Ungated is an oasis for creatives who want to earn an independent living online, without being spammy, manipulative marketers.

It's a refuge from hype, a sanctuary where "get rich quick" schemes and  "growth hacks" and "10X funnels" aren't allowed.

Instead, Ungated exists for those of us who yearn to do creative work that matters, for an audience that actually cares.

It's a place where we lean into the messy, uncertain work of crafting a business that reflects our deepest values. It's a place where we play the long game by earning trust and creating lifelong fans.

Make no mistake. True Fans don't come from tricking people into paying attention, squeezing them through a funnel, and treating them like datapoints in a spreadsheet.

True Fans come from being human yourself, inviting people into your world, and making them feel like cherished friends.

That's what Ungated is all about.

My name's Rob Hardy, and I'll be your host.

I spent years treading water with my first business. At every step along the way, I bought into strategies that didn't jive with my values. And it sucked ass.

So with Ungated, I'm drawing a line in the sand, and building something that reflects how I want to show up in the world, not how tacky internet marketers say I should. And I hope to enable you to do the same thing.

In order to build such a place, I'm relying on a set of counterintuitive principles.

  1. Play the long game
  2. Simplify or die
  3. Don’t be a commodity
  4. Default to generosity
  5. Make friends, have fun
  6. Create happy customers
  7. Experiment and iterate
  8. Embrace the messy middle

You can read more about why these are so important to me in this post.

My unconventional business principles
Why I’m ignoring the norms of online marketing, and maybe you should too.

Lately, I've been fleshing out those principles into a series of essays. I find that writing them out helps crystalize my thinking, and commit more deeply to the underlying philosophy.

Default to generosity
On creating a renaissance of trust on the internet, and leaning into the Gift Economy.
Don’t be a commodity
Why it’s so important, and so difficult, to differentiate yourself in a noisy world.

More of these essays coming soon. Stay tuned 😎

Some rabbit holes worth exploring on Ungated.

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I'm obsessed with niches.

The internet is fragmenting into thousands of lovely, weird subcultures, and that presents a massive opportunity for indie creators like us.

That's why I've been developing a set of tools called NicheCraft, which helps creators build delightful, fulfilling businesses serving people they care about.

Adventures in NicheCraft
An assortment of tools to help creators niche down, and build a business fueled by true fans.

I'm also obsessed, if you couldn't tell, with the idea of making 1,000 True Fans a reality.

In fact, I've been writing a series of tiny essays—True Fan Tools—that explores the strategies you can use to create deep emotional bonds with your people.

True Fan Tools
A menu of tools for ambitious creators who want to transform 1,000 True Fans from theory to reality.

If there's anything else you should know about Ungated, it's that I operate it in the Gift Economy.

Basically, all of my courses and products are available on a "choose your own price" basis. It's scary, but I believe it'll work, and in the grand scheme of things, might even make the internet a nicer place.

Transitioning to the Gift Economy
How I plan to build a thriving business by making my products available for free.

Lastly, here's the original "about" page for Ungated. I wanted to preserve it as an artifact of how much I've evolved.

The Original Ungated “About” Page
I’ve got a new “about” page on Ungated, and it’s pretty rad. But I’m preserving the old one as an artifact of my evolution.