This bottle of mouthwash costs $25.
Actual instructions: “swig generously & gargle prior to all public appearances”
And yet, people are happily paying that much. Why?
Yesterday, I asked you to think of one thing you would teach your younger self. This luxury mouthwash is my answer.
A few years ago, I thought people only cared about results. For example:
- You joined our Dream Job course. How big of a raise did you get?
- You hired a personal trainer. How much weight did you lose?
- You’re buying a $1,000 handbag. Is it 10x better leather than a $100 bag?
So naive. Over time, I’ve learned that some people don’t only want results. Many people also want an experience.
All mouthwashes kill germs and freshen your breath. That’s table stakes. Even the discount brand can do this.
So why do some people pay more? Does Aesop kill 5 times more germs than Listerine? Does it keep your mouth clean for 5 times longer?
No. It’s about the emotion, the feeling, the packaging. It’s about the identity you create by indulging in a luxury product.
Notice our first reaction: “LOL, stupid people. Don’t they know they’re getting ripped off?”
But it’s not stupid.
Why do you think Mercedes-Benz chose “the best or nothing” as their slogan? Can’t a Honda Civic get you from place to place without premium sound or a 577 horsepower engine? Of course. But Mercedes owners want more than functional transportation. They want an experience.
This one realization — that experiences can matter just as much as results — has utterly transformed my business and my life. It’s like an entire part of the world has now become visible to me. And I can choose when I want to pay for an experience…or when I just want to get the cheapest thing (e.g., my spatula) because it makes no difference to me.
That’s where we kicked things off yesterday. No matter who you are, you know something that other people need to hear, too. (If you missed it, you can read what other people said they would teach their younger selves here.)
The surprising value of skills you take for granted
Every single one of us has something to share with the world. Surprisingly, this can be a skill we don’t think anybody would value enough to pay for.
- You might think your ability to cook is trivial. But I pay a private chef a lot of money to do exactly that for me.
- You might think walking your dog is a mundane chore. But some people make their living from it.
- You might think “everyone” knows how to use popular websites. But in college, venture capitalists paid me to explain how MySpace and YouTube worked.
You don’t have to be an expert, an author, or a guru to get paid for your expertise. You just need something that you could teach your younger self.
Let me show you an amazing example.
How to build a following by sharing lessons to your younger self
Tom is a tutor who built a following of over 300 people (fast) by sharing the studying techniques he figured out in college. He doesn’t have a Ph.D. in Education or a string of Amazon best-sellers on study hacks.
What he does have is something his younger self would love to know.
In this short video, Tom explains how he went from wanting to share something with the world to actually finding the “hidden expertise” from his past that other people could benefit from.
Anyone can do this. You just have to know where to look.
For example, consider some of the key insights in this video with Tom:
- He didn’t just pick some random experience to share. Instead, he thought carefully about something he struggled with (studying for difficult technical exams), how he overcame it, and how other students could save time by following in his footsteps.
- He noticed that textbooks, professors, and typical studying advice were letting technical students down — and tailored his advice to fill those gaps for others.
- He didn’t run seminars on how to study a year in advance so you can pass your exams “someday”. Instead, he focused on students who are rapidly approaching test day (because those are the people who need Tom’s help NOW).
Tom started with no readers, no website, not even an idea. Now he has hundreds of people reading his emails and even paying for his expertise.
This is the power of sharing your gifts with the world.
NEXT: 3 questions to tap into your hidden talents
Yesterday, we talked about what you wish you could teach your younger self.
Now, I want you to ask yourself three questions to start narrowing down what you could share with the world.
What do other people struggle with that comes naturally to you? (Playing the piano? Managing your money? Hosting dinner parties?)
What do your friends say you’re amazing at? (Ask them. Maybe it’s organization, dressing well, and reading people)
What if you had 3 extra hours per week? What would you do? (Maybe read fashion blogs? Go to the gardening store? Talk about relationships?)
After you come up with some answers, start thinking about who might pay for your help in these areas. Post 1 answer in the comments.
For example, if you’re great at dissecting your friends’ relationship problems, you might say “I could be a relationship coach who helps shy men naturally attract the woman of their dreams”.
