Our guest today is known as “the building public guy” Kevon Chung started his career running a VC backed startup. After leaving that career he has been reinventing himself as a solopreneur building an online business.
In this interview Kevon shares with us some tips and tricks on how he started making friends online, building free things like his “Build in Public Guide” and “Making Twitter Friends” email course, and how those products and efforts have gradually grown his following online.
Today he is continuing to “Build in Public” as he runs a 5 figure online business. He finds meaning by being able to share, teach, and help so many people through his work.
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In this episode you’ll learn:
- How being vulnerable will make people trust you
- How Kevon found his niche without any industry knowledge
- How looking back may give you the answers you are looking for
- How Kevon tried and failed at being a Youtuber
- Why and when to quit chasing an idea
- Advice on how to build in public
- Why you should use “I” before “you” in your writing
- How to start on twitter
- How to be social on twitter
- How Kevon thinks about meaning and purpose
Software Generated Transcription:
Dan: Kevon. Thank you so much for joining me. Welcome to the me movement podcast.
Kevon Cheung: Hey, Dan. So excited to be here. I love your topic and I just cannot wait to chat with you.
Dan: I love it. I love it. Uh, well, we’ve been, I guess I feel like we have a, a budding friendship on Twitter, which is always fun to see. I don’t know how social media can actually facilitate friendships and connection. And so, um, really, really, yeah. Excited to have this excuse, to get to know you more and, hear your story.
The question I like to start with is. How do you begin to talk about the
Kevon Cheung: that’s a really hard question actually. Um, because if you ask me at different times of my life or career, right. I would have different answer, but these days, people call me the building public guy.
Kevon Cheung: you know, that’s. The topic, the niche that people associate me with. And I’m grateful because it’s really hard to get people to recognize you for something on the internet.
So that would be how I start to talk about I’m the building public guy. One of it, not the only one.
Dan: Yes, yes. And that’s how I first found you. Cause I was like, how do you, how do you build in public? But let’s start there because listeners might not be familiar with that concept. How do you define building in public? Mm.
Kevon Cheung: So the marketing that we usually know is like, you have to tell the good stuff you have to brand it, package it. Um, and you don’t wanna feel weakness. You don’t wanna show weakness. So building public is actually a bit more than that because you are doing that. But you’re also showing the down, which is like, um, you’re struggling through something.
You are facing some struggles, you are having some mistakes, but you’re turn it around. So when you share this kind of stories in your journey, guess what people start to have trust in you. And guess what? These days trust is so important because everyone is a brand of their own. And if people trust you, they just.
Listen to what you say and listen to your recommendation. So being public is a way to build that.
Dan: Yeah, I love that. I have so many, so many follow up questions on that. And because I, I feel like it’s a growth edge for me personally, because I, I feel a lot of pressure to. To have it all together and to put off like a, it’s a little bit counterintuitive, cuz I feel like like the deep, my default is, well I need to have it all put together.
So, so that people will trust me. But the whole ethos of both and public is, is quite the opposite. Like by not having it all together and being vulnerable and open and authentic, it actually does create trust. Right.
Kevon Cheung: I think that’s actually why it is the hardest thing for people to start. Because when you get on Twitter, These big names, like really big names like Elon Musk are talking and he’s so smart. And then the other group of people you pay attention to are like big influencers, maybe 30 K followers, 50 K.
And these two group of people are just so smart and they seem to know everything they’re like expert in their field and you get, you, you get sucked into. Picture of like, you have to do that to get there. But the truth is, not the truth is you are just a small potato light. When I started out, I’m actually still a small potato, but the key is not to pretend to be an expert, just be human, network, make friends around, you share what you know, and that’s it.
That’s how you get off the first few steps.
Dan: I love that. I love that. Well, and it’s, it sounds, I love it. And also I hate it, cuz it sounds really sounds really terrifying if I’m honest, I’m like, but I love the idea of it. But then I think about like actually sharing that stuff and I’m like, I, I feel my heart, like my anxiety raised inside of me.
