The Secret to Overnight Success

Jim Hohl Business Advice Leave a Comment

overnight success

Do you wish you knew the secret to the overnight success of some of the biggest names in the coaching and expert industry?

Well, in the interest of not burying the lede… there isn’t one.

Brendon Burchard, Michael Hyatt, Suzanne Evans – all major players today – took years, some with jobs on the side, to make it in the expert/coaching business.

In this week’s episode, we will share their stories with you, as well as some shortcuts that you can take that weren’t available to them when they started out. They won’t get you there overnight, but they will get you there a heck of a lot faster!

To access our full training on creating your first Growth Platform, check out:

Episode Transcript

Lucas Garvin: Welcome to Mastering Growth, Episode 7, The Secret To Overnight Success. Hi. I’m Lucas Garvin.

Jim Hohl: And I’m Jim Hohl, and the punchline is that obviously there is no secret to overnight success. For every seemingly overnight success, there were likely years of effort fueling that success. Today, we’re going to show you some stories of some top experts who seem to have just appeared onto the scene fully formed, and give you a sense of what really went into their “overnight successes”. We’re also going to give you our tips for shortcutting the process.

Lucas Garvin: I’d like to start with one of my favorites in the industry, and someone that I consider to be a mentor of mine, Brendon Burchard. Who is Brendon? Well, today, Brendon is widely considered the world’s leading high performance coach, according both to Success Magazine and He’s one of the most watched, quoted, followed personal development trainers in history. He’s a top 100 most followed figure on Facebook, and his videos have been viewed more than 100 million times. More than two million students have completed his online courses and video series. For these results, named him one of the most successful online trainers in history.

A number one New York Times, number one Wall Street Journal, and number one Amazon and USA Today bestselling author, Brendon’s books include The Motivation Manifesto, The Charge, The Millionaire Messenger, and Life’s Golden Ticket. His latest book, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, debuted as a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and Amazon named it in the top three best business books and leadership books of 2017. If you’ve ever anything from Brendon, you’ve probably heard a little bit about his story.

After suffering from depression and surviving a car accident at the age of 19, Brendon faced what he felt were life’s last questions: Did I live fully, did I love openly, and did I make a difference? He spent his 20s researching psychology and leadership, and consulting at Accenture. By age 32, he had struck out on his own and became a #1 best-selling author, an in-demand high performance coach, a sought-after speaker, and an early pioneer in the online education space.

But before that ever happened, he produced blog post after blog post, video after video, and so on to develop authority and thought leadership in his space. As I mentioned, I personally consider Brendon to be one of the most influential people in this space, and not just in personal development but also in the expert business and in digital marketing. He has a model of sorts that I’d like to share because I think it’s very relevant to today’s episode. Brendon says, “No matter how small you start, start something that matters.”

This is something that I agree with on a very personal level, and think that to succeed longterm in the expert business, or as a thought leader, online/offline, you name it, it’s really a mindset that you must adopt. Your business must be designed to make a profound impact on your client’s life and/or business.

Jim Hohl: I’m going to tell you a little bit about Michael Hyatt. He is an expert, I’m sure you’ve heard of him, but he began his business first as just a hobby. He started putting together a blog while he was CEO of another company, and as he says on his website, he would often write new posts in the evening, late at night after putting his kids to bed, or early in the morning before everyone woke up. Does that sound familiar to anyone? So he blogged for four years, blogging and blogging, getting his subscribers up to around 1000. After four years of blogging, he got to 1,000 people. Instead of getting frustrated with that, instead of giving up, he continued and really started pushing.

Then, in the fifth year, he went from 1,000 to 22,000, so 22x in a year in terms of his blog subscribers. What I really want to point out about this is, he was doing it on the side, like a lot of people do when they start their businesses, but what he did was he was consistent. He was consistently putting out content piece after content piece and establishing his authority, building up his pool of content so that by the end, he was able to quickly ramp that up when he decided to fully make that leap from shifting from his CEO position into being in his business full time.

He himself even attributes his success to being consistent in creating that new content and distributing that content, so not just putting it out there and hoping people will find it, but pushing it out there on social media, and that helped him get shout outs from other publishers like Life Hacker. That just helped him really, really take off so it doesn’t have to take five years to hit this kind of growth. Michael had a lot of mistakes. He admits, this is not me calling him out. This is him in his own words saying he made some mistakes along the way, and there’s things that he could do now if he knew better what he could’ve done differently looking back on it.

And there are things that you can do now to speed up the process, but today, after five years of sort of slow burn, he’s really taken off. Now he has hundreds of thousands of social media followers, nearly 300,000 on just Twitter, thousands of people purchasing his online courses and books.

Another quick story about Suzanne Evans, another business coach who today runs a hugely successful multi-seven-figure business. She started coaching on the side. She was an assistant in a Broadway show, and she started offering free coaching sessions at Whole Foods.

There’s a lot of paths to big growth, and most of these stories are not overnight success stories. These people, you see them after they’ve develop their businesses, after they’ve hit multi-seven-figures. You think, “Wow, they have all this infrastructure,” but they weren’t always like that.

