Kat Norton, AKA Miss Excel has a phenomenal business. She’s able to pull in over $2 million a year from seemingly simple software tutorials.
And she’s teaching people how to use Microsoft Excel – one of the programs that’s installed on most personal computers.
While the topic might seem boring, her approach to it is anything but.
And that creativity is bringing in multiple millions of dollars per year, mainly from selling her own courses.
How Miss Excel Makes Money
Kat Norton makes millions of dollars, and even over $100k in a single DAY. Here are the main ways she earns her money.
A majority of Miss Excel’s revenue comes from selling digital products. In one interview, she estimated it was around 90% of her total revenue.
She has 9 courses, and a bundle of them (which is the most popular option).
She started off with the Excelerator Course (her flagship Excel course) and sells that for $297. After that, she created the Advanced Excel course, which she sells for $397.
Since then she’s added courses for all of the Microsoft Office products (Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, etc.) as well as a more Kids focused course around helping them learn these tools in a more fun way.
Her top seller is the course bundle, priced at $997, and includes:
- Excelerator Course ($297)
- Advanced Excel ($397)
- Microsoft Powerpoint ($297)
- Microsoft Word ($297)
- Microsoft Outlook mini-course ($149)
- Microsoft OneNote mini-course ($99)
- Microsoft Teams mini-course ($99)
- Excel Dashboard mini-course ($44)
The way she bundles these together is really smart. If you were even just considering getting the Excelerator and the Advanced Excel course, you’re almost at $700 with just those two.
And if you use Excel, you probably use Word, Powerpoint, or Outlook so it’s a no-brainer.
Many of her clients are solo people just looking to level up their Microsoft knowledge.
But Kat also sells her courses in bulk to companies with hundreds of employees.
Kat has also done corporate training for larger companies, although she did mention at this point it needs to be virtual because she doesn’t love trading time for money.
She said this probably accounts for 5% of her income.
Kat has started to do keynote speeches, as well as teach manifestation and mindset for entrepreneurs. Kat most recently spoke at Social Media Marketing World in early 2023.
The Growth Timeline of Miss Excel
Kat Norton has grown this into a full-fledged business in a really short amount of time.
Here is the full timeline since she started her TikTok account in June 2020.
The huge jump you see around November of 2021 happened after Nilay Patel interviewed Kat on the Decoder podcast, owned by The Verge.
They also published her story with the interview on The Verge’s website.
After that happened, a TON of news and features in major publications followed.
Daily Mail – December 1, 2021
Insider – December 3, 2021
The Times – December 12, 2021
Forbes – December 29, 2021
My First Million Podcast – January 4, 2022
Business Insider – January 31, 2022
CNBC – February 2, 2022
The features kept coming after that, but those were responsible for that huge spike in her social following.
The Growth Levers of Kat Norton
Aside from PR and media mentions, which can be tricky for the average creator, here are the growth levers Kat used that really exploded her business.
1. Creativity and polarity. Kat took a really boring topic, Microsoft Excel, and added some creativity to it. But not just that, it was so different from what was out there, she created some polarity by dancing while teaching TikTok.
2. Speed and messy action. Instead of spending time overplanning and thinking about what could happen, Kat takes “messy action,” opting for speed rather than perfection.
3. Managing your energy. If you know anything about Kat, you probably know how deep into the “woo woo ” stuff she is – but it’s working. But whether you believe in it or not, there are some actionable takeaways here.
4. Webinars & Funnels. This is something I don’t see a ton of creators doing these days, but they are wildly effective…to the tune of $100k per DAY for Kat.
1. Leaning Into Creativity & Polarity
Before she started her TikTok account, there was no one doing this kind of thing on there. Because the two things she was combining, Microsoft Excel and dancing on TikTok hadn’t been put together before, it got people talking.
Whether viewers liked it or not, they were commenting and sharing, and that drove the algorithm to distribute her videos even more.
Kat started posting on her brand new TikTok account on June 7, 2020.
Her fourth video went viral and got around 100k views (now sitting at over 200k).
Her 20th video, (so day 20 of posting), got 3.6 million views. MILLION.
And just like that, in just 3 weeks she had over 100k followers on TikTok.
“But You Can’t Make Money From TikTok Followers”
Now, I realize most people won’t make any money from having a follower count like that. But what it did bring her?
People were talking about this girl dancing on TikTok explaining how to use VLookups and format cells correctly. No one was doing this.
See where this polarity comes in?
