BAH….I looked at my blog in January 2013, and realized I still had December 2012 goals up:
Now this doesn’t seem like a big deal….but if 22 days into January I’m JUST noticing this, it clearly means something’s off.
And there has been.
The end of the year always gets a bit crazy….and in 2012 I totally embraced it by kind of “stopping work” for a while.
I was so busy going out of town, going to weddings (I was invited to NINE weddings in 2012!!), distracted by birthday festivities (including an unforgettable trip to Cuba), that I literally did nothing some days, and didn’t care.
But then 2013 finally swung around, and it was time to work again.
Unfortunately, “starting to use your brain again” is a lot like going back to the gym after taking 2 months off. IT’S HARD TO GET BACK TO WHERE YOU WERE.
I believe it was Epictetus who said:
Books are like the training weights of the mind.
I vividly remember hearing that quote for the first time, and suddenly realize the brain is very much like a muscle….if you train it well (consistently), it will perform well. If you don’t, it will rot away.
Well my brain kind of rotted during that time, and the result was lazy ass days.
You can probably relate…..I would wake up in my apartment, it’s cold outside, maybe a little gloomy…..and the draw off just “sleeping a little more” in my warm bed is WAY better than waking up.
When I would finally wake my lazy ass up:
I’d have some tea or a smoothie, go to the gym (conveniently inside my apt complex), do some household chores…..and then TAKE A NAP. Take a nap?? From what effort?
It’s like laziness begets MORE laziness. Here’s what a worthless lazy-ass looks like:
OK OK OK ….enough complaining about being lazy, and onto the solutions.
Clearly I was lacking something important: ACCOUNTABILITY.
I often use this blog as a way to keep accountable, but unfortunately there’s no consequences to NOT accomplishing goals. So I did a little Googling, and quickly found an Accountability Coach.
Now this isn’t necessarily a life coach, or a business coach….this is someone who makes sure I accomplish major things each week.
The trick to this, is to NOT find someone who will simply yell at me for not doing something. That kind of accountability fades when the person isn’t around….and after a while you just grow annoyed and resentful.
I wanted someone more like Adam of MyBodyTutor who changes your habits based on talking about why you want them, your goals….yadda yadda. This method worked really well during my six-pack experiment, so I figure it’ll work again.
So now I have an accountability coach. It’s already got me back on track….and gets me nervous when approaching a deadline I set, and haven’t done it. GOOD!
……the second part of this is I hired a personal trainer.
I’ve never felt I needed one, but an experience a friend had was pretty damn great, so I’m giving it a shot.
The reason is:
I (sort-of) know how to exercise, but in my head, I’ll only push hard as I “think” I can go. The right trainer will push me WAY harder. They’ll also take me out of the comfort of the same-old exercises I’m used to.
EXAMPLE: The first time we met, he made me do all these weird poses and bends that were purposely designed to find where I’m weakest. Turns out flexibility in my back is crappy, and some of my vertical shoulder movements are stiff.
I already knew I’m not very flexible in those areas (it becomes obvious when I do Bikram Yoga), so I always do exercises that don’t push on those areas too much. BUT THE TRAINER DOESN’T CARE.
So the first time we actually did a full workout, he purposely had me doing “seemingly simple” exercises…..but when performed correctly, they directly focused on my weak areas. They would get so tiring, I would’ve normally given up….but since there’s someone with a close eye on me and pushing me…..I kept doing them.
ANYHOW, so here were my January 2013 goals I wrote out in December 2012, and I’m finally posting them:
Here’s some goals for 2013 I plotted out on the 7 foot tall mirror in my living room with dry erase markers (didn’t feel like writing it on a small piece of paper):
On a closing note…..here’s a great interview with Conan O’brien (being serious) and Jack White talking about Jack White’s work habits. When he finds himself too comfortable, he gets ZERO done…..so he sets up obligations that he must meet, so he actually gets his work done:
Make a professional-looking video-intro for my Kopy.tv videos.
The problem is I don’t know how to make snazzy little video clips like that. However in my head, I SOOORRRT OF knew what I wanted.
This required I hired some outsourced person to do it for me. Now for most people this kind of task intimidates them, and they’d spend way too much time “storyboarding” their idea or drawing it out.
