Miss Excel is her name, or at least how people know her on TikTok. The now popular TikToker and Instagram influencer,Kat Norton, promotes her courses through social media and leads users to online training courses for Excel and other Microsoft and Google products. Leveraging the power of social media with fun, whimsical, and extremely helpful videos, Kat Norton (Miss Excel's real name) now generates up to $100,000 per day.
Six figures per day, selling online courses.
What's even more spectacular is that she began her venture in June 2020 after moving back in with her parents' home and creating videos from her childhood home.
That got us wondering, how did Norton achieve such rapid growth? In the age of creators, what does Kat Norton sell, what makes her stand out, and how does she use social media (like TikTok and Instagram) to bring in more business?
As you follow along with our exploration of Kat Norton, check out her links to see real-world examples of how she produces, delivers, and markets her content:
How Miss Excel All Started (And The Growth That Followed)
The story of Kat Norton's rise to fame as Miss Excel started in March 2020. She worked at a consulting firm called Protiviti, where she helped in improving security measures for banks. This called for quite a bit of travel, and for over four years, she completed in-person interviews with bank clients on a weekly basis. It turns out that during her four-year stint at Protiviti, she put together an Excel training course (Excel use is rather common for consulting jobs). She presented the courses to Protiviti, and it turns out they liked it. They sent her all around the United States to host Excel training sessions with many of the firm's current clients.
The pandemic eventually sidelined her travels and prompted her to move back in with her parents (she kept her job, but worked from home). She states that her time at home helped her focus on internal work like mindfulness and meditation, and that those types of self-discovery practices gave her more confidence to promote herself online, act silly in social media videos, and be comfortable with the entire idea.
June 2020: Miss Excel is Born
With the groundwork laid (self-focus exercises and some experience with Excel videos), Kat Norton created Miss Excel with the idea of listing the video courses for sale online and promoting them in some way through social media.
She didn't even have a TikTok at that point. She had no online presence for the Miss Excel brand. Yet, she told her mom she'd soon be rich and famous, half-jokingly; as many creators can attest, serious projects often get shared as jokes or hobbies.
Norton encountered some internal blocks telling her that at 27 years old, she was far too old to post videos to TikTok.
Still, Norton launched her brand as Miss Excel in June and continued as any great creator by consistently posting to her TikTok.
Here's how it played out in those first few weeks:
- Norton posted one video per day to TikTok.
- Her first video explained the left/right function in Excel and showed her dancing to music below the screenshots.
- The fourth video eventually hit 100,000 views. That's when she knew she was onto something.
Those first four videos are wonderful to examine from a business/creator perspective, seeing as how they're simple, educational, and fun. You can also see the growth of views. As of this article:
- Her first video has 29.2k views.
- The second video has 25.7k views.
- Her third video went up to 33.8k views.
- Video #4 has reached a staggering 225.3k views.
Now, that fourth video is an outlier. The xlookup tutorial video had crushed her average view count, which continued to float around 30k-40k views, even after the fourth video. So, it's possible she gained some popularity by a notable person sharing her video, or maybe she won the TikTok algorithm lottery. Regardless of the spike, an average of around 40k views per video is still rather impressive; that's a following that you can monetize. Not to mention, her 11th video now has 490k views. And the numbers get higher and higher as time passes.
And that's how social networks function. The goal is to increase views and followers progressively while hoping for the occasional burst in views, and that's exactly what Kat Norton has done:
- June 6, 2020: 74.7k views for a video on IF statements
- June 23, 2020: 66.2k views for a video on Excel shortcuts
- June 27, 2020: 3.6 million views from a video about the Left and Find functions in Excel
- July 23, 2020: 118k views for a video about Xlookups
- October 26, 2020: 466k views for a video about rainbow spreadsheets
- Sept 30, 2021: 5.4 million views for a video about how to impress people with an auto-fit trick in Excel.
As with all social media influencers, Kat Norton sees peaks and valleys throughout the video timeline. She reaches between 50k to 250k views for most of her standard views today, but it's not uncommon to skyrocket into the millions for the occasional TikTok post.
