⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️
In this edition, I’ll share my journey from seller to solopreneur (across 7 actionable steps) to inspire you to think differently about your sales craft, wealth generation, and the pursuit of authentic freedom.
→ Read this in <9 minutes right now
→ Rethink your current sales role as a stepping stone to something bigger
→ Provide feedback, and with enough interest, I’ll work with you on this journey
Sales skills – you’re already halfway there
Last week, I outlined the case for treating yourself like a brand – not just a rep.
The intention behind that edition was to help SaaS sellers reframe their approach and help you elevate your craft to more strategic selling. This week, I get more tactical (and philosophical) to outline the next stage of what this looks like (when you’re ready) so you can turn your brand into a sustainable business.
Throughout this edition, I’ll reference select quotes from the infamous “How to Get Rich (without getting lucky)” tweet thread by Naval Ravikant that heavily influenced many of the top creators and solopreneurs we admire today like Justin Welsh, Dan Koe, Jack Butcher, and several others who started their journey shortly after that tweet was shared in 2018.
And if you want to go deeper down the rabbit hole on this subject, I recommend reading The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson – one of the most influential books I’ve read in the past few years.
I wasn’t a salesperson – I was an avid writer and good systems designer who delivered high impact experiences in SaaS
The funny thing is, when I sold the most in my career ($50M+ over a 4 year period) – I didn’t think of myself as a seller.
I focused on applying things I cared about (like writing) and designing amazing buying experiences for contact center leaders at the world’s largest brands (via systems and design thinking).
That path changed my life and made me rich (without getting lucky).
Making the conscious switch from seller to solopreneur
In the same year (2019) that I was on my path to making life-changing income in SaaS, I was already thinking about the next stages of my career and life.
I didn’t know what it would be, but I did know how it would be – on my own.
My mindset performance coach, Amber Deibert, reminded me of this recently and shared a screenshot from our first session:
I am getting ready for the first session of my small-group coaching that starts tomorrow.
I was digging through my google drive for a handout and I found the old recordings from our sessions.
In your TEN year plan, you wanted to eventually be independent in some way. This was April 2nd 2019.
Way to be ahead of schedule.”
Although the majority of our work revolved around short-term performance (overcoming Imposter Syndrome in particular), we still tied that back to a bigger and longer-term purpose.
It’s through this intentional life design exploration that you will unlock what’s important to you and why it’s important so you can understand how the things you’re doing now set up for the things you want to do down the road.
I hope you’re as fortunate as me and get to work with someone half as good as Amber to help you through this process.
The 7-step system I used to become a full-time creator
STEP 1: Invest your commissions in your personal brand vs stuff
I’m not here to hate on anyone flashing the dream car they earned with their first big sales commission check. More power to them – it meant something to them and they achieved it!
Often these symbols become more than just a status one and more of a personal triumph over hardships. It’s a nice reward – I get it!
But I have learned that to attain true freedom (the complete choice in how you spend your time), is fast-tracked not through the accumulation of stuff (which drives up your need to pay for them and keeps you locked/addicted to your W2 income), but through the strategic acquisition of assets. These can be:
- • Art
- • NFTs
- • Stocks
- • An LLC
- • Alt currencies
- • Other businesses
- • Digital real estate
- • Physical real estate
- • New skills (like writing, coding, AI)
I really like how Dr. Erin Hudson illustrated this concept on LinkedIn recently.
Her message for most corporate employees was impactful.
“There’s no instant financial freedom. Society is way too instant. Your modest paycheck is enough to break free. Believe it.”
As sellers, we’re at an advantage to accelerate this process because we have more control over our overall income.
With enough discipline, you can live (well) off of your base, and use your commissions to fuel the acquisition of strategic assets that start earning you more and diversifying your income streams.
These give you more options over time. That’s a beautiful thing!
I personally chose a combination of different strategic assets, but I really doubled down on using the internet to turn my knowledge into passive income streams by productizing myself (more on this below).
→ I purchased my name as a domain, along with others I plan to use or sell on GoDaddy
STEP 2: Define what you know now that you didn’t 3 years ago
“Knowledge is power” – yeah, this overused mantra really has merit.
The best thing you can do, especially if you’re leaning towards building a creator business, is to start documenting your unique knowledge now.
- • What are you
interested inobsessed with?
- • What do people constantly ask you for help about?
- • What can you do that no one else on your team can do?
These are the types of questions you want to start exploring often, and then documenting the answers in a trusted place.
→ My go-to tool for thought and strategy capture is Notion
STEP 3: Start writing about it on LinkedIn every day
Once you start documenting what makes you unique, it’s time to start sharing that knowledge. It will be painful at first (we all have to start somewhere), but with consistency (showing up every day is a must), you get better and you start gaining attention.
Since you’re already treating yourself as a brand, and not a seller, you’re likely familiar with using LinkedIn and the power of narrative writing to share your industry thought leadership and win deals. So this leap shouldn’t feel all that unnatural.
