How Build In Public ignited my fire for digital solopreneurship

This article is written by Janice CK (@slow_is_better)

Janice Kho is kickstarting her digital solopreneurship

When I first hopped on X (Twitter) in 2022 to practise writing online, I never imagined I would stumble upon the not-so-secret world of digital entrepreneurship.

But as an introvert at heart, the idea of putting myself out there as a creator, consultant or solopreneur gave me palpitations.

Before I dive into why build in public has been game-changing for me, here’s a bit about me:

  • I’m a pharmacist by profession, but have multiple passions and interests outside of the 9 to 5
  • I’m energised by teaching and writing about slow productivity and build simple but effective Notion systems.
  • I’m also a photographer and love to travel and explore new places (with a camera in hand of course).

Becoming a part-time digital entrepreneur was not something I ever thought I could seriously pursue. It seems so outside of the realm of possibility.

What got me to build in public?

Kevon was actually one of the first few people I came across on X.

I was a big fan of Kevon’s Build in Public Guide and his book Find Joy in Chaos.

The broccoli and the authentic way Kevon presented himself on X really stood out from the crowd. Especially when X can sometimes feel like it’s full of people talking about how to go viral, build an audience rapidly and dropping authoritative wisdom bombs.

After a year of writing on X, getting clearer on my niche and meeting a bunch of interesting people, I finally decided it was time to invest more in myself and dive deeper into the world of digital solopreneurship.

When Kevon announced that he was relaunching Build in Public Mastery (BIPM) into a self-guided version with a community, I was sold. I’m a fan of that kind of model of learning.

My 5 takeaways from Kevon and his course

1. Building in public doesn’t approach social media growth as a “game to be hacked”

Writing volumes of social content and using growth hacks in hope of going viral didn’t feel like a joyful approach to me.

And I didn’t want creating content on social media to be a second job. Kevon instead teaches his students simple but powerful storytelling frameworks to use when sharing social content. It’s helped me focus on adding value to readers and making human connections.

My favourite frameworks are the I & You framework and the FUEL framework.

Since learning them, it’s totally shifted how I write on social media and I've been getting good traction.

2. Building in public is more than “sharing in public” and giving updates.

I used to think that’s what Building In Public was. Until I dived into the BIPM program. It’s that and more. It’s really about documenting what you’re doing, involving people and having conversations with people like real human beings.

This means showing up to support others in your “crowd”, showing your personality, involving your community when building things and helping others (using your expertise).

3. Building in public is a more authentic and fun way of building an audience on social platforms

Social media can feel like you’re “on stage” if you’re too focused on being the expert or dropping wisdom bombs. This can make it feel stressful and paralyse you from showing up.

Instead, when you focus on having conversations in public or in private with people in your community — your peers, potential customers or people who are curious about what you’re building or doing — there is less pressure to “perform” and it becomes more about making genuine human connections.

4. Building in public is a way of marketing without being over-the-top market-ty

By talking about what you’re building, getting feedback from your audience and genuinely wanting to make your products better in service of others, you’re naturally marketing without marketing.

5. Building in public prioritise relationships, building with your community and steady audience growth

If you want to be successful at anything, you need to be in it for the long haul (once you’ve decided it’s truly something that’s important to you).

Aiming to go viral (out of your control) and constantly churning out content is a one way road to burn out. It’s not really a sustainable way of doing business.

Kevon’s approach to building an audience helps you shift your perspective from hoping for massive growth in the short term, to working at a consistent and sustainable pace so that you’re still in business in 1, 3, 10 years.

As someone juggling a busy 9 to 5, other life commitments and building a part time business, I really resonated with a slower but steady pace of growth that Kevon encourages. And it aligned with my Slow Productivity philosophy towards life and business.

So what’s changed for me since I started to “build in public”?

It gave me the “tools” to talk about my work publicly through storytelling. It helped me get better at having public and private conversations on X, and build up my confidence of hopping on video calls with people.

It helped me launch my first “serious” digital product and made $600+ in sales.

It helped me become more confident talking about what I’m building and “marketing” what I’ve already built.

It helped me take the next step of launching my newsletter, The Slow Digest (which unexpectedly led me to working with my first consulting client – Building a custom Notion workspace for his business).

BIPM highlighted the importance of moving people from social to email for a more connected relationship… and Kevon gave me the nudge to just hit publish on my newsletter already!

I’m glad that he did. The newsletter has since been growing slowly and steadily, as I try to find my voice.And something else that Kevon talks about that is a core part of building in public… Getting feedback and testimonials, and then sharing it! That led me to start this testimonial page.

The saying “people buy from people” is true

I noticed that 90% of people who have purchased a digital product or hired me for work, are people who I’ve interacted with or formed a relationship with on X or through my newsletter.

They weren’t “cold” sales from my marketing efforts.

In fact, I’ve had a number of people reach out to me via DM asking about my digital products, wanting to buy from me to support me (which I’m so grateful for).

But I’ve always taken that opportunity to make sure it’s truly going to solve their problem before they hit the buy button (and in a few case, I have asked them not to buy as it’s not the right solution for them).

One of the best things about the Build In Public Mastery…

It’s the community!

The community of BIPM students are super diverse.

If you’re an education and knowledge based entrepreneur (or looking to become one), I think you’ll enjoy this community.

I recently had a light bulb moment that my leadership, management and staff development skills I gained from 13+ years working in leadership roles in health are translatable to building a knowledge-focused business around coaching, teaching and consulting.

Meeting current and aspiring entrepreneurs building their business in different parts of the world has been really inspiring.

You come away with so many ideas for your own niche and business after an office hours call or a call with a fellow student (I’ve had many of those!)

A big bonus… Everyone is really nice and helpful, and Kevon is very present in the community!

I’m excited about…

Continuing to practise the build in public frameworks that Kevon teaches and becoming a community-led digital solopreneur.

Instead of building in private and trying to “perfect” the product before the world sees it, I want to harness the power of building in public, co-creating with my audience and continuing to have conversations with people and involve my audience when I’m building online.

Like many things in life, building in public is a journey, not a destination.

If you’re interested in following my journey, connect with me on X (@slow_is_better).

You’re never really “finished”, the day you say you are, is the day you stop growing and learning.

BIPM was the best investment I made in my digital solopreneurship journey

So, if like me, you are interested in:

✔️ Growing an audience through human conversations and connections

✔️ Building a sustainable business for the long haul

✔️ Marketing and selling without feeling icky

Then yes, I'd recommend Kevon’s Build In Public Mastery program!