Earnable is an online course on entrepreneurship taught by New York Times bestselling author Ramit Sethi.
About the Author:
Ramit Sethi is a New York Times bestselling author and teacher and author of social skills and personal finances courses.
He is also the author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and Mental Mastery.
Playbook 1: Think Like An Entrepreneur
So, you’ve just gotten into the program.
The first thing you notice is the email confirmation Ramit sends after two grand has just left your bank account.
The email reads, “Welcome, and congratulations on joining Earnable!” Joining this program was a leap. So, the “congratulations” makes you feel a little better.
You get into the first video right away to see what exactly you just invested in (and, if you’re like me, it’s because you want to make sure you don’t need to ask for a refund before the 60-day guarantee is up).
The first video in the first playbook reads, “Welcome to your Rich Life”. You click it. You watch it. And, now you’re being asked to complete this sentence:
“I joined Earnable to _________.”
It seems like this question is intended to surface more of what inspired you to join the program. And, since this playbook is called “Think Like An Entrepreneur”, you figure that might be to motivate you to see the program through to the finish line.
At the same time, Ramit is also asking you to share your answer with him via email. So, maybe he’s really only asking for his own customer research.
Whatever. Either way, you just want to get to the juicy stuff. You answer the question and move on to the next video. You notice the title is “How Earnable is different”.
After a little scrolling, it doesn’t take long before you realize that this entire playbook is only an introduction to the “real” sections of the course.
Still, I’m being a little harsh here. The last video in the playbook shares these three money mindsets:
- I am paid for the value I create
- The more I make, the more value I can create
- Money is a marker that I’m doing the right thing
These were really cool. I might change the first one to say:
- I am paid for the value I provide
Since you have to actually give that value to get money in return.
But, yes, being raised Christian, I was surrounded by people who gave away a lot of their money to church believing they were serving God and doing the right thing while also shaming people who had “too much money”.
When I first learned that billionaires even exist as a young kid, I wondered how the world and churches would benefit if those billionaires gave a few million to battle world hunger and teach others that Christmas wasn’t really about Santa Claus. It made me think about how the more money I make, the more money I can give just like those billionaires. And, similarly, the more money I make, the more value I can create to eventually provide to others.
That last money mindset is about how people are protective of their money. So, if they’re willing to part with their precious, hard-earned money for the value you created, you’re doing something right in terms of that value you created.
Playbook 2: Find Your First Profitable Idea
Less than an hour into the program and we’re already getting to the good stuff. That’s a good sign :).
So, when I was going through this part, I watched the course videos until I hit a video that was unplayable. Come to find out, that’s because it wasn’t a video, it was a worksheet. One that helps you brainstorm your profitable business idea by starting with a few mini-ideas or “nuggets”:
- Action step 1: Come up with at least 20 “nuggets””The first step is to figure out what exactly we’re good at and put it down on paper. We start by doing an inventory of everything — our skills, knowledge, and challenges we’ve overcome. Below are questions to get you thinking. For each question, write down as many ideas as you can. In the next step, we’ll sort through these ideas to find the best and most profitable. Remember: Silence your inner critic. Write down every idea that comes up, regardless of whether or not you think it could be a good business idea. That part comes later!”
- (1) If you had an extra 3 hours free this weekend, what would you do? (e.g. cook, organize my closet, read books on coding)
- (2) What do other people struggle with that comes easily to you? (e.g. finding time to work out, writing great cover letters)
- (3) What are skills you’ve developed? (e.g. writing great emails, public speaking)
- (4) What knowledge have you acquired, whether it’s something you studied in school or in your free time? (e.g. audio editing, marketing, how to fix your own car)
- (5) What are the biggest challenges you’ve overcome? (e.g. chronic stomach pain, brain fog, dressing poorly)
(6) What problems do your friends ask you for help with? (e.g. planning trips, workout tips)
- (7) What do your friends think? The best way to find ideas is to ask your friends!Here’s a script you can use to text or email the people who know you best:“Hey, I’m taking a business class and one of our assignments is to ask friends a question, so I’m reaching out to you. If you had to point out 3 things you think I’m good at, what would you say? Thank you!”It’s always good to add an example so you get the answers you’re looking for. Like this:“For example, I always go to you for advice on investing. What are some things you’d go to me for?”*Note: My personal thoughts here, this is one of the best playbooks of the entire course. The worksheet has abundantly more than what I’ve shared here including sample ideas for you to pull from. It wouldn’t surprise me if this were your favorite part of the program as you learn and figure out all of the “nuggets” you have inside of you. For me, this was exciting to brainstorm!
- Action Step 2: Put your nuggets through the Pay Certainty Test”Now it’s time to filter your list to find the best ideas. The first filter is the Pay Certainty Technique. For each nugget you wrote above, ask yourself:
- 1.) Do people have the ABILITY to pay? Do they actually have money?
