Are you leveraging flywheels to grow your audience and business?
Flywheels in business are growth loops where inputs into the cycle generate momentum that facilitates future growth in a virtuous circle.
Instead of one-off marketing tactics that need to be repeated, flywheels are continuous engines of growth that leverage inertia to keep driving growth.
There are many types of flywheels creators are using. Some flywheels are built right into the main business model, while others are stand-alone projects that can be automated and left on their own to generate revenue or subscribers.
Here are effective flywheels from my favorite creators.
Nathan Barry’s “How to Earn $10k from Your First Book” Flywheel
Nathan Barry recently created a new email list with an automated email sequence on How to Earn $10k from Your First Book. This is a great example of a smaller flywheel that can run on its own.
Step 1: Buy Subscribers for $2
Nathan pays a $2 referral fee to other creators that recommend his Earn $10k email list. He only pays for real subscribers through the Sparkloop Partner Network. By setting the geographic region to English-speaking countries and requiring new subscribers to click the confirmation link within 2 weeks, Nathan can keep the quality of those new subscribers very high.
Step 2: Recommend Other Newsletters for a Referral Fee
After signing up, new subscribers are offered 3 other newsletters to join. Nathan could earn a $2 to $3 referral fee for each subscriber he sends. That means he could potentially earn back the $2 fee he is paying per subscriber making the cost of acquiring a new subscriber close to zero.
Step 3: Upsell Other Products
In the automated emails, Nathan offers a $10 off coupon for his Authority ebook. Readers can purchase the book at the discounted rate of $29. This is another opportunity to earn money from the flywheel. Every sale he makes generates enough revenue to pay for 14.5 new subscribers minus transaction fees.
Later in the email sequence, Nathan Barry promotes his Money Newsletter email auto sequence for $149. This is targeted at creators who earn more than $200k per year. It’s an automated email sequence that Nathan periodically adds to. That means there is no obligation to publish regular content. This list alone has earned more than $50k already.
There are other links promoting to his email service ConverKit and his Twitter account, as well. Each one of those links will help feed other flywheels he has.
Step 4: Reinvest for More Growth
Taking the profits to buy more subscribers for $2 will get the flywheel spinning faster. It’s not hard to imagine a creator flywheel like this earning enough ongoing income to completely offset the initial $2 subscriber acquisition cost. It’s basically a free growth engine.
Ship30for30 Creator Flywheel
One of my favorite creator businesses is Dickie Bush and Nicolas Cole’s cohort-based writing course Ship30for30. Their creator flywheel is brilliant!
What makes this course particularly interesting is how they have leveraged Twitter to create a flywheel for future growth. Members of each cohort publicly write short articles called Atomic Essays which are published as an image on Twitter with the #ship30for30 hashtag.
Every daily essay of every customer promotes future Ship30for30 cohorts. Imagine your business being promoted every day on Twitter by hundreds of customers.
Step 1: Promote Ship30for30 on Twitter
Dickie Bush and Nicolas Cole both have large Twitter audiences so they can generate a lot of interest in each upcoming cohort by promoting on Twitter. Their Twitter content will also likely contribute to newsletter subscriber growth.
Step 2: Publish Atomic Essays
Every Ship30for30 cohort member writes daily articles which are published on Twitter as an image with the #ship30for30 hashtag. The images really stand out on Twitter. With hundreds of students publishing these Atomic Essays daily, it’s a great promotion for upcoming courses.
Step 3: Affiliate Commissions for Promoting Upcoming Launches
Past students are incentivized to promote upcoming Ship30for30 cohorts with affiliate commissions. This is another boost to the flywheel as many promote the course in their newsletters and on social media.
Step 4: A New Cohort Signs Up
All the Atomic Essays, Twitter promotions, and affiliate sales drive hundreds of new purchasers for the next cohort. Then the cycle repeats again and again.
Newsletter / Twitter Flywheel
Creators like Josh Spector and Jay Yang regularly drive newsletter subscribers to Twitter posts by linking to tweets in their emails. This increases engagement on those Tweets and gets the Twitter algorithm to boost it even further. More exposure and followers on Twitter lead to more newsletter subscribers.
Step 1: Publish Links to Tweets in Newsletters
Some newsletter readers will click the links to see the original tweets on Twitter.
Step 2: Newsletter Subscribers Engage with Tweets
Directing more people to specific tweets will generate more likes, shares, and comments.
Step 3: Twitter Algorithm Boosts Exposure
With more engagement, the Twitter algorithm will boost the tweets to reach an even bigger audience.
