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“Leverage” Is One of the Most Powerful Tools Ever Known to Humans - Here’s How to Use It

by | Jun 12, 2023 | Life Hacks

Leverage is a tool from ancient times.

I’m obsessed with leverage because it’s how you get more of whatever you want in life. But it can be hard to explain leverage. Over the last 9 years I’ve collected the best descriptions. Once it makes sense then you can do it.

Imagine a landscaper.

If they rolled up to your house with nothing but their bare hands they could do some work, sure. But if another landscaper rolled up with a shovel and a wheelbarrow they’d be a better choice.

And if a different landscaper rolled up with power tools as well then they’d be even better. Or if another landscaper rolled up and had manual tools, power tools, and a digger then they’d destroy the competition.

The one landscaper you could never beat though is the one that has manual tools, power tools, a digger, a whole army of people, and technology such as phones, laptops, and laser measuring devices. These are all forms of leverage.

Conventional wisdom is wrong

The 9–5 world has us believe that if we work harder we can get more from our inputs. But brute force is nowhere near as powerful as leverage.

Brute force is limited to the amount of energy and time you have. Leverage is limitless and can work when you don’t.

Effort leads to results. Leverage is able to make your effort go exponential. That means you get outsized results.

Leverage is getting out more than you put in. It’s an unfair advantage that clueless critics call luck or privilege when it should be seen as a tool anyone can access. Leverage can help compound your time, money, or energy.

Archimedes said it best:

Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I shall move the world.

Here are the different forms of leverage and how to use them.

Audience leverage

You’ve heard of this one before and probably hate it.

“Build an audience. Start an email list. Use social media, man.”

It sounds like hustle culture advice from bros running a multi-level marketing pyramid scheme fused with a Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

But open your mind.

An audience online gives you distribution. It’s how you reach people. And once you can reach enough people you no longer need to apply for jobs, buy ads, or ask for permission.

It’s about access to humans — not follower counts, selfies and useless vanity metrics such as ‘likes.’

Build distribution, then build whatever you want — Jack Butcher

How to use it

Find a topic you can build a community around. Immerse yourself in it and learn about it every day. Document everything you learn.

Digital leverage

Digital leverage connects directly with audience leverage.

Audience leverage is the capturing of awareness. But you first need to create that awareness of who you are and what you have to offer the world.

Digital assets are non-human employees that work 24/7 for you, getting your message out there and allowing new people to find your work.

  • Videos
  • Emails
  • Illustrations
  • Short animations
  • Essays
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Tweets
  • Sales pages

And the best one … no-code software.

Instead of hiring a team of developers and chucking hundreds of thousands of dollars in the trash, no-code software is available as is. There are a few constraints but those limitations actually help increase creativity.

Whenever creativity goes up so too does leverage.

My favorite no-code software is Zapier. It’s like the duck tape that connects all sorts of software together that otherwise couldn’t be integrated.

How to use it

Digital leverage can be overwhelming.

There’s a temptation to be everywhere all at once, and therefore, nowhere. Don’t fall into this trap. Choose one platform and one type of content (writing, audio, video, illustrations).

Publish each day for at least a year. Watch your leverage skyrocket.

Systems leverage

A lot of self-improvement gurus get h0rny over habits and goals.

Not me. Goals are flaky dreams. Habits are nice-to-haves, I’ll-do-it-when-I-get-time. That’s gonna getcha nowhere chief.

A system is a habit that’s backed by a repeatable system. You don’t have to think. You just do. The system provides automation which leads to spectacular leverage over time.

The difference between a habit versus a system is that a system is documented. There are checklists and it’s simple enough that anyone can follow them.

How to use it

Turn your passions into habits. Turn your habits into systems. Document every part of the system so you can outsource parts of it later.

Outsourcing your systems leads to another form of leverage…

Labor leverage

Labor leverage is a fancy way of saying “Get humans to do the work so you don’t have to and are freed up to be creative.”

Startups and entrepreneurship represent labor leverage, which business bros love to get off on and overemphasize. I have no interest in owning a 1000-person startup daycare.

So I believe in another form of leverage: freelancers.

These are people who can do one-off tasks and come in to fight fires when need be. Then go back to their home office box and stop charging.

I currently use a virtual assistant and 4–5 other specialized freelancers to run my online business.

How to use it

First, have systems so you can teach freelancers to do your tasks for you. Notion and Loom (screenshare software) will help you document them.

Then hire your first freelancer for a one-off task (cap it at $100) and slowly get comfortable letting others do your work. The mindset shift of “Wow others can do this” provides huge leverage.

Network leverage

You are only as powerful as the people you know.

My dad used to say “It’s not what you know but who you know.” That’s been true for me which is why I’m always proactively building my network.

It started on LinkedIn then I repeated the process on Elon’s birdy app. Often it doesn’t involve sending cold DMs to strangers. No. It’s about contributing interesting ideas to existing online conversations.

Over time people will remember you, then when you do DM them, they will respond and know your name.

How to use it

Leave 5–10 comments a day on posts you appreciate about a topic you love.

After a few months start to DM your favorite people who you’ve engaged with. Don’t ask for anything.

Just connect and mention something about them you appreciate. Ask “What are you currently working on?” then find a small way to help them or offer a bit of advice based on your experience.

Productization leverage

We all have experience and skills.

The trouble is our default behavior is to use what we know to trade time for money. This means you end up with a lot of 1–1 relationships instead of one-to-many.

One of the best things I ever did was productize my knowledge and experience into courses, digital downloads, templates, and eBooks. Now I don’t always need to be around to deliver value.

Products scale your time beyond the 24 hours you have in a day.

A good rule in life is to stay away from anything that makes time work against you — Shane Parrish

How to use it

Use the previous steps to build distribution and audience. Then offer a course, digital download, template, or eBook to them. Start with a price so low people won’t say no. This will create a psychological shift in you.

$1 earned through leverage feels 100x better than $1 earned selling your time — Eric Jorgenson

A form of leverage that rarely gets discussed

There’s a powerful form of leverage hiding in plain sign: consistency.

Many people never stick around long enough to get the result they’ve worked hard for. They lack patience or the mindset to keep going even when it gets tough.

When you’re consistent you get extra rewards for no more effort because you become reliable, trustworthy, and visible.

No one is going to invest in you when you haven’t executed on a goal for a consistent and reputable amount of time.

  • Ideas are useless.
  • Asking for favors is useless.
  • Sending cold pitches with no social proof is useless.

… yet this is what most people do and they wonder why they get nowhere.

How to use it

Find an obsession and get consistent. Set 5-year timeframes. If you’re really insane like me, think in decades.

Nothing happens then everything happens — Dan Koe

Capital leverage

Capital is a fancy word for money.

Money creates leverage because it’s a resource that can buy you more time and more labor leverage. Investing is a form of capital leverage.

It’s where you invest money into a cash-generating asset. Over time your money makes more money. This big-ass problem of having to earn money then becomes smaller, so you can leverage your time to be more creative.

How to use it

Get a financial education. Then invest in stocks, bonds, blue chip crypto (ethereum/bitcoin), real estate, etc.

Do this from now on

Leverage is a multiplier of everything good in your life. It’s how you get more done with less. So from now on take this advice from James Clear:

Do one thing per day that compounds.

Are You Operating With Maximum Energy?

For those who are tired of dragging through the day, who want to get back the fire they once had, who are ready to reclaim your natural energy… this is your book.

Unleash the fire within