She’s essentially contradicting everything we all knew to be true about Excel:
- It’s no longer boring
- It’s not just the typical spreadsheet nerds that like using it
- You can learn it on TikTok
Just 4 months in, she caught the eye of the team at the Morning Brew and was going to be featured. Thankfully, around the same time, a business coach reached out wanting to work with her.
She mentioned the Morning Brew feature, and they told her that if she was going to get that kind of exposure, she should have a product to sell.
So she got to work.
2. Speed & Taking Messy Action
Kat took that advice to heart and took a week off of her day job to create her first course: The Excelerator course.
This wasn’t a small feat, as there is a TON of things she could have included in the course. She almost made the mistake of trying to add everything into that first course – but with the looming Morning Brew deadline coming up, she had to cull it down.
Thankfully, she recognized that she didn’t have a ton of time, so she cut out a bunch of advanced stuff and focused on what needed to be in that original one.
Without realizing it, this move led her to be able to create an “Advanced” Excel course later on, which she now sells for $397.
Getting the course out quickly led to incredible results. The passive sales from that one course started replacing her day job income in just two months.
Messy Action with Course Creation
That quick action with course creation wasn’t a one-and-done thing. Kat does that with every course now.
It regularly takes her around 1 week to create, edit and publish a course. This will seem like lightspeed if you’ve ever built your own course.
“For me, my biggest hack with it is I will sit there and map out the steps and I assign hours to it.”
She works backward to figure out how long it will take. So she might estimate that it takes around 40 hours to:
- 3 hours to map out the course
- 14 hours to film all of the content (she adds 2 hours of buffer to this number just in case)
- 18 hours to edit all of the content
- 5 hours to put it together and have it ready for sale
These are hypothetical numbers, but it’s how she backs into the planning process.
And once she has those numbers, she gets to work.
She doesn’t do a little bit of the work here, a little bit there. Instead, she’ll just knock it out.
All that stands between her and an additional stream of income is 40 hours of work.
“I can make these 40 hours last three months, or I can make it last one week.”Kat Norton
I was stunned when she said that to Jay Clouse on the Creator Science podcast. It was so simple, yet mentally we put up all of these roadblocks of why it’s not that easy.
Jay even said, “I love that so much because the amount of time that I waste just thinking about the thing ahead of me and like dreading it like just the waste of energy…as opposed to just applying it to the action of doing it.”
I was feeling the exact same way when I heard this.
We waste so much time thinking about how nice it will be when X, Y, or Z is finished, and if we just applied that thinking to actually doing the thing – it would be done already.
Taking Messy Action with Videos
When she started creating videos, she literally Googled “easiest video editing tool” because she had no clue what she was doing. She found something called “WeVideo” and has been using that tool since.
She also still records everything with her iPhone – no fancy cameras here.
She knew that these videos didn’t have to be perfect, she could always go back and update them later.
Kat is a huge proponent of letting go of perfection and knowing that you can always improve on something later.
You don’t need to be a professional video editor to put up your first video. If she had waited for the instruction manual or someone’s permission, she still wouldn’t have posted that first video.
3. Managing Your Energy
This next part might come off a little “woo woo” for some of you. But Kat talks about this in every single interview she’s done.
She also has plans to, or might already be doing business coaching focused around energy and mindset.
Her increased interest in this energetics type of work started when the pandemic hit around March of 2020, and Kat went from traveling every week for work to having a lot more time on her hands.
She started going deep into self-development and mindset training, and manifestation.
She spent almost two full months doing this work, morning and night trying to move past all of her anxieties and past traumas.
3 months later, in June 2020 she started posting videos on TikTok. She went viral really fast and had over 100,000 followers the following month.
She credits the fast success with having done all of this “inner work” that allowed her to show up energetically, and to be able to listen to her intuition on what would work.
Whether you believe in it or not, it seemed to have helped her along the way. Here’s what we can learn from all of the manifestation ideas she brings up.
Batching Her Work By Energy Type
Kat tends to film all of her content on Tuesdays, so she can spend the other days of the week doing more “idea-focused” work.
While you’ve probably heard of “left-brain” and “right-brain” activities. Essentially, your left brain is the more analytical, straightforward side of your brain. And the right is more the creative side.
Kat takes this a step further and talks about masculine energy vs feminine energy.
This isn’t a male/female thing, it’s more like:
- Masculine energy is the “get things done”, crank out emails, have a strong coffee type of energy. It’s more of the logical work.
