The Proven Launch Formula to Start and Grow Your Business While Working a Full-Time Job.
I can't even tell you how many conversations I've had with some of the more than 37,000 people in my community who say they want to start a business, but when I check back in on them in six months or a year... they're exactly where they are today.
"I've tried out a few different ideas so far this year to see if something takes off, but I haven't been getting much traction with anything. It's been difficult to find the time to actually work on my ideas after a long day at my job. Even when I sit down to work, I feel overwhelmed about where to start. How do I know when an idea really has potential and how do I actually turn it into a business?"
My inbox is full of conversations like this. Not enough time. Too many ideas. Can't find the right idea. Don't know how or where to get started. Afraid of failing. Not enough money to start a business. Overwhelmed. The list goes on...
Maybe you can relate to this struggle? I certainly can... because I've been there myself.
Not too long ago, I was just starting out and desperate to launch a business that would allow me to quit my day job... but for years I struggled to make things happen until I developed a repeatable launch system that got results.
I wanted to be my own boss, have the freedom to set my own schedule, travel anytime I wanted, live anywhere in the world and never have to worry about money again.
Does that sound familiar? Maybe you're feeling this right now... stuck in an exhausting job that dictates your schedule, limits how much you earn and rewards you with a measly 2 weeks of vacation each year.
That's not how I wanted to live, but I felt trapped in a system that wouldn't allow me to break free from these limitations.
I was afraid of failure, the thought of embarrassment if I didn't succeed and I just didn't know how to get started. So I did what many of us do—procrastinate.
There were no shortage of excuses for why I hadn't taken meaningful action to create this lifestyle I'd been dreaming of.
It would take me more than 5 years and 1 failed business to get to where I am now: Earning well into six-figures as a marketing consultant to the world's most elite entrepreneurs and growing startups. Writing for Forbes, Entrepreneur and Business Insider. Reaching over 200,000 monthly readers and creating online courses for more than 12,000 students.
However, in order to understand how I got to this point, I need to take you back to the business that started it all...
My very first "business" was centered around a product I invented, called the iStash.
Hilarious, I know. It was an iPhone look-a-like stash device that helped people sneak "cigarettes" and other related items into concerts, music festivals and live events.
Because I launched without a plan, that business was a huge failure. After more than 2 years of spinning my wheels, I ended up losing $6,537 in total. Just about everything I could do wrong, I did...
• I wasn't confident about where I should start—it took me nearly 2 years to go from initial idea to first real sale.
• I wasted precious time and money on things that didn't actually grow the business.
• I wasn't solving a problem I cared about; there was no connection to my customers and the product failed to deliver value.
• I invested heavily in expensive overseas manufacturing before knowing if there was demand for the product.
• Worst of all, I didn't have a plan for how I was going to sell the 3,000 units I suddenly had sitting in my garage.
When it came time to start selling the iStash, I had an earth-shattering realization: I had no idea how to get traffic to my website, let alone write the copy and product descriptions that'd convince visitors to buy my product anyway.
I had been banking on "figuring it out" once the time came. And now that I had invested hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the business, I realized at the worst possible moment that I didn't have a plan.
From that moment on, I promised myself that I'd never launch without a plan—ever again.
I decided that I wasn't going to let my biggest fumble from my first business—generating online sales—be a problem ever again. So I got a job in marketing. I began writing blog posts and creating content for my day job and on my personal blog.
Over the next couple of years, I kept leveling up my content marketing skills so that I'd know how to drive traffic and sell my products online the next time around. I invested countless hours building this skill into a strength.
Then in 2012, I started planning how I'd launch my next business Case Escape with my best friend.
Knowing the importance of having a plan and validating my business concept before getting too far down the wrong path this time, I leaned on my new strengths to create a basic website and a couple of blog posts to explain our product: Custom phone case printers.
The goal of my blog posts and website copy was simple: Sell our first phone case printer (priced around $5,000).
Shortly after getting our website live and promoting our blog posts through entrepreneurial online communities, our own personal social media networks and a couple hundred dollars in Facebook Ads, we closed our first sale.
We'd successfully validated our business idea with an online proof of concept while keeping our day jobs. We had our first paying customer in less than 1 month. Over the next couple of months, I kept promoting our content and we hit the top of Google results for search terms like phone case business, which brought us hundreds of new potential customers per day.
We'd go on to generate over $150,000 in revenue in just the first year with Case Escape and grow the business together for another year.
I now had a system that worked, so I kept refining it.
After selling my half of Case Escape to my partner in 2014, I moved to San Francisco and started working with online education companies—teaching them how to implement content marketing strategies.
I began stress-testing my Launch Formula by sharing my experiences, mistakes and lessons learned with starting and growing profitable side businesses right here on my blog.
But before I jumped head first into creating online courses and investing in that business idea, I put my own system to work.
Again, I started with a very simple goal: Get 100 people to join the waiting list for The Launch Formula. I was hesitant—I didn't want to waste time or money on a business that didn't have potential. However, if I could get 100 people to express interest in the course, I felt confident I could convert 5 - 10 of them into paying customers. I now had my validation goal.
