Think Bigger

How only 1,000 customers generate $8.6 million in revenue

No matter what, whenever a new John Grisham book comes out, I buy it. (You know him? He wrote The Firm and A Time to Kill.)

Some of his books are amazing…some, not so much, but no matter what, I read every single one. You can consider me one of John Grisham’s 1,000 True Fans.

The concept of “1,000 True Fans” was popularized by WIRED editor and best-selling author Kevin Kelly. He said:

“To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.”

Imagine. If you can get just 1,000 people to pay you $100 a year, that’s $100,000/year. It means you can have the freedom to create what you want to create. And it means you don’t need everyone — just 1,000 of the right people.

Until now, nobody has shown the numbers behind their 1,000 True Fans.

But we will.

We’re unveiling real data that we’ve never shared before. All because we want to show you that it’s possible to start and grow a thriving business — and you don’t need 500,000 subscribers, or 100,000 or even 10,000.

You don’t need everyone. Just the right people.

Here, we’ll show you.

The actual data behind our 1,000 True Fans

According to Kelly’s theory, your 1,000 True Fans will read, and buy, everything you create. They’ll follow you on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, your podcast, and anywhere else you go. (Just like I love watching John Grisham’s interviews on YouTube.) Often, you don’t even have to “sell” them — just tell them you have a new product coming out and they’re already in.

student email -- shut up and take my money

student email -- shut up and take my money

student email -- shut up and take my money
Think about what it would mean to have customers literally telling you, “Take my money!” — before you even released a new product.

We analyzed the data for our top 1,000 customers. Here’s what we found:

  • On average, our top 1,000 customers have each spent $8,600 with us. (The top customer spent $26,539.)
  • On average, our 1,000 True Fans have purchased 6 products. (The highest number purchased by one person is 15. We have 18 in total.)
  • The first purchase was in 2013. The most recent purchase was July 18, 2017.

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Our top 1,000 students account for over $8 million in revenue.

Forget our numbers. If you had 1,000 True Fans who spend $100/year with you, that would be $100,000. That’s awesome!

And that’s a conservative number. Of our 1,000 True Fans, the median spend is $7,418 (mean = $8,665). That means we’ve generated $8.6 million in revenue — JUST from our 1,000 True Fans.

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On average, our top 1,000 students have joined 6 of our courses.

We have many students who’ve been with us for 5+ years. On average, they’ve taken 6 of our courses. That’s 30% of everything we offer, and it means they’re joining more than one course per year. One of them has taken 15! And we know they’ll continue to buy.

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On average, our top 1,000 students spend over 5x everyone else.

Building “customers for life”

One of my coworkers was puzzled that people who hire a personal trainer keep working with them for years.

“Don’t you just hit your goal? Then you know how to do the exercises, right? Why would you keep paying them?”

When I told him I’d worked with my trainer for 5 years, he just stared at me.

In a world of poor-quality products, if you find a product or service that really works, people will stay. And as they get more advanced, their goals will change (like my goals changed over time with my trainer). Finally, there are a lot of subtle reasons people buy — not just mathematical “results.” Think about why you’ll spend a little extra for a nice hotel.

Here’s a simple example:

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From $42,000/year to $125,000/year.

Pretty straightforward. This reader continued to get amazing results, growing his income from $45,000 to $125,000 as he applied our material. That is life-changing — a complete change in socioeconomic and psychological status. He will be a student for life.

Now here’s another example:

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We brought together 500 of our top students to hang out for 3 days in NYC.

In 2016, 500 students joined us in NYC for our Forefront conference. This was crazy. I’d be talking to one of our readers and inevitably, I’d ask if they’d joined any of our courses. The average person had joined more than 5 courses. It’s no surprise that True Fans will go to a conference to meet other True Fans.

Now let’s go even deeper.

Because I can show you our data, and that’s great. But it’s not just about the numbers. It’s also about impact, and about the relationships and transformations you create when you truly serve your customers at the highest level.

A group of 1,000 True Fans becomes a community of people with the same values, willing to help one another. Check out one of our Facebook groups:

Screen Shot 2017 08 14 at 9.21.22 PM

It’s so rare to find a business willing to show you the real names and faces of its best customers. But this is what I’m most proud of — our success stories. I want you to meet two of them.

