#27 learning = leverage

  • How to build leverage in your life
  • How to hop off the hamster wheel
  • How to turn your skills into an offer you can sell
😍 Something I'm grateful for this week

Why your most important job right now is building leverage.

A thought experiment:

Imagine two people are told they have to fill a muddy pit with water from a nearby stream to turn it into a pool.

They are told that if they manage to make a pond from the pit they will be free from work for the rest of their life.

They’re also told that if the muddy pit reaches empty, they will be shot.

Sounds harsh?

This is an extreme version of a reality that most modern workers face:

Working to live.
And working for the rest of their life.

These two people are the same in every way.
The only difference is that one is given a thimble and one is given a cup.

This doesn’t sound fair!
But real life isn’t fair…
We all have different starting points and different advantages such as the place we were born. The family we were born into are socioeconomics etc

The two workers scramble to fill the muddy pet but all the water that they put into the pit drains out the bottom.

The worker with the thimble runs at full speed between the stream and the hole, trying to desperately to fill faster than the drainage.

The walker with the cup is able to make a little more progress with each trip,
and fills the pit just enough to buy enough time to run and fetch a larger bucket.

The worker with the thimble continues to work at full speed but is unable to make any further progress,
instead each run filling the hole just enough to keep up with the drainage.

Meanwhile the worker with the bucket has filled his hole and runs to grab a spade.

The worker with the Spade digs himself a drench towards the stream,
in between his runs with the bucket to keep the hole filled with water.

At this point the worker with the thimble has made no more progress than he had at the start.

The worker with the spade has now managed to dug a trench from the stream to the to the pit and watches the pit fill with water from the stream.
He can now sit back and enjoy life without further labor.

Meanwhile the worker with the thimble will be stuck running thimbles of water back and forth for the rest of his life, despite working harder than his luckier counterpart.

Now the lucky worker has choices…
Should he sit about and enjoy life?
Or he could build a waterwheel to supply electricity for the whole village…
I just hope he chooses to fetch his poor colleague a bucket first 🤣

So what is the moral of the story?
That you should use the right tools?
That your luck in life determines your success?
That you should avoid people standing near pits?

Does luck impact your success in a solo business?

Luck almost certainly impacts your success…
or rather, the rate of your success:

Someone with advantages will have a head start.
But we all have different advantages and disadvantages.

There are others far more lucky than me.
I met people who travel in wealthy circles with access to wealthier clients.
I’ve met people with less talent who land a cushy job with a 6 month contract and 3 months paid garden leave.

There’s no point bemoaning your luck our your place in life,
That’s a victim mindset.

I had a great upbringing, a stable home, an education.
All advantages that others don’t have, which moved my starting point forwards.
Just being born in a 1st world country is a huge advantage.

Through my coaching I see many people with far more talent, who work much harder, with many more hardships than me, and yet live a hard life, just because they were born somewhere less prosperous.

So I consider myself extremely lucky.
You just have to work with the tools you’ve got.
You have to just manufacture your own luck.

The moral of the story is not about luck.
The moral of the story is about leverage…

Why you need leverage for a solo business

I’m fond of saying money isn’t important.
It isn’t…
After a certain point.

You need enough money that you have a safety net:
a reliable income is a cushion which allows you
freedom to consider your higher purpose and lifestyle.

If you doubled your income tomorrow, you could work half as much.
So now you have free time.
Time which you can use to do things which earn more money.
Things which give you more purpose than just running thimbles of water back and forth.

See the parallel with the pit story?
Grab a claw hold and turn it into a waterwheel.

Your skills = leverage
skills = money = more time to do things which generate money and free time.

If you have leverage, you can carve the life you want.
If you don’t you’ll always be struggling to stay afloat

Freelancers think work harder more, longer, more effort
Solopreneurs think less effort more leverage
Your skills are your tools to buy you more leverage.

Working Harder


Working Smarter


This is where the hustle culture BS gets misunderstood.
Hard choices now for an easier life later.
When Hormozi says “just work harder” he always forgets to add “for a while”

This might mean some uncomfortable truths.
You may need to work evenings and weekends.
You will need to get out of your comfort zone.

In a solo business your are the business.
Personal growth = business growth.

Your personal growth and the skills you learn,
are the lever that allow you to achieve more with less.

This is the difference between career growth vs personal growth…
When you work on yourself & grow your skills for a 9-5,
what do you get?

A 5% raise and 20% more responsibility.

When you work on yourself, and work for yourself,
What do you get?

Double your income every year
Freedom to live the way you want.
Stability and security in your work.

