The Progression Principle: From $4.95 to $15,000 in a single day
Like a burlesque dancer, I’m going to pull down my thigh-highs just another inch so you can get a peek.
In this year of MORE, I’ve been showing you how to create an online business — even if you don’t have an idea yet or don’t know how to scale from $50 to $25,000.
Earlier this week, I showed you one of my first sales, for $4.95. Then a day where I sold $11,000.
Left: $4.95 sale (2006). Right: $11,000 in a day (2015).
When I looked at that post again (What? I re-read all my stuff and laugh at my own jokes repeatedly), I figured — what the hell. Why stop there?
I rarely talk about our revenues because I’d rather focus on our successful students, but when I started out, I know how much I benefited from seeing others people’s revenues and business models. It helped me demystify this business stuff and realize I could take the first step, even if I didn’t know how to do it all.
Let me show you.
- Do you think you could get a single $4.95 sale if I showed you how to find an idea, what technology to use, how to sell it, etc? I think you could — that’s pretty reasonable.
- Do you think you could turn that into $100/month? I think with a little work and guidance, you probably could — that’s only 20 sales, or even 2 sales of a $50 product.
- Could you turn that into an $11,000 month? Probably not right away. When you’re starting from zero, that number can seem daunting. But eventually, with some help, you could.
But then there are even higher levels. For example, here’s a chart showing $15,000 in revenue — from one day.
$15,000 in one day:
$15,000 in one day
What happens when you make $15,000 in a day? How does that change your perception of the lifestyle you can afford?
Remember how we’re talking about MORE? If you could have a business that made that much — or even 1/10th that much! — what kind of opportunities would open up to you? I think a lot of us would be happy with a $15,000 YEAR in our online business. When I started, I would have been ECSTATIC with that.
Going deeper: How do you build a repeatable “sales machine” so that $15,000 happens over and over? Even while you’re away from the computer?
When I started writing my blog, there’s no way I could have even imagined this would happen. Now I get it. It’s not magic. It’s math.
I want to show you how to get to whichever level you want.
$100/month? No problem.
$1,000/month? Sure! If you can make $100, you can make $1,000.
$10,000/month…$50,000/month…even $100,000/month…or much more? Imagine what you could do with that. (Btw, notice the dollar amount where your mind started saying, “That’s crazy, I could never do that. That’s your barrier point for now.)
Yeah, $15K a month (or later, $15K a day) might seem crazy right now, but every successful person started somewhere — and they slowly, gradually grew.
Today I want to talk about PROGRESSION. I want to strip away the BS that so many others try to sell you — as if they have some magical formula — and show you what I had to go through to make it to this level.
Think of it like this:
Someone’s going to do it. Why should it be someone else? Why shouldn’t it be you?
This stuff isn’t rocket science. But it takes you putting aside those barriers in your head — the one telling you, “You can’t do this…you don’t have an idea…you’re not an ‘entrepreneur’…why would anybody listen to you…you know NOTHING about business!”
I did it. Thousands of my students have done it. Now it’s your turn.
So, today I’m going to talk honestly about how I pushed through the darkness to start a business — then scaled it to thousands of ecstatic customers — showing you the warts, mistakes, successes, and all.
Let’s dig in.
“I worked out twice last month. How come I don’t look like this dude?”
You and I both know how ridiculous that sounds. Nobody would expect to work out twice and look like this guy.
Yet we ALL DO THIS in very subtle ways.
It is a hilarious phenomenon that we look at others and compare our Day 1 with their Day 500. I do it, you do it, we all do it.
We might not say that…but we’ll say something like, “I could never look like that. I’m just a skinny Indian guy.”
My trainer tells me about people who say, “You’re so lucky, your shoulders are only that huge because you’re black.” He laughs and tells me, “Maybe. Maybe it’s also because I’ve been working out since I was 14 years old.”
You’re not going to make $15,000 in a day right now. You don’t know how yet! Even if I gave you the reins to my business, you’d have no idea what the hell to do!
But you can start today and with consistency, get to higher levels than you ever thought possible.
Losers don’t want to hear this. They want to set up a business in two weeks and make $2,000…or “it’s not working.” Do you see how ridiculous that sounds?
Winners know that by showing up, every day, they’ll outlast all the jokers, dreamers, and lazy lumps.
Guys, we all start at zero. I wasn’t born some genius or online business whiz. I learned it and practiced the skill of building a business every single day. You can, too.
I’ll show you by starting at MY zero. God, I sucked.
Nobody cared about what I offered — AND IT WAS FREE
IWT originally started with me trying to give free talks to my friends at Stanford. I say “trying” because nobody ever came. I spent a year and a half doing this and it was one of the most frustrating, depressing times in my life.
Imagine if I’d stopped there. You wouldn’t be reading this and I would have a depressing desk job as some god damned network engineer. I would have just let failure stop me and change my life forever.
Key insights at $0:
- You could offer something for free, but if they don’t care, they don’t care. Free doesn’t make people interested in something they don’t care about.
