This Decision Changed My Life and My Business

Ryan Holiday
6 min readMar 10

I know someone that spends close to $20,000 a month on a publicist.

I know an author who spends something like that out of their own pocket each month on what’s called co-op, or extra prominent placement at airport bookstores.

I know many people who spend more than that on advertising.

I myself have hired publicists. I have paid for co-op. I used to spend six figures a year on Facebook ads for Daily Stoic.

But several years ago I made a decision that changed my business and radically transformed my career.

I stopped spending money on all of that.

It’s not that I wasn’t getting a return on my investment. But it struck me just how empty it all was. I was putting all this time and energy and money into something, which were I ever to stop, would leave barely a trace behind!

I was thinking of a wonderful quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, who, while criticizing advertising and publicity, pointed out that a person, “cannot be honest without admitting that its constructive contribution to humanity is exactly minus zero.”

So I took that money and did something very different with it: I used it to start making stuff.

I hired a videographer. I hired a social media manager. I hired another researcher. I hired a bunch of people. I took the entire budget that I had been putting into advertising and built a content team. We built the Daily Stoic podcast. We started making YouTube videos. We started cutting clips from the talks I gave. We wrote explainers and SEO pieces about philosophy. We launched We started @DailyPhilosopher on Instagram.

Some people might shrug and say, “Yeah that’s called content marketing,” but it’s actually a deeper philosophical shift.

Over the years, Daily Stoic has created hundreds of videos, articles and emails. With the 500-word daily newsletter, that’s a little more than two books a year of free content delivered straight to email inboxes around the world every morning. We’ve essentially created the…

Ryan Holiday

Bestselling author of ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Ego is the Enemy’ & ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’