Like many others, in the early days of the pandemic, I found myself moving back into my childhood bedroom.
I had stopped traveling for my consulting job and was working from home on Long Island. After a few months, though, I grew bored and restless. I wanted something different; my job was getting me by financially, but it wasn't lighting me up.
One day, I was on the phone with my best friend, Anna, tossing around side hustle ideas that could leverage the four years I spent teaching Microsoft Excel at my consulting firm.
Suddenly, a lightning bolt hit: I could post mini Excel lessons on TikTok.
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Little did I know, that idea would lead to a fun side hustle that would eventually turn into Miss Excel, my successful full-time Excel training business. Today, it has grown to more than 1 million followers across TikTok and Instagram — and has brought in more than $1 million in course sales.
How I turned my training side hustle into a million-dollar business
I posted my first video on TikTok in June 2020, then began posting once a day. I didn't tell a soul other than my mother and my boyfriend.
But things caught on fast. My fourth video, where I explained Excel's new data-searching XLOOKUP feature to DMX's song "X Gon' Give It to Ya," surpassed 100,000 views in just a few days.
By my sixth video, the CEO of an IT company sent a message saying he loved my fun teaching style and wanted to pay me to create Excel training videos for his clients. I accepted his offer and ordered a green screen and a ring light to make my videos look more professional.
I formed an LLC on June 15, 2020. Next thing I knew, I was in business.
While working my 9-to-5 and hustling on other client projects, I continued posting Excel videos on TikTok every day. I was creating wholly unique videos and infusing them with genuine passion — and people could tell.
By October, I had grown my social media audience to 300,000 followers. My videos were going viral. I beamed at the prospect of leveraging my brand to become a full-time content creator.
The next step, I decided, would be to build out online courses to sell directly to consumers via my website.
So, I took two weeks off from my consulting job and filmed over 100 videos. I combined them as a package called The Excelerator Course — a fun, comprehensive Excel training that starts at the absolute basics and finishes with advanced techniques like pivot tables and lookup functions.
After doing a competitive price analysis, I priced the course at $297. In November 2020, I made my first Excelerator Course sale. By January 2021, I was making $15,000 per month in passive income from sales.
That's when I really started to rethink my professional life.
I finally felt ready to quit my job and focus on being a full-time entrepreneur: February 1, 2021 was my last day in corporate America.
Growing Miss Excel
Since leaving my job, I've made more than $1 million in Miss Excel sales. And in October 2021, I crossed a major milestone: I made $100,000 in sales — in just one day.
In addition to The Excelerator Course, I created two more Excel courses — an advanced course and a mini Dashboard course — along with several others for PowerPoint, Word, Teams, Outlook, OneNote and Google Sheets.
My individual courses range from $44 to $397. I also sell several course bundles, which range from $397 to $997.
My latest project is called the Workplace FUNdamentals Course, which teaches important workplace skills like Microsoft Office, along with soft skills like email etiquette. Customers can preorder it on my website for $497.
My best advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
In addition to course sales, which make up 95% of my income, I also host corporate Excel trainings and do motivational speaking engagements on how to shift your energy to find fulfillment in your career.
Here's my best advice for people who want to create a product that catches on:
1. Find your purpose
When I stopped traveling for work, I had time to reflect on what I really wanted to do with my life. On a quest to find my purpose, I started asking myself: What could I joyously share with the world?
I wrote down all the things I love to do — helping people, Excel, dancing — then tried to concoct a way to combine them. I credit my success to the passion and purpose I find in teaching Excel. It makes my content fun and unique.
2. Practice self-care
I firmly believe that building a healthy relationship with yourself is the greatest thing you can do to achieve success.
Through my dedication to practices like meditation and kundalini yoga, I was able to shed subconscious beliefs that were discouraging me. I went from being an incredibly shy person with an anxiety disorder to dancing in front of millions of people on TikTok.
3. Dive in and face challenges
Letting go of my tendency to be a perfectionist made me realize that there's never really a "perfect time" to do something.
My first deal, for example, was creating training videos in Google Workspace. I wasn't as familiar with Google products at the time, so I was hesitant and considered waiting for another project that I might feel more comfortable with. But then I trusted that I would figure it out along the way. And I did.
Once you dive into something, no matter how challenging it seems at first, you'll find that you're much more capable than you think.
Kat Norton teaches Microsoft Excel to individuals, businesses and educational institutions. Since launching Miss Excel in 2020, she has grown her TikTok and Instagram audience to over 1 million followers.
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