Category Archives: Business

Cool ass trick to find people talking about your niche

Cool ass tip I just learned for finding people ACTIVELY talking about your niche/product/whatev:

1.) Google a word or subject. Like “wantrepreneur”.
2.) Under “More” in Google search bar, select “Discussions”.
3.) Under “search tools” select “past 24 hours”.

BAM. List of everyone talking about wantrepreneurs in last 24 hours.

You can chime into these discussions, see what they’re saying, use their language for your marketing, get ideas.  Whatever.

Use away.
-Neville

P.S.  Share or “like” this with friends or colleagues.  Extremely powerful research tool.

4 ways to sell something online realllly fast

I’ve sold a crap-ton of things online over the years.  Physical stuff, digital stuff, services, software…..so I know a bit about this.

But a lot of people still have trouble trying to sell even ONE thing online.

But don’t fret, your Uncle Neville is here to help you out!

So awkwardly come sit on my lap, and I’ll quickly explain the 4 different ways I’ve personally used to sell stuff online (depending on your situation):

I’ll make each of these quick-n-basic.

Even if you’re NOT planning on selling something online right now, I suggest you read this email and save it for future reference (or forward to someone who can use it):

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING: an ebook, Excel file, video, piece of software…..
(Setup time: 5 minutes including sign up).
The best and fastest way to sell a single file type of product is GumRoad.  It’s retardedly simple (is that politically correct to say anymore)??

When I would sell my class notes in college, I sincerely wish I had something like GumRoad, because it totally automates the whole paying/delivering process.

You see….the DELIVERY process is always hardest.  I could easily accept PayPal payments, but then I’d have to manually send people their purchase through email.  GumRoad does all of this without you lifting a finger.

All you do is upload the file you want to sell to GumRoad, set the price….and you’re literally done.  Wanna see it in action??

I did a project called the ProblemSolvingChecklist which was a veerrryy short PDF document meant to sit on your computer desktop.

All I needed to do was collect $10 from people and send them a PDF file.  GumRoad was PERFECT for this.  You can see it here:

(this image is just linked to GumRoad directly where people can buy)

Even if I wanted to sell it through email because I have low website skills, all I have to do is include this short link, and it’ll take you directly to the sales page:

https://gumroad.com/l/VVTf

I sold hundreds of these through GumRoad in this manner.

GumRoad Pro’s: Insanely fast and easy to use. Amazing for selling/delivering individual things.
GumRoad Cons: They don’t accept PayPal.

 
IF YOU’RE SELLING……a small amount of something or consulting services:
(Setup time: 5 minutes)

I’d suggest PayPal for selling ANYTHING in small amount.  You can put little buy buttons anywhere on a website or email, and pretty much EVERYONE already uses PayPal.  Usually when buying a digital product I PREFER to pay with PayPal since it’s super-easy to request a refund if needed, and I don’t have to enter my credit card info (not concerned about safety, it’s more a laziness thing) :-P

Like if I made pet hamster costumes as a hobby and wanted to sell them myself, I’d just stick up a PayPal button, like this:

Just go to PayPal –> Merchant Tools –> Make Button

….and you can set the price and style of your button to get paid!

(btw…I knoowww I knowwww I spelled “Hamster” wrong).

So STILL TO THIS DAY I have some old digital products that are sold through PayPal, and not integrated into a fancy delivery system.  I get the persons order, and manually send them access through email.  Don’t be afraid to be ghetto!!

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING……a bunch of physical stuff:
(Setup time: 1 hour)

If you want a legitimate eCommerce STORE on the internet that sells a lot of items, has a built in shopping cart, inventory tracking etc….then I would suggest using one of these three:
-Shopify.com
-BigCommerce.com
-Volusion.com

NOW…..I know you’re gonna want to compare them all, but you’re too lazy.  FORTUNATELY your old Uncle Neville has you covered, and has extensively used all three of those platforms (I’ve used a ton other too, but these are the best services I’ve seen).

Shopify by far is the easiest and most intuitive to use (and the fastest).  It’s also got a huge app store so you can tack on functionality as needed.

BigCommerce and Volusion were both very good….but much more clunky to use and modify.  They were just “harder” to use that Shopify in general.

