UPDATE: Click here to read my results & lessons from 1-year of the Zero to Launch course.
In August of 2011, I was working as a code monkey in a 300-people tech company in Slovenia, making $7/h. As I just recently got a raise, I was making more than a thousand dollars a month. Whoa!
Why “Whoa!”? Well, I was a university student, living at my parents with practically no living expenses… So all of a sudden, I had all this money coming my way and I had NO IDEA what to do with it. I didn’t want to waste it on something stupid like buying a new car or a phone.
I decided to reach out to a self-development blogger that I was following at the time, Scott H Young, and here’s what he advised me to do:
I followed his advice and found the website of this weird Indian guy with a very scammy name (I will teach you to be rich? SERIOUSLY?!). But since I trusted Scott, I decided to give it a shot and order his book from Amazon.
When I received his book, I still wasn’t sure whether I could trust this guy or not. It was in fluorescent orange and yellow colors, and Ramit wasn’t even wearing shoes in the picture.
A few days later, I was sitting in my bed and I just finished reading the last page of the book. I was shocked and angry at the world. I was thinking to myself “Why are there such awesome books out there and nobody ever told me about them?!”. Before reading IWTYTBR, all I read was fiction and textbooks… and none of those were particularly life-changing. But this book was. It showed me that life is much more than what we believe it to be, and I began to trust this Ramit guy.
Over the last few years, I took numerous online courses which gave me some amazing results:
In fall of 2011, I took Earn1k, which helped me start my own consulting business and move from earning $7/h in a cubicle to earning $125/h by helping people become more productive and changing their lives in the process.
Ramit’s 6-Figure Consultanting System helped me take the things to the next level – in just one month, I managed to double my monthly revenue and by now I’m working at $250/h – this means that I can cover my minimum monthly expenses by working just 1 hour a week! Yes, that’s a 4-hour work MONTH for me.
If you want to know more about how I went from earning $7/h to $250/h, check out my podcast with Navid Moazzez. We also talk about Zero to Launch and how to get from 0 to 500 e-mail subscribers in a month.
In July 2013, I even got to meet Ramit in person. Yes, he’s a legit human being and a hillarious guy to hang out with.
Because I managed to set up my own consulting business and I only really need to work on it for 4 hours a month, I am now able to devote a lot of my time to implementing Ramit’s new course, Zero to Launch, which I was lucky enough to beta-test.
Note that as I am writing this review, I don’t get a cent from it – you will find no affiliate links in it or anything of that sort. It’s really just my honest review of the course.
What is Zero to Launch?
Unlike Earn1k and Ramit’s 6-figure Consultants, this course isn’t about consulting.
Zero to launch is about taking the knowledge that you have, creating an online product out of it and then sharing it with hundreds or even thousands of people.
I was super excited when I got offered to beta-test this course because even though I was making more than enough money with my consulting business, there were only so many clients that I could work with 1on1.
I also felt like I was saying the same things over and over again – so why wouldn’t I just record them and make a video course out of them?
Well, I’ll tell you why… Because I tried doing that in the past. But I thought that in order to do that, I needed to have a fancy website, professionally hosted videos, a complicated billing process… and of course I never actually managed to put anything together because I didn’t know where to even start.
With Zero to Launch, we went through a step-by-step process that helped me set up my website from scratch, build my e-mail list and sell my first products.
Let’s dive into a few specific examples of what I learned during Zero To Launch:
1. Do I need to invest thousands of dollars into a customized website?
Before Zero To Launch, I thought that I needed a fancy, personalized website and I actually spent more than $500 getting one. I also spent more than 100 hours tweaking font colors, setting up archive pages and fixing small details like having 5 posts on one page instead of 10.
Here’s an image of my old website (you can even click this link to see what it looked like).
During Zero to Launch, I paid $50 for a Genesis template and got the website set up in a matter of days so I could focus on actually producing content for my readers.
2. How many blog posts should I write a week?
At my old website, I wrote a ton of blog posts. At one point, I even wrote daily tips for my readers… like “take a walk”, “drink water” and “clean your work environment”. Meh. It wasn’t high quality content, and it wasn’t driving much traffic to my website. I blogged for about 6 months, and I got to about 50 e-mail subscribers total.
Now, I have more than 1600 subscribers on my e-mail list and I have just a few blog posts up there. In fact, I managed to get 500 subscribers with just TWO blog posts that were one month apart!
And now, I also know how to write epic content that people read, share and talk about. No more “daily tips” that everyone forgets the next day. For example, I’ve written a 17.000 word Guide on Surrounding Yourself with Successful People that is packed with specific stories, scripts, systems and real-life examples. This guide alone had gotten thousands of views within days, as well as feedback like this:
I give the majority of my content out for free via my blog and e-mail list, even content that I could potentially sell, because I know that there’s a lot more where that came from.
