Monthly Archives: July 2012

The entrepreneurial ramp-up period

I’ve done a bunch of these “survey” and “contest” thingies where we offer to help people with their small business ideas or current businesses.

It’s almost a shame only I get to see these results instead of other people…because:

MOST OF THEM ARE STUPID!

That’s right….a bulk of the ideas and running businesses that get submitted …DON’T MAKE MONEY, and doubtfully ever will.

 

BUT….THESE STUPID BUSINESSES ARE VERY VERY IMPORTANT!

Starting any small business or side-gig is kind of like riding a bike (or any skill):

STAGE 1.) You don’t know what the hell you’re doing and you’ll probably fail a couple of times.
STAGE 2.) You start to get the hang of it.
STAGE 3.) After trying many times, you kind of know what to do by now.

Look at any successful business person and there’s a VERY high chance they’ve tried A LOOTTT of things before whatever made them rich.

Here’s just a SAMLL LIST of dumb things I’ve done:

  • Resumite
  • Tried to buy and sell penny stocks
  • Facebook fan website
  • Rave website
  • Rave forum
  • Rave video hosting service
  • Powerwashing houses
  • Painting address numbers on curbs
  • Burning cd’s
  • Fixing computers
  • Selling bottled water
  • WordPress design
  • Website building
  • Adsense websites
  • Blogging
  • 3D printer websites
  • FancyBlog
  • SEO consulting
  • Buying/Selling on ebay and from Surplus stores
  • more….
  • ….and more….
  • ….and more….

That was just junk I could list off my head in a minute!

In fact, I’m always disappointed at my progress.  I feel like after ALLL THHHEE THHINGGSS I’VE TTRRRIIEED I should be a freakin billionaire by now! But like a lot of things, it takes longer than expected and it probably harder than expected.

Every person I’ve met that’s successful has GREAT stories about all the things they’ve tried in the past.  Try asking someone successful this question:

“What other business ideas did you try before you made it big?”

….and I bet you’ll get a lot of cool answers.

 

So if you’ve been trying to get something off the ground once and for all but feel it isn’t that great of an idea……. don’t be afraid to start quick & fail fast with some crappy business idea.

There are methods to help increase your odds of success (like the SumoBusinessBlueprint we did)….

….but JUST STARTING SOMETHING is always a damn-great place to start!

NEVINNEWYORK

–or you can LISTEN to this post-

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Written from Union Square in New York where Noah and I have rented a condo for a week
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I was speaking with a younger friend who’s taken a liking to New York recently.

….and we were discussing why New York churns out so many hustlers, deal-makers and driven people.

And it came down to:
Competition for resources.

You smash 10 million people into a tiny spit of land, and the competition for EVERYTHING naturally builds.

Here’s a real example:
A woman in Georgia sold her company for $7million.

“WOW!” said all her friends in Georgia…..“YOU”RE RICH!”

She moved to New York City and bought a condo which a person with $7,000,000 can afford (in the $1.5 – $2mil range)….and suddenly she felt poor.

She could look across the river, and see condos which only people with $100million in the bank could buy.

Then she could look a little to the left and see homes and penthouses that only billionaires could afford.

Whereas back in her neck of Georgia, she was the queen-of-the-world…..in NYC she was just a poor little fish.

That $7,000,000 payday seemed like a windfall in one place, and like a small paycheck in another.

All because of increased competition for resources.  

——————————————————–

This concept very much reminds me of THIS post:
http://www.nevblog.com/your-top-5-influences/
….and how you are most often a product of your environment.

 

 

 

Ryan Deiss ripping apart biz ideas

I got Ryan Deiss in a room and ask him the question (which people here voted for):

“If Ryan Deiss lost his $30,000,000/year business, what would he do to build his next $1,000,000 business?

  • Where would he start?
  • How would he find good business ideas?
  • How would he make money from what he knows?

Ryan had a pretty damn-good system in place where he can tell within about 3 minutes if a business idea (or skill) has a chance to succeed.

He THEN further drills-down (within another 3 minutes) into WHAT the person should sell in their industry:

  • Physical products?
  • Information products?
  • Services?
  • Consulting?

I originally thought he was going to re-hash what is taught in the SumoBusinessBlueprint, but to my surprise it was pretty different (yet equally as easy).

It was really damn cool to watch him tear apart business ideas as I named them …and we thought it’d be really damn cool if he ripped apart YOUR BUSINESS IDEAS!