Awesome active sellers that are already sharing and growing their personal brand on LinkedIn include some of my favorites like Jen Allen, Salman Mohiuddin, Gabrielle “GB” Blackwell, Anthony Natoli, Kyle Willis, and Nate Nasralla (an active CEO in sales vs seller). Follow them for great ideas on how to do it well.
Once you get the confidence and hang of showing up to post every day about your specific knowledge, leverage systems and tools to get more efficient.
→ These courses and systems accelerated my journey and improved my process:
- • The (LinkedIn) Operating System by Justin Welsh
- • The Content Operating System by Justin Welsh
- • Ship 30 for 30 w/ Dickie Bush & Nicolas Cole
- • Visualize Value by Jack Butcher
STEP 4: Stay patient and build a trusted tribe
Patience will win this race for you. Keep a healthy pace and don’t try to sprint too hard too soon.
Back in mid 2021, I paid for an hour with Justin Welsh, and we talked through a plan I had to start monetizing my audience.
I had 10K followers at the time. That number is less important as a benchmark than the number of requests you get all the time for your knowledge and tips (so don’t get too caught up on follower count). However, the key lesson was this: I was thinking too aggressively and his advice was to keep building.
So my advice to you is the same – keep building. Keep sharing your knowledge (for free) until you can’t hold back your audience any more – they should be demanding a product from you.
That’s when you know you’ll be ready.
STEP 5: Begin mentoring others around you
A sign you’re ready to start thinking about this transition (besides the ease at which you’re winning deals or feeling a bit bored with your work) is you’ll be getting asked for help all the time (”Hey Brandon, I’m working on an airline, can you walk me through how you won Delta?”).
Teaching is the best way to learn, and this is a great time to start testing out ideas with others and understanding the nuances of transferable knowledge.
Start within your organization. It’s a built-in audience, so leverage it. You certainly won’t hurt your reputation by being the top seller and sharing your advice to others in the org. Most will jump at the chance to chat and learn from you.
→ I still offer free mentoring to professionals to this day
STEP 6: Note the #1 thing everyone wants (but doesn’t have yet)
Besides the skills you develop on deconstructing your knowledge to others with mentoring, you’ll also learn what they care about.
What is it only you can solve for them?
Zero in on that, and you have the makings of a future product. From there, you can start to match your personality and interests with how you prefer to share it – could be through coaching, a community, a video course, or an ebook.
My discovery was that selling 7 figure deals and earning 7 figure earnings consistently was something a lot of people wanted to learn about. It was something most people didn’t have access to.
Next, pit your knowledge against an enemy (mine is hustle culture). This will help you to naturally niche down (a good thing) to exactly the right future customer.
→ I combined these insights to create a system to help sellers earn 7 figures in SaaS sales without hustling and grinding
STEP 7: Productize it and promote it
After my consult with Justin and after mentoring several sellers inside and outside of my org, I got to work on designing my first product.
As it was being finalized I did 5 specific things:
- • Created a bi-weekly newsletter (now weekly)
- • Signed up for a Community texting number
- • Created a VIP tribe (about 300 sellers and influencers)
- • Shared my product for free with them
- • Gathered both feedback and testimonials
Besides LinkedIn, the newsletter and texting community gave me a direct digital pipeline to my tribe that I owned. And once they had the first version of the ebook in hand for free, their feedback helped me improve it, while their testimonials helped me to launch it with credibility.
Since launching on March 7th, this product has produced a 6-figure income, which doesn’t include my other revenue streams: company advising, 1:1 coaching, affiliate partnerships, sponsorships, and rental income from additional property.
→ This is my Core Creator Tech Stack:
- • Notion – Content Brain
- • SamCart – ecommerce
- • Community – 1:1 texting
- • ConvertKit – Newsletter and email
BONUS: Get help!
As you scale, you will need help. You won’t need to hire actual employees (the beauty of a one-person business), but the best thing you can do is find somebody that meshes well with your vision and compliments your strengths and weaknesses.
→ My secret weapon is working with Alec Paul (I’m almost reluctant to share, because I want him working just for me!). Seriously, he will turn you into a rockstar!
Help me, help you
If this article really speaks to you and you are serious about embarking on this journey, I can help.
I will turn this post into a more detailed product that you can use, and to get there, I will be willing to also offer some heavily discounted coaching to help you on your way.
I just ask you to do 2 things:
- → Like this article using the 👍 button below (if it receives over 50 thumbs up, I will create the product)
- → Send me an email: email@example.com or a shoot me a text: +1 (917) 810-2325 with “SOLO” in the subject line or line of the text along with your full name and contact details, and I’ll put you on the list and reach out with the discounted coaching details
See you next time!
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1. Get the exact system I’ve used to go from earning $200K to over $1M a year in SaaS sales without burning out here. (2,500+ students)
2. Join a community of Purpose-Curious™ sellers in the Make More Hustle Less Club where we develop a personal operating system together here. (300+ members)
3. Book a 1:1 coaching session to up-level your performance here. (Limited spots available)