Each of the four U.S. Presidents depicted above at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial achieved fame, fortune, and freedom in their own individual ways. In this post I'm going to talk to you about the importance of choosing only one as your MB goal, how they evolve over time, and why your shouldn't optimize for all three at one time.
Fame, Fortune, or Freedom... Choose One
Fame: Becoming widely recognized (slightly famous) for what you do
Fortune: Amassing a stockpile of money to leave a legacy
Freedom: Doing what you want, when you want
In 2015, Derek Divers delivered a keynote at Chris Guillebeau's World Domination Summit in Portland, OR. (Watch it here on my Facebook page.) In minutes 06:00 - 11:30, Derek spoke about these three options as a business goal. He made a few very interesting points that I'd like to talk about.
1. "Don’t pursue what someone said you should want instead of what you really want."
2. "Whatever it is that you do want, you need to admit that."
3. "Whichever one you choose, everyone will tell you that you're wrong."
Although I don't agree with everything he says in this video, I think the above point are worth considering. Each of them have to do with the topic of today's post. Let's cover the first point, which is...
Optimize Around One Goal...for now
What does it mean to optimize around a goal? It means to hone in on your ultimate goal (fame, fortune, or freedom) and don't do anything that doesn't move you closer to your goal.
Let's look at how this works.
Optimizing for Fame
When you optimize around fame, you're entire mission is to the gain recognition. It could include personal recognition or that of your product or service, but most likely for YOU.
It means that your blog or website is branded with your smiling face (I guess brooding author face might work OK, too). After all, the brand is you, You, YOU!
Don't take this personally, but Donald Trump is a perfect example (albeit in an unhealthy sociopathic kind of way) of someone who's optimized around fame. His name is on everything he touches and in recent days, that's become a detriment.
On the flip side of the fame optimization coin is a healthy personal brand like Tim Ferriss. Tim is all about helping move people forward, but his reputation for quality and engaging personality is what precedes him and his followers adore him.
The Fame-Optimized MB
A MB that's optimized for fame might include a personal blog that is focused on solving a problem that readers collectively experience. Ev Bogue's former blog would be an example as would the current blogs belonging to Colin Wright or Tammy Strobel. Each are successful authors (and fans of minimalism) that produce books and classes, but they fully embody their individual brands.
Optimizing around fame, whether done ostentatiously like Donald Trump or respectfully like Tammy, carries with it some caveats. Fame seekers need thick skin, control over their ego and emotions, as well as an ability to persevere through times of criticism and negative comments about their appearance and style. It's a cruel world out there at times. Fame seekers need to know this going in.
I also think that optimizing around fame requires a unique personality; ones that's more extraverted than introverted. The need to be always on can be exhausting to someone like me, but it might just be the needed fuel for a more extraverted blogger.
Optimizing for Fortune
When you optimize around fortune, you're entire mission is to generate revenue. It's more of an Internet marketing approach to MB than a service business or lifestyle business. There's nothing wrong with being solely devoted to generating revenue, but it carries with it some risks and small amount of baggage.
When you're solely focused on making money, there is a danger if seeing your customers and readers as dollar signs. You cease becoming a caring provider of help -even though your products might be da bomb- and instead a marketer of products.
The Fortune-Optimized MB
Without naming any names, and since I've been around the Internet blogging space for about ten years, I could name and link to several blogs that I feel are optimized for fortune. But by doing so I'd feel a bit slimy myself. So let's just say that fortune-optimized MBs will tend to talk about nothing but their products.
They are tend to email you each and every day with prefabbed emails that make you, the reader, feel like a human ATM. You've probably had this experience as a subscriber and it's not a good feeling. My advice is to avoid this approach, at least in the beginning when you're trying to establish your MB and achieve some sort of recognition for your work.
Optimizing for Freedom
Freedom is perhaps the most popular reason that people like you and me are drawn to MBs in the first place. They represent an alternative to the packaged, rigid structure of the corporate world and the entire 9-to-5 world of work.
When you optimize for freedom, you are choosing to focus on doing only that which allows you to free up more time for what matters most to you. It could be time with your family, recreational activities, or caring for a a loved one who's ill.
The Freedom-Optimized MB
Yaro Starak is one of my blogging heroes. I was fortunate enough to take his Blog Mastermind course about five years ago. He tells the story that his laptop lifestyle business made it possible for him to care for his mom after the stroke that eventually took her life two years later.
Because he'd done the work of establishing a power MB for a few years earlier, his MB's revenue generation provided the income he needed while he was taking care of his mother.
That's the power of a MB optimized for freedom.
Your Optimized Goal Can and Should Evolve
Here the thing about optimizing around a goal: It can evolve. It can shift with time and it doesn't have to remain the same.
Let's do a mind experiment about your MB and see how this evolution occurs in a healthy manner.
Your Initial Optimization
Let's say that you initially optimize around fame and your blog's domain is YourName.com. For the first six months you might be focussed on getting the word out about your MB. You optimize your time around getting your social media presence established, attracting new blog subscribers, and writing new blog posts like a madman.
Great! Now you've got some traction and you're becoming known. I like to call this stage, the getting slightly famous stage. It's awesome that you've come this far.
Now your focus begins to evolve. You that you've got a decent amount of blog traffic and you're getting slightly famous, you can now begin to produce some products - maybe some ebooks, videos, possibly a membership subscription.
Instead of intensely focusing on fame, you're evolved a bit and are now building your business revenue - you're optimizing for fortune. This phase doesn't have to consume you and make you and ass to your readers.
You've not learned how emailing them through your list can be a good thing and not something that just pisses them off. You're a valuable resource and not a Internet marketer who only see her readers as dollar signs. Goodonya!
Congratulations! Your products are selling! You can now begin to shift gears again. This time you're optimizing around freedom.
The leveraged power of your digital products sustain your MB and you can afford to work less, one of the greatest perks of running a MB. You can do what you want, when you want.
Why You Shouldn't Optimize Around All 3 at Once
It's tempting to think that you can optimize around all three goals simultaneously. After all, if you work on all three, won't they all be realized sooner?
The danger of optimizing around all three at once is that you will lose focus. The attention that needs to be dedicated to one optimized area will become diffused and your MB's resulting architecture will be confusing and amorphous.
And the end result will be that you won't achieve any of the three.
Your MB should be optimized around only one of these three goals at a time. If it's not, then your presentation will only confuse readers, you won't get much return traffic, and your MB will cease to thrive.
A Minimalist Business Can Create Ultimate Freedom
Your MB can follow the type of trajectory and evolution that I've just described above. It can produce a healthy amount of fame, a consistent source of revenue and good fortune, as well as the freedom to do what you want, when you want.
But you must take it systematically and optimize around of goal at a time.