“When I started my blog, only 2 people read it: my mom and brother” — Graham Cochrane
“I was getting paid to record bands in my college dorm room”
A lifelong musician, Graham reached a crossroads early in his career at age 16. He could either continue spending money to rent studio time. Or he could invest in his own equipment and learn to record music on his own.
He chose the latter. And that one decision changed the course of his entire career.
Recording wasn’t easy at first.
“I did a lot of fiddling. I had to figure things out on my own. But once I did, I found it was an art form that I really enjoyed.”
Once he learned to record his own songs without having to go to a big studio, other musicians started coming to him.
One of Graham’s early recording studio sessions.
Graham recorded music for others throughout college. And he continued to do it after he landed his first job selling advertisements for a local radio station.
That’s when a misfortune led to the creation of his first website.
“I didn’t even realize I was about to start an online business”
Graham was blindsided by a sudden job loss.
“I found myself with lots of free time. I figured it would only be a few months, and I wanted to use that time productively. So I decided to start a blog, The Recording Revolution.”
The early days of the Recording Revolution. Nothing fancy.
“I knew nothing about websites. I knew nothing about online business. I didn’t even realize I was about to start one. All I knew was that something called WordPress existed and you could create a free site and blog with it.”
“When I started, I had two readers: my brother and my mom. Some of my audio friends eventually started to check it out, too. Honestly, it felt silly. I was writing to the world, but in reality, nobody was reading it.”
After a few months, though, people started paying attention to the Recording Revolution. This validated his idea: People wanted to learn how to record music.
And just like musicians paid him to record their songs in college, Graham figured he could make money from teaching how to do this online as well.
So he made a goal to replace his old $60K salary with the blog.
“I knew the content I was creating was resonating with my audience, so I pushed more into that. I knew nothing about how to get traffic to the site. I just focused on creating really helpful content.”
“I was embarrassed to go on food stamps”
A few months without a job turned into an 18-month stretch of hard times.
“My wife asked us to apply for food stamps. At first I refused. It felt like I was a failure. I’d always had a job. I’d always made money.”
During these hard times, however, Graham’s website started to get more traffic and email subscribers. He also figured out how to make a product and put up a basic sales page.
One of Graham’s first products that he sold for $45.
“Marketing and sales overwhelmed me”
In 2014, the Recording Revolution turned into a serious venture, making $250,000 a year with 45,000 email subscribers.
But Graham still felt like he didn’t get the business side of things.
“A lot of my friends have online businesses. They know every author, every book, and every strategy on marketing and sales.”
“That stuff overwhelmed me. I wasn’t interested in it at all. I just wanted to focus on helping people and creating great content.”
That same year, Graham heard about Zero to Launch through Ramit Sethi’s email list.
“As a customer and reader, I thought the way Ramit ran his online business was phenomenal. I wanted to get into his head. ‘Who better to learn from?’ I thought. I was sure there was stuff I didn’t know I was doing wrong.”
More specifically, Graham wanted to dive deep into sales.
“I had 45,000 people on my list and didn’t know what to do with them. I hated selling. I wasn’t good at it. I felt like I had to convince people. It made me nervous. Yet I was in the business of selling stuff.”
“So I wanted to be more strategic. I wanted to learn how to sell in a way that makes people want to buy, the way Ramit made me glad to buy his products.”
“I was leaving out a key piece of the puzzle”
Graham always felt overwhelmed from the endless videos you can watch and the endless articles you can read about growing your online business. He was surprised to discover that Zero to Launch was different.
“I was expecting to get a beating on all the tactics that I should’ve been doing. But that wasn’t the case. Zero to Launch told me what I can ignore and what I should focus on that really moves the needle.”
But it wasn’t anything about sales or marketing that stood out most to Graham. It was something much more subtle.
“I was being arrogant. In my mind, I was the teacher and my subscribers were the students. My message to them was, ‘You will consume my content.’ But I was leaving out a piece of the puzzle: The relationship with readers.”
“My business now earns $600K a year with 120,000 subscribers”
Once Graham focused more on building a great relationship with his readers, things began to change.
One tweet sums up how much people like Graham’s emails.
Relationships over revenue isn’t something most courses teach, but the results can be exponential.
From hard times to good times with the Recording Revolution.
Still, it wasn’t the money or even the fan mail that was the most rewarding part.
“When I was struggling I had naysayers. Family and friends were nice about things, but they were asking, ‘What are you doing? Can you really support your family? Can you really make money doing what you’re doing?’”
“Now they see everything working. They’re even asking me to teach them.”
“Zero to Launch is the perfect tool to go from no idea to putting money into your bank account and helping tons of people”
We brought Graham into the studio to share his story. Watch the full interview where he reveals:
- The #1 sign that your business is on the right track. Hint: It has nothing to do with money or subscribers. (1:55)
- Think you’re too advanced? Think again! Graham was a skilled audio engineer. That was enough to get 45,000 subscribers and earn $250K a year. But learning the business side of things tripled his revenue. (5:29)
- The few simple things that made Graham’s fears of selling disappear. Learn these, and you’ll never be nervous about hitting “send” on an email campaign. (9:20)