When looking at what to do, and what to work on, you should try to pick things that stick. Things that compound and grow over time. You should build equity.
I recently did not know what this exactly meant. The term equity, for me, was always reserved to startups and their stock options for early employees.
Recently I started hearing it in more other sectors too: Banking, Real Estate, and Web. Each of them have slightly different meanings, but in their core, they all mean the same. Equity equals Value.
I always felt good when working on my own projects and products, independent of their growth. It felt like I was creating something of value. With every change to the onboarding, every new blog post, every new backlink, I would make my product more valuable. Not in terms of revenue directly, but in terms of equity.
When choosing to build something on the web, you can usually decide between doing things for growth and compensation, or build for equity.
Writing a blog post, vs. doing cold email outreach
I recently became somewhat comfortable with doing sales, and it has definitely paid off at times. The only catch: If I'm not active with doing outreach and followups, I don't get anything from it, at all. Once at times, a lead will come through and convert to a customer. But if not? That's it.
On the other hand, let's say I'm writing a blogpost. It's a well researched blogpost and unique in its niche, not just another "10 ways to make money" post. By writing this post and creating content, I'm creating value that gives my project more credibility, my domain more authority, and will hopefully someday rank in a good google spot and attract people searching for this issue. I just created sustaining value.
Talking to investors, vs. talking to customers
Another good example is something I recently saw a lot through Pioneer, a competition for people working on exciting products.
The main concept is around status updates, and people being to vote on them depending on how big their progress was, and how much value (i.e. equity) they have created.
Let's look at two updates, and decide which one has made more progress on their product (this is the medium of Pioneer, but generic updates):
A: I have spoken to two dozen investors, updated my pitch deck, got accepted to startup competition Y and accelerator Z, raised $50k.
B: I've spoken to two dozen customers, built feature X based on the feedback, created four more blog posts and gained 18 customers.
These are updates you see very often in that form on Pioneer. Needless to say, I usually vote for B. Why? Because talking to investors is fine, and people often gain a pretty evaluation from it. But in terms of progress, getting funding and a huge valuation is not progress. Creating value (which, in a secondary step, is probably A's goal too) is.
Creating content, or consuming it
This point was the starting point of this article. Originally, it was named "Creators vs. Lurkers". Ask yourself, which one of these two are you?
Lurkers tend to consume content on platforms. They stay on Instagram for hours. They follow Twitter threads, they watch hours of Youtube videos, and rarely post themselves. That's a fine pastime, but rarely something that is valuable.
Creators, well, create. They are the authors of these Twitter threads. The photographers or models of Instagram, and the thousands of YouTubers worldwide. The difference? With most of their time that they are spending on these platforms – replying to comments, posting something new, writing something – they are creating an audience and content, and with that – value.
Ask yourself: Have you increased the equity of your projects, products and undertakings today? Have you created something of persistent, and hopefully growing value?