Dan Koe has been taking the internet by storm.
His audience has exploded to around 2.6 million across social media.
In 2023, he is on track to bring in around $2.5 million this year alone.
How Dan Koe Makes Money
There are a few ways Dan makes money from his business. But one of the most glaring omissions you’ll notice is that there are no sponsorships within his business.
No newsletter sponsors, no podcast sponsors.
Digital Products & Courses
Dan has a variety of digital products and courses that he’s sold over the years. The current ones he promotes are:
- 2 Hour Writer – $150
- Solopreneur Sprints – $150
- Digital Economics – $499 or $999; prices increasing to $999 on 5/15
Dan also has a membership program called Modern Mastery HQ that costs $29/mo.
It’s wild in there if I’m being honest, lots of resources and a ton of active members. While it’s not the most cohesive layout, if you have a question about mindset, health, productivity, business, etc. – the answer is in there.
Dan promotes a few tools that he uses personally, which will add some additional revenue for him.
I don’t have any revenue numbers around this, but wanted to call it out.
Software for Videos
Dan recently launched a new service business called Keyframe.
They create those videos that have exploded in popularity across TikTok and Instagram lately.
I don’t have any insight into how well this is doing but people go crazy over these videos, so if you wanted to grow your social accounts and have this content created for you, you might just be willing to try it out.
YouTube Adsense Revenue
Now that his YouTube channel is really taking off, YouTube ad revenue is some icing on the cake of his other revenue streams.
I used a YouTube ad calculator and here are the (probably conservative) estimates.
The Growth Timeline of Dan Koe
Dan’s growth timeline is a thing of beauty. He has really consistent growth until it just explodes around May of 2022, and then again around the beginning of 2023.
There are two points on the timeline where things got a little wild. I’ll dig into each one throughout the rest of this deep dive, but I’ll refer to them as Explosion 1 and Explosion 2 to make it more fun.
The second explosion has to do a lot with the visual content he’s been creating. You’ve probably seen them – black-and-white animations that explain a deep concept in a super simple way.
I don’t go super deep into that because I think the space is getting really crowded and it’s not an easy thing to replicate.
Dan Koe’s Growth Levers
1. Methodical content promotion strategy. Talk about repurposing your content until you can’t squeeze any more juice out of it. Dan publishes across 7 channels, but somehow after doing this research, it seems easier than it looks.
2. Perfecting the no-sell sell. This is the exact opposite of what most creators are doing. Instead of shouting all about your products, Dan shouts about the free content he is creating and let’s it speak for itself.
3. Iteration & experimentation. Dan has been iterating on his processes, and content types since he started. It’s one of the things he’s most consistent with. Even in the last month, he’s changed how he does things.
4. Dan’s $2.5 Million Offer Stack. Dan has a variety of products that he sells, so I wanted to walk through the full stack and show you how he’s upselling and cross-selling them within his ecosystem.
1. The Methodical Content Strategy
Dan has a really well-laid-out strategy for creating short-form content from the newsletter.
If you enjoyed the deep dive about Justin Welsh, you’re going to love the way Dan sets up his content strategy as well.
Dan has iterated on this over time, as you’ll see, he continues to do so. But there is a lot we can learn from this strategy.
Let’s walk through each piece so you can see it all in action. As a note, this isn’t the exact order they go in, but it seems pretty close to how he’s publishing them.
Newsletter: Start With Long-Form Writing
You may have heard other creators talk about starting with long-form content, but Dan takes it to another level.
He writes really in-depth think pieces each week, and they are quite different from some of the other “online business” stuff you’ll find online.
While he started talking about web design and marketing, now he covers all kinds of topics from health, relationships, mindset, business, etc. – and each piece has a philosophical angle to it.
He spends around 45 minutes a day working on his weekly, long-form newsletter piece.
Every Saturday, he publishes the article on his website and sends it out to his email list.
YouTube: The Newsletter is the Outline for a Video Script
After Dan publishes the article on his blog and sends the newsletter, he then takes that content and turns it into a video.
