Today, my little one-person business crossed $3M in revenue. It took 1,187 days, I ran zero ads & operate at a 94% margin. Here are the 20 steps of my wild & strange journey: Hope it’s helpful to someone.

  1. Created lots of noise When I was just getting started, I looked at attention as my friend. I wrote content every day before I even had a business, just to find my voice. I started on LinkedIn. I shared my thoughts & observations about building a SaaS unicorn as the CRO.
  2. Honed in on signals Inside all of that noise was some signals. Sometimes I bombed, and sometimes I struck a chord. The more I looked at what resonated, the more I doubled down. This allowed me to understand what people cared about. So, I kept writing & talking about it.
  3. Built a service business My experience building SaaS was resonating. So I began creating more and more content about that. Founders sent me DMs asking questions. I responded to every single one. Once I had prospects in my funnel, I started consulting.
  4. Found my ideal customers Inside your customer base is more signals. What are the commonalities between the customers you love & those who love you? Mine were early-stage SMB SaaS in the healthcare space. A space I was experienced in & loved. That became my ideal customer.
  5. 2x’ed my rates With a well-defined niche, some happy customers, and testimonials, I 2x’ed my rates. I started creating more content that was even more targeted. This led to more conversations with ideal-fit prospects. I said no to any company outside of my niche.
  6. Reduced my time With new rates, I could have worked the same and made 2x as much. Instead, I chose to work 50% of the time and make the same. I used that extra time to figure out how to scale income that was more automated. My goal had always been to get my time back.
  7. Kept my eyes and ears open Something really interesting happened. In an attempt to find common problems to productize, I started rereading my LinkedIn DMs. I had some repetitive questions about SaaS sales, but I also had an inbox jammed with questions about LinkedIn itself.
  8. Tested a hypothesis I had organically grown to 20k+ followers on LinkedIn & people wanted to know more. I had a hypothesis that this would be an easy info product I could create & sell. I put together a short course for $50 (more on price later) & wrote posts about it.
  9. Made my first product $$ I put the product for sale on Gumroad on April 16th, 2020. In the first month, I made $10,482. I was shocked. I now had my first digital product, but it was in a totally different niche than my service business. Honestly, this confused me.
  10. Ran with it Over the next 15 months, I sold about $75k of the course. I posted about audience building on LinkedIn and found other ways to continue to land consulting clients. (VCs, news sites, blogs, SaaStr, etc) Even though it felt confusing, I continued to run with it.
  11. Tripled down After the course was outdated, people started asking for a new version. I rebuilt the course, but this time charged $150. The earlier $50 price was my “trust tripwire”. I charged $50, delivered 100x worth the price, and built trust w/ a loyal customer base.
  12. Marketed aggressively With 100% of my LinkedIn content focused on audience growth, and a product directly related to that content, sales took off. My previous course grossed $75k in 15 months. The second version has grossed $186k in 3 months. Next up…
  13. I began creating an army At the halfway point of my course, people are encouraged to leave a testimonial and sign up for an affiliate program. I built the same automation at the conclusion of the course. I now have 800+ affiliates that have generated $110,000 in revenue.
  14. Built a community As sales picked up, my interest in consulting faded. I was doing $2k per day in info products and wanted to run with that. I opened a private community for creators and charged $199. Those who completed my course were prompted to join.
  15. Made a difficult decision I loved my community but realized that it didn’t work with my personality. It was a $15k MRR business, but I felt like I had to be “on” 24/7. That wasn’t the life I wanted to build. 15 months after starting it, I made a decision to shut it down.
  16. Reinvested my time With way more free time now, I decided to start Tweeting. Using what I knew about growing on LinkedIn, I was able to hit 75k followers in about 6 months. This provided a new channel to build more stuff. So I did.
  17. Created a 2nd digital course I was doing a podcast with @dickiebush and@nicolascole77 about how I built a system for writing content. The 500+ people on the call seemed to be amazed by it. That led to my 2nd course, The Content Operating System.
  18. Added MRR I noticed that each week I was spending time creating content templates for myself. What if my audience wanted those too? I tested it as a $9 upsell on each course. 8 months later it has 1,700+ subscribers. Almost $14k MRR from something I was already doing.
  19. Started a newsletter In January of 2021, I launched my newsletter, The Saturday Solopreneur. I was determined to deliver one piece of actionable advice each Saturday AM that could be read in 4 minutes or less. In the last 11 months, I’ve grown it to 60k+ subs.
  20. Added sponsorships With over 60k subs, I can charge for each issue to be sponsored. I have 2 slots per issue, per week, that sell for $1,250. Now each weekly newsletter is paying $2,500, and people are getting their brand and business in front of a ton of readers.

A few last notes of potential interest: 1. I no longer do anything SaaS-related. 2. I don’t do any paid advertising of any kind. 3. I don’t have any employees, but I do have a wife that helps me stay very organized. I’m not sure what’s next yet, but I’ll be sharing as I figure it out. If this was helpful, feel free to give me a follow. If you have any questions, ask away. Happy to give out as many helpful tips as I can muster today. Thanks for reading.

That’s a wrap! If you enjoyed this blog

Learn more about Justin Welsh here: Join 70k+ subscribers to the Saturday Solopreneur. Every Saturday morning, you’ll get 1 actionable tip to launch, grow, and monetize your internet business. Follow him on Twitter here:

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