How to build leverage in a solo business

You can the skills you learn and turn it into a wedge that lets you earn more, work less and live better.
But the key is turning the things you learn into value for your customers.

There are plenty of designers with great skills who don’t have large amounts of freedom or income.

Why is this?

Sell transformations not services

The reason people less talented than you are charging more than you,
is because they are still selling a skill instead of a result.
There are too many designers out there selling logo design.
If you sell logos for a fixed price,
your customers will just compare you with every other logo designer.
And if the choices are all the same,
the customer will pick the cheapest.

tip lettuce 4

You need to stack your skills to sell a transformation,
which combined with your brand
is a unique product that only you can sell.

If your product is unique,
you are no longer competing in price with other logo designers,
so you can charge what you want for it.


Here’s how it works:

Things I learned to do

🔴 web design,

🔴 coding,

🔴 IT,

🔴 networking,

🔴 brand design,

🔴 copywriting,

🔴 landing page conversion

🔴 email marketing,

🔴 social ads,

🔴 google Ads,

🔴 sales,

🔴 finances,

🔴 team building,

🔴 lead funnels,

🔴 business strategy

🔴 automation,

🔴 offers


Things I talk about in my content

🔵 Growing startups.

🔵 The benefits of a lifestyle business.

🔵 Solopreneur mindset

🔵 6 figure Business Systems


Things I sell

🟢 Design Hero – Successfully launch a new startup

🟢 Life by Design – A profitable solo business on a 3 day week


Mastering Skills vs learning the basics

Mastering any skill takes time,
but I find if you focus properly, you can usually learn the broad strokes of most skills pretty quickly.

You only need to learn enough to be better at it than your customers.
Then later you can get better.

You don’t need to be the best designer.
You just need to provide the customer with the best experience.

This is where a lot of great designers fall short:
They don’t know how to please or treat their customers.

The mistake people make is trying to sell their skills,
instead learn skills so you can sell a transformation.

Build an Offer

The transformation has to be sold to the customer in a simple package which they can understand.
This is known as an offer.

For example when a client calls me to ask about a website,
They almost always start by shopping around for x3 prices, and they’d like to know my price.
But I’m not just a web designer. So I’m not going to give them a price for web design:
This always makes them pause. So I drill down:

  • I ask what their goals are,
  • why they even want a website,
  • what is the result they want?

Ahhhh so they want to grow their business?
well a website alone isn’t going to help with that.
They also need other things.
They need a brand strategy, they need copy that sells, they need a landing page and an automated lead funnel, then need digital marketing to drive traffic to that funnel.

Find me a web designer who has all these skills?
now it’s impossible to compare my price to the other x3 prices because it’s not the same thing.
But I haven’t even told them my price yet.
So then I explain how my process works,
How it gets them to the result they want,
and skips all the other people and services along the way.
So it actually works out cheaper than hiring x6 different people all of whom have to be checked and vetted.

Now I pitch them my offer.

I’ll provide everything you need to launch this new business successfully in the next 12 weeks, plus ongoing mentoring to fill any gaps in your knowledge.


I’ll sell you a website, the rest is up to you.

Your offer is a pitch which defines the transformation, what you do, how you help them, and addresses any objections, all in a few short sentences.
A good offer sells itself, so you don’t need to be the pushy salesman on a salescall.

How to build an offer that sells for a one person business

  1. List your skills
  2. Identify people who your skills can help
  3. Identify painful problems those people have can solve with those skills
  4. Write down all the steps you need to do to solve that problem
  5. If there’s gaps in your skills or process, fill them. Don’t leave it up to the customer
  6. Solving this problem is what you sell now.

I wont go into the details, as Hormozi’s $100M Offers covers this much better than I could, but here’s a template framework I use to build and refine my own offer quickly using a step by step process:

blog 27 offer worksheet

Struggling to figure out how to turn your skills into value?.

Download my guided offer worksheet.

Struggling to figure out how to turn your skills into value?.
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💡 Key Insights for solopreneurs

Your most important task right now is to build leverage,
by combining and stacking skills into an offer that is more valuable than any one skill.
If you want help identifying your ideal audience, and building an offer that sells,
you can download my free offer worksheet.

🛎️ Daily reminder for solopreneurs

To build leverage, work on big picture tasks first.

💥 How to take action in the next 5 mins

  1. List your skills,
  2. Identify problems you can solve with those skills,
  3. Download the offer worksheet,
  4. and work through it to build your offer.

Picture of Nicholas Robb

Nicholas Robb

Founder, Design Hero
Author of Life by Design

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