He said he’ll read through the first part of the newsletter, and then turn to the camera and say it how he would say it. And then continue on down the script.
Most of his videos are talking head style – just him speaking into the camera. His editor then adds B-roll footage and music gets layered onto the video.
If you’ve never seen his videos, they might seem very basic but they are really well-edited.
One of the things I love about this strategy is that you can actually see Dan looking at this newsletter/YouTube script to find his next talking point.
It’s just a split second, but it shows that you don’t have to be perfect on every piece of a video. You can get to almost 300k subscribers if you have good content.
He says that these videos take around an hour to record.
Note: He’s started to stray from this the last 2 weeks and is putting out videos that are separate from the newsletter topic. This is still a new strategy for him that I’m not convinced he’ll stick with, so I wanted to share his previous version instead.
Podcast: Publish the Audio as a Podcast
Once he has the video, he rips the audio and publishes it as a podcast.
He has gone through many iterations of the podcast (more on this later), but now he’s just repurposing this video and putting it online.
He is also posting the full video on Spotify so you can watch there as well. This is such an underrated medium for podcasters.
Twitter: Tweets & Threads About the Topic
I haven’t found if he has a step-by-step strategy around this, but there are some definite similarities each week.
On Tuesday/Wednesday the week before a post goes live, he shares a tweet or thread teasing one of the topics in the upcoming newsletter. He doesn’t give away the meat, but he’ll talk about a story or insight he had around the topic.
On Friday (the day before the newsletter goes out), he’ll tease the topic of it by sharing the visual he’s created for that idea. Here is a recent example:
After he publishes the newsletter on Saturday, he’ll put out a tweet with a punchy idea or bullet points of what he covered in that article. Then he links to it:
Throughout the week, he’ll share quotes and smaller bits of the newsletter as tweets. Then he links to the main article below that:
Dan uses a tool called TweetHunter to make this possible. He schedules all of the tweets ahead of time so he doesn’t have to manually post them.
Instagram: Repurposing Tweets
Dan then uses the content from Twitter and creates content for Instagram, while relying more heavily on the visual side of things as you’d expect.
He creates a carousel on Instagram with that visual from the post, as well as some ideas and/or tweets from the newsletter.
He seems to be testing 2 formats at this point: sharing specific tweet screenshots from the newsletter, and including full ideas from the content.
Either way, he’s purposing what he’s already created into another medium.
Side note on TikTok: while Dan has a really large TikTok account, he isn’t posting about the newsletter topics over there. It’s strictly the black-and-white, animated videos he’s become known for.
LinkedIn: Even More Repurposing
Dan is also repurposing his tweets over to LinkedIn. While he doesn’t have a huge audience there yet either, the consistent effort he is putting in over there is starting to pay off.
He shares much of the same posts from Twitter, so I won’t embed them all here for you. But here is one example to show you that it’s the exact same post, nothing super complicated.
He makes to sure to engage with some of the comments as well, so it’s not like he’s just publishing there and logging off.
2. Perfecting the “No-sell” Sell
Unlike a lot of creators, myself included, Dan doesn’t actually ask people to explicitly sign up for the newsletter all the time.
When I say the “no-sell” sell, I’m simply saying that he’s not out there asking people all the time to sign up for the newsletter or buy his courses.
He mentions his newsletter and courses in relevant places, and lets people come to the decision to buy or not on their own.
Most of the time with his tweets, he’s just giving out good information, and linking to that specific blog post on his website. And then people will go sign up on their own.
I think this is smart for 2 reasons.
- If people want to get more information, they’re going to find a way to sign up for the newsletter.
- Within his articles, he links to his courses and products, so even if someone doesn’t sign up, he can still capture their attention in other ways.
Plus, by sharing an article people might be interested in, you’re going to get more clicks to the site, and more eyeballs on your content than just sharing a link for them to subscribe.
At the top of every page on his website, there is a strong call to action and a form to sign up for the newsletter. This is how he captures people’s email addresses.
