NOTE: Don’t miss the special bonus I am offering at the bottom of this post.
Have you missed a day of work recently?
Maybe you were sick, or your kid was sick and you had to watch them.
Or maybe you missed work because your car broke down.
If you work for yourself like I do, then any hour you’re not at work means you’re not making money.
If you’re taking care of a sick loved one, or on vacation, or out marketing to get new clients, you’re not getting paid.
It kind of takes the fun out of working for yourself.
Even if you have a job, you know your boss is not happy when you’re not in the office.
Miss too many days and you’ll find yourself out on the street.
But it turns out there is a much better way.
I remember a few months ago, I had to miss a whole day of work because my younger son Tobey was sick, and we didn’t have backup childcare.
The poor little guy was coughing and wheezing and looked like crap. Here’s his sad face:
My wife had to go to work, so that meant I was stuck watching him, which meant no money.
Money going out, no money coming in.
(That’s not a good equation.)
And I was really frustrated because I had work I needed to do.
You know the feeling?
Finally, around 11am, Tobey went down for a nap and I had the first chance to check my email.
I was dreading what I was going to see.
And right there in my email was a receipt for a couple of sales of my online course.
I had made $600 while I was not working.
A year ago, this would have seemed like a fantasy.
Today, it actually has become more and more common.
I actually make thousands of dollars each month from digital products.
I get paid, whether I am in the office or if I need to be out of the office. I can go out to a long lunch or take a trip to New York (like I did recently) and I have the peace of mind of knowing my business is still working even if I’m not.
If you want to know how all of this became possible, I give a large amount of credit to Zero to Launch (affiliate link), a training program on how to create an online business.
In this post, I want to tell you about how Zero to Launch has changed my business, allowing me to leverage my efforts in a smart way so I earn money while I’m sleeping, on vacation, out at dinner, or at home nursing my son back to health.
I’ve made as much as $4,000 from about an hour’s worth of work – far more than the highest paid lawyer nationwide makes per hour.
How? Because I work smarter, not harder. My efforts snowball.
Is this some crazy pyramid scheme? Absolutely not. Is it a get rich quick scheme? Heck no. It takes time and effort.
But: products I created many months ago continue to bring in revenue to my business, while I’ve moved on to other things. (Like this trip to New York, where I had some great meetings with people who could help my business to advance even further.)
I’ll also share an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of what the Zero to Launch course actually looks like when you log in.
Finally, I give you five reasons why you should sign up for the course if you are serious about growing your reputation and your business online. I also created a special Smart Business Revolution Zero to Launch Bonus Experience at the bottom of this post to make signing up for Zero to Launch even more attractive.
Now, what does all of this have to do with relationships?
On this blog and in my podcast, I share my best advice on how to use the new world of digital tools to build relationships, grow your revenue and advance your career.
Zero to Launch has helped me dramatically in that mission. Within 12 months of investing in it, I had quadrupled my email list, meaning I am building relationships with 4X as many people as I was before. I am helping thousands of people per month through my courses, my writing and my podcasts.
And my income from my blog has gone from $100 to $200 per month before ZTL, to as much as $25,000 in a one-month period now.
For years, I sputtered along trying to build an online business and largely failing. Now I am making progress and it’s picking up steam.
It’s all because I now know how to position my business, where to focus my efforts, and how to master my own psychological barriers.
I have seen Zero to Launch work for other people as well. And I know it can work for you.
Zero to Launch was created by Ramit Sethi, the NY Times bestselling author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich and the blog of the same name, with assistance from his rapidly-growing team of dozens located around the globe.
If you haven’t heard Ramit’s book and business name before, don’t let first impressions get the better of you. The name of his blog may sound scammy, but Ramit is legit. The man has two degrees from Stanford and is one of the smartest entrepreneurs I know.
He’s also turned a dorm room blog into an eight-figure business.
He went from freelancing and consulting – trading hours for dollars – to a business that truly works while he sleeps.
I invested in Zero to Launch because I have learned so much from studying Ramit’s free material that I knew this program would be amazing.
I also wanted to know more about his business from the inside, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how he built and structures his business.
