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The Magical Sugar Packet

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Look at this sugar packet:

The Magical Sugar Packet

It’s really nothing special.  Its street resale value is probably under a penny.

You can probably sneak into the restaurant nearest to you, look the waitress square in the eye, put 20 of these in your pocket, and walk out.
She won’t even care.

But…..
THIS sugar packet is magical.
THIS sugar packet has meaning.
THIS sugar packet can change a life.

You see, I was at a restaurant with a friend, and scribbled something on this packet during a conversation about comfort zones.

I had a pen, but no paper.  So this sugar packet became my writing pad.

We were talking about where the interesting stuff in life comes from.

Where growth comes from.
It rarely comes from the “regular shit” we do 98% of the day.

It comes from the edge cases.
It comes from stretching the limits.
It comes from the absolute edges of what’s possible.

Imagine you’re flying in a plane.   You’re bored and your eyes start trying to sneak a peek what the guy on the laptop next to you is writing.  All of a sudden the plane JOLTS and starts shaking.

The turbulence picks up hard, the seatbelt light chimes on, the stewardesses actually rush to take their seats, and all of a sudden you start believing in God again.

Now let’s pause….and ask ourselves this question:
When they tested if this plane was safe to fly, how harsh did they make the test?

I mean, when you fly 98% of the time it’s smooth sailing.
So wouldn’t they stress-test the plane based on that?

FUCK NO.
I wouldn’t wanna fly on a plane that’s only tested in smooth weather!!

I want Boeing to rag the hell of their planes during testing.

I want them to leave one out in the desert, let it sit through hail storms, strip the paint of, let some rats hang out in the engines, simulate 20 years of wear and tear…..AND THEN put that fucker through the worst possible hurricane-like weather imaginable.

Only through these extreme conditions, does Boeing realize the strengths and weaknesses of their airplane…..and can then make it stronger.

Well I’m not an airplane.  And neither are you.
But our strengths, weaknesses, and limits…..are found through that small percentage of time when we are pushed out of our comfort zones.

It also happens to be where the growth is found.

Staying within a comfortable state without testing boundaries, breeds little growth.

Relationships.
Business.
Health.
All of these are pushed to grow through uncomfort.

If you’re not a little uncomfortable today.
You’re probably doing it wrong.

Oh…..and that sugar packet I was talking about?  Want to see the front?
Here it is.

 

April 2013 Goals

New month, new goals!

Here’s mine for April 2013:

April 2013 Goals

 

Brief explanation of each:

 

1.) NevBox out:
From my Neville Letters experience I learned that a lot of people subscribing were at varying levels of life and business….and something that was worth $1,000 to one person, was worth maybe $40 to another.

But I still want to send out a physical box of stuff for anyone trying to learn copywriting better (even small improvements in your writing can result in ridiculous improvements in your business life….so it’s a pretty damn great deal).

I’ll be making about 200 of these letters (actually it’ll be a physical box with several letters),  and sending them out this month.

Dammit…..now my new apartment is gonna be covered in packing material :-/

 

2.) Make $ Vid on Kopy.tv
My latest kopy.tv video is one on how exactly I make money.  This is a common question I get from family and friends…..and even after I explain it, they have NO CLUE what the hell I actually do.

When I show people through a computer how everything works, they totally get it.  So for this reason I’m putting together a vid explaining it all (mainly so I can just say “uuhhhh…..just watch this YouTube video” when people ask what I do)  ;-)

 

3.) Kopy switch  
I’ve got 11 digital products out now….all of varying subjects.  They’re getting too damn un-related to each other.  So I’m making a shift based on a simple formula:

Does it relate to kopywriting? (If = no) = (“don’t do it”).  

So those are my April 2013 goals.
…..got yours yet??

 

Random Stat

This page at Problem Solving Checklist gets a 6.28% conversion rate.

That means for every 100 visitors it gets, 6 people buy it.

By the way…..that’s a product I made & launched recently. If you’re not on my email newsletter (top-right of this page), you probably miss out on 80% of the stuff I write nowadays!

-Nev

Headline Juice Video for writing Headlines

Spent 6 hours and 160+ manual edits making this video about writing Headlines (kind sick of looking at my own face now)!

This is a simple trick I use to come up with headlines.

I also give 4 different examples of each.

Check it out!

YouTube link: http://youtu.be/iGQgKzfq6zI

If you’re interested in seeing the ridiculous amount of edits for this video, here’s a screenshot of the project in Camtasia for Mac:

headline-video-screenshot-edits
BTW, could you make sure to subscribe to Kopy.tv? I’m trying to get a 1,000 YouTube subscribers this quarter!

Ideas that are TOO big

A lot of wantrepreneurs wanna build an idea that’s just TOO DAMN BIG.

Here’s a real example from Ken.  Here’s his idea:

I’ve tried testing this idea with limited results but I’m not sure if I’m going about it the right way.

I want to establish a network of local people around the world who would be willing to show travelers and tourists around their town or city.

Yes it’s a rip off of AirBnB but hell, I couldn’t find one which was already established (there is one competitor which is actually validating this idea using a landing page, a youtube video and an email form).

