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You’re Full of Ship – Clarity Lab Issue 81

by | Jun 30, 2021

Hey friend,

I hope all is going well for you over there with life and business.

Before I get to the 5 best things I found on the internet for you over the past couple of weeks, I’d love to try something: I’d love to hear a bit about what you’re working on. Tell me something that’s gone well for you in your business recently, and tell me the thing about it that’s causing some challenging emotions. What is it about your business that’s keeping you up at night?

I’m asking because I care. I’m asking because it helps me help you if I know what’s going well and what’s feeling hard. And I’m asking because I know that sometimes, it’s just really nice to be able to tell someone else about what’s on your mind with your business.

Hit me up. I’ll read every email I get. It might take me a bit to respond, but I will.

Alright…onward with some things that can help you on your business journey this week.


Butcher’s Chalk.

Jack Butcher has been continually popping up on my radar over the past few months. Seems like everywhere I turn, there’s Jack. If you don’t know Jack, he’s the creator of the business/brand Visualize Value, which is built around his stark, pithy visual representations of core principles. (There. Now no one can ever say you don’t know jack.)

His brand and business have taken off quickly and my hunch is that his revenue has followed suit. He sells not only his graphic representations of principles and concepts, but also teaches online courses. His approach in this space is unique and worth watching, as he’s doing things not based on what everyone else is doing, but based on what works for him and his business. This summary of a recent “ask me anything” session he ran will give you a quick peek into how he views the building of his business and products.

One part that stood out was a question about tips he might have for people looking to create maximum learning impact through teaching online courses. His response:

“My personal approach is “principles first” — so, understanding the building blocks of knowledge that are necessary for someone to practice something effectively, and introducing them one at a time.

Lots of online education teaches tactics first (or the memorization of something), which is much less effective than teaching someone the fundamentals and letting them figure it out for themselves.”


Kung Fu Side Hustle.

Apparently, we are, you and I, now part of the newly dubbed “creator economy.” We create things and we make money selling them online. You may not be aware that you’re a part of the creator economy, but…you are. CB Insights defines the creator economy as “the independent businesses and side hustles launched by self-employed individuals who make money off of their knowledge, skills, or following.”

This includes bloggers, Instagram influencers, newsletter writers, Youtubers, and people who sell online courses, among other types of creators. Given that you’re part of this economy, it’s good to keep up with the larger movements and trends in this space. CB Insights has a great summary of their in-depth research report on the state of the creator economy. How is this helpful to you? Well, by being aware of the trends in the space, particularly around what software tools and services are sprouting up to serve creators like you and me, you can make better decisions around business models and software choices, which can help you make more money and have a greater impact in the world. You’ll also sound smarter at dinner parties, which is why I load up my kindle with books and research papers to read right before I go to parties.

+ Related: Y’all know I’m a big fan of Kajabi, right? Turns out they are now on top of the heap of software solutions for creators. They’ve gotten the most funding and are valued at over $2 billion, and you’ll see them in a graph in the research report above. I’ve got more to say about Kajabi in the next email. Something good is coming…


Rife purpose..

Aside from just being a side hustler (can that be a thing now?), you’re an entrepreneur. By default, most entrepreneurs have lots of business ideas. Whenever your current business hits a big obstacle that looks hard to overcome, it can be easy to start going through your list of other business ideas and looking somewhat longingly at some of them. (Like, “Maybe this other business idea would be more successful, or easier?”) Do that often enough and you may eventually find yourself sitting alone in front of a campfire on a Saturday night pouring your heart into your journal about your challenges and muddled view of what the hell you should actually be doing with your life. (I have no idea what that’s like because I’ve never been confused about the direction of my life or business…okay…shit. Actually, I do the campfire journal thing like every 6 months. Sigh.)

Sometimes it helps to hear about a glaringly simple process to find some clarity around life’s larger questions, like “what business idea should you really pour yourself into?”, from a very successful, famous entrepreneur. Richard Branson has just the thing for you right here. It’s two questions to ask yourself. In a journal. The campfire is optional, but the flames can help you vision bigger. OMG…I think I just found my next online course idea! Fire Journaling.


Wine and line..

After you’re done Fire Journaling™ you’ll need to get back to the reality of running your business and getting it to make enough money for you to reach your lifestyle goals. One of the craziest things about getting an online business to run well is that sometimes your success can come down to itsy bitsy teensy weensy things, like your email subject lines. Why? If you don’t write subject lines that get people to open your emails, your entire content marketing engine can come to a grinding halt.

There are a lot of best practices for subject line writing out there. Many of them can work well. Sometimes they don’t work at all though. Mailerlite has a great guide on how to write good subject lines [  ], and it’s worth trying some of their suggestions out. But you should always treat every subject line as an experiment and see what works best for you, your audience, and your business.

For example, I don’t follow any of the best practices for subject line writing, aside from keeping them really short. I just pick the punniest headline from the newsletter and use that as my subject line for the email. And my open rates? Tend to hover between 50% and 67%. That’s not normal. The lesson here? Don’t bring a knife to a punfight.


You’re full of ship.

“Shipping, because it doesn’t count if you don’t share it. Creative, because you’re not a cog in the system. You’re a creator, a problem solver, a generous leader who is making things better by producing a new way forward. Work, because it’s not a hobby. You might not get paid for it, not today, but you approach it as a professional. The muse is not the point, excuses are avoided, and the work is why you are here.”
― Seth Godin, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

Seth’s idea around shipping our work popped in my mind today. It’s basically this: You’re doing important work. The world needs the help you want to give. It’s scary to put yourself and your ideas out into the world. (Trust me, I get it. I know that fear. I also know the self-doubt that comes with it. I still doubt whether I have anything valuable to say, any truly unique ideas worth sharing.) But we have to find a place to set that fear aside so we can do the work and ship it. We must ship our work out to the world.

I’ll step aside and let Seth finish this newsletter off with something for you to ponder next time you do your Fire Journaling. This is a quote from a talk he gave in 2015.

Do the work:

Make art.
Give gifts.
Make a difference.
Do work that matters.


Fare the well, my friend.

~Forest Linden

P.S. Remember to send me a note about something that’s gone well for you in your business recently and something that’s keeping you up at night, if you feel like sharing.

P.P.S If you liked this newsletter I’d love it if you’d share it with a friend. Here’s a link you can share:


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