Um, but let’s, let’s rewind a little bit. And how did, how did you get into this? Like tell me some of your career journey, what brought you to this particular, niche.
Kevon Cheung: Okay. So 2012, that’s the year I graduated from college and I study like business entrepreneurship, finance, you know, business topics, but I didn’t go into finance because. I just couldn’t imagine myself working in a bank that was kind of my, childhood dream, like be a banker because my family has always been telling me that.
So ever since then, I have. Taught myself to code failed and then went to a coding bootcamp and then got my first job as a software engineer in Singapore. So I actually learned coding in New York, came back home to Hong Kong and then found a job online and hop on the plane and moved to Singapore in five days.
That was crazy.
Kevon Cheung: And, and then I have been, yeah, basically in startups, all my career. And the key turning point that probably then you’re wondering is like, how did you start getting online and talking about building in public? Basically? it was end of 2020. So COVID has started, um, at that point and I. actually said to my investor that the last, last company I was running that, Hey, we have spent a lot of money in this company. I was the CEO and founder, but I have investor as well. And I told them it’s not gonna work. So maybe it’s a good time to stop. And after that I left the company and I actually didn’t know what to.
And my baby girl, my first child was getting born in two months. So I was thinking, Hmm, why not just take two months off, you know, think about life. Uh, think about what I wanna do. I usually do that between like, Career. I have these like career breaks. I usually like to take time to reflect, but I am someone who I don’t like to take breaks.
Like I cannot just sit here and watch Netflix all the time. I like to learn. I like to do something. So I went back to the internet because I I’ve always been a lover of the internet. I spent so much time since I was a kid. And I started seeing all these creators. Bloggers and building software building courses.
And they are just so transparent writing their journeys on their blog. And I was like, oh my God, this is so amazing because I’ve been working for eight years at that point. And I felt like a nobody, because all my work went into the company and I, I worked really hard, but the work belonged to the company, not kevon Cheung.
And I was like, Hmm, maybe I need to start building something under my name. And if these people can do it, I I can probably do it. Like I fail so many times as an entrepreneur might as well give it another shot.
Kevon Cheung: so that was the moment I decided I need to start writing online. And my strategy was simple. I didn’t know what to talk about.
I don’t have any industry knowledge to share. So I just tell myself, Hey, let me just write one article a week about something I’m learning. I’m curious about, and let’s see where this goes. And then after eight weeks, I would look at the first eight articles and I figure out, I love talking about entrepreneurship ups and downs.
So that was the first kind of signal to me that my audience has to be entrepreneurs. That’s the group of people I love working with. And then let me tell you the next signal and then , I can pass the mic back to
Kevon Cheung: Um, the next signal is I was like, now I know who I want to work with and talk to. Or serve, but I don’t have a topic I cannot just write random blog posts.
It doesn’t work. I cannot build a name that way. So suddenly somewhere I bumped into this term building public and you know, then I’ve been telling you my story and I’m pretty open and I love to share my weaknesses and all that. So when that term came to me, I was like, oh my God, this. I, I wouldn’t know if I should call it calling, but like, it is really what I’m supposed to do.
So, so I decided to look at, if this term is popular and I went to Google, guess what? 10 search per month in the us for building public. So obviously no one cared just
Kevon Cheung: Yeah. But on the other hand, I see on Twitter, people are using the term, it’s getting momentum,
Dan: OK. Interesting.
Kevon Cheung: so I,
so I actually ignored the data and I went with my gut and I wrote the building public guide and give it out for free.
So that was how everything started.
Dan: Wow. I love it. I love it so much. just that your process, I think, is really fascinating to me. And I think this is really a really valuable process for listeners of how you supplied yourself to creating then looked back and at looked at what you had created. And I think that’s a really helpful thing, cuz it, cause it could be, I think the temptation would be to look ahead, right. Rather than look back, look ahead and just focus on where’s the opportunity. What’s like, what else could I be doing? What else could I be writing about? or whatever. But instead, like, I, I just think it’s a really important and valuable invitation to, to like, take that time.