- Feminine energy is where all of the creative ideas and planning comes in. It’s all of the intuitive and collaborative work.
She will plan out her days so that she’s doing either of those things, but never both.
If you think about a typical office environment, one meeting you’ll be deep into problem-solving and getting things done, and then you get asked to be in a 30-minute brainstorming session.
It can be really hard to come up with any ideas because it takes time to get in that headspace.
She says it takes around 2 hours to get into the headspace for creative work. So she’ll plan her weeks out with specific days for masculine energy work, and then she’ll save the feminine energy stuff for another day.
She Won’t Post if She’s Having a Bad Energy Day
Staying in line with her energy and manifestation theme, Kat says that every part of the process has to be filled with good energy.
If she’s having a bad day when she’s thinking about posting her content, she won’t publish it.
She’s not someone who follows all of the growth hacky stuff to make sure she goes viral. Instead, she focuses on the energy around the content and makes sure all of that is in alignment.
Take the advice or leave it, but she’s gone viral more than a handful of times.
4. Live & Evergreen Webinars
Webinars have been one of the top ways Kat has been able to grow her revenue and business. At the same time, they are also an effective way for her to grow her email list.
When she started learning about webinars, everyone was telling her she needed a high-ticket offer. But instead of creating something new she just bundled all of her Microsoft courses together and priced it at $997.
These aren’t the boring webinars you’re used to. She actually looks at them as high-energy Excel parties.
But she also knows that by holding these live trainings, she can show people who are on the fence that there is SO much more to Excel than they might realize.
Kat started doing webinars in April 2021. And in October of 2021, her webinars brought in over $100k in a single DAY.
She’s not running them every single day, but she is running these live webinars monthly.
Here is what the current signup page looks like:
Her typical offer on the webinar is to get her full bundle of courses that typically cost $997, but for 50% off – so it’s only $497.
If you look at the list of courses included above, that’s a complete no-brainer, even for someone who’s only interested in learning her Excel stuff.
Those 2 courses alone (her Excel basics course and the advanced Excel course) would cost $597.
Now, to make $100k in a single day, she’d need to make 201 sales at that $499 price point. If she closed 3% of people, that would mean she’d need to have around 6700 people showing up live. WOW.
She did mention that these live webinars bring in around 4-5k people each time, so the math seems to check out.
Can you imagine? That’s like me miraculously getting my entire email list to show up at once. 🙂
To supplement her income and let people go through the process when she’s not running a live webinar, she has the option to sign up for an evergreen one.
Of course, before I could get a screenshot of her LinkTree with the evergreen webinar listed, she switched it to this upcoming live training.
But I did screenshot the signup form when I went to sign up:
You get three options for timing, with one being “watch the most recent recording” and that’s what I chose.
Surprisingly, I didn’t get any emails from her after that.
Usually, when you sign up for a webinar it’ll send a confirmation or a reminder email. I didn’t get those.
And the most surprising part was I didn’t get a “reminder, your discount is expiring” email either encouraging me to sign up.
I have to imagine this is a bug in her system at this point, because that seems like a missed opportunity. The email address I used to sign up also didn’t get added to her newsletter, which seemed like a no-brainer to me.
Anyway, here is a screenshot from the recorded webinar. It seems to be on par with her live training, but you don’t get the bonus mini-course at the end.
How She Makes Her Webinars Effective
Here are some of the tips and things I’ve seen her doing that help promote these better, and/or lead to more sales on the backend.
Let People Know You Have an Offer at the End
When people start running webinars, there is often this fear of having to sell at the end. You can physically see people new to running these get a little “weird” once it comes time to pitch.
Kat flips this one it’s head. She said that she lets people know in the very beginning of her webinars that she is going to make an offer at the end.
She says there are two types of people who are on the call:
- Impulse buyers who are going to buy because they get FOMO and will sign up when you make the offer
- People who need time to make that decision to buy.
By calling out the fact that there will be an offer made in the beginning, she’s allowing this second group of people to mull it over and think about it throughout the training.
I think this is super smart, and it takes some of the pressure away from you just jumping into a pitch at the end – people already know it’s coming.
Live Bonuses for Buying on The Call
If you’re not really familiar with webinars, it’s much easier to get someone to buy something if they show up and buy while you’re on the call.
Once they hop off, the conversion rate drops pretty significantly. To combat this, and get people to purchase while on the webinar, Kat offers an extra bonus course if you show up live and buy while you’re on the call.