- 2.) Do people have the WILLINGNESS to pay? Do they want to pay?For example, I love ironing. Could I start a business that helps people get better at ironing? Let’s see…
- 1.) Do people have the ABILITY to pay? Probably, yes. It passes test #1.
- 2.) Do people have the WILLINGNESS to pay? No! No one is going to pay me to learn how to iron. It’s not enough of a burning pain. This fails test #2.Put each of your nuggets through the Pay Certainty Test. When you come up with a no, cross that nugget off.”
- Action Step 3: Plot your remaining nuggets on the Demand Matrix”You should have at least 4-5 ideas left on your list. Now let’s find which ones will be the most profitable!The Demand Matrix makes it more likely that your idea will be profitable before you go out and sell it. It’s a framework that quickly filters your ideas, helps you avoid “idea one-itis,” and trains you to “operationalize” your ideas in the real world (which is the only place they matter).If you’re not 100% certain where your nugget falls, that’s okay! We are never 100% certain, either. The Demand Matrix is just a framework to organize your ideas, not to make a final decision.”
- Action Step 4: Pick the best idea”Write down the 3 ideas that seem most worth pursuing after running them through the Pay Certainty Test and Demand Matrix. Which one are you MOST excited about? That’s the one we recommend starting with. Take that idea and run it through the remaining playbooks to craft your offer, get feedback on your offer — and ultimately make your first sale! Don’t worry about picking the ‘perfect’ idea. You can always come back to this list, try another idea, and run it through the Earnable System!”
This part is just absolutely awesome. It’s where you can have fun finding different ways to make your best ideas work.
For example, operating as a freelance copywriter for other businesses can be a High-End service that you offer that costs clients upwards of $8,000. At the same time, you could release an eBook on copywriting that would fit in the Mass Market category. Same business model (offering copywriting), but ranging in profitability depending on how you adapt it to The Deman Matrix. It’s about getting creative and that’s what can make this part very enjoyable for those who are emotionally invested in the business-building process.
The first time I was introduced to a concept similar to The Demand Matrix is when I was 17-years-old reading a blog called Masculine Development.
The site owner, Jon Anthony, explained the concept like this:
Jon: “If you want to become a millionaire, either offer value by magnitude or scale. If you want to become a billionaire, do both.
Magnitude: 10,000 people pay you $100.00 = $1,000,000
Scale: 100 people pay you $10,000.00 = $1,000,000
Both: 10,000 people pay you $10,000.00 = $100,000,000″
In this case, Ramit identifies “magnitude” as “amount of customers” in the matrix and “scale” as “price”.
BTW, if you’re wondering what kinds of products would fit in the “Golden Goose” category, think iPhone :).
Also, Ramit addresses questions in this playbook such as “what if I’m not an expert in anything?” And, in response to that question, he notes that you don’t need to be an expert. You only need to know a little more than the people you’re trying to serve.
That inspired me. I wasn’t concerned about being a “fraud”, but I was concerned about whether or not people would get any actual value from what I was offering based on the business idea I had chosen for this experiment. And, I think Ramit’s right. That gap where you know more than your customer, however big or small, is where the value you can provide lives. And, you can identify how big that gap is during the sales call (there are playbooks on that as well).
Playbook 3: Create A Winning Offer
Going into this playbook, I assumed that this would be the point where he teaches how to create your first product to offer to the marketplace.
Maybe an eBook or a course since this program is geared more toward teaching how to build an online business. But, as I started watching the videos in this playbook, it was my surprise to discover that Ramit actually teaches against products (despite the number of courses on his website). Here’s why:
If you make an “offer”, then it’s a case where you can do things such as hopping on a sales call to discover your prospect’s primary objections, the specific kind of language they use to describe their “burning pains”, and so on. You can learn the things that grow the success of your business by getting to know and understand the most important part of your business: your customer.
Most of all, you get to learn firsthand how highly the market truly values your product.
There will be situations when you’re on a call and ask the prospect about their situation and they detail all of their problems (burning pains). And, you know your offer can solve those problems for them. So, you recommend a solution for them and they say “that sounds great”. Hehe, then you reveal the price and suddenly they’re no longer interested.
It could be the price is too high, it could be the customer isn’t within your target market, or it could be that you simply need to refine your idea. You won’t know unless you do the research. And, going in with an offer first makes it easier to perform that research.
So, here, Ramit shares some frameworks, step-by-step processes, and other examples to create your winning offer.
There was an example of a winning offer that happened to be a perfect fit for my business, so I used that one.
Playbook 4: Get Your First Sale
This is the day that I was waiting for the most.
Ramit automatically enrolls you in something called the 10-day fast-track to get you your first sale within your first ten days of joining the Earnable. He already has your email address from when you joined, so this mini-incentive doesn’t cost you anything, it only adds value.
