Building a $3M one-person content business
How Justin Welsh turned his social media following into a $3 million business
If you’ve been on Twitter or LinkedIn, chances are you’ve heard about Justin Welsh. He’s built massive followings on both platforms (300k followers+ on each), a 75,000-person email list, and generated over $3 million with no employees.
💡 Here’s the breakdown:
Content Growth Courses: $1.54M
SaaS and 1:1 Growth Consulting: $1.17M
Paid Discord Community: $130k
MRR (content templates): $84k
Newsletter Sponsorships: $76k
Now, I’m not going to go over his journey. I think it’s pretty “basic” for a lack of a better term. Share your experience/expertise on social media, understand what content “pops”, repeat for 1 year, etc.
Instead, I want to focus on his diverse revenue streams, because to be honest, they aren’t that diverse. It’s the exact same content and advice just repackaged into different formats and channels.
Here’s how he built a $3 million business with it 👇
Justin discovered one thing that’s valuable: growing an audience via content and monetizing it.
He’ll write a Twitter thread and LinkedIn post about how he earned $150,000 per month, a 50% increase from the previous month. Then, he converts the same content into a weekly newsletter.
After a few of these, he compiles his best-performing posts into a paid digital course. People looking for further help will then sign up for either consulting calls or his private community.
But it’s not like the content between the free and paid content is any different (he even admits this). In fact, Justin is incredibly transparent with his free newsletter and Twitter/LinkedIn posts.
He’ll share mistakes, exact revenue/conversion numbers with screenshots, and how he’d even build an audience if he started again from 0. But some people want this in a form of a guide or consolidated into a digestible 30-minute course or community.
It sounds so obvious. If you already make content, why not diversify and branch out to other platforms?
Well, even for some of the biggest businesses, it’s tough. Just check out this story by Joe Speiser on how his dependence on FB killed his $100M+ startup.
Optimizing Your Course
I’m not a fan of digital, cohort-based, or any type of paid course really. I usually don’t think you ever get more value than the course costs. And I actually think the same for Justin’s course, especially since most of the content is probably free somewhere on his Twitter.
But there are a few things that he does with his course that really impress me:
Strong “word-of-mouth” Affiliate program
Most of the time, when a content creator, influencer, or celebrity releases a product, there’s a ton of initial hype and sales. But once this hype is gone, the product either dies or generates a very small percentage of sales a month. Especially if the product is average.
Of course, as Justin’s newsletter, Twitter, and LinkedIn grow, he’ll continue to drive sales to his paid products.
But I think the most important factor is his affiliate program. Specifically, he pays out 35% to his affiliates. And in order to qualify to be an affiliate, you must have bought the course.
This gives some inherent virality to his courses. People who buy the course are looking for a way to grow and monetize an audience, then they are presented with a strong affiliate commission fee to sell that very product.
In total, he’s brought over 800+ affiliate members and generated over $110,000 from this (at least that’s what’s directly tracked).
More importantly, he keeps his product relevant months after launching by increasing word of mouth.
Prelaunch for 31 days
Before releasing his course, Justin spent 31 days marketing prior to the launch.
And I don’t mean just having a tweet or a landing page ready. I mean spamming his LinkedIn, Twitter, and newsletter multiple times in a month.
Providing early pricing, teasers of what to expect, and building up a ton of preorders.
Justin’s prelaunch strategy
Purchase Power Parity Pricing
Justin has two main principles when determining the price for his course:
Price it low enough to buy “impulsively” but high enough to earn significant revenue. For him, this was ~$150.
Discount the course depending on the purchasing power parity of the country the customer is in. This ensures the right price globally.
Justin Welsh is a content creator with 350k LinkedIn and 300k Twitter followers.
By keeping his products closely aligned (same type of content), he’s created multiple revenue streams. And he makes over $100,000 a month through his course by having a viral, word-of-mouth affiliate program and strategic pricing.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this helped you or you found it interesting! If you want to give some feedback, you can either respond to the poll or reply to this email.
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