Case Studies, Monetization

Case study: How Joyce created a $1,000 product in less than a week

In 2012, Joyce Akiko landed her dream job right out of college. At least, that’s what she thought. Almost immediately she found out the work wasn’t a good fit.

“From the outside looking in, everything seemed to be going great. I was doing what everyone expected me to do, but I wanted more meaningful work and to have an impact with what I did day-to-day.”

So during her free time, Joyce taught herself how to write code and started freelancing. Within just a few months, she had a number of clients.

“It was so rewarding to work on things I really enjoyed. I worked when I wanted to and where I wanted to. That was so much different than my day job.”

Armed with her new skills as a coder, she left her unfulfilling career and took a somewhat risky bet by joining a startup.

She loved the work, but there was one gaping problem: the startup went under. And it went under fast.

Searching for a new way to earn an income

After the startup failed, Joyce faced a tough decision. “I wasn’t sure what to do next? I hadn’t really built up enough freelancing clients to work solely on my own so I knew I’d have to continue working on my business — on the side — while I worked in another job.”

That’s when she started researching the idea of starting an online business, as a side project.

“I saw it as a very scalable way to make money. With freelancing, you have to be there — in real time — and work with your clients to earn an income. With an online business, you can earn money even while you sleep.”

But she didn’t know where to start. “There were so many options for what I could do. Affiliate marketing, Google Ads, selling physical products. It just seemed overwhelming at first so I kept researching and looking into the different ways to do it. In the meantime, I started working from home with a large company.”

Quickly she found out what she needed to do when she heard about Zero to Launch, a course on how to start an online business. “I didn’t even let myself think about the investment. When it finally opened up, I just clicked ‘buy’ because I knew I needed this course. It was the solution I had been searching for.”  

From no idea to a $1,000 launch…in just 10 weeks

Joyce got started with Zero to Launch in February of 2015. At first, she struggled to find a business idea. “I felt like I was spinning my wheels with what to do. I actually went through four different business ideas before I finally found one that would work.”  

But once she tested her idea and found out what people would actually pay her for, Joyce launched her site and raced through the rest of the course.

Joyce now teaches self-taught coders how to start and run successful businesses for themselves

“Once I found out what I was going to do, I just followed the course, step-by-step. I used every Greenlight Benchmark to know when to move on from building an audience, to building the product, and so on.”

“I almost dared myself to go through the course as fast as I could. I wanted to keep moving and just following the system as it was laid out…so doubt could never set in.”

What shocked her most about her online business was how quickly she built a following. “After I spent the time front-loading the work and doing the research, my first blog post got me around 200 subscribers in a week and a half. I was really surprised that the post did so well, so fast.”

Her email list continued to grow up to 475 subscribers over the next few weeks, and that’s when she decided to build her first Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

“I actually built the MVP in less than a week, much faster than I thought I could, but the course showed me exactly how. I was actually just planning to use this launch as a small test.”

Earning more than she ever expected

“Since I didn’t have a huge list at the time — just about 450 subscribers — I didn’t expect to earn much more than $200 or $300 in my first launch. But I was way wrong.”

In her launch, Joyce earned more than $1,000 in just a few days. “22 people purchased the product, and my conversion rate was 4.6%. The revenue — while small — felt amazing!”

3 days into the launch and she earned almost $900

“I was blown away by the results. Looking back, I should have known that the launch would have done well because I had so much research — from the early portions of the course — and I followed the exact formula Ramit covers for how to write a great sales page.”

“One of the most interesting things was that after I closed my launch, I took down the sales page, but the links to actually purchase the product were still active. Some people ended up buying the product without even seeing the sales page — because they knew how much value I’d already given them over the sales emails. It’s interesting to see the revenue continuing to come in, post-launch window.”

Key takeaway: never stop moving

Joyce learned a lot from the course and her first launch, but she says her number one takeaway was “Never stop moving. When you’re building an online business, you just need to keep your momentum going by taking action. Action takes away all the unproductive feelings and anxiety and gets you to launch much quicker.”

As for what’s to come for, Joyce couldn’t be more excited. She sees the growth potential of her new business. “I just keep growing my subscriber list, learning from the people who bought and those who didn’t, tweaking the product and positioning and sales copy, and — based on the demand — I’ll be relaunching again…very soon.”

Speaking of very soon — Lifehacker just recently featured Joyce’s work.


The article already has more than 18,000 views and brought lots of new readers to her site. This is setting up her next product launch to be an even bigger success.

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