Now I don’t want to just create content. Now I want to create the best content out there, and thanks to the content creation frameworks from Ramit’s Zero to Launch I know exactly how to do that.
3. Should I use SEO, Facebook, Twitter or something else to drive traffic to my website?
Before Zero to Launch, I thought that I needed to do EVERYTHING to drive traffic to my website. I didn’t want to miss out on people who would see my blog on Twitter or Facebook.
Now I know that I just have to focus on what works for me. I actually deleted my Twitter account and I don’t really use Facebook all that much because I know that those techniques were under-performing against other ones.
This allows me to focus on what actually works for me (mostly guest posts and podcasts). I’m not sure what will work for you, but by investing more time into what worked for you in the past, you will be able to get much better results.
4. If I’m stuck on something, what do I do?
I told you before that I wanted to create this big online course that had a complicated billing system, professional videos, etc… but I just didn’t know who to talk to about my next steps. There is so much information out there in the internet, but how do you know what really works?
With Zero to Launch private community, I was able to get first-hand advice from people like James who have already sold online courses before. By having a short chat, I was able to move on to taking action instead of being paralyzed by not knowing which information is right and which isn’t.
And if I wasn’t really sure about something, I could always ask a question in the Facebook group and even get first-hand feedback from Ramit!
5. How do I know if anyone will actually buy my product?
I have a friend who actually spent a year or so (and thousands of dollars) on developing a product. A few months ago, he launched it. Guess how many people bought it? ZERO. Now he’s trying all kinds of different things to “fix” the product, but he still isn’t making any money.
Because he didn’t validate his idea before-hand. He didn’t ask anyone if they would actually be interesting in something like that (or be willing to pay for it). When I advised him to do that a while ago, he said that “he wants to keep it a secret”.
With Ramit’s idea validation framework, I was able to know very soon whether my idea was a good one and if someone would actually buy it. And since then, I have actually managed to develop a few products and successfully sell them!
6. Ok, this looks cool… But will I actually be able to make any money with Zero to Launch?
With my old blog, I was able to make about $20 with Amazon affiliate links. That’s it. No consulting clients, no product sales. I had no idea how to even monetize my blog.
Since Zero to Launch, I have already launched a few products and I got sales like this:
On top of that, I even got a few consulting clients that helped me earn thousands of dollars in extra revenue.
How is your life different since Zero to Launch?
The biggest difference for me is probably earning money in my sleep. It’s such a great feeling to wake up to e-mails like this:
With my latest product, I managed to get enough sales to cover my monthly rent in just 4 days!
I’m also able to work from anywhere I want to, at any time – whether it’s from a coffee shop or from business class on a plane.
Last but not least, I can now do a lot of writing and podcasting, which is something that I REALLY enjoy – and I get to share it with hundreds of people, instead of just one person!
Results from 1 year of Zero to Launch
Since writing this review, a lot has changed. I’m going to show you the results and the lessons that I’ve learned in one year since I joined Zero to Launch.
Revenue: $40,000 in a year.
Over the last year, I have successfully launched 2 online products, as well as a few 1on1 coaching programs for entrepreneurs. In 2014, I’ve made over $40,000 in profit just through this blog.
Of course this didn’t happen over night. For example, here’s what the process looked like for creating my first product:
- In February, I launched a small, live 2-hour workshop that was sold for $49.
- In April, I took the feedback from the workshop and extended it into a 4-week online course, which was also sold for $49.
- In June, I reached out to some of my mentors and advisers and recorded eight 60-minute interviews that I added to the course and created a master level of the course, which was priced at $97.
- In July, I decided to raise the price of the course to $97 (pro level) / $197 (master level).
- In 2015, I will redesign the core 4-week course with the feedback I got from my students over the last year, to make it even more valuable.
Still, once the hard work is done up front, you can reap the benefits of your hard work for months, if not years to come.
The beauty of it was that once you put in the work and create a great product, you can automate the majority of the sales process, “make money in your sleep” and reap the benefits for months or even years to come.
Over 2,200 new e-mail subscribers
Over the last year or so, over 2,200 new readers joined my e-mail list. To be honest, I would have liked this to be a bit higher, and I know that if I focused primarily on growing my e-mail list, I could easily get to 5,000-10,000 subscribers.
But here’s the thing: I chose not to. Instead of creating a $50 product that would be “ok” and massively promoting my website. I decided to take the time and get feedback from my readers. I got on a call with over 50 students who joined one of my e-mail courses, I asked them what they liked and what they didn’t like about the course, and what they would like to see in it in the future.
