Ramit Sethi – Double Engine Growth
Archive : Ramit Sethi – Double Engine Growth
Let me guess: To grow, you’ve tried webinars, paid ads, and automated launches.
We tried those, too. We even tried conversion optimization, subscription programs, quizzes, and dozens of other strategies. (No kidding. I’ll show you below.)
Some of those strategies worked. Some were total duds. But two of them generated more revenue than everything else — combined. (I’ll show you those, too.)
Look, lots of CEOs can generate 6 figures. But only a few make the decision to grow to $1 million and beyond.
We didn’t mess around.
So, which of these do you think significantly moved my business forward?
The answer is none.
I’ll tell you the two things that did drive growth in a bit. That’s what this whole page is about. But first, I need to tell you a scary story.
It’s about a business owner running a $300,000/year business. On the surface, everything looks great:
- She’s making more money than she ever dreamed of. In fact, she made more in her last launch than she did in a year back when she had a “normal job”
- She just took a 4-week trip to Italy, which gave her plenty of amazing Instagram pics to post
- Her customers are happy. They love her product and every week she gets new, unsolicited success stories from her followers
Life is good.
Unless you take a closer look…
- Yes, she does make more in one launch than most people make in a year. But her last launch was 60% the size of her previous one … which was only 70% as profitable as the one before. She has no idea why each launch keeps shrinking
- She spent most of her trip to Italy working from her Airbnb. She wanted to unplug, but with so many projects in motion, if she stops, the business stops
- And worst of all, many of the old tactics that built her business aren’t working like they used to. She’s working harder for smaller rewards. Wasn’t success supposed to be easier?
Welcome to the 6-Figure Plateau.
I’ve never talked about the 6-Figure Plateau publicly because, frankly, very few people have experienced it. They wouldn’t understand.
Millions of people dream about working for themselves, but very, very few are actually able to accomplish what you have.
If you’re reading this, that means:
- You’ve found a profitable business idea
- Built up an audience of fans
- Created a product people want
- And earned 6 figures (at a minimum)
As you can imagine, the market for this level of material is very, very small. Which is why it’s so hard for you to find information at this level that you can trust.
I’ve been in your shoes. I know that the very hustle and tactics that got me from $0 to 6 figures a year weren’t the same ones that got my business to a healthy $1,000,000+ per year.
It’s just not possible to “hustle” that much. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. You’d burn out first. My guess? You’re starting to feel the strain already. I know I was.
- Wasn’t work supposed to get easier when you started hiring?
- Wasn’t success supposed to be more fun than this?
- Why are you more stressed now than when you started?
- If you’re willing to put the work in — and you clearly are, if you’re reading this page — what’s the right roadmap to follow?
The 6-Figure Plateau is a major challenge for every successful business. The bad news: Most 6-figure entrepreneurs never break out of the plateau. Their businesses stay stagnant, they try the same things over and over — and over time, the founder’s enthusiasm fizzles, then fades out.
To me, that’s a special kind of hell: knowing that you were good enough to get “here” but not “there.”
But there is good news. You can grow past the plateau — but it means changing the way you think about your business. As Marshall Goldsmith says, “What got you here won’t get you there.”
I’ll show you how I learned this in my business.
The “aha moment” that rewrote my whole playbook
When I was just starting IWT, I just focused on writing great material. I didn’t even think about traffic, email list, etc. I heard about people with 50,000 subscribers on their email list, which I thought was an unimaginable number.
Eventually, I saw other people adding “opt-in forms” to their website. I didn’t know how to do that, so I begged a friend to help me set it up. I basically stumbled into it.
But once I saw the numbers, I realized this was a huge deal.
Like when I launched a $497 product and made $600,000. Whoa, this was serious.
Or when I asked myself, “What if I raise the price to $997?” So I tried it. The conversion rate went down a little, but I basically doubled my revenue.
(By the way, a healthy chunk of that revenue came from adding on higher-end tiers, raising the AOV. And that product is still selling well for me today. Imagine getting all those numbers dialed into your business for a single launch. Then replicating it over and over.)