Or if you love gardening, it could be “I help people start container gardens.”
This doesn’t need to be perfect yet. I’ll help you shape and sculpt your idea over the next few weeks. For now, we’re just brainstorming. Have fun with it.
P.S. Just as our “younger selves” have a lot they could learn from us, we have a lot we can learn from people more experienced in starting and growing an online business. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to introduce you to many of these experts for an “insider’s playbook” you can use to start sharing your gifts faster than you thought possible.
First up: Someone who went from a near-death experience and living on $500/month in one of America’s poorest cities to turning his talents into a $5M/year online business.
I love when top performers reveal what they wish they knew five, ten, even twenty years earlier in their careers.
A few weeks ago, I read the “Letter To My Younger Self” from Pete Sampras, one of the greatest tennis players ever.
Sampras goes into excruciating detail about lessons he learned the hard way:
- He warns his 16-year-old self about the dark side of fame
- He remembers matches he lost by refusing to try new techniques
- He even scolds himself for putting the wrong things in his body, like the time he drank Coke mid-match and puked on the court
These are the hard-fought insights that only come from experience. Any up-and-coming tennis player would be crazy not to listen to Pete’s advice.
This isn’t just true for tennis pros, either. We all have knowledge, skills and insights that people in the same situation we were in a few years ago would love to tap.
Maybe it’s that skill you spent an embarrassing amount of time mastering (like ironing).
Maybe it’s the diet that finally worked for you after ten other ones failed.
Maybe it’s the relationship lessons you learned from years of dating.
We all have something worth sharing.
Think about the major areas of your life — your relationships, money, careers, health, or personal growth. What hard-fought lessons have you learned? I want to hear.
Pick just ONE thing you know now that you wish you could teach your younger self. Then share you idea in the comments below.
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How to guarantee a successful product launch
Here’s a question from Star. She asks:
“If a business can transition from freelancing, for example health coaching, to an online business, can I just jump right into the online business? For someone just starting out with an online business, is it necessary to wait a while to put out a product or to put it out fairly quickly?”
This is an excellent question, and it’s a mistake that a lot of people make when they start an online business.
What happens is this: people create a website, write couple of blog posts, and launch their product. When they do, they’re so excited.
But then, a few months later, they have no sales. Only crickets.
This happens because they were in a rush to get something out to the market and they never stopped to say:
- “Does anybody really want this?”
- “Who am I targeting?”
- “What are my audience’s needs?”
That’s not an effective way to start a business.
The best business people focus on their customers first.
The short answer to the question is: yes, you could start a website and launch a product quickly.
But before you do that, you’ve got to understand the basics. Who is your customer? What are their burning pains? What other solutions have they tried?
This is how you guarantee you build a product that will sell. Notice I said guarantee.
There is no hoping and praying involved.
By the time you actually create a product, you should not be hoping, praying, and guessing. You can know that people are going to buy it because you’ve done the requisite amount of research beforehand.
And that’s exactly what we’ve seen with our 18-plus successful courses.
When we launch something, we’re not just like, “Oh, I really hope someone buys this today. I hope we have enough money to put food on the table.”
That’s not how it works. We’ve done our research. We know our expected conversion rates. We know the price point. We do this because we develop what’s called a “playbook.”
Now if you’re curious about how you can do this — how to make sure that your product is going to sell before you spend a ton of time on it — click below and I’m going to send you a field report from one of our students. You’ll see how she made a simple tweak to her business that guaranteed her product launch would be a success.
Get more customers and a bigger audience for your product
Learn how one of my students made a simple tweak to her business idea that dramatically boosted her sales and number customers.
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From $4.95 to 7-Figures: The Math of Online Business
The first product I sold from my site was a $4.95 ebook called “Ramit’s 2007 Guide to Kicking Ass.” It’s pretty embarrassing to look at now, but from those modest beginnings I’ve grown IWT into a multi-million dollar business. Sign up below to see how you can ramp an online business up from one small product to 6 and 7-figure earnings.
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How to earn money online
Here’s a question from a Zero To Launch student named Raffia.
