How to Create a Million-Dollar Business This Weekend (Examples: AppSumo, Mint, Chihuahuas)

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Noah Kagan built three multi-million dollar online businesses before turning 28. He also looks great in green. (Photo: Brandon Wells)

I first met Noah Kagan over rain and strong espressos at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View, CA. It was 2007. We were both in hoodies, had a shared penchant for the F-bomb and burritos, all of which led to a caffeine-infused mindmeld.

It would be the first of many.

The matchmaker then introducing us was the prophetic and profane Dave McClure, General Partner of 500 Start-ups, which is now headquartered just down the street from Red Rock.

Mr. Noah has quite the start-up resume.

  • Founder of Sumo, free marketing tools that help websites get more traffic (500,000 users)
  • Founder of AppSumo, loved by entrepreneurs and moms everywhere (900,000 users)
  • Employee #30 at Facebook, where he lost $170 million
  • Employee #4 at Mint
  • Previously worked for Intel (where he frequently took naps under his desk)
  • Co-founder of Gambit, an online gaming payment platform and a multi-million dollar business

He also helped pour fire on both the 4-Hour Workweek and 4-Hour Body launches.

The purpose of this post is simple: to teach you how to get a $1,000,000 business idea off the ground in one weekend, full of specific tools and tricks that Noah has used himself.

He will be your guide…

Enter Noah

For some reason, people love to make excuses about why they haven’t created their dream business or even gotten started.

This is the “wantrepreneur” epidemic, where people prevent themselves from ever actually doing the side-project they always talk about over beers.

The truth of the matter is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time building the foundation for a successful business. In most cases, it shouldn’t take you more than a couple days.

Think I’m joking?

We made the original product for Gambit in a weekend.

“WTF?!” Yes, a weekend.

In just 48 hours, some friends and I created a simple product that grew to a $1,000,000+ business within a year.

Same deal for AppSumo. We were able to build the core product in one weekend, using an outsourced team in Pakistan, for a grand total of $60.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not opposed to you trying to build a world-changing product that requires months of fine-tuning. All I’m going to suggest is that you start with a much simpler essence of your product over the course of a weekend, rather than wasting time building something for weeks… only to discover no one wants it.

I know what you’re thinking: “Yes, Noah, you are SO amazing (and handsome), but what can I do this weekend to start my own success story?”

Here are the steps you can take right now to get started on your million dollar company:

Step 1: Find your (profitable) idea.

At this stage, you are simply looking for something that people are already willing to spend money on. So grab a seat and write down a list of ideas that you think might be profitable. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, try using the methods below to speed the research process along:

Review top sellers on Amazon. Find products that already have guaranteed customers, then build something complementary. A good example of this is Dodo making a gorgeous $60 case to buy for your iPad (which costs over $500, and over 5 million sold).

Think of all the things you do on a daily basis. Anything done more than once has potential for a product or service to improve the process. For me, one of those products was a mirror I could hang in the shower. It saves me tons of time while shaving, and now I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

Be cognizant of products you use and frequently complain about. Before Gambit, we were constantly asking our payment tool partners for certain features, yet our requests were always rejected. That was the impetus for us to create Gambit for our own games.

Check completed listings on eBay. This allows you to see how well certain products are selling. It’s also an easy way to measure sale prices of items and gauge the overall percentage of the market that’s receiving bids (i.e. in demand).

Look for frequent requests on Craigslist gigs. These listings are from people actively searching for someone to give their money to in exchange for particular services. Try searching for certain keywords (e.g. marketing, computers, health) and keep track of the total number of results displayed. Evaluate the most popular keywords and see if you can create a product or service around those requests.

Explore popular backed projects on on Kickstarter. People are already raising their hand for things they are interested in. What else could you do that’s similar?

See what people are wanting on Reddit. So many times in the DIY sub-redditI see people asking to buy what someone just made. There arehundreds of potential customers asking to give you money.

 

Listen here to help come up with more business ideas.

Step 2: Find $1,000,000 worth of customers.

Now that you’ve found an idea that people are willing to spend money on, it’s time to assess whether there’s a big enough pool of prospective buyers.

In this step, you’ll also want to ensure your market isn’t shrinking, and that it fares well compared to similar markets.

I use Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Facebook ads when I’m in this part of the process. They’re great tools that help me evaluate the growth potential of my target market.

For example, let’s say you decide to build information products for owners of Chihuahuas (remember “Yo quiero Taco Bell”?). Here’s how I would check to see if there are enough customers:

  1. Search Google Trends for the term “chihuahua” and other similar words (e.g. poodle, dogs) for comparison:

With Google Trends you are just looking for relative significance. If you are targeting dogs this will show you which type of dogs are the most popular. You can do this in other verticals like should you build for Android or iPhone or should you put your software on Shopify or BigCommerce.

  1. Check out the term “Chihuahua” on Google Keyword Planner:

3. Alternatively try out the keyword on SEMrush to see how the search volume looks