Watch this 2 ½ minute video from the SumoBusinessBlueprint2 I made about this question, then continue reading this to see how to validate this idea before wasting time on it:

Ok, so I ripped up the idea in the video.  Not a fan.

What Ken is telling me is:
“I want to build a site for everyone in the world who travels, and have them signup to this service.”

SLOW DOWN COWBOY!

Making a site that needs allll these travellers to signup to be guides, or get guided….is hard.  Especially if you don’t fully understand the market yet!

You think McDonald’s got big by starting with 10,000 stores?
NO SIR.
They started with one store and fully understood what people wanted.

You think Facebook got big by going for 1,000,000,000 users?
NO SIR.
They started at a single college and fully understood what people wanted.

So let’s learn from that and understand what people want first.

SO HERE’S ONE WAY KEN CAN VALIDATE THIS IDEA TO SEE IF PEOPLE REALLY WANT THIS SERVICE (if he’s not lazy and actually wants to put in the effort):
Pay attention if you’re a Wantrepreneur.

 

Let’s first see if people are clamoring for this service…if they’re not, this is gonna be a really sucky business.

And since this business is based on real-life interactions,
Ken needs to do a real-life validation.

Step 1.) Make a quick flyer for this service.  We’re gonna post the same flyer online AND offline.

STEP 2.) Post this flyer as an image on Craigslist under the section: SERVICES –> TRAVEL/VACATION.

STEP 3.) Then walk around your hood and post this flyer in some hostile’s or hotels.  Talk to the people who run them.  See if they can refer people your way.  Maybe even offer them $20 per referral to get things moving.

STEP 4.) Actually show a couple people around town yourself.  Was it fun?  Was it worth it?  Did they pay you? Are they gonna come back?  Any surprises?  Were they happy with it?  Are they gonna recommend friends?

STEP 5.) Ask how they found you…..and if they use travel sites.  Then start modifying the ad to see if you can get more success.

Modify and post that ad many times to see what really stands out.  Here’s some sample headlines and sub-headlines to post:

 

SEE ALL THE FAMOUS NEW YORK CITY SIGHTS.
All the famous icons in one tour. 

 

NEW YORK CITY BACON TOUR.
Eat the most popular bacon dishes in New York City. 

 

NEW YORK CITY TOP RESTAURANT TOUR.
Eat the top dish at the top 5 restaurants in New York in 1 day. 

 

NEW YORK CITY PARTY ANIMAL TOUR.
Party at the most exclusive clubs in NYC till 8am with a notorious party animal.

 

Who knows…..you might find out that the party animal tour is by far the most requested and profitable over anything else.

This means you could maybe start your travel website with “specialty tours” in mind…instead of the regular boring tours already out there.

That would be a unique and value-added type of thing.

I might spend $50 to get a crappy tour driving through Times Square and other tourist-y areas of New York.  But I’d spend $1,000+ to hit up 3 insane clubs in NYC with VIP access and have the craziest, most celebrity-filled, alcoholed-up New York night possible with my friends.

So this real life experience will help guide your online site.

If you try to promote these tours, and nothing ever comes of it…..it might mean you should abandon this business idea and move on.  Put a bullet in this idea’s head.

However if some of your tours start to take the hell off….
YOU MIGHT HAVE HIT ON SOMETHING BIGGER!

If you’re blindsided by the success of something, it means you’ve hit on something.

 

With this idea validation method, several things have happened:

1.) You actually make some money taking people around the city.

2.) You find out what people actually respond to and will PAY for.  This is huuuggee.  Because if you start a business based that’s filling REAL wants and needs, it will work well.

 

A word about the psychology behind this:
Now our test subject here (Ken) wanted to “just start a business about travel stuff”….but was he actually trying to provide value to a large group of people, or was this just a lazy-ass idea to make him some money?

You see….if you just wanna start a business because it “might blow up and make me a lot of money”, just quit.

EVERY SUCCESSFUL PERSON I’VE EVER SEEN GET RICH OFF A BUSINESS HAS PUT A LOT OF WORK INTO IT.

So if you’re doing something, put effort into it. Especially in the validation part where you’re finding out what people really get from your business.

Shitty effort = Shitty results.
Amazing effort = Amazing results. 
Sincerely,
-Neville

P.S.  Should I make this into a series of wantrepreneur-killing emails?  Just say YES I WANNA SEE MORE WANTREPRENEUR KILLING EXAMPLES…or lemme know whatchya wanna hear more of!

 

 

Alternate view: How Can I Have FUN Doing This

It’s happened over and over again…..

Anytime we try to make something all about money, it’s usually kinda boring and not as profitable.

Whenever we try to just make something FUN, it’s a great time AND the money somehow follows:

Next time you’re doing something boring or just for money, try asking the questions, “How can I make this fun for ME?”

….it often opens up a lot of creativity.

How David Favor validated his business

I’m a HUGE fan of validating businesses BEFORE going full-time with them.

