Grow Your Business

The 7 things you must go through before making $1 million in revenue

Welcome to Ramit’s $1 Million Bar, where I’m going to share the lessons of growing from a six-figure business to crossing $1 million in revenue.

Pull up a seat. Relax.

(Btw, if you don’t have a six-figure business, that’s fine. I personally love reading advanced material, even when I’m not ready to apply it yet. So if you don’t have a $100,000+ business, read along anyway and see if anything strikes you.)

I love the power of being able to “see around corners” — to know what’s coming before it hits you. That’s the theme of today’s post. You’ve already built a sizeable business. Now let me show you what’s coming your way.

There are seven things you should keep in mind:

WHAT’S COMING #1: Making a million is hard. Making it the next year is 10x harder

I know it sounds crazy to people who don’t run a business, but if you already have a six-figure business, it’s not that hard to see a path to $1 million. It’s feasible, achievable — you do a launch, you create another product … It’s not magic, it’s math.

But you know what’s really impressive? Not just generating $1M once — it’s doing it twice.

That means your business isn’t a fluke. It means you have something real on your hands: a healthy business, with healthy demand, and a healthy pipeline. Realistically, you can grind to about $750,000 using pure brute force. But to hit $1 million consistently, you need real structure, a real plan, and a healthy business. That’s impressive.

WHAT’S COMING #2: Hiring will be the bane of your existence

Prepare to eat shit, my friends. Last year my buddy, who has a very nice business, took me out to coffee to get advice on hiring. I listened, then told him: “You’re right to hire a team. But once you start hiring, prepare to eat shit for the next 2-3 years.” (I really meant 5-6 years, but I didn’t want him to get depressed.) He laughed. A year later, he told me he thought I was kidding, but he finally realized I wasn’t.

Hiring is really, really hard. Managing is even harder. And there are no secrets — you have to go through the pain to get good.

WHAT’S COMING #3: Celebrate your business more

Dude, you made it. Enjoy it.

When I realized I’d created a successful business with awesome students, I just kept growing. In some ways, I regret that. I should have taken a second to celebrate the accomplishment. In fact, I should have made it a regular priority! Now I do. Step out, go to a movie in the middle of the day — you can!

Fly your parents out first class. Spring for the extra drink. Live your life now, not in the future.

WHAT’S COMING #4: Analytics: You are fucked

You remember that old congressional video where they grilled some CEO and asked if he made $5 million or $20 million? He looked them straight in the eye and said, “Senator, I can’t answer that question.” How does someone not know if they made $5 million or $20 million?

Well, you’re about to find out — because you are completely fucked. You think your analytics are complicated now? Just wait. Wait until you have 8 products, 3 evergreen funnels, organic and paid traffic, an affiliate program, and payment plans plus subscription products.

You’re going to wake up not knowing which way is up or down, what’s left and what’s right, or even if you made money last year.

BUT — that’s OK.

As your business grows, you’ll have more money and talent to untangle the unholy mess you’ve created. And eventually, you’ll have a simple business you deeply understand. I know, I know, some of you are rolling your eyes. You’re absolutely sure that your subscription product, driven by FB ads, is profitable. Okay. You will be out of business in two years.

The rest of you … know that it’s normal for your numbers to be screwed up. Manage your business as best as you can, know that you won’t be perfect, and trust you’ll fix it in the future.

WHAT’S COMING #5: The more successful you are, the fewer answers you’ll find in books

The more advanced you get, the fewer answers you’ll find in public. Two reasons for this:

  1. Some people don’t want to talk about advanced business insights unless it’s in a small setting. Like this bar we’re in.
  2. You’ll eventually need more and more personalized information, relevant to your business. (The trick is to balance this with not being a special snowflake. The really good advice still applies to you.)

My advice: Constantly reevaluate the sources of your info. You’ve probably outgrown most of it. But if you find someone you trust, you do EVERYTHING they say. Until then, unsubscribe from most of the emails you get. Shit, if you don’t like my advice, I even encourage you to unsubscribe from my list!