Like Ramit himself, Zero to Launch is not for the faint of heart. He believes in tough love. You should be willing to roll up your sleeves and get to work, willing to pivot when necessary and willing to put in hard work on the front end to reap rewards on the back end.
I’ve had dinner with Ramit, and I can say he truly cares to see his students succeed. He does not sell scammy, crappy products that don’t work. His goal is to create top-notch training programs that get results, and it shows.
Why did I take the course?
My primary goal in creating an online business was to diversify my revenues so I’m less dependent on billable hour revenue, and so I can be more selective in which clients I take on with my main offline business, which is working with small business owners and entrepreneurs through my own boutique law firm.
Anyone who runs a service-based business can probably relate to this.
At first, it’s exciting working for yourself. You get to keep everything you bill!
Then you realize if you aren’t at work billing, you aren’t making money. You may have left a job, but you traded it for the handcuffs of always needing to bring in revenue.
That’s what inspired me to look for a better solution.
At the time I invested in ZTL, it was the largest investment I had made in any kind of online training, and I will admit my heart was palpitating when I hit the “buy now” button.
But flash forward less than a year and let’s look at the results:
- I went from earning a $100 to $200 a month (at most) from my blog before ZTL to as much as $25,000 in a one-month period less than 10 months later.
- I more than quadrupled my email list in the 12 months after signing up for ZTL.
- I am working smarter. I didn’t work any harder during the month I made $25,000 from my blog than I did the month I made $8500.
- As my email list signups increased, my income went up, demonstrating true scalability.
- I got more opportunities than ever before, such as being featured in Forbes and being invited to speak at conferences, and featured on large podcasts.
- I’ve met and built relationships with some amazing entrepreneurs through ZTL and outside of it.
- I became co-author of an Amazon bestselling book
- Most importantly, I created a more consistent counterpoint to my service-based business. My online business is less subject to seasonal fluctuations, and far more scaleable.
- I am no longer on the “marketing roller-coaster” which most service professional experience.
Perhaps the biggest victory is the greater peace of mind I have now. Unlike a traditional service-based business which takes time to get going, I can ramp up my online business by sending an email to my email list in minutes.
I have a friend with an online business who was on vacation with his family when their car broke down. They were stuck in some small town and the car needed a $3,500 repair. Rather than sitting around upset, he sent an email to his email list with a promotion for a product he had created and boom, he had the money to cover the unexpected car repair bill.
I also love the amazing positive feedback I get from people every week. Like this gentleman in Florida who used my strategies to double his revenue in 90 days:
… and this:
…. and this:
Now, I must caution you – my results may not be typical. You may get different results. There’s definitely no “easy button.” You need to work very hard and diligently over time to get good results from the program.
Now, what is Zero to Launch?
Zero to Launch – an “A to Z” Interactive Textbook on How To Create a Thriving Online Business
Zero to Launch is a complete system that gives you a crystal clear picture of how to build a successful online business.
If you want to build an online business – particularly one that sells information or training – it is a good fit, whether you are a “complete beginner” or if you consider yourself “advanced.”
Sure, there is tons of free information online. But this is a highly curated, high-quality training program punctuated with dozens of specific examples.
It is also highly dynamic. In fact, it is so dynamic you can’t really call it a “course.” Remember how when the iPad came out, everyone was so impressed with how much it could do?
It’s a book! It does video! You can look at pictures! You can send email!
Zero to Launch is kind of like that. Just calling it a course is like saying Evernote is “just a digital notepad.”
So below, I gave 5 reasons why I think ZTL is a worthwhile investment.
But first, if you’re wondering what ZTL looks like from the inside, you can take a look at this video:
1. ZTL is Good for Beginners or Advanced Players
A lot of people have emailed me to ask if ZTL is a good fit for them.
Ramit calls this the “special snowflake” syndrome. A lot of people think they are a “special snowflake” and they wonder if ZTL would be a good fit for them if they are left handed, or if they don’t speak English as their native language, or if they only eat gluten-free, or if they live in North Dakota.
Before I purchased ZTL, I thought I was “too advanced.” I was wrong.
Here’s the way people usually come up with an idea for a business or a product: they decide what they want to focus on, and then they go into the figurative woodshed and build it in solitude for 6 months or a year.