The first is Chris Clark, whom I’ve known for a long time.

Before Chris became a student he was working in San Francisco. He was married and struggling under 5-figure debt. He worked at a good company, but he wasn’t making enough to live a Rich Life. In fact, he regularly had to rely on the free food provided at work.

But Chris joined IWT as a student very early on. And he made it a point to always try to get ROI from each course as fast as possible.

He joined Earn1K and made $15,000 on the side in his first year. Then Chris joined Dream Job and negotiated a 70% salary increase. Then he joined Zero To Launch, and with a list of just 16 people, landed nearly $50,000 in new work.

I interviewed him about his experience so far. When I asked him how much money he’s made, he told me it was enough that he was uncomfortable sharing.

 

The second student I want to tell you about is Naveen Dittakavi.

Naveen has been a student of IWT for over 5 years. He’s taken over 8 of our courses.

Naveen ran a successful freelance business for a few years before 2008. But when the recession hit, it all came crashing down. That’s when he began studying my material. He joined Earn1K and used it to rebuild and grow his business before the recession was over.

Then Naveen joined our Brain Trust program. In Brain Trust, Naveen says he was able to “finally meet people who were similar” to him — ambitious “weirdos” who read about self-development online.

Naveen also wanted to start his own online business. But for 10 years he’d been accumulating ideas without acting on them. He finally joined Zero To Launch and used the strategies he learned to book over $100,000 of business in one month.

 

With just 1,000 True Fans, you can not only build an incredible, profitable, and sustainable business… you can also change people’s lives. In just these two examples, we see students more than 10X-ing their annual income.

We’re showing you our actual data — data we haven’t revealed before — because we want you to know what it really takes to run a successful business. Too often, people toss around huge numbers like “My $1 million launch” or “How I generated $438,273 with one email.”

Those can be inspirational — but also depressing. What if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of email subscribers? Or a massive blog? The great news is, 1,000 True Fans can help you build an amazing business. If you want to continue growing it (to achieve a $1 million launch, or even a $5+ million launch, you can.)

But you should know that you don’t need all of that. If you can find 1,000 people who love what you offer, you have a healthy business. That’s what we stand for at GrowthLab.

Sometimes that means sharing the brutal truths about starting an online business — the stuff most people won’t say (like “this is a lot of work”). Sometimes, like today, that means showing you that it doesn’t have to be as impossible as people make it out to be. You don’t need 10 million fans to be successful. You don’t need to wake up and be Bon Jovi. All you need is 1,000 True Fans to have a large business for the rest of your life.

Now I’m curious: We’re all True Fans of something. There’s one person or company that we’ll buy everything from. For me it’s John Grisham. For you maybe it’s a coffee roaster in your city. Or someone whose products you buy online. It could be anything. What are you a True Fan of? Why?

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J. Kenji López-Alt, Stella Parks, and the Serious Eats website. Their recipes flat out work, make me look like a God in the kitchen, and they’ve given reams and reams of free content out to the word consistently for the past 10+ years. I buy their books and tell anyone who will listen that I get all my best recipes from that site and start with their website whenever I’m planning a fancy meal for friends and family.

Ramit Sethi

Awesome. I love hearing the kind of enthusiasm and praise you have for Serious Eats. It’s an inspiration to anyone who runs a website — something my team aspires to. Thank you for sharing it.

Looking at my bookshelf made my “true fan” list pretty obvious:

– Robert Greene (phenomenal quality and depth, and I think Mastery has been his best work yet)
– Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer)
– Ryan Holiday (I’ve read more excellent books from his recommendation than any other source)
– Tim Ferris

Ministry of Supply. Their Apollo shirt was totally amazing. I hated walking in the heat of the day, getting sweaty, and then walking into a freezing office. Regular shirts kept the heat inside while the rest of me was shivering. The Apollo dress shirt solved that problem. Now I can’t wear anything else. I bought their t-shirts, polos, shorts, socks, and pants. Yes, I’m a true fan.

Ramit Sethi

Very cool that they converted you to their shirt first, then their entire product offering. Outstanding. You are a True Fan.

There are certain bands whose music I will always buy and, in some cases, always pre-order. Even if their last album was a dud, I will still buy their next album. Part of this is trust that their new stuff will impress again; part of it is just that I want to support a band who plays music that I like.