On the 6th Day Kat Norton Already Made Money
It was still June 2020, after her sixth video, when the CEO of an IT company contacted Norton to see if she'd make G Suite training videos for his clients in education, like parents, students, and teachers. Although she had more experience in Microsoft products, she accepted the job and learned quickly. And just like that, she was already getting paid to produce content from her home.
The End of June
Kat Norton wasn't making money directly from Miss Excel yet, but she pressed on and continued to create videos on TikTok. Those videos did bring her a paying gig, so that's definitely worth something.
By the end of the month, one of her videos went viral with close to 4 million views. However, rumors swirled about regulations, or the potential banning of TikTok in the United States. So, she made an Instagram account as well, just in case.
Although only 2,000 users followed her over from TikTok, the rise of Instagram Reels made it possible to share the same video format and engage Instagram users similarly.
After a few weeks of work on Instagram, Kat Norton reached 50,000 followers.
She now has quite a few more:
By October, Norton had produced no revenue from her online videos, but traction gained with some viral videos and a consistent flow of TikTok views, even if they didn't blow up to viral video status.
The Morning Brew newsletter wanted to cover her story. She had been in contact with a business coach who said that if you get featured on Morning Brew, you better have a product to promote. Otherwise you're just another viral video story that goes by the wayside, missing a chance to monetize and build an even stronger following of paying customers.
She had made training courses at her previous job, but now she had to make her own she could sell under the Miss Excel brand name. So, Norton went to work for “a couple of weeks” to produce the entirety of her first course.
On Black Friday 2020 she had one complete Excel course ready to sell. And boy did it sell.
Fueled by Instagram and TikTok users bleeding over to her online course website, it only took two months to reach a point where her online course sales made more money than her day job.
Two days later, and after consulting with other business coaches, Kat Norton quit her day job to sell courses (and make social videos) fulltime.
After a few months, Norton create a second course and listed it in her online store. That was when she hit her first $100k month in revenue. Microsoft also approached her to figure out how to teach their users more about their own products, creating yet another revenue stream.
Miss Excel Today
As of this article, Kat Norton has:
- 1.4 million likes on TikTok (her most popular TikTok videos can receive up to 2,000 comments)
- 705.5k followers on TikTok
- 569k followers on Instagram
- 116 posts on Instagram
- 6,300 followers on Twitter (her tweets actually receive hundreds of retweets, comments, and likes each time)
- Over 10,000 followers on LinkedIn (she also gets hundreds of likes and comments on each LinkedIn post)
Miss Excel's revenue has grown rapidly as well:
- She eventually began registering consistent six figure days with sales of her Miss Excel courses.
- Norton states that she doesn't make that much every day. There are high earning days and low earning days, but she hedges the course revenue by selling webinars and personal training phone calls, along with what she calls “Excel Parties,” where she creates a high-energy environment for small groups of people to get excited about Excel.
What Does Kat Norton Sell That Brings in $100k Each Month?
From an ecommerce/content creation perspective, we want to look at the exact type of content Miss Excel sells to produce such attractive numbers. We know all about the effectiveness of ecommerce tools like Thinkific, Stripe, and even the video editor WeVideo (all of which Norton uses). And we've seen many content creators making hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars on platforms like Udemy (not used by Norton, but a very popular course selling marketplace).
So what are the actual products that Miss Excel sells, and for what price? Does she use any drip content, unique lesson plans, or media elements that attract more people into her space?
Here's what we found:
She hosts the Miss Excel website on Thinkific with no custom domain name. She appears to own miss-excel.com but doesn't use it on Thinkific. Instead, she opts to stick with the .thinkific.com sub-domain. And that's wonderful news for all content creators out there worrying about not using a custom domain. Although we believe they're good for branding, Miss Excel shows that having a great website and content is more important. And besides, she has “miss-excel” within her Thinkific domain name. Regardless, a custom domain name is one less thing to think about!
Norton's Thinkific online course site is simple, modern, and inviting, with no fancy logo. Visitors see a picture of her (the obvious face of the company), an explanation of what the site is all about, and a section about where you may have heard about Miss Excel to boost her credibility.
You can find a list of all the Miss Excel products here.
As of writing this article, Norton sells a total of 16 products.
