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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: https://twitter.com/thejustinwelsh
Today, my little one-person business crossed $3M in revenue.— Justin Welsh (@thejustinwelsh) November 7, 2022
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.
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Local SEO Services for Your BusinessIn the bustling digital landscape of today, a strong online… Read more: 5 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Local SEO Services for Your Business
- Google Sheet SEO HacksGoogle Sheets is a powerful tool that can be used… Read more: Google Sheet SEO Hacks
- Is SEO is an Ongoing Process?Yes! SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is an ongoing process because… Read more: Is SEO is an Ongoing Process?
- GoDaddy Hosting Pros & ConsGoDaddy is a popular web hosting company that provides a… Read more: GoDaddy Hosting Pros & Cons
- Why White-Label SEO Makes Sense for Your Growing Digital Marketing FirmA business that is growing is always good news. But… Read more: Why White-Label SEO Makes Sense for Your Growing Digital Marketing Firm
- How to Earn Money Through Australian Affiliate ProgramsAffiliate marketing is a popular way for bloggers and website… Read more: How to Earn Money Through Australian Affiliate Programs