No money to start your new business? No worries says Nathan Latka. By the end of this article, I’m going to dig into five takeaways from reading How to Be a Capitalist Without Any Capital by Nathan Latka. Together we’ll dig into a few core principles that Nathan believes helps you become a more effective entrepreneur.
Takeaway 1: Delegation provides immense leverage for any business.
The first takeaway from how to be a capitalist without any capital is that delegation provides immense leverage for any business. Nathan gives an example in his book on how every single day he’s able to consistently published a new podcast channel for his top ranked podcast.
And the reason why he’s able to do so is because he’s built a team around him that allows him to be so prolific with his content. He writes about how the main way he’s been able to accomplish this is by thinking about what his inputs, his outputs, his feedback loops and what his stocks are. His inputs are getting guests, traffic, himself, as well as his editors.
His outputs are obvious. It’s an episode every single day, as well as sponsors for these episodes for him to generate revenue. His stocks here are the number of downloads for his podcast. This is how he measures whether or not what he’s doing is actually really working. And then his feedback loops are times in which, for example, a guest will share the episode that they were featured on with their own network, or they’ll see some ratings that might come in in the app store for his podcast.
When he gets these feedback loops, they in return typically lead to an increase in the number of downloads or his stocks. And as a result, he’s then able to charge more for his sponsorships, which are his outputs as well. From here. It’s all about organization. What he does is he sets up a system in which on a few days in the week, he will batch record on a ton of episodes.
And then from there have his team take over the editing process, as well as the publication process. What this means for Nathan is that his only involvement is the actual recording of the episode. Everything else is delegated to his team. This is a really important takeaway because this sort of system is what allows not only podcasters but also YouTubers and any media company to scale.
It’s something that even I do with my videos in which I record and then from there, I work with my editors to get the final version of my videos out onto YouTube. These sorts of systems are what allow podcasters to scale effectively. It’s all about removing yourself from as many of the menial tasks as possible so that you can really focus on the content that you’re creating for your audience.
Takeaway 2: Pacing is a tricky skill to master.
The second big takeaway from this book is to sell pickaxes to gold miners. This is what he calls rule number four of his rules of making money. But I really related with this because I see this all the time in the SaaS and startup world today. Oftentimes, the SaaS companies that are doing the best are the ones that are actually selling services that empower organizations to move even faster.
For example, when it comes to finding and getting new customers, Salesforce is one of the juggernauts. And the reason why is because they’ve created a system or a customer relationship management software that allows for these businesses to manage all of these relationships, as well as do their marketing and things like that through strategic acquisitions that they’ve done over the years.
Something that Nathan realized as he was interviewing all of these SaaS CEOs was that he was getting a ton of rich data on how many employees they had, how their space was built out, as well as what their annual recurring revenue was. So what he cleverly decided to do was he built a database in which he stored all of his private company information around how much money these companies were making, what their employee counts were and other information that might be relevant to a competitor or even a venture capital firm that is looking for their next great investment.
In other words, he was able to productize some of the content that he was getting and the valuable information into something that could be digested and used by people that would find the information valuable. This is really powerful because Nathan by doing so is able to not only make money from his podcast sponsorships, but also by selling annual licenses to this data, to venture capital firms and also firms that are competitors to the ones that were interviewed that just want to get more intel on their competitors.
This is a really clever and great example of how to leverage something you’re already doing to stretch even further in terms of monetization opportunities, as well as opportunities for you to grow your business. Finding a way to sell pick axes to gold miners is one of the surefire ways to generate revenue for your business.
Takeaway 3: How-to channels are a different world.
The third takeaway from this book is to negotiate even when you don’t have to. Nathan is a straight up hustler and he’s the type of person that will always be looking for a great deal, whether or not he already has a great deal presented to him.
One of the examples that he cites in the book is how he was able to negotiate an Airbnb that was typically $799 a night down to being significantly cheaper. The way he was able to snag the San Francisco penthouse was by reaching out to the owner and sharing with the owner that he was going to be hosting a mastermind with a ton of other CEOs and executives talking about business. The way he was able to pull this off was all with positioning in his negotiation.
