Geoff Langenderfer

On Perpetual Unemployment

Why You Should Go Freelance

Posted at — Sep 17, 2020


Coronavirus times feel like a science fiction movie:

Uncertainty is high. Jobs are in short supply. Everyone is stuck at home. Yet, the conditions for going independent have never been better.

It’s not the right choice for everyone. But everyone should consider it.

Table of Contents

Shoot for Ikigai

Ikigai is the Japanese word for “a reason for being”. It’s the intersection of:

If you feel ikigai on your death bed, you’ve lived a fulfilling life. Ikigai is the intersection

Low Barriers to Entry

The online tools to reach your audience have never been more accessible:

The effect is eliminating middlemen and their revenue cut. That makes building an audience of 100 or 1,000 true fans a real possibility.

In [1,000 True Fans], Kevin Kelly defines a true fan as someone who buys everything you produce. With 1,000 true fans paying you $100/year, you can make a six figure income. For less than $9/month, your true fans can help you turn your shared passion into a career.

Large tech companies enable this long-tail of micro content-creators. Twitter runs on AWS cloud services and Youtube on Google Cloud. This allows small creators to publish for free.

A Wealth Ladder Stepping Stone

Wealth Ladders

An audience is an accelerator as you climb wealth ladders. The first ladder has the least leverage. You trade your time for an hourly rate or a salary. The final ladder has the most leverage. You sell a product while you sleep.

The idea is that you start on the first ladder as an hourly worker. You gain skills and savings on each ladder to propel yourself to the next.

If you can overcome the worst case scenario, you should choose this path. As you transition between ladders, your income will fall. Replacing your previous income could take 1-3 years. If this is a dealbreaker, do not shoot for another ladder. Remain where you’re comfortable.

When you build an audience, you’re building relationships that lead to sustainability. Your readers enjoy your content. Maybe because you teach them a valuable skill. Maybe for entertainment. The more they read the more they like you. They will support you when you monetize because that’s what friends do. A beautiful voluntary exchange.

Less Risky Compared to SAAS

SAAS is risky because you build a product based on assumptions about your audience. You can de-risk this with a lean startup approach. But, starting with an audience is an unfair advantage. You must understand your audience. It will give you clarity on whether an info or software product will resonate. Do you think Sam Harris doubted whether his would be a success?


The barriers to building an audience have never been lower. Amidst surreal circumstances, there is hope. Build an audience. You can build a sustainable career catering to that audience in a variety of ways. And, you de-risk your approach to a successful SAAS product.