What 99% of People Don’t Know About Storytelling Momentum

Compound interest isn't just for finance...

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When you hear the phrase compound interest, what do you think of? Investing, personal budgets, maybe a business book? 

Recently I’ve been reading about how it can be applied to life principles and I thought it was worth riffing on in my newsletter. So here we go. 

As every finance professor preaches, the growth trajectory of short term interest vs long term compounding interest is massive.

If Johnny has X apples and only adds 2 apples per year for 5 years vs X apples that grow at a multiple of 1.2 per year (20% year over year) for 40 years, Johnny 2.0 is going to be a much happier lad than Johnny 1.0. Catch my drift? 

For the visual thinkers that need a formula, take a browse: 

  And if you slept through Math 12 in high school, stick with me. 

The rule of compound interest states the future value is expressed as Present Value (1 + interest rate / x of times amount is compounding) multiplied by compounding time x number of time periods.

*Mic drop moment: I think this same formula applies to storytelling.

I know deep in my heart that everyone (and their dog) has a great idea. So, ideas aren’t the challenge. 

Most of the battle with storytelling is getting the idea onto paper, started, and into daily practice each day.

Starting is the stage where most drops off. And as a result, no compound interest is applied for 0 time periods leaving them with….. Drumroll please…….

Ding ding ding: 🔔 NO STORYTELLING RESULTS. 🔔

If you’ve started your idea, you’re likely in the 10% minority group who gain the experience and momentum to take it to the finish line.

This article is a longer one since I think it’s one you’ll wanna flag and come back to. It’s about understanding that brand building is a game of reps, consistency, and momentum... not short term potion bottles you can buy that stir up magic in a week.

 So here’s 3 experts that speak to the power of compound interest for brand building: 

Once An Object Is In Motion, The Harder It Is To Stop

 Becoming an entrepreneur or business leader is about continuing to move the ball up the court and keeping it in motion... so your projects, ideas, contacts, and distribution are continuing to grow.

Indie Hacker Steph Smith writes, “Perhaps ‘great’, is just ‘good’, but repeatable.”

From a physics POV, the hardest part is getting an object moving. It takes shedding the cobwebs and conviction to move forward with an idea.

Most of the world has an idea, a small portion moves it from idea-reality, and even smaller portion moves it to completion.

The people that have a huge library of finishing, those who have previously completed things again and again, have snowballed their habits and networks and skills into something great.

If you have an idea, the sooner you can act on it the better because the sooner you act, the sooner you grow.

Rule #1: Get It In Motion

The Hidden Secret Behind Early Wins

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, writes about habit loops.

Duhigg breaks down the three parts in a habit: cue, routine, reward.

For example, the cue is smelling food, the routine is getting Tim Horton’s or not getting Tim’s, and the reward is either being full or hungry, depending on the routine.

When people have a good idea (a cue) to build, they either take action (routine) or they don’t. And then they get a result (reward). 

People that are able to interpret that cue, take quick action, and get an early win, are the people who are building a repertoire of skills and experiences they can continue to iterate and refine.

Every idea and routine we have is a signal to our internal consciousness. It lets us know that either we’re someone who acts on ideas or are we someone who continues to let them pass by every time. (It’s not an ultimatum, but as a whole, you do fall into one category.)

 When I have an idea for someone I want to interview, I’ll send them a note and ask; only 10-20% of them respond. And they’ve turned into friends and more ideas and more opportunities.

 If I hadn’t started doing that as a kid and through university, I wouldn’t be here today.

Golden Rule of Compound Interest

It’s important that we understand our habits so that we can position them in a way to better our skills, build momentum, and get early wins. 

Then 5-10 years from now we will have a set of experiences that will help us again for the next time. The best things in life, the ones that are worth pursuing, are the ones that have compound interest.

Naval Ravikant, founder of AngelList and early investor in 100+ startups, says, “All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.” 

I 200% agree.

The relationships we have with co-founders, the businesses we invest in, and the skills we develop are things that build long term interest over time.

Marketing and storytelling development is no different. We should all have a niche we care about, a 1-sentence why statement that lights us up, and an end goal we want to achieve at the end of the road.

The compound interest is part of how we decide to push that vision from idea to finish line. Where are we telling that story? 

Who are we helping? 

What problem are we solving? 

What creative assets are we building to invite people into the journey? 

 Don’t worry about the things that make 1-2 years better. Invest into the habit loops that are here for the next 20-30 years.

Because as soon as you commit to being in it for the long run, everything gets easier.


  • Self-assess: are you someone who acts on an opportunity or someone who lets opportunities pass you by?

  • How can you capitalize on the habits you already have?

  • Are you delaying your gratification to something that will compound interest or are you looking for the 1 or 2 year win?


Although I’m pro-Linkedin, I’m also pro-humour. This one should give you a laugh.

Thanks for reading until the end! Let me know if you have any ideas that spark or suggestions about content by sending a message or leave a comment:

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Stay outta’ trouble and catch you next week.

✌🏻 Joel

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