The problem is, he doesn’t tell you where to get your customers for your first sale. He teaches how to build passion-driven businesses, so every business is different. That means he can’t give out a “one-sized fits all” way to get customers and he’s not going to want to tell each and every student where to get their customers if he wants to respect his own time.
So, instead, he says:
Ramit: “If you can’t even find your customers for your customer research, how will you find them when it’s time for the sale?”
He basically reframes from it being about sales to it being about customer research to avoid it looking like he just left you dead in the water now that it’s time to bring in the bread.
So, I do my best to do some more “customer research”.
Earnable has its own community of thousands of entrepreneurs. As he touts on his sales page: “You’re never alone — get feedback and answers in minutes.”
But Community Support Wasn’t The Greatest…
When I asked for feedback on my offer in the community, to my surprise, no one answered. I had followed the WIIFT rule and everything. What next?
I begin responding to the offers of all of the most recent requests. A lot of the questions were asking for the opinions of others on if their current copy would persuade them to buy. A good idea.
So, I would look at their copy and give them real, genuine feedback on if it would persuade me to buy from them. Then, I’d mention some strategies they would only know if they had taken Daniel Pink’s masterclass to know about. And, to top it off, I offer to show them how those strategies could improve their copy if they give back feedback on my offer (future-value signaling).
A few days go by. No responses.
Determined to see this experiment through, I quickly enrolled in this Udemy course: “Lead Generation Machine: Cold Email B2B Sales Master Course”. And, I worked my ass off to implement and complete two business programs at the same time on top of my current day-to-day workload.
I already learned and practiced networking to get mentors, connections, and friends. Yet, I had rarely applied networking to sales. So, the idea was to expand my networking skills specific to setting up meetings with the prospects that fit the business idea I developed in Earnable. And, that’s exactly what Patrick Dang teaches. And, thank God, he didn’t disappoint (otherwise, two grand might have gone down the drain).
Community And Support Not The Best
When I didn’t get any reply from the community I reach out to customer support.
Just to let you know that I did my best to get the best possible response from them, here’s a look at what I said:
All of the right incentives were laid out for them. And, the “I’m hustling toward getting my first sale in my first ten days” also implements Robert Cialdini’s principle of urgency on their end to get me support before the end of the ten days. After all, they’re part of what Ramit refers to as the “IWT Student Success Team”. So, they’re supposed to help with things like this anyway.
Here’s their response:
It’s funny how their sales page read, “You’re never alone — get feedback and answers in minutes,” and then when I find myself alone the only person I can reach out to tells me, “We can’t determine how exactly how long it will be before you get some replies.” Maybe that should have been on their sale page :D.
Also read TPM’s take on it:
Which leads us to the second observation:
Funnel of Courses?
Coincidentally (probably not), I begin getting emails from Ramit for another one of his programs: “Endless Audience”. A program that teaches how to get an endless audience of customers for your business.
That might explain why he left this key step out of Earnbale, but I try not to jump to conclusions. Especially, since the same customer acquisition information (or lack thereof) in Earnable was already enough to get some other students some great results. So, in the interest of being self-aware of my own shortcomings, maybe I just wasn’t that good in terms of applying this playbook. Luckily, Patrick filled that gap.
It’s currently Day 15 and I’ve finished both programs. There are only a couple of “bonus playbooks” left.
Sales & Attitude
- It (barely) met my expectations in terms of teaching sales (full disclosure, I called customer support before joining to ask if sales scripts were included and they didn’t have much they could say, so I wasn’t expecting much here)
- It felt a little hurtful at times (Ramit can be a little harsh when it comes to teaching the difference between people who will actually buy and people who won’t)
- In terms of communities, it’s not a competition. But, if it were, the TPM community would be eating Earnable’s lunch 🙂
- It surpassed my expectations in terms of helping me create a winning offer
- Ramit is honest and his intentions are warm (he seems willing to give refunds without too much hassle, has a special list of people he has blocked from ever buying his courses due to rudeness in order to keep his team from having to deal with them, takes the time to read a lot of the Instagram DMs and emails he receives from strangers, and follows the rules of assertive feedback-giving to provide constructive feedback without damaging the egos of the learners involved)
- It surpassed my expectations in terms of teaching how to successfully launch the online business to a great start using quality customer research
- It surpassed my expectations in terms of teaching how to make your business idea one that’s truly rooted in something you’re passionate about
Earnable is a great program.
Ramit is a pretty good entrepreneur.
Turned out Charlie Houpert over at Charisma On Command was one of his students including a few other successful people that I actually know personally.
Unluckily, I’ll have to pair this program with a couple of other deals I had planned for later down the road in order to make it work for me.
But, the good news is that once you have the customers, Ramit literally handles teaching the rest (including automation).