Case study topics:
02:46 – From hearing the show to being on it. A podcast planted the seed for our guest’s current success.
06:43 – Things were great businesswise, but… How Nils took his revenue makers from one-time to recurring
11:13 – The skill too many people miss. Are you afraid to ask for help?
12:22 – What you don’t see with a lot of coaching programs. This is what sets SuperFastBusiness apart.
14:55 – A look into the weekly group calls. They’re much more than a perk.
20:18 – The things that make you go, aha. Private coaching yielded some epiphanies for Nils.
23:10 – A content strategy that took off. The show that landed in the worldwide top 10 percent
26:45 – Where Nils is at now. His leadership coaching business is in a very good place.
28:39 – The coaching model ala James Schramko. Several pages taken out of James’s book
31:15 – So you want Nils to train you… Here’s how you get in touch.
The premise of this SuperFastBusiness episode is obviously something exciting: taking a business model from zero to $100,000 revenue in just nine months. And to illustrate what’s possible, James brings back previous guest, leadership coach Nils Vinje, to offer his own story as a case study.
Now granted, Nils already had a great business. So whatever lessons he shares apply not just to someone wanting to start from scratch. If you want to change your business model, or start an additional revenue stream, this episode will be of as much value.
From hearing the show to being on it
James and Nils talk a lot about playing the long-term game. Nils is a perfect example of that thinking, as are many of his clients.
Nils had been listening on and off to SuperFastBusiness for a year or two, especially enjoying James’s episodes with Dean Jackson. He’d get episode updates and offers via email, but was too involved in his business and other coaching programs to check it out.
Then he got an email from James about a program with 10XPRO’s John Lint. For $1, you could get 60 days of 10XPRO. Nils was in the process of writing a book and planning to pivot his business model. He knew there’d be new opportunities to sell things online, and he’d done research on 10XPRO.
Nils signed up, and fast forward, used 10XPRO to launch his leadership coaching business, which was the pivot for him. It built on his background in consulting and and high-touch one-on-one, and 10XPRO was the key piece for creating a leveraged business model.
Then John invited people to share their 10XPRO story on SuperFastBusiness. Nils jumped at it. He’d had tremendous success, he said, and couldn’t have done it without 10XPRO.
After the episode with James, Nils thought he ought to check out SuperFastBusiness in more detail. He ended up joining the Intensive program and, he says, has been knocking it out of the park ever since.
Nils is the perfect type of person he likes to help, says James. He’s humble, highly skilled in his craft, has ideas about what he wants to do but is open-minded enough to change them. And he implements, and the results flow.
Things were great businesswise, but…
When Nils started with 10XPRO, he was somewhat book-focused, and had his own ideas about where he wanted to take his business. How different do things look now since he and James have been working together? Has he done things he hadn’t anticipated?
Absolutely, says Nils. His book was produced in a mad dash of four months. And for three months after the book launch on September 1st 2020, he did nothing but promote it.
Then in November, he ran a Black Friday sale for a seven-week training program he was to create on the fly. Forty-two people signed up at $199 each.
The program ran, and when it finished he rerecorded the trainings and started selling it as a course. He served everything through 10XPRO, and hosted weekly live Q&A calls to complement the course. In three months he sold $20,000 worth of courses at $1,000 each. Things were going well.
But the model was a one-time thing, and Nils didn’t know where to take it next. That was the very first thing he asked James, who floated the idea of a membership.
Nils had not considered a membership site in the context of what he was doing. But when he looked at his material and some of the feedback he was getting, he realized seven weeks wasn’t enough time to implement what he covered. If he were to work one-on-one with people, it could be geared towards a yearlong program where he could help people focus on different areas each month.
“Just make an offer, just get it on the page.”
James prompted him to get the offer together. Just make an offer, just get it on the page.
Nils put the membership out there, emulating heavily what James has going in SFB. Since its launch, the membership has grossed roughly $80,000, which plus the $20,000 Nils made from just the course, equals about $100,000 in nine months.
The skill too many people miss
Nils owes a lot to his humble approach, says James. He’d already achieved success, but rather than being complacent he realized he was stuck, and reached out for help. This is a big skill a lot of people miss. They’re too afraid to ask for help, they might feel that people will think they’re not smart.
Now does Nils find the private access, the one-on-one coaching inside SuperFastBusiness, allow him to speak his mind, have proper conversations without loss of pride?
Absolutely, says Nils. It’s just him and James, and he knows James is as committed to his success as he is, if not more. And having someone with that experience in his corner gives him confidence he might not otherwise have.
What you don’t see with a lot of coaching programs
Nils has been in other coaching programs, too, where the founder is at something of a remove from the members. Which is natural, he supposes, when you reach a certain prominence, but it’s a completely different experience.
When he saw on the SFB sales page that the intensive level had a weekly group call with James, he thought that was cool. Then it said there was a private one-on-one chat thread, and he couldn’t believe it.
That private space means the world to him, he says. He does much better in a relationship with one-on-one connection. And he knows he can ask James a question, usually in the afternoon, and, allowing for the time difference, have an answer the next morning. The personal guidance means a lot to him. And he’s been able to incorporate the same private thread feature into his own program, thanks to 10XPRO.
John Lint modeled that feature of what James did in SuperFastBusiness, and developed many other things for private coaching as well – autoplay for Loom or YouTube videos, replying to pieces of a comment instead of the entire thing, search… And for a small fee, you can pair it with an app and have coaching in your pocket.
