Solo Creator Success

The five pillars of following your dream and building something that matters.

I know there are many creators struggling for success. I know this through the comments I have read on various articles and the solid evidence of the Pareto Principle - 20% of a specific niche get 80% of the results. That suggests a lot of people (80%) do not get the success they seek.

There are many reasons the 20% are successful. In a nutshell, they are serious about what they want and they work diligently until they figure out how to obtain it. This kind of success requires above average, deliberate, and sustained effort.

One of the ways to move toward the 20% is to have a framework for success in whatever creative area you want.

I have come up with 5 pillars that represent a simple framework for achieveing solo creator success.

The five pillars are:

  1. Do what you believe in.
  2. Serve people you care about.
  3. Know your business.
  4. Execute well.
  5. Invest in yourself.

Here is an overview of each pillar:


How do you do what you believe in? This is where all success books are silent, and rightly so. There is no book written that details how to achieve your dream. Only you can write the book after you figure it out.

Dreams are completely different from careers. Most careers are well defined. A dream, however, is uniquely yours. You are the only one who can define your dream. You are the only one who can build your dream. Without you, your dream is not possible. No one else can build your dream. What is needed is a vision, some form of plan, and some courage.


Our dreams were not meant for us alone. They are also meant to benefit others. As Naval Ravikant observed: "most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most."

When we combine our talents with a mindset of serving, we create a powerful force and a sustainable energy.


Our dream is our "business." Like an actor is in show business, we are in the dream business - the business of making our dream come true.

Our business is something that is personal to us. It's no one else's business. It's not that it's a secret, it’s just that it doesn't apply to anyone else. Our dream and our DNA are an exact match. It's ours to explore and enjoy every facet, like a sparkling diamond. Since we are the founder of our business, we need to know it well.


Execution is where the magic happens. Using our gifts to serve others brings us fulfillment and significance. No matter if you are an artist, philosopher, photographer, designer, landscaper, furniture maker, or bicycle mechanic, how you execute is just as important as what we do. Skillful execution is where the magic happens.


Not all investments are equal. So many things we learn today are of little value in a few years. Knowledge becomes obsolete, car technology changes, programming frameworks change, computer operating systems change, tax laws change, certifications expire, and so on.

Time is one of the most valuable resources we have. Time flies. We invest many hours of our life in our job, and we can never get those hours back. Yet, we must earn a living. Life makes many demands on us, but we should never neglect investing in ourselves and our dreams.


I cover each of these pillars in more detail in my second book: "BUILDER - The five pillars of following your dream and building something that matters," available here.