“My model is, I take what I learned the hard way and break it down so people can learn it the easy way.”
That statement is classic Ed Latimore: engaging, unassuming, and direct. “For the skills I teach,” he told us, “you’re going to pay to learn.”
Since publishing his first Gumroad product, Engagement is the New Cocaine, on Christmas Day 2018, Ed has earned well over $100,000 on Gumroad. In addition to writing about sobriety, self-empowerment, and living a life with purpose, Ed has created and bundled six products into the Twitter Growth Engine.
We asked Ed to reflect on his creative journey, and here’s what we learned.
“All I did was take the skills I have and make something awesome out of it”
My first product taught people the basic ideas that make a tweet engaging and make people want to follow you. The goal was to continue to supplement my lifestyle, because at that point I had no products, I’d just been an affiliate for products. Then I said, ‘I’ve built a strong enough presence and a big enough audience. I’m writing about what I know well and what can help people. Let me put something out there.’
I took baby steps. The product originally was $37, which is hilarious to me because the difference in revenue adds up at scale. If you have a thousand sales, that's a pretty big chunk you're leaving them on the table for not a big increase in marginal cost. Now I don’t charge anything less than $50 for anything I do, because I feel like I've built up the reputation: you can look and see what I've done. I've got the receipts and the product works. I'm not even calling it a course. It’s a short guide but it’s a useful guide; it’s packed with value. I wanted to say exactly what needed to be said and nothing more.
It sets the stage. If you do the first one well, people say, ‘Okay, I’m a purchaser for life. I’m loyal.’ The next individual top thing I released was The Crackhead Hustle Writing Method. That’s how I approach writing. You can read my newsletters and look at my websites. They’re there – it’s a thing I know how to do well. So it’s, ‘Are you going to pay to learn?’ And a lot of people did.
It wasn’t intentional to build the brand of Ed Latimore as one thinks of it today. It was always intentional, though, to document the process and to share what I was learning going through that process. If you do that, then a lot of people will be able to get something from you.
“Anyone can say anything, but it’s what they've accomplished in their life that gives it any significance”
What I do tends to be more difficult – or at least it’s thought of that way – so I knew if I did certain things and chronicled the process, people would follow for the specific lessons and also the general insight. I can talk about discipline, strategy, self-improvement and a lot of cliché things, but they don’t come off as cliché because you can look at my life and see, ‘Okay, well, he’s doing these things, it’s not a random person saying that.’
A system has to be repeatable by definition. I needed to figure out, ‘here's this thing I've done. I've taught enough people how to do it. Now I know there’s somewhat of a system. Let me go formalize it even more and then put it down on paper. I started constantly thinking about how I do certain things. From there I put that process out there and then the rest kind of history.
Preferably you learn lessons the hard way. Not the hardest way, but the way that's hard enough to where you remember the lesson next time. So that’s all I do: I gain the expertise I need to achieve my goal, and then once I feel like I know it well enough I go and teach it to someone else, or I put it within a system for people to learn from.
I’m most proud of my book about sobriety. I’m proud of that because I reached into my life and I told lessons from a very painful period and put them into something people can use to avoid the pain themselves, to put their life together…to make moves and make progress.
“Every content content creator should have the healthy fear of being exposed”
Fear of exposure keeps you honest. I talk about writing. That’s where I do most of my creation. People come and they can see, ‘Okay, this guy’s done it.’ But imagine if I were a nobody. Imagine if I were an anonymous account, for example, trying to sell a fitness program. I could be the most jacked dude in the world, but no one has any idea. That kind of transparency is important. I highlight it as a strength of my program as compared to a weakness of others.
I’m born in the internet era and there’s ways to monetize your experience that build a certain level of trust. People on the fence are able to see this person has built this life, they’ve built up this brand. They’re talking about this subject and they seem to know what they are doing here and here. That must mean they know what they are talking about over here.
I think if you're going to get into the ‘put words out there and teach people’ game, you need to show who you are. That makes a big difference. And from a sales standpoint, people just respond better when they can see the person. And if you’re in a position where you think that is going to cost you, then you probably have some work to do in your life. Otherwise people will see that lack of work: people look for incongruences.
If you don't have your face out there and your name and you're telling people how to do this, that and the other, and they can't verify your story to see that you know what you're talking about, you're in big trouble.
Not all audiences are created equal. I’ve done an extraordinary amount to build my name and reputation, and that is something I take very seriously. So, if anyone is going to partner with me to get that, they've got to bring a lot more to the table than just some followers.
I'm a full time creator. My day job is sitting on this balcony, making stuff, and pushing forward.
Right now, I'm working on a product about using Twitter to sell and drive people to take actions off of Twitter, for example to get them to your website, whether it be to read an article or sign up to your list, or to buy a product. Some people say Twitter’s not great for sharing content. I’m like, are you crazy? It’s incredible, you just don’t know what to do. So I’m going to teach that, and I'm pretty good at that.
I’ve also figured out a program on how to build your digital footprint. I don’t like the phrase personal branding – it’s a death knell. So I had to come up with a different way to talk about it and I’ve been using digital footprint. That’s the core idea. I'll be starting a YouTube channel, and we’ll record a video. This weekend seems like a good time to do it.