And just in case you get to the end of the post and haven’t signed up yet, he has an opt-in form in the footer as well.
I only really see him telling people to subscribe in his pre-newsletter teaser tweets.
Essentially, he’s killing two birds with one stone and getting people to see his product offers AND his newsletter. All along the way he’s building trust with his audience by giving away free content.
Dan has been doing this for a long time now.
3. Iteration & Experimentation
Dan talks about iteration a lot, but he really does follow his own advice on this one.
He says he likes to move fast and break stuff to find out what works.
I pulled together a few different ways he’s done this along the way, as well as some more recent examples.
Iterate on Your Content Topics
Dan has been talking about building your own business online for a long time.
But it wasn’t until he started leaning into the “one-person business model” that his message started to resonate with more people.
He realized this when he interviewed Justin Welsh on his YouTube channel. That video got a lot more views and good feedback than he was used to.
You can see that it had 7k views compared to around 700 views on the others.
He realized that the notion of the “one-person business model” related to people more than the other topics he was covering.
That was insight #1 on YouTube.
Most of the videos you see in the screenshot above have been deleted.
So when someone goes back to his past content on YouTube, it’s not immediately obvious and kind of just looks like he started at that point.
The point here is that he had been doing this online content creation for a while before coming to this realization. It wasn’t until then that he hit upon a message that resonated heavily with the audience he had built.
Iterate the Packaging of the Content
If you recall from the growth timeline above, May 2022 was right around the “Explosion #1” label.
At that time, he started changing up his thumbnails and leaning really heavily into the visuals many people know him for today.
The newer thumbnails have a picture of Dan, looking toward the visuals that explain the concept covered in the video. The visual is a bit hard to read on purpose, but they draw you in with the arrow and punchy tagline.
Take the “Copy Cat” video for example. The thumbnail calls the viewer out saying “You are a copy cat” alongside a picture of Dan looking at the camera in a way that strikes a nerve. It almost makes you feel like he’s calling you out specifically.
But then the title of the video is “Stop trying to be unique…do this instead.”
You go from feeling bad that you are a copycat, to feeling like, “Wait, it’s okay to be a copycat? What should I be doing instead of trying to be different?”
Really smart stuff here.
Experiment With All Kinds of Offers
Dan had been trying different ways to make money online for years.
In 2018, he seemed to be throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping someone would want to buy something. His website listed everything and anything he could help with.
Eventually, he started to narrow it down, but here are some of the other things he’s sold (or tried to sell):
- Digital art created with Photoshop
- Web design & WordPress services
- Minimalist wallets
- Blue light glasses
- Productized websites
- Funnels for service-based businesses
- Web design course
- Freelancing course
- Power planner
- Modern Mastery HQ (MMHQ)
- 2-Hour Writer
- Digital Economics
I’m sure there are plenty of others that no longer exist or that he renamed, but these are the ones I could find.
The main point here is that he’s tried a lot of things, failed at a lot of things, and is now seeing success with some of these.
Don’t give up when you try a few things and they don’t work out.
The Podcast Had 3-4 Variations Over Time
Dan has experimented quite a bit with the podcast as well.
He started it back in April of 2021 and was interviewing people who had interesting ways of doing things in business.
Most of the guests were people on Twitter who had decent followings.
Around August 2021, he started recording episodes with Joey Justice, who is the community manager for Modern Mastery. He also recorded “Friday Focus” episodes where he kind of ranted about topics he was writing and thinking about.
In January 2022, he started doing a lot more solo episodes, along with some interviews sprinkled in.
Dan was recording a separate podcast based on the newsletter topic but didn’t feel comfortable just pulling the audio from YouTube.
In May, he rebranded the podcast from The Modern Mastery podcast to the Koe Cast.
By November, I think he was realizing how quickly YouTube was taking off and he needed to focus on that and not try to record a separate piece of content.
He went back and uploaded all of the previous YouTube videos from May to November as podcast episodes.
