In 2009, a strange twist of fate found me in Oregon trying to track down a Czech yoga teacher that I heard had about during a year abroad in Ecuador.
When I walked into Sujita’s class, I found a beaming older woman, maybe in her 50’s or 60’s, talking non-duality to a class full of uninterested college freshman as she flawlessly performed back-bends, push ups, and other difficult and unpronounceable yoga postures.
I was immediately struck, and I remember thinking that this was the first example of a truly successful human being that I had ever met. Incredibly healthy, kind, charming, and just absolutely in love with life.
I had found what I was looking for, and I was so impressed that I told her, “I want to know what you know. Anything you tell me to do, I’ll at least give it a try.”
Well she really ran with that! Next thing I knew I was off to a 10-day silent meditation retreat and found myself on a strict 100% raw food diet!
Over the next two years, with Sujita’s help, I transitioned to a plant-based diet, started meditating regularly, and attended her yoga classes every single day.
I was amazed at how the synergy of these three simple lifestyle changes completely transformed my quality of life. After just a couple weeks I was sleeping perfectly, waking up feeling amazing, and generally feeling a sense of meaning and fulfillment.
I was simply, easily, truly, happy.
And I knew that I wanted to spend my life helping others to implement these practices into their lives.
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The Wantepreneur and the Mystic
If you are reading this, then you probably have some version of this story. You have something that has inspired you, something you care deeply about, something you want to bring into the world.
Or maybe you are still looking for that “thing” and know that an online business would help propel you towards a lifestyle with more freedom and possibility.
Whatever the story, connecting the dots between the dream and reality of full-fledged and profitable online business takes more than passion. As I learned the hard way.
See, after the initial spark, my time with Sujita, I spent the next few years dreaming about how I was going to change the world.
I just knew that I was going to make a big impact, and I was constantly diagraming all the different products and programs that I could offer.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get much past the imagination stage. I dreamt for years but made very little real progress towards the destination.
I thought that I was moving forward — drawing up business plans, writing up mission statements, and even putting together a couple product ideas and building a few websites.
But the masses never magically appeared to celebrate my hard work. The projects never took off.
During this time I was reading books and taking courses, and I was learning more and more about business and marketing.
I inhaled articles on advanced concepts like a/b testing, affiliate marketing, conversion optimization, cohort analysis, kpi’s, etc, but I didn’t have enough traffic to put any of what I learned into practice in my own business.
Looking back I see that it was still 90% theory and maybe 10% action.
It was easier to stay in my comfort zone learning about advanced concepts and imagining products then actually taking the very basic steps needed to put myself out there and promote what I was doing.
After two years of work on my latest and greatest website, I had a total of 46 subscribers (all family and friends except for two!) huge dreams of all the products and programs I was going to launch, and yet I couldn’t figure out how to take the next step forward.
I had made virtually no progress.
From Dreams To Action
At this point I had been following Ramit for a couple years, and had used his free material to grow my freelance web development business.
I appreciated his systems and psychology approach, and at this point I understood that I was being held back by my own psychological barriers and invisible scripts.
I had all the knowledge that I needed — I was even helping others launch and improve their own businesses and getting measurable results!
But when it came to my own business, I just wasn’t taking action.
What if I put it out there and nobody liked what I was doing? What if I got started down the wrong path and invested tons of time, effort, and money into something that ended up failing? What if the dream of having this business was better than actually running it?
Did Zero To Launch Help?
So when Ramit launched Zero to Launch last year, I knew that I would be signing up as soon as I read the first email about the program.
Because I needed accountability. I needed a system. I needed the support. And funny enough, I knew that I actually needed to lay down a fair amount of money in order to push myself to follow through.
Long story short, it worked.
I’ve taken other similar online marketing courses from Marie Forleo, Derek Halpbern, and others and the most important difference with ZTL was actually how Ramit simplified the process of building a business, and made it perfectly clear what you did NOT need to be doing, especially in the beginning.
By elminating the distractions and focusing on the few, critical actions that you need to be taking at each step of the process (identifying the right idea, building a site, reaching your audience, developing and launching a product, etc) it becomes so much more likely that you’ll follow through.
As long as you follow the steps (and trust the system as we are consistently reminded), you’ll make steady progress towards building a lasting and successful business.
But the most unique and particularly valuable aspect that truly sets this program apart is the focus on the intangibles, the deeper strategy that goes beyond the tactics of sales funnels and “what autoresponder should I use.”
This is the secret sauce of IWT and what allows one business, program or product to be 10 or 100 times more profitable than others.
I thought I knew how to get inside my customers heads, how to validate an idea, how to find and solve a burning pain, but I was blown away by the degree to which Ramit understands his customers, and the ability to create a product that is almost guaranteed to sell.
It’s quite a bit more involved than an Ideal Customer Avatar.
In the first module, I went through the exercises and found that the idea that I had been developing wasn’t solving a burning pain for my audience. It didn’t have wings and would never amount to much.
But instead of abandoning ship entirely, I was able to pivot and reframe the idea in a way that made it much more powerful. And the results have spoken for themselves.
In drastic contrast to my previous website (two years to 46 subscribers), the first two weeks after launching my new site I grew my list to almost 300 subscribers.
Since then I have experienced steady growth and am just about to reach 1,000 subscribers after four months.
My pre-ZTL venture. List created July 17th, 2012. Total subscribers: 46
My post-ZTL venture. List created July 17th, 2014. Total subscribers: 994
Following the ZTL process I have a crystal clear idea of what my customers want, and when I release my first product (planned for March) it’s almost guaranteed that it will sell.
And if it doesn’t sell, I’ll know what went wrong and how to adjust my strategy in order to end up with a valuable product.
Of course there are no guarantees. Maybe my launch will be greeted by crickets instead of paying customers.
But I feel like I have the toolset and have built the foundation for a long-term, sustainable, and profitable business, and as long as I keep working at it and following the steps the chance that I’ll eventually succeed are high.
Who Is This For?
As I said before, if you want to bring something important into the world using the internet as a vehicle, I don’t think there is a better course to walk you through it.
It’s too easy to dream about these things. It’s too easy to put them off, to succumb to latest terrible advice on the top 10 things you absolutely have to be doing to grow your blog/online business/mojo and skip the fundamental steps that will actually lead you to the goal.
This program addresses the barriers, and pushes you through them to the other side. And for someone like me, being held accountable was an important enough reason to invest right there.
If you are already very successful and are looking specifically for more advanced marketing tactics, this probably isn’t what you are expecting — though I still think it would be valuable.
After all, Ramit shares the “secret sauce” of IWT and rather than some shiny tactic, these are fundamental skills that can alway be improved — truly learning how to exhaustively understand your customer so you know them better than they know themselves.
Once you can relate to your customer on that level, then you know how best to serve them. And truly serving them is what it’s all about.
Oh, there’s a caveat. Expect to work. Expect to have to face your fears, your demons and put the time in.
If you are looking for a quick solution, a get rich quick scheme, or any kind of shortcut to the top this isn’t it.
But if you are in it for the long haul, want to do the best work possible and find the people who are willing to support it, I think this is the best roadmap currently available.
We will never sell your information or spam you, ever.
Matt Jager is a wellness activist, yogi and co-founder of True Wellth. His life mission is to transform the healthcare and food system in this country, so that every single person has access to the tools and support they need to look and feel their best, control their health, own their happiness and revolutionize their well-being.