How get your first 100 customers | Build an audience that buys


Gym World comes from Kilo co-founder John Franklin, who shares lessons about making money in the fitness industry.

Happy Sunday. 

Here’s what I have for you this week:How to get your first 100 customers: A business starts when someone gives you money in exchange for goods or services. If you’re making a website, printing business cards, and “networking” before you have a customer, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. Luckily, getting your first customer isn’t hard. Here’s the strategy I used: For this to work you a clear niche, a service, & an offer. If you’re still working that out, here’s my advice: 

  • Niche – be a big fish in a small pond w/ money in itService – start with a premium-priced serviceOffer – promise an incredible result, backed by a guarantee

  • The premium price is piece is important. Getting 1,000 people to give you money for anything is hard–regardless of what you charge. Getting 100 people to pay you a premium price for a premium service is easier. The technique we used to get our first 100 customers is called “scratching & clawing.”The strategy is simple: 
  • Find your target customersAsk them for advice or feedbackGet on the phone with themDo anything to get them as as customer

  • I learned this technique from Jason Cohen, who used it to get his first 30 customers at WP-Engine. He targeted WordPress experts on LinkedIn before he had a website or a product. Here’s the message he used to get people on the phone: 

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    He sent out 40 emails, got 40 responses, set 38 appointments, & closed 30 sales.

    0 people charged him for their time.

    By framing the prospect as the expert, he built rapport, which made for an easier sale. 

    Nathan Barry used the scratching & clawing technique to scale ConvertKit from $1,500 -> $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue. He emailed prospective customers, helped them for free, and then did “anything to get [them as a] customer.” 

    Here’s the message he used:

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    Nathan said, “I’d get login credentials to their site, email provider, & any plugins. Then I’d manually move everything over. Forms, email sequences, templates, etc.” He was making about $5/hr for that work, but it created momentum for his tiny co. 

    Today they do over $30M/yr. 

    Focusing on sexier marketing techniques before you can scratch & claw is like trying to run before you can walk. 

    You’re going land flat on your face. 

    Plus, knowing how to scratch & claw makes your other marketing efforts more effective.

    This type of work is hard & unscalable but it works. Most new founders avoid it bc they’re afraid of rejection. They’d rather “make the product so good it sells itself.” That’s honorable but ultimately a cop out. 

    In the beginning someone needs to spend a lot of time selling. 

    How to build fans with authentic content

    There is a big difference between a fan and follower. A follower passively consumes some of your content. A fan buys from you & actively looks forward to what you have to say. 

    Erica Schneider is one of the best at building fans on Twitter. I interviewed her & her business partner Kasey Jones on how to build an engaged audience that buys. 

    Over 2,000 people have tuned-in so far. 

    Check it out here: 

    Gym owners are broke. 

    I just finished collaborating on the Two-Brain Business State of the Industry report. We collect data from gyms all over the world to shed light on what’s actually happening in the fitness industry.

    We found out that the average gym owner is making $3,700 month after add-backs like cell phone, health insurance, car insurance etc. 

    The overwhelming response from Twitter was “that’s way less than I thought.” 

    Until next week,


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