How Brett Turned $29 into $1.3 Million

Meet Brett, an everyday guy who’s changing the game with his unique approach to online business with his company DesignJoy.

Working as a graphic designer, he realized there had to be a better way to work with clients so he set out to find it. Here’s what you need to know:

The Common Misconception: Talent is Everything, Right?

Well, not quite. Many believe they can step into an industry they know nothing about, just like Elon Musk, and revolutionize it. But that’s not the whole story. The truth is, most of the time, success is a product of consistency, not innate talent.

Learning the Ropes: What Brett Did Right

Brett didn’t wait around for credentials or permission. He didn’t need tons of capital or a massive team either. He started small, with a mere $29 landing page, and launched his idea on Product Hunt – all while still working his 9-to-5 job.

The Power of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

Instead of guessing what his clients wanted, Brett collected real-world data. He built his service in public, tested assumptions, and iterated based on what he learned. This approach drastically reduced guesswork and accelerated his success.

Speed to Success

In the online world, the speed of value delivery is crucial. Brett understood this and applied it to his business. While traditional design agencies took weeks or even months to deliver, he slashed the time to just 48 hours or less. It’s all about delivering value as quickly as possible.

Productizing Your Skills

Everyone wants to create the next Tesla or Apple, but that’s a tough feat. Brett took a different route. He transformed his skills and knowledge in design into a service-based business with low startup costs, low overhead, and no inventory or employees.

The result? Nearly $100k in profit per month, with just $176 in monthly expenses.

Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS)

Brett’s tools are surprisingly simple: Trello, Airtable, Webflow, Figma, Shutterstock, and Zoom. He keeps it straightforward so that anyone, even those unfamiliar with design, can understand his process.

Remember, simplicity can be a key to success.

Meetings: Less is More

Brett made all client communication asynchronous, minimizing live meetings. This approach allowed him to focus on high-value tasks and protect his energy. While your customers may require more interaction, the principle remains: Keep live meetings to a minimum.

Positioning Beats Talent

Brett admits he’s not the best designer out there, but that’s not what sets him apart. It’s his positioning and offer. He thinks of business model as the Netflix of design, offering unlimited requests and revisions; a rarity in the industry. He’s created a unique value proposition that stands out.

Solve Your Own Problem, Then Share It

Brett packaged his knowledge into an online course filled with frameworks, mental models, and strategies. He’s part of a growing movement where successful individuals openly share their secrets to help others. It’s about providing value and helping others succeed.

Referrals: The Rocket Fuel

Brett swears by referrals as the number one growth tool for DesignJoy. His secret is having a stellar product that people can’t help but talk about. Notably, big clients like Dave Gerhardt have become advocates. Moreover, they introduced a refer-a-friend feature that brought in $1500 on its very first day.

Brett credits Rewardful for simplifying the process of setting up a legitimate referral system, allowing affiliates to start referring immediately.

Pricing for Prosperity

A recent strategic move involved raising the monthly prices for each tier by approximately 50%. While the primary goal was to manage growth and workload, the result was twofold: Increased revenue and attracting higher-quality clients.

It’s a testament to how pricing strategy can shape a business. (Is it time you raised your prices?)

Timing Is Everything

Brett’s got an amazing talent for spotting trends before they become the next big thing. Take, for instance, the rise of Webflow. Brett saw this and decided to make DesignJoy a major player in that arena. It’s impressive how having foresight and perfect timing can launch a business to new heights.

Side-Project Magic

Brett’s side project, Scribbbles on Gumroad, has turned into a goldmine of traffic for DesignJoy. This demonstrates how diversifying your entrepreneurial ventures can have a beneficial ripple effect on your primary business.

Product Hunt and Hacker News: Launchpad to Success

DesignJoy reached $5k in monthly recurring revenue thanks to a successful Product Hunt launch. Next, it also gained some attention on Hacker News, which helped boost its visibility. This goes to show the power of utilizing online platforms and communities strategically.

The Art of Hard Work

Brett openly admits to putting in an intense amount of work and genuinely enjoying the grind. This dedication is evidently paying off. However, everyone has their limits, and it seems Brett is considering bringing someone else on board soon to maintain this impressive growth trajectory.

Solo Founder Strategy

Managing DesignJoy as a solo founder might sound intimidating, but Brett’s approach is straightforward (albeit a little scary). He prioritizes output over client communication, admin work, and emails.

While this approach does result in some churn, Brett believes it’s a worthwhile trade-off. Additionally, there’s a zero-tolerance policy for clients who slow down the process.

However, it’s crucial to note that impeccable output is non-negotiable for this strategy to succeed. Not everyone can do this.

Key Takeaways

Brett’s journey teaches us that being consistent and dedicated can lead to success. He began with small steps, didn’t make things too complicated, and made sure to provide something special.

His story tells us that success often comes from doing regular things well for a long time. So, if you want to succeed like Brett, start small, don’t guess too much, keep it simple, and focus on the important stuff.


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