Another person whose stuff I always buy (other than the investment strategy stuff, which always sounds spammy to me) is James Altucher. Along with paying for multiple monthly memberships, I buy every book he comes out with, and will re-buy it whenever he promotes selling it in hardback.

Ramit Sethi

James Altucher is great. I also feel the same way about John Grisham (even when his book is a dud, I know I’ll get the next one). Thanks for commenting!

I’m pretty sure I’m one of your 1,000 true fans, Ramit, as I just bought my 7th IWT program!

Books: Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, James Altucher, and Ryan Holiday. Especially Seth, I have both of his behemoth books and have bought extras of a few of this books to give away.

Music: Led Zeppelin, I think I own everything they’ve ever put out in at least one format (if not more than one), along with a number of the band members’ other works. If they went on tour I’d happily pay $1k or more to see them, even if it meant sitting in the worst seats in the venue.

Shoes: Vans. I think I’m going to go so far as to buy a custom pair (or two) soon!

Tea: I will go out of my way to get Republic of Tea products. I have not found another brand that tastes as good when it’s the right mixture of tea leaf and flavor, and I drink tea at night year ’round.

Incomplete list of things I am shamelessly a true fan of:
– Lady Gaga – I knew every word to every song she sang at the Super Bowl halftime show. People were like “dude are you serious?” Yes. Yes, I am serious.
– Taylor Swift – I dislike her newest song and have listened to it 51 times already
– Tim Ferriss – Constantly rereading sections of his books
– Louis CK – The funniest man on the planet
– Ryan Holiday – Extremely relatable. Distills thousand year old advice in millennial speak
– Ramit and IWT material – I comment and reply with emails to every post/email that resonates with me

Definitely forgetting other things.

I am atrue fan of people who put their heart into what they do. People who challenge me and are up for the challenge too.
For example: Frey Faust of Axis Syllabus. Bonnie Bainbridge of Body mind centering. Tim Ferriss, Gary Vee, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Are probably the first examples that come through my head at the moment.
Only the other day I was watching an interview of Cristiano Ronaldo and he was saying: We have time for everything. I have to be at the top of my game and a great dad for my son. We have time for everything if we want to.
Something like that is so simple so straight forward but how many people do we know who never have time for everything and accept mediocrity.
I am looking for exactly the opposite

Ramit Sethi

“We have time for everything. I have to be at the top of my game and a great dad for my son. We have time for everything if we want to.” I love this — it’s extremely inspirational. Thank you for posting your comment.

Liisa king

Just a couple of examples of my True Fandom.
Fiction: Diana Gabaldon (who also takes part in a writer’s conference near me every year, even though it’s nowhere near where *she* lives and makes herself available to fans and aspiring writers alike, there and on her Facebook)
Shoes: Toms (I tried a knockoff brand that I could get 4 pairs for the cost of 1 pair of Toms but they lasted less than one season *collectively* while I can wear the real thing for a couple of years, so about 8 times longer *per pair*)

I love apple products. I don’t buy all of their products but whenever I need a phone or a laptop, it’s a no brained.. where’s the closest Apple Store! Same for cars, audi is The Car Maker! When it comes to emails, I read every single emails from ramit! I’ve recently jumped into my first course ZTL which I didn’t find the time to go through yet so not yet part of the 1000s, but have the feeling I’ll be soon in the top ten!!! I’m scared every time I reach the end of his email/sales page, I feel like a cow boy, about to draw my credit card… ramit you are a crazy guy and I have to admit I love what you do !!!

Oleg Starko

With 6 IWT products under my belt, I may qualify as your True Fan, Ramit. :)

Other than that, I am obsessed with a relatively obscure singer-songwriter from Seattle. His name is Jason Webley, and I love his music. Just to give you a taste of the lengths I’m ready to go to support this guy:

1. I’ve bought his entire discography multiple times: physical CDs and digital versions, for myself and as gifts.

2. I never miss a single live show when he comes to my country (Russia). Even if it’s in a different city, or I have to work that day, or anything else. One time I’ve traveled to a different country to enjoy a show of his.

