Eric Partaker was a successful man on the outside: former McKinsey consultant, then head of Business Development at Skype, who then went on to start his own successful chain of Mexican restaurants called Chilango.
All was going okay until he found himself on the brink of having a heart attack 30,000 feet in the air on an international flight. They grounded the plane and he was rushed to the hospital.
He had been practically working himself to death and this was his wake up call.
Over the following months and years, he made big changes to his life, including focusing on his health and family more than he had been.
Now, he teaches CEO’s and high-performance executives how to be more productive but without sacrificing their health and relationships. In 2020, he started a newsletter called “Peak Performance” to share what he’s learned.
That newsletter now has over 235k readers who read it each week.
How Eric Makes Money
Eric has quite a few revenue streams in his business. I think this breakdown will help you understand some of the growth levers he’s used to build the newsletter.
Eric has written 2 books, with a third one on the way that he’s writing as a co-author.
He wrote a Mexican cookbook called the Chilango Burrito Bible when he was running the restaurants that isn’t super relevant here. But also, if you like Burritos, everything in there looks delicious.
But the book we’ll focus on today is called The 3 Alarms, because it’s the one that’s helped him grow his email list. More on that later.
Eric also coaches high-performing CEOs to help them show up on “on the field” at work as better versions of themselves through improving other areas of life as well.
He has a few notable coaching clients you might recognize – namely Ali Abdaal and Sahil Bloom.
Ali Abdaal ended up making a video about his takeaways and what he charges.
As of June 2023, Eric was charging $2,500 per hour for coaching, or $50k per year.
You wouldn’t need many clients at that rate to be absolutely cleaning up in terms of revenue.
This is super interesting because it sounds like these are add-ons if his CEO Coaching clients want their employees and leaders to learn Eric’s methods.
His traditional coaching packages are far too high-level and expensive to buy for each employee, so these are more of a lower-priced, volume play.
Eric also launched a course in 2023 that sounds like it was a self-paced/cohort style course with a few live calls.
He charged $297 for it at that point but has since closed the doors.
He does still have a link to join the waitlist for the course in his website navigation menu, so he may be reopening that again at some point.
Eric is also available to hire as a speaker for events. I couldn’t find how much he charges for speaking engagements, but it is definitely an additional revenue stream.
The Growth Timeline
Let’s take a look at the growth timeline Eric has had with his newsletter.
You can see that right around the time he started posting on LinkedIn, his growth rate for the newsletter increased quite substantially.
But it also correlated with some other changes he made on the website – so lets dig into those.
The Growth Levers of Eric Partaker
There are a few growth levers I found that have really helped Eric grow his newsletter.
📚 1. Free book. Eric has written a bestselling book, but instead of trying to get people to buy it, he does something that gets him thousands of email subscribers.
🎙️ 2. Podcasts & Video. While he had his own podcast for a while, being a guest on other shows has helped him tremendously.
🤔 3. Quizzes. Eric has two really interesting quizzes that get lots of people to subscribe to his email list.
🤝 4. Be part of a community. This growth lever has led to him getting clients, growing on social, and being featured in YouTube videos that get hundreds of thousands of views.
📱 5. Social media growth. While some creators despise social media, it might just be that they’re using the wrong channel. Eric was able to grow to over 170k followers in just 10 months after finding his groove.
So, let’s dig into each of these and see how you can use them.
1. Free Book 📚
As I mentioned above, Eric has a really interesting story about his near-death experience on a plane 30,000 feet in the air.
He shares this story in podcast interviews, during his speaking events – wherever he can. And rightly so, that story was the catalyst for everything he’s doing today.
Because the story is so jarring, people listen.
He’ll then go on to share some of the frameworks he’s used to become a healthier version of the man he was.
When he mentions his book called The 3 Alarms, your ears perk up because it sounds like such a great framework for living life.
And you’re thinking “I want to read that!” Or at least that’s what happened to me 🙂
Eric will then mention that you can get the digital version of the book totally free on his website.
And while the overarching framework is simple, the book isn’t solely about setting 3 alarms on your phone.
It’s 373 pages of productivity and performance concepts.
Instead of just putting it up for sale on Amazon and talking about it, he gives it away for free.
And once people sign up for it, they are now in his “ecosystem” and he can talk about other ways they can dig deeper.
Again, this isn’t a free chapter. Or a book summary. It’s the entire book.
And this ends up being a really good “lead magnet” to get people onto his email list.
