Sending an email is $10K Work

People love options. 

A second year analyst has the option of going to Business School.

A single person keeps their dating options open by staying in the gray zone.

And a savvy trader purchases a stock option on a company that is grossly undervalued – effectively leveraging their investment.

In this post, we’ll look at two different types of options: a cold email and a simple Loom video.

We’ll see two real-world examples of how these small acts of care and kindness (~15 minutes) opened up endless possibilities of revenue, job opportunities, collaboration and friendship. 

And we’ll show you how you can add these tools to your portfolio of $10K Work.

Meet Matthias, the king of feedback

Here at RadReads, we’re always running free events – bootcamps, trainings, tutorials, interviews, and community mixers. The events attract hundreds of participants and we’ll occasionally get a nice email saying, “Great event, really enjoyed the part about [topic X].”

But in September 2020, after our free events, I started getting really detailed emails from a recurring participant: Matthias Frank.

The emails were detailed, extremely helpful and both graceful and polite. Here’s the first one, in response to a prior iteration of the $10K Bootcamp:

I knew nothing about Matthias (for some reason, I assumed he was an older German gentleman), but these feedback emails kept coming. Matthias caught typos, gave us ideas for new Notion templates, and even offered recommendations on how to reorganize entire sections of our curriculum. And they always toed the fine line of being helpful without being overbearing.

The power of a Loom video

Fast-forward to a month ago when I gave a presentation to the Ness Labs Community, about my friend Anne-Laure Le Cunff, dubbed The Empress of $10K Work.

After the presentation, I tweeted (into the abyss) about the design of my slides.

You see, I’m passionate about design. But I also suck at it.

An hour later, I received this 14 minute Loom video from Nate Kadlac, a designer who I’d been following (but have never met). It was accompanied by the pithy note: “Hey man, just for fun.”

I was floored. I had seriously considered paying hundreds (thousands?) of dollars for this type of consultation. And here it was sitting in my Twitter DMs for free. Furthermore, Nate was gracious enough to go back and forth as we designed an upgraded $10K Matrix together.

But is this really $10K Work?

“I’m not sure if this is $10 work or $10K Work,” Nate ponders at the outset of his 14 minute video.

And it’s a very legitimate question. The truth of the matter is we all get a ton of messages each day. And if your life is spent on the Internet, multiply those messages by 100x.

So both Matthias and Nate were taking a small risk, investing a small (yet not insignificant) amount of their time for a very uncertain and delayed payoff.

We can re-frame their cold outreaches in two ways. First, they invested in small options for themselves. They probably didn’t expect much to come from it, but there was a possibility of deepened interaction.

But more importantly, they both demonstrated genuine acts of kindness. You can see from the depth and care in each of their messages, that they are passionate, invested and simply want to be helpful. It’s crystal clear that they didn’t send these messages with any expectation, yet probably said to themselves “Hey, ya never know.”

They each (presumably subconsciously) took a portfolio approach towards $10K work.

The serendipity engine

Let’s cut to the chase. Being kind and helpful is $10K Work. You just can’t do it all day, because you’d never get anything done and would burn out.

So what happened with our two generous protagonists?

I’m rushing to sign up for Nate’s Approachable Design Workshop in June. And if you are a non-designer who wants to level up your design skills (like me), I’m convinced it will deliver boatloads of value. I’ve experienced this value first hand. (And hopefully this unofficial endorsement to 30,000 RadReaders will drive up his sales!)

And Matthias? It turns out that he isn’t a 60 year old German man. Nope, he’s a Millennial lawyer who happens to love the Internet. His insights have been so helpful, that I’ve offered him a full time job at RadReads. Unfortunately, he’s demurring (for now), since he just completed the German equivalent of the bar. But the offer stands in perpetuity (and he’s currently an Intern).

You never want to compete with…

One of my favorite aphorisms is:

“You never want to compete with someone who’s having fun and genuinely cares.

So my challenge to you is to send a $10K email that genuinely comes from a place of love and care. It could be to possible mentor, client, recruit, editor or random Internet person who’s work you admire.

Don’t expect anything in return, but consider it a seed planted. You just never know what may ensue.

Want to spend 4 weeks designing goals, systems, and reflective practices to master your $10K Work? Enroll in Supercharge Your Productivity today, our next Cohort starts on June 1st.

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