Then they unveil it to the world — voila! — to acclaim or failure.
More often, failure.
Ramit teaches you to turn that model on its head. You have to think through what the world wants from you. And you have to put in a lot of work on the front end to ensure a successful product on the back end.
If you want to just create a $9.99 ebook, this isn’t the course for you. If you want to create something lasting and of true value, this is a course for you.
So that means doing a lot of research, surveying, and analysis to figure out what is the right type of business for you, and what types of products or programs you should offer based on what others want.
But it extends even further to what you should include in that product or program and how you should describe that product or program in a way that will make people take out their credit card and pay you lots of money.
It’s part of the reason I bristle when I someone answers the question “why do you want to start a business?” with “I just want freedom,” or “I just want financial flexibility,” or “I just want passive income.”
Sure, we all want those things. But if you take that “me-first” approach, you’ll lose.
You have to approach the world of entrepreneurship with a philosophy of what can I provide of value to a targeted audience. Your question should be – what is a product, service or program that others will want – or yearn – to pay me for? That’s a better question.
If you do it well, then you’ll get the freedom, financial flexibility and so-called passive income (which is not really passive) you desire.
What’s great is this framework can be repeated over and over again. It’s not just about coming up with the right idea for your website; it’s also about coming up with the right idea and honing in on it for each and every product, program or service you come up with later.
That’s the real value to the course. It gives you a much better approach to product development.
Throw out the “old approach” of sitting in your living room daydreaming until you say “aha! I’m going to create a training program to show others how to create passive income!”
Has anyone asked you for that? No. And no one is going to pay you for it.
That may be what you want, but if it’s not what others want from you in particular, then you aren’t going to sell it.
A friend of mine is a stay at home Mom, and lately she’s been talking about a new business idea she has which would involve basically launching a fairly complex tech startup.
She has zero experience in this area. Zilch.
She keeps saying she needs to go get “investors” before she can pursue her idea. That’s nonsense. It’s really just an excuse she tells herself that allows her to feel better about herself for not making progress on her idea.
At the same time, she’s a great cook. Everyone tells her she’s a great cook and makes amazing meals and baked items. It’s clearly what she should pursue. She could open a bakery or cook custom meals for clients or start a food blog.
ZTL teaches you to not make that mistake.
I had a conversation recently with an author who had published a book with a traditional publisher. I told her that I wanted to publish a book one day, but I didn’t know exactly what I would write about yet.
She seemed shocked, as if I should know exactly what I wanted to write about, then go about writing it, then find an audience that wants to buy it.
The truth is, a better approach is to figure out what a critical mass of people wants to buy from you now, and then provide it to them.
2. ZTL Helps You to Build The Relationships You Need to Be Successful
Now, you wouldn’t think I would talk about this program without mentioning relationships, right? Well, if you want to build an online business, you will figure out sooner or later that you can’t go it alone.
You need to surround yourself with other people who believe in you and share your goals and don’t think you’re *weird* for wanting to build an online business.
Like maybe your current friends, or your family, or maybe even your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.
This is so important, it isn’t funny. In fact, it is completely unfunny, like a Woody Allen movie.
This is especially important if you live in some remote part of the globe where starting an online business is about as common as starting an aerospace company. But it could be true anywhere.
To use my own vocabulary, you need to create a new conversations list with others who are going to help you (and you’ll help them) to build and grow an online business. ZTL will help fill that list.
What will be amazing – mark my word on this – is a few years from now we’ll look back and realize that the Ramit Sethis, Andrew Warners, Noah Kagans, and the Chris Brogans of tomorrow were all in ZTL, back before they were “somebody.”
So ZTL has over 4,000 members in the Facebook group, and that number is always growing. One of the best things you can do (and I’ve been kind of guilty of not doing this enough) is to dive into the discussions and start being helpful and getting to know people.
I used to complain that it was just a Facebook group and not dedicated forum software. That was just making excuses for my own inaction. Who cares what software they use for the discussion group? It doesn’t matter.
What matters is diving in and getting to know the other people and connecting with those who you connect with.
3. The Bonuses Are Incredible
There is no shortage of material in this course.