Then I thought, what if I get more subscribers? BOOM. That’s when business really started to explode.
Over time my team and I got extremely serious about growth. We saw the power of driving more leads, we built a team around it, studied it, experimented.
I’m proud to say that we hit our goals, then we exceeded them. We doubled the size our list — four times over.
Revenue grew, but not at near the same rate as our leads. In fact, we were working harder than ever but our results were plateauing.
What was going on?
And what would it mean for you if you did the same thing?
- You decided to grow in a certain way
- You put “everything you got” into it — your time, your money, you even hired people to help you
- You achieved your goal
- …But then you realized, it didn’t actually move the needle
This is when a lot of founders give up. They tried “everything” — and it still didn’t work. It’s hard not to feel a little hopeless. They don’t want to give up on the project (especially after spending so much money), so they continue to kick it around, keeping it on life support. Then they add on tiny little other projects, like…
- A/B testing, when they only have a trickle of leads…
- Partnerships that they hope will really make a difference (somehow)…
- Crazy automation schemes so that once they get everything off their plate, finally, they can focus on “strategy”…
And those little projects make them feel productive, but deep down, they know it won’t move the needle in a big way. And they end up meandering along, slowly crawling, getting a hit every once in a while … but mostly just existing. Again, this is hell to me.
Back to our story…
Why did our leads grow so much, but our revenue lagged behind? Why did it get harder to grow the bigger we got? After some digging, we found that many of our new leads were much, much lower quality than expected. These were paid leads, and they cost me over $2M and thousands of hours of work.
OK, so paid leads are lower quality than organic leads. That makes sense. But even understanding that the paid leads were lower quality didn’t fully explain why our revenue was plateauing while our list size was growing.
Then we discovered this:
Surprise #1: As lead age goes up, engagement almost always goes DOWN
This is called lead decay and it has some staggering implications:
What matters is NOT how big your email list is. It’s NOT how tight your opt-in flow is. It’s NOT how intricate your automated email funnels are.What matters is how many NEW leads you can pull in each and every month.
(For your business, run this analysis: Compare the average lead age of your new customers from the past year. You’ll discover that new leads are vastly more likely to buy — which means it’s critical that you find ongoing sources of new leads to grow your business. Otherwise, your existing list will slowly deteriorate and you won’t even know it.)
The biggest implication with lead decay: your future is bigger than your past
Most founders agree with that intellectually. But here’s what it actually means for your business.
The list you have today — the 10,000 or 50,000 people or whatever it is that got you this far — those readers are NOT the same ones that are going to take your business to $500,000, $1,000,000, and beyond.
The future of your business isn’t on your list today. It’s out there, in the real world. It’s people who haven’t even heard of you yet. That means you need to focus on building a serious system for acquiring new subscribers today to grow your business tomorrow.
This wasn’t the only wrinkle we discovered…
Surprise #2: Products decay, too
In our digging, we discovered that lead decay wasn’t the only silent business killer out there. Like gravity, product decay is quietly pulling your business down.
Just as leads become less valuable over time, products dry up, too.
If your strategy doesn’t address product decay, the foundation of your business will erode right under you.
This is why successful, ambitious, talented business owners get stuck in the 6-Figure Plateau!
It’s why so many promising businesses hit a wall and never reach their full potential. Lead decay and product decay eat away at your successes until you start sliding backwards.
By the way, have you noticed that nobody ever talks about this? It’s one of those uncomfortable truths about business. It’s so much easier to talk about 1,000 true fans and cool new split-tests.
Enter the Double Engine Strategy
When I was hellbent on testing every growth tactic I could think of, I had a lot of resources at my disposal.
I had developers, designers, project managers, support staff, copywriters, product developers, SEO experts, affiliate managers, assistants, video producers, audio engineers, and more — all ready to jump on any wild idea I could come up with.
I was a kid in a candy shop — except instead of buying a Twix bar, I wanted automated text message reminders.
My point is, I had the resources and the ambition to grow. I pushed both as hard as I could. As a founder, what if you could do this?
If I were sitting in your chair, my first reaction would be EXCITEMENT!