3. I’ve bought every single piece of merchandise Jason has available on his website, at least once.

4. I’ve introduced 20+ people to his music, and most of them became paying fans, too.

5. I’ve supported every collab, Kickstarter, indie movie, or anything else he’s been involved in since 2011.

Basically, it’s like you described in the blog post: whenever he releases something, I trip over myself to throw money at him. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ramit Sethi

Hey Oleg! You are definitely a True Fan. I appreciate it.

Super cool to see how you also spread the word about Jason to your friends.

Well, I’m a true fan of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. I’ll read and study anything they touch + any book written about them, no matter how bad (what if I missed something!!).

I’m also a true fan of Pavel Tsatsouline and his community of strength. It even has the ripple effect that the trust I have in him extends to his studens so that I’ll buy their stuff too if I find it applicable/usefull – simply riding on the trust I have for Pavel.

Three people: Mark Divine, Tim Ferris and Ramit :) Still working my way out of debt and started building up a side business with Earn 1K to eliminate the debt along with the plans in your book IWTYTBR. Literally would buy all your courses Ramit – so to the point without all the extra bullshit that is used to justify other peoples “credentials.”

Austin Kleon’s whole Steal Like An Artist advice: his Steal Like An Artist book, the journal, and the “sequel” Show Your Work! I engage in doing creative work and make something small every day, just like he advises. I love his stuff.

Same as Jonathan who commented above – Vans shoes. I’ve been wearing them almost exclusively for 30 years and have probably bought 100’s of pairs. I’ve tried other brands and it almost feels disrepectful to swap to something else. Case in point – I was looking for some classic all white sneakers and everything I read pointed to a different brand. Went into a store today and checked them out, it was just a straight ‘no’ and I’m buying the Vans equivalent instead. I know exactly what to expect when I buy and I’m never disappointed.
Watches – Tissot. My wife bought me a Tissot as a wedding gift and I loved it from minute one. All my other watches are Tissot, everything else just doesn’t seem to cut it (even Rolex and other high end brands)
Music – Beastie Boys – bought all their albums, watched them on tour every chance I got. Even bought their VHS cassettes back in the day.
Work clothing – I buy all my work clothing (shirts, ties, suits) from one UK retailer called TM Lewin – had a great customer service experience combined with high quality products they supply. Job done – It will be hard for me to swap to another retailer anytime soon.
Once I find something I really like, I tend to stick with it… Can you tell..?!

This morning I made a cup of coffee and thought about what I would read before getting started writing. I picked up a printed out copy of 1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly which sits on a shelf with articles that I reread again and again. But I thought, “nah….today I’m in the mood for something new.” So I came to GrowthLab and couldn’t believe it when I saw the words “1,000 True Fans” staring at me. Coincidence? Probably. But still pretty cool.

Ramit, I’m a fan of your work, having bought 4 products so far. I’m also a huge fan of Tim Ferriss as I’m certain many of your readers are. I am a true fan of both your work for many of the same reasons…..the extremely high value, your personalities, and the fact that you actually listen to your fans-something I’m learning all about now in ZTL :) I buy your products and take your advice because I trust you to say/do what’s best for me. That may sound weird or naive, but its true. I think that’s the #1 reason I am a true fan.

When I go to my products page as a member of IWT, I see a little message actually DISSUADING me from buying certain products because they may be covered in one of my previous purchases. That creates trust.

Ramit Sethi

“When I go to my products page as a member of IWT, I see a little message actually DISSUADING me from buying certain products because they may be covered in one of my previous purchases. That creates trust.”

Thank you for noticing. And for being a True Fan.

I’m a true fan of my business coach, whose 3-day workshop I’ve traveled across the country to attend five years in a row. I buy pretty much every product she puts out. She’s a real role model for me to learn how to create my own true fans.

I’m also a true fan of writer/directors David Mamet, Peter Weir and Christopher Nolan. I’ll see anything they’ve written or directed.

Royce Phillips

One honest truth is that I am a true fan of yours Ramit. I read pretty much every email you send and I try to read as much of your blog materials as I can without causing myself to get overwhelmed with too much information. I have bought your book and marked the hell out of it and have been slowly over time been implementing the things you say to do in the book. I have also bought “Success Triggers” and really enjoy that program. So much information!
Other people I am a huge fan of is Tim Ferriss. I have discovered a lot of great new people through him and have become really big fans of their work also. For example I found out about Ryan Holiday through Tim Ferriss and I have bought every single book from him since.
I am also a huge music fan and some of my favorite artist that I buy as much as I can from is Snarky Puppy and Kneebody.