The book alone isn’t what helped him grow his audience so quickly. It’s how he promotes the book.
2. Podcasts & Video 🎙️
Eric has been on tons of podcasts and done a lot of video interviews. In every single one, he mentions his book, The 3 Alarms.
Which as we learned above, he gives away for free if you join his email list.
His Own Podcast
Eric had a podcast called The 2% With Eric Partaker.
He started the show in June of 2020, and has not published another episode since December of 2021.
He also shared the video versions of these interviews on his YouTube channel. And while he stopped publishing them as podcasts, he did around 9 more interviews that never made it onto the podcast feed.
This YouTube channel is likely the reason he joined Ali Abdaal’s Part-Time YouTuber Academy, and then was able to get Ali on his podcast, and eventually become his coach.
And because he was a client, Ali Abdaal ended up creating a whole YouTube video around Eric’s frameworks – more on that later.
While he threw in the towel on his own podcast for now, he’s still been around the podcast circuit, being interviewed on lots of other shows.
He’s been on podcasts like Evan Carmichael and Smart Passive Income. These shows get tens of thousands of listeners so the opportunity to grow his email list is quite large.
But he doesn’t just go on the larger shows, he goes on smaller ones as well. Being able to practice your stories (almost like open mic night for a comedian) while providing value to people who might not have huge audiences can help a lot on your journey.
3. Quizzes 🤔
One of the other ways he gets people onto his email list is through quizzes. Eric has two main quizzes you can take:
- Peak Performance Score which is 25-questions long and gives you ways to “unlock your full potential.” This is the main quiz he promotes.
- Scale Up Score which grades your business and it’s ability to grow. The results help you see what can be improved in order to scale your company.
He also has a pop-up on his website promoting this quiz.
The quiz was around 20 questions long and gave you a personalized score at the end.
Here are my quiz results:
The results page gives you more insight into each of these areas and specific ways you can improve them.
Because he has multiple quizzes, he can have something to share for the audience he’s getting in front of that is super relevant.
If it’s a more mass-appeal type of audience, he’ll talk about the free book. If it’s more for leaders and CEOs, he can choose a quiz that fits that audience.
It’s super smart the way he has multiple entry points he can talk about and each one leads to the same place: his newsletter.
4. Courses & Communities 🤝
One of the biggest growth levers for me has been joining other people’s courses. And Eric seems to have had a similar experience.
Part-Time YouTuber Academy
In 2021, Eric started his YouTube channel.
He then took Ali Abdaal’s Part-Time YouTuber Academy course as a way to improve his channel and videos.
But it wasn’t just the knowledge he gained from the course that would lead to huge growth in his business.
From there, Eric asked to interview Ali on his podcast, which by itself was cool. But during that interview, Ali said he realized Eric was super smart and knew what he was talking about.
This led to Ali hiring Eric as his coach.
After that, Ali goes on to make a YouTube video about his experience with a coach. Not only did Ali shout Eric out in the video and talk about how much he’s helped him, it’s almost like a super soft sales pitch for his coaching.
The way he’s explained how much it’s helped and what they walk through each month had me thinking about signing up! 🙂
This video has gotten almost 450k views since the end of June. And with YouTube, these videos likely will pull in more as the months pass.
In the description, Ali includes a link to Eric’s homepage, which we know has an email opt-in form at the very top.
But wait, it gets better. Ali has created a “bundle” of resources using Eric’s templates that you can get by signing up for his newsletter.
You might think Eric doesn’t get any goodwill from this, but you’d be wrong.
Look at the last 4 resources in this email. Every single one is an entry point to get you onto Eric’s newsletter.
This series of events (from joining the course to having Ali make a video about him) are things you can “hope” for, but there is no way Eric knew every piece of this would fall into place.
It’s really about being willing to consistently learn and put in the effort to build relationships with the people you follow.
And then, if that weren’t enough, Ali shares a link to Eric’s site in another video.
I checked out SimilarWeb to see where most of the traffic to his site is coming from. I fully expected it to say LinkedIn, but then I saw that YouTube was actually the number 1 source of traffic, by far.
I’d imagine this traffic isn’t going to convert as well as a LinkedIn click would, but that type of visibility is huge for his brand.
Another way he’s been able to grow his newsletter is by joining the Un-ignorable Challenge.
Katelyn Bourgoin and Neal O’Grady from Demand Curve co-created this challenge/course/community around building an audience on social media.
Eric decided to join their group around 10 months ago, which is when he really doubled down on LinkedIn (which I’ll get to in the next section).
