In the first step, I discussed the process of getting lighter by paying off debt, eliminating bills, and getting rid of extra material junk. Step two begins the process of laying the foundation for later income. The idea is to produce income that requires little or no work, which is often referred to as “passive income.” The passive income will give you freedom to do anything other than actively working to earn money.
The idea of a “platform” is is somewhat vague because your platform will be determined by the methods you use to earn passive income. In almost every case, a platform can be viewed as an audience. Our “platform” is our audience for this blog, our Robillard Adventures blog, Shelly’s blog, and my new Squirrel Wipe ultramarathon blog. To a lesser degree, our platform could also be considered forum participation and the in-person clinics we conduct.
Most people take the opposite approach to building anything. The produce a product (tangible goods, a book, artwork, websites, etc.) then try to fit the product into a market. The platfrom-building approach takes the opposite approach. We’ll build an audience before a product, then create a product that takes care of your audience’s needs.
I started building my platform well before I recognized it as such. It began with my first website, which grew into several different blogs. I also started participating in various forums. Barefoot Running University and The Barefoot Running Book both grew out of a specific need our community expressed- a need for information to learn how to run barefoot. By the time I created the website and wrote the book, there was an immediate demand.
I’ve done the same thing with the Squirrel Wipe project. I already had a base of interested readers because the entire project started because a lot of my friends are beginning to explore ultras. Since the project is based on the idea of community involvement, those few interested parties are critical. The actual Squirrel Wipe blog is the platform I created for the project. The project would take much longer and would not be nearly as successful without the platform.
So how do you go about building the platform? For the vast majority of people, a blog is an excellent place to start. It’s free (blogger.com is a good choice), allows you to interact with your audience, and allows you to share written words, pictures, video, and links to other websites.
To start the blog, just select a topic you know something about. Start writing. Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to promote the blog. Join forums that discuss the topic. Participate. Share. Learn. The idea is to become part of the community. As you participate, consider the needs of the community. How could you produce something that will help them out in some way?
Can This Idea Actually Produce Enough Income to Survive?
My entire idea is predicated on a simple concept- you’re producing something of value for your community. You’re not trying to make a million dollars off some mass-marketed piece of shit product. You’re creating something that’s personal. You’re creating something for your community.
In all likelihood, you won’t make a million dollars off the idea. That’s fine- remember our goal: provide enough income to survive with little active work. To get an idea of the logistics of this idea, check out this article by Kevin Kelly about long-tail marketing and 1,000 true fans.
We’re going to begin building our platform at the same time we’re paying off debt, reducing our bills, and getting rid of our junk. The first step takes time. So does this step. By doing both at the same time, you’ll arrive at the destination free of debt, few bills, few material possessions, and an audience that will ultimately consume the goods you produce.
The Third Step: Build the Product- coming soon!