Varun Negandhi

Hi Ramit,

Thank you for sharing the numbers for your business and showing what those 1000 true fans mean for the company’s revenues.

I’m a True Fan of you. When I think deeply, it is not IWT products, but it is your role as a teacher that makes me want to buy.

I’ve bought 12 products and spent $13,537 in the last three years. To me, this is a dichotomy. It is a crazy amount as well as a thing that is normal to do if you want to grow.

In your post, you asked, “Why?” Here are my reasons:

** I instantly connected with your voice being an Indian guy in the US. Also, you were systems oriented and not like life coaches, which appealed to my rational brain. So the initial connection was the spark.

** At the start, your teachings were action oriented, and I got big wins with your free material and the book. I think at this stage the tactical ROI is crucial. The initial spark combined with the ROI lit a small fire.

** Once I bought your first course, you started to teach me that business can be learned and there are better frameworks to make your business as risk-free as possible. Both my parents are entrepreneurs (We’re gujjus, so that is kinda obvious) but I saw them struggle to make money compared to the energy they put in as shop owners. I used your courses to increase my salary, help mentors like Naveen, start a successful business, and to give me the confidence to pursue a business of my own. Now I was using your products to stoke the fire and make it forceful.

** Finally, at this stage, the biggest impact you make is leading by example. You’ve grown from an entrepreneur to a CEO, and you continue to show what it means to be a top performer. You share your vulnerabilities. You talk about relationships, fitness, self-image, which has been very helpful too. Your teachings now are like me pouring gasoline on the fire.

Thank you for being the best teacher I’ve had and a mentor that continues to grow himself.

Ramit Sethi

Absolutely amazing. Varun, you made my day. I especially appreciate you pointing out how the tactical lessons were important in the beginning, but you’ve now seen even more meaning through following examples and lessons on relationships, identity, and business. That means a lot. My true joy is teaching the best to become even better. Thank you.

Wow. That definitely rang a bell.
If you may Varun, I want to go a bit deeper on the teaching point (which I deduced from being a reader and a student):

* The energy Ramit shows in everything he delivers, even his free emails, blog posts, videos… is: 1- real, you can’t fake so much for so long, 2- contagious; you want to be like him/ work with him/ be his student.

* The time and effort he puts on his content and the way he delivers it shows that he won’t give but the best quality, and this speaks of his true character: a top performer that wants everyone around him to be top performers- nothing less.

* Going in-depth and talking about our deep fears/desires, and not sufficing with mere tactics (not even with systems).

* Addressing people where they are. But in a way that’s neither overwhelming/pushy nor spoiling nice; a surrogate father indeed 😀 (you don’t need to say the words of Love and Care, you just show it).

I don’t like everything he says/delivers, sometimes I don’t like his jokes, sometimes I find the language a bit too rude. Still, I know that I’m not going to miss any email he writes (or any sales page 😉 even when not buying the product), and as long as he’s improving himself, I’m staying on the boat.

Keep sailing it Ramit (and his team, and his students)

Ramit, one question: Where did you learn all this from?

This post could be written about my favorite band, Guster, which has survived on the ‘True Fan’ idea for pretty much their whole 25-year existence. They never quite made it big, but they kept making music, and kept thinking of innovative new ways to connect with their fans. I think that’s what’s really given them such a devoted following – I honestly believe the guys in the band love their fans just as much as their fans love them.

At their big festival in Maine a few weeks ago, I met people who’d flown in from California, Arizona, driven(!) from Kentucky, etc. The band hung out and chatted with fans on multiple occasions (because they’re the best, duh), and tons of people were asking them if they can make this an annual event. I already can’t wait to buy my tickets for 2018!

PS. I don’t usually comment on posts, but I am doing it for Guster – everybody go listen to them! Any other Gusterhoids here?

Emails I always read no matter what: Yours and Ash Ambirge. Both for the craftsmanship (I dissect them) and the content.

Neil Gaiman and Ryan Holiday are authors I buy automatically. And there are several bands that I buy immediately. This morning tickets went on sale for one of them, my husband saw it and bought tickets before I did. Bonus- the concert is on our anniversary next year.