“I’m wondering whether most revenue for a service or blog type website is generated from ads. Is it the CTR,” that’s click through rate, “that generates a high revenue, and can this alone sustain a business? This hardly seems like enough to me.”
What she’s really asking is: “What are the different ways you can earn money online?”
Over the past 11 years, I’ve tested many of these business models on my site and found what works best. Today, I’m going to walk you through these different options and tell you what happened when I tried using them on my site.
Business Model #1 – Ads
The first and most common business model is ads. Almost all of us have seen these. They’re little advertisements — typically using Google AdSense — on the sidebars of a website.
Here’s how they work: as you get traffic, some people will click those ads. When they do, you get a few cents, or even a few dollars per click.
I tried this for IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com. But I quickly realized ads don’t make that much money. In fact, what I came to find out was that you need a huge amount of visitors, like 50 million visitors — or more — per month, to make a good income from ads. That’s a lot of traffic.
Back when I started in 2004, my basic idea was “If I can’t cover my rent with ads, why bother?” They’re ugly and distracting. Plus, I’ll end up spending more time optimizing the CTR on the ads than actually writing great content. So after trying that experiment for a little while, I checked the box and said I’m not interested in a business model like this.
Business Model #2 – Sponsorships
The next business model I want to talk about is sponsorships.
If you’ve been on email lists for companies like Thrillist, you’re probably familiar with sponsorships.
Companies reach out to other people with an email list, and they ask to sponsor an email or buy a dedicated ad.
All that means is that they get a chance to promote their products or services to someone else’s email list.
A friend and I experimented with this in the past. We put together an ad packet and asked potential sponsors if they’d like to send a sponsored email to our list. In our ad packet, we included things like our audience size, the demographics, and what kind of things our readership was interested in.
Frankly, this really didn’t work at all. We wasted a lot of time reaching out to people without seeing a lot of results. And even if we got a sponsorship for $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, we looked at how much work we were putting in and realized it wasn’t scalable.
With that said, I have a lot of friends who have businesses that run on sponsorships. They regularly get $10,000 and $25,000 sponsorships.
The reason that they’re able to do this though is that they have a sales team. And they’ve gone a step further by building relationships with marketing buyers in the industry.
When you’re first starting out, you’re probably not going to have those resources. So if I had to say one thing to you about sponsorships, I would say it probably doesn’t make sense early on in your business.
Business Model #3 – Sell Physical Products
The next business model that a lot of people ask about is selling physical products.
I’m going to be honest with you. I don’t have a lot of experience doing this. I’m wary of this business model because the profit margins are necessarily low.
Just to give you an example, we have a notepad that our designers created internally for I Will Teach staff. We would have had to price it at around $50 — for a teeny little notepad — just to break even if we wanted to sell it. And after we shipped it to people, our profit margin would have disappeared.
Now, I’m not the definitive expert on shipping physical products, and I do know that there is some money to be made in this space.
But for me, I prefer the profit margins offered by online products.
With online products the profit margin is higher, and it’s much easier to scale. Physical products just introduce so many variables and costs that I’m not interested in them.
Business Model #4 – Affiliates
The next business model you can try is affiliates. If you have ever seen an affiliate ad, you will know it.
In the personal finance space, you’ll see this with credit cards. For example, a blogger will write a review of “My favorite credit cards.” At the bottom of their review, they’ll say “you can sign up for the card here — NOTE: this is an affiliate link.”
If you click that link and sign up, the credit card company is going to pay that blogger an affiliate commission. Sometimes it’ll be $50 or $75.
Over time, that can actually add up to a lot of money. And there are affiliate programs for everything — from audio books to weight loss products.
Do you know who the biggest affiliate in the world is? It’s called Amazon.com. A lot of the time, if somebody links to Amazon, they’ll actually have an affiliate code in those links.
If you click that link and buy the product, Amazon will pay the writer roughly 5% or 6% commissions.
My experience with affiliates was pretty interesting. I decided not to do affiliate links for a long time because I didn’t want people to think I was recommending stuff just to make money. I only wanted to recommend the best products.
But eventually I realized that my readers trusted me, they were already going to sign up for the accounts I was recommending anyways. So I decided to try putting an affiliate link in with one of my recommendations.