This helped me improve my sales copy to improve sales conversions, 4x the price of my course, as well as improve my product so my students can get better results.
Now take a look at the graph below:
I get 100-200 new e-mail subscribers each month.
What do you notice?
You can see that even though I focused primarily focused on creating a really good product this year, I still consistently got 100-200 new e-mail subscribers a month.
How did that happen?
Did I do some kick ass SEO? Did I buy Facebook ads? No, I have no idea about any of those things.
I got a consistent stream of new website visitors (and subscribers) because I created great content like My Quick Guide to Surrounding Yourself With Successful People that my readers loved, returned to, and shared with their friends.
That’s one of the things that separates Zero to Launch students from other bloggers. They write incredibly valuable content that their readers love, share, and take action on.
I finally have a lifestyle that I always wanted to have
Making decent money is great, but money isn’t really that helpful if you don’t have a lifestyle that you would really enjoy.
I’ve written briefly about this before, but now my life is completely different than it was a year ago.
A year ago, I was doing ok. I was making a few times more money than an average salary in Slovenia, I could go eat at fancy restaurants, and I was my own boss.
Still, there were a few things I didn’t really enjoy. For example:
- I had to work around the schedules of my clients, so sometimes I would need to wake up at 6am to have a call, or stay up until 3am even though I wanted to sleep at that time.
- I needed a really good internet connection for my calls, so I couldn’t do as much travelling as I would have liked to.
- When I had 15 clients and I spoke to them once or twice a week, I came close to a 40-hour work week, and I didn’t make any money unless I did coaching calls.
Now, things are different. Now, I can literally work whenever I want, however I want, and whenever I want. I can wake up at 7am or 1pm. I can work from Slovenia, San Francisco or Thailand. In fact, last August I went to Thailand for 1 month with a friend of mine on a week’s notice.
I recorded a new video course in Thailand last August.
Another thing that changed is that as I started growing my business, I got to meet many other online business owners, like Selena Soo, one of the best publicity strategists in the world.
Grabbing lunch with Selena Soo in NYC
And with that, new opportunities opened up as well. I got many new podcast and guest post opportunities, recently I was even profiled by Business Insider:
Click here to read my profile on Business Insider.
Lessons from 1 year of Zero to Launch
I’ve showed you some of the results from Zero to Launch program, and now I’m going to share with you two of my biggest lessons that I learned within the last year.
1. You don’t need 100,000 e-mail subscribers to make a good living.
For a long time, I thought that I needed to have hundreds of thousands of e-mail subscribers if I wanted to work on my business full time. It felt so out of reach and unrealistic that I would ever get there.
But now that I’ve created my own business, and made over $40,000 in a year with only 2,000 e-mail subscribers, I can see that there’s another way.
it’s possible to make a good living, even if you have a relatively small e-mail list. What matters much more than the quantity of the people that you get on your e-mail list is the quality of the subscribers.
For example, there are many “internet marketers” out there that use Facebook ads to drive Facebook readers to fishy websites where they somehow trick them into collecting their e-mail address. As you can imagine, even if you trick 10,000 people into giving you their e-mail address, they probably won’t open many of your e-mails and buy many of your products if you start selling to them right away.
On the other hand, if you have 1,000 e-mail subscribers that…
- Have seen a guest post from you on a blog of a blogger that they have been following for years.
- Loved the posts on your blog, so they decided to join your e-mail list.
- Were blow away by the FREE e-book you have given them as a gift for signing up to your e-mail newsletter.
What will THEY think to themselves?
I bet it’s something along the lines of, “oh wow, if this guy’s free material is this good, then I can’t imagine how good his products are. let me check them out!”.
And that’s how you can make much more money with a high quality e-mail list of 1,000 subscribers than with a low quality e-mail list of 10,000 e-mail subscribers.
2. Build relationships with other bloggers.
Last year, I was introduced to Navid Moazzez from the Lifestyle Architects Podcast. Navid and I did a podcast episode together, and at that point we could have just parted our ways and never spoken again.
But we didn’t.
Instead, we decided to help each other out in any way we could to help grow each other’s businesses. So I introduced Navid to a few friends of mine who I thought would be great candidates for his podcast. When I asked Navid to introduce me to some podcasters, he happily connected me with 10 amazing podcasters.
I later did a great interview with him for his Branding Summit , which turned out to be one of the biggest online summits on personal branding out there. And when I talked to a Business Insider journalist that asked me who else has an amazing story that she can share with her readers, he was the first person to come to my mind, so I gladly sent over an introduction.
An interview I did with Navid for his Branding Summit
It’s a win-win relationship for both of us. We do whatever we can to help each other, and because of this, we constantly open up new opportunities that help us grow our businesses.
