So What The Heck Is A Flywheel?

Hi there! My name is Melvyn Tan.

Before I talk about myself, let’s dive into what the heck is a flywheel.

To build a profitable one-person business can sometimes feel like turning a huge and heavy flywheel.

At first, the flywheel appears to inch forward in spite of pushing with great effort. As you keep pushing, the flywheel starts moving a little faster. Until, at some point, you achieve a breakthrough.

Sadly, most never see that breakthrough.

One-person business, many pathways

You’ve likely come across the growing number of one-person businesses online. Most of these solopreneurs start by providing client services.

Many continue to do so. Relying on trading time for money as their only avenue to earn an income. On top of that, they also find themselves trapped within the feast / famine cycle.

Some sell digital products in addition to clients work. These digital products do provide some side income but it isn’t enough to sustain their lifestyle.

A handful have built a profitable one-person digital business. They derived their income largely through selling digital products. Enabling them to enjoy the LIFT (location, ideas, financial, and time) Freedom lifestyle.

However, these one-person digital businesses, including myself, face one or more challenges when starting out:

  • Getting discovered online
  • Breaking free from the feast-famine cycle
  • Creating profitable digital products

Our mission here is to help you overcome these challenges by building a well designed flywheel for your digital business.

Leverage the flywheel effect for your business

Profitable one-person digital businesses are benefiting from the strategic compounding effect of their flywheels called the flywheel effect.

The flywheel effect and its impact on businesses is based Jim Collins’s book, Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great:

In creating a good-to-great transformation, there’s no single defining action, no grand program, no single killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, it feels like turning a giant, heavy flywheel.

The flywheel, if well conceived and well executed, builds upon previous work leading to a virtuous cycle that creates an almost unstoppable momentum.

Per Collins:

Never underestimate the power of a great flywheel, especially when it builds compounding momentum over a very long time. Once you get your flywheel right, you want to renew and extend that flywheel for years to decades—decision upon decision, action upon action, turn by turn—each loop adding to the cumulative effect.

To accomplish this, you need to build a well-designed flywheel that brings about the flywheel effect for your one-person digital business.

Let’s start building your flywheel now

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

—Chinese Proverb

By coming this far, you know the real motivation for building a one-person digital business isn’t just about the money.

You want to build a digital business that makes a great impact on the lives of your audience and your family, also known as the LIFT Freedom lifestyle.

  • “We-centric”. Your message isn’t resonating with your audience because it is “I-centric”. Part 1 will show you how to make the shift from “I-centric” to “we-centric”, and watch your message resonates with the community you want to attract.
  • Existing demand. No amount of resonance will result in a profitable endeavor unless there is existing demand. The fatal mistake many one-person businesses made is to think they can create demand. In Part 2, you will learn to find out if there is existing demand for the solution you’re offering.
  • Being different. If there’s existing demand, there will be competition. Instead of trying to be better than the competition, Part 3 uses a thinking framework to help differentiate your solution. Don’t try to be better. Strive to be different.

Build Your Flywheel

Start building your flywheel for your one-person digital business via the free three-part email course.

About Melvyn Tan

Hi there!

Allow me re-introduce myself. My name is Melvyn Tan.

I’m a flywheel strategist, educator, one-person digital business, traveler, husband, and dad based in Singapore.

From a consultant for small businesses to being a one-person digital business owner myself, I’ve witnessed the process of starting, building, and growing businesses.

While the end goal is rewarding, I find the process to be the most satisfying.

Specifically, I enjoy the process of identifying the needs of my audience, designing solutions to address their needs, and then scaling it using digital products.

First experience of the flywheel effect

2009 was the year LINE Consulting achieved a breakthrough after being officially appointed by the Academy of Singapore Teachers. Our role was to conceptualize, develop, and deliver the Induction Program for School Staff Developers. This was our first experience of the flywheel effect because going forward, nearly 80 percent of all new businesses were via referrals.

Technology-enabled flywheel effect

My second experience of the flywheel effect was during my one-year sabbatical in 2016. My wife and I, together with our kids, embarked on a one-year travel adventure. From September 2016 through September 2017, we traveled to 13 countries and 46 cities in the United States and Europe.

Being constantly on the move, I began experimenting with technology such as Zoom and videos to offer one-on-one coaching services online. This made me realize the potential of working with anyone from anywhere. Also, it created the possibility of working from anywhere by leveraging technology.

Upon returning to Singapore in 2017, I combined my coaching experience with my video creation skills. When LinkedIn launched its native video feature in 2017, I took the leap the moment it was available to me.

In 2018, I created a total of 184 videos on LinkedIn and earned close to 500,000 views. This was my third experience of the flywheel effect, where these videos led to businesses and brands discovering me on LinkedIn.

Build Your Flywheel

Start building your flywheel for your one-person digital business via the three-part free email course.

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