To reflect on what you’ve done, where you’ve, you know, whether it’s what’s found traction or where you’ve felt, you know, the themes that you see amongst, you know, among the things that you’ve created or where you’ve just what you’ve enjoyed the most. And then use that as a guide, um, for how you make your choices about what to move ahead.
I just think is a really, really great process.
Kevon Cheung: I think you’re exactly right then, because like, if, if we’re creating a startup, if we are tackling some problems, then looking ahead might be the right way to do.
Kevon Cheung: If you wanna be a creator that a lot of the content is you writing it out and you sharing it has to connect with your heart and your mind. If you force yourself, to write about something, you’re not even sure that fits you, you’re gonna quit sometime later.
And I know this because I can tell you back in 2018, I tried
Kevon Cheung: YouTuber I had a career break in 2018. And guess what topic I chose?
Dan: Actually I think I know, cause I follow you on Twitter. Something about parenting, right?
Kevon Cheung: Yes, I, I, I chose parenting and raising a kid when I wasn’t married and I had no kid. So you can see, looking ahead as a content, creator is so dangerous, it doesn’t work. Like who, who, who, why would someone listen to, kevon a single guy for parenting advice?
Dan: I love it. I love
Kevon Cheung: that’s how I know. I have to look
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. I love it. I, and I’ve, I, I, at one point tried to. A, um, blog. It was a podcast, actually. It was my first podcast before starting this podcast, it was called startup with kids. It was about entrepreneurship and parenting. Um, and I, I got distracted by having my own family and, and, um, just I, but I think that it’s similar to what you’re saying.
I didn’t feel like there was enough in there for me. And like, these are the kind of conversation with the meaning movement that like, I wanna have these conversations anyways, whether or not it’s the podcast, right? Like, I’m just insatiably curious about people’s stories and how they, you know, navigate the transitional waters of life.
And so, you know, that’s, that’s why I’ve landed, where I’ve landed. Um, and it sounds like, you know, you’re, you’re advocating for the same thing.
Kevon Cheung: Yeah, totally.
Dan: Yeah. Uh, I’m curious in your process about how you choose to end things, um, because you, you know, it feels like, you know, kind of casually mentioned you were, you you’d started this company, you had an investor and then you’ve decided to call it, you know, to call it quits or not call it quits, but just say this isn’t going where we wanted it to go and you it’s time to move on.
And I know that that’s a, um, I don’t know, for myself, it’s hard. It’s hard to make those calls, especially when you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, money into building something. And so I’m curious for you, like maybe in that particular moment or at other moments in your life when you’ve made these transitions, how do you make the decision to say, okay, this is done, this isn’t going where I want it to go or, um, or whatever might be, and it’s time to move on.
Kevon Cheung: this is definitely hard. Uh, but as you asked me this question, I’m trying to. Go back to the few, uh, opportunities or career chapters I had. And why did it end how I ended them? And there’s a common theme, which is like, I cannot see.
Kevon Cheung: The growth trajectory for myself in that role, like as a software engineer, my first job I realized because I studied business, but I learned coding after graduation.
I realized I love technology, but I couldn’t be the one sitting there coding. So that’s, that’s when I say, Hey, let’s go back to a business role. And then the next opportunity I was running a kids coding school with the founder. I’m like the second person in command. And I realize like the business has gotten to a stage where it’s so stable.
Like it’s just taking, bringing kids in, teaching them and then, you know, keep running it operationally. So I, I don’t feel like there’s much more I can do. So I decided to quit, but for me personally, quitting is actually not a bad thing. Like, I’m not sure if my wife would be listening to this, but in my previous relationship, I’m always pretty clear cut.
If I don’t think she’s my wife, I just cut it off. So, because I think a lot of people would be scared like, oh, what if I cut it off? And I cannot meet my wife? And what if she’s my wife? And I cut her off. But the thing is we never know. And if your heart is thinking, she’s not your wife, then you better do it.
