Hey y'all 👋
This week I'll try something different:
- I'll share a strategic initiative I am working on
- and I'll ask for your feedback on the first "deliverable" of this initiative
Be my judge ⚖️
🐦 Project 'Carrier Pigeon': Getting Paid for Emails
The last weeks have been fun and productive:
All good, but I still don't see real monetization on the horizon.
By this logic, one of my highest priorities for the coming weeks should be to test paid customer demand for my 'remote work' content.
Previous Experiments: Workshops & Public Notes
- FREE Live workshops for customer discovery == what do they want?
- FREE Notion pages for customer validation == repackage the content from the free workshops and use it as a lead magnet to validate if other people also want the same content // I recorded a 17-minute breakdown video of my process
The common thread is that I've offered everything for free so far.
The reality is that once you attach a price tag to a service/product you will be judged differently.
Also, paid customers - outside of your immediate network of friends, family members, and others foolish enough to pay you - are a real validation of your market.
Time for an experiment 👇
📧 Project 'Carrier Pigeon': An Email-Based Course (EBC)
Around three months ago I met Big Willie.
Big Willie has cats, lives in Oregon, but most importantly he is the world's premier expert on EBCs (email-based courses).
What the hell are EBCs?
EBCs are learning experiences delivered into everybody's work tool of choice: the email inbox
Sounds dry but let me tell you it's all but.
Here's the EBCs 101 by the man himself 👇
1000+ paid readers. Damn.
A couple of reasons why I'm intrigued by EBCs:
- Writing Is My Love Language: Honestly, I enjoy writing. Compared to other media (video 👹 and audio 🔇) writing is easier for me.
- An Existing Content Catalogue: I have a digital pile of written documentation and thinking about remote work. It's time to put these puppies to use.
- A Frictionless Student Experience: Students don't have to create an account for the learning experience. They buy the course, give their email address, and the course comes to them.
Easy enough? Not quite.
🗾 The Road Ahead
Initially, I thought it would be as easy as translating my existing content into an email sequence. It's a bit more complex than that:
- Learning Architecture: Creating a logical and entertaining sequence for the student to achieve a transformation
- Writing the Content: If you average ~800 words per email for around 30 emails that are almost 25,000 refined words 🤯 // that's a LOT of words if you think of outlining, editing, and finishing
- Tech Stack: There's no all-in-one EBC delivery platform (Willie, if you are reading this, maybe we should join forces for a venture) instead EBC creators need to plug and patch various solutions into a working whole (Writing app; website hosting for transition pages; payment processor; email service provider for email delivery + automation; automation SaaS for cross-app automation; ...)
- Workflow Automation: Every step of the experience needs to be mapped out and automated otherwise you'll be doing a 24/7 manual forwarding job
I started with a preliminary outline with work-in-progress titles but it's a hell of a workload.
You gotta start somewhere
Releasing the Pigeon 🕊
One of the most common questions I get is a variation of the following:
management/training perspective (and collaborate smoothly with other people who know how to do it) team members who have never worked async before
That's why I'm building an EBC to attack this important question:
- Title: The 80/20 of Remote Team Leadership
- Audience: Leaders/managers of remote teams
- Transformation: Learn how to empower instead of micro-manage in a remote team
It is taking the best learnings of my current workbook and turning it into an actionable learning experience.
The goal is to complete this project by end of Q3 so I can release the paid product into the wild and hopefully start making my first proper income as a creator 🤞
I'm sharing my first deliverable with you.
It's the welcome email I've written for the EBC sequence (in total ~25-30 emails).
This is what you would see in your inbox after purchasing the course👇
Subject: [0.0] Remote: Why Bother?
Hi, my name is Art.
I was on both sides of the "remote table". First as an employee, then as a manager.
Now I could tell you that remote is The Future of Work, The New Normal™️, blah blah...
Instead, let me share with you why I actually care about this topic.
My Remote Work Rollercoaster
I have been working remotely for a decade now:
- 🙋♂️ Initially, as a lone employee 9 time zones away from HQ → I lost my job because it "didn't work out" (aka: no remote work culture and/or systems in place)
- 🏝 Then as a founder of a remote-first company with employees across 9 different time zones → we scaled the team from 0 to 15 FTEs from idea through exit (I'm most proud that our team liked working there and we had zero employee turnover)
- 🧳 Eventually, as an executive in a global marketing agency with 800+ employees → Covid19 forced a transition from a traditionally co-located organization to a remote one in the span of a few weeks
In hindsight, I am fortunate to have experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly.
But Why Bother Teaching 'How to Remote'?
Remote-first companies are the shiny new thing in organizational design.
But that's not why I am passionate about the topic.
The why is closer to my outlook on life.
In general, I'm cautiously optimistic and believe that we - as individuals - can have a certain level of control over our own lives.
Steve Jobs once said it well in an interview:
nce you discover one simple fact, and that is "Everything around you that you call 'life' was made up by people who are no smarter than you."
This thought is incredibly empowering. Life is more fun when you keep an open mind and explore what is actually possible.
People like you and I started countries and are recreating the Big Bang at CERN 🤯
No one gave them permission but they did it anyway.
Think about that for a second.
All things considered, you and I should be capable to come up with better ways to organize work and unlock more time for things that truly matter (time with family; more time for passion projects; fewer Zoom marathons).
Remote work is merely a means to living life on your terms.
Work Like It's 1999
Technology has finally caught up with its promise of seamless video conferencing, information exchange, and real-time collaboration.
The problem is that our work habits are still stuck somewhere in the 1990s.
Work. Sleep. Commute. Repeat.
Why are we willing to commute just because the company has pre-paid rent for the next 2 years and the facilities need to be used? 🤷♂️
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
Wouldn't it make more sense to design our daily schedule around the desired outcomes of our work?
If you have ever sent an email from your mobile phone you have proven that work can get done outside a cubicle.
I know this is not a typical welcome email for a course but I hope it gives you an insight into why we are doing this.
No one wants to be that person where it didn't work out after all.
Yet more and more of us are working remotely or at least in a hybrid setup. That means we are all at risk.
My promise to you is that you will learn foundational principles about remote work to take your understanding from so-so to o-ho!
By the end of this course, you will be equipped to start building a work environment on your own terms.
Less micro-managing, more enabling.
Less like 1999, more like 21st century.
It's not too late to be early 🙌
Please Be My Judge
If you made it this far, thank you!
Really, thank you 🙏
It would mean the world to me if you could share with me what you liked, what you didn't like, what resonated, what didn't.
Questions, feedback, critique are all welcome.
Stay happy, stay healthy 🙌