Eduardo is a good guy. I coached him for the first time yesterday.
He’s trying to start a business online and is struggling with how to get going.
- What business should I start?
- What can I sell?
- What service can I provide?
- How do I get customers?
- How do people find out about me?
The exact same questions I asked when I was starting out.
The problem is this. It’s messy.
But thats a crap answer. Telling someone that is trying to start a business that it’s ‘messy‘ and that ‘you’ll have to persist‘ is like telling a fat person to stop eating.
No crap, I know that!
But how do I DO that?
I’m going to give you the exact steps to follow to answer those questions.
You can use this method to work for ANYONE. Some people and companies might be harder but it works.
Here are a list of companies I’ve worked with by using the Santa Claus formula
- Dave Ramsey
- Jon Acuff
- Gary Vaynerchuk
The point isn’t to brag. The point is, if some random guy from Alabama can do it, you definitely can too.
On to the meat…
Here are the exact steps I gave Eduardo:
Step 1: Start with a service
Don’t try to start a Saas company. Don’t try to write a book about a topic you know nothing about and please don’t build a freaking iPhone app.
They are a much higher risk, take longer and require more money to start.
Services are substantially easier and most of them require no money to start. You can literally read a how-to article and 30 minutes later sell that service for $50 per month.
Don’t believe me? I did it.
Here is how:
I read this post on January 10th of this year.
I immediately began implementing the strategies to the Videofruit Twitter account.
Here is what happened next:
The results were immediate and impressive. Now I wanted to see if anyone would pay me to do the same thing for them.
So, I did three things:
Thing 1: Created a super simple Gumroad page so people could pay me.
Thing 2: Posted about the service in one Facebook group that I am active in.
Thing 3: Emailed 50 people of the most influential people who shared the article on Twitter.
As a result I sold 5 monthly subscriptions ($50 ea) to this service in less than 48 hours.
So yes, it can be done. I’ve done this 2 other times this year to test the viability of other business ideas.
Here is the best part, this Twitter growth service could become many different things.
Once I have an established group of people who pay me to manage their social media accounts, I could:
- Build an iPhone app to display the analytics of their account
- Build a desktop app to streamline the process for me
- I could sell the desktop app to agencies
- Create a course to teach other people how to do the same
- Start a membership site where I collate different growth strategies
Those are easy to do once you have people paying you.
Start with a service.
How do you find a service idea to start with?
1. Examine tweets that you have favorited: What articles have you favorited while browsing Twitter? Write down a list of the best ones. I have over 4,000 favorites.
If you dont favorite Tweets, find someone you respect who does. Use mine, I don’t care. They are all public. Make a list of the ones that jump out to you. Then ask yourself, how could I make this a service?
2. Examine your reading habits: What blog posts, newsletters, books and status updates are you reading? What are the most compelling ones? Make a list of the best how to style information you are reading.
After you have compiled both of these lists, pick your favorite. There is no wrong answer. There is no right answer. Just pick one.
After 15 minutes of this exercise Eduardo decided to offer A/B testing services.
Step 2: Identify one person you want to work with
This is my favorite part. Now that you know the service you are going to offer, who do you want to offer it to?
Don’t make a list of 100 people. Pick one.
Close your figurative eyes (or your real ones, either one works) and think of who you would most like to offer this service too.
Got someone? No?
Eduardo had a hard time figuring this out too.
So, I picked for him 🙂
If you are having a hard time figuring out who to offer your service to send me a SHORT email (no more than 2 sentences) to email@example.com and I’ll help you.
Tell me what your service is and I’ll tell you who to target. Don’t write me 4 paragraphs about “your idea.”
There are 3 questions to consider when trying to answer this question:
- Who is doing work you respect?
- Who would be fun to work with?
- Who could give you additional exposure if you worked for them?
How do you come up with the list?
1. Examine your inner circle: Is there someone you would like to work with already subscribed to your newsletter or following you on Twitter? Do you have a friend or family member that would be a viable candidate? Start with them.
2. Examine who you follow: Is there someone you already follow online? Are you signed up to their newsletter, follwing them on Facebook or Twitter? Have you had small email conversations with these people in the past? Start there.
3. Start Fresh: If #1 and #2 produce ZERO candidates than start from scratch (and in the mean time start interacting with people and stop being a loner). Spend 30 minutes doing a series of Google searches and Twitter searches around your topic until you find a good candidate.
Use Buzzsumo to help you. Just type in your topic and find people writing about it. Approach them with your service.
The key with this step is speed. Don’t spend more than 2 hours figuring out the answer. If you do, email me and I’ll pick for you.
In under 10 minutes Eduardo decided to target Amy Hoy.
Step 3: Spend 20 hours on a proposal
At this point you have a service to offer and someone to offer it to (take your mind out of the gutter).
At this point your mission is to follow these 5 rules CLOSELY::
- Don’t ask them if you can work for them
- Don’t tell them you are going to work for them
- Don’t Facebook message them
- Don’t Tweet them
- Don’t talk to them in anyway
Your job is to write the most thorough document you’ve ever put together. Outline every detail of what you will do for them.
What does this look like?
Eduardo is offering A/B split testing services and he is targeted Amy Hoy. So, Eduardo’s task is to go through every inch of Amy Hoys site and mock up 10 different A/B split test that she could be doing on her site.
Instead of sending a text filled email explaining all of these to Amy, he is going to send her a 20 page PDF with every change, the reason for the change and data driven educated guesses of her expected returns.
He is NOT going to ask her if she wants him to do a review of her site. He’s going to do the actual review, put all of his findings into a PDF and then send it to her.
Here is a great example:
Two weeks ago I got the best example of this I’ve seen to date. A guy named Siggy cold emailed me about a ‘speed-up-your-website’ service that he offered.
This was his email:
It included a 5 MINUTE VIDEO of him going through my site explaining everything he could do to improve it’s loading speed.
Who does that? Seriously, who does this type of thing? Nobody!
It doesn’t scale. It’s not easy. And there is no guaranteed payoff. It’s way easier to setup a stupid Facebook ad than to go do something that actually helps a real human.[/rant]
Guess how long it took me to hire him? 5 seconds!
He made it so abundantly clear and easy that I had no choice but to say yes.
How do you do this?
Yea, you’re going to have to work now. Steps 1 and 2 were easy. This is the step where people quit, get lame and become chumps.
Don’t look for a way to scale this. Don’t look for an easy way out.
So, if you want to get unstuck strap yourself in and start working. Make something amazing. Do the work. Don’t ask for permission.
Step 4: Do not ask for money
Now that your work is done. It’s time to contact your target.
Write them an email, tell them how much you love them (without being creepy) and give away your work.
Don’t ask for money.
If you’ve done your job well you will get one of two results
- Thank you! You rock!
- OMG! Where can I pay you to do this?
Either result is great.
Result #1 doesn’t end up in a paid job but you now have a raving fan, you’ve done awesome work and doing it again will be substantially faster and easier than the first time.
Result #2 lands you a paid gig with someone you like and respect.
My results: I did this 5 times last month and 3 of my 5 targets hired me. One of those was Hubspot (here is a link to the first video I made for them).
How about Eduardo?
Now it’s up to Eduardo. Will he execute?
How about you? Are you a hustler or a wannabe?
Send Eduardo an email to encourage him 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
Who do you want to work for? How can you blow them away?
Go do it.
Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Just do it.
PS: Need personal assistance? I have 4 spots left in my one-on-one coaching program. If you are interested, signup here (I’ll personally help you get unstuck).