Platform Businesses Remind Me of Network Marketing

David DeWolf

There’s a new wave of entrepreneur taking the virtual world by storm. They have built incredibly successful digital businesses by sharing their thoughts, ideas, and expertise. They have learned to productize their know-how and they are continually discovering new strategies for doing so. I consider many of them mentors and some of them friends. I have learned valuable lessons from them and respect them greatly.

But has anyone else realized that there’s something peculiar about these businesses?

Michael Hyatt, the godfather of the digital platform, has built a platform that teaches you how to build a platform.

Cliff Ravenscraft, the PodcastAnswerMan, is podcasting and teaching others about how to podcast.

Dan Miller, the author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, built a digital business teaching others how to build a digital business.

The list goes on and on . . .


Each and every one of them is teaching you how to do what they are doing, and, in doing so, is encouraging you to follow their path. By and large, they are solopreneurs and are encouraging others to be solopreneurs. They promote the idea that you can monetize your expertise and build a business similar to theirs.

For some reason, this reminds me of a pyramid scheme. Remember “Network Marketing”? Sell products and get rich by getting others to sell products and believe they’ll get rich like you. Those at the top of the pyramid got rich. Those that came after did fairly well. Those at the bottom quit their jobs to “own their own business” and many fell on hard times.

Don’t get me wrong.

I have tremendous respect for Michael Hyatt. He is one of the most genuine people I know and I have learned an incredible amount from him and his platform. I have no doubt his intentions are pure: he’s not trying to get rich, he’s trying to optimize his influence and is doing a great job at it.

Cliff is an all-around good guy and one of the most customer-oriented people I know. 3Pillar has had great success podcasting and we owe a great deal of our success to what we learned from Cliff’s “Podcasting A to Z” class.

I don’t know Dan, but can only imagine he comes from the same ilk. Great people attract great people.

Unfortunately, though, only so many of you can be expert solo-preneurs sharing with others how to build digital businesses.

Instead of trying to be the next Michael Hyatt, I encourage you to be the first you. Soak up Michael’s content, but, be creative in how you apply it. Become an expert in your field and allow what you learn to accelerate the career path you’re already on.

Take Cliff’s podcasting course and find a way to make a jump in your career or into a new field that you’ve always dreamed of by demonstrating your expertise.

Take Dan’s premise for digital products (if someone asks three times, make a product) and use it to fuel the growth of the business you’re already in.

Besides, being a solopreneur really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s great for some, but one size doesn’t fit all.

How have you tapped into the wisdom of the platform businesses? What insight have you gained? Have you learned any lessons from them? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!