Step 4: New Twitter Users Sign Up to the Newsletter
More exposure and followers on Twitter lead to more newsletter subscribers. Twitter can be a good source of newsletter growth if you actively promote your sign up page there.
Social media is commonly used to promote email lists, but I suspect we will see more creators leverage their newsletters to grow their social media accounts. This is also a great way to build a following on a new platform.
eBizFact’s SEO Creator Flywheel
Niall Doherty of eBizFacts.com built a $20k per month business reviewing make-money online courses. Not only does he have the most in-depth reviews of any site, he’s also built up the largest directory of reviews in this niche. The quantity and quality of reviews help the site rank in search engines for the course names bringing in a huge amount of organic traffic and affiliate sales.
Step 1: Write Comprehensive Course Reviews in a Narrow Niche
Potential purchasers of online courses will often search for reviews before buying. Quality, objective reviews from a trusted source are highly valued.
Step 2: Rank in Search Results
Comprehensive search-engine-optimized reviews on a site with topical and domain authority generate a lot of organic traffic for eBizFacts. According to SimilarWeb, eBizFacts.com gets over 250k visitors per month.
Step 3: Search Engine Traffic Converts to Email Subscribers
With that much traffic, it’s not surprising that eBizFacts has an email list of over 30k subscribers. Even converting only 0.5% of those 250k monthly visitors means he is adding 1250 subscribers per month.
Step 4: Visitors Purchase Courses Through His Affiliate Links
Organic visitors to his website are looking for advice on whether or not to purchase a particular course. These are very targeted visitors with clear search intent. Many go on to purchase courses through his affiliate links earning him about $20k per month in affiliate commissions.
With a newsletter of over 30k subscribers, Niall is able to promote courses every week and earn generous affiliate commissions. The bi-weekly newsletter has become a revenue source on its own and drives traffic back to the website.
The Interview Flywheel
One of the best flywheels for creators is interviews. While this is not as effective as the early days of podcasting it can still help creators grow quickly. Joe Rogan, John Lee Dumas, Andrew Warner, and the TropicalMBA have all built large audiences and businesses off of interviewing people online. Danny Miranda‘s success in recent years shows that there are still opportunities to build a large audience with interviews.
Step 1: Interview People with Online Audiences
Interviews are always a popular content format. We all want to know how top entrepreneurs and creators got to where they are.
Step 2: Interviewees Promote Their Interviews
Many will promote their own interview to their own audiences. This helps to get more views on the interview and more subscribers and followers across all channels.
Step 3: Promote on Other Channels
Distributing podcast interviews to other platforms like YouTube, TikTok, your website, and your newsletter will lead to more organic searches and more subscribers.
Step 4: Interview More Popular People
The bigger the audience you build, the easier it is to attract more people to interview. Interviewing more famous people will attract even more subscribers and followers.
The Creator Game: The Ultimate Creator Flywheel
Creating online is the ultimate creator flywheel. The continual process of learning what’s working, connecting with other creators, publishing content, and promoting that content is an opportunity engine.
Publicly creating can help you find clients, get job offers, sell products, and build an audience for more future opportunities. I call this flywheel, The Creator Game.
Step 1: Learn What’s Working From your Favorite Creators
The best creators steal. Study what works for others and implement those ideas in your own creator business. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Step 2: Connect with Other Creators
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Having a network of creator friends is a superpower. Creators in your niche are not competitors, they are your friends. The top creators all promote each other’s products, they often have Twitter engagement groups, and can look to each other for advice. You need a network to succeed.
Step 3: Creating Online
Publishing content online helps you build an audience, demonstrate expertise, connect with other creators, and develop essential creator skills. Is the best way to get people to know, like, and trust you.
Step 4: Promote Your Content
Perhaps the most important ingredient in the creator flywheel is getting your content seen. Effective promotion and distribution of your content across platforms get the Creator Game flywheel spinning faster.
The Power of Creator Flywheels
Ship30for30 and eBizFacts are great examples of flywheels that are integral to the business model of the company. Ship30for30 leveraged Twitter. Niall Doherty grew from SEO. The flywheel is the business.
While a primary flywheel like that is ideal, it’s not always possible. For most creators, multiple smaller flywheels can be used to create growth loops in various parts of their business.
Nathan Barry’s Earn $10k flywheel is only a small number of automated emails. It was probably written and set up in less than a day of work. Simple flywheels like this can run with minimal maintenance and generate subscribers and sales long into the future. This is just one of the many projects that Nathan Barry is working on.
Instead of stand-alone marketing tactics and unidirectional funnels, what creator flywheels can you implement in your business?