And guess what? Half a year later, my wife appeared and we fall in love. We got married and then we have one kid. Now everything happened so fast. So I, I think we just shouldn’t, be dragging ourselves when there’s like opportunity. Cause ahead of us.
Dan: Mm mm. Yeah, I think you’re, that really speaks to me. And I think it’s something that I, I struggle with because I think as I’m stubborn, like I’ve, I I’ve, I struggle with like what, where’s the line between, I just need to, you know, grind it out and. And, you know, just stay the course versus like, yeah, this isn’t going where I want to go.
Let’s let’s um, let go. And I, but I feel like what I hear in your articulation of it is just a belief that there’s more out there, I guess, a belief in abundance and maybe some of it is an abundance mentality versus maybe I have a bit of a scarcity mentality. Like maybe this is the best that I could ever get.
Like, how do I let go of this one thing? That’s so good, but you kind of have to in order to find the next, you know, better thing.
Kevon Cheung: Yeah. And I guess, if you’re not in charge, Is more is scarier because like I was working with, I was working for someone in the past. So to quit it means like I have to communicate that decision to so many people, but now I’m running my own thing. I’m bootstrapping. So no investor. I don’t see myself quitting.
Like I might fine tune the business. I might bring in other incomes, but I really don’t see that I would quit because everything is under my name. Um, is a personal brand might as well, just like find a way to make it work.
Dan: Yep. I love it. I love it. How talk to me a little bit, if you don’t mind me asking just about like, how do you fund. Like, how do you bootstrap, like the leaving, leaving a job to start something without, you know, you didn’t didn’t have a, uh, a business that was already operational. You didn’t have another income.
Like, I don’t know was that it seems kind of scary to me and I’m sure to listeners too other listen, listeners might be like in similar places where like, well, I’ve got this dream, this thing I wanna do, but when do I, when do I quit my job to start pursuing it? How, how do you think about that transition?
Kevon Cheung: I think, well, everyone is different. First of all, like the financially financial status is different. So for me, um, I was actually getting really good pay when I was running my last startup. So I was the CEO, so I was getting good pay. So I don’t really spend a lot of money. So I save a lot up and I think. Um, if your question is about like when they should make the move, I think is a really tricky question. I think if you have entrepreneurial experience, if you have failed before and you kind of understand what it takes. It is good to take a gamble and go all in because you go so much faster and you probably have a more clear path ahead of you.
But if you have never started something before, then this might be a bad choice because this takes a lot of time to figure it out. Then I would suggest this person to probably do some sigh hustle or start something on the side, just to practice that muscle. Entrepreneurship. And you should only quit when you get enough traction.
But for me, like if I’m being honest, right, I have savings. Um, my back, my family background allows me to do this. So I just go all in and gamble. But of course, like if I don’t make money in the first 12 or 18 months, I would probably quit. But right now I’m seeing. This up, up trend line. And I think the business is growing and I’m just having so much fun.
Then I would stick with it. I need to try to make more to sustain, but I wouldn’t quit because the line is going up.
Dan: You could see that line. You can follow it into the future and say, okay, as long as we can keep this going, maybe even make it increase faster. You’re gonna get to a place where you’re comfortable, which
Kevon Cheung: exactly. Yeah. It’s a little faith in your.
Dan: Yeah, I love that. Well, I think that’s a, that’s a great message for, for, uh, yeah. For listeners to have that, to have that faith and to take, take the calculated risk. And I think that’s a, a big piece of it too. Right? This was risk for you, but also you had, you had a safety net of, you know, a runway, if you will, financial runway, to be able to, to put some time and effort into this and see, see where it takes you, which is, which is great
Kevon Cheung: So, uh, one thing I wanna add is like, I’m not breaking even yet, but then my runway, my burn rate, because I’m the line is of trend, right? So the burn rate is getting smaller and smaller. So that’s why I’m more comfortable sticking to it. But if I, if, if someone is still burning a ton of money, then quitting is not so bad.