While these changes might seem subtle, Dan was trying a ton of different methods and finally found one that worked for him.
I think a lot of people are scared to iterate and change up the content styles when something isn’t working for them, or it isn’t getting enough good feedback.
4. Dan’s $2.5 Million Offer Stack
I mentioned above how Dan has tried a ton of different offers and iterated on the those but I want to walk through his current offer stack, because I think it’s really insightful.
I reverse engineered his funnel and offers to see how he’s cross-selling and upselling within each.
To start us off, Dan has a few free ways you can get started.
A. 7 Days to Genius Ideas Challenge
The first is a free 7-day challenge to help you come up with good ideas.
This is brilliant because it’s a pain point that even I hear a lot online, so I’m sure he gets this a lot too.
“How do I even know what to write about?“
With this challenge, Dan gives you a method to solve that problem.
It’s a course with a login, but you also get emails every day to keep you moving through the process.
How he promotes his other products within this free challenge.
On the thank you page immediately after signing up, you see an offer to get 2-Hour Writer, his $150 course.
He sends a welcome email with details about the course and how you can find the most success with it. It’s really a helpful email.
In the “PS” line of that email, he promotes an offer to join Modern Mastery HQ for just $5 for the first month.
Throughout the 7 days, he sends emails with prompts for you to come up with good ideas. In a few of those, he mentions MMHQ:
- On Day 2 he talks about Modern Mastery HQ, but doesn’t link to it.
- On Day 4 he links to Modern Mastery HQ.
At the end of those emails, he doesn’t really pitch anything.
You would almost think that he would use that as an opportunity to pitch modern mastery, but he doesn’t. It just ends with him saying this is the end of our time together. I hope to see you around.
But if you’re within the course platform where the videos and stuff are, he has a few upsells.
- On the Welcome page, he mentions 2-Hour Writer again
- In the “Bonuses” section, he gives you 7 ways to monetize, and talks about 2-hour writer, as well as gives the offer to join MMHQ for $5. It’s a longer post, so these multiple promotions don’t seem excessive.
B. Free Power Planner
The Power Planner was one of the first paid offers that he had with his personal brand. While he used to charge for it, now he gives it away for free.
He gives you some bonuses with the planner itself and has videos and such on how to actually use it.
At the bottom, he offers you a discount for signing up for MMHQ.
C. 2-Hour Writer ($150)
2-Hour Writer walks through Dan’s process for ideation, creation, research, and well, writing.
In the bonuses section of 2-Hour Writer is an upsell to join Modern Mastery as well.
D. Modern Mastery HQ ($29/mo)
All roads seem to lead to Modern Mastery HQ, don’t they?
There is a LOT of stuff within this course, and it makes it super easy for him to causally bring up as well.
I was listening to one podcast episode, and he brought up like 6 or 7 different trainings that he had. Of course, they were all inside of Modern Mastery so he kept bringing it up. He even apologized because it sounded so ridiculous, but it came off really geniuine.
Within the newsletter and podcast, he offers a $5 promotion to join Modern Mastery. After the $5 promo is up, it’s only $29 per month. Honestly, not a crazy price compared to some communities you see out there.
Once you’re in Modern Mastery, there are mentions of his other products as well as Digital Economics.
Higher-Tier Paid Products
On top of the mid-tier products, we then have a high-tier one with multiple pricing tiers within this one offering.
E. Digital Economics ($499-$8000)
Digital Economics is the highest-tier product that Dan has at the moment.
Digital Economics used to be a cohort-based course, and now it’s more of a self-paced one. Dan iterated on that as well 🙂
He may have done coaching in the past, but I think he’s been moving away from that to focus on the products at this point.
Here are the current price points.
There are 3 tiers to Digital Economics, and by the time this goes out, these prices will only be in effect for another few days (doubling on 5/15). But I wanted to get you a breakdown of what this looks like.
- Bachelors Degree – $499
- Masters Degree – $999
- PHD – $8,000
I think the college-themed names are brilliant. Where else can you get a Bachelor’s degree in online business, and for $499?
