The best way to ruin your day is hang around a Lambro bro who wants to tell you how good they are. You’ll learn nothing, and it’s likely they have access to a trust fund and don’t have real brains.
People who get wealthy from online businesses keep working on them every day because they’re obsessed.
The outcome of lots of money isn’t enough.
I first met quiet millionaire Dan Koe about 3 years ago. He asked me to appear on his podcast and I had no idea who he was. When I googled him he had a decent social media following at the time.
In this interview with him, I felt like I had an out-of-body experience. There was so much alignment between how both of us saw the world.
Since then Dan has been one of my favorite creators. Here’s what he taught me.
The biggest lesson I learned from Dan Koe
Dan’s made more than $5m online in a couple of years selling digital products. All of these sales happened on an unknown website, his personal one — not a marketplace or 3rd party platform.
Dan has millions of social media followers and one of the most popular accounts on Instagram.
What he’s created is a cult.
Everything he does is distinctly different from everyone else. No “10 Videos To Go Get A Free Harvard Education” type stuff.
A month ago he sent me a physical copy of his new book. Inside it was a personal note. He told me I was one of the first self-improvement writers he ever followed online. This helped him get his start.
I had no idea.
Here he is inspiring the heck out of me, and in reality I inspired him first. I don’t say this to brag but to say this: you never know who you’re inspiring.
That’s why it pays to write online to complete strangers.
The common approach to online business is broken
Every online business guru says “choose a niche.”
Dan’s different because he took the common niches of fitness, business, writing, philosophy and spirituality, and fused them into something new.
The two niches that have amplified his name to the top of the internet are philosophy and spirituality. There are very few people below 35 who write about these two topics.
Dan took two old topics and made them new. Then he combined them with his other obsessions to create a section of the internet that no else can occupy.
So he doesn’t need to be better than anyone else because he’s so different — and that makes him memorable.
The “choose a niche or you’ll go broke” crowd are wrong. The best thing you can do is combine niches to create a new niche.
A radical approach to what society is
Dan is one the most quoted people in my notes app.
His definition of society is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Instead of calling the mainstream world a scam and sounding like a conspiracy theorist…he just calls it what it is and tries not to knock it.
His view is that a job and a normal life are level one of the video game. The real challenge is to transcend to the next level. That was the missing piece for me. Less shame. Less blame. Less need to complain.
Normality is the default and it’s our job to transcend it through business.
Dan goes further and argues all of us are, in a way, entrepreneurs even if we work a 9–5 job. What a powerful idea. Once you can dumb down the barrier to entry to start a business, it makes the prospect 10x easier.
Become a business owner.
Create a life or one will be chosen for you
Dan is like me. We don’t sit around waiting for life to happen.
He opened my eyes to the fact we have our major life decisions chosen by someone else if we don’t plan and create.
The corporate world’s plan is for you to follow a career path. The government’s plan for you is to pay maximum taxes and have your wealth disintegrated by inflation and currency devaluation.
Our parent’s plan for us is often to go to college, get a good job, then get promoted to a job title that sounds smart at neighborhood BBQs.
Dan taught me either we call the shots and are proactive, or we’ll fall for these common traps. Inventions like Netflix and sports help to distract us. It’s only through the art of focus that we can win back our lives.
Own your big decisions. Don’t choose default options.
Mental Model: If everyone else is doing it then it’s probably a bad idea.
Try lots of random things
Dan made $5m because he tried lots of things. Read that again.
Too many people try one thing, fail, then give up. Experimentation is a common trait of quiet millionaires. Rather than think they know everything like a PhD genius, they choose to be guided by action.
Dan’s done fitness coaching, search engine optimization, a few eCommerce businesses, web design, and social media marketing.
The ultimate way he sold millions in digital products was through online education and a daily planner.
The best income streams are always simple.
If you want to duplicate Dan’s success, you’ve got to get in the arena and build stuff. The greatest idea is often the one you least expect. Knowing what your obsession is helps.
A gym mindset applies outside of the gym
I got on a call the other day with an author.
When I mentioned Dan’s name he got mad. “Dan’s just a stupid gym bro like all those other X bros!” Took me by surprise.
Yes, Dan is a buff man that hits the gym (I am a skinny man that goes to the gym but can’t get the same Arnold-level biceps).
Shallow people think anyone who goes to the gym is in love with themselves and takes selfies for Instaglam 24/7. They’re wrong and naive.
A gym mindset consists of this formula:
Daily Improvement x Pain = Success
Many of us understand habits and the need for self-improvement. What we miss is the need for pain.
The gym is hard. Building muscle only happens when you go beyond your pain threshold every day. Pain isn’t exactly fashionable in a world drowning in self-care. But it’s critical.
When we feel pain we grow.
Hard things produce pain that leads to new action that leads to insight. That’s how normal IQ people like Dan have made 7-figures online.
Increase your pain threshold to win bigger.
Privacy is true wealth
Dan is rich in financial terms.
It initially came with a downside. A year ago he posted an Instaglam story with a picture of his sister. Random strangers stalked her and said nasty things. To top it off, a customer of Dan’s whom he helped with social media started to act weird.
They ended up finding out where he lived and stalking him. Now Dan shares fewer personal stories and doesn’t take photos of his lifestyle.
This has amplified his brand further because he’s not like every other millionaire, taking photos of stupid luxury sh*t.
The thing that could destroy Dan Koe forever
Let’s finish in an uncomfortable spot.
Dan has shifted his focus away from selling digital products to selling a new type of productivity software called Kortex. Much of the $5m he made from digital products has gone to funding this new business.
The running costs are high and the software isn’t currently available for sale. This is a big risk for Dan. Software businesses are hard to start, especially amidst huge tech layoffs worldwide.
All of the money he’s made is at risk. This new business could fail. But Dan doesn’t care because…
Builders always build.
Quiet millionaires are builders, and they don’t exist to make millions of dollars, but to earn enough money so they can keep building.
It’ll be interesting to see how Dan’s new business goes. Learn from him.