- When people talk about “the tough times,” THIS IS WHAT THEY MEAN. It’s in those moments that you decide if you want to give up — or if you want to stick with it and adapt because you know there has to be a way to succeed. After all, other people did it.
- At this stage, it’s all about tackling your mental fears. There’s no money involved, just you and your mind, which wants to play every trick it can to keep you from succeeding.
Ugly blog, no comments, no money, ugly barriers
Eventually, I changed approaches. I started a blog in 2005, but it was just an ugly blog that no one read.
I didn’t know how to make my design look better, so I used a free pre-made template.
This is uglier than me as a child, I know. I started to notice small things starting to change. At first, nobody left comments. Then they started to. I started to get traffic. I even got a little media coverage.
On the other hand, I still generated $0 in sales. I had no idea what I could even sell. And I didn’t want to be “salesy.”
Key takeaways at this stage:
- I started to see a little traction — a few comments, a little traffic — but I didn’t really understand how to go from “here” to “there”
- I didn’t understand what I could do besides more of what I was already doing. And remember, I was still making $0. Infinity times $0 is still $0, so….
- I decided “I don’t know” was not an excuse. I started to learn about different business models and started learning lots of different ways to go from “passion” to “business”
Here are just a few surprising examples of real successful online businesses and how they actually make money:
My first, terrifying sale
The first thing I ever sold online was a $4.95 ebook. As you can see, I had a flair for names even back then:
You remember how scared I was of selling anything?
I had such low self confidence that I didn’t think anybody would buy it. And I was petrified they would call me a “sellout” for selling anything. You can even tell how scared I was by my copy — go look for yourself! It’s still online.
So how do you actually sell without being labeled as a “scam” or a “sellout”?
The $15,000 Day
If you’re still getting excited by the same thing that you did 5 years ago, you’re not trying enough.
At first, I couldn’t fathom having a $1,000 day. Later, a $5,000 day. Later, a $15,000 day (and even more).
But it happened.
Remember, it’s not the money itself that matters. That’s just a marker that people are finding enough value to pull out their wallet and pay. The important part is the GROWTH. If you grow in all ways — personal, intellectual, spiritual, financial — that drips over to every part of your life.
It’s no coincidence that while my business was growing explosively, so was I.
Today, IWT looks nothing like when we started.
Today we have $10,000/day studio sessions where we fly students in from around the world. We have analytics, our own software, and the ability to click “Send” and instantly reach hundreds of thousands of people.
If you looked at IWT today, it’s easy to say, “I could never do that.” NOTICE how the voice in your head will do ANYTHING to keep you from changing.
- “I don’t know anything about business or money, so I could never create a business like that. I don’t even have an idea!”
- “I don’t have time”
- “I’ll do it later”
We all started the year agreeing on wanting MORE. That’s the easy part. The tougher question is who’s going to do something about it?
Using a Playbook to shortcut 10+ years of pain
When I started, I would have killed for a “playbook” I could follow instead of meandering my way through all the unknowns. It would be like a cheat sheet to starting an online business.
I would have learned that a real business is not about one shiny tactic like “You NEED to get on Facebook!” Tactics go stale and expire. But the powerful strategies to craft a profitable idea, test it, and make it available to people who want it…those strategies never go old.
You’ve seen how a successful business is really years of work underneath a pretty facade.
I want to help you shortcut that time and share your unique experiences with the world. Not just so you can make a bunch of money, but so you can go from dreaming about a life of MORE to actually getting it. Yes, you’ll be able to afford virtually any luxury by the end of the year. And yes, you’ll be one step closer to your definition of a Rich Life.
I know how powerful it is to enlist the help of an expert when I’m stuck. If you’ve ever wanted to start an online business — to grow something from nothing, to profit even while you sleep — I can help.
Others look at a business and talk themselves out of it. They don’t know what we’ve seen. We have the wisdom to know how something subtle today can turn into 100x revenues tomorrow. When you’re armed with a playbook that’s paved the way for you, you’ll know exactly how.
If you’re curious how, I want you to take away 3 things:
- Someone’s going to do it. Why not you? Don’t compare your first day to someone’s 500th day. When I started out, I was jealous of people with more traffic, bigger email lists, etc. But I turned my jealousy into curiosity and decided to learn how they did it. Bet on yourself.
- Control the voice in your head — don’t let it control you. My blog design looks great now. It didn’t always look like that. You don’t NEED everything to be perfect to get started. If I had waited, I would have never done anything. That voice in your head wants you to stay stagnant because it’s comfortable and warm. Don’t let it control you.
- Study the masters. I took every chance I could to learn from people who knew more than I did. I read their interviews, I bought their courses, and I meticulously studied their website. You can do it all on your own — but why would you? There are lots of smart people out there who have paved a way for you. They want to help other ambitious people become successful. Reframe: Successful people want to help great people become more successful.
You can start a successful online business, even if you don’t have an idea yet. One that takes your unique experiences and skills and shares it with the world — and lets you generate sales even while you’re sleeping. One that helps you make this a year of MORE.
What’s your biggest question about starting an online business? Also, what’s one thing that surprised you about online businesses from my material this year?