Lucas Garvin: Yeah. It’s always amazing to hear the back story to some of these amazing, what seem like, runaway success stories. Looking at this and having heard these stories, as successful as their businesses are today, as Jim said before, on day one, maybe not even in year one, they didn’t have everything that they have now: the infrastructure, the list, the acclaim, the income. They built it over years and years. They honed their offers. They developed their lead generation strategies. They tested. They optimized. They launch products and campaigns, and along the way they shared what they learned as they grew to even further solidify their expertise and their authority in the space.

However, there are tools and approaches now to build an expert business faster than they did, not overnight for sure, but we’ll call it a shortcut. Technology, like Click Funnels or Ever Webinar, simplify what used to take so much time and effort to build. If you think what you can do in a couple clicks today, think hard coding and learning languages and things like that, we go back in the days of internet marketing, really just a decade ago, but there’s also techniques like the widely acclaimed Product Launch Formula, Digital Marketers Follow-up Machine, Funnel Blueprint and so many trainings, a lot of trainings, that it can almost make your head spin sometimes. Where do you start and how do you do all of this in the most efficient way possible? What’s the right next step?

Jim Hohl: Yeah. That’s where a lot of people get stuck. It’s not like there is not enough information out there.

Lucas Garvin: Certainly not.

Jim Hohl: It’s just that there’s just so much, it’s like, “Where do I start?” So we’re going to do our best right now to solidify that down into the three most important things that you really need to nail in a successful expert business. The first thing is your niche, so who do you serve? You want to be really, really, really specific about that. It seems counterintuitive, but okay, at the same time, you’ve probably heard everyone talk about, “You have to have a niche,” right? But in the beginning, how many people really do? How many people start businesses thinking that they are going to just serve whoever comes.

They put up a shingle in the virtual world, put up a website or Facebook page, whatever it is, add whoever comes along, they’ll be fine with. But it’s actually better if in the beginning, you start out really, really clear and specific on who your niche is. Rather than trying to sell everything to everyone, if you can be really clear from the beginning, it just has so many benefits. It allows people to know how to refer to you. It allows you to have a really narrowly focused area of expertise because if you try to be the expert in everything, well you’re a jack of all trades and master of none, and nobody really knows what you’re good at.

I’ll tell you quickly our story of how we started out. In the beginning, we considered ourselves a marketing agency, digital marketing agency. We started off … I had a website business for a while, and we kind of had some inertia, some momentum from that. I guess not so much inertia, more momentum than inertia, and that sort of propelled us into continuing to do websites as we formulated this new business four or five years ago. So along with that comes so many different types of projects. People came to us with all these different things.

They think, “Okay, you do websites. You must be able to do this. You must be able to do that. Oh, you can do SEO. Oh, you can do this.” So we’re like, “Okay, let’s take all these things on,” but then eventually the thing is, you get so overwhelmed with every new project that comes on, there’s no way to systematize that. There is no way to consciously grow a team because you never know what expertise you’re going to need next. Do I need a coder? Do I need a designer? So once you can start … If you start off from the beginning, so we made that mistake, I’m owning up to it, we made that mistake, but over the past couple years we’ve really, really honed in on who our best clients are, who we can best serve and built the process around that.

So now we’re the digital marketing team for experts and thought leaders, and that’s it. We’ve really, really focused on that, and it’s helped us grow our business in a big way. So the next piece there that you really want to nail is your offer, your core offer. The core offer needs to be something that solves an important life or a business problem that your people, your audience, are willing and able to pay for. A couple points around that core offer.

First of all, you want to start high ticket, again counterintuitive maybe. You might think, “Okay. Well, I haven’t yet established myself. I don’t have the credibility,” or whatever it is, or even maybe sometimes the confidence in yourself to sell something at a higher price point, but if you start at the low end, you have to sell so many more of those low-end things to make the same as a high end. So say you’re selling $197 course, or you’re selling a $7 book. How many of those do you need to sell to make the same as selling one $20,000 program?

Lucas Garvin: How many $7 books can you sell, or should you have to sell, to pay rent? Think about that for a second.

Jim Hohl: Right, especially when you consider what it costs to bring in leads. Say you’re starting from the beginning with no list, so every lead you acquire, it’s going to cost you a few dollars to acquire them, no matter how you go about it. Whether it’s sponsorships or whether you do it the way that we talk about through Facebook ads, there is a cost to that, so if you’re selling a $7 book and acquiring a lead for $5, there’s not a whole lot of money to be made there, and that’s if you’re lucky, if you’ve got everything set up right from beginning.

So start high ticket, fuel your low ticket later, and the other benefit to doing it later is you’ve built up this pool of credibility, of case studies, of clients you’ve actually helped that can speak to you, speak to your expertise rather. You can show that, and also what’s really cool about that is you can work with those clients, and as you’re working with them, start turning that into process and systematizing that. Those can be your lead magnets. Those can be things you can sell at those lower price points. They can fill a membership site.