But I’m lazy….and tried to spend the least amount of time possible on this….so I made this quick YouTube video describing what I wanted. Look how ghetto it is:
I made this with Camtasia screen capture software in less than 5 minutes.
Notice how I didn’t even really have any font suggestions or anything. After all, I was paying a designer to make those decisions for me (what the hell do I know about fonts)??
So with JUST THAT VIDEO as direction, I went to look for a designer on eLance or RentACoder……but then remembered a guy named Samuel Pitcher because he made this AppSumo animation for us because he liked AppSumo.
I was impressed because he took our static logo, and made it into an animated video…..without asking him. We now use that animation for EVERY AppSumo video!
I decided to give Samuel a try before going elsewhere, and sent him the above “specification” video for the Kopy.tv animation, and within 2 days he came back with this:
PRETTY DAMN GOOD EH!!
I was blown away. It was short, super-clean, and looked amazing.
That’s the benefit of a great designer…..they just “do it” without asking too many questions. You’re essentially paying them to make your creative decisions.
It’s nice to give them SOME direction so you’re both on the same page….but notice how easy that was in the specification video I sent. Not hard as some people make “outsourcing” seem.
SO TWO THINGS LEARNED HERE: 1.) When outsourcing something, it’s often good to make a video explaining it.
You can see a video Noah and I did about outsourcing tips here.
You can see another example of my outsourcing here.
2.) If you need a great graphics or animation designer….hit up Samuel Pitcher (at least bookmark his name in your contacts):
BY THE WAY:
Please don’t hit up designers asking for free work. The good one’s won’t do it, and you get what you pay for. Even though an animation maybe short, if it’s going to be seen in ALL your branding, it’s worth getting it done well!
For the 1st part of my 30th birthday, I went to the F1 races, then Noah threw me a surprise party that night.
For the 2nd part of my 30th bday, I went to Cuba (actually Noah planned this whole trip too…..that was damn nice of him eh!)
Cuba was appealing because it’s this weird “time capsule” of a place. The United States has an embargo against Cuba, so Cuba has very little importing options….not to mention it’s a communist country (well….I guess technically it’s “socialist”). This means the government can strictly control the imports, exports, the currency….and thus, the people.
For example, for the locals of Cuba:
…they are not allowed to leave Cuba.
…they are not allowed to use the internet.
…they are not supposed to get close with any tourists.
…they are not allowed to openly talk bad about the government.
…all sorts of other stuff.
There’s also not a lot of industry going on in Cuba….this means most of the local population is quite poor, many of them making something like $13 to $18 U.S. dollars A MONTH. That’s right, A MONTH.
A doctor in Cuba, even a surgeon, gets paid only $40 A FREAKIN’ MONTH.
Almost hard to believe.
The way they survive on this small sum of money is because Cuba has two currencies (both of which outside of Cuba are worth nothing).
FIRST CURRENCY is called the Cuban Convertible Peso, and is roughly 1-to-1 with American dollars. Tourists use this currency, and prices everywhere are pretty decent with this currency. We could eat a nice lunch, complete with beers, for 6 people, for about $30 to $45. Not bad. Unless you’re eating at the really nice tourist-y places, you probably won’t spend a crazy amount on food.
SECOND CURRENCY is the Cuban Peso, and is for locals only. Tourists aren’t supposed to use it, and the locals aren’t “supposed to” accept it from tourists (notice the “supposed to” in quotes). This currency is 250 per 1 American dollar. My friend heard that you could buy things RIDIIIICCCULOUSLY cheap in local areas if you somehow get a hold of this currency.
He found a place that would let him get some, and he decided to change just $20 U.S. Dollars. The lady at the front asked him, “Ummm….are you SURE?” He agreed, and got a HUGE STACK OF $5,000 IN LOCAL BILLS. It was like a giant strip-club stack of $20 bills!
Whenever we went to local places that accepted this currency, this is what we spent:
4 bowls of ice cream at a sit-down ice cream parlor (4 scoops per bowl) = $0.20 USD total
Bottle of rum + mixers = $2.90 USD
Personal pizza = $0.15 USD
After paying with local currency at every place possible (sometimes convincing is needed), my friend still had $10 USD in local currency left over!
