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Looking back at what I have learned from doing 305k in 2020

Sometimes the numbers can tell a story. It can be the story of what worked and what didn’t. It can be the story of glorious wins and disappointing mishaps. 

The bottom line is often a truth that cannot be argued with. How can you argue with data, right?

But if there is anything that many of us learned in 2020 is that data can be bent to help you reach all sorts of conclusions. The division on social thrives on fake news and misunderstanding of data. 

And yet… if there is something I took from my past partner Ken Kelly – is that data is your best friend. It guides you and shows you the way.

So here is my data, and a few of the lessons I learned in 2020.

The original plan was to grow from doing $277k in 2019 into doing $365k in 2020. 

That plan was made before knowing we are going to get a pandemic on our hands. A pandemic which I personally highly underestimated.

Embarrassing as it may be to admit it – but I thought it will be gone in weeks. I thought it will succumb to weather changes. I was wrong often and hard with my estimations. 

The plan had to be adapted to the new reality. So about 6 months into 2020, I have updated the plan to be 300k. Then as Oct started I have decided to make a bold move – to reduce my projection to $282k and reduce my flagship offer called the KM Challenge from a program that caters 12 people, to a program that serves only 6. 

The idea was to remove 50% of my income in a vector that is the most important one… so that I could free time to focus on my latest and greatest – the Daily Cookie. That way I will basically raise the expectations and work harder on building a sixth brand that will grow further than any other company I ever created, bought or partnered on.

So the bottom line is a sweet victory when compared to 2019, or to the updated updated plan. It’s even sweet compared to the updated plan. 

$305k in 2020 

This was not easy to pull. When I started the year I was proud of doing 25 coaching sessions a week. As the year ended, it’s actually around 50-60 sessions per week. Many of them are laser focus 30 minutes sessions. Add to that the three online schools I am running and you get a very busy me. 

Crossing the 300k barrier was important for me for all sorts of egocentric reasons like – I believe I can do it. It’s a bit more complicated than that. I suffer for years from the quite popular Imposter Syndrome. It’s this voice in my head that keeps telling me that I am not good enough. To make 305k I had to get really good at overcoming that voice. 

I found out that this voice, together with the Voice of Resistance are not good with math. I needed that achievement to help me in my debates with these voices. 

There were many reasons why this year was hard apart from lack of sleep from doing so many webinars, coaching sessions, and group sessions. 

  • In two of the brands I operate – BAC and KEA, we have seen a decrease on average of 30% of our members. That’s a devastating blow that is tied to the fact that all students of these schools are gig workers, artists, and once you shut down the event industry due to the pandemic, you basically reduce the income level of these great people from 100% to about 5%. 
  • Seeing all of my customers suffer and become unemployed was frustrating and painful. We tried as a team to help them in many ways, including free webinars, more webinars than ever, weekly group coaching for all members (titled All Hands On Deck), and creating courses that will help them sell virtual services or delivery services. 

So how come we managed to make 305k despite a decrease in 30% of our members in two of the brands?

Let’s look at the numbers and let them tell the story

  • BAC – planned 130k. Executed 140k. 86k were based on the KM Challenge. We did three main launches that did 12k. The subscription did 36k. 
  • KEA – planned 70k. Executed 52k.
  • Coaching – planned 65k. Executed 76k. This includes only one on one clients and many of them were repeat clients as well.
  • GMA – planned 12k. Executed 15.6k
  • DC – this was not planned at all at the beginning of the year. An idea that was cooked in the last quarter. It did 4k although the site for this was launched only in Nov 2020.
  • Local – planned 8k. Executed 16.8k. 

Running six brands isn’t easy. You need a very supportive team. 

The core of the team that managed to get through 2020 with us includes Eric, Jesus, Glen, Abs, Jennifer, Nina and Al. Constantly use two graphic designers from Design Pickle too.

We also used freelancers that were supporting us every step of the way. 

In terms of roles, we now operate with four graphic designers, at least one developer (but at peaks, we had four), an amazing personal assistant, and three copywriters. 

During 2020 we went all-in on Facebook paid marketing (for self-liquidating offers), with email outreach campaigns (for B2B offers) and have learned some key principles like:

  • The Listening Harder Technique 
  • Niching down by using the Findability, Bragability, and Sellability model
  • The four categories to creating authentic relationships in daily emails
  • The reverse funnel (a.k.a a pyramid with a free party)
  • Lead generating machines 
  • The Want-Need-Aware triangle

The pivot of 2020

I feel like this year helped me… yes… pivot. The future might tell exactly how big the pivot was. You could already say I do more coaching. You might see some signs like the creation of Daily Cookie and figure out that this company was born in the ashes of 2020.

From my standpoint, the biggest pivot is in focusing on creating transformations around me. 

If this year was hard, frustrating, depressing, or painful to you – I want you to know I am sorry. I felt the pain of everyone around me.

I hope that by sharing this very personal short post on what I have learned in 2020 in business, you get to take at least one thing away. It was out of my firm belief that transparency is powerful, healing, and inspiring that I share with you these lessons. 

Yours truly

Ziv Raviv