Lucas Garvin: Yeah. A really great point here that you just made, Jim, that I want to call out is that when you start with high ticket, it allows you to serve people at a deep enough level that they can legitimately give you a case study that is detailed and thorough, et cetera, whereas if you’re selling a $7 e-book, you just … Sure, you might get a testimonial or somebody to write something for the back of it or what have you, but it’s really not going to be thorough or detailed enough that you can build, that you can tell stories from it, that you can bring it into your marketing, that you can really incorporate it full stop in how you grow your business. That’s super important to developing your credibility and your authority in any space.

Jim Hohl: Absolutely. Yeah. Like Lucas was saying, you’re working so closely with them, you’re able to have more impact and influence on their development as you work with them. The other piece to your core offer is, so first it’s something that solves this important problem and it’s high ticket, but also the important piece, second important piece, and really, really critical, is that they are willing and able to pay for it. If this isn’t something that your ideal client, that your ideal audience, needs enough or you can’t show them the value enough, you might have the best service on the planet, no one’s going to buy it. We see this happening.

Lucas Garvin: Yeah. An example of this, and please don’t take this the wrong way if you have a similar kind of service, but for example in the marketing space, let’s say you help people generate more leads online. If your service is, “I’ll help you make your Facebook page look pretty,” that’s great, but it’s not a transformational outcome. It’s not something that you can realistically charge thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars for and people will actually willingly and happily pay you that and give you great case studies and testimonials for. It’s also something that you can’t track quite as well as you might be able to track other things.

Jim Hohl: Right, definitely not enough people to scale. Maybe the big brands are willing to pay big money for that, but if you’re talking about selling to entrepreneurs, that’s a whole different thing. The next piece here of the three things that you want to nail in your expert business is your growth platform. Now, when I say growth platform, that’s a term that we use here at Visify a lot, but what that means is it’s a platform that allows you to predictably and consistently generate new leads and clients at scale.
Let me break it down a little bit more, so the growth platform does four things. It drives attention, and typically in our world and in Visify, a lot of times this is a video ad on Facebook, something that is getting people in front of your message and getting their attention.

The next thing that your grow platform does is it generates leads. So again, this could be an ad on Facebook. It could be the same ad on Facebook doing double duty. Doesn’t have to necessarily be two steps. It’s two different things that the growth platform is doing, but you want to, at this point now you’re capturing those leads. You’re not just getting their attention, you’re not just putting yourself in front of them, but you’re getting their information. Maybe you’re offering them something free in exchange for that, most likely.

Next thing it does is it qualifies those leads for sales. Now, this is a piece that we’ve had an episode, I think we had a piece of an episode before that was all about sales qualification. The whole episode wasn’t, but a big segment of it was, that this is a piece that people leave out a lot, and leaving that out is a big mistake. The main reason for that is you’re just wasting your time. You’re wasting your time and your energy with the wrong people, and you’re setting both sides up for disappointment and frustration really, because if these people are coming in through your funnel, let’s say you have the attention driver and you have your lead generator set up properly, and you immediately push them into a call with you.

Now, that might seem like, “Great. Strike while the iron is hot,” but if they haven’t been qualified enough, you’re going to have that call and they’re going to get frustrated because it might seem like you’re pushing them into a solution that’s not right for them. You’re going to get frustrated because you’re spending time, especially if it’s one person, fine but if it’s 100, if your lead generation is really taking off but they’re not being qualified, so you’re talking everybody, then you’re just going to get burnt out. That’s not a good setup for any successful business.

Then finally, the last thing that the growth platform does is really gets people into your core offer so the idea is, you are bringing them into something, either directly into something that’s under $2K, under $2,000, or you’re bringing them into an offer for a call, and that usually happens for some sort of application, which is another, in a way, another step of the sales qualification.

Lucas Garvin: Yep. At that point, you will typically sell something that’s at least $2000, what we call high ticket.

Jim Hohl: The reason why you would do that through a call is there’s limits to how much people are willing to part with, no matter what the value that they see, without having a conversation. Also, you want to make sure that this is right. When you get into high ticket sales, you don’t want to have people, you really don’t want to have people paying you for something that they’re going to be disappointed within three months, no matter what the price is. So you want to make sure that these are the right people and this is the right thing for them, and especially at high ticket. You can get into a lot of bad blood if you don’t, so that’s it. I’m going to repeat those three steps for you real quick.

The three most important things you want to nail in your expert business: your niche/who you serve, your core offer, and again start with high ticket and that should be something that people are willing and able to pay for, and then finally your growth platform that allows you to predictively and consistently generate new leads and clients at scale. All of this is going to be available for you on our website as well at There’s a lot of information about your growth platform on our sites so you can check that out at your convenience.

Lucas Garvin: Absolutely. Thank you for being here today. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Apple podcasts if you like what you hear. Please leave us a review. If you want to learn more about these shortcuts, check out our new training at This free training shows you a step-by-step approach to generating high ticket sales consistently and reliably for your expert coaching or consulting business. Thanks again for joining us and until next time, keep growing.

About the Author

Jim Hohl

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Jim has been in marketing for over 25 years, and has worked on campaigns for startups to multinationals. He writes, speaks and trains on business development, sales and productivity.

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