How Ross Johnson Went From Broke Employee To Million Dollar Business

Hi, my name is Ross Johnson and I’d like to share my story with you of going from a broke high school failure that dug up clams for a living, to building multiple million dollar businesses.
I grew up in a small beach town in Massachusetts to a working-class family. If you were born there, you would most likely live there forever. Not many people get out. And it was always my goal to be different, but I didn’t know how I would end up doing it.
My parents were entrepreneurs, but growing up they struggled to keep our family afloat. My father was always working on new side-hustles to get cash for our family. They work their asses off and as soon as I was able to start working, I did too. When I was 12, I started working with my dad and earning money.

My first job working

This is a photo of me working with my dad when I was a kid. We were selling Little Jimmy’s Italian ice at fairs and behind us you can see his other business, Country Scent Candles. I’ve been a hustler since day one. He taught me how to run this business myself by the time I was 13 and we made a great team. In years after, I had more jobs.

I never did well in school and nearly failed out of it before graduating. I’ve always felt that the education system was fundamentally flawed. I had real concerns when I was a kid about my families financial life and the school system wasn’t able to provide me with anything that seemed applicable in real life. This lead to me spending my time in other ways rather than doing homework. Eventually I graduated, didn’t go to university, and instead got my own job digging up clams and selling them to restaurants.

My clamming job

This is a photo of me working as a clammer back in my hometown. At low tide, I’d go out to dig up clams, bag them up, and then drive around town selling them to restaurants. I made about $500 a week which was a lot for me at that time, but it still wasn’t enough for me to help out my parents the way I wanted to growing up.

At this time in my life, I was starting to think to myself “is this it” and began to thirst for a change in my life. I didn’t want to dig clams for the rest of my life in my hometown like everyone else… and it wasn’t enough for me to achieve my real aspirations in life. I wanted to be free, I wanted to help people, and I especially wanted to help get my parents out of their financial troubles. They deserved it after all those years of struggle and hard work they experienced when raising me.

Finding Online Business

When searching for answers to how I would become a successful person, I came across a book that changed my life forever called The 4-Hour Workweek. This book introduced me to the idea of having an online business which at that time was a completely foreign concept. He made it sound so do-able and I decided to go for it.

The next 4 years of my life were excruciating. I would work more during these 4 years than I have ever worked in my life. Everyday I would work my day job and come home to work on my “online business” which was an ever-changing thing that I could never really wrap my hands around. To give you a quick run down of different businesses I tried: web design agency, fitness coaching, productivity coaching, Chinese herbalism online course, performance coach for entrepreneurs, and many more.

Hitting rock bottom

Long story short, not one of these businesses made any money online. Every single one of the was a complete failure. At this point, life was really testing me. I got into a situation where I was $20,000 in debt with no job and only $35 in my bank account. To make matters worse, I has just discovered that my roommates were addicted to drugs. I had no money for food or my rent, and was running out of options quickly. But, I didn’t lose hope.

I ended up getting lucky and landing a virtual assistant job to get by, but hitting rock bottom really woke me up. It caused me to zoom out and start looking at my full situation. If I had been working so hard then why wasn’t I able to have a successful online business? What was I missing from the equation?

My big breakthrough

While I was examining my business, I realized that most people did not actually NEED what I was selling. Nobody told me that they needed it… I just assumed. My work ethic was not the problem, the problem was that nobody needed what I was selling. For the next business, I had decided that I was going to ask people what problems they had. Then I’d build the solution they were looking.

I got to work with my girlfriend (and partner) at the time on a new online business. We went around to all the entrepreneurs we knew asking them what they needed help with. The answer became obvious that they all wanted Instagram audience growth, but didn’t know how and didn’t have the time to make it happen for themselves. We knew nothing about instagram, but we were determined to learn it.

The first million dollars

After three months of experimenting and learning how Instagram works, we landed out first client at a $2k per month retainer. I couldn’t believe it. Then we got more clients. Once we focused on solving a real problem, we were able to get a flood of new clients. Our business was in high demand and we were going nuts! Soon, we were in the media, speaking on stages, and had earned our first million dollars. It all happened very fast.

Never again would I guess what people wanted. From then on, I just listened to people and build things that helped them solve their real problems. But with all the success of our Instagram growth agency, people were asking us how we were able to do it so quickly. They were coaches, consultants, and other agencies. Many people were asking us if we’d be willing to teach them how to grow their businesses. At first, we weren’t sure but decided to do a small group experiment to see how it went.

The second million dollars

We started with a small group of 6 students teaching all the strategies we had learned from growing our agency. To our surprise, these new coaches were booking their own clients and some of them, their first online clients in just the first few weeks of working with us. Eventually this became it’s own business Online Coach Accelerator and quickly grew into it’s own million dollar business. 

After some time, my partner and I split, and she took over the business herself while I worked on a new business helping coaches and consultants. At this point, my life was never the same again. I started to travel the world, I was able to support my parents financially as I had always dreamed of doing, and I was even getting featured in big media outlets like Forbes and Inc. I’ve helped hundreds earn income they never thought possible and countless jobs have been quit.

The Inner Circle

After several years of getting consistent results, selling online digital programs and coaching, I decided to build a coaching membership to help new coaches get their business running quickly. The Inner Circle membership is a brand new group, but has already been a massive success with dozens of students hitting their first $10k months and leaving their jobs faster than ever.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing other people change themselves and change their lives for the better. My students have become my best friends and I like to celebrate their success at each stage of the journey.
If after reading this and you believe my company can help you grow your business… Consider taking a look at joining out Inner Circle. We strive to have the best products out there and we won’t stop until we are the most prominent place to go when you want to grow a successful coaching online business.