But my second reaction would be CURIOSITY. “Wait a sec … you already did this stuff. So did it work?”
I’m glad you asked.
Some of these tactics made us some money, but the vast majority didn’t move the needle on our business at all.
They LOOKED like they were important. Most of them even FELT like real wins. But none of them drove real, sustainable, ongoing growth. (Look at the work you’re doing in your business today. Is it driving real, sustainable, and ongoing growth? You need all three.)
In the end, we found there were two — only two — things in an online business capable of driving real growth:
Your Product Engine + Your Lead Engine = Growth
First, your Product Engine. That is the machine that drives all revenue in your business. It’s not your funnels or sales pages. It’s your products.
What if we took all the energy we were spending on gimmicks and marketing tactics … and simply spent that time improving our products? When we did that, we found massive results.
And the flipside: if you don’t have a proven strategy in place to consistently create the RIGHT products for the RIGHT customers at the RIGHT price points, your business will slowly deteriorate.
Take a candid look at your products. How fresh are they? How often do you release a hit? When was the last time you took customer feedback and fixed the problem areas?
Then there’s getting new people to discover you. That’s your Lead Engine.
Your Lead Engine is the machine that drives all leads to your business. Your buyers today fuel your business tomorrow — that part makes sense — but the great surprise here is that to keep growing, you won’t be able to depend on your existing customers. The idea of customer loyalty, that “it’s easier to keep a customer than to find new ones,” is a huge myth. You need new customers — period.
That means you take all the energy you spend on marketing gimmicks, on generating “one-time pops,” and redirect it to building a serious system that grows your leads every single day.
That’s why it’s called a Lead Engine — it’s your strategy for attracting new, high-quality traffic and leads, over and over, day in and day out.
We spent millions of dollars and years of hard work on events, webinars, paid ads, the works. That list above doesn’t even include everything we tried.
But only two things actually drove meaningful growth, year after year: products and leads.
We call this The Double Engine Strategy
If you get these right, your business will grow. If you get them wrong — or you miss them altogether — your business will slowly stagnate. You might already be feeling it now as you try marketing tactic after marketing tactic.
How it felt to discover this
It’s hard to convey just how extremely liberating it is to find this Double Engine Strategy. We knew that if we just focused on these two things, we could grow the business and we could ignore everything else!
This meant we could stop wasting time on the things that don’t move the needle, and start doubling down on the things that do. No more coming up with random ideas that would increase revenue 5 or 10%. We were either building our Product Engine or our Lead Engine.
Imagine getting together in a room with someone you trust. They look at your business and list out every single initiative you’re doing on a whiteboard. Then, together, you draw a huge RED LINE through the ones that don’t matter — leaving you with only a few key strategies that move the needle.
You can take all the time, money, and energy you used to spend on those random tactics … and focus them on the ones that do matter.
How would that feel?
What’s holding you back from high growth?
Many biz owners say they want to grow … but never do it
After we conquer the minefield of Invisible Scripts and tactical challenges of starting a new business … finally make it to 6 figures … it’s understandable that we think we have it all figured out. We’re already winners, right?
But one thing that the Double Engine Strategy has made crystal clear for me is that you can’t keep growing by doing the same things you’re doing now.
You can’t break out of the 6-Figure Plateau with 6-figure strategies. You need to play a new game, and you need to rewrite your 6-figure Invisible Scripts.
Most business owners get stuck in the 6-Figure Plateau because of one or more of these Invisible Scripts. (I struggled with growth for years before I overcame mine.)
Invisible Script #1:
“I don’t need more information. I just need to focus on taking action”
At a certain point, you don’t need to read another book or attend another event. You know what you need to do — you just need to execute it.
Or so I thought.
I put my head down, stopped attending events, and started to execute. I didn’t need more advice, I needed to drive the shit out of my business and grow it.
Well, the good news is I succeeded. I posted more, I got more traffic, I got more subscribers, and I got more customers.
But I also caused a lot of unexpected problems. My technology became insanely complicated (so it took us hours to send a single email … and we send 10+ emails/week).