*One thing I loved about BigCommerce was it’s digital delivery.  You can deliver digital goods and it was VERY VERY seemless.  With Shopify I’ve had to find some work-around apps that don’t integrate quite as well as what BigCommerce has.

But if you’re just selling normal stuff, I’d highly recommend Shopify
(I personally picked Shopify for my NevBlog Store).

 

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING…..a book.  
(Setup time: 5 minutes)

Amazon.com is THE place to get a book…..so why not put your book on there??

It’s SO FREAKIN EASY TO SELF-PUBLISH A BOOK nowadays.  Especially through the Kindle platform.

And just a side note, every time I’ve released a book, the Kindle version greatly outsells the physical version.  Usually on a 3-to-1 ratio.  Other author friends have told me the same findings.

So the Kindle version is usually cheaper, but you sell SO many more books.  And it’s all digital, so there’s no worry about shipping.

You can take any story, blog series, or article you’ve made, and turn it into a Kindle book.  Just save it as a PDF file and upload it to http://kdp.amazon.com.  BAM….you’re a self-published author!  See my recent book on amazon:

http://amzn.com/0989895300

In addition to Kindle, I also used CreateSpace to make this book physically available, but so far the Kindle version has FAR outsold the physical version.  I personally prefer the physical version, but the people have spoken!

Bonus places to sell:
You can now start hosting specific things on specific services.  These services offer you a marketplace to sell in, and also handle the payment stuff for you (kinda like eBay does all the work for you).  Here’s a quick list:

-Selling an educational course?  Upload it to something like Udemy or Skillshare.
-Selling designs for 3D printing?  Upload your designs on Shapeways.
-Selling unique crafts? Post your stuff on Etsy.
-Selling your computer skills?  Post yourself on eLance.

The downside of these services is you lose some degree of control of how you sell your stuff, because you gotta play within their rules.  Obviously they also take a cut of your sales.  But these are great tools to use if you don’t have the skill or desire to take everything in your own hands.
So there you have it my young child (you can get off my lap now)…those are a couple ways to start selling stuff online quickly.

Don’t over think stuff too much though.  You can almost always just use a simple PayPal button to accept payments for damn-near everything.

Sincerely,
Old Uncle Neville

P.S. If you tell me what you’re trying to sell in the comments, I’ll respond and give you some advice on where to start!  Or just lemme know how YOU’VE sold something online quickly, I love hearing those stories and techniques.

P.P.S.  I made this entire blog post from my pool!  I hosted an “8am-early-morning-creative-writing-session-from-the-middle-of-the-pool” party.  It’s awesome to sit and write around OTHER people who are writing also.  Fun mixed with productivity!  Image credit to Corina.  There were 5 of us working out of the pool for 2 hours:

Keeping Kreative with a 3D printer

So get this, a few weeks ago I took a 3D printing class!!

I haven’t learned any new skill in a while, so I thought this would be a fun nerd-activity.

I’ve been fascinated by 3D printing since around 2007, but only now are 3D printers become semi-reliable enough for home use.

Anywhoozle…..I Googled “3D Printing Class Austin” and found a place called TechShop that holds them:3d-print-test5

This TechShop was connected to a Lowe’s hardware store, and you can pay a monthly membership to use all the high end machine and manufacturing tools there like this:3d-print-test4

The class I enrolled in would teach you how to use a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer.  You can see the Replicator1 (left), and Replicator2 (right):
3d-print-test3

Our instructor mainly showed how to use the cool-looking Replicator2:
3d-print-test6

The first step was to learn the software, so we all downloaded pre-existing .stl files from the internet and loaded them into the 3D printing software.  Here’s the little toy octopus gettin ready to print:
3d-print-test9

Once the file is sent to the printer, it starts printing out small layers of PLA plastic less than 1 millimeter thick.  Once it’s done with that first layer, it moves up and prints another layer.  It does this hundreds of times until a full object is printed out!

Here’s the printer in action using orange plastic:
3d-print-test7

After about 15 minutes of printing a REAL OBJECT WE DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET CAME INTO EXISTENCE!!!
3d-print-test1

Now I’d been wanting a 3D printer for a long time, and after taking the class I was dead-set on getting one….so I made a quick internet order for a MakerBot Replicator2.

