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    An unconventional strategy to become a well paid creator

    By Kieran Drew
    This is an edition of my old newsletter Digital Freedom.

    It's lightly edited but otherwise untouched. I've kept them on the site to show how the journey has evolved.

    When I tried to monetize last year, I hit a huge wall.

    Like you, I'm here for Digital Freedom.

    That means getting paid to share ideas you believe in. Helping people with a skill you love. Disconnecting your time from money.

    Not hustling in the DMs or chasing deadlines for clients.

    But that's precisely what you're told to do on Twitter.

    And sure, the advice will get you paid.

    But I don't know about you, I didn't quit my 9-5 for another job.

    I wanted to write.

    Sell products.

    Have clients come to me (and work only with the ones I enjoy).

    ...And sip piña coladas by the beach.

    Unfortunately, as I write this, I'm only sipping tea in my kitchen.

    But the other points?


    Today I'll show the strategy behind my creator business.

    It's a 6 minute read.

    Let's dive in.

    The 80:20 rule of being a successful creator

    So here's the problem.

    Most my writer amigos are focused on teaching you the wrong part of the equation.


    But success as a creator ain't about money making tactics.


    Because you're targeting the people who want to pay.

    And people only buy shit when they're ready.

    That happens when:

    1. They have a problem
    2. They trust you can solve it

    When I realised this I stopped chasing clients and decided to run a little experiment...

    Instead of competing to capture demand from the small group of people ready to buy...

    You use content to create the demand instead.

    Optimizing for a new goal

    If revenue is the endpoint, relationships are the start.

    And how do we build relationships with our audience?

    By treating them like buyers before they buy.

    See, most of your competition hides their best ideas behind a paywall.

    You taste their free content, but you gotta pay for the good stuff.

    What I'm suggesting is you flip the script.

    I want you to create an unbelievable amount of free content that's better than your competition's paid stuff.

    But before Money Twitter grab their pitchforks and scream that ‘people don’t value free' or that you're wasting time chasing likes because they ain't cash, let me explain.

    This strategy is about playing long-term games.

    Because when you chase money, you make money.

    But when you build relationships, you put yourself in the best long-term profitable position.

    The more people who trust you, and the stronger that trust is, the more revenue you make as a result.

    And here's the thing my friend.

    This strategy has a distinct advantage.


    It's like miracle-grow for your business.

    Yes, money compounds.

    But so does audience growth.

    More importantly, so does reputation and relationships.

    Not everything that counts can be counted.

    When you focus on building trust at scale, you have multiple compounding factors that, when given time, lights a fire under your arse.

    (without you working harder).

    For example...

    Over the past year, I’ve written countless threads.

    Sent over 1,000,000 emails to my list.

    Created 8 video courses for free.

    I could probably have doubled my revenue, but at what cost?

    These are not revenue building assets. They're relationship building assets.

    And boy, have they been working hard.

    140,000 people read my social content.

    18,000 enjoy Digital Freedom.

    Over 25,000 have downloaded my courses.

    That’s a whole load’a goodwill.

    If I had to start again, I'd follow the exact same strategy - only I'd do it better (delaying making money is harder than it sounds when you've got momentum).

    So let's finish with how that looks.

    The 80:20 rule

    The aim is to spend 80% of your time on relationships and 20% on revenue.

    So first off.

    If your diary is filled with clients, that's a problem you need to fix.

    You either bin ‘em - or pay someone else to do the work (keep the best ones though, I don't want you living on the streets).

    If you’re stuck in your 9-5, great.

    That wage now funds your future.

    Phase 1: Spend 10 months overdelivering for your audience

    The aim here is to prove you're an investment instead of an expense.

    We do this with:

    • A powerful social media presence
    • An engaging newsletter
    • Free digital assets like courses and e-books

    The main objection during phase 1 is this:

    "Why would people pay me if I give everything away for free?"

    Well, let me show you.

    Phase 2: Spend 2 months creating and launching a product

    You could launch faster, but you don't wanna stop content because the creator game is about consistency (this is one downside of the business).

    We create a product because once it's built, there's no extra fulfilment.

    When someone pays you, you don't need to work any harder.

    ...Keeping you free to play the game.

    Now, I can’t tell you what to build.

    But if you’ve spent 10 months helping your audience win, I won’t need to.

    Ask them what they are struggling with.

    Then build the solution.

    What people don't realise is your free content CREATES problems.

    They've taken steps on their journey because of you. That's powerful. But now they're ready for more.

    And they're ready to pay you to make it happen faster.

    Take my 'Copywriting Crash Course' for example.

    Over 10,000 people have downloaded it to improve their writing.

    How many do you think would be interested in my systems? My methods for storytelling and personality-based writing? How I've built my following?

    Hopefully a few of you (else I'll be back to Onlyfans this year).

    There isn't an end point for your audience. It's an evolving story, and it's your job to guide them through.

    That's your entire business.

    We'll discuss that more in a future email, but for now, let's move on.

    Phase 3: Rinse n' Repeat

    One year in, it’s time to pour gasoline on the fire.


    Do. It. Again.

    The secret to success is often your ability to stick to a plan longer than most. Except this year, you're not staring at your bank account wondering what the hell you're doing.

    ...You've got a product capturing some of the value.

    You can also add an upsell for some 1-1 work like coaching and consulting...

    And voila, you've got a business.

    As an example, I launched my product at the end of March last year. I've now sold 700+ copies.

    And with upsells...


    ...Newsletter sponsors.


    I made $108k in revenue.

    Not bad for not optimizing for it. It's what's next that's exciting.

    Phase 4: Onwards

    You've spent 2 years laying deep foundations for your business.

    You'll have an engaged audience (my friends ask how I get so many comments on my content - you now have my secret)...

    You'll have a popular newsletter (70% of my growth has come from my lead magnets)...

    And your social presence will be compounding at 10k+ followers per month without much effort.

    This frees up an immense amount of focus.

    ...Time you can use to start a new venture.

    Maybe you release another product and run the same strategy, like me.

    Or you start a service business...

    Or perhaps you use your audience to launch something cool like a SaaS or a podcast...

    Whatever you decide, it's going to go 100x better because of the effort you put in previously.

    The 80:20 rule is about going slow now to go much faster later.

    I don't know how year 3 will go for me. But I'll write you an email next March to let you know.

    It's my hope you'll write a similar message to me too.

    Best of luck.

    relationships compound faster than revenue

    Kieran Drew

    About Kieran

    Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business