Dan: Yeah, that’s great. That’s a really, really good piece of wisdom there. Thank you for that. I wanna let’s circle back to, you know, well, it’s not really circling back, but moving forward into building in public and your expertise, your current expertise, um, as people are thinking about how they show up online, um, and thinking about this concept of building in public, of being more open and transparent with their, you. With their life, with the things they’re working on. I’m curious if they’re like what’s the low hanging fruit of, um, of building in public of showing up in a, in, in this way online. Are there some guidelines that you could offer listeners offer myself, maybe, maybe even just direct it to me. What’s what’s the advice that you would give you would, you would give me about how to, how to improve?
Uh, because I know that my limiting fear, my is just that vulnerability piece of feeling like. Not as successful letting people know that I’m not as successful as I, I would like them to think that I am or in those kinds of things.
Kevon Cheung: I think the lowest hanging fruit is when you get on Twitter. tell me if you see this as well, then you see a lot of people using the U language. Like. You should do this. You should do that because they wanna sound like an expert. Right. And actually I work with so many people. One, I remember one person told me Kon, I’m using the U language because I don’t wanna be selfish.
If I use the I language. I feel like I’m talking about myself all the time. And I told him that is exactly the opposite because when you’re using the U language, you’re pretending to be an expert and. Why would someone listen to, for example, if you say consistency is key and it comes from a new account, why would people want to listen to you for that?
When someone with 50 K followers say that a lot of people would listen to them, because is essentially the same message from everyone. If you say this kind of wisdom bomb, but if you change it from the U language to the I language. Everything different because it’s unique to you. And I would frame it like I have tried.
Going on and off with my business before, but I realize actually just doing one thing right. Every day is the biggest growth factor. So I know that consistency is key. So now you can see that the message is exactly the same, which is consistency is key, but you’re adding your own story of what’s happening, your thoughts, your ideas, your perspective to it.
And now people can only look at you as the person to say. It’s unique to you. So I think the lowest hanging fruit is changed from you to I a bit more and also, um, ask yourself one question at the end of the day. What did I learn today? That can be useful for one other person on Twitter. When you think about it this way, then you have so many things you can talk about.
And it’s none. It’s nothing about driving traffic to a business or a product, but it’s more about. Helping one person and building that trust and relationship and who knows where that will take you in the future? We don’t know, but I’m sure it’s gonna be good.
Dan: I love that. And I think that that’s such a helpful reframing of the purpose of Twitter in particular, but I think most social, you know, social networks, the content that’s gonna do the best is content. That’s helpful. That’s not just trying to get people to, to do the thing, you know, Take action. You know, click through, click through rates or, or go to your, you know, sign up for your free trial or like all the things.
Like, I think it’s really easy to think of like social as just being like this extra place where you can get traffic or whatever. But what you’re saying is like, it’s actually social.
Kevon Cheung: Yeah,
Dan: you actually have to be social to do it. Right, right. That is that a good understanding?
Kevon Cheung: Exactly. But I understand why people misunderstand it, because if you just go on Twitter, you look at the tweets with the most like, and reply, they are the wisdom bombs. Like the consistency is key and this mess up how people think about Twitter, because what they see is not right. And they cannot break it down.
So that’s why I understand why people think like that. And that’s why I teach a course to help them with this.
Dan: Yeah. Yeah. And so as you grow your platform, so as you get more followers and become a expert, quote, unquote. It sounds like you kind of need to change how you communicate or maybe the opposite is a better way to think of it when you’re starting out. you need to be communicating more about I more about, you know, more maybe with honesty and humility.
And then would you say, as people grow a following, then they can maybe have a little bit more leverage to have more universal you kind of statements and those kind of messages.