I ordered a couple of spools of plastic filament and the MakerCare Insurance (because there’s like a 99% chance something WILL go wrong with the machine in less than a year).

I’ve also started downloading the printing software and experimenting/downloading objects from the internet.

The first thing I want to print are these 3D shot glasses which would be impossible to create with a lathe or laser cutter:
Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 7.15.49 PM

I also just for fun wanna print a gun….now keep in mind it’s just a mold of a gun made out of shitty plastic with no moving parts….but the CRAZY thing is the file I’m printing from actually includes all the parts to make a gun (assuming you had a high-precision metal-printing 3D printer you could possibly make one):Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 7.17.11 PM

I also downloaded a bunch of other random cool stuff from Thingiverse for free.

I dunno exactly where 3D printing will go…..but the ability to create and print out highly complex objects from your home is going open up a WHOLE new plane of creativity like Apps did to smartphones.

It’s so cool to imagine that from my apartment I can manufacture things.  I mean….crappy things for now, but the technology will soon get better-and-better to the point where we’ll all be able to print out highly complex objects, machines, and circuitry.  SOOOO FREAKIN COOL!

Since I left college I’d always been trying to learn something new at all times….and lately I haven’t, so getting this excited about something new is very refreshing :)

 

Keep Kreative!
Sincerely,
Neville Medhora

Baby steps

So for the longest time (3 1/2 months now) I’ve been trying to buy a rug for my apartment.  

I can already hear you say: “Ok Neville, I really don’t give a shit about the status of your apartment decoration… ::eye roll::”

Shut up.

So when I got my previous apartment, I had zero furniture, and zero idea how to decorate.  I hate decorating.  It’s not something I’m good at.
And I’m not good at it, because I put no effort into it.  

Since we can trade people our money, to do things for us….. I hired some designer friends, gave them a $5,000 budget (including their fees) and told them to just “do the whole damn thing for me.”

In less than a week I had a fully furnished apartment that looked like someone in semi-adulthood lived there:

A while later I moved from that place for a few reasons

  • I had lived there for 2 years.
  • The apartment got robbed and someone stole all my Apple products (this really jacked with my head and made me resent the location a bit).
  • It was EVER SO SLIGHTLY on the ghetto side of town (just found out the 4 people got mugged outside my door this past weekend….so I made a good decision).

So now that I’ve moved to a new place, I had to move around a lot of the furniture and get rid of certain things that didn’t look right.  But one new thing was hardwood floors.

So APPPAARRENNTTLLYY for your living room, you gotta get a big-ass rug to indicate “this is the living room area.”

Whatever…. how hard could this be??  I decided to try doing this myself in order to learn SOME design skills.

Well I never realized what a hard decision this was.

My previous crowning achievement in the decoration department was this black & white Homer Simpson poster that followed me for years through 2 dorm rooms and 3 apartments (I’m not kidding):

So clearly my interior decorating skills are on the poor side.

But like I said before (and this is important):

I’m not good at it, because I put no effort into it.  

 A few YouTube searches for “How to design a living room” and asking some people about design (aka my mom), and it was pretty clear this whole “decoration” process was kinda of logical and formulaic.  

The people I knew who were “good” at design spent lots of time reading magazines about design, watching tv shows about design, keeping an eye out for cool decor, and practicing it themselves.

But they all started somewhere. 

Basically if you want to learn something….there’s always small baby steps you can take to get started.  Here’s a couple examples:  The reason I suggest baby steps is from experience of watching people “want to do something” ….and then HATE it when they start doing it.  

THING TO LEARN: BABY STEPS TO TAKE:

If you wanna learn to decorate:
–Try re-arranging your own living space.
–Go through decorating magazines or pick up an Ikea catalog for ideas.

If you want to start a blog:
–Start a free blog on Blogger.com and start writing something. ANYTHING. Stories from your life. Advice you’ve learned. Just write.

If you want to start an ecommerce website and sell stuff online:
–1st get familiar with how to sell things online. Signup for BigCommerce or Shopify and build test stores.
–Don’t worry about exactly WHAT to sell first….just get the technical side down and keep writing down ideas.

