How To Make $1.7M/Year with 0 Employees – The Justin Welsh Way

Justin, what’s up? You’ve shifted to a one-person business that generates 7-figures. Why did you decide to make that jump?

I had to. Without going into a long story, I failed the first six years of my career, but everything changed in 2009. I got hired as the first salesperson at a tech company in New York. Everything clicked for me there, and I grew in my roles.

After 10 years in high-growth startup environments and facing burnout, in 2018 I had a panic attack. I was struggling with my health, and I decided to leave to get things in order. Initially, I thought I would work for myself for about 12 months, but that was three years ago.

What type of businesses are you involved in now?

I have a free newsletter with sponsorships, two digital products related to LinkedIn and content processes, a coaching package, and a previous private community that I recently shut down. I also advise early-stage SAS companies in healthcare and affiliate with various products. So, around five to six different revenue streams operate concurrently.

Why did you decide to drop the community?

While I loved the community and its rapid growth, it’s about my personality. I’m very high-strung, filled with anxiety, and always feel the need to perform. The community is 24/7, and it never felt like I had time off. I needed a change.

Now, regarding your solo business model, does this include VAs or contractors?

I have a virtual assistant but no other employees or contractors. Everything else, like content and engagement on social media, it’s just me. She manages some of the basic email, scheduling, and a few other back-office tasks, like organizing certain folders or ensuring that we’re systematized in the way we approach recurring tasks. But in terms of content creation, engaging with people, driving strategy, making decisions on the business, it’s all just me.

To me, a one-person business, in the way I define it, is largely where you are the driving force behind the vast majority of the business. It doesn’t mean you don’t have support or that you might not bring on some occasional help, but you’re not building out a team. You’re not growing a business where you have a CTO, a CFO, an HR department. It’s you steering the ship and maybe having a little bit of support to handle some tasks.

I’ve found that this model works really well for me. It allows me to pivot quickly, make decisions rapidly, and not get bogged down in the layers of management and bureaucracy that sometimes come with larger teams. It’s really about freedom and agility.

You’re experiencing rapid growth on Twitter. Are the challenges different compared to LinkedIn?

Absolutely. On Twitter, I receive various questions ranging from how to grow on the platform, how to craft content, newsletters, threads, to setting up service businesses.

Despite these inquiries, I see Twitter as a long-term investment. I’ve recently reached 150,000 followers without selling anything directly, only promoting my free newsletter. My approach is to leverage Twitter’s potential in the future as a primary distribution channel for my brand.

What makes Twitter your long-term focus compared to other platforms like LinkedIn?

I also saw LinkedIn as a long-term play. I introduced my first product there in late 2020, after two years of establishing my presence. I wasn’t aggressively selling. The sales I made were organic, stemming from my content’s value.

Similarly, on Twitter, when I decide to sell something, I want it to be instinctive for my audience because of the consistent value I’ve provided over the years.

I bought your courses and in there, you’ve mentioned the Content Matrix. Could you explain that?

Sure, though it’s been a while since I used it. The Content Matrix originated from my challenge of deciding daily content topics. It categorized my posts into topics and structures, which made ideation more straightforward. But my writing process has since evolved.

What’s the writing process now, now that you don’t use the content matrix?

Yeah, I have a 10-step writing process that I use. It’s grown and changed over time. It all started when I reached out to Dan Koe. We had started a relationship because I was on his YouTube podcast, and we became friends. I asked him about his writing process, and he sent me over a three or four-step process. It was helpful but not quite right for me, so I expanded it into this larger 10-step process.

Step 1 is idea capture. I have two 30-minute blocks on my calendar every week for ideation. Step 2 is research. I usually pick a topic and research how others approach it.

Step 3 is writing my newsletter using a template, which takes less than 45 minutes. Step 4 is editing followed by a pre-newsletter CTA in Step 5. Step 6 is a post-newsletter CTA.

Step 7 involves turning the topic into micro-content. I create a story, an observation, a contrarian take, a listicle, etc. Then, I turn it into a tweet thread and distribute it. Finally, Step 10 involves connecting all these spokes back to the hub, my website, where they can buy my products and services.

Are you also considering longer-form content like podcasting or YouTube?

Probably not. My mantra is to do what you like, and I like to write.

Any other systems that have made a significant impact on your business?

My content system has 2.5X my daily revenue. Another system I find useful is leveraging a tool called Blackmagic on Twitter. It helps me engage with my favorite accounts efficiently and grow my following.

You mentioned you have a VA. How has that impacted your workflow?

It’s been a game-changer. I used to context switch a lot, but having a VA has streamlined my work. I have a process doc plus video framework to guide her, so it’s very efficient.

What about systems in your personal life?

Having a VA has been a significant personal system for me. On the health side, I go for hypnosis every week. It keeps me feeling creative and juiced up. Being a one-person business can be lonely, so I think some form of therapy or hypnosis should be part of everyone’s personal system.

What’s the process of hypnosis and what exactly do you do when you’re in that session?

Yeah, it’s a process of emptying and filling. Essentially, there are a lot of things in our subconscious that we’re not actually that cognizant of. It’s why sometimes, I don’t know if this happens to you, but you might be having a conversation and suddenly feel anxious or stressed, unrelated to the conversation. It’s just something in your subconscious weighing on you.

I think those things are important to talk through and try to get rid of. So when I meet with my hypnotherapist, we talk through things, and then he puts me under hypnosis where we’re essentially emptying and saying goodbye to those bad feelings, past experiences, trauma, etc. That’s the beginning.

Then, you work through a process of trying to figure out what you want to fill your brain with. And if any hypnotist is reading, I’m probably not describing it accurately, but this is how I perceive it as the patient. It’s not like you’re deeply hypnotized. You’re sort of almost asleep. When you wake up, you feel great. He records it, and I can listen to it at home.

Because you’re so in the social media realm, do you have any boundaries around technology and social media?

Not as good as I should, but I generally turn it off at about five o’clock. I have “do not disturb” on all day but I check it every once in a while to see what’s going on.

Usually, I’ll turn it off at about six o’clock and my wife and I commit to having dinner, watching television, and doing a little reading without it. We’re not always good at it. Sometimes, both of us fail. But that is a boundary.

And then, when we go on vacation, I like to work. It fits into my personality. We generally wake up, have coffee, and work for like an hour or two. We commit to getting that stuff out of the way in the morning and then shutting down. Then we go enjoy our vacation. Those are the boundaries that come to mind for me.

Do you work on the weekends?

I work every day. But in bursts. For instance, I’ve planned to work on some slides to update my course for an hour from 10:30 to 11:30, and then I’ll be done for the day. It’s just getting even a little bit of work done, maybe like two hours.

The weekdays and the weekends are the same for me because I run my own business and they don’t feel that different. But it’s a little different for me because I have a child.

What’s one of the most favorite places in the world that you keep gravitating back to?

Tokyo and Mexico City. But Spain is up there too. Tokyo is like a labyrinth. Unlike New York or LA, where we’ve lived, Tokyo feels like a maze with its multi-layered buildings and a language I don’t understand. The culture is just incredible.

Where can people find you and buy your courses?

They can find me and my courses on my website, which is

Thank you so much for your time, Justin. Really appreciate it.

Burkhard Berger

Founder @ Novum™. Letting wonderful companies become the Beyoncé of their industry (through modern SEO). Passionated about Unique.

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