What Does It Mean To Scale Yourself?
In 2020, I was a corporate engineer. I had a good job with the opportunity to work remotely during the pandemic. But no matter what I did, I constantly felt like I just couldn't get ahead.
Then I discovered writing online, and my life changed completely.
Most people don't think in terms of changing the world. But when you write online, that's what you have the potential to do. You have the chance to get your thoughts and words in front of millions.
That's a lot of power.
It went to my head.
About a month into my writing, I went viral. For all the wrong reasons. I wrote a politically charged piece and then got into all sorts of arguments online while spreading it.
I got over about 200000 views over the weekend. Then I deleted it. The fallout lasted about a week. I had people trying to get me fired from my job. I got physical hate mail. It wasn't a fun experience.
I was able to affect the lives, however briefly, of over 100,000 people.
That's the power of scale.
But that's not the way I wanted to scale myself. So I started thinking about why I went down that hole. I didn't start writing to get into political flame wars. I started writing to help people.
I did what social media trains us to do. I thought of people as numbers or profiles. I wanted to get clicks and views because that's how I made money. I didn't worry about the people on the other end.
So I started learning why. That led me to a bit of a eureka moment. I ended up quitting my job and attempting to launch a startup.
That's a way to scale an idea, right?
If I'd made the connections I should have previously, I might have been able to make that startup work. But I did pretty much everything wrong in my first one.
I made the same mistake I did when I started writing. I was too focused on how to impact hundreds of thousands of people at once. I focused a lot of time on trying to raise money. I didn't get anywhere. After 6 months, I'd accomplished nothing and shut down my first startup.
The one thing I did right though, was I met a lot of different people. And I watched how they scaled their impacts throughout the world. I connected with other founders, I was on a Zoom call pitching a billionaire, I went through the On Deck Course Creators' Fellowship. I learned as much as I could from all of them.
One of the things I realized when I started writing: I needed to share my own story.
I just didn't like my story. So I decided to write one as I went.
I made a lot of mistakes. But hopefully, others could learn from them. That's a major part of scaling yourself.
Scaling yourself is about growing the way you want. And having that growth affect the world how you want it to.
That's how I've gone from "guy living in a small town in Ohio" with no connections to someone who is known worldwide (not by very many people, but I know people in Singapore, Australia, India, Nigeria, Chile, many places in Western Europe, etc) in about a year.
And it's been fun. Scaling yourself is about living the life you want. That's what I realized I wasn't doing. So I fixed that.