This is only valid on the actual live webinars, as I didn’t see it offered on the evergreen one.
The Miss Excel Guarantee
People can get nervous whipping out their credit card on a live call. She offers this full refund guarantee, which sets people’s minds at ease.
She had also mentioned in a podcast interview that one of the main objections from people was they needed to get their boss’s approval to buy this.
She says that they should buy it anyway, and she will refund them if they say no later on.
I think that’s a bold strategy, but it’s probably worthwhile. What boss is going to say no to you buying a course that’s going to help you be able to get more done?
Probably not too many.
Paid Ads to Evergreen Webinars
If you’re not familiar, an evergreen webinar is essentially a recording of a live one, but you can watch it any time.
Kat uses a tool called WebinarJam to run these.
She’s starting to update these and include some AI-focused content, so I’m sure there will be an AI and Microsoft Bing course here soon.
She now runs paid ads to her webinars.
Here is a recent TikTok ad she was using to promote her live training.
She did mention that a lot of her older ads were showcasing a specific Excel skill, which doesn’t scream “ad” so those probably do quite well.
She isn’t just selling a pipedream, it’s more of a tactical skill.
But paid ads are able to add fuel to the fire of the virality of her live events.
Asking People to Share
Once you sign up for the webinar, you go to a thank you page where you can add the event to your calendar.
On that page, there is a link for you to share this event with co-workers or friends who might be interested.
I like how she’s worded this: “you have extra tickets.”
It’s almost like she gave you a free pass or two to invite someone you know to take this with you.
How You Can Replicate Some of Kat’s Success
We’re not all cut out for dancing around on TikTok to software tutorials, but there are definitely some things to learn from her success.
Think Outside of Typical Promotion Strategies
Most newsletter creators are focused on just sponsorships or selling one-off courses through their social platforms.
But a lot of the time, they don’t promote them much after the initial launch. Kat does this really well, and incorporates webinars, which I don’t see done a lot.
If you’re thinking that it’s not your style, remember that you don’t have to do a “traditional” webinar and just feel dirty selling stuff to people.
But could you teach a mini-course of sorts and promote a more robust course afterward?
You’re already helping people with that specific topic, so why not run a mini-training around it and then let them know you have something to buy at the end?
Kat said her business blew up when she started running webinars.
Rethink “Batch Creating”
I’ve heard lots of people talk about how they create all their videos in one day, or do a bunch of writing in one day. But I haven’t heard people explain this concept in terms of the masculine vs feminine energy types.
You don’t have to be into the “woo woo” stuff to recognize that planning and ideation use a very different set of skills and energy than responding to emails and actually “doing the work” does.
It often can take 2-3 hours to get into a creative state, even for a “pro” at it like Kat – she says it takes around 2 hours. So you’re not going to have enough time in the day to be switching back and forth and being the most productive.
Scheduling tasks that require the same energy on the same days is an interesting way to start using some of this advice.
Here’s Kat’s workflow for creating her TikTok/Reels content:
- Spend one day a week ideating topics while you’re in a creative state
- At the end of that day, spend 1-2 hours going through TikTok or IG to research what’s working on the platform
- Your brain will still be in a creative state, so you’ll be able to see which content ideas you came up with should go with which songs/trends
People usually think of Excel as a boring tool. Unless you’re a self-prescribed spreadsheet nerd, you’re not going to be that excited about a tool that’s installed on 80% of computers around the world.
That’s like someone dancing around teaching Gmail.
Think about how you can take the old/boring within your industry and make it fun and give it a new spin.
Instagram Over TikTok
While she’s grown a huge following on both platforms. Kat said that if you’re just starting out, she’d go hard into Instagram instead of TikTok.
It’s easier to go viral on TikTok, but Instagram converts into customers better.
So while the following will grow slower on IG, you’re going to be able to get more people to sign up for your newsletter and/or buy your product.
Don’t Let a 40-Hour Project Take 3 Months
This is one of my main takeaways from this whole thing.
Plan out the project ahead of you by breaking it down into pieces and figuring out how long each one will take. These don’t have to be perfect numbers, just estimates.
Once you have that, start scheduling that time into your day to work on it.
Don’t let the 40-hour project span into something that takes weeks or months to complete.
If you do, you’re adding in a bunch of time where you’re thinking about how nice it will be when that thing is done but you’re not actually doing it.
Such a simple concept, but it’s brilliantly laid out.