It's lightly edited but otherwise untouched. I've kept them on the site to show how the journey has evolved.
“The internet is an incredible tool that... makes it possible for me to type this once, and send it to thousands of people, with zero additional effort or cost.”
- Jack Butcher
There’re few magic pills in business - digital leverage is one of them.
It’s why I quit dentistry to become a writer (aside from the joy of staring in mouths all day).
The pay was good.
But I’d work 50 hours a week to see 50 patients.
So I had three choices to improve my income:
- Buy a dental practice: Multi-six figure start up cost before making a single dollar
- Work more: My hair was receding fast enough as is
- Increase my hourly rate: Become a specialist
Considering I didn’t enjoy the work, these options didn’t exactly feel like winning the lottery.
So let's unpack the input:impact ratio - and how to use it to make better business, career, and life decisions.
This one’s a 5-minute read.
Multiplying impact with leverage
Here’re the 3 variables to improve your income as a creator:
- Reach: Connect with more people
- Relationships: Build more trust
- Revenue: Sell more stuff
But here’s the secret sauce.
If you focus on the high-leverage areas, your effort produces an exponential result.
Take this newsletter for example. It takes 8 hours per week to write. This time last year 2,000 people were reading.
Now 27,000 are.
The effort is the same, the effect is not.
Leverage is how you do more with less.
It’s how you disconnect your time from money.
It’s how you escape the never-ending grind we call ‘normal work’.
The input:impact ratio
So first up.
The key is realising not all results are created equal - and your time is bloody precious.
If one job takes 100 hours and produces 100 units of output, and another takes 20 hours for the same effect - it’s smart to do 5 of the latter instead.
To put it visually:
The left side of the graph is no bueno.
The aim is to operate as much as possible on the right side.
The death zone
To quote every Italian gangster film for these time-draining, results-lacking tasks:
They gotta go.
One example would be grocery shopping.
Why spend 90 minutes a week buying the same shit if you can do it in 10 online?
Sounds small but these things add up. You’d be surprised how many hours you can win back if you audit your week and fix the death zone.
The zombie zone
A great way to see if you’re a zombie is to work for a month and realize you’ve done sweet f*ck all.
Ideally you Italian gangster this stuff too. But some tasks you shouldn’t ignore.
For example, replying to DMs. It’s not gonna scale your business, but it’s still important - you build a tribe one fan at a time.
We’ll speak about how to that more leveraged in a moment.
The hustle zone
Now we’re talking. The good stuff. These activities take time but the juice is worth the squeeze.
This newsletter is an example.
The freedom zone
This is where we wanna be - with Mel Gibson and the eagles.
But the paradox of freedom is the level of discipline required to achieve it - moving tasks here takes a lot of upfront work.
Take digital products for example.
It might take 100 hours to create (hustle zone).
But once it’s built, optimized, and systemised?
Now you have an asset that works day and night to build your business.
Investor Ray Dalio once said for every hour of work he does, he expects 50 hours of work to get done ‘below’ him. That’s a man who operates in the freedom zone.
Here’re 4 steps for you to get there too.
1) FIX BOTTLENECKS
You can’t be productive if you’re bogged down in busywork.
Go through your week and assign each task to a zone.
First we wanna fix the death zone by:
Let’s take the DM example.
I enjoy replying to messages but I don’t have 40 hours a day.
I could just stop, but I respect when big accounts take the time to answer questions.
So instead my girlfriend, who is my chief clarity officer among a few other roles, filters pointless messages (no I’m not interested in a diary full of clients thank you).
I also have a VA.
She answers standard questions like when someone asks me for a link to my free courses.
The rest of the messages go to WhatsApp where I reply because the Twitter inbox is a war zone. I only reply every Monday after I’ve done my high-leverage work.
See how that makes DMs much more effective?
I try to run every aspect of the business like this. Some stuff isn’t there yet, but I’ll show you more examples in step 3 and 4.
- Naval Ravikant
2) IDENTIFY COMPOUNDERS
Usually the death zone means ‘do this less’.
But the exception is compounding activities like audience building.
These require more effort.
First, an audience is f*cking awesome and worth every effort.
Second, compounding is also f*cking awesome and worth every effort.
It creates a snowball effect. When the ball gets rolling the results get faster. So it makes sense to push hard early.
For example, it takes me roughly 4 hours per week to get 10x the audience growth of my entire first year of writing online.
… And 2 hours of that is just me messing around in the comments.
I only wish I had taken audience-building more seriously back then. Study the game and play it well - make it happen fast.
3) MOVE UP THE LEVERAGE LADDER
So far we’ve discussed input. Now let’s improve impact.
For everything you do, there’re likely a few tweaks in process that get much better results. Take your list from step 1 and ask:
How can I make this more leveraged?
Here're 3 examples.
Answering questions in DMs
Turn your answers into content.
Now thousands of people see what was originally 1:1. And one of my golden rules online is if one person says it, 100 are thinking it.
Earlier this year, I used Make to auto-import every email question into Notion - then I turned it into a newsletter series.
Turns out it wasn’t worth the result (use Naval’s aspirational hourly income as a filter).
But by the end of the year, 50,000 people will read this newsletter - so it will be then.
Two ways you can go here.
If you have interesting chats with friends, why not do it on Spaces? Audio creates fans faster than writing and people appreciate listening to authentic conversations.
And if you have the same chat with your audience repeatedly, turn it into an asset.
I did this for how I learned copywriting:
These assets compound relationships crazy fast (click the picture above if you want the course).
Productize your knowledge
I don’t know about you but I hate selling time.
It wouldn’t be Digital Freedom if you got a diary full of calls, eh?
Your conversations with clients should be productized so they happen at scale. That way, you can sell your time to customers who take your product.
Much more impactful.
4) MAKE IT EFFORTLESS
“Producing a great result is good. Producing a great result with ease is better. Producing a great result with ease again and again is best.”
- Greg McKeown
Now let’s sprinkle salt on this lovely leverage meal by making it easy.
I never cared about this step because I wore busy as a badge of honour. But trust me. Friction is the enemy of freedom. These days if there’s even an iota of wasted effort I’m trying to iron it out.
Go through your list and ask:
‘What if this were easy?’
(Thank you Tim Ferris).
Sending cold DMs?
Go train someone else to do it. You reply to warm leads only.
Systemise your process. Collect your highest performers each week and turn them into 10 more tweets.
(I teach the Hall of Fame concept inside High Impact Writing, including the notion system. Here is the link if this appeals to you.)
Built a product?
Write an email sequence pitching it.
Use Hypefury to plug your newsletter on Twitter and voila:
The more you write the more you earn.
The long game
So look my friend.
The leverage game is slow.
It’ll feel easier to ignore me and say, ‘I’ll do it when I’m busier and earning more’.
But that doesn’t make any sense.
From day 1 you should put maximum effort into your area of highest contribution.
Because if you get great at one thing, then apply leverage and compounding, you've got miracle grow for your biz.
The combination of software, systems and an audience creates wild results. It’s how someone like Justin Welsh can make $4 million per year as a solopreneur with 2 $150 products. It’s how Dan Koe flexes the 4 hour work day as a one person business. It’s how you turn writing online into a profitable business.
But more importantly.
It’s how you achieve digital freedom.
Multiply your impact with leverage.
Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business