Is Zero to Launch Right For ME?
Once upon a time, I lived in Las Vegas and hated it.
I was unhappy with pretty much everything – so I reached out to a trusted friend for advice. He’d taken some of Ramit’s courses and thought his material might be able to help me. He was right – after checking out Ramit’s site and his free videos on YouTube, I thought holy cow – if this is what he’s offering for free, imagine what his courses would be like…
Just as I was thinking this, Dream Job opened up. I was on the fence because I’d never spent so much money on a course before.
But I was ready to commit to it because I wanted a better life.
After an exhilarating job search using Ramit’s Dream Job course, I landed a spot on an extremely prestigious project at my alma mater and moved across the country.
Though ecstatic to be back on familiar turf, something was different. There was a spark, a drive that hadn’t been there before.
If I could change the trajectory of my life in 3 months using one course, would it be possible to design a life I truly loved?
I could have just stopped at the “I did it, yay me!” phase – except for a book I'd bought on a whim.
I bought “The $100 Startup” by Chris Guillebeau because:
1. I didn’t have a TV.
2. $100 to start my own thing seemed less expensive than a $250,000 MBA (that wouldn’t guarantee me a job I liked anyway)
3. It was less expensive than another $2,000 course from Ramit so I figured what the hell.
I’d never considered running my own business – I’d toyed with going back for an MBA, transferring fields, etc. but with my new job (thanks, Ramit!), I put those thoughts aside.
And I NEVER seriously envisioned starting my own thing.
At this point I was only 3 months into my new job and had sworn I wasn't going to buy anything else from Ramit until I'd made back the money I'd spent on Dream Job.
So of course I totally ignored my own rule and bought Zero to Launch when it opened a few weeks later.
Dream Job had blown me away. I knew ZTL would be just the thing to learn the start-up process: websites, guest posting, driving traffic, creating products, and nurturing a community.
When I bought ZTL, I didn't have any clue of what I'd do.
But I wanted to design my own life and I knew this would be the best shot I'd have.
The content, as can be expected from any of Ramit’s courses, is awesome. It’s well-laid out, concise, practical, and systematic. Each module builds on the previous one. Ramit gives benchmarks so you know when you can pass go, collect $200 (ok maybe not), and move to the next module.
This keeps you from zooming along at whatever speed you like because it’s tempting to chase butterflies (aka, get a logo and make a website) before you eat your vegetables (aka, do your research and talk to Real Live Humans to see if your idea will actually make it).
The value isn’t just in the content because honestly, it’s nothing new.
You could probably get each individual step from various sources and cobble it together yourself. But you’d probably waste a bunch of time and effort doing your own trial-and-error. I’m not just talking weeks - I’m talking months and possibly years.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather save my head-banging for concerts instead of when I figure out my tactics didn’t work after throwing myself at them for 5 months.
The value is knowing when to implement each step and having confidence it’s going to work.
Ramit didn’t succeed by accident. He wouldn’t give you anything he hadn’t rigorously tested, tweaked, and maximized. So even if it seems simple, you know he’s giving it to you for a reason.
One of the beautiful parts of ZTL is it’s a system that you can return to if you discover your idea sucks.
This comes from personal experience - I flopped around with several ideas before landing on my current business. Instead of being defeated and sitting in a dark corner listening to Adele while crying and eating macaroni and cheese, I could calmly move to the next idea on my list. Thanks, Ramit, for saving my waistband AND sanity!
My absolute FAVORITE part of the course, by far, is the Accelerator community.
I floundered before admitting to myself that I wasn't progressing.
I joined Accelerator in March 2016 to force myself to make progress - and then the magic started happening.
When you’re surrounded by winners, it’s hard to sit still.
I've met so many insatiable people through Accelerator who inspire me to push forward every single day. They are there to celebrate my successes, offer a shoulder when I'm down, and give me a reality check when my limiting scripts come bubbling to the surface. And man, do they force you to level up!
Within about 6 weeks of joining Accelerator I'd niched down, started posting better content, and finally started reaching out to others - all things I hadn't been able to do on my own.
I entered a challenge during Easter and decided to answer questions on Quora. One of my answers went viral and currently has more than 1.1 million views. I got about 250 subscribers overnight with just that one post.
I know how to connect with influencers. I've written in Huffington Post and was hired as a writer for Nerd Fitness. I've developed a key relationship with big name in a related field. I also just got an email back from a relatively big-name blogger who is interested in interviewing me for his site (stay tuned for more!).