Next, it was time to determine exactly how I'd achieve that goal of acquiring 100 waiting list subscribers.
Following my system, I knew that the quickest path to success meant leveraging my strengths. So, I leaned on my existing skills as a writer and marketer to create a massive blog post to start attracting my target audience.
I worked my ass off to bring readers to my validation post. I turned to online communities like Reddit, GrowthHackers, Inbound.org, HackerNews, submitted the post to entrepreneurial message boards, reached out to business influencers, asked friends to share, spent $100 on Facebook Ads—the list goes on. Before I knew it, 1,800 people had read my post.
By applying my years of experience developing traffic driving strategies, I filled my waiting list and validated my business in less than 1 month.
The rest is history. The Launch Formula is here. My blog reaches 200,000 monthly readers, my content has been shared over 100,000 times, I connect with more than 37,000 email subscribers and 12,000 students have taken my courses.
I did all of this while working a full-time job.
Up until just a few months ago, I was still working at CreativeLive, managing the content marketing for all of the business courses. As I was building my audience, I grew my reputation as a content marketing consultant by taking on 1 or 2 small freelance projects at a time—knowing that going full-time as a freelancer would give me the lifestyle flexibility I'd been craving.
I was careful not to over-extend myself with too many clients, so I grew my freelance business slowly. I used my growing authority to start building relationships with the brands and influencers I really wanted to work with—the ones that'd help me establish myself as a premium service provider, rather than a $25/hr writer.
Each time I published a new post on my blog, I'd find a way to thoughtfully link to content on the blogs of these target brands I wanted to work with. Then, I'd reach out and establish a relationship based on providing value first, in the form of new traffic and subscribers coming from my blog. This is how I got my first group of very high paying clients.
This strategy also landed me invitations to write for some of the world's top startups like WeWork, Buffer and HubSpot.
As I continued getting more exposure, I secured agreements writing for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Business Insider. It wasn't long before my content was being seen by millions of readers across the web.
Finally, my freelance business reached critical mass. In August of this year, I signed a massive six-figure contract to help LinkedIn with about 10 hours of content marketing consulting per week and I was able to quit my day job.
It didn't happen overnight. However, the dedication to following my system of setting realistic goals, striving for incremental wins and thoughtfully adapting on the fly, paid off in less than 1 year of freelancing on the side of my day job.
It was never easy and not everything went according to plan, but my system worked when I put in the work.
I'm now making more than I was at CreativeLive in about 10 hours of freelance work each week.
My business is bringing in more income than I had before, I spend fewer hours working for somebody else each week and I now get to do my limited amount of freelance work remotely from wherever I want.
All of those benefits are great, but they're nothing compared to the fact that I freed up my schedule so that I'd have the power to do what I want with my time.
I get most of my work done before lunch. I go for runs in the afternoon. My girlfriend and I travel a lot and we dine at some of the best restaurants in San Francisco. I'm truly the happiest I've ever been and I'm living life the way I want.
Most rewarding of all, I now get to work hands on with my course students and readers every day.
I'm using my Launch Formula to help more people achieve what I've already done for myself.
Over the past year, I've been working directly with hundreds of members of my community. I've helped them define their goals and create a step-by-step action plan to accomplishing those goals as quickly as possible.
They show up to do the work every week and commit to following the system—they're getting very real results. All the while, I've been refining my Launch Formula even further.
Take Katie, now a consultant and coach, for example.
When she first discovered my courses, she was looking for the right business, but had spent more than a year trying to figure out exactly what it should be. Just 3 months after connecting with me & taking my free course on Finding a Profitable Business Idea, Katie had started her own business and doubled her income. Moreover, she's now doing work that she loves.
Katie's on the fast track to quitting her day job and going full-time with her business, because she followed the system and put in the work. At first, she didn't know what she wanted to build or exactly how to do it—but by following my system, she was able to accomplish her goals in less than 3 months.
And The Launch Formula will work for you too, if you show up with the right attitude, mindset and the willingness to step outside of your comfort zone—in order to reach new heights and create the lifestyle you've wanted.
You don't know how or where to start. TLF is your step-by-step, guided launch plan that'll get you to your first paying customers in a matter of months—not years.
You think you don't have enough time. TLF begins with 3 foundational lessons that walk you through the process of identifying how you spend your time, thoughtfully re-evaluating your responsibilities, establishing a winning routine, maximizing your productivity and creating the blocks of time your business will need in order to succeed.
You don't know what business to start. TLF was built side-by-side with feedback from my 12,000+ course students. You're getting my updated and revamped training on how to identify profitable niche business ideas by combining your interest & skills to tackle problems you care deeply about—even when you don't yet know what those are.
You feel like you don't have enough money to start a business. TLF is a lean business-building system. I believe you should almost never spend money on a business until you're making money from paying customers first. You'll learn step-by-step how to build a proof of concept and validate your business idea before you break the bank.
You're afraid of failure. TLF is designed to address all of your fears and limiting beliefs. We tackle the most important part of becoming an entrepreneur first—developing the right mindset, building confidence and shifting our mentality to become champions within our industry.
So, what do you say... are you ready?