I couldn’t track what was working and what wasn’t, so after a while, I was doing more of everything. It felt like pushing on a 500 lb piece of Jello. You have no idea if you’re moving the thing at all — and no way to judge it.
Invisible Script #2:
“Growing my business means changing it into something I won’t enjoy as much”
When I started my business, I was adamant about a lot of things.
“I don’t want a big team. I just want to keep it small and intimate”“I would never create a product about that”“Doing X, Y, and Z is the right way to grow”
Boy oh boy, was I naive.
In a lot of ways, I don’t even know why I said those things. Why did I want a small team? I told myself I wanted to keep it small because I liked the idea of a powerful tiny team changing the world…
…but in reality, I was scared of growing a team. That’s because I had no idea how to manage people, how to implement an HR strategy, even how to set up weekly 1-1 meetings!
So I let this single statement — “I don’t want a big team, I just want to keep it small & intimate” — guide literally years of my business. I never questioned it. It was just a given.
The problem is, I started to run into constraints. I couldn’t do everything I needed to do. I started losing customers because I couldn’t give them what they wanted. I needed help. But still, I resisted hiring. It wasn’t the money — I had that. It was this deep-seated Invisible Script, buried so deeply in my psyche, that I didn’t even know it was there.
And, like any serious problem, it’s never easy to find. My Invisible Script manifested in weird ways, like me having the perfect candidate and then, inexplicably, I invented a reason not to hire them because “now’s not the right time.”
Invisible Script #3:
“My business is different”
Ah, Special Snowflake Syndrome. This one gets me really riled up because I was guilty of it for so long — and I see the negative consequences it caused me.
Here’s how it typically goes:
“I can’t make that work for my business because we’re different”“I’m too advanced for that course — I need a coach to work with my exact situation” (of course, any good coach costs $25,000 – $50,000, with no guarantee, and most people are not prepared to pay that … so there goes that option)
- “I already know that” (if you already know that, why aren’t you earning more?)
- And of course, “My business can’t grow due to ___” (insert your industry, price point, customers, etc … and completely ignore all the others who have grown much larger than you)
You’ll notice some odd ways that Special Snowflake Syndrome affect CEOs of growing businesses.
I remember one student saying, “We already hit all our keywords on Google. We rank for everything. What else can we do besides SEO?” My team and I smiled. This CEO was doing a few hundred thousand dollars in revenue. There are companies that do billions of dollars using SEO as a primary channel. This CEO thought he was on top — and in his tiny industry, he was — but he was really a tiny fish in a big pond. We encouraged him to target more competitive keywords and play in a bigger pool.
Unlock your business. Unleash your growth.
For the first time ever, I’m teaching the strategy, nuts and bolts behind the rapid and lasting success of IWT and GrowthLab.
Double Engine Growth is our brand-new, advanced course designed specifically for growth-focused, 6-figure CEOs of online information product businesses.
Everything in this program — from the Double Engine Strategy to the in-depth case studies to the very structure of the course — is built for 6-figure business CEOs.
This is a compression course — We stripped out all of the fluff. This course is not about offering 1,001 hours of video you’ll never watch. It’s about giving you the street-tested strategy that will drive your growth into 7 figures for the next decade.
- No B.S. and no beginner material — Just straight CEO-to-CEO guidance, from me to you.
- You get instant access to everything — No slow lesson drip here. Join now and get instant access to all modules, all bonus material, all case studies, all worksheets, and all Quickstart Guides — everything on Day 1.
- Real-world Q&A — Each core module includes an extensive Q&A, featuring tough questions from fellow 6-figure business owners and my frank answers. We’ve also included two live Master Calls with me so you can ask your own questions, too. (More on that below…)
If you’re ready to grow, Double Engine Growth includes everything you need to know to drive your business to $1M/year and beyond.
The Double Engine Strategy
- Day in the life of a high-growth, 8-figure CEO. How does your calendar compare?
- 3 Growth CEO Mindsets to internalize right now
- The Double Engine Strategy — propel your business forward with the two (and only two) things in an online business capable of driving real growth
Your Product Engine
- Our Growth Playbook — Do these things, in this order, at this frequency, at these price points and your business will grow for the next 10 years. Forget about everything else.
