“Start With Why” is old and over-rated
The best business start with who.
Welcome to The Level Ups. The latest in tech and business for the future business leader (in plain-Jane English).
Remember Simon Sinek’s Book “Start With Why?” It’s officially outdated.
- It’s not “start with why” anymore, it starts with who.
- Creators are taking over.
- How the deals work.
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes & 10 seconds.
Let’s get into it.
Times Have Changed:
Consumers have shifted. It’s not just about “why” a company operates. It’s about who is at the top.
Creator-led brands are crushing it and continue to do so.
- Prime by Logan Paul and KSI - sold to Coca Cola for an estimated $10B. Insane.
- MrBeast burger - passed $100M in September. That’s revenue.
- Kylie Cosmetics - $420M in sales in 18 months (she got caught lying, and later sold 51% of the business to Coty for $600M).
- Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty - doing $17M a year in revenue on top of everything else she’s doing.
Here’s the difference.
Check out the text from Prime’s about page:
No talk of “changing the world” - just the actual story.
Here’s the about page from MrBeast Burger.
No fluff. Just facts. They’re not changing the world with burgers.
But why does it work?
Well, the creators are good at what they do. They capture attention and use it for their own businesses instead of selling someone else’s stuff. More on this later.
It's more of a market reaction to past events.
Companies lied too often. So many talked about “changing the world” and didn’t do shit. They got caught and became hypocrites. The tide is turning.
People lie, play games, and they swindle customers too. Some corporations are good too. It goes both ways. Some businesses are legit that way. Some business leaders are not.
Sam Bankman-Fried stole money through his company FTX in the greatest scam humanity has probably ever seen.
Who matters more than why. But it's not universal. It’s a trend. A sign that times have changed and will continue to do so.
But what happened to start with why? It works in some cases, so why the change?
Much like how the market has changed, so has the context.
When Simon’s book came out in 2009, the idea that 20-something creators could start, scale, and sell a business to Coca-Cola for $10B - without having it try to “change the world” - was impossible to imagine.
The Deals & How This Works:
Content on “becoming a creator” is all over the internet, and I’m not here to try and add more to what’s easily found already.
But what a lot of people don’t realize is how creators make such huge sums of money.
In general, a creator gets paid based on “attention,” here’s what that means:
- Impressions. The more people who see the content, the more money they make.
- Clicks. Same idea, but clicks instead of views.
- Conversions. This is marketing speak to say creators get paid when someone using their link buys a product.
The vast majority of payouts for "attention" work this way.
That’s fairly obvious. So why do some creators make millions while some get paid in peanuts?
- Audience value. If millionaires view your content, you make more money than if broke students see it. They can usually afford whatever the brands are selling.
- Sale price. This one is less about the creator and more about the company. If they make $100,000 for every sale, they’re paying the creator more for their audience’s attention than a $30 book.
- Relevance. If your audience is in Vancouver, and a new restaurant or gym opens up, they better pay you with more than just a meal. It’s real value.
- Negotiating. How well a creator positions, presents, and negotiates makes all the difference. Are they desperate for an extra $100? They don’t make money.
The last bit is how it all comes together. Many creators “stack” their offers.
- A Youtube video with paid ads (commonly called a "monetized" videos).
- An ad in the video (also pays). Not from Youtube, one where the video creator talks about someone else's product.
- A deal with the same company on top of that ad to make money on every sale. Companies often do both ads and commissions because they want the creator to mention them more than once.
- A deal with a different company to sell related products (either as an ad, or on a per-sale basis).
This is how one video suddenly makes $10k, $100k, or more.
This is where things get interesting.
Once that creator sees that it’s working, they’ll start their own business.
Now, there are a few ways to do this (some of them save money).
- Partner with their former advertiser. If someone else was paying you to sell their makeup, they’ll partner with you to own a piece of your business (and invest).
- If partnering isn’t for them, they'll create a business that solves a key problem your advertiser’s product doesn’t. Do they sell great boxing gloves but no cleaning products? Start a cleaning product for boxing gloves, and continue doing the same deals while now selling your own products on top of your advertiser's paid deals.
You see creators making $1M a month when you stack them all together.
Cash Isn’t Key - Ownership Is.
In the same way that consumers look at “who” on top of “why,” creators become owners instead of just promoters.
I’ll be covering much more on this in the future, and referencing this post as a starting point.
I hope that was a nice introduction.
Thanks for reading!
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