I used to buy anything Apple as soon as it came out, but I’ve stopped. Now it’s a strategic decision to buy rather than what was probably was a cross between an emotional and identity-based decision. Before, I knew months ahead what they were planning and was itching to get it, now I have no idea what they have coming, as long as I’m not losing time or money with my current tools, I don’t care.

I remember a time when I was thinking- this is ridiculous, you can’t keep buying Ramit’s courses. At some point, I stopped caring or worrying about it. But reading this I had to go look: I’m at 10. I stopped caring after they all paid for themselves. Now I just think, if I give Ramit a dollar, I get at least 3 back, probably more? Awesome, I’ll do that all day long.

Ramit Sethi

Amazing. Thanks for sharing this. And very interesting to hear about Apple changing from an “always” decision to a more strategic one. Why do you think that changed?

Btw, I love your way of thinking. “If I give Ramit a dollar, I get at least 3 back, maybe more? Awesome, I’ll do that all day long.” That kind of investing mindset is common with all the successful people I know.

Apple laptops, because they work without all the crap you get with a PC. I hate my job laptop because it is constantly giving me error messages. I am not interested in the the iPhones.

I am also buying Nora Roberts books.

Loved this post and recently re-read Kevin Kelly’s article as inspiration for my own blog and business. Funny how when you’re thinking about something it keeps showing up in front of you.

Anyway… Here are my True Fan items:

Dan Brown books – Before reading the Da Vinci Code, I would tell everyone about how much I hated reading. I mean I was passionate about NOT reading books. But my dad recommended it as he was always trying to get me to read, and I got hooked. After reading Da Vinci Code, I read Angels and Demons, Inferno, The Lost Symbol, Deception Point, Digital Fortress, and I’ve preordered Origin.

I’m a huge fan you Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday as well. Tim for how he approaches things and Ryan for his philosophy on life and living.

I’ve decided to become a true fan of yours Ramit. Over the last year I’ve been reading through your blog (from the beginning) read both your books, and have been listening to every podcast interview that you’ve done, and every YouTube video I can find to learn from you. I’ve stopped reading several other blogs, because I feel like yours speaks to me the most.

I’m a true fan of Michael Jordan… I’ve owned every shoe he’s come out with, I buy his cologne, I’ve eaten at both his restaurants, and know a ridiculous amount of Jordan trivia.

I’m also a true fan of a few restaurants. If I’m near one, I have to go there:
Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn or Long Island – The Best Steak!
The Smith Restaurant in NY or DC – The Best Pancakes!
Hill Country Barbecue Market – NY or DC – best BBQ!

Ramit Sethi

Awesome! I’m glad to have you, Aaron.

My favorite part of your comment is your Michael Jordan example. Not just his shoes, but his cologne and restaurants. AWESOME!

I know The Smith and Hill Country well. And now I’m getting hungry…

Ramit – you’re up there. Also, Tim Ferriss’s and Christopher McDougall’s books. I’d also note that 1,000 true fans is good for products but you may even only need 5 or 10 true fans for your freelance work depending on the size of the projects you do

Imran dada

Thanks for sharing this Ramit. Truly valuable info. Just curious about the geography of your 1000 fans. Have you got anyone from Africa? That’s where I am from. I have discovered you for almost three months and i’m gladly reading all your e-mails. I’m really temped to buy your books and take one or more of your courses.

Ramit Sethi

Hi Imran! Good question. Not sure, we didn’t break out by geography. Maybe that will be a good analysis for a future post.

Outside of IWT, I will buy anything from Sebastian Michaels because he always gives you 10x more value in his products than he promises you, and he always promises a lot. He does this without fail and he is constantly adding piles of really valuable bonus material over the years. His courses were life changing for me, so he’ll always get my money. Apple will get all my money too because they make beautifully designed products that integrate well with each other and make my life easier in a thousand ways. More importantly, I buy them for my aging mother because they make her life easier in a thousand ways. Honda gets all my money when it comes to transportation because I have never once broken down in either of my Honda vehicles and I can pretty much keep them forever. If I have any money leftover, then Patagonia is likely to get it because I work in extremely cold regions and their gear holds up incredibly well and keeps me warmer than any other gear. For all of these things, cost goes out the window a bit because I’m know I’m getting quality that will last and last. Damn! That sounds like a commercial…

Tim Ferriss. I’ve bought all of his books. I read his blog and listen to his podcasts whenever I can.

