From $100 to $30,000 in 9 Months: My Review of Zero to Launch [with video]

Ramit Sethi - Zero to Launch logoNOTE: Don’t miss the special bonus I am offering at the bottom of this post.  Also, be sure to grab your spot in Ramit’s free “crash course” Launch Your Profitable Online Business: How to Find a Profitable Business Idea in 7 Days while it is still available free.

 

Imagine for a moment that it is Friday night.

It’s been a long, tough week.

You’ve just opened a bottle of wine with your wife or husband or girlfriend or boyfriend.

After taking a sip of your wine, you put down the glass and pick up your phone.

There, in your email, are two receipts for payments of $500 from two complete strangers.

It’s not a mistake. And it’s not a dream. You’ve just been paid while you’re having a glass of wine.

Incredibly, I’ve had this experience over the past few months. Even more more amazingly, it actually has become increasingly commonplace.  And… I can’t believe I just said that.

If you want to know how 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 give you my complete review of Zero to Launch, including a video of what it looks like when you log in.

I also want to give you five reasons why I would recommend you sign up for the program if you are serious about growing your reputation and your business online.  I also have a special offer at the bottom of this post to make signing up for Zero to Launch even more attractive.

Now, what does this have to do with building relationships in business? On this blog, I write about 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. And if you invest in it, I am convinced the program can help you to build your own profitable online business by building more relationships faster with more people, just like I have.

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 understands better than most how to build a relationship with a massive thriving audience online.

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.

Zero to Launch Ramit Sethi

Like Ramit himself, Zero to Launch is not for the faint of heart. 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.

You should also be brutally honest with yourself and the inner psychological barriers that hold so many of us back.

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. So a lot of service professionals start looking 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 a high of $8500 six months later $30,000 nine months later (in January 2015).
  • I more than doubled my email list in 6 months tripled my email list in the 9 months after signing up for ZTL.
  • 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.
  • 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. The car needed a $3500 repair. Rather than sitting around, 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:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 4.57.12 PM

…. and this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 4.57.05 PM

 

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” 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 secretly have Friday by Rebecca Blake on their playlist at the gym.

Incidentally, 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 pursuing her dream.

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.

Facebook

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, each of which 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):

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 4.01.13 PM

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.

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 am offering two special bonuses:

  1. 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.)
  2. Full access to the 2-hour training Networking with Purpose Live, + the action guide/workbook.  Networking with Purpose Live is a prerecorded event that featured myself, and author and speaker Matt McWilliams, and author and networking expert Mark Sieverkropp. That product is a $97 value.  During that event, we share strategies we haven’t shared anywhere else on how we’ve used relationship-building strategies to grow our online businesses.

So that’s an extra $600 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.

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.

OK… last thought: is ZTL totally necessary?

No. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it. Ramit says that right on the sales page.

However, if you can afford it, then it can pay itself back in very little time, and it could save you years of frustration and hitting your head against the wall.  I wish I had it when I was getting started.

I hope this review helps you decide if ZTL is a good fit for you. If you have any additional questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment below.

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  18. Thanks for this post. Excellent. I bought ZTL a bit ago but have been less than diligent with it because my “real job” as a lawyer always seems to get in the way. Thanks for the kick in the pants I need to get going on ZTL and start creating a non-law based revenue stream. Cheers!

    • Absolutely – my pleasure Craig. What’s your online business look like? Have you launched it or are you still putting it together?

      • Thanks for asking John. I’m still putting it together. Essentially, I want to embolden others, particularly those that have chosen the path I took (without getting into my whole life story, undergrad, fancy expensive grad school, and a “good” job – with a detour before law school to teach high school physics and coach basketball, I don’t expect many others will have taken that particular leg of the journey) to choose to spend the limited time they have on the planet in pursuit of things they truly value instead of plodding along through life to retirement, largely feeling apathetic about their day to day lives. I want to do it not only because I want to help them but also because doing so seems to be the best way to get my little boy’s generation closer to being able to just follow their path without having to peel away the layers society/family/community put on top of it. As this is the first time I’ve shared this outside of my close friends/wife, the “invisible scripts” are pretty strong telling me the whole thing is ridiculous and that I should just be happy to plod along. Anyway, I haven’t sorted out exactly what my products will be yet but that’s the concept. Thanks again for inquiring!

        • Ahh… the invisible scripts. That’s always a challenge, especially when we’re lawyers and we’re not supposed to be talking about this stuff, right? ; ) I think this is a totally ripe topic, however, I would recommend you niche it down. There are tons of “find your passion” kinds of sites, so you would really need to find a way to be different.

          Also, question – what do your friends who know you well say you are good at? Is this it? Or is this driven from your own personal feelings? You want to pursue what others say you are good at / skilled at. Be cautious about pursuing as a biz idea something you are challenged/interested by. That’s more problematic.

          • Thanks John. I really appreciate your feedback. I do think I’m good at teaching and inspiring others to make changes in their lives. When I was a coach/teacher, before law school, where I really excelled with my students was connecting with them and empowering them to believe in themselves so that they could pursue whatever it was they wanted to. I did it through science or basketball back then, but the medium isn’t really important. I totally agree re niche, my initial thought is professionals that are fathers who want to lead lives that inspire their children rather than setting the example that life is something to be endured between brief bouts of vacations.

          • I’m not sure if that is specific enough. But I do think they have a a burning problem and that they will pay to solve it. I’m still working out the specific crunchy solutions though.

  19. Matthew says:

    Great post. Might have been better to wait and send out when the course isn’t closed.

  20. Kevin Hurley says:

    John, as always, another great post and very interested in learning more about this course.

    I find there’s a lot of valuable takeaways to learn from online businesses as the core is always growth and now in a business world where products required constant growth for success, this certainly provides great insight.

    Cheers!
    Kevin

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