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Will Tweet For Cash – Clarity Lab Issue 73

by | Mar 10, 2021

Hey there friend,

I hope all is going well with you over there.

On deck this week we’ve got the power of audio, the importance of words, the best rant I’ve ever seen on the internet, how to curate, and reverse engineering the marketing tactics of a big time internet marketing guy.

Let’s get to it!


Simple is as simple does.

Creating an online business that sells physical products, digital knowledge products, or services is complicated. As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to overcomplicate the already complicated process of making money online.

Once you get a handle on how online businesses work, it’s easy to lay on the couch and be all “I can create seven different marketing funnels for free things on my site, automate 12 different upsells on the backend, optimize my Facebook ad traffic, start a new Google Ads campaign, run a webinar to a partner’s audience, and launch my course…and I could prooooooobably do all that this week.”

First, doing those things would take about 5 or 6 months. Second, it helps to see a behind-the-scenes view of how a successful business like the one you’re running has done things and how simple it can be. (This doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it can be simple.)

Tiago Forte recently published a brilliant piece that does just that: The Forte Labs Customer Journey: Behind the Scenes of a Full-Stack Education Business.

As you read his post, notice how he’s not overcomplicating things. Watch how the customer’s whole journey flows from one stage to the next. He’s doing the basics of content marketing and audience building, but he’s doing the basics well. (And keep in mind that Tiago has made over $5 million from selling his flagship online course over the last few years.)

In related news, yesterday I threw my back out getting up from the couch. It was incredibly frustrating because I’ve been training for this for an entire year.


Autonomous thriving.

“Today, I don’t define success the way that I did when I was younger. I don’t measure it in copies sold or dollars earned. I measure it in what my days look like and the quality of my creative expression: Do I have time to write? Can I say what I think? Do I direct my schedule or does my schedule direct me? Is my life enjoyable or is it a chore?

In a word: autonomy. Do I have autonomy over what I do and think? Am I free?” This is Ryan Holiday, one of my favorite authors and thinkers, on defining success as autonomy.

Many of us define success as a certain amount of money per year, or the number of Instagram followers we have, or how many likes we get on a Facebook post.

But how would your life change if you define success on your own terms? What if you define success based on how much autonomy you have?

What’s underneath our striving for money anyway? I don’t know about you, but when I dig down under my striving, what I find is freedom. Not the Braveheart longsword-held-above-my-head, screaming on a horse in my kilt at my fellow Scotsman before heading into war kind of freedom. I want the freedom to live and work on my terms, which happens to include me working in my kilt. (I mean, it’s not like anyone can see it on Zoom calls.)


Kind of a big steal.

Have you ever found exact copies of articles or copywriting you’ve written on someone else’s site? I have. It’s infuriating. There are people who have nothing better to do with their time than steal people’s content, stick it on their site, and try to make money off of it.

Recently, I found two new tools to help you scan the internet for instances of people plagiarizing your work. Both Plagium and Copyscape have tools to let you check the web for stolen cases of your work.

Now we need a site that will allow us to anonymously hire a team of ethical hackers to take down websites that refuse to remove our stolen content. Ok, screw it. I’m getting on a horse in my kilt with blue stripes painted across my face:

“Sons of Scotland! I am William Wallace! I see before me a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of plagiarism. Dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell these plagiarists that they may take our content, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!!!!


Will Tweet For Cash

“Twitter announced a pair of big upcoming features today: the ability for users to charge their followers for access to additional content, and the ability to create and join groups based around specific interests. They’re two of the more substantial changes to Twitter in a while, but they also fit snugly into models that have been popular and successful on other social platforms.” That’s The Verge with news of some large changes coming to the Twitterverse.

In simple terms, Twitter will allow people to charge money for premium tweets and private Twitter groups. Now, pair this news with another news piece from a couple of months ago: Twitter Acquires Newsletter Platform Revue.

Put those together and you can see where Twitter is going. They’re skating to where they think the puck is going: giving Twitter users the ability to create premium content for paying subscribers in the form of tweets and newsletters, as well as paid access to private groups for your followers. (If you’ve been following along with recent issues of Clarity Lab, you’ll recognize this is another example of the paid newsletter trend.)

Keep an eye on what Twitter is doing because it could be a profitable opportunity for your business. The details are not visible yet, so I can’t say whether you should plan on using these new Twitter features, but there’s a lot going on in the paid content, and more specifically, paid newsletter space right now.

My hunch is that Twitter is watching Substack explode in popularity, and they want some of that newsletter magic (meaning, revenue.) Substack is raking in money with their business model, and that’s got Twitter salivating.

Speaking of Substack, you’re going to keep hearing a lot about it from all over the place: Friends, other entrepreneurs, internet marketing gurus, journalists, and even me. It seems everyone’s talking about it.

So, let me give you a head’s up and a slight wave of a yellow warning flag.

< begin-rant >

Substack knows that almost everyone feels overwhelmed by technology, so they’ve made it insanely easy to start a paid newsletter. That’s great, but I’m not a fan of their business model because it doesn’t benefit you.

They take 10% of everything you make from your paid newsletter subscribers. That’s a lot. For perspective, if you make $5,000 a month from your newsletter subscribers, Substack will take $500 of that income…per month. (And then you’ll have Stripe taking their 2.9% per transaction on top of this.)

That means you’d be paying $500 a month for simple newsletter software. If you make $10,000 a month from your paid newsletter, Substack will take $1,000 of that. Does it make sense to pay $1,000 a month for newsletter software? To me, the answer is a big NO.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been researching and testing Ghost, which is a popular newsletter and blogging platform that allows you to do the same things (and more) that you can do with Substack. The cost of Ghost? $29/mo for the Basic Plan, $79/mo for the Standard plan, and $199/mo for the Business plan.

I get that setting up a new tech platform can be a bit hard for a few weeks as you learn it, but is avoiding that pain worth paying $500 or $1,000 PER MONTH for newsletter software, month after month and year after year?

< /end-rant >

It’s something to mull over if you’re heading towards a paid newsletter.

Tweets to live by.

New York Times best-selling author James Clear made a tweetstorm thread that’s well worth a couple of minutes of your time. It’s a list of “rules” he’s followed in his business over the last ten years. They read like short, powerful axioms that you’ll want to remember and put into practice yourself. There is so much timeless wisdom in this thread that I’m not even going to try and summarize it. Just, please, do your future self a favor and sit with the suggestions in that thread.


I hope you have an amazing week, my friend.

I have war to go fight against content theives.


P.S. If you enjoyed this newsletter and think someone you know would get something out of these, I would be ever so grateful if you could forward the link to this page to them. Here it is for you:

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