My Zero to Launch Review March 28 2014

I really hate when people acknowledge the fact that I work. I prefer to delude people with the idea that I roll into my office around noon, grab lunch and leave around 3pm after two hours of emanating brilliance throughout the office.

So, you can imagine my chagrin when I started getting texts from people who saw the video I recorded with Ramit Sethi on his new course Zero-To-Launch (http://zerotolaunchsystem.com/chris/). In the video I open up about the beginning stages of an online business.

 

My feeling of discomfort only persisted when I saw this very video in my inbox the same day


Specifically, I talk about the level of uncertainty one feels when starting a business. I talk about not knowing what to do. I talk at length about the feeling of impostor syndrome one gets when trying to sell anything.

The reason this video was recorded, was because I was fortunate enough to be a beta student in the Zero-to-Launch Course. I’ve worked with Ramit before and had tremendous success using his material. I was able to eliminate $30k worth of debt using Earn 1k and increase compensation at my full-time job by 400% using Dream Job. Needless to say, I am a fan.

Because of our prior work, I know a lot (probably too much) about how he thinks. Much of Job Coach Me is modeled on things I learned directly from Ramit. Despite this long standing relationship, I was still able to glean new insights by going through the Zero-to-Launch course.

My Top Insights from the Zero-to-Launch Course:

Finding an idea that makes money should take work:

I mention this in the video, but it bears repeating: if you know a skill that other people use to make money you can build a business on that skill. In the course one of the first things you do is take inventory of your sellable skills. It takes work and if you suffer from self doubt, you will find it painful.

Solve a top tier problem or you are doomed:

This was easily the top lesson I learned from the course and if you read nothing else, you should read this: Make sure your business is solving a top-tier problem. When you get the attention of a prospect, you literally get 15 - 30 seconds of their attention. If you don’t address one of their burning desires in that time you’ll lose them forever.

When I used to read advice like this I would cast it aside as trite marketing speak. I would tell myself it was obvious and that I knew the choice: solve a problem and succeed or don’t solve a problem and fail.

What I didn’t realize is that there is a third option: Solve a second-tier problem and toil endlessly in obscurity. If you don’t really listen to your customers you will receive just enough interest to make you think you’re onto something.

The site I initially started (which I abandoned in favor of this one) was a site on the techniques small businesses could use to acquire customers. This is an example of a top-tier problem. When I surveyed close to 100 hundred businesses (yes, I actually did this) I found they used the phrase “get customers” ten times as often as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place phrases combined.

When I first started that site it wasn’t about getting customers. It was a site devoted to analytics. I am interested in analytics. I have been successful in my career because of my skill in analytics. And, when I asked business owners if they would be interested in learning more about analytics they emphatically said yes! I thought I was on to something.

Thankfully this is where the Zero-to-Launch course really shines. I was encouraged to go deeper in understand my prospects. Sure enough, I came to find out that when I didn’t lead with analytics only one out of the 100 businesses I surveyed said it was important to them.

I was walking around like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense. I was dead and everyone knew it except me. Had I not gone through that extra work up front I would still be chasing that misfire of a business.

Start Before You’re Ready:

You may not feel like you’re ready to start a business. You may feel like you need to learn one more thing, write 100 more blog posts or get 10,000 email subscribers. Without starting your audience will never grow.

This doesn’t just apply to business. It’s a habit most successful people share. Develop this habit and it will take you farther than you can imagine.

Be Consistent. Really Consistent:

The nice thing about having a course to follow is that it requires you to take action. So much of success in business is about doing something every day. Try to get better every day. Starting a company is incredibly overwhelming. Envisioning the work involved with success can make you want to quit. Train yourself to make progress every day even when you feel like you can’t.

There will always be people smarter and more knowledgeable than you. However, if you’re crazy enough to outlast them you will win.

Cons of the Program:

I am obviously a huge fan of Ramit’s material. I’ve spent well over $10k on his courses, and I will continue to do so. But, I want to be clear. This course isn’t for everyone. It couldn’t possibly be.

This is the Most Difficult Promise Yet

Not all human beings were meant to start companies. There is little urgency around starting a business. Getting out debt, finding a job, these are things that nag at people every day and have relatively straightforward solutions.

Starting a business takes a long time, a lot of effort and the motivation will not always be there. For that reason, I think many people who have fetishized the idea of growing a business without truly understanding the long odds and emotional rollercoaster will struggle.

The Course Is Geared Toward Selling Info Products

It’s ironic that I am listing this as a con when in the past three months I’ve started two sites selling services not info products. Clearly the course is adaptable, but you will find it most applicable if you are focused on teaching, building courses and selling those to the right audience.

Things Work Until They Don’t

The tactics that someone else uses won’t always work for your business. In fact, the best growth techniques work really well when only a few people are using them. A paint by numbers business course doesn’t exist. You will need to understand your market better than other businesses. You will need to test your assumptions, because the tactics available to you today won’t stay fresh for very long.

Even with the freshest tactics in the world, the core value of what you’re offering needs to be there. You can go viral in a weekend, but if the value isn’t there what you are doing will eventually fall apart.     

If You Really Want To Start an Online Business:

JFDI. Take this course. Ramit is an absolute pro at building systems that work. My favorite thing about the organization of this course is how balanced it is.

This course starts with upfront work to deeply understand your market. This all happens before you go out into the world and start a failing business. Compare that with lean obsessed courses that tell you to just keep launching until you find a market! Not here. You put in the work up front to succeed later.

That’s not to say you’re in your room the whole time. The course moves you quickly to testing the market with content, potential customers and peers in the space to make sure you know exactly which offerings are the right ones for your clients. Compare that with MBA Style courses that make you understand everything about the market from business plans to competitive analyses while you watch your “less prepared” competitors leap frog you in every aspect.

As with all Ramit’s products there is a balance of strategy and tactics. You won’t be given a pat on the back just for wanting to start a business. You need to work every day and be prepared to deal with setbacks before you can truly taste success.

If you are starting a business, Good Luck! I hope it's a rewarding experience regardless of the outcome.

If you want to know more about the Zero to Launch Course, check it out here: http://zerotolaunchsystem.com/about/   

If you'd like to know more about how I went from not being able to get an interview to getting invited to beta test Ramit's courses, sign-up to my email list. I often write very candid stories about my journey.