It's lightly edited but otherwise untouched. I've kept them on the site to show how the journey has evolved.
Welcome to September’s business breakdown.
Each month we take a peak under the hood of Digital Freedom, discussing:
- Freedom (leverage)
- Revenue (income and expenses)
- Growth (social media and newsletter)
We’ll focus on the numbers behind the launch earlier in the month. But I’ll also share what I’m working on now High Impact Writing is out, plus how much I invested in mentorship (it ain’t cheap).
This one’s a 5-minute read.
Let’s dive in.
The Freedom Metre
One of the key principles behind Digital Freedom is earning with your mind and not your time. To do this, you need leverage - which is your ability to do more without working harder.
In January, 43% of my total revenue was 'low leverage'.
Here's the updated figure now:
2023’s goal was to earn 90% of my income through high-leverage work.
I’ll be honest, I had no expectations to hit this - but I figured if you set a big goal, the worst-case scenario is you come close.
But September changed the game.
Let’s unpack the numbers.
May net income: $141,487
May felt like a fluke, so for launch 2 to go even better was crazy.
But to also find out we crossed $500k in gross revenue?
I’ll be honest my friend.
I didn’t expect this in 2023. Maybe not even 2024. It’s been just over 3 years since I posted my first word online and 17 months since monetizing. I’d have laughed you out of the room if you said I’d be writing this email now.
But it’s a good reflection of what Dan Koe says: Nothing happens then everything happens.
I’d love to take this opportunity to thank you for the support - it means the world.
Anyhow, let’s unpack the success behind launch 2.
My initial thought was it was due to more volume.
I had 10,000+ more social media subscribers. But after checking the click-through rate, the traffic to the sales page from Twitter was much worse in September.
This goes to show the risk of building your business on a rented platform - it only takes one algorithm change to ruin the result. Thankfully, I had several thousand more email subscribers to counterbalance - plus a bit of LinkedIn.
Here’re the 3 reasons I reckon launch 2 went well:
- More social proof. This is the big one. There were so many testimonials, case studies, and clients sharing their support that the product almost marketed itself.
- More trust and curiosity. I’m a big advocate for building in public. Some Twitter ‘pros’ hate it, but I think it’s a creator’s responsibility to be transparent and bring their audience along for the ride. Between launch 1 and 2 I worked a lot on the product - sharing the process. This meant those who didn’t buy last time, wanted to this time.
- More knowledge. September was my third launch. I’m still a rookie at copywriting and marketing but I’m beginning to feel more confident in what I know.
I had more affiliates this launch too, but the affiliate income was around the same ($30k).
$46k is a new PB so I guess another celebration.
The bulk of these costs were transaction fees, refunds, and a 12-month mentorship program.
The refund rate on the course was 4.9%.
From what I’ve heard, this is about what you can expect when selling information products - especially with so much hype on social (FOMO = more regret).
But it was also 3% higher than May because I changed the refund conditions.
Initially, I asked clients to complete the course worksheets before refunding. I picked this tip up from a famous internet marketer. But honestly? It didn’t sit right. We’re all grown adults and I don’t want to make people jump through hoops like we’re back at school.
Instead I see the 5% as an opportunity to improve the course further and add more clarity to the copy (nobody refunded due to disappointment in the material - the course just wasn’t right for them).
I also invested $31k in mentorship at the end of August (but no revenue report then as was too busy).
I’m usually a ‘figure things out myself’ kinda guy.
But as you build leverage, the value of judgment increases. I’m at the point now where the right advice could save years of working on the wrong thing. I’d been looking for a mentor for a while now and thankfully met someone whom I respect and resonate massively with during the summer.
I didn’t expect to spend so much - but I told myself I’d reinvest earnings to speed up results, so time to put my money where my mouth is.
When you launch, you’ll have a lot of unsubscribers. You can minimize this with segmentation - but otherwise, it’s part of the package.
I took a break from content for the launch (and went on holiday after).
It was nice to change the focus, but honestly - I love writing. And in business, it’s important you lean into your advantages. So I’m back to posting 2-3 long-form pieces of content every week now.
My aim is to not break the streak again unless I find more grey hairs.
I have my first mentor meeting this week so I’m not thinking too much about the future until then.
But I’ve also made the classic mistake of starting too many projects and finishing none. Open loops are awful for your focus, so I’m in catch-up mode.
I’m grateful to say I should have these finished in the next few weeks:
- A new welcome sequence. Now that I have an evergreen course I want to automate and systemise as much as possible so I can focus on writing. My old welcome sequence sucked (the problem with progression) - but this one’s nearly ready. Will share more about it when it’s live.
- A new website. I’ve always wanted a digital home, and now that I have traffic on social media it makes sense to put my best ideas (like these revenue reports) somewhere accessible.
- My first essay. I wrote ‘The Infinite Creator Game’ in the summer but couldn’t finish it before the launch. Started to finish this week, super excited to get this out.
I’m also moving toward daily emails - but I’ve decided to ease into these to give myself some bloody breathing room.
In short, I’m busy - but having a blast.
Thanks again for everything,
Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business