILL PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO PAY YOU FOR.
- Find a skill people that will help make other people more money. Like…:
- Building websites
- Revising shitty landing pages to increase conversions
- SEO to help small businesses 100x their traffic
- Don’t make this skill copywriting because for fuck’s sake there’s a billion of you and the market’s full goddammit.
- If you know a skill like this already, skip to step two.
- Otherwise, while you get experience with that skill (probably for free at first), share what you’re learning.
STEP TWO: HELP OTHER PEOPLE LEARN THIS SKILL
- Once you’re actually fucking good at this skill (usually at least 6 months), find some other people that might want to learn from you.
- Teach them what you know.
- Once you teach a few people, write down the shit that people often get stuck on the most. Write down the solutions to those problems. Turn this into a course (or use it to make content around).
- Use any positive feedback (screenshots ma boy) you got while teaching this skill to show people you know what you’re talking about and can help them.
STEP THREE: DO NEXT LEVEL MARKETING
- Find a wider audience that would benefit from learning your skill. Especially areas where people don’t understand the impact your skill can have on their goals / business.
- Determine what pain they feel on a day to day basis
- Create a message that explains how the skill you have acquired (and really only the skill you have acquired) will help that area to relieve that very specific pain.
- Say that message 150 ways, over and over again in the voice that area uses.
- Send people from that area to that course you made up above and
STEP FOUR: DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN, UNTIL YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY THAT PEOPLE WILL FOLLOW YOU TO LISTEN TO WHATEVER THING YOU FEEL LIKE TALKING ABOUT TODAY, BECAUSE YOU HAVE SOMETHING THEY WANT AND NOW YOUR WORD IS GOSPEL.
- just do that ^^^
- No other bulletpoints needed.
Sounds pretty easy right?
Well – it can be. If you are able to
- Find the right skill.
- Actually learn that skill at a high level.
- Find people who need that skill, especially if their industry/personality type tends to not utilize that skill much currently, and there are easy wins you can get for them by helping them use that skill.
- Recognize the right patterns and make them easy for others to follow.
- Empathize with people, understand their pain, and ETHICALLY help them solve that pain with your newfound skill.
- Figure out how to market to people in a way that makes them feel like they NEED your service, and it’s a no brainer.
In other words – if you are a generalist who likes learning a ton of different stuff like:
- Profitable skills that make people money
- Marketing to help people understand they need your service
- Sales to actually close deals and/or get people to buy your product/cohort
Then THIS MAY BE FOR YOU.
SO. WHY DON’T MOST OF DAN’S FOLLOWERS EVER MAKE MONEY?
There are many different failure points along this journey. But the biggest on by far, SPECIFICALLY WITH DAN’S FOLLOWERS, is:
Everyone starts at Step Four in the equation. They start tossing motivational speech, self-development tips, and “find your purpose” like they’re giving a fuckin TedX speech.
But here’s the problem.
Why should they listen to you? Would you listen to you?
Go take a look at the people you follow and ask yourself: how many of these people do I follow because I know I’m going to get some knowledge that I can’t possible get from anyone else? Who is on that list?
- Dan Koe?
- Alex Hormozi?
- Dickie Bush?
- Justin Welsh?
Why do you follow them? Think about it for a second.
Why them and not
Josh Walker: Former Tech VP who wants to talk to you about mindset change for a living?
I can tell you:
Because they have what you want. They (purportedly) have money, freedom to do what they want, and a platform where people listen to them. They have proven success that they have accomplished what you desire.
Go look back at steps 1-4.
They are meant to:
- Help you build a skill you can make money with.
- Build proof that you know how to use that skill.
- Teach other people (who want what you have) how to use that skill.
- Rinse and repeat until you have what A LARGER AUDIENCE WOULD CARE ABOUT. Which, generally speaking, is a bunch of money (and in Dan’s case, with not that many hours worked).
If you want to make money like Dan Koe does… you need to put in the work and sacrifice that Dan Koe actually did.
Remember the quote from earlier:
Don’t judge a person on what they say. Judge them on what they do.
HOW DAN FOLLOWED THIS PATH.
He didn’t just show up one day, decide to work four hours a day, and then make it happen. He worked his ass off for years to build skills that make other people money, create digital leverage by tweeting and blogging about it, and then was able to work this into a sustainable lifestyle business.
Using the framework from above:
- Dan learned how to run a website development and marketing agency. He hated it, but he learned how to do it effectively.
- He tweeted about learning it, created guides around running a web/marketing agency and charged people for it. As he did so, he grew a following (not talking about philosophy or self-development, but about a way people can make money building websites, and the exact step by step instructions for doing so). This grew him a brand, at which point he switched his niche to
- Teaching how to develop a personal brand. Because he had already done it via the web/marketing agency. He then leaned into this with very clever marketing that spoke exactly to an audience that usually thinks Personal Brands are bullshit an untapped market (!!!) that didn’t understand the value of a personal brand. Know who those folks are? Philosophers, software developers, and creatives who find “marketing” to be absolute bullshit.
- He made a bunch of money and grew a huge following by repeating this message, over and over again, to a very select audience. Over time, he began talking more generally about philosophy and personal development. Why? Because people care to hear about life philosophy from people who have made a shit ton of money and get to do whatever they want now.
If you want to follow in Dan’s footsteps… then follow in Dan’s footsteps.
Then – and only then – you will be able to do what you’ve been promised:
Make $1M by being yourself, pursuing your dreams, and writing about them for 2-4 hours a day.
That’s a wrap. This is the first edition of Signal or Noise, back from a lonnnngg hiatus.
Email me back with how this helped you. Or email me a hate letter for wasting your time. Or let me know a problem you’re currently struggling with, and I’ll dive into what you can do to fix it.
Next Week: I’m jumping into the content form that is going to create the next generation of Dan Koe, Justin Welsh, and Dickie Bush on Twitter. That’s right, we’re going to dive into video.
Don’t worry – I’ll teach you how to make engaging videos, even if you don’t want your big beautiful face front and center.
Until next Monday.