My first attempt at this was a review on my favorite bank account. I showed people screenshots on how I set it up, and I added a couple of affiliate links in there.
When I did — virtually overnight — I became ING Direct’s number one affiliate in the world. I was making more than $10,000 a month — just by putting a link in there.
That was pretty great for a while. But over time, I became uninterested in this type of business.
After a while of posting these affiliate links, the click through rates sort of tail off.
And you’ll find yourself having to deal with advertisers a lot. The returns on my time just weren’t adding up.
I’d rather just make a recommendation without going through all the hassle of getting affiliates involved.
There are a lot of people who make a lot of money on affiliates. They can do it in a variety of ways. One, they can write content and add links, like I did. Other times, they can set up landing pages, capture traffic and divert it. It can get very complex.
One other really important thing to keep in mind is that affiliates can change their rules on the fly. They can change their commissions whenever they want. If they do that quickly, it can be tough for you to make adjustments.
Business Model #5 – Selling online information products
Now, my favorite business model model: selling something you create. Typically these are information products, like a video course.
The video courses that we create for I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Zero To Launch and several other properties we have take a long time to produce. We spend tons of time researching them, outlining them, testing them, recording them, and designing them. But once we’re ready, we can release them to the world. And when we do, we keep all of the profits.
If somebody buys something from us, we don’t have to pay 30% to Amazon or 30% to Apple or anything to all these people who want a little cut.
We don’t have to do that. We own it. We can change the title. We can change the price. We could do anything we want.
Now, as you can imagine, that also takes a lot of work. So there is a trade-off.
But what I’ve found is that even when I started off really simply — by creating a $5 e-book — I was able to sell more than 1,000 of those.
That was $5,000 in revenue — I could keep all to myself. And I knew that if I could sell 10 or 100 copies, then I could sell 1,000, and if I can sell 1,000, then I can sell 10,000.
So to me, it became really powerful to know that I controlled my destiny.
If I worked hard — if I created great products — I could earn good money from this. Over time, that became the crux of our business and now we generate over 95% of our revenue through our own products. So I can’t recommend it enough.
You can take the skills and experience you have inside you and package it into something that the world will pay for.
When you do that, you can put it online and sell it automatically. Even as you’re sleeping, people will be able to buy from you. That way when you wake up, you have a sales report that says you earned $27 or $270 or even $2,700 overnight. That’s incredibly powerful.
Yes, you have to work hard up front, but once you do, you can profit forever.
So those are a few of the business models that I experimented with over the last 11 years. Now you can do this. You can grow your own successful online business — one that generates six figures or more.
To get a behind the scenes video on how I turned my blog from a site that nobody reads into a successful online business, just enter your email below and I’ll send you an exclusive video.
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Get more traffic & leads to your website
If you want to get more traffic to your website, all you have to do is follow the 5 tactics in this free report, “Getting Traffic & Leads.”
Download your free guide to learn how to boost your website’s traffic today
The best tactics to get traffic for your website
Here’s a question from Geoffrey. He asks:
“Have you learned that certain techniques are more successful than others for driving traffic to your website?”
This is actually a pretty complicated question, so I want to dig deep into it.
A lot of people will tell you, “You need to do SEO. You need to do PPC. You need to get on social media.” You need to do all this stuff.
It’s important to remember that there are different stages in your business. In each one of those stages, you can focus on different strategies and tactics.
But you don’t need to overcomplicate things in the beginning stages.
As an example, let’s say you want to start going to the gym. On your first day in the gym, you’re going to stretch, walk on the treadmill, and get an idea of the gym’s layout.
You’re not going to go over to the bench press and lift 225lbs for 10 repetitions. That wouldn’t be a great way to start working out.
Whereas, if you’d been training for awhile — let’s say you were an Olympic athlete — you already know how to stretch, and you know the layout of the gym.
Your workout is going to look very different than someone who is just beginning.
It works exactly the same way for strategies relating to traffic.
At different stages of your business, you can try different things, moving from beginner to more advanced later on. But you can’t do it all upfront.