Ramit Sethi. Although I haven’t bought any of your products (yet), I read every single email you send out. I don’t think I’ve ever not opened one of your emails.

Ramit Sethi

Awesome. If you think the free emails are good, wait until you see what’s in our premium courses :)

This is such a great post, Ramit. Super inspirational and the numbers don’t lie. I’m a superfan of Forrest Yoga because its founder, Ana Forrest, is a badass. Her way of teaching moves and inspires me like no one else I’ve yet met and she’s inspirational to be around. I’m a superfan of the company Lush, because they clearly espouse their values in each and every square inch of a physical space, produce beautiful quarterly product catalogs and their stuff smells so darn good. I even used to work there and I still shop there. I’m a superfan of the website VitaCost.com. They sell a variety of healthy products at a great price, ship it within 48 hours, and have awesome customer service. I’m a super fan of acai too, because it’s so delicious, it’s good for you, and I can eat an acai bowl instead of a meal when I’m on the run and feel satisfied and know I made a way better choice than a meal bar or some smoothie.

My wardrobe is maybe 80% Bonobos? At first it was just about the fit and the shopping experience/customer service (I hate shopping, and they know that, and they cater to that disgust like no one I’d dealt with before). Now, because they’ve consistently delivered, I don’t even think about buying clothes elsewhere until all Bonobos resources have first been exhausted.

Any album J. Cole drops, I buy without hesitation. There’s no one else I do that for. He’s a story teller and his voice consistently speaks to me.

I’m not quite at the IWT True Fan level, but I’m open to hear anything Ramit has to say. I’ve bought two courses, and got tickets for myself and my girlfriend to Forefront this year. The main reason? Dude gets in my head consistently. He says stuff that I’m thinking; there are few things more powerful than that.

Since 2010 I have been a true fan of Thierry Rabotin shoes. I bought my first pair in the UK in a sale but they were stolen from my hotel room before I could wear them.
Determined to replace them I visited Thierry Rabotin’s Paris store and couldn’t find the same but I bought another pair. Strangers would ask me about them. I walked through the soles after a couple of year, not because of a fault but because I wore them so much. So I wrote to the maker. One of their designers replied and sent new soles and a beautiful book at no cost from Italy to Australia with instructions to find a qualified bootmaker. I still wear those sandals.
In 2010 I also visited the Thierry Rabotin store in Manhattan and bought sequinned ballet shoes and practical city walking shoes (that I am wearing today).
I have since bought several more pairs of Thierry Rabotin shoes, sandals and boots in Melbourne and Sydney and Paris again. The shoes feel expensive in the moment I buy them but not when I wear them over and over.
I am a true fan.
And I feel sad right now for I have just learned Thierry Rabotin, the Frenchman behind the brand died this month.

Melissa Hottinga

Santa Montefiore’s books! I love all of them (I really do!) and am always looking forward to her next one. =)

Yury Lapshin

A local grocery stores nework.
It’s not that easy to find good foods within reasonable price range in Moscow, Russia.
My wife found ’em around 2010 when it was small and specialized only in meat and dairy.
Now we buy at least 80% of what we eat in that chain.

Two obvious:
1) Quality was good in 2010, is good in 2017 and everywhere inbetween.
2) They handle problems.
If you are not happy – just bring it back and they compensate you in full. “Just not my thing” or “it tasted differently from what I was expecting” are valid reasons.

One less obv. reason
3) Whenever I spend there I feel like I’m investing in my own time. They developed so much selection and accessability that my grocery shopping time dropped like 70% (2-3 hours/week).
And now they sell some household chemicals, trashbags and stuff, and those trashbags are the best I’ve used and they solved our old little trashy frustration (I know, it’s wierd, but I guess we all have some little splinters like that in our feet).
So in the end it’s like “buy this and we’ll add at least 30 seconds to your life 100% free” sticked to every price tag. What can be better?

In the music world, anything Prince would release I would pre-order or buy the moment I could, same goes for Harry Connick Jr. There are at least 3 authors I love; Tim Ferriss, Chris Guillebeau, and of course, my surrogate Asian Uncle (because he’s too young to be my father), Ramit.

