Do cool stuff and then teach other people how to do that same cool stuff. That’s my strategy for success and I’m sticking to it.

Instead of gaming the algorithm for likes, doing publicity stunts for fame or teaching things you don’t actually have experience of, do the cool stuff, enjoy building the credibility and experience, then choose where you go from there.

This is a highly effective strategy and it’s rewarding too.

  • Tim Ferriss launched and ran a successful online business before he taught people how to do the same in the 4-Hour Work Week. When he subsequently launched a podcast, his foundations were solid.
  • Sara Blakely became a billionaire with her hosiery brand Spanx before she taught entrepreneurship on Masterclass. When she shares inspirational quotes on Instagram, they are grounded in substance.
  • Robin Sharma coached world-class entrepreneurs, philanthropists and athletes before writing books about his methods. When he tells you to get up at 5AM, it’s because he’s seen it work in practice and does it himself.
  • Carrie Green built her business and brand from scratch before she created a membership site helping female entrepreneurs to build their business and brand from scratch.
  • Derek Sivers sold his company for $22million before he wrote a business book containing his lessons. He was a professional musician before writing about how to make it in the music industry.

If those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach, be the one who does it and teaches it.

Academics can study entrepreneurs all they like, but there’s nothing to say they have drawn the right conclusions. Reverse engineering can often just be a misinterpreted cause and effect with convenient narratives, survivorship bias and limited commercial application.

The real insights come from the trenches, and without having spent time in the trenches any teaching or personal brand efforts will be shallow. Without the substance there’s just hype and noise, and advice without value.