It's lightly edited but otherwise untouched. I've kept them on the site to show how the journey has evolved.
With the rise of AI and every niche being saturated, it's not enough for you to just share ideas anymore.
You need depth behind your content.
People need a reason to pay attention.
So today, I’ll show you the framework that helped me build Digital Freedom to give you an edge over your competition.
It’s a 6-minute read.
Let's dive in.
The importance of a destination
The usual advice for standing out is to create better content.
Build better products.
Get better results.
But ‘better’ is a difficult game.
It’s a constant competition that'll often leave you exhausted fighting for the scraps. A smarter way to play is to say something different.
To own a message.
Because with a unique angle, you’re no longer part of the noise.
You’ve risen above it.
How do we do this?
Well, I rebranded to Digital Freedom at the start of 2023 based on one idea:
See, when you write, you tell a story about your audience.
You're helping them go from where they are to where they want to be. And if you want people to care about your content (instead of just consume it), you need to ace that end destination.
Which is where the DREAM destination framework comes in:
So let's unpack each point with examples.
The problem I faced, and many like me, is a lack of clarity in my content.
I write about storytelling, writing, audience building, copywriting, monetization. Occasionally, I sprinkle on a bit of philosophy.
It’s a bloody mess.
If your reader doesn't understand what you offer, they’ll drift to easier pastures. This is a problem because you’re in the business of attention.
You need to hold it for months at a minimum, not moments.
But I hate the advice of ‘pick a narrow topic and ignore the rest’. I write to learn. And I believe we should explore our curiosities in public and let our audience decide the direction.
So the first decision behind Digital Freedom was to niche down by transformation, not topic.
If you have an 'umbrella' term that clearly states what you're about, your audience will understand why you're talking to them about different topics.
Great brands do this often.
- Justin Welsh: Solopreneurship
- George Ten: CopyThinkers
- Daniel Vassalo: A portfolio of small bets
- Dan Koe: The one-person business
- Jack Butcher: Visualise Value
Uncertainty is a killer, so make sure your message is direct.
Your destination needs to be within reach for your audience or they won’t be emotionally invested in your ideas.
Digital Freedom doesn’t talk about making 7 figures a year or being THE best in your niche.
I talk about writing well and building a business by serving your audience because that's something we can all achieve.
But that's not the real problem behind why most brands suck.
If you scroll Twitter for 20 minutes, you have:
- Kids giving you life philosophy despite never facing real problems
- Dudes telling you how to pick up chicks when their profile is a greek statue
- Writers teaching you how to build a portfolio to $1m ARR despite not making 6 figures
I’m all for aiming high my friend, but how do you think this comes across to a stranger?
What do you think their first response is?
Don’t try to be something you’re not. The destination you take your audience needs to be realistic for your current position.
You can always evolve the message later.
My friend and I were discussing his brand recently and he began to explain the benefits of his content.
I had to stop him.
Because it’s not positivity that turns followers into fans.
Nothing unites people like a common enemy.
A great example is JK Molina’s Likes Ain’t Cash.
Loads of people dislike his brand.
I’ve done the ‘chasing money as a purpose’ thing and found it incredibly unfulfilling.
I’d rather help people and let my income to be a reflection of impact, not how many DMs I can send.
But do you think he cares what I think?
Last I heard, Tweets and Clients has around 100 members (unconfirmed).
…Not bad for $2k/month.
That’s the power of polarity. Molina's brand markets itself - repelling people like me and attracting those he can help most.
"When your message causes polarity, it attracts attention, and people will pay for it. Neutrality is boring, and rarely is money made or change created when you stay neutral. Being polar is what will attract raving fans and people who will follow you."
- Russell Brunson
So think about your audience.
- What pisses them off?
- What are they sick and tired of seeing?
- What do they believe strongly that most people don’t?
Your audience will stand with you if you know what you stand against.
Here’s the truth:
An interesting writer is enjoyable. But a useful writer is investable.
If you want to turn ideas into income, you have to help your audience get results. The good news is a destination makes this simple.
Every journey has roadblocks. It's your job to build solutions.
The roadblocks to Digital Freedom include:
- Deciding your niche
- Attracting an audience
- Differentiating yourself
- Getting paid and escaping the 9-5
But here’s a little secret behind my brand.
I’m not telling you what to do. I’m showing you what I’ve done.
Look at this email as an example. It feels personable because I'm not shouting at you from a podium.
I'm just sharing what works for me and inviting you to give it a try.
A destination needs a guide, not a guru.
This is the final, but most important point.
If you don’t want to be a commodity creator, your content needs real meaning.
You may have heard the expression ‘people don’t buy drills, they buy holes in walls.’
But that’s not quite accurate.
The real question is why do they want a hole in the wall?
Is it to hang a picture of their family to reflect their values?
Or to display art to surround themselves with beauty?
Do they want expensive paintings because they care deeply about their status among friends?
We're driven by core motivations.
You'll create fans when you appeal to them.
I don’t attach my destination to making $10k/month or building a newsletter.
They’re great goals.
But do they light a fire under your arse?
I don’t think so.
Freedom, on the other hand, is a beautiful thing.
To me, there's no more worthwhile goal.
Not everyone feels as strongly as I do, but that’s the point.
You’re not trying to attract everyone. You’re trying to be THE writer for someone.
The trick to understanding desire is to keep asking 'why?' until you can go no deeper.
These are the first principles - and they’re the foundation of a great destination.
Owning your destination
Naming your destination is a whole different kettle of fish that I won’t go into today.
But the name is just the start.
You need to own it. And there’s only way to do that:
My mistake was not talking about Digital Freedom enough. I first wrote about it last year but shied away from attaching it to my brand.
Because I feared judgment. Who was I to own a term? What if I looked stupid?
Here’s what I know now my friend.
Fuck what people think.
If you have a vision, it’s your duty to sell it to your audience. Day in, day out. They need to believe you’re worth following. More importantly, they need to believe they can do it themselves.
Ultimately, writers are leaders.
So take your audience somewhere great.
And that, my friend, is why we write.
Best of luck.
Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business