One thing I’ve noticed over time is that my true fandom migrates. Ten or 15 years ago, my authors were very different. As our interests grow and change, I think who we pay attention does as well. Given that, I imagine there is an ebb and flow of the 1,000 true fan base but as you cultivate what you do, it’s always there.

Ramit Sethi

Absolutely agree. There have been people who I was True Fans of in the past, but not any more. And I have new people.

If anyone is a True Fan of IWT/GrowthLab and thinking about leaving, please email me directly: [email protected]. I want to hear from you. It’s important to me to honor our true fans (and keep challenging you).

Jane Philipps

Love the concept of true fans!

Here’s what I’m a true fan of:

– IWT. Been reading since 2009 and have bought 9 courses.

– Everlane. I tried out a few of their shirts when they first launched, and now I get most of my basics from them. I’ve also always been willing to try new products they’ve come out with, even if I’ve ended up returning them. Just bought a jacket from them that I love!

– Both Amour Vert and Equipment. I love prints and patterns, and these brands are always coming out with fresh new prints in styles that fit me and are flattering. Their products are also high quality.

– Bon Appetit Magazine. I’ve been a subscriber for a long time, and know from experience that their recipes are well tested. I also bought a cookbook from them and recently went to a really fun meal they hosted in SF.

Conner moyer

Three people come to mind: you, Tim Ferriss and team of Jocko Willink/Leif Babin.

First: you. Even after being fired from the IWT team, I can’t imagine having learned more about my own work ethic and springboarding my career by being around the same kind of “self-development weirdos”. Seeing what a Rich Life is has propelled my own dreams and has kicked my ass into overdrive the past few months. Also, your book has changed my financial future and I’ve since gifted it to four people.

Second: Tim. He’s what got me started on online business (and you’ve helped tremendously to actually make my online biz profitable), changed how I approach health and nutrition as well as upleveled one of my favorite hobbies — cooking. Tremendous value add to my life.

Finally: Jocko/Leif. They’ve shown me what it takes to own everything in my life, including accepting fault for being fired from IWT. They’ve also taught me what kind of leader you can become when you take extreme ownership over everything in your life. I’ve listened to their book at least once a month since December, and read the book an equal amount.

Tim Ferriss and of course Ramit.

I bought 3 courses since 2010 starting with E1K and love reading your emails (considering my work is dealing with emails all day long!). Admittedly I won’t be the “best student” by definition as the courses been sitting there but all the mentality and angles of attack continue to overspill out into my regular daily work/personal life. I always thought they are one of the best things I’ve invested in even though I’m not through them 100%.

I’ve also converted my partner who has been through a career change therefore hates every single “self-help gurus” out there, so he was super sceptical when I said “Try Ramit’s thing”. Now I regularly hear these words from him, “THE RAMIT TECHNIQUE REALLY WORKED”. At present (since we both wanted change) in our free time we’d be actioning things based on Ramit and Tim’s principles. AND WE LOVE IT. It got to a point where we said “OK time for a movie. Let’s google Ramit movie list / Tim Ferriss movie list and see what they say”. We are so weird.

Ah and another company I’m a fan of is OpposeThis – I backed their first backpack on Kickstarter and have been using it 3 years straight, every normal day. It still looks great, still gets compliments, and still the best practical backpack. I don’t buy everything they produce (I have no need), but will open every single email of theirs to see what they are up to.

Donny Wong

Hi Ramit!

Great article, I’ve heard the ‘1000 true fans’ many times before but never had it rephrased, what am I a true fan of MYSELF.

A quick introspection would turn out:

– Malcolm Gladwell
– Tim Ferris
– Kanye west (the only artist who’s album I’ll BUY, and on the FIRST day)
– Apple (admittedly an apple whore)

Your emails are also the only emails I read religiously. (I’m currently enrolled in zero to launch) Your Japan series was awesome, a light take away from the regularly scheduled programming.

Thank you and keep it up!

Thank you so you Ramit for putting out these contents.
Going forward, this will now lessen my usual focus
and obsession with Big Milestones only.

Thank you Ramit for showing these numbers, I truly believe that a small number of loyal customers are enough for a business to make it BIG.

I Never miss a book from Jim Rogers, He is a great businessman, his books and adventures are truly Inspirational.

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