In my first year of running an online business, I made $38k from scratch.
I had no former business education.
No rich parents or connections.
Not even a website.
All I did to do is used ONE key strategy that I’ll reveal in this post (and I’ll show you EXACTLY how I used it to get my business off the ground).
Let’s dive in!
I went through 2 failed business ideas until I found a great one
A few years ago, I was studying computer science at the university and working in a cubicle as a software developer.
I was sick of working for someone else and loved the idea of becoming my own boss, so I invested $1,000 into Ramit Sethi’s Earn1k course that taught me how to start a freelance business.
Unfortunately, things weren’t as easy as they might sound when you take an online course. It took me 7 months to actually find a great business idea since purchasing the course.
Even though I went through the course and put it into action, my first two business ideas didn’t work out.
My first business idea was to create websites for companies in Slovenia, which I spent quite a few months on.
There were two problems with that idea.
The first problem was that I was working on it with a team that wasn’t as motivated as I was, so while I would do the work, they wouldn’t and would find countless excuses to not make anything happen.
The second problem was that I just wasn’t very good at making websites, so it was hard for me to pursue this idea on my own.
After a few months I moved to another idea, which I hoped would be more promising.
Since I read a lot of books about productivity, I had an idea to work with companies and help their employees become more productive.
I spent another month on that idea and came close to making my first sale with it, but then a few days before we were supposed to start working together, the company let me know that they couldn’t hire me.
I was discouraged that another one of my ideas bit the dust, and for the next few months or so I didn’t really focus on starting a business.
The crazy idea that turned into my first successful online business
Then, one morning, I woke up at 6am morning and had this crazy idea that I could teach online poker players how to be more productive.
I used to play online poker myself and was pretty active in a community, and since I stopped playing it I learned how to become a lot more productive myself.
I connected the dots, and realized that if I could help poker players become more productive and focused, they could make more money while playing poker, and pay me to help them do that.
That’s how the idea about productivity coaching for online poker players was born.
I wasn’t sure if my idea was going to work out. I was afraid that people would make fun of me.
Like, “who is this guy? He’s never made millions with poker, so how can he teach me about productivity? And I don’t need anyone to teach me how to be more productive… That’s for losers”.
Still, I decided to give it a shot. So in my dark room in my parent’s apartment, at 6am in the morning, I decided to write an article and publish it on the poker forum that I’ve been active in in the past.
How a “short article” accidentally turned into a 26,000+ word Ultimate Guide
I wrote just a few paragraphs about how important it is to have a clear vision and goals if you want to be successful, and went back to sleep as I was finished at 7:10am:
After that, I consistently kept writing more and more chapters for the guide, every 1-3 days:
Some of these chapters were shorter, others were longer. I kept writing about what I felt was important, and also addressed the questions I would get along the way in the comments that I got on the guide (here’s a comment that made me write a whole chapter on sleep):
With every chapter, the “short article” grew bigger and bigger… And eventually it became a 26,000 word Ultimate Guide – the most detailed and comprehensive piece of content about productivity for online poker players.
Writing the guide wasn’t always easy.
In fact, it took me more than 6 months to finish the guide.
For the first two months, I was able to get a new chapter of the guide out every 1-3 days. Then, as other opportunities came to me because of writing the guide (more on that shortly), I got distracted and fell off track.
It was harder and harder for me to get back on track, so it took me a week to write the next chapter, then two weeks, then a whole month… Until I finally finished the guide in November (I began writing it in April).
The important thing is that I finished it though (the final version of the guide had over 26,000 words), so it wasn’t this thing that would keep nagging me in the back of my mind any more.
How my guide went viral and got 223,000+ views
Because of a combination of reasons, the guide was getting more and more attention in the poker community:
- There was nobody else talking to poker players about productivity. I was the only serious person doing it, and I created content that was 1000x better than anything else out there. And I kept creating more and more of it.
- Because I posted the guide in an online forum that was visited by thousands of people each day, there was plenty of new traffic coming to the guide as long as it was on the front page of the sub-forum it was in.
- I made sure I frequently updated the guide and responded to the questions in the guide. This helped me build the relationships with the readers, add more value to them, but also bumped up the guide frequently so it was constantly on the first page.