Kevon Cheung: Oh, totally. Like let’s just use me as an example. Right. When I first started out, I spent quite a lot of time writing threats. because I want to tell my story, like, why am I working on this project? What did I learn? And everything is about my process. But as you grow, guess what you get lazy because your attention is not on that anymore.
Your attention is like business model, uh, sales funnel, and all that. And you get lazy when you get lazy, then your tweet gets shorter and then you’re not really telling a story. You’re just saying the lesson learned. And honestly, I do some wisdom bomb these days as well. So you see me using the U language, but it’s only because I get to this, uh, stage that I start doing it, and it actually has a benefit to it.
If you look at what gets retweeted on Twitter, Stories are less retweetable because let’s imagine then why would you retweet a Kevon story? It kind of doesn’t make sense, but if it’s like a dry wisdom bomb and you think it’s useful, if it inspire you, you would retweet it. So it has some value. It just cannot dictate a hundred percent of your presence.
So nowadays I mix it up a little.
Dan: Yeah. That makes, that makes a lot of sense. And so you wanna be creating that content that can be retweeted when people are starting out, it feels like the hardest. It’s it it’s, Twitter’s hard to start on. It’s really hard. You, you start, you have no followers. Like what are the steps that you recommend people?
Because I know a lot of people listening are in experience with Twitter. maybe they have an account, but very few people are actually active. It’s like the people that are active are really active and a lot of people maybe just use Twitter just to read. Tweet, you know, once a week or once a month or, or whatever, how do you start?
What do you recommend people do to start building a network on Twitter?
Kevon Cheung: Yeah. So usually there are two types of people getting on Twitter. Uh, one is someone like me. End of 2020. I, I I was a, nobody, I don’t have a topic. I don’t know what I’m doing. So for this type of person, you basically just get on Twitter. Um, understand your interests. Understand. The people you wanna work with.
Like, for example, I wanna work with entrepreneurs. So I just go out and make friends with bootstrapping entrepreneurs, not the VC funded one, because I’ve done that. And I’m past that. So I’m just making friends and honestly, there’s no secret. You just talk to people. Be curious about what they do and try to help each other in the journey.
There’s nothing to sell. And that’s the easiest way to get to like 600 and a thousand. It takes time though, it took me three months to get from zero to 600. But then once you get to that level, your perceived credibility is higher. And now you can do some real work like writing a guide, writing. Ebook or something to use that, to help you with your growth.
So this is what I recommend to this type of people, but I think there’s a different type of people that might have difficulty getting on Twitter. These are the people who are actually successful in their business and they get on Twitter. They’re like, Hmm. I’m like, why do I need to spend all this time?
Making friends? I am, I’m so busy with my business. And I know a lot about my topic. I don’t know how to interact with people. And I think this is actually, a bad thing, like a bad situation to have, because you are an expert, but when you’re on Twitter as a new account, no one knows that three, see like 23 followers and you are not an expert on Twitter.
So you have to kind of. Get rid of that expert mindset and be a learner and just be one of the new person, uh, new, new person in the room to learn with everyone. Just keep sharing your learning. So that’s how I see it for these two types of people.
Dan: Yeah. I love it. Well, I think that’s been a bit of a mindset adjustment that I’ve had. I’ve, you know, I’ve been on Twitter for ages and you know, maybe 10 years ago I was like really trying to grow my Twitter. And like, I was like following a bunch of people. And then every once, while I’d go unfollow a bunch of people, and as a result I have like, A couple thousand followers on Twitter.
Um, but yeah, six, 4,600 followers. But like, I think I really have probably about like a hundred followers, like really. The people that actually care about what I have to say. Like I’ve, they’re not actually, so, so here’s a piece here’s a, a, um, you know, Dan self-help hour question. What should I do? Cause I kind of feel like I kind of would like it if people would unfollow me, if they’re not gonna engage with my content, you know, um, part of it might also be a branding issue that I have a lot of.