There are four core sections to the course, and the material is “dripped” out to you over about eight weeks so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Each core section comes with a “vault” that continues hours of additional videos, interviews, strategies, teardowns, and scripts.
Here’s what just a portion of the vault in the Traffic section looks like (I couldn’t take a screenshot of everything that was included because it didn’t all fit on the screen):
If this isn’t enough information for you, there is the private Facebook community which is a never-ending source of conversation about various strategies, from traffic to monetization to branding.
4. The Course Will Get Better Over Time
You get lifetime access to the course, so you don’t have to worry about absorbing everything in a month or two. I find this really reassuring because I’ve been able to go back and get advice as I need it (and not too early, when it will just confuse/overwhelm you).
In fact, in Zero to Launch 2.0, they included dozens of hours of new material which all of the former students got for free.
I love that – I love that they don’t just abandon their products. They actually go back and improve them over time.
5. If you Sign Up Through My Link, You Get Special Bonuses
Finally, for anyone who decides to invest in ZTL through my Affiliate link, I have created the Smart Business Revolution ZTL Bonus Experience to make sure you make the most of your ZTL investment. This bonus package includes:
- Lifetime access to my flagship Connect with Influencers course. (If you’re a lawyer and you’d prefer access to my 6-Figure Law Firm course, I’m happy to give you access to that instead.)
- Access to the Smart Business Revolution private ZTL Facebook group, where I will personally connect with you as you go through the Zero to Launch program. This group will be your accountability and support group to ensure you make the most of the ZTL program.
- Accountability Partner pairings – I will personally partner you up with another Smart Business Revolution reader who is going through the ZTL program as your accountability partner. I have had an accountability partner for a few years now and it is crucial to helping make sure I continue to move forward every week.
- Access to a LIVE Zero to Launch Coaching session with me – you will get exclusive access to a live two-hour Zero to Launch group coaching session with me, where I will help you to hone your positioning, increase your traffic, and decide on what products to create. You will learn what worked for me and what didn’t, and how you can apply this to your business. Additionally, I will give you access to previously recorded coaching call with John for a total of 4 hours of Q&A with John.
- Full access to the prerecorded 2-hour Networking with Purpose Live training + the action guide/workbook. Networking with Purpose Live featured myself, and author and speaker Matt McWilliams, and author and networking expert Mark Sieverkropp. That product is a $127 value.
- Access to the “Find Time Now!” course. Created by my colleague Mandi Ellefson, a productivity strategist, you will learn how to use Mandi’s proven process to discover 20-40+ extra hours per month which you can use to start and grow your business. A $200 value.
So that’s an extra $800 in bonuses, just in case that helps persuade you. : )
If you want to sign up for my bonuses, then you just need to do the following: (1) sign up through my affiliate link. And (2) after you buy Zero to Launch, email me to let me know and we’ll get you set up.
Also the program comes with a generous 60-day refund period so you could always request a refund if you check out ZTL and decide it isn’t for you.
The Real Reason All of This Matters
If you’ve read this far, you may be wondering: is all of this work really worth it?
It may seem like a lot of work.
You could close up this article and go back to your business or your career, and do nothing.
A year from now, nothing will have changed.
Or, you could take one little step in the direction of a new life.
A few weeks ago, my older son Mason’s preschool class went on what was Mason’s first-ever field trip.
They needed chaperones, and so I accompanied them to Lake Lagunitas, where the class released trout into the lake. These were tiny little baby trout that the class had raised from baby trout eggs in their classroom fish tank over the previous six weeks.
Mason was incredibly excited about that field trip, and even more excited that I would accompany them. He’s just 4 1/2 years old and he’s still at a stage where it’s fun and cool to have his Dad accompany him with this class.
Give it a few more years and he won’t be so excited to have me around. But for now, it was amazing.
Here’s a picture of us:
I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that trip for the world.
Yet if it had happened just a year or two earlier, I probably would have had to pass. Because I would have had to “work.”
Instead, I was able to come with him.
When we got back within cell reception and I was able to check my email and messages – after several hours of being out of touch in the middle of a work day – it turned out I had made $1,000.
So that’s why I do all of this. And it’s what I want for you too.
Now go check out Ramit’s new video: How You Can Increase Online Business by 251% Or More