If you’d like to learn more about how to connect with other successful bloggers, read my 10,000+ word guide that I wrote on this topic.
How will YOUR life change if you go through Zero to Launch?
And what can Zero to Launch do for you? Well, it can give you the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without financial restrictions.
Do you want to be able to take a month off to be with your family like James? Maybe have the option of quitting your job if you want to? Or maybe you just want to be earning money while you take a trip around the world?
All of this is possible. I’ve done it, James has done it, and more of Ramit’s students have done it:
There are so many opportunities out there, and you can definitely get them as well.
So right now you’re probably wondering if Zero to Launch will work as well for you as it did for us.
I’ll be honest, Zero to Launch is NOT for everyone.
Zero to Launch is NOT right for you if…
- You want to get rich quick. It’s very likely that you won’t be making $10k/month right off the bat. It took me a few months to release my first product and get my first sales.
- You think that this program won’t work for you because of (insert X excuse). If you disqualify yourself before even putting in the effort, you will never get the results that you want.
- You aren’t willing to commit at least a few hours each week into working on your online business. If your excuse is that you “don’t have time”, then creating your online business just isn’t important enough to you yet.
Zero to Launch IS right for you if…
- You understand that it takes some time to get the ball rolling in the beginning, and that you will be able to benefit from the hard work that you put in now for years to come. You will actually be surprised how many new opportunities will open up for you once you get everything up and running.
- You like to take massive action. The beta-students that got the best results were the ones that didn’t focus on the barriers that were holding them back from success (“I’m not white, tall and extremely good looking like he is”, “I don’t have rich parents”, “I’m from a third world country…”). Instead, they focused on putting in the work and getting the results that they wanted.
- You have the attitude that you will “make the system work for you no matter what”. I do a lot of testing to find out what really works best for me (Facebook advertising? Guest posts? E-book opt-in offer? “free updates” newsletter?), and it’s likely that you will have to do some testing yourself to get the best results. If you love testing and are willing to trust the system, then this course is perfect for you.
If you decide to try out Zero to Launch, keep this in mind:
If you are going to try the course out, I wanted to give you a few tips based on my experiences:
- Set up a good, visible opt-in offer before doing massive promotion. You want to be able to capture the e-mail addresses of your subscribers before you go ahead and promote the website. As an opt-in offer, an e-book and a 7-day boot camp worked well for me. To make sure they’re visible, I use the Plugmatter Feature Box plug-in
- Don’t waste too much time stuck in tactical hell. You don’t need a fancy website to get started. Get a studiopress template and move on! You don’t need fancy webinar software and a complex billing system to create and sell your first product. I used Google Hangouts for the webinar, Paypal to sell the products and Google Drive to give my students access to my content. It’s “good enough” to get started, and these things can always get professionalized later.
- If you ARE stuck, reach out for help. There will be a great private community at Zero to Launch, and many members (including me) will be happy to help you out if you’re stuck with something. We love helping people who are willing to take action and then get results!
Let me help you go from Zero to Launch faster
I’ll be honest with you. With Ramit’s Zero to Launch system, you will get all the knowledge that you need to create a successful online business.
But in the end, YOU are still the person who will need to put in the work.
And I know that you already have a busy life. You probably have a job, a girlfriend or wife, maybe even kids. The truth is, life is busy. And finding the time and energy to build and grow your business won’t always be easy.
If you really want to get the most out of Zero to Launch, this is what you will need to do:
- Put in 5-10 hours of work a week: You will need to sit down, study the course materials and take massive action. You will need to work on your website, write blog posts, promote your blog posts through podcasts and guest posts, create products, collect feedback from your customers and much much more. All of this takes time and energy!
- Overcome your mental barriers: Sometimes, you will need to do something that you aren’t comfortable with. You will need to e-mail another blogger and ask to guest post on their site. You will need to send out a survey to your e-mail list. You will need to pitch your first product to your list. It won’t be easy.
- Get un-stuck: You will eventually run out of the initial boost of motivation. Your life will take over. You will have a busy week at your job, or maybe you just won’t feel like working on your business. As you keep receiving course e-mails, you might feel like you’re “falling behind” and it will be harder and harder to get back on track.
Things like that WILL happen. So instead of relying just on motivation, “trying harder” and “pushing through it“, why don’t you anticipate that things will go wrong and plan for them in advance?
You can do this by creating habits and systems that will help you make consistent progress in your business and follow through with the course. I share these systems only through my e-mail list, and I also put together a 22-page Guide to Creating Bulletproof Habits which will help you get from Zero to Launch faster.
To get access to the guide and the systems that I use to keep growing my business, just enter your e-mail below and click “GET ACCESS NOW!”.