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. Here is her success story:
“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 talking on the phone with my best friend Anna about how I could use the four years I spent teaching Microsoft Excel at my consulting firm to make money on the side. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning: I could post short Excel lessons on TikTok.
I didn’t know at the time, but that idea would lead to a fun side job that would eventually become Miss Excel, my full-time, successful Excel training business. Today, it has more than a million followers on both TikTok and Instagram and has made more than a million dollars from selling courses.
How I turned my side job as a trainer into a $1 million business
In June 2020, I put up my first video on TikTok. After that, I put up a video every day. Other than my mother and my boyfriend, I didn’t tell anyone. But people caught on quickly. My fourth video, in which I used DMX’s song “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” to show how to use Excel’s new XLOOKUP feature to search for data, got more than 100,000 views in just a few days.
By the time I made my sixth video, the CEO of an IT company sent me a message saying he loved how fun I made teaching and wanted to pay me to make Excel training videos for his clients. I decided to take him up on his offer and bought a green screen and a ring light so that my videos would look more professional.
On June 15, 2020, I started an LLC. After that, I was in business. I kept posting Excel videos on TikTok every day, even though I was working a 9-to-5 job and working hard on other client projects. People could tell that the videos I made were completely unique and made with a lot of passion.
By October, I had 300,000 followers on social media, which was the group of people I wanted to reach. My videos had been going viral. The thought of using my brand to become a full-time content creator thrilled me. I decided that the next step would be to make online courses that I could sell to clients directly through my website.
So, I took a few weeks off from my job as a consultant and made more than 100 videos. I put them all together into a course called The Excelerator Coursehouse. It is a complete Excel course that starts with the very basics and ends with advanced techniques like pivot tables and lookup functions.
I set the price of the course at $297 after looking at how other courses were priced. I made my first sale of an Excelerator Course in November 2020. By January 2021, I was making $15,000 per month from sales that I didn’t have to do anything for. After that, I began to really think about my work life.
In the end, I felt prepared to give up 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 primary milestone: I made $100,000 in sales in only one day.
I also made several courses for PowerPoint, Word, Teams, Outlook, OneNote, and Google Sheets. In addition to The Excelerator Course, I made two more Excel courses: an advanced course and a mini dashboard course.
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 joyfully share with the world?
I wrote down all the things I love to do—helping people, using 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.