This is a follow up story for Platypus Publishing. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
I’m Matt Rudnitsky, and I’m the founder of Platypus Publishing. We turn entrepreneurs and interesting people into bestselling authors. The term “bestselling” means absolutely nothing these days, but people like to hear it anyway.
Through coaching or ghostwriting, we help you turn your vague-but-interesting ideas into clear, compelling books. Our flagship product is our Platypus Accelerator, where you go from Idea to Bestseller in 90 days, with step-by-step exercises and 1-on-1 coaching and feedback.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
At the time of my last feature, my marketing strategy was a combination of prayer (ok, fine, people randomly reading my book and reaching out -- which worked, but only in spurts) and cold email (same). Despite my terror, I decided to finally make the jump to Facebook advertising.
I hired a marketing agency to do the whole funnel and ads setup, while I created a ladder of info products. I turned my book into a $27 bundle (including an audiobook and video masterclass) and repurposed all of my best content into a few upsells (an audience-building workshop, a client-getting toolkit, a book marketing/media exposure course), and a membership program (The Honest Experts Club).
The first few months were tough. I was breaking even, but selling no high-ticket offers, and paying for the agency, as well as new software (ClickFunnels and ActiveCampaign). I spent an inordinate amount of time in my support inbox, helping people who weren’t serious buyers. It was frustrating.
About three months in, things started to turn. After about 50 rejections on sales calls (I had no experience and was afraid to sell), I got my first coaching client from ads. Then, a few more. Then, my ads started to become profitable.
At four months, my Facebook page got shut down, with no explanation. Then, Facebook ad costs skyrocketed and I lost money. The agency put my ads on pause. I had a miserable six weeks.
After that, I launched a new page, costs normalized, and I was off to the races again. Over the last three months, I’ve made over $40k, and I expect that to rise very quickly. I have multiple ghostwriting projects in the works, which each net well into the tens of thousands.
Here are my results for January -- paying $26.90 to acquire customers for a $27 product, many of whom opt for the upsells (an AOV of $96.62, or a 3.59 ROAS). A true self-liquidating front end, acquiring high-ticket customers for free (or getting paid to do so).
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
To level up, you need to go out of your financial comfort zone. I was terrified to invest in ads for years, but I finally found a (virtually) guaranteed offer where the agency would work for me until I recouped my investment.
Stop thinking that you can only use everything once. The more you repackage, you more people you help. And the more people you help, the more money you make.
This was the perfect solution. I invested more than I was comfortable with, but worst-case scenario, I would make it back eventually. It took longer than I hoped, but I was prepared for the worst possible outcome.
Find a way to take a risk that is more than you’re comfortable with, but also has a failsafe. There’s no risk of ruin, just risk of not advancing.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
This year, I want to write a clearer, more niche book that attracts my dream customers (those I can help the most). My first book is great content, but way too broad. I always tell people to write a script, not a textbook. I didn’t take my own advice.
Over the next five years, I want to turn my 1-on-1 coaching (high impact, tough to scale) into cohort-based courses that can run without me. I want to hire talented coaches, editors, and operations people to systematize all of the individualized work I’ve done with folks.
Most importantly, I want to help 50 people publish their books this year, and increase that number by at least 50 every year, for the next five years. Without sacrificing quality. I only want to help create exceptional books. The world doesn’t need more fluff.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Three Simple Steps. One of those books that seem super “woo-woo,” but when you realize how much success the author has had, despite his circumstances, you figure, what the hell, let me try it. Then you realize that things like giving yourself quiet time in nature to generate ideas aren’t woo-woo at all, nor is it optional if you want to have impactful, original ideas.
Shantaram. Reading fiction is the most underrated weapon an entrepreneur can have. By studying one of the most thrilling books of all time (literally: try to put it down), you’ll understand what gets customers hooked to your products and content.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
What’s the thing you’re most terrified to do? Do it, but only once you’ve found a way to protect against the risk of ruin. How can you take the “risk,” but also set up a net to catch you?
You’ve probably created a lot more value than you realize -- but you haven’t packaged it up enough. I had years of valuable content that wasn’t making me any money until I realized I could create multiple books, courses, and productized services out of all of that value.
How can you repurpose all of your hard work, thinking, and experience into multiple different offerings, for your ideal customers? Stop thinking that you can only use everything once. The more you repackage, you more people you help. And the more people you help, the more money you make.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes! I’m looking for a VA/executive assistant, and someone/an agency that can take over my paid advertising for this funnel (my current agency is stepping down), and any other future book funnels.
I also may be looking for writing coaches, editors, and cover designers later this year.
Where can we go to learn more?
- Facebook ads funnel (the copy is a little over the top for my taste -- but I trusted the ad agency and it converts well -- I know the content works, which is what matters most)
- How to Write Better: The Definitive Guide
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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