Episode 48: Why you should and shouldn’t compare your business to others

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I was listening to the “laddering up” strategy described by Clay Collins of LeadPages in this interview, and there were a couple things that rubbed me the wrong way. It brought flashbacks to when I would read case studies of successful businesses and get frustrated and depressed that my business was nowhere near that level. I was inspired to make this episode, in which I explain the reasons you should avoid the “comparison trap” as well as a couple ways to use comparisons for good.


  • My issue with the “three rungs” and “five ones” strategies described by Clay (2:01)
  • Two reasons it’s ALWAYS apples to oranges (5:51)
  • How much of a role does luck play in business? (9:42)
  • How to be motivated rather than depressed by comparisons (12:49)


  • Adam

    Shayna, this episode really hit home for me! I actually remember having very similar feelings during that episode of SPI. I feel like comparison in your industry causes more harm than good. You should bring your own perspectives and talents to the table. Thanks for your insights! Hope all is well

    • Thanks, Adam! Glad you enjoyed the episode!

  • Stephen Leung

    Hey Shayna great episode! I listened to that SPI episode as well, and really enjoyed your ‘add-ons’.

    I am one of the luckier ones fortunately, with my wife being able to support the household income and I went full time with my online business about 9 months ago. Also feel like I hit the right audience and product first try.

    After 9 months, already at 10k+ email subscribers, just launched my first online course last month and made a 5-figure launch 🙂 Hopefully can achieve a 6-figure year next year.

    But totally agree that different situations might have different timelines, and Clay’s timelines are a bit unrealistic for most I think, even at full-time, factoring in trial-and-error, skill sets, etc.

    By the way on the note of the goods of comparing, your business really inspires me too. People like Clay, Pat, or Amy Porterfield, Darren Rowse … I learn a lot from them, but I don’t think I can achieve what they do. I mean they ARE some of the top bloggers / entrepreneurs in the industry.

    However your business seems more achievable / realistic, while more than enough to be my dream lifestyle (I think you mentioned you do around mid-6-figures annual, with no staff too?), that’s why I really like listening to your podcast as well.

    Thanks again, keep up the great work 😀

    • That’s awesome, Stephen! Are you still doing online marketing tips in your country? Sounds like you definitely nailed the product-market match 🙂

      Moving forward, do you think you’ll go with the launch-and-then-close model a couple times a year, or always-open courses, or something else like a membership site?

      Congrats on your success!

      • Stephen Leung

        Hey shayna, yep the marketingtips business in my country 🙂

        Mainly facebook marketing training for small business, huge market here (or anywhere else I think at this moment, haha). Lucky to hit product-market fit first try, with something I’m passionate about nonetheless.

        On the course model: I’m quite leaning toward always-open. I always come upon questions from students that could be best answered by a module / lesson in the course, and I’d like to give them the opportunity to immediately signup… although I’m not sure if people would buy courses like that. Also planning to do an evergreen webinar launch sequence with personalized limited-time fast action bonus to push sales.

        On the membership side, I listened to your podcast about why you shut down your membership portal, and Darren Rowse / Amy Porterfield also tried memberships and made similar comments … which I totally agree, and was thinking about completely staying off membership model.

        But now I’m thinking about adding a membership component as a side dish … a library of courses that can be accessed with membership fees, or bought off individually / bundles to have lifetime access. (but no ‘membership only’ benefit that lifetime students don’t get … purely recurring vs one-time payment)

        What do you think shayna? Also which model do you use? I’d love to hear more about benefits / disadvantages of launch-close vs always-open, and your comments / thoughts on it. maybe you can do an episode on this too 😀

        • A couple brief thoughts:

          I use always-open for two reasons: my courses are low-priced, and I don’t want to artificially restrict access… whenever people want to learn, I want them to be able to sign up.

          Launch-close works best for expensive products, which need more focused generation of “hype” and excitement to get people over the high price tag. It also works better for when you have some live component (group coaching calls, a FB group, etc) and you want all the new students going through that together.

          Of course the membership model CAN work, and Fizzle.co has a library of content like the one you described. Just be very careful not to confuse your prospects; to be honest I couldn’t understand the logic behind the distinction between membership vs. one-time lifetime access as you described it. I think membership should either be the ONLY thing someone offers (as Fizzle.co does), or else should have benefits that are very clearly and obviously different from the regular courses.

          BTW I have a podcast interview coming up with someone who used to sell individual courses, but then decided to wrap them all up into a membership and now he sells only that.

          • Stephen Leung

            Hmm i see, thanks for your sharing Shayna!

            I had that idea of membership / one-time payment thing from hearing how russell brunson did that for his program. He initially had a $2k one-time payment plan, then he added a $300/mo recurring plan, and the 2k plan sale skyrocketed.

            The rationale is the monthly payment acts as a decoy, because at $300/mo, $2000 lifetime is no brainer. I’m still only thinking about this strategy though, not totally sure.

            Looking forward to the podcast interview and hearing his side on why switch from individual course to membership 🙂