He followed the program, engaged with other students, and was able to become a “standout star student” that Neal went on to post about on LinkedIn:
Being part of that community and learning from those two has been instrumental in his success. This is what Eric had to say in the comments of that post:
Not only did they help him understand how to get attention on social, but they help you see who you’re talking to and wha’ts resonating.
Which leads us to social media as a whole:
5. Social Media Growth 📱
Social media has played a big role in Eric’s growth. But it wasn’t always easy for him.
In the past, he had tried building an audience on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, but finally found his “groove” over on LinkedIn.
Around 10 months ago, Eric started posting on LinkedIn after joining the Un-Ignorable Challenge. He now has over 170k followers there and he’s listed as a “Top Voice” on LinkedIn.
That’s insanely fast growth on LinkedIn.
The Top Voice badge is a new-ish feature and here are some of the benefits I can see this having:
- Increase in profile view to follow ratio. If someone sees your profile and see you’re a top voice, they are probably more likely to follow you since it stands out.
- Increase authority and credibility. This is an invite-only program, so the people with that badge are limited. Seeing this on someone’s profile will add to their authority.
- Behind-the-scenes impacts. I have to imagine LinkedIn features Top Voices posts above others in the feed.
While a lot of creators want to grow a newsletter without using social media, it can be much harder to do.
But sometimes, while we think we just dislike all social media, it might be that the one platform you’ve tried to use isn’t working for you.
Eric spent years trying to make Instagram work for him, but in January, he stopped posting there and went all-in on LinkedIn.
Now he has posts that get tens of thousands of likes:
Don’t be afraid to try something new and get help from creators who have done it successfully.
How You Can Replicate Eric’s Success 🗺️
Eric has a ton of experience in high-level positions while learning the ins and outs of business. But there are some strategies you can use to help build your own successful newsletter.
A. Join Communities & Courses
And it’s not just enough to join these courses and go through the information. There are two ways you can get a lot out of these kinds of digital products:
- Do all of the steps outlined in the course, and then send the creator an email/video with your results.
- Interact throughout the course with other students, and lift each other up.
- Combine steps 1 and 2.
This works because creators spend tons of time creating courses. If you go through and are getting results, that’s a huge sense of relief for them because they’ll know it was worthwhile to build in the first place.
What I would advise against is solely taking the course and not sharing wins.
Some courses are simply education without a community aspect. In which case, go with option number 1. Otherwise, I’d strive for both.
Relationships are the name of the game with this. Whether it’s with other students, or with the person who created the course.
It’s easy to see a path towards making back 2-3x what you paid for the course (oftentimes much more than that), if you go through those steps.
B. Build Relationships With Other Creators
If it wasn’t clear from the rest of the deep dive, Eric has done really well through building relationships.
His friendship with Ali Abdaal led to him becoming a client, and talking about his journey with Eric on multiple videos.
Building relationships can come in many forms:
- Engaging on social media
- Emailing your favorite creators
- Sharing their content with your audience without expectation
- Going on podcasts
- Inviting them on your own podcast
There are tons of ways you can get creative with this, but don’t overthink it either.
It’s going to take time to build relationships with people, so don’t expect a tweet here or there to get you on a call with them (although it can happen!). You need to put in consistent effort to build these relationships, but the outcomes can be huge.
Relationships can lead to incredible experiences you might never have expected.
C. Don’t Give Up On Social Media
One of the best ways to grow a newsletter is through social media. While it might be hard to hear that, you can’t just magically expect people to find your newsletter.
By being active on social media, there are lots more chances for people to discover your work and subscribe.
But sometimes, you try one social platform and realize it wasn’t the right one for you.
Eric was on Instagram for years before realizing he needed to double-down on LinkedIn.
While you need to give the platform you’re focused on a good try, don’t be afraid to call it quits and try another if it’s not working for you.
We won’t all see exponential growth like Eric did with LinkedIn, but if you’re not growing at all after a few months, it might be time to try something new.
⏮️ A Growth Lever Eric Missed?
One of the things that stood out for me through doing this research is that Eric is missing out on a big growth channel I’ve seen in other research.
The guys who run the ByteByteGo newsletter talk about System Design, so it’s a wildly different topic. But they do book giveaways that get them thousands of subscribers each time.
And Eric is already giving away his book, but the way they do this is brilliant and I think a missed opportunity for him.
You can read my deep dive on ByteByteGo and check out Growth Lever #5 to see how they pull it off.