However almost everyone we spoke with about Cuba told us the local currency was useless for tourists. It worked well for us because 3 of us were brown, and my friend using the currency spoke very fluent Spanish.
However this local currency only worked in certain places, definitely not everywhere. I still ended up spending about $2,000 in six days (about 20% was skimmed off each money exchange, and much of it was to pay for the big penthouse condo we rented).
One of the greatest parts about living in a society that’s “slightly less than 1st world” is bribing (well…presuming you’re rich in that country….otherwise it sucks for you)!
Anytime there’s a long line at the airport, it “can be solved” with some monetary lubrication.
Anytime you need a table at a restaurant with a huge wait…..no problem.
BEST JOBS IN CUBA:
In a perfect society, I’d think doctors, teachers, and businessmen should make the most money…..HOWEVER, in Cuba, we found out one of the best jobs to ever have is a bartender in a touristy spot!
The bartenders sling drinks all day, and get tipped in Cuba Convertible Pesos (about 1-to-1 with American dollars). This means they can rake in $150+ a day. And when you consider the average Cuban peasant makes something like $13 to $18 a MONTH, that’s a helluvalot of money.
The next best job is a taxi driver. The government “owns” the taxis, but the drivers get to keep much of their tips. Someone shuttling around tourists all day can make decent tips, and support an entire family pretty well on that job.
It was interesting yet kinda sad how a bartender or taxi driver make literally 100x what a doctor makes.
The country actually felt VERY safe. I have a reasonably good “Spidey Sense” of what situations will get me into “fake” trouble (ex: security guard telling you to stop doing something), and what will get me into “real” trouble (ex: going to jail in a communist country).
….and I gotta say, Cuba was pretty safe. Since their criminal justice system is so harsh on crime, there is very little of it. I heard pickpocketing and petty crimes are reasonably common, but serious crimes are not.
Actually in Mexico and China I’ve felt MUCH stronger security presences than Cuba. I really expected to see armed guards everywhere around Cuba, but alas hardly saw a single one. Even the police officers seemed chill and nice, and about 80% didn’t even carry guns.
Pretty much everywhere we went, the vibe of the country was “super chill”. It was very safe.
GETTING INTO THE COUNTRY FOR U.S. CITIZENS:
Pretty much any other country in the world can openly travel to Cuba with no issue. However Americans can’t legally go “just like that” because of the embargo we have against Cuba since 1962. But there are many options to go:
GETTING A VISA:
American Citizens can go to Cuba legally if they have family members there, going for diplomatic reasons, going for foreign aid reasons……and the most common is “cultural” reasons. This is for students and tourists. There are many tour companies that will charge you money and get you a “legal” visa to Cuba…..but I’m almost certain some of these are scams, read the next way of entering the country:
U.S. citizens can “try” this little stunt if so chosen:
Get a flight to some country such as Mexico, Belize, Guatemala …wherever. Then fly to Havana, Cuba from there. Your passport will get stamped on the way out of the country, however, Cuba stamps only the Cuban visas (which any person can buy at the airport for $25 each). This visa is just a piece of paper that’s NOT affixed to your passport.
This means for Americans, they stamp the paper on the way into the country, and the way out of the country. So your passport is untouched.
For example, one could “just hypothetically” do this:
Go to Cancun, Mexico.
Buy a flight to Cuba.
At the airport, find a place to get Cuban visas. They’re $25 each.
Fly to Cuba, have a good time.
Fly back to Cancun.
Fly back to the U.S.
From what I understand through research and talking to many people who’ve done something similar, the U.S. no longer takes the Cuban embargo ultra-seriously.
THE TIME-CAPSULE EFFECT:
One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Cuba right now, is the “time-capsule” effect the American embargo has on the country. Essentially they have a bunch of old cars from the 50′s rolling around, no internet and very limited cell phone use.
I can go to a rural farm in India, and the farmer will be text messaging his kids. However in Cuba I hardly saw ANY locals with a phone. The only phones I saw being used were carried by hustlers, tourists, or students.
