One customer at a time
Inside of me there are two wolves
I've been noticing some tension this week. The Frontier membership is starting to grow. Not a ton. It's more of a slow, steady trickle of new customers, as I've been planting invitation seeds throughout my writing. But the growth is happening. It's real, and I can feel it starting to accelerate. Which is bringing up some uncomfortable shit.
As the old parable goes, it's like there are two wolves within me.
One wolf says, "Bro, you have to stop doing things that don't scale. You don't have time to connect with every new customer. You have to get this thing prepared to scale. You have to focus on systems, not people."
The other wolf says in response, quietly, "Connecting with people is the entire point. If we forget that, we have nothing."
Truth be told, I'm not as financially secure as I'd like to be right now. And when I'm in that place, the cries of the first wolf become ever more persuasive. Despite everything I talk about, I still sometimes find myself seduced by logic that would strip the humanity out of my business. When I look around the entrepreneurial ecosystem, pretty much everyone is telling me that's exactly what I should be doing. Scale! Systems! Data!
All of this reminds me of something I wrote towards the end of 2021, as I shifted my business out of the Gift Economy.
My ideal 1,000 True Fans style business is a container tor companionship with like-minded creators. I want the Ungated community to be a small, intimate corner of the internet where we explore new frontiers of creative entrepreneurship together. I want to build an encouraging, generous ecosystem where we all experiment and learn and grow, and where we're free from the mimetic pressures of "growth hacking" and "get rich quick" thinking.
It's funny. I didn't change the name of the membership to The Frontier until late 2022. But it was there all along. The seeds for what I'm doing today were planted long ago, and I've done a decent enough job at watering and nurturing them. As I enter this new phase of growth, however, I can't let myself lose sight of what I'm building here, or why I'm building it. This isn't just a business, but a container of companionship. I'm not just trying to create true fans, but true friends.
So, despite my many fears and insecurities around money, I'm going to keep taking things as they come, and feeding the second wolf every chance I get. And even when the voices in my head say I'm naive for doing so, I'm going to keep prioritizing personal connection. One customer at a time.
Rob's Daily Invitation
Speaking of making new friends, my favorite thing about running "choose your own price" coaching calls is that I reliably meet the coolest people. It feels like a cheat code for meeting ambitious internet homies who share the same values, and who are also striving to build a more beautiful internet.
If you're vibing with the writing I'm doing here, and you want to jam on something you feel stuck on in your creative work or business, my door is always open.