If you want to learn a specific skill like woodcarving (I couldn’t think of anything better):
–Start by Google’ing “How to woodcarve”
–Grab a piece of wood and your mom’s best knife and start carving.

If you want to become a copywriter:
–Google it.
–Watch copywriting advice for newbies.
–Go to Amazon and buy books about copywriting or get my KopywritingKourse

If you want to start making apps:
–Big surprise: Google “how to design an app”
–Go to Udemy and take a free or paid course on how to make an app.
–Download some app templates and start tinkering with them.

If you want to learn ANYTHING:
–Google “how to (insert thing you wanna do).”
–Go to Amazon buy books about it.
–Start doing a ghetto version of it. Just “tinker”.

I wanted to be a doctor when I was in high school (I mean…I AM Indian), so in high school I joined a program where I got to shadow 10 different doctors.  By the end, I realized I HATTTEDD what the doctors had to do!

I quickly realized the environment and the work of a doctor were not my cup of tea.

Likewise…..taking a baby step towards something will show your true passion for it quickly.  Either you’ll start off and soon your brain will become obsessed with it…..or your interest will quickly fizzle.

Have a happy Monday….and if you’re looking to start something new, try some baby steps for it.  Lemme know what you’re trying to learn in the comments here, and I’ll answer with some baby steps on how you could get started!

Sincerely,
Neville

P.S.  As for the rug decision?  I went to the rug store yesterday with the mindset of walking out with a rug.  By the time I made a purchase, I was still unsure about it…..but at least I dove into it, and within 5 days it’ll be delivered.  At that point I’ll quickly realize if it looks awesome, or sucks….but at least I’ll learn something from the decision!

Sifting for good/bad ideas

Fresh off a trip from Cabo, I went back to Austin, did laundry, packed the exact same clothes, and headed off to our AppSumo Getaway in Seattle:
http://www.appsumo.com/how-to-make-your-first-dollar-seattle-getaway/

Some of the people who came were already running businesses, some were not.

I noticed something while talking to the people who DID NOT have a business going….

There were lots of ideas floating around in their heads (and even written down), but no apparent framework to make sense of those ideas.  

I realized something I accidentally did back in the day, and still to this day, that has helped me immensely: I would write down tooonnsss of ideas, and rank them.

Read that last part?
The part about “ranking them”?

It’s immensely important.  So lemme take you through the simple process I use to find business ideas, product ideas, ways to make money…..

I first am fully aware of this:

“The best way to get a good idea, is to have a lot of ideas!”

I write down a ton of ideas.  Anything.  The point is to get the brain jogging:

  • Bad ideas.
  • Good ideas.
  • Funny ideas.
  • Stupid ideas.
  • Wacky ideas.
  • Ideas that solve problems.
  • Ideas for stuff I personally want.

Just by it’s nature, this list will contain some gold, and some crap.  Mostly crap. But who cares, it’s just a freakin list!!  (usually mine are written somewhere in a notebook).

Now here’s how to sift your list of ideas for gold (in a semi-scientific way):

You rank each idea on a scale from 1 to 5 in several areas:

  1. Easy-ness – How easy would it be to get this going?
  2. Fun – Is this fun for me?
  3. Profit – What’s the potential profit here?

Total up the numbers, and almost instantly….the piece of paper you wrote these down on will turn from a random list of ideas, to a piece of paper telling you which ideas you should move forward with.  

Here’s a ghetto example I made in 2 minutes:

Obviously some ideas will be easier for some than others based on skill/talent.

So in my particular case, this list has shown a book about Kopywriting will be my best bet.  A yogurt stand however, doesn’t seem very fun (although I love GOING to them and pretending my CakeBatter yogurt with 9 pounds of chocolate toppings is “healthy”)!

So this my friend, is a key difference between a regular-ole list of ideas….and a list of ideas which tells you which one to go with.

Now I’m a big pencil/paper kind of guy, but I thought I’d make a cool “Idea Calculator” for you to use.

Simply click on the Google Doc, and save it for yourself.  It’ll auto-calculate your ideas, and tell you when something is promising (usually anything over a “10″ is decent):

Here’s your Idea Calculator (save it for yourself in any format you choose to start entering your own):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuaB65FccS9sdDVZVWU1ZFZYaXdaQVNsMWZPdF8zNmc#gid=0

The point of this is to get you to start ranking your ideas with a number…..so you can spend less time sifting through ideas, and spend more time trying the winners.