- Because the guide was so much better than any of the other content out there and there was a real need and demand for it, it was featured in the news section of the forum, and a lot of people kept linking to it from their forum posts, sharing it with others, etc.
Over time, the guide got more and more views. I was excited when it hit 1,000 views. Then 10,000 views. Then 100,000 views. The guide was more popular than I ever imagined it being.
Ultimately, the guide got over 223,000 views and over 452 comments:
When your guide is incredible, people will go out of their way to share it
Because the forum I posted the guide in had multiple non-english communities (German, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese…) who were very engaged, certain members of these communities voluntarily translated the guide into 7 different languages because they liked it so much.
This allowed the guide to reach even more people – for example, the German version of the guide got over 37,000 views and 129 comments:
All of the 6 months that I spent on the guide were paying off. When you put in the work to create something incredible that nobody has put together before, people notice. And they talk about it and spread the word about it for you, without you even asking them to do it.
Together with all of the translations, my Ultimate Guide was seen by over 300,000 people. That’s 1.5 times the population of the capital of Slovenia where I live in!
How I made my first sale with my Ultimate Guide
Because the guide was so popular, a couple of interesting things happened.
The first thing that happened as I wrote the guide was that a few poker players reached out to me to work with me 1on1 on helping them become more productive, which is how I made my first 50EUR online (around $50):
I also had regular 2 hour long live coaching calls, which had around 50-100 people on the call each week.
Helping so many people make a difference in their life at such a young age (I was around 22-24 at the time I did this) felt incredible. It also helped that I was able to create these videos on a recurring basis and have a reliable, sustainable source of income.
I got paid around $50/hour for my live coaching calls and around $200/video, which took me a few hours to create:
I wasn’t making crazy money in the beginning, but earning $500-$1,000/month doing something I loved on a consistent basis was a lot of money for me since I was still living with my parents and had no real expenses besides renting the office that I worked from.
To me, it was more important to see that I CAN do this. That I can be my own boss. Work on my own terms. Make peoples’ lives better.
That I didn’t need to rely on my boss while programming in a cubicle to decide what I’d get paid, that I could work from home, when I wanted to, on what I wanted to.
Knowing this allowed me to keep consistently making progress in my business and ultimately get me to where I am today.
From $50/hour to $38k in a year
Since I was able to record more and more videos and have more and more live coaching calls, the consistent revenue from my freelance work quickly added up.
40 videos at $200 each brought in around $8,000 in revenue. A similar amount of live coaching calls over time brought in another $4,000, bringing the total revenues from my guide to $12,000.
The videos and the live coaching calls were a nice, consistent stream of income, but they weren’t the biggest source of income for me.
As so many people saw my guide, the live coaching calls and the videos, more and more people wanted to start working with me. I went from charging $50/h for 1on1 coaching to up to $400/h.
This meant that the $50 invoices turned into $5,000 invoices:
The number of coaching clients varied – one month I would get 5 new clients, and the other month I’d get none – but as I gradually increased my rates from $50/h to $75/h to $100/h, $125/h, $250/h and finally $400/h, the revenues added up.
Within the first year of starting my business, I brought in an additional $20,000 in coaching revenues, bringing the total revenues from my guide to $32,000.
As I got more and more coaching clients, I was working with 13 different clients ad one point, which was great money-wise, but I was slowly starting to burn out.
I wanted to help more people while investing less time, so I started a month-long group coaching program together with another poker mindset coach.
40+ people signed up for the program and we each got $150 per client, so this program brought in additional $6,000 in a month – bringing the final revenues to $38,000 in a year.
All of this was the result of just ONE Ultimate Guide that I wrote.
BONUS: How I got 278,958+ website visitors, 6,150+ email subscribers and made $300k+ in revenue
Writing my first Ultimate Guide was just the beginning of my online business.
Since that point, I’ve written multiple Ultimate Guides that have helped bring 278,958+ website visitors, 6,150+ email subscribers and $300k+ in revenue to my online business. Learn more from the center for executive coaching how to become successful.
Want to know EXACTLY how I did it (and how you can too)?
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I’ll see you on the other side :).