Some of those items are product bundles so she may sell individual training courses about Microsoft Office products but also bundle all those together for customers who want them all.
Here are the products with pricing and the number of lessons/courses:
- Complete Microsoft Office Suite: $997 for 8 bundled courses
- Microsoft Essentials Bundle: $597 for a bundle of 3 courses
- The Excelerator Course: $297 for 91 lessons
- The Advanced Excelerator Course: $397 for 107 lessons
- Ultimate Excelerator Bundle: $497 for 200 lessons
- Sheet Smarts (for Google sheets): $297 for 100 lessons
- Miss Excel's Workplace FUNdamentals (for students 12+): $497 for 118 lessons
- PowerPoint with Miss Excel: $297 for 120 lessons
- Word with Miss Excel: $297 for 156 lessons
- Family Style Bundle: $597 for 2 courses
- Other Office Apps Bundle: $597 for 5 courses
- Double Trouble Bundle: $397 for 2 courses
- Outlook Mini Course: $149 for 82 lessons
- Teams Mini Course: $99 for 33 lessons
- OneNote Mini Course: $99 for 33 lessons
- Dashboard Mini Course: $44 for 6 lessons
As you can see, Norton's pricing starts at $44, but that's only for one mini-course. The actual starting price for full courses is $99-149, giving you an idea of what's possible when selling individual courses with anywhere from 33 to 82 lessons. And what's interesting about the lessons is that many of them aren't much lengthier than a few minutes. Some lessons are rather long, but getting to that 82 lesson mark doesn't mean you need to make each video 20 minutes long.
What's more, is that her prime-time lessons—the ones like “PowerPoint with Miss Excel” and “Sheets Smarts” sell for $297. After that, she offers deals for people to buy more products through a tactic called bundling, reaching close to $500-1,000 per bundle.
With that $1,000 course, she would need to sell 100 of them per day to reach six figures each day. We're assuming it's more a mix of her entire lesson collection and more sales of each per day.
What About the Course Content?
Norton's courses range from 6 lessons to 200 lessons depending on the scope of each product.
She does a wonderful job of explaining what's included on each course page. There's a quick outline of what to expect, a button to get started, and a complete course curriculum with details on each segment.
For instance, the Excelerator Course package isn't just videos, but all of this included:
- Over 100 training videos on Excel. She also explains that she keeps the training videos fun, much like her social videos.
- A practice workbook with over 50 sheets to follow along with the training and complete tasks.
- A collection of PDF guides to reference shortcuts and functions.
- A comprehensive library of her own Excel templates.
- Access to an exclusive community she calls the Excelerator Lounge, where she answers questions from paying customers.
It's also nice how she expands upon each lesson on the product page so that users know exactly what they're paying for beforehand. For example, Module 12 in the Excelerator Course shows documents like downloadable workbooks and several videos with the subject of each one (like What is VBA, Relative Referencing, and Macro Buttons).
How Does Miss Excel Use TikTok and Instagram to Promote Her Thriving Business?
This one's simple. She creates potentially viral content on Instagram and TikTok; they're all quick, free videos explaining one or two tricks in Excel, but also with lots of fun music and dancing. Then, she links to her paid online course content from the TikTok and Instagram profiles. Most videos mention that followers can access more detailed tutorials by clicking on the link in her profile. The link leads users to a Linktree landing page to access all of her links and sign up for an email newsletter.
What Makes Kat Norton Stand Out?
From Kat Norton's own statements, comments on her social media posts, and from simply watching her videos, we can surmise that her social content and online courses stand out for these reasons:
- She found a unique selling proposition by combining the often interesting but mundane and complicated world of Excel with the youthful, energetic, quick-video environment you find on TikTok.
- Kat keeps the videos fun and whimsical, letting off a persona that's approachable yet excited to interact with her followers.
- She often presents herself within her home, giving followers a look into her own life.
- Most of her viral videos involve her overlaying a quick Excel tutorial over the video of her either explaining the tutorial or dancing to some music.
- She edits the videos with precision, making it easy to understand what's going on, offering step by step closed captions, screenshots, title tags, and more.