A look into the weekly group calls
Now Nils also attends the weekly coaching calls. How does he find that?
He finds them incredibly valuable, he says. He loves the intimacy of being able to ask James a question live every week, which is a different dynamic from the private chat. It lets them have a conversation, some back and forth, and lets James share more than he might usually in chat.
And Nils likes hearing everybody else’s challenges, even if their markets have nothing to do with him. He finds the advice James gives them is always valuable. He can take nuggets from it and figure out, how does it apply to his world? Or where on his agenda can he look closer at it later on, perhaps?
Those calls are worth extra effort, says James, because with five to 10 people listening, he can transform more people at once. But it’s also highly bespoke, because he knows from private coaching what the individual needs of each person is, and he knows when the information he gives addresses a common need.
Now he will say, some people might try his coaching who are not a good fit, and because they lack resource, attitude, time or deployable assets, will not get results. Then there are people like Nils who will be successful whether they get involved with him or not.
James is not a miracle worker. What he does is magnify whatever someone brings to the table. Nils brought determination, open-mindedness, and a working model. As James likes to quote, you can’t steer a parked car. Nils brought a vehicle in motion, and they found new gears for it.
The things that make you go, aha
Now what things have they discussed that Nils got a big aha moment from?
First was just the shaping of a program, says Nils. He had a course but didn’t know what to do with it. Running webinars to sell it each week wouldn’t provide the long-term gains he was after. He wanted the long-term certainty he could get into someone’s world to help them.
There was the paradigm shift of recurring subscription, which is different from one-time not just in cost, structure and pricing, but in service. When you sell a course you might have a one to three-month window to get your money back. And it doesn’t matter whether someone actually uses it – you’ve gotten their lifetime value.
When someone joins Nils’s B2B Leaders Academy and leaves after a month, it’s on him. Seeing James run SFB and their intensive group reminds him of that every week.
From deciding to go recurring, it was on a tear to set it up in 10XPRO, and transition all the content to a monthly focus. What was great was he had the material, it just wasn’t in the right format.
A content strategy that took off
Now Nils had run advertising for a long time. Since launching his book, it must have cost somewhere from $30,000 to $40,000 in paid ads, with less than ideal results. Nils finally decided he needed some other way of bringing people into his world. That’s when he and James started discussing a podcast.
Nils had had a podcast for his consulting business before, and had conversations with a friend who ran a podcast agency. It was a perfect time to shift his content strategy from all paid to completely driven by a podcast.
So Nils launched the B2B Leadership Podcast in September, and saw it rank in the top 10 percent of 2.7 million podcasts in the world, according to Listen Notes. This blew him away.
Nils turns every episode into a blog post with a downloadable PDF, and it is what brings people into his world. He also advertises the B2B Leaders Academy on the show.
You can look up the B2B Leadership Podcast on Apple, or any other podcast platform of your choice.
Another long-term play, says James. It’s been his model – podcast, membership. The podcast brings people to the membership, and the membership allows him to continue delivering episodes.
Where Nils is at now
So Nils now has his podcast, a membership, a book, and a steady cadence on what he does.
At the moment too, though they can’t talk much about it, he’s got people interested in bulk license deals, really the next major play in the B2B market. There are enterprise clients who need lots and lots of training, because whatever industry you’re in, even as a solopreneur, if you’re trained, you perform better than if you’re not trained.
In 2020, James did a B2B training play with John Lint. They sold bulk licenses and used 10XPRO. And James requested a specific features for the platform, which showed where people were up to in a training course. So 10XPRO lets you say to a CEO or founder, Here’s where your team is up to. And they can tick boxes and get certifications via their CRM.
If required by law, you could show who had taken a training and what their scores were. You could put quizzes after the training.
There are lots of options now for Nils. James thinks this could be his next stage.
The coaching model ala James Schramko
Rather than dump ideas on members, James likes to give them one thing to work on, then promise something exciting to talk about when they’re done. He knows bite-size weekly progresses are really what get results. If you turn up every week, and share what’s going well and where you’re stuck, he’ll help you overcome it.
“A membership is not the ultimate hands-off business. But it’s a powerful offer people will respond to.”
Some people don’t want to be involved in their membership every day, which is fine, says James. Leave it to people like him and Nils, who are doing okay with it. A membership is not the ultimate hands-off business. But it’s an extremely powerful offer that is so rare, people will respond to it. And when they get results, it’s also very satisfying.
Apart from recording podcast episodes, James’s actual job is to just help people solve problems. And he does it in a reasonably leveraged way with the membership, which he lets people know about with the podcast. That’s it. If you want to break it down, that’s what he does.
That’s exactly what Nils has modeled over the last six months, and since working with James. He has the same long-term view. And he has a lot of relationships and reputation in B2B, especially in the SaaS space, in the fast-growing company space, where everybody has a need for leadership development.
If he pairs leadership training with leadership coaching in a hybrid way, like he’s experienced with James, Nils knows he can help everybody solve problems. And his goal is to get to the point where his job is solely to help people solve problems.
If you want to get in touch with Nils, head over to b2bleadersacademy.com. And if you’re interested in the podcast, it’s at b2bleadershippodcast.com. His bestselling book, 30-Day Leadership Playbook, is also currently available at https://www.30dayleadership.com/book .
To summarize this episode’s takeaways:
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