Cool huh!?
Neville – Enjoying the awesome Seattle summer weather (and surrounded by 25 nerds in a house)

How the F*#% do I make money?

Since I’ve never had a real job, people always ask me how I make money.

Here’s the answer on video:

ENJOY!

(people have already said this was a SUPER inspiring video…..so set aside 15 minutes and watch it. Took me 3 days to edit this mofo)!!

 

Click the image to see the video, or here’s the direct YouTube link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV2tR_ypmB4

 

Hope this was informative or inspiring to you :)
-Nev

1 story plus 2 lessons = 3 minute video

This is a business AND kopywriting lesson in one, on how to keep things retardedly-simple (with 4 quick examples).

When you watch this vid, try to think of ideas to hone your own business message (or flat out create a new one):


(YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjbnL0fmflY )

 

So you’ll learn two lessons from this one story:
Lesson 1.) A lotta wantrepreneurs over-complicate the hell out of contracts.
Check out the contract Noah and I made for a project (and yes, it’s real).


Lesson 2.)
A lotta people over-complicate the MESSAGE their business sends out….which makes it too damn complicated…and thus useless since stupid people like me can’t understand it. I’ll show you some good examples.
Enjoy the vid!
-Neville


FYI
you can go to Kopy.tv to easily see all my vids.

 

 

We got Simpson-ized

Well this certainly was a cool way to say “Thank You”!

Got this email sent to Noah and I recently from Rohan V:

To the Brothers,

Thank you, sincerely. Let me explain. I’m currently trying to deliver free education to 20 million people in Sri Lanka and I’ve learnt a ton from both of you, as well as acquired a metric shit ton of awesome knowledge via the ongoing @appsumo deals which will hopefully directly translate into both meaningful and lasting change for an entire nation within my lifetime.
I just wanted to reach out and scribble these sentiments down because sometimes it really is the simplest things that matter the most.
To the hustle compadres!
-
Rohan Vimalachandran

P.S – Had the attached done, hope you get a kick out of it!
He then attached this drawing he had made of us….HA!
Simpsonized Neville and Noah
He got the original image from a thumbnail of one of our Sumo Dojo videos:
Before being simpsonized
I thought this was a pretty great way to get someone’s attention. I’m guessing he had that Simpson-ized drawing done for just a few dollars, but it made all the difference (so much so I wanted to share it)!
Thanks Rohan!

How we’re un-sucking AppSumo emails

When AppSumo first started (around this time), we used to send out these long, hilarious, and foremost…. EDUCATIONAL emails about every product we got a deal for.

Usually it was me writing these emails.

Then there was a point where two full-times sales guys were adding deals at pretty ridiculous rate.

Deals needed to be tested and written…..and we were testing 2 to 3 a day.

Naturally I couldn’t write amazing copy for EVERY DAMN DEAL at that pace.

So we hired a couple of copywriters.

 

After a while, the format of AppSumo emails changed…..and the deal quality was just average.  There were good deals, but our batting ratio was a bit down (although I’m proud that we were still miles ahead of any remote competition).

This left us with:

  • Very “average” quality deals.
  • Very mediocre copy (it was becoming typical SELL SELL SELL bullshit copy).
  • Customers still loved us, but not with even remotely the same fervor they USED to.

 

So recently we’ve been TOSSING OUT SHITTY DEALS.

If we can’t recommend the deal to our friends and family, it shouldn’t make the site.

This is a heartfelt video that explains if we’re not having fun doing this, YOU sure as hell won’t have a fun experience either.

We talk about it here:

 

P.S.  If you ever see a shitty deal on AppSumo….please yell at me.  We’re not saying every deal will be perfect for YOU, but we don’t wanna become the same-old sleazy sales bullshit internet marketing you see everywhere.

How to think of which products to make

People always ask me, “How do you come up with so many products to make?”

….well the answer is pretty simple.  And it’s NOT always simple as copying something you’ve seen done successfully by someone else.

Here’s the 5 minute video (excuse the sweat….I just came back from the gym)!

 

Basically this video boils down to the phrase:

“To make money, solve a problem.”