- The purchasing funnel is about as simple as you can get: Learn about Miss Excel on TikTok or Twitter; decide to watch her free content or click on the link to visit her website; purchase one of the online courses if you really want to become proficient in Excel. That's all there is to it.
The Tools She Uses
Based on her interviews, and our own research on platforms used by Kat Norton, we found that these are the primary tools used in her Excel influencer operation:
- Thinkific for displaying, marketing, and selling her online courses. This functions as her website and online store, but Thinkific also provides features for sending out completion certificates, building a community, and marketing with things like subscriptions and coupons.
- TikTok as her primary form of marketing.
- Instagram as yet another major form of marketing.
- Twitter and LinkedIn as less prominent forms of marketing.
- Flodesk for giving away her free Excel functions guide and collecting email addresses. She also uses Flodesk for users to sign up for bulk discounts. She uses the email list to send out promotions, newsletters, and information about her courses in emails.
- Linktree for providing a mobile-friendly compilation of all of her links in one link on social media.
- WeVideo for editing videos and finding useful templates to brand all of her posts.
- Her iPhone, a lighting kit, and other simple filming elements like a tripod.
Miss Excel's Expenses
Kat Norton states her expenses at a low $500 per month. That sounds unlikely at first, but when you think about the creator economy, and how it has grown with help from simple, free tools, it doesn't sound that outlandish.
Here's what she lists as her expenses:
- Thinkific to share and sell her courses online
- Stripe to process all payments
- WeVideo for her video editing
- Her iPhone for recording and posting to social media
Let's break that down.
- Thinkific: We know she at least uses the $39 per month plan from Thinkific, but it's more likely she's at the $79 per month Pro plan if she's been offering completion certificates, hidden courses, and live lessons. There's also a good chance Norton must eventually upgrade to the Premier $399 per month plan from Thinkific if she plans on growing the business.
- Stripe: We're a little confused about her calculation of Stripe expenses. A $100k revenue month means Stripe's standard transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30 would cost her around $3,490 per month (assuming that $100k is revenue and not profit). And that doesn't include the extra $0.30 per transaction since we don't know how many transactions she processes.
- WeVideo: It's possible she uses the $15.99 per month Unlimited plan, but it seems more likely she'd opt for the Professional plan to get premium templates and brand management at $39.99 per month.
- The iPhone: We're assuming she's talking about an ongoing data plan and potentially the initial cost of buying an iPhone. Let's make that $500 to $1000 for the iPhone (onetime charge) and $70-90 per month for a Verizon data plan.
What are some other expenses she may have forgotten, or those she should expect in the future?
- She appears to own a domain name (Miss-excel.com), which would cost around $10-15 per year.
- She talks about buying lighting and iPhone filming equipment but doesn't mention that in her list of expenses.
- We project she'll need help in the future. Right now she has no employees, but her growth strategy may very well require a web administrator, site developer, virtual assistant, and maybe an online marketer.
- Upgrades for APIs in Thinkific and the ability to create her own templates in WeVideo seem likely in the future (if she hasn't already done so).
With all that, Kat Norton's expenses are still incredibly low. Yet, we're not buying her claim that Stripe expenses are remotely close to $500 per month. These expenses also may only refer to her initial costs as opposed to what it has grown into.
Overall, we project that with a monthly revenue stream of $100,000, Kat Norton's actual expenses are at least $3,600 per month. And that's without including the cost of her initial iPhone purchase, her lighting equipment, and any potential upgrades to Thinkific and WeVideo.
Can You Create and Market a Business Similar to Miss Excel's?
There's no question about that. People are already doing it. Kat Norton is simply the most recent outlier. And she found a unique slant for her content by bringing together two worlds: the upbeat, youthful, music and dancing world of TikTok, and the interesting, but rather tedious and professional world of Excel.
So it obviously takes some time to establish a unique selling proposition like that. But her process of selling, the tools used, and the ways in which she markets products is nothing new. Social media presents a unique opportunity to interact with potential customers. There are plenty of platforms for selling online courses. And the tools she uses for making those courses have long been available as consumer products.
So we encourage you to follow Kat Norton and similar course creators online to take notes about their own successes. And let us know in the comments if you have any questions about Miss Excel and her rise to course selling prominence.