But if you don’t have an eight-figure business with tens of thousands of premium customers … sit back down and order another drink. Also, I hear the mozzarella sticks are nice.

WHAT’S COMING #6: You get to create the business you want. This is AWESOME

I love that I can create a 100% remote business. I love that I’ve cultivated tens of thousands of smart, premium customers. And I love that I’ve built a team of dozens of smart coworkers who want to be the best.

For all the time and sacrifices you put into your business, realize the best outcome: YOU GET TO CREATE WHATEVER YOU WANT. It’s like that part in the movie “Inception”: you can make the world you want.

giphy 3
Pictured: Another person building a successful business.

Sit back and decide what you want this year to look like. What kind of employees? What kind of impact? Then use your considerable resources to create it.

WHAT’S COMING #7: You’re doing too much

It’s a natural tendency to want more products, more webinars, more social media, more affiliates, more partnerships. I have two messages for you:

  1. If you do this, you are screwed.
  2. You’re not going to listen to me until you go through the fire.

So I’m just gonna say what’s gonna happen to you: You will grind it out to about $750,000. After that, you’ll realize you can’t simply “do more” to get to the next level. You’ll start to recognize the need for real systems and processes. You can’t “just do more” your way to a seven-figure business, not one that’s consistently profitable.

I know a guy who did JV webinars for over a year — hundreds of them. He loved them … until he didn’t. Then he burned out and had to figure out how to build a real, healthy business.

I used to do launches — big, profitable launches. I’d generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in a week, then be burned out for months. After a few launches like this, I looked around and realized, “This isn’t normal.” That’s when I started to fix it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tiny sneak peek at some of the more advanced material we have in store for you as your business grows.

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There Are 9 Comments

 

Hey Ramit, thanks for the outlook!
I really like #5 – the fine line between “I’ve seen it all” and “I don’t know sh*t”!
Do you think this is another dimension of “choose wisely who you hang out with”?

Ramit Sethi

Absolutely.

Also, a good reminder to be thoughtful about who you surround yourself with. Some people take the phrase, “You’re the average of the 5 people around you” to mean you have to get rid of your old friends and only befriend people who are more successful than you.

That’s not true.

I interpret that phrase to mean that you can still have your friends no matter what level you’re at. OF COURSE you should still keep your friends!

But you should also be thoughtful about who you’re surrounding yourself with personally and professionally. You want people who will push you and challenge you. Sometimes those people might be more financially successful. Sometimes they might be younger. It doesn’t matter what they look like or how old they are — what matters is they inspire you and push you towards where you want to go.

This resonates with me! Just I find often people tend to be alienated when you (try to) move on to another level. Yes, you stay friends. Only you have the feeling that you cannot openly speak your mind anymore. Thus it can be so relieving to meet people who are above your level in whatever sense.

Butterflyology. That’s what this. This caterpillar appreciates the fuck out of it. We’ve ALWAYS said (re: #4), “Future us has the money to fix this.” LOVE seeing that we were right to have chosen duct tape and WD-40 to get through the lean times. Great piece, as always. Thank you!

alison nicole

Re: Point #5 “You get to create the business that you want.”

This is NUTS! You can create whatever business that you want – but that doesn’t mean that anyone is going to buy it.

Case in Point – Sheldon Cooper, “Fun With Flags”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e8PGPrPlwA

How much money do you think Sheldon is making with his YouTube show?

Yes, I love the Big Bang Theory just as much as anyone else, but seriously . . .

Do you want this to be your reality?

Don’t you think it would be much more rewarding to create a business that the market is eager to pay for?

Ramit Sethi

Of course you have to create something the market wants. But you get to choose what kind of business you create: What’s the culture? How many employees? Are you focused around speed or quality? As CEO, you get to choose the kind of business you want to run.

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