So if you want Ryan to do his whole process on your business idea or skill, enter your info below.  We’re taking 4 full case studies….and maybe a few extra ones:

Click this link:
http://www.appsumo.com/what-do-i-sell/

 

-OR-

Just enter your info here:

Kopywriting Kourse Kase Studies

Every since I made that first Kopywriting Kourse….I’ve wanted to make a course with the acronym KKK.

I have no idea why, other than I thought it would be funny (and I’m not white so I might get away with it)  ;-)

I realllly wanted to do some sort of membership thing which would allow me to call it the Kopywriting Kourse Klub.  And it would have a signup pages that says JOIN THE KKK!!!

It was actually a subtle nod to this Simpsons sketch:

HA!  That makes me crack up every time!

Anyhow, here’s the story of how I ended up doing a product called the KKKs.  Yes…. ‘KKK’ with a lower-case ‘s’ at the end (I had a feeling sending 700,000 people an email saying “10 REASONS YOU SHOULD JOIN THE KKK !!” wouldn’t fly so well.

First I decided to do a “Kopywriting Kourse Part 2″ ….which would go more in depth about Kopywriting.  The original course does extraordinarily well to this day because within two hours it changes the way people write forever.

But while trying to put together a “Part 2″ ……it didn’t feel right. Most of the material was just re-hashed from the first one.

So then I got the idea to drill down to about 15 more specific subjects…such as:

  • Kopywriting for eCommerce sites.
  • Kopywriting for landing pages.
  • Kopywriting for brick n mortar businesses.
  • Kopywriting for real estate agents.
  • Kopywriting for blogs.
  • Kopywriting for iPhone apps.
  • Kopywriting for daily deal sites.
  • ….this list went on and on……

Well a lot of these were good (I really wanted to do a copywriting for iPhone apps or something hot like that)…..but they were TOO SPECIFIC.

In a perfect world I’d make every single one of those sub-categories of products, but that’s A LOT of work.

The next thing I did was put out a page for FREE COPYWRITING (you can no longer enter so don’t try) ….in order to get some real case studies.

Within a week we got 100+ qualified people who entered (some crap ones snuck in there too).
Quickly we realized that people had ALL KINDS OF BUSINESSES WHICH NEEDED HELP.

!! :: LIGHT BULB DINNGG :: !!

The “Kopywriting Kourse Kase Studies” was born.

So the whole premise was to watch as we take businesses and make them convert higher (aka get more sales$s) with only minutes of work (well….sometimes with about 1 hour of work).

  • Some of the businesses needed better copy to explain their product. We would re-write pages.
  • Some of the businesses were nearly flawless, and could only be improved with a video. We would make them a quick-n-dirty video.
  • Some of the businesses were totally shit to begin with, and needed to be re-thought or abandoned (no amount of great copywriting can help a shitty business for the longrun).
  • Some of the businesses needed to stop getting people to their website, and getting people from places like Craigslist with easy ads.  We made those ads (which ALWAYS work btw).

I also noticed the side-effect of this course was people would learn how to consult for other businesses very quickly!

After watching several kase studies you quickly notice patterns.

Every kase study (except one) in the kourse so far has increased conversion rates even with the very half-assed-and-quick improvements we made.

For the one that DIDN’T improve conversion rates (it was an email promotion I thought would TOTALLY KILL IT ….but ended up doing 25% worse), we explain why that happened.

It was one of those things I could’ve easily just “conveniently not included” but I wanted people to see a failure…because sometimes tests fail in the real world (WHO WOULD’VE THUNK IT)!

I almost wanted to change the name from “Kopywriting Kourse Kase Studies” to ” Learn how to con$ult for businesses by improving small things”  ….but didn’t want to people to think ANYONE could do it with such ease.

My intention was also to FIRST have everyone watch the original KopywritingKourse before watching this.

Anyhow, that’s how products we make come along.

I’ll shortly be putting out some products not STARING me but PRODUCED by me….we’ll see how it goes :-)
-Nev

Noah giving away free mini biz consult

Noah Kagan needs 4 case studies of existing businesses.

