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I was fascinated by the Ikigai concept when I first heard about it via Chris Do from TheFutur.
A concept that aligns with their mission: Helping 1B people make a living doing what they love.
The concept is terrific. I LOVE Japan. However, I was surprised by how few Japanese actually follow their concept.
They work extremely hard and life ain't easy for those with a business.
I asked myself many questions.
Do Japanese business owners really "love" what they're doing or...
Or they just opened a business to generate a decent income in this beautiful country.
The most common businesses owned by immigrants are restaurants.
It's not an easy job.
You have to show up every single day, open, and then close. Come back home, rest, and repeat.
Today, I want to introduce you to the Westernized Ikigai. But let's set the stage with the traditional Ikigai concept.
Yes, Westernized is a fancy word for "Modernized," but I just thought it sounded better.
The core components of the traditional Ikigai model:
What you love:
- Basketball, anime, design, learning, writing, drawing, art, branding, travel, psychology, and many other things.
What you are good at:
- Basketball, drawing, branding, design, writing.
What the world needs:
- Design, branding, synthesized information
What you can be paid for:
- Websites design, branding, writing
Well, it is my current job—brand & website designer.
Although, it's not something I see myself doing in the upcoming ten years.
The traditional Ikigai approach fails in one area: Adaptation.
It forces you to put "one" thing into a box and follow it.
Today's world is evolving FAST.
Therefore, you might fall short if you don't adapt to new technologies and business models.
For instance, many businesses are implementing AI Automation into their operations.
I love the Ikigai concept. I didn't want to just ditch it because of this one misalignment (to me).
For that reason, I came up with a 2.0 version that is more aligned with today's world.
The Multi-Dimensional Personal Brand is a core component of the Westernized Ikigai.
Living a life of purpose for me is all about "constant change."
I want to build a business that allows me to experience that constant change and get paid for doing so. I can't really do that with a traditional "running a web design agency."
If you want to change, you have to start from zero again.
What about Specialists Vs. Generalists?
Why do Specialists talk down on Generalists?
It's like a self-constructed jail. You build a business that you don't want to quit because of all the effort you invested into it. It becomes a "well-paid job."
Is this living a purposeful life? I don't think so.
My revamped approach is simple.
I want to build a business that allows me to pivot without losing an edge.
I want to build a business that allows me to pivot and maybe generate more revenue.
How can we build a business like that?
We need to build a Multi-Dimensional Personal Brand.
Instead of focusing on what you are already good at.
You actually include what you suck at.
Quick note: 37.9% of new American businesses fail in the first three years.
**About 50% of all new businesses will fail within 5 years**
Source: Luisa Zhou
There is a positive twist to building a Multi-Dimensional Personal Brand.
The more years you stack, the higher your chances of surviving and THRIVING.
Let's explore how I'm implementing it.
The Westernized Ikigai Diagram:
You build an audience based on those three pillars.
First, you can instantly monetize your skills by offering a service or teaching them.
Second, you share what you're learning and how your current business is doing.
This includes failures, obstacles, lessons, and wins.
What I shared: lost deals, closed deals, failed launches, successful launches.
You keep your personal brand broad and niche down your businesses/services.
1) Create a social media account
2) Start creating content based on those three pillars. Use my free guide to get started.
3) Include in your content what you love (interests and passions), and what you're good at (skills)
4) Ask your audience why they follow you, what they want AND what they need
5) Create a product that solves their pain points
I do not follow the traditional way of building a personal brand.
The Multi-Dimensional Personal Brand is based on The Anti-Niche Philosophy.
As I'm writing this. I'm currently at 1750 followers on X.
An audience I built without a niche.
I project to grow to at least 200k followers by my 4th year.
How could I implement the Westernized Ikigai by then?
I love cooking, and I love GREAT food.
There are many ways to go about it.
1) I started sharing my daily routine–what I cook and eat in a day.
2) I announce that I'm taking a cooking class to become a "certified chef." This is purely out of passion. I do not wanna work for anyone. But, keep reading.