I do, I do a lot of things. And so, you know, I, the meeting movement is, is probably the primary piece of my content, but then I also do real estate and, and software. Um, and so maybe that’s some of it too is like, I’m maybe not as like honed in on, one’s very specific thing that I’m tweeting about, but I’m curious what advice you would have for, for, for me in my situation.
Kevon Cheung: I think you don’t have to do anything with those numbers because honestly, I I’m actually really glad. You’re so honest because for me, I have like 13 K followers, but honestly, so many are inactive. I know it, everyone knows it. But as a result like that is that number your 3000 or 4,000, that’s still good perceived credibility.
So I guess you can still use it, but what you can do more is how can you expand that a hundred? Friendships to a bit more. And I, I think you’re right. Like, you need to be a bit more focused because if you think about when someone is new to your content or your things, they actually just wanna learn one thing from you.
It’s really hard for them to say, I wanna learn real EST essay, but I also wanna listen to your story. It’s confusing people. Don’t like to be confused. It is only possible when someone know you. They like you already, then they will be okay with everything you do. But as a start, it doesn’t happen that way.
So you, if you can break it down to one topic and go full force and it be, be sharing really good content telling good stories. And I think, do you engage with people? Do you go to people’s tweet to reply? That is actually a big
Dan: I did that. I, I probably, I most of my time on Twitter doing that. And I also want, I wonder if, if I spend. A A disproportional amount of time responding and not creating enough content. Cause I, you know, I won’t maybe only tweet a couple times a week, um, currently, um, but I I’m responding to people, you know, every, every day I’m usually, you know, liking or replying to people that I’m, you know, trying to build relationships
Kevon Cheung: My way is around three tweets a day. Um, not too many, not too few. And then 90% of my tweets are replies. So I look at my analytics. I actually tweet a thousand times a month. On average 900 replies. So that comes down to three tweets a day and 30 replies a day. So you can see which one is more important.
I’ll I’ll let you figure it out.
Dan: Yeah, I love it. I love it. Well, I think you’re, um, yeah, just your response about my followers is really helpful. Cause I think in my mind I’ve been framing that as like I’m not getting engagement because I have all of these followers and they’re not engaging, but I think like the truth is. I just need to act like, you know, that the few people that I’m, that are actually in great engaging are my audience.
And those are the people that I’m tweeting for. And don’t worry about the fact that I have these other people that may be inactive or, you know, followed me years ago. And maybe they’re not on Twitter anymore, or they don’t, they don’t remember who I am or they followed too many people, so I don’t show up.
So So that’s a really helpful, yeah. Reframing
Kevon Cheung: Yeah, I I’ll tell you a simple analogy to kind of relate to that. Uh, imagine you’re going to a conference. You don’t want to just go on stage and start giving a Ted talk and expect people to come into the conference hall to listen to you. Right. That would be wrong, right? What you should do is go to the coffee area and start looking at, oh, these three or four people, people, groups, and you listen to what they’re talking about and you try to join these small groups, and then you hop from one to another.
And guess what? When you really need to go on stage, these people from the small groups will naturally go listen to you because they already know you. So. Taking this to Twitter. A lot of people just focus on tweeting and expect people to come knocking to their door. No, you have to go bring people in.
Dan: I love it. Go, go, go listen to their talks first and, uh, respond to them, um, and, and make those, make those relationships, make those friendships. I love that. That’s really fantastic. Well, I just wanna maybe zoom out a little bit, um, on your work. I know you earlier used the word, you know, maybe call it a calling I’m, but whatever words you use, like, I, I, I think those are words that people listening really, really like to think about.
And they’re thinking about In their own lives. And I, I just wanna hear you talk a little bit more about, like, what is your, uh, yeah, I guess how you think about calling or purpose or legacy, like the meaning in the work that you do, and you can take this really, it’s pretty open-ended question. You can take any direction that you, that that you wanna take it, but I just wanna kind of, kind of focus in on like, like why, why, like, yeah, I guess at the end of the day, when you were like, this was a good work that I did today.