So if you fill out the form below you might get a free consult of your business (Noah will be determining where your customers ACTUALLY hang out, and how to reach them):

Too lazy to write more detail….other than we’re closing this form at around 8:30am on Thursday (6-12-2012) so you have a pretty decent chance of getting picked (since it will be up for no more than 12 hours)!

http://www.appsumo.com/where-are-my-customers/

PRODUCING products

Hey all,

I’ve now made over 10 products on AppSumo:

SumoBusinessBlueprint
SumoBusinessBlueprint LIVE: CASE STUDY EDITION
Kopywriting Kourse
Kopywriting Kourse Kase Studies
Autoresponder Kourse
Social Krash Kourse
Sumo Diet Kourse
Course About Building A Course
Behind The Scenes of a Muse

Those are the courses 100% made by me.

I’ve also helped sell (or create) a bunch of AppSumo email template products and even a last-minute-but-well-selling course about hiring with Noah Kagan. And I even did 3 products before all the AppSumo stuff that were sold to someone else.

I’ve also done a bunch of these Sumo Dojo things too.

Now I can easily keep making products, and intend to continue….but there’s a major problem:

I ONLY KNOW SO MUCH SHIT.

It’s one thing to teach about things I know….and am good at, and have a proven track record at doing successfully (like kopywriting), but it’s NOT cool to hastily research a subject then teach about it.

It’s not fun for me.
And it’s a disservice to anyone buying that information.

I think most people would agree they’d rather be taught by someone EXPERIENCED in something.

Now on another note…..I’ve had the opportunity to occasionally “take over” the production of some of our products at AppSumo that were botched in some way or other (poor planning is usually the main reason).

And when I take over, it usually becomes a better product. I say that in a NON-humble way….and am OPENLY bragging.

My obsessions with being on schedule and conveying information in the LEAST painless way (usually by making it FUN) kick in when being in charge of the product.

The interesting thing is, I actually LIKE doing this! I thought the term for this was “directing” …but my video guy told me my role is a “producer”.

Whatever.

I guess I enjoy “producing” ….as much as I enjoy being in front of a camera, being behind it seems almost MORE important (think Steven Spielberg).

I enjoy when someone takes a course of mine and says, “Holy crap….after watching your course in two hours I now…” ….and then they gush about the benefits and actions they got out of it.

I LOVE the feeling of changing a persons life in a small way (plus I even get PAID for it).

So I might move more into producing some of these products, rather than starring in them.

Producing has a few drawbacks and some advantages.

DRAWBACKS OF PRODUCING PRODUCTS:

  • I have to find talented and knowledgable people to use as the star of the product.
  • I have to share percentages of the product with those people.
  • If the product is a flop, I get more blame (before…I was the only one disappointed.  Now other people have chips on the table too).

ADVANTAGES OF PRODUCING PRODUCTS:

  • I can crank out products MUCH faster (it normally takes me a full month to do my products….and usually by the end I’m killing myself working too much).
  • I can produce products in areas where I’m NOT an expert…..but I know people who are.
  • I can bring in people to produce awesome products that help the world….and me, and AppSumo.
  • The star of the product makes monthly income for the lifetime of that product and has to do little or no support work to keep it live.
  • I can comfortably make 2 products a month…maybe even 4 if I’m feeling ballsy.

So as with anything in it’s infancy, I’m not absolutely CERTAIN this will work out well, but it seems to have a shot.

With this course of action in mind, I’ve started going on the hunt for internet-famous people to star in these products. And since I live in Austin, and since I have cool friends who know other cool people……I think my first product might be made with Ryan Deiss as the star of the product.

Ryan’s got a $30,000,000/year company selling digital products (actually….the VERY FIRST QUESTION I asked him when he said he was interested was, “Why the fuck would you wanna make a product with AppSumo and not yourself??)

….his answer was, “To be exposed to a new market.”

I figured in this economy, and with a lot of people hating the sh*t out of their jobs….a lot of people would want to know how Ryan would start from scratch.

Even I’m kinda curious how he’d do it.

 

….anywhoozle, I’m still wondering what the topic of this new product should be.

Would you mind selecting which topics you’d be MOST curious to have a guy who built a $30,000,000/year digital products company teach you about?

Thank you!

July 2012 Goals

It’s July 9th and I still haven’t posted my goals publicly??

BAD NEVILLE.

Anyhow, here they are (well, it’s just one):

July 2012 Goals

 

Normally I have a maximum of three goals for the month….but this time I really have just one main goal for July 2012.

I’ll write more about what I mean by “produce” a product….as it’s a bit different this time.

Anyhow, do YOU have your monthly goals set out yet?