It was also almost wholly “brand-less” when driving around. No billboards, no overt advertisements except inside the actual establishments.
You’ll definitely need to know some Spanish if you visit. However you can make it around the tourist-y areas ok without it. All 6 of us on the trip spoke and understood at least A LITTLE Spanish. Two people with us spoke damn-near fluent, so that helped a ton for using local currency, getting information, and exploring areas where tourists don’t go.
CULTURE & MIS-INFORMATION: Initially I thought we’d see propaganda everywhere, kind of like I’ve seen in China….but to my surprise it was shockingly little. Instead the people are left relatively ignorant of the outside world through not being able to leave the country, no internet, and mainly: Very little access to outside information.
Their bookstores only sold American literature if it was something like an old classic novel (Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway etc). There were a lot of books about Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. But completely absent were any new releases.
Almost no Cubans have ever left the country. Almost no information about the outside world is easily seen.
THE CONTINGENCY PLAN:
After researching Cuba, it turns out things were pretty safe. So here’s how I rationalized it:
98% chance things would all work out completely fine and we’d all get home safe.
1% chance of us getting stopped for questioning….perhaps get a small fine.
1% chance that I somehow end up in a Cuban jail with no way out.
In the REALLY OFF CHANCE that I (or someone in the group) were to end up in some really deep-shit trouble whilst in Cuba, I made a small document called “The Contingency Plan.”
I sent the document to two close friends who I trust, and also know my family & friends well enough to get things in motion.
The document contained certain contact information, and also instructions on where to find a small envelope which contained some bank account information. This bank account had immediately access to $200k in cash…..so if by some REMOTE CHANCE I didn’t arrive back home from Cuba…..the contingency plan would kick into gear and be well funded.
After going on the trip and seeing how safe the country actually was, I probably wouldn’t deem a Contingency Plan necessary for the next trip……but it was nice to know I had backups coming for us in case something happened.
SCREW ALL THIS WRITING, HERE’S SOME PICTURES!
Here’s some video highlights of the trip (me and my brother bought a $60 guitar in Cuba and made VERY good use of it)!
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!
FYI you can go to Kopy.tv to easily see all my vids.
Not fully sure about the name yet, but for now they’re called The Neville Letters.
I’ve loooong wanted to make a physical snail-mail newsletter I send out once a month.
There’s something so intrinsically satisfying to me about writing something, then printing it on paper. As I hold it in my hand, I think, “I….Neville Medhora…..MADE this thing.” (I say it in my Caveman Voice)
THE REASON IT’S PHYSICAL AND NOT EMAIL OR WEB: For YOU.
When I just write something and hit “Publish” ….and it’s free …and I don’t really know the people I’m sending to…. the content is gonna be different.
I’ve always wanted to send “Things” to people, not just words. I personally love sitting in bed with a physical book or newsletter and marking it up with a pen. I take away MUCH MORE than a simple email to me.
The reason is UNDERSTANDING.
If I just say, “Hey, you should tell a story in your copy to increase conversions.” ….that’s sort of lame, and won’t stick in your head.
IT’S MY FREAKIN JOB TO BURN LESSONS INTO YOUR BRAIN, so for example…..I’ve always wanted instead to send a box with a crappy little stuffed animal in it, and say something like:
“This stuffed animal rabbit was found on Howland Island towards the end of 1937….just 6 months after Amelia Earhart’s famous disappearance. Howland Island is over 1,700 miles away from the Hawaiian Islands, making it one of the most remote places on Earth.
Humans had never visited the island till a search crew landed on it’s beaches.
What you’re holding here is not just a small, grey, stuffed rabbit with it’s eye poked out. This rabbit was believed to be in the plane of Amelia Earhart (the first woman to fly across the Atlantic) when her plane crashed somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle.
This rabbit found on Howland Island was the exact type Amelia Earhart use to fly with as a good luck charm (confirmed by her parents). What you’re holding in your hand is believed to be the ONLY PIECE OF EVIDENCE ever found of Amelia Earhart’s wrecked plane.
…..now look again at this piece-of-junk stuffed animal. You thought it was a 25 cent item at a garage sale. But now it’s priceless. It’s value went from 25 cents to something that would fetch over $1,000,000 at a Sotheby’s auction.
