Nathan Barry on Leveraging the Power of Automation All The Way to $25 Million in Revenue

By Mo Bunnell
Nathan Barry shares the secrets of the world’s most effective communicators and how you can leverage the power of automation to scale your business development efforts to the moon.

Nathan Barry shares the secrets of the world’s most effective communicators and how you can leverage the power of automation to scale your business development efforts to the moon. Learn how business development professionals can use email and content to grow an audience that is hungry for their expertise, reach more people in a deeper way at scale instead of just 1-to-1, and how the compound gains of consistent action can lead to incredible results.


Mo asks Nathan Barry: What’s your big idea for growing a book of business, growing relationships, and growing a career?

  • Nathan used to play video games and he likens having an audience and a newsletter to having the cheat codes for business. Having an engaged audience that you can push content to is incredibly powerful.
  • Some platforms have followers, like social and blogging, and others allow you to push content in front of your audience. The push method puts you in control and makes those platforms much more valuable in achieving your business goals.
  • Many professionals don’t think of an email list as a relevant tool for building a book of business, but if you have a list of the right people that want to hear from you it can definitely be a powerful asset.
  • Even if you’re not selling something through your email list, you can still build the mind share and reputation with your audience that increases your value in their mind.
  • Delivering value is key. When it comes to professional services, a cadence of once a month is more than sufficient and the important thing is quality over quantity when it comes to communication.
  • The best approach is to augment your close relationships with the vital few and combine it with a larger audience where you are delivering content. Those people are your prospective clients and finding a communication method that has leverage is how you can scale relationships considerably.
  • Content allows someone to get to know you on a deeper level, well before you ever talk to them in person or on a phone call.


Mo asks Nathan Barry: How can we get more of the meaningful work we want to do?

  • When you think about all the service providers you could hire, you consider all sorts of things like price, location, rapport, but near the top is actual expertise. One of the most effective ways to signal your expertise is to teach what you know.
  • Nathan originally started off designing apps for the iPhone for other people, and in the process of trying to land more freelancing gigs, he had the thought that if he had written the book on iPhone app design it would make landing clients much easier. This led him down the path to creating a newsletter and writing a book.
  • It’s hard to remember where you are in every conversation with every prospect you are currently talking to. This is where automation comes in and one of the reasons why email can be such an effective communication tool. You could create an automated sequence that delivers your content and includes the appropriate calls to action at the right time.
  • It’s also possible to leverage your content that you’re delivering over time and turn that into a book down the road.
  • When you’re just getting started with a smaller list it can be discouraging. When you have 0-10 subscribers, the first thing you should do is ask them where they currently go to learn about your topic and what their biggest pain points and struggles are. This gives you very valuable information and lets you know where you can potentially add content and lets you know what your follow up content should be. Whatever the audience is struggling with is exactly what your content should help them with.
  • As your list grows, it’s okay to start asking them to share your content with people they think would benefit from it. Once you approach the 100-1000 mark, you can start bundling your content into a free ebook or course or resource and use that to continue growing your audience.


Mo asks Nathan Barry: How do you deepen relationships with an email list?

  • When you first meet someone, your relationship is initially pretty shallow. Nathan likes to take as much information about himself and include that into his email sequence because that allows people to get a glimpse of who he is.
  • Being authentic, open, and direct is a way you can help people get to know you and instill that vital trust.
  • Any stories that you can teach and share are going to help someone who is following along feel like they can trust you.
  • It’s also important to take your prospect on a journey where they are learning about you consistently over time while you are delivering value to them. An email course is a great tool to accomplish this.
  • As a blogger or content creator, you can turn your best content into email content and use it as the basis of your email course. You can make sure thatyour prospect gets to know you at a set cadence over time and has already consumed your best content.
  • By automating this kind of a sequence, you get leverage and scale so the hours you put to create the client onboarding system payoff considerably in the future.
  • The most common place people struggle when building an audience is in being too broad. People are usually trying to solve a specific problem, so the more you can create content around that specific problem the more effective the hook in bringing people into your audience.
  • The sequence of content also trains people to open your emails. If your content is good, you drastically increase the odds of them opening your next email.
  • Great content also shapes the person’s questions and mindset for what they should be thinking about once they do get on a call with you.
  • The trouble with creating content is that it can be very time consuming, and this is why the automation is so important for leveraging and scaling the work you are putting in.
  • A common concern is that if you give away too much for free that no one will hire you, but the opposite is actually true. The more they learn, the more likely to realize how complicated what you do can be and understand that they need to hire a professional.
  • If you’ve already been serving clients, you’ve probably already been doing half the work to create these kinds of assets that can work for you in the long term.


Mo asks Nathan Barry: How do we hack our own habits to keep building their audience?

  • The most important thing you can do is do it consistently. Anywhere you can find leverage and compound returns are crucial to your long term success. This is where habits come in.
  • Creating content is a long term game and if you only do it for a few months you’re not going to see a lot of traction. Nathan uses an app called Streaks to track his habits and his chain of accomplished actions every week, including sending a newsletter every week, writing every day, exercising and practicing the piano every day.
  • If there is something that you want to get compound gains from, do it every day, even if it’s only for 10 or 20 minutes.
  • It’s consistent effort over a long period of time that is going to get you the results you want.
  • If you break your streak, that’s okay. Just don’t miss twice.


Mo shares his insights from the habits of Nathan Barry.

  • ConvertKit has grown from a startup to $25 million a year in revenue. His perspective on seeing how thousands of professionals use his platform gives him a lot of insight into what works and what doesn’t.
  • Teach everything you know. Many professionals resist the idea for fear of giving away all their best stuff for free, but the opposite tends to be true. The more you give away, the more the prospect realizes that they need your expertise to help them in their specific situation.
  • The right place to switch from teaching to pitching is at the point where you have adequately framed the problem and figured out how you could work together. Teaching naturally flows into the conversation around working together.
  • Give with abundance and do it in a way that scales. If you’re going to spend nearly a hundred hours packaging your education, you should absolutely use a platform like ConvertKit to automate it and scale your efforts.
  • Once you set up something that’s automated, it works for you forever.
  • Share what you are working on and what you’re learning with the people in your audience. Automation allows you to develop a relationship with a prospect without actually having to be there and sharing your story is incredibly powerful in getting people to bond with.
  • For Nathan, the two most important things in business that he’s looking for is leverage and compound returns. Automation fits that bill.
  • Once you create a piece of content, think of ways that you can use to help more people at scale. Develop fewer things and leverage them more effectively.
  • When you think of your time when it comes to business development, ask yourself what things you can do that will pay off and work for you forever. Build it once and do it right, and then put it out in a way that scales.


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