Episode 12: How to Make the Impossible into the Inevitable with Ross Johnson

How did a broke personal trainer build two million dollar businesses in just four years? And what important lessons has he learned from his successes (and failures) along the way?


In this episode, I’m interviewing Ross Johnson, a 27 year old serial entrepreneur who is dedicated to teaching coaches and consultants how to grow their online businesses. Ross shares his struggles and successes around growing a successful Instagram agency after several failed attempts at entrepreneurship. We also discuss status, social hierarchy, psychology in business, and how important it is to position yourself appropriately.


Ross’s Background Story (3:05)

  • Parents were struggling entrepreneurs
  • Scarcity mindset around money
  • Had a hard time focusing in school
  • Never went to college but finds value in studying case studies around business, specifically branding


Early successes and failures (8:40)

  • Tried 10-12 businesses and failed at them, though each only lasted 3-4 months 
  • Had shiny object syndrome
  • Started an Instagram growth management business, and committed to grow it for 12 months 
  • Took four months to get first client, and within 12 months made seven figures


The catalyst for a shift in his business (9:45)

  • Was physically impossible to work any harder or put any more hours
  • Frustrated, he decided to do what he saw working for others
    • Decided to focus on Instagram (IG) growth services
    • Learned the secrets, talked with best people in industry and bought their time & knowledge
    • Got results and then clients, shared his results, repeated
  • Featured in Forbes article that eventually helped make him $1 million


“Success is inevitable if I show up everyday.”


Hiring and scaling journey (15:39)

  • Built to Sell: great book for an agency model
  • Realized he couldn’t scale until he had systems in place
  • Took time to build systems and hire; went from $30k/month – $100K/month in 3 months
  • Positioned himself as an agency that grows accounts authentically
  • Got creative and innovative by developing his own software


Transitioning from agency model (26:41)

  • Tried all kinds of business models and believes online courses have ultimate leverage 
  • Spends 20% of time creating product & 80% selling and promoting
  • Allows him to build his brand 


Goals for online course model (31:00)

  • Would like an 8 figure course business in the next 3 years
  • Focused on customer lifetime value, conversion, and traffic
  • Impact focused objective
  • Focus on teaching people influence, persuasion and status, aspirational branding and storytelling


Status and social hierarchy (32:45)

  • We live in a social hierarchy
  • Successful people demonstrate high status
  • Most people don’t understand how status, positioning, & perception work
  • Social media is about crafting people’s perception of your status
  • Attention translates to status


“Social media is about crafting people’s perception to see you a certain way; getting them to see you higher up in the social hierarchy.”


Should entrepreneurs always have a coach? (41:02)

  • Possibility of becoming dependent on a coach
  • Confirmation bias is hardwired, so without a coach it’s hard to change your own beliefs
  • Important to take breaks and check in with yourself


What he would do differently (45:04)

  • Select a group and select a problem to solve; then become the best at solving it
  • Learn copywriting first
  • Study status, social hierarchy and how to position yourself properly


Connect with Ross Johnson:

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Ross Johnson is a 27-year-old serial entrepreneur dedicated to teaching coaches and consultants how to grow their online businesses.

His trajectory was anything but typical. He went from being a broke personal trainer to building two million dollar businesses in just four years, one of which he exited successfully.

Ross has helped hundreds of people grow their online business through his mentorship programs, earning him mentions in various esteemed publications, including Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur.

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