This is an 18 minute interview with my friend David Favor who now owns a multi-million dollar company selling superfood stuff.  Now his company is a well-oiled machine, but it wasn’t always like that.  At first he was scooping product into little plastic baggies (kinda like a drug dealer):

 

An important lesson to be learned from this:

“When you’re blind-sided by the success of something you’re doing….perhaps there’s a business in it.”

How to validate a taco stand

What if you wanted to open a Taco stand? 

Like a taco-truck on the side of the road.  
 
How would you do it?
 
A typical “wantrepreneur” would do the following:
  • Start researching licenses and city permits.  
  • Scout out possible lease locations and speak with all the property owners. 
  • Start Googling taco recipes.
  • Take out a loan (or borrow money) to buy a truck or cart.
  • Spend money and time to get the truck food-certified by the city.  
  • Start looking for employees to help with making the tacos.
  • And…… 
  • A……
  • Bunch……..
  • Of……. 
  • Other……
  • Boring……
  • Stuff……. 
 
Soooo after all that work, thousands of dollars, and months of time…. where are we?NO WHERE!
 
NOT ONE FUCKING TACO HAS BEEN SOLD!!
 
So let’s say $10,000 later, and 6 months down the line….we’ve got this magical taco truck ready.  
 
We excitedly go out to our pre-researched location and turn on the “Open for Business” sign!  
 
::CRICKETS CHIRPING::
::CRICKETS CHIRPING::
::CRICKETS CHIRPING::
::CRICKETS CHIRPING::
::CRICKETS CHIRPING::
 
Well shit.  That didn’t work out so well.  We were open all day & night, we spent hundreds of dollars on fresh meat, avocados, tortillas…..and we only sold 10 tacos the whole night.  
 
“But oh well, it was just the first night…..we’ll get more business soon!” 
 
The next night….
And the next night….
Aaaand the next night……
And our taco truck is still bleeding money.  
 
And since we spent all our money and all our time on this…..we still desperately cling onto this shitty business.  
 
All because WE DIDN’T FIRST VALIDATE THE IDEA.  
 
Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. 
 
 
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Ok, now let’s take a break and re-do this whole taco-truck idea as if we knew how to validate ideas before jumping in:  
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The absolute FIRST THING TO DO is see if people even WANT your tacos.  
 
Now there’s hundreds of things that could make a successful food business……so instead let’s focus on something the late & great Gary Halbert said:
 
Gary Halbert said (I’m paraphrasing here):
 
“If you opened a hot dog stand…..and I opened a hot dog stand……I can beat the PANTS off you.
It doesn’t matter if you have better hot dog buns, or fresher meat, or more condiments….. 
My secret would be setting up my hot dog stand around a STARVING CROWD.”  
 
 

Using this theory, let’s do a taco-stand validation in one day:

 
FIRST STEP.) Let’s make a bunch of tacos at home (maybe 25-50 tacos) and wrap them in foil.  
 
SECOND STEP.) Let’s take those tacos to some location we think there is a starving crowd, and stack them in little pyramid on a cheap plastic table.
THIRD STEP.) Let’s use some markers and poster-board to make a big-ass sign that says:
 
“HOT BEEF TACOS – $2 each”
FOURTH STEP.) See if people actually buy all your tacos. 
That’s it.  Kind of like this:
DO YOU REALIZE WHAT WE’VE DONE HERE ALEADY??
In one day, we’ve understood:
  • How easy or hard it was to make all those tacos.
  • How much time it took to make the tacos.
  • How much money it took.
  • If we even LIKED doing this work.
  • If our tacos were delicious, or shitty.  
  • A rough estimate of how much to charge for each taco.
  • If the location was good or bad.
  • …..and most importantly:
  • If people even WANTED our tacos from that location.
The next day, we can repeat the experiment, but try a different time, or location, or even an entirely different product…..and see if it works.  
 
And don’t give me shit about, “But Nevillleee…..what about city permits and stuff!!”
 
There’s many ways to get around this (such as setting up your stand on private property like a bar stoop or house lawn)……or even doing it WITHOUT permission.  If a cop actually tried to stop you (highly unlikely), you can just shut down the experiment and repeat elsewhere.  
 
(I asked cops in my bottled water experiment what they would do if they saw me selling water without a permit…..they said, “We don’t really care”) 
 
BE SCRAPPY.  
BE CREATIVE.  
USE LOOPHOLES.  
 
The point of this is to SEE IF PEOPLE WANT YOUR DAMN TACOS.  And if you do an experiment like this, you’ll learn SO MUCH.  
 
So if night-after-night your tacos sell out within 20 minutes…..You’ve proved that people love your tacos, love your location, and love your prices.  
 
…..you might actually have a damn good business on your hands!
 
However if no one buys, or the logistics of taco-making are just entirely too difficult (or boring) for you…..it might make sense to just SHOOT THIS IDEA IN THE HEAD AND KILL IT BEFORE IT SUCKS UP ALL YOUR TIME AND MONEY.  
 
………………and there you have it. We validated a taco stand! 
 
 
Sincerely, 
Mexican Neville

NEVINNEWYORK

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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.  

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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.