If you’ve read my past article on some of the negotiation mistakes you want to avoid, you’ll notice when you read this book that Nathan makes none of them. In other words, he’s coming to the table saying, “Hey, I’ve got a great network of other people that will potentially generate you even more business so it’s really valuable for you to do business with me today”.
But on top of this, when he also shares with the Airbnb host, is that he would like to invite them to this workshop or this mastermind with these other executives and potentially have him learn from them if he’s able to find a way to come down on his price. By extending the sort of invitation and also sharing about how these guests could potentially be future guests for the Airbnb host, Nathan creates a win-win situation in which he’s able to negotiate the rate down from the 799 all the way down to $333 a night. The big thing that I took away from this is don’t be afraid to ask for a great deal even if you already have one.
Lesson 4: Good consistent content beats sporadic great content.
The fourth takeaway from this book is to not be afraid of reinventing the wheel. There are a ton of tools out there that can help you reverse engineer how your competitors or similar people in your space we’re successful.
One of the tools that Nathan references is Similarweb, which is something I’ve also used in the past. He also references how you can reverse engineer success by using SEO tools like Ahrefs to find what the long tail placements are for competitors, as well as their top ranking pages and back links. If you’ve been a viewer for awhile, you know, that I personally prefer SEMRush. However, both tools are more or less interchangeable when it comes to getting the job done in this sort of investigation action.
Lastly, Nathan also is a big champion of building things with Toptal or through Upwork and other freelancer networks, as opposed to giving equity upfront. The reason why is because you can create a minimum viable product through these channels and then just test it in the market to see if it actually stick without having to give up equity in your business or whatever venture you are working on.
Overall, one of the things he hammers home in this book though, is that you don’t need to feel the need to be the first to ever do something. You can just simply out execute other people and build a great business that way as well. And I full heartedly agree with that. I think there are a ton of ways in which you can build value, provide it for the world and not necessarily have to create the next electric vehicle for the rest of the world.
Takeaway 5: Stick to what works for you.
Takeaway number five is to always make the ask. One of the things that I admire about Nathan Latka is that he is fearless in always making an ask. He’s not afraid to make an ask for a great deal in negotiations as well as even when it comes to selling his companies. For example, he shares how one time when he was selling a company, he made sure to ask, is this your best offer?
And simply by challenging the person that is about to buy his business, to see whether or not they have an upper limit that they’re actually willing to do, he’s able to extract more value to create a win situation for himself. This is something where I think obviously your mileage may vary depending on your personality and how comfortable you are in doing this.
But I would generally say that the takeaway for me here is that you should always try to push the upper limit a little bit and push yourself to really see what you are actually capable of. If you’ve ever read some sales books, it closely relates to the concept of the Challenger Sale and what you really want to actually push the envelope with your prospect when you’re negotiating some sort of deal or selling something or whatever it is related to business.
There are two things that I want you to remember from Nathan Latka’s How to Be a Capitalist Without a Capital:
- The first one is don’t be afraid of thinking outside the box when you are solving a problem.
- The second one is to make sure that you create a team to help you leverage your time when you are building your business.
Overall, I’d give this book a two and a half or a three out of four stars. It’s by no means an instant business book classic that I would recommend in the top five lists that I’ve ever read. That said, though, I always think it’s helpful to read the memoirs or books of other great entrepreneurs to learn about how they think about things. And the only hangup that I really have that knocks it is that Nathan’s personality is a little bit too much for me.
He’s a little bit too confident and sometimes comes across as too cocky as a result. And that just doesn’t really vibe well that well with me personally. That said, though, if you want to read a book that has some real-world examples as to how entrepreneurs today are building viable businesses, then I definitely recommend you check out this book because he provides a ton of exact examples as to how he’s been able to do these things in his own life.
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