- How to balance your business for growth and stability
- A detailed breakdown of the 3 pillars of a healthy Product Engine — what they are, how they work and common mistakes businesses make
- The highest converting sales channel (no other sales channel comes even close)
- How many products you’ll need for a stable 7-figure business
- My map for a “perfect” product business
- The most important long-term priority of any serious online business (get this right and you’ll have a solid business)
- The strategic evergreen decision that will get you 90% of the results with a fraction of the effort, cost, and time
- The two major downsides to evergreen revenue that no one talks about — and what to do about them
- The strategic challenges most CEOs miss when they start subscription programs
- How to decide which advice will grow your business (and which to ignore)
Your Lead Engine
- A Hustling Strategy vs A Lead Engine — pros, cons, traps, and when and how to use each to grow your business
- The psychological quirk that blocks most CEOs from growth
- How to pick the optimal lead channel for your business — There are dozens of options … which is right for you?
- The 3 reasons why if you want a true Lead Engine, you need to build it one channel at a time
- How to properly diversify your traffic sources (most people get this wrong)
- How to build your Lead Engine, step-by-step
- Thinking about getting really serious about affiliates? I’ll show you what that looks like
- Our 10-step strategy for building an SEO Lead Engine
- How to handle setbacks, confusion, mistakes, and challenges while building your Lead Engine. (These will happen. Here’s how to handle them like a CEO.)
- Your On-Demand Team vs Your Core Team: How and when to strategically make the leap
- The 3 different types of work — and how much to focus on each as your business grows
- The two critical hires that generate true growth for your business
- How to spot Delusional Delegating and keep it from derailing your growth
- The 5 levels of delegation — see what you should expect as you build your core team
- The productivity shift that separates $100k solopreneurs from $1M CEOs
- How to avoid the trap of “playing CEO”
- How to “stress-test” your current calendar — are you spending your time wisely or wasting it on the wrong things?
- The 3-sentence email script that saved me hours each week
- How CEOs build flexibility for when things go wrong
- Profit margin guidelines at your level of growth — when does it make sense to invest in your business vs wait?
- How to use my Blocking Strategy to double your effectiveness
Inside the Product Engine Vault
Start building your Product Engine today with the help of these step-by-step guides, tools, and bonuses.
Find your next hit product
These bonus guides walk you through how we find — and validate — every product we build.
Make your product a blockbuster
Finding a great product idea is just step one. These bonuses will help you sharpen your idea into a blockbuster product.
How to launch your product
The CEO’s quick guide to successful product launches.
The art of customer feedback
Learn how to tap into the “rocket fuel” that is customer feedback.
Inside the Lead Engine Vault
Kickstart your Lead Engine with these Quickstart Guides.
Build your SED machine
Everything you need to crank up your SEO game and start getting reliable, hands-off traffic from Google — day in, day out.
Build your Affiliate and Paid traffic machines
How to supercharge your traffic and leads with affiliates and paid traffic.
Inside the Your Team Vault
Start building the team that will take you to $1M — and make your life easier.
How to build your team
You’re the CEO. Your ability to hire the right people for the right job at the right time is a major lever in your growth potential. Here’s how to do it right.
How to work with your team
Hiring the right people is step one. Here’s how to make and keep them high-performing contributors.
Go behind the scenes of two 6-figure businesses — bonus deep dives
Double Engine Growth gives you unprecedented access into the strategy, tactics, numbers, and day-to-day operations of IWT and GrowthLab. You’ll see how I, as CEO, am driving growth and solving problems every day (without ignoring my personal life or missing out on fun along the way).
Double Engine Growth is also packed with dozens of examples and scenarios from real 6-figure businesses. This real world material is baked right into the course.
And on top of all that, we also included two, hour-long deep dives into growing 6-figure information product businesses. I sat down with both CEOs for a candid look at the challenges, opportunities, and insights from their businesses.
Get Ramit Sethi – Double Engine Growth on senselearn.com right now!
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