3) I pick the interest of current followers who want to learn more about it and new followers who discovered me because of my newly published targeted content about cooking.
4) I funnel them into a segmented email list (audience interested in cooking). I talk about this on How to Build A Segmented Broad Audience (with non-niche content) *upcoming article*
5) I monetize this list with upcoming digital products (Personal Cookbook recipes)
Another way to go about it is to create a straightforward digital product.
Based on my "broad" current following base which is "creators."
A guide for creators: "How to cook tasty food that promotes creativity in less than 90 minutes per day while hitting protein goals."
- Learn how to cook tasty meals and smoothies
- Learn how to be fast and efficient
- Create better content
- Promote creativity
Compared to the traditional way of focusing on monetizing one skill.
The power of a Multi-Dimensional Personal Brand is quite obvious.
It allows you to monetize your interests, passions, and skills that you already have or MIGHT have in the future.
More examples of this concept based on my audience:
I have one universal solution that works for ANY passion or skill you have– a curated list of all the resources you consumed for any acquired skills.
If someone wants to achieve YOUR level, they want YOUR resources.
They want what YOU learned.
Therefore, I DO NOT care if someone copies this "solution" because you want MY curated list because you trust ME, not someone else.
Trust is the core.
By sharing content of me playing basketball. I connected with many other creators who play basketball as well. The possibilities become endless here.
I can come across parents who want to teach their kids basketball.
What's funny is it works even if you suck.
What I love: watching, training and playing basketball
What they *might* need (you have to ask, we do not assume): how to jump higher, shoot like Stephen Curry, and dribble better.
What they need 100%:
A curated list of the best
- courses/programs on basketball
- the best tools and equipments
- the best shoes for kids
I can quickly sell it for $25.
I plug it into every basketball-related content I share.
Many creators lack "the time" in the early stage, so a common solution: "build your dream body with 3 sessions per week and 30 minutes per day."
I'm skeptical, but I've seen some people who got results.
How in the hell can I sell something?
Oh yes, I can.
I already talked about how Your niche IS your perspective.
Therefore, my audience trust my opinion and perspective.
They are ready to pay for it.
I will attract other creators or gym enthusiasts by sharing Olympic weight training-related content. I do not need to be a freaking expert here.
My expertise is my ability to give GREAT reviews.
Value? It helps you avoid wasting your time trying tons of programs.
Solution? The curated list saves the game again.
What I love: Olympic weightlifting and athletic training.
What they need 100%:
A curated list of
- The programs that I used
- The supplements that I used
- The diet that I followed
Take the example of Alex Hormozi. He has this video where he shares how he's always able to hit 200g of proteins, eat dessert, and still have abs.
If he really wanted to, he could've packaged his video as a masterclass and sold it for $97 or even $200. That's peanuts and not even pocket change for him, but he would've created an instant 6 figures income stream with this specific knowledge.
Why would people buy from him?
1) Physique to back it up
2) Knowledge and expertise in a different domain (build trust)
I am not, and you are not Hormozi. But this could apply to us as well.
Imagine having an audience of 1M followers.
You have an answer to any questions with small digital paid products.
I will embody the jack of all trades saying at its fullest.
1) help tons of people with my knowledge (cheaply)
2) make tons of money related to my audience size
It solves the biggest loophole of the traditional Ikigai.
Now, you can pivot, change, and evolve.
So, do it.
I explore the intersection of passions and business.
I am a minimalist, and multi-passionate currently obsessed with the creator economy, branding & web design.
Minimal Creator is a Framer Template designed by a creator (me) for creators (you). Optimized for Newsletter Opt-ins, Blog Posts and Digital Products.
You Don't Need A Niche To Build An Audience. I grew my Twitter account to 1600 followers without any niche. In this guide, I'll show you how you can create content without a niche.
Build An Optimized Website And High-Converting Landing Pages For Your Services/Offers With Framer. You don't need any design or coding skills.