At this point, you’re probably thinking I don’t have anything bad to say about Zero to Launch or Ramit.
You might still be all, “It’s a scam!!”
While my experience has been great, there are some pros and cons you should be aware of so you can make a good decision.
Here’s a breakdown, as I see it:
1. The material is as long as it needs to be, and no longer.
2. If you’re familiar with Ramit’s work, you know he’s a huge tester. ZTL is no exception. You can tell, based on his suggestions and course layout, that he’s done this himself and his students who follow his footsteps are successful.
3. Each step is laid out systematically and sequentially. If you’re stuck, it’s easy to get un-stuck. You know where you are and how to progress. And if your idea doesn’t pan out, fine! Just go back to the drawing board and start over. Easy peasy.
4. Additional coaching and community through Accelerator is unparalleled. It’s a huge boost and I highly recommend it even though it’s an additional investment. It’s way better than the general ZTL community.
1. This is for an online (not physical) product. You might be able to take away some strategies if you have a physical product but it’s definitely geared toward online content.
2. ZTL focuses on guest posting as opposed to other forms of traffic. I bought ZTL in July 2014. While the core of the material is incredibly relevant, Ramit essentially forbids you from pursuing anything other than guest posting. I agree with this to an extent – I feel like you should put all your energy toward one outlet (guest posts, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) and not scatter your focus. I feel like it caters only to strong writers and either needs to be updated to include outlets that have evolved since ZTL was developed, or taken with a grain of salt. If videos are your thing you can use the strategies and adapt but it takes a bit of creativity. Other methods (Instagram or Snapchat) would be harder to implement effectively.
3. Some material isn’t covered as in-depth as other courses (like how to write certain pages). I felt like a strong writer already but bought Call to Action as a supplement. There are modules about how to create great content. However, if you’re a mediocre to average writer you may need to supplement this section with other products or books to get REALLY good.
4. You’re not going to build a $50k business in 8 weeks. Many of us have been in for months and years and are still tweaking our businesses. If you think this is a get-rich-quick type of course then don’t bother.
Given the pros and cons, here’s who should think of joining, and who should pass on by:
1. You’re patient and know this will probably take longer than you think. If you think you can handle the ups and downs and the long slogs of things that aren’t as fun but will get you to your goals, you’ll be fine.
2. You’ want to help people rather than shovel money into your bank account as fast as possible. Look, it’s not a secret we are all here to start businesses. But you will get far more out of it if you focus your talent toward creating value for others.
3. You are willing to take calculated risks. Some of the steps will be scary or seem risky to you. For some, it’s talking to Real Live Humans who might judge our ideas. For others, it will be putting our content out for everyone to see. However, you know success depends on these actions and are willing to take these steps toward success.
4. You’re coachable. We are all here to learn something new and contribute great things to the world. Sometimes that includes hard lessons and failing. But if you can take advice and grab on to the helping hands of the community, you’ll be just fine. We’re all rooting for each other and all advice is given with an intent to help and uplift. It’s fun to help others win!
5. You reciprocate and help others. Everyone has connections, things they excel in, and things they suck at. If you’re proactive and willing to help others, you’ll probably find it will come back around in unexpected (but awesome!) ways.
1. You don’t feel like following steps or listening to advice. I can’t tell you how many students have the same invisible scripts, problems, etc. People will help you. But for God’s sake, don’t waste our time and your money if you’re going to do whatever the heck you feel like and then complain about why you’re doing poorly. We love you, but it’s not our fault.
2. You’re not a team player. This is a community and you shouldn’t be on the sidelines treating this like a spectator sport.
3. You don’t take action. Some steps take longer than others. But all steps lead to nowhere if you never take them. It’s a waste of money if you don’t invest the time – and it takes a lot of effort to do.
If you think you’re in the “YYYYAAAAAAASSSSSS” column or are leaning toward it with maybe just a little bit of excited fear, my advice is this:
I’m not going to bore you with repeating Ramit’s guarantee or repeating his sales copy back at you.
I’m going to tell you what Zero to Launch has done for me.
It’s taken me from a vague idea to a profitable business I’m genuinely excited to work on.
It’s given me the courage to seize great opportunities without getting paralyzed.
I can see my dreams on the rapidly approaching horizon; they aren’t just dreams any more. They are tangible - and it feels amazing.
And most importantly, I have unwavering belief I will succeed.