What is, what is the focus like? What is it that you’re
Kevon Cheung: I guess like when we talk about purpose, right. I think. We can choose to talk about a lot of things, but we already talk about how we should look back to focus on things that really connect to our heart. But I think that’s just one part of the equation. The second part of the equation is when you talk about this topic, when you’re sharing and helping people with this, people need to recognize you for that.
because when I was talking about parenting, no one recognized me. People are probably laughing behind the scene, so that would not be my purpose. But now I’m talking about building in public and people kind of feel that my personality, my style really works with this topic and they recognize me. So.
Imagine how I feel like people just keep thanking me, recognizing my work. My purpose just keeps growing because of the recognition. So I don’t think a lot of people are trying to find their purpose or like find their topic. I I don’t think it works that way. It works. Like you try it out. You have a hypothesis of what your topic is, you try it out and you try hard to get people to recognize you for that.
And. When it clicks, it’s like, The niche, find you the purpose find you is not the other way around. So again, we’re talking about looking back, not looking forward and yeah, overall, I think right now I’m helping people with building public. I have direct impact. I’m teaching them stuff and I’m seeing the progress.
I think, I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been in education before I told you I was running a kids coding school. So I feel really awesome. That I’m able to deliver this kind of impact. Um, and it’s not something at scale. Like I’m actually teaching like 20 people at a time. Some courses can get up to like 500 people.
I actually don’t want to go there because I understand, I like the intimacy with my, my students, my people. So I guess it comes back to understanding what you want and the. The kind of life that you wanna live yeah.
Dan: That’s a fantastic, a fantastic response. And I love how you said, you know, the niche will find you and to treat it like a hypo, a hypothesis. I think that that’s a really important piece that, that people, a misconception people have is that like, they have to have it all figured out.
And that they’re just like maybe maybe to, to use like some of the language that we’ve used, they’re looking back and then just like, okay, I’m just gonna find it and then I’m gonna know it and then I’m gonna do it. And then it’s, that’s the end, but it’s more like, I see a clue. I form a hypothesis. I go and try that.
And then I look back again and say, oh, this, you know, here’s some more clues and now I make a new hypothesis. And so it’s this, I think kind of a circle of like action and then reflection and action and reflection that then I think you kind of circle into, you know, towards a more, more purpose, more fulfillment, more, more of a sense of calling in your work.
Does that, does that resonate with you?
Kevon Cheung: Yeah. And I think a lot of people think passion or purpose is something that you just find and you connect with and that’s it,
Kevon Cheung: it’s not like that. Like if building in public, if I launch my free guide and people don’t recognize me for building public, even though I feel that that’s a topic for me, I don’t think I have purpose or passion to keep going.
Why would I do that? So I think purpose and passion grows over time
Kevon Cheung: and the people who are looking for the answer today know they won’t find it, but you can start easy and influence one person at a time and let it grow over time. And maybe you will pivot a little bit and that’s okay. As.
Dan: Yeah, I love that. What a, what a great, uh, yeah, even just a great, great thought to, to move towards, towards wrapping up with, so thank you so much for just sharing so much just wisdom with us. Uh, I love, um, you know, love. Love everything that you’re sharing about building public, about showing up on Twitter, um, all of it.
Um, and I’ve learned a lot from you and I, I, I hope to continue to do so. So thanks for coming on and letting me, uh, pick your brain and hear about, hear about your journey for folks that are wanting to follow along or connect with or anything specific you’d like to invite them to.
Kevon Cheung: Yeah, I think the best way to find me is definitely Twitter. Like my handle is meet kaon M E E T K E V O N. Um, you can, that’s kind of the door to me. I’m very active there. You can reach out to me personally. And then as a starter guide. Um, my new book find joy in chaos would be a great way to tap into my brain about everything related to Twitter and building public or making friends.
Uh, yeah, you can, you can start with that.
Dan: Perfect. I’ll make sure to link up to those in the show notes here. Thank you so much, Kon. This is so fun having you on the show.
Kevon Cheung: Thank you, Dan.