What’s been emerging from my writing over the past year is a new worldview around online business. Or maybe philosophy is a better word for it.
The aim of said philosophy isn’t to help people “be an entrepreneur,” or make six figures while sitting on a beach or whatever.
The goal is to enjoy the way you spend your days. To do work that matters. To be gleefully adaptable in a changing world. To use your gifts in a way that enriches your life (and your fans’ lives) for years, even decades, to come.
In other words, the goal is to design a delightful infinite game.
What’s funny is most education and best practices in the “how to build a business” world point in the exact opposite direction. They make you rigid and inflexible and short-term focused. At least they did for me.
My first business was so weighted down with “shoulds” and with me trying to live up to other people’s expectations, that it damn near killed my desire to create.
But I’m not trying to force myself to build someone else’s business anymore. I’ve spent the last year shedding old layers of my identity, and old stories. The more I’ve worked to understand and trust myself, deep down, the more paths I’ve found that are enjoyable to follow.
Turns out, when I stop trying to fit myself into the molds of others, and just listen to my own damn intuition, it’s a whole lot easier and more enjoyable to build a business. More profitable too.
Point being, embracing this philosophy has been… kinda magical for me. And I suspect it might unlock some new paths and possibilities for you as well.
Anyhow, there are four main pillars of the Ungated philosophy.
- Start from the inside out. Do the deep work to understand your inner world. Introspect to find your wants, your gifts, and the emotional threads running through your life. This is where you find the raw materials to build something uniquely reflective of who you are, and who you want to become.
- Work from the bottom up. Run joyful experiments and iterate relentlessly, letting your curiosity and intuition point the way. Do things that might not work, and probably won’t scale. Revel in uncertainty, knowing that even the best laid plans never match up to reality. Treat your business and creative work as a playground. Have fun. Take shit less seriously.
- Operate non-coercively. Never prioritize short-term gain over long-term trust. Treat yourself, your fans, your partners, and everyone you encounter in your business with the utmost respect and dignity. Follow the golden rule. Make a lot of friends, and build generative long-term relationships.
- Be cheerfully subversive. Never settle for a status quo that rubs you the wrong way. Use your creativity and courage, in ways small and large, to nudge your corner of the internet in a healthier direction. Focus your energy on creating more of what you want to see in the world, trusting that others will follow suit.
That’s the Ungated business philosophy in a nutshell. Inside out, bottom up, non-coercive, cheerfully subversive.
I’ll be fleshing all of these out more over the next few weeks and months. But today, I wanna focus on the first one. Working from the inside out.
The Art of Personal Archaeology
One of the things I'm working on this year is shipping imperfect things quickly, then iterating on them. It’s part of my new “imperfectionist identity.”
So here’s the deal. I’m building a new “micro course” over the next two weeks, and am opening it up for pre-sale to keep myself accountable.
It’s called The Art of Personal Archaeology. And it’s about introspecting and developing self-awareness.
That might seem unrelated to business and marketing. But for me, understanding myself has been the key to doing work I’m proud of, and running a business I enjoy.
After years of being frustrated by the answers I found outside of myself, I started looking inward. And when I started trusting what I found in there, things got better. Substantially better.
More precisely, understanding yourself can help you…
- Discover your unique gifts and perspectives. This is a big part of standing out in a noisy world and creating true fans.
- Find the others. Understanding yourself points towards the kinds of customers and partners will who make your business a joyous place to spend your days.
- Get out of your own way. Introspection leads to clarity around patterns of thinking and behavior that keep you stuck.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Journeying inward plays a huge role in finding stillness and peace in this world. In developing healthy relationships. And in spiritual pursuits of all shapes and sizes. Unraveling the mystery of self is some of the most important work we can do.
The course itself will be relatively simple.
We’ll start with a handful of my favorite tools for tapping into your subconscious mind, and dredging up the intriguing things that live down there.
Then I’ll give you prompts to unearth specific types of insights that are useful for creativity, marketing, and business. And of course, I’ll offer suggestions for how to put these insights to work in your creative endeavors.
You can either pre-order the course for $35 (it’ll cost $75 when released in two weeks).
Or you can become a member, and get access to every course I’ve ever made and ever will make. (I plan on releasing 4-5 new courses this year, so this is a smashing bargain.)
But I should stress something. There will be no easy or obvious answers in this course (or in anything I create). This is about finding your own inner compass, and having the courage to follow where it leads.
Whatever you discover here will likely take you in different directions than the one I’ve chosen. Your treasure map will look different than mine. And that’s awesome.
Work like this is how we start breaking the cycle of the internet being full of creators copying other creators who are copying some marketing guru who’s copying yet another marketing guru.
This is how we make the internet diverse and cool and weird again. By ditching the best practices, discovering our own gifts, and finding the others.
If you're a member of the Ungated Collective community (which is totally free, btw), you can always jump directly into the discussion for this article by clicking this magic link.