The daily invitation
My first big experiment in non-coercive marketing
There's this weird thing that happens when I talk about my products in public. I start making... sales. It's the damndest thing!
Yet despite making cool products, and being proud of them, and wanting to make sales, I rarely talk about them publicly. And when I do, I usually feel some discomfort, like I'm doing something dirty or extractive, which then leads me back into hiding. This has been my modus operandi for the last year and a half, and frankly, it is not a good way to run a reliable business lol. Instead, it's created a cycle of feast or famine, and more financial insecurity than I'm comfortable admitting. It's time to change that dynamic.
Which brings us to the daily invitation experiment. For the next 100 days, not only will I be publishing something raw and imperfect each day, but I'll be appending an "invitation" to the bottom of each post. Each invitation will crack open the door to one of my paid products or services, and invite readers to step through if and when it feels alive to them.
By doing this every day, I'm...
Increasing the surface area of my business. It's like I'm planting 100 seeds, creating vastly more opportunities for the right product to land in front of the right person at the right time.
Getting creative and learning to articulate my products and services in new, novel ways. This seems useful for its own sake, but hopefully I'll be getting feedback about which articulations seem to resonate, so that I can hone my messaging over time.
Experiencing a new emotional reality, and getting my nervous system comfortable with the talking about my products. Logically, I know that people don't think less of me when I sell, but my emotions and intuitions haven't caught up yet. So for the next 100 days, I'll be doing a bit of prolonged exposure therapy so that all parts of me can directly experience how benign it is, and begin to trust that this is a safe and worthwhile activity.
Normalizing the act of talking about our paid shit. A more beautiful, artisanal future for the internet isn't one where we avoid talking about our products as much as possible because it feels dirty. It's one where we're proud of the work we do, and where talking about it is perfectly natural and socially accepted. We're all happier when our work is economically sustainable, and creating new social norms around this seems like an important piece of creating an entire ecosystem that flourishes financially.
This is also my first big experiment in walking the walk with non-coercive marketing. I'm trying, to the best of my ability, to embody all of the principles in this essay, and make them the centerpiece of how I show up online. As such, there are no funnels here. No fancy opt-in pages or email sequences or countdown timers. There are no calculated ploys to persuade you of anything, reframe your beliefs, prod your insecurities, or hype you up. I am not paying attention to analytics, open rates, conversion rates, or anything that treats humans like data. I have done zero market research, and I am not writing to some ideal customer avatar (lol).
Instead, I am sitting down each morning, and writing what feels most alive and true for myself in the present moment. It will not fit neatly into the category of people who Educate Creators™ because truthfully, I do not fit neatly into that category. There will be no definitive or authoritative advice, because I cannot and will not claim to have the right answers for anyone but myself. My writing will reflect all aspects of myself, meaning it will be messy and imperfect and contradictory, instead of projecting some polished and cohesive "personal brand." And yes, I am going to talk openly about the things I sell, because I am genuinely proud of the work I do. I want more people to be aware that the invitation is available, and that they can join the party if and when it feels alive to them.
I suspect this approach, though entirely unconventional, will lead to me making more sales, more consistently. My hunch is that the citizens of the creator internet are starving for authentic humans who are imperfectly navigating towards a better world, and trying their best. Hell, that's what I'm starving for. But I can't be sure that will translate into revenue. Because again, I am ceding control and fully trusting people to make the right decision for themselves, without any of the normal shenanigans that get embedded in the traditional marketing process.
As such, there is zero certainty here. This is a leap of faith. All I can do is show up, write what I believe to be true, share my daily invitation, and let the chips fall where they may. It's time to trust the process. Chop wood, carry water.
Rob's Daily Invitation
Two years ago, I ran an experiment where I transitioned my entire business into the Gift Economy, meaning I made all of my products and services available on a "choose your own price" basis. It was a pretty big flop, for reasons I wrote about here.
But even after that experiment ended, I kept offering my Gift Economy Coaching Calls. Truly they've become one of my favorite aspects of my business. Basically, you show up with something you're stuck on or working through, we spend an hour getting into the weeds and creating a sense of progress, and then afterwards, you can pay whatever you think it was worth. And if you don't think it was worth your time, you're under no obligation to pay anything.
So yeah, if you're on the journey of 1,000 true fans and building a business that feels alive, the door is open if you'd ever like to jump on a call.