The best part is that if you sign up for the Bachelor’s degree and go through the whole thing, you get upsold the Master’s for the difference in price ($500) at the end.
If you made it through all of the content within the lower tier, chances are you got enough value out of it that there is a high chance you’ll take the upsell offer.
Digital Economics alone brings in over $150,000 per month for Dan.
How It All Comes Together
Dan has a lot going on, but it’s also not that complicated. I wanted to visualize it for you because I think that helps see the flow of things.
Dan has multiple tiers of products to offer people something at almost every price point.
The free tier stuff gets people in the door and onto the email list.
Once you’re on the email list, he promotes his community and the $150 course, which can be considered an “impulse buy” product because of its price point.
Once you get a feel for how his trainings work, you can then upgrade to Digital Economics which is the top-tier product.
He’s hitting people from multiple angles and gives you something bigger to look forward to as you move through the funnel.
How You Can Replicate Some of These Successes
As I say a lot, 99.9% of us are not going to be able to build a business like Dan’s.
But there is still a lot we can take away from his story.
Try and Fail a Lot
Dan has tried all kinds of ways to make money online. Most didn’t work out, and/or he wanted to move past.
It can be really easy to give up after you fail once or twice.
By having an idea for an offer and actually putting it out there for people to buy, you’re ahead of a lot of people who are just lurking on the internet.
You saw the long list of things he tried to create above, so don’t fret if you don’t find something that works at first. Just keep trying.
Start Niche, Then Go Broad
Dan talks a lot about how you don’t need to niche down to do well.
But, I have to disagree here, because that’s exactly how he’s gotten to where he is now.
He started talking on Twitter about web design and digital marketing. Then he expanded more to talking about online business, the health side of things, and mental frameworks.
Now he talks about improving your mindset, building a one-person business, and growth from a philosophical place.
Some people might be able to go straight to their interests, but from what I’ve seen with other creators, you have to niche down first before you can start experimenting with all kinds of other topics.
The overall tenet of this entire thing is that he’s been consistent with everything.
While he may change topics, or change the way he’s promoting his content – at the end of the day he’s been writing a newsletter every week and posting content daily.
It’s not that consistency itself leads to success, but the things you learn along the way of putting out content with that cadence are going to help drive you further.
Build in Systems
You saw how dialed in his content system is. Every week it’s the same thing, and that frees up a lot of his time to focus on that main pillar piece of content.
But Dan uses quite a few other systems.
One of the more practical examples I didn’t talk about above is how he’s automating his testimonials. Dan uses a tool called Testimonial.to which automatically adds approved testimonials to the landing and sales pages for his products.
I joined Modern Mastery HQ about 3 weeks ago to start doing research and got this email recently.
Justin Welsh has a similar setup. People leave testimonials, and once you approve them on the back end they automatically get added to the sales pages for your content.
You don’t have to spend a few minutes every week to go add the new ones to the page, they automatically get added. This additional social proof can make a big difference as to whether someone buys from you or not.
Are there ways you can build automations and systems that can save you 10 minutes a day? Zapier is a great tool to get started with this kind of stuff.
I’ve been setting up keyboard shortcuts for sites I frequently visit and applications I use a lot using Keyboard Maestro.
Create Products at Multiple Price Points
This is kind of like digital marketing 101, but it’s also something I don’t see a lot of creators doing. This is also a “note to self” to get to work on this 🙂
As you create raving fans, people are going to want to buy more products from you because they like your style and content.
If you only sell one course at $150, you’re severely limiting the upside potential of selling more to that person. But at the same time, you’re capping the amount of knowledge they can get from you outside of your newsletter and free content.
Dan Koe is a little “bro-ey” and masculine, but even if his content doesn’t resonate with you, don’t let that cloud your judgment of his business and concepts. I think we can learn a lot from all types of creators.
This Deep Dive as a Thread
If you enjoyed this, I’d love it if you could take a few seconds and leave a comment on this Twitter thread.