For example, PPC, or “pay per click,” refers to paid advertising.
You’ve probably seen these types of ads on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. PPC is great for more advanced businesses because when you get it working, it’s very scalable and provides a predictable ROI.
For every dollar you put in, you might make two dollars, three dollars or even four dollars. It can be a really powerful tool to help your business grow.
But the downside is that you need to know your numbers. You need to know what your LTV, or lifetime value, is for every customer. You need to know your conversion numbers.
To really do PPC right, it also takes a lot of analytics. Sometimes, companies will even hire an entire team to do this work for them.
That’s why I recommend that you don’t start with PPC ads. You should really wait to do this because you can get free traffic in the early stages of growth.
Here’s another advanced online business topic: SEO or “Search engine optimization.”
SEO is when you type something into Google, results come up, you click, and you’re like, “Yes! This is exactly what I wanted.”
That’s an example of good SEO in action. This tool can be incredibly powerful for your online business.
Anytime that you generate leads or get traffic to your site from SEO, you’re getting really high -quality people coming to your site with what’s called “search intent.” All that means, in a nutshell, is that the person was searching for what you have to offer.
The problem with SEO is that it takes a lot of work. It’s also not directly in your control where you rank.
Google might change their policies or how they rank certain key terms. It also takes time for your site and posts to rank really well.
The best recommendation I have for you on SEO is to write stuff people care about.
And in fact, you can get a ton of traffic from Google, even if you don’t look at keywords, title tags, or any other advanced stuff that other people will tell you to do.
The reason it works is because people will click on the posts they care about, and, if they find what they read valuable, they’ll come back.
My final recommendation for you to get more traffic to your site is to do guest posting.
This is one really effective way that you can start getting FREE traffic, right now. It doesn’t cost you money like PPC. It doesn’t require you to know your LTV, AOV, or your conversion numbers, like paid advertising does. It’s actually really straightforward.
No secret strategy, no cool, three-letter acronyms required.
Guest-posting just involves you going to sites that have more traffic than you do and saying, “Hey, I have something that I think your readers would find useful. Can I do a guest post for you?”
Don’t dismiss the importance of this. This is how I grew I Will Teach You To Be Rich to hundreds of thousands of viewers every single month.
So how does it work?
First of all, you don’t need to go directly to the A+ players in the beginning. That’s really important. Don’t go find the biggest blogger on earth and pitch him or her. It doesn’t make any sense, and you don’t have the credibility just yet.
You start off small, finding people who are one level above you, and you say, “Hey, I noticed that you have an audience that’s interested in this topic. I think that your readers will probably find this information useful.” Note: you would know this is useful for this audience because you would have taken the time to read their blog. That way you’d know the type of content they’re looking for.
And guess what happens in most cases? Most blog owners would love to feature content like this.
Not only is it useful to their readers but also it means they get to take a day off from writing.
As you get good at this, you will learn how to write better stuff. You will also be able to leverage this domino effect of reaching out to higher and higher bloggers.
So for example you could say “Hi Blogger #2, Nice to meet you. I wrote something for Blogger #1. They loved it! Do you think I could write something for you?”
Then, you could do this again and again, and again.
You’ll keep moving up the chain, and, soon enough, you’ll be writing for massive sites.
I’ve used this same strategy to be able to write for The New York Times, Tim Ferriss’ site, and Lifehacker.
You can do exactly the same.
One final note. We’re talking about getting the right traffic to your site. Not just any traffic, but the right traffic.
Don’t just go to any blog. Go to the right blogs that have an audience like the one you’re looking for. It’s worth way more than trying to go to some gigantic site that doesn’t have the right people.
Now for more info on how to get more traffic to your site, click below. I put together a field report on some traffic generating strategies that you can use, starting today.
Getting traffic & leads to your website
If you want to get more traffic to your website, all you have to do is publish more frequently and share your links on social media, right?
I wish that were the case. If it were that simple, every website would have hundreds of thousands of visitors each month.
So, how do you generate high traffic and get lots of quality leads?
All you have to do is follow the 5 tactics in this free report, “Getting Traffic & Leads.”
Download your free guide and start getting tons of traffic and leads today