THE STORY BEHIND IT.
DAMN that was good!
I made up the whole thing about this stuffed rabbit being found, but that person would now fully understand the value-adding power of a great story. Physically holding that rabbit in your hands will make a HUGE difference in the way you grasp the concept of how stories can work. It will be the difference between “understand the concept” and “A light switch in your brain turning on.”
I view it as my DUTY to press these lessons into people’s heads……and using a physical medium is still far more powerful than our current experience on the internet.
I think that’s worth a whole helluva-a-lot more than $100 every month.
My plan is so ultra-super-duper-hardcore burn ONE main lesson into people’s brains with each newsletter.
The lessons will primarily be in the kopywriting world……but in my mind, kopywriting and business are the same thing.
THE REASON I’M CHARGING: REASON #1.) It’s like….work and shit to send these out. I’ve long run a drop-shipping business and know it’s a pain in the ass to keep track of physical inventory and all the random real-world things that happen to a package.
REASON #2.) FOR YOU TO LEARN BETTER. I was long a believer that all my products should be cheap as possible. Lemme tell you, I HAVE CHANGED. It has absolutely zero to do with making more money, and everything to do with PEOPLE WHO PAY FOR SOMETHING VALUE IT MORE.
….and the MORE they pay, the MORE they pay attention.
I have seen this countless times now…..most poignantly with AppSumo tests we’ve done:
Let’s say something like the wildly-popular and helpful SumoBusinessBlueprint. We sell it for $69. People LOVE it, they LEARN A LOT from it, and many go onto create businesses from it, or at least change their entire mind about how to start a business.
But we’ve tried tests where we sold it for $18 also. It sold well at the lower price, but the engagement was low, the people learned very little since they didn’t value it (not everyone, but there was an extraordinarily noticeable drop in interaction), and people thought it was “just ok”.
We then tried selling this product for $1. Yup, just 1 buck.
I thought it was going to be the most AMAZING deal people ever got, and they would all love me.
You know what happened?
THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS WERE THE LEAST-MOTIVATED, MOST-BITCHIEST, WORST CUSTOMERS WE EVER HAD!
That stupidly low price did many things:
De-valued the whole product (when did you think something that was $1.00 was EXTREMELY valuable to you)?
Attracted basement-bargain hunters.
Made the course a total “impulse buy” which people could grab ….and then never use.
Lowered the ratings on the course as these non-perfect-customers would say, “This sucks I want a refund.”
We tried this on several courses, and the shitty results were consistant.
The craziest thing was…..when we price-tested higher prices (particularly $89), the satisfaction rate went UP! The higher price scared away the bargain hunters and impulse buyers….leaving us only with people serious about bettering their understanding of starting a bid-naz.
ANYHOW, If you can come up with a better name than “The Neville Letters”, lemme know. Current ideas I have are:
The Kopywriting Kronicles
Neville Medhora’s Kopywriting Letters
If you would like to start getting The Neville Letters in your physical mailbox, you can signup below. The 1st edition is ready to send out (I actually already sent the 1st two copies to Noah, and my good friend Ryan):
I’m EXCITED AS HELL ABOUT THIS! Hope you come join me on this journey.
It’s exactly $100/month (not $97, or $99.99 to help convince you buy….just plain-old $100).
You can signup below (make sure to enter your correct shipping address at checkout):
[NEVILLE'S LETTERS SUBSCRIBES ARE CLOSED RIGHT NOW!]
Sooo many people want to work at home, and they immediately start searching for “business ideas” or “consulting ideas” they can do.
One of the highest paid and easiest (in terms of equipment needed) services you can do is copywriting.
Essentially you type out words on a laptop from anywhere in the world….and people pay money for it (often A LOT of money since you’re helping improve conversion rates of businesses….which obviously makes them a lot of money).
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!
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!
He got the original image from a thumbnail of one of our Sumo Dojo videos:
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)!
I recently had a little “reading party” which combined hanging out with friends, plus an hour of reading…..and it went off pretty well, so I thought I’d share how I threw it so YOU can throw one too!
If you enjoy hanging out with friends.
If you enjoy reading.
You can combine the two and throw a fun event. It would be partially productive, and partially fun/social.
I wanted to see friends before the busy holiday season sucks everyone out of town, so I put a Facebook invite out to some friends in Austin. Here was the description for the party I wrote (Many people told me this was the favorite event-invite description they’ve ever got)!
FACEBOOK INVITE TITLE: Pajama Reading Party @ Nev’s
Hey all, it’s my first ever READING PARTY!
Put some comfy clothes on and come READ at my place on Tuesday Nov. 20th!
Bring a book…..or borrow one of mine for the evening.
Show up at 8pm and we’ll all socialize. At 9pm sharp it’ll be library time….so we’ll all read for an hour.
This is just a fun, casual event for all of us to hang out (and get some reading time in).
Whatever you want…but comfy clothes or pajamas would be best.
8pm till 9pm: We’ll all socialize and hang out like cool kids.
9pm till 10pm: I’ll be a library cop and hush everyone up. We’ll all read for an hour till 10pm.
10pm till 12am: Wherever the night goes.
Try your best to show up at 8pm so we have time to talk beforehand. 9pm – 10pm I’ll actually hush you up and make you read!
—ALREADY PROVIDED FOR YOU—
-Extra books if you don’t have.
-Pillows, blankets etc to lounge on.
-Maybe pull the guest bed into the living room for lounging.
-Night time calming tea, soda, booze, beer (for those who wanna do some buzzed reading) :-)
-No laptops please. Just reading materials.
-Let’s actually read for a full hour from 9pm till 10pm.
-Get comfy as possible during reading time. Make friends, grab a spot on a chair, or lay on the floor, or snuggle up to
someone and getchyo READ on.
If you have guests, make sure they’re cool, and make sure you can vouch for them. No bummers please like the Seinfeld library cop! http://youtu.be/D9tP9fI2zbE
Neville’s apartment at AMLI Eastside (formerly called Robertson Hill Apartments).
This map should show pretty closely the exact location of my apartment unit:
[insert map link here]
Anywhere on the street around the building is fine. If you need, call me and I can let you into the guest parking garage.
I think I have cool friends….and it’s fun when you all meet!
I’ll see you all on Tuesday for a nice evening together :-)
P.S. Try to show up close to 8pm and don’t forget a book.
P.P.S. At 9pm sharp till 10pm we’ll hush up and read for an hour. So come a bit earlier to get some reading time in!
This description covered everything perfectly, so everyone was on time and brought books.
I wanted to make sure everyone had enough space to comfily sprawl out…..but in my apartment I only have seating for a few people. So I ended up bringing a queen sized bed from my guest room into the living room for extra seating!
6+ people could easily fit on it, and it turned out to be the most comfortable spot!
Everyone arrived close to 8pm as requested, and we all hung out and chatted. Since it was random friends and not just a particular clique of friends I invited, they all got to meet each other.
At 9pm we all started reading. I thought I’d have to be a total library cop to shut everyone up….but surprisingly everyone was cooperative and ready to read.
In the background I put some soft music (Pandora.com on the “Chill/Downtempo Radio”) ….and it played great music the whole time that wasn’t too distracting (aka doesn’t have many words).
It was really fun reading around friends. It kept everyone focused.
Someone pulled out a laptop at one point, and like the party description said, I made them close it. The clickity-clacking of the keyboard is distracting to people reading. I’m glad I laid down the law as laptops would’ve ruined the mood a bit.
Here’s everyone showing off their books before the reading started:
Here’s a shot of everyone reading (there’s a few more people on the left who didn’t make the picture):
That’s me laying down on the bed:
I’m not one to cook for a party, so a few hours before I went to Whole Foods and picked up some snacks. Pretty basic, but it worked great:
Water bottles (carbonated and non-carbonated).
Sliced fruit (melon, kiwi, strawberries).
Fresh guacamole & salsa + chips.
(on a side-note….checkout how neatly I placed my groceries on the conveyor belt thingy)!
Everyone was covered beverage-wise and the healthy snacks were delicious.
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?
They started with one store and fully understood what people wanted.
You think Facebook got big by going for 1,000,000,000 users?
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.