The Sovereign Creator
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Today we're gonna chat about what it means to be a Sovereign Creator.
But first, I want to tell you about another newsletter.
What I've been reading: Houck's Newsletter
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He raised over $10M from a16z and shares resources and deep dives about startups in an easy to understand, actionable way every week.
Houck's been a huge mentor to me. I've learned so much from him about content strategy, Twitter game theory, and the entire world of startups and venture capital.
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Now onto the essay.
We all want control over our own lives.
That's what led me to build up my Twitter and gain the leverage needed to go freelance.
Now on the average day, I write in the mornings, nap and walk the dog in the afternoons, go to the gym and get dinner with my girlfriend in the evenings, and then work again until midnight. I'm running on my schedule and it's beautiful.
But I want more freedom. I want more power over my own life. I want to be a Sovereign Creator. And I want you to want this for yourself as well. But first, some context:
The Sovereign Individual
To understand what I mean by a Sovereign Creator, we need to take a quick look into the 1997 book The Sovereign Individual by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg.
The authors are two economists who got famous for their 1987 finance book Blood on The Streets. In The Sovereign Individual, they take readers on a journey from hunter-and-gatherer societies to now: what they call Information Societies. 25+ years ago, they predicted cryptocurrency, online communities, digital nomads, and full-time creators.
The book is super long, but here's 3 quotes that sum up the thesis quite well:
- "For the first time, those who can educate and motivate themselves will be almost entirely free to invent their own work and realize the full benefits of their own productivity. In an environment where the greatest source of wealth will be the ideas you have in your head rather than physical capital alone, anyone who thinks clearly will potentially be rich."
- "In the future, one of the milestones by which you measure your financial success will be not just now many zeroes you can add to your net worth, but whether you can structure your affairs in a way that enables you to realize full individuality."
- "It will not matter what most of the people on earth might think of your race, your looks, your age, your sexual proclivities, or the way you wear your hair. In the cybereconomy, they will never see you. Genius will be unleashed, freed from both the oppression of government and the drags of racial and ethnic prejudice."
It's unbelievable how right Rees-Mogg and Davidson were.
On the internet, your ideas matter more than physical capital.
From simply posting my ideas on the internet repetitively, I achieved sovereignty over my schedule, who I get to work with, and what I get to work on.
Of course it was harder than just repeatedly posting online. I failed for 10+ years, became a digital apprentice, and turned myself into an API. I willed my freedom into existence.
Yet I still want more sovereignty.
The Sovereign Creator
In the Renaissance era, artists were dependent on patrons like the Medici family to sponsor their work. Now, many of us create work for companies.
Few of us can make a living creating for ourselves. That is my end goal and should always be the end goal. A Sovereign Creator is a self-employed entrepreneur.
The Sovereign Creator builds an audience that no one can take away.
I think of people like Tim Ferriss who has 2M+ people on his email list. Even if he got removed from every social media platform, he could still make a living from his email list alone. I think of Mark Manson and every other self-published author.
I think of my friend Aadit Sheth who is in college and has 220,000+ Twitter followers. He's free to do what he wants the rest of his life. He writes a newsletter called Time Billionaires because he has billions of seconds left in his life to do whatever he wants.
I asked Aadit how he could achieve even more freedom.
"I’ve recently realized that not everyone optimizes for [more freedom] and that’s okay. But it seems like you and I are similar in the sense that what we want to do is ultimately for freedom. At least for me… I literally want to anti-work. It doesn’t mean I don’t work. Nor does it mean that I live purely on passive income. It means I don’t do anything that I don’t want and everything I do is what I want. Of course, this is practically impossible because there are responsibilities and other people to take into consideration in real life. But that is ideally the goal. So to achieve more freedom, I just have to continue to do what I want and say no to everything else."
I think this is an incredibly realistic viewpoint on self-sovereignty. No one, not even Kings and Queens, can completely avoid things they don't like to do. And even the wealthiest men in the world still have to brush their teeth (and let's be honest, no one enjoys that.
It's impossible to be completely self-sovereign unless you're like Ted Kaczynski living in the woods by yourself. And good old Ted ended up becoming the unibomber.
The Sovereign Individual has become the defining book of the crypto movement. "Not your keys, not your crypto" is a common saying that means if you don't own your secure keys, then a centralized exchange like FTX can control your funds.
But it's challenging. You can't keep all your money in crypto. And no one is truly self-sovereign as we all have to interact with society in some capacity.
So given that it's impossible to truly be a Sovereign Individual, what does it really mean to be a Sovereign Creator? I think it comes down to 4 main things.
The Sovereign Creator Checklist
- Schedule-sovereignty: Ability to grab coffee with friends anytime I want, golf on a Wednesday, and take naps in the afternoons. Done.
- Audience-sovereignty: Loyal, owned audience that financially supports your craft. Not your email list, not your audience.
- Energy-sovereignty: Ability to say no to projects that pay a lot but would be pains in the ass. This is more about self-control around big numbers than anything else.
- People-sovereignty: Ability to avoid interacting with energy-drainers except when needed. Impossible to completely avoid. Accountants and lawyers are musts.
So if you're wondering what I'm chasing in the New Year, it's this list up here.
For the past 2-3 months, I've been curating the Founders Corner in Launch House's newsletter. Then I thought to myself, why don't I have a Creators Corner?
I'm thinking that I'm gonna drop 3 things here on every Sunday post that helped me be a better creator that week. Lmk in the poll below if you like this idea and I'll keep doing it.
📕 Gonzo Marketing by Christopher Locke: imagine if Hunter S. Thompson wrote a marketing manifesto. This is it. Funny, sarcastic, inappropriate. Perfect winter reading.
🐝 UTM Attribution Guide by Beehiiv. S/O Abhishek for this one. Using UTM links, you can tag your subscribe domain to show platforms like Beehiiv where your subs come from.
📕 Readwise's Reader app launched this week. Readwise was already my favorite app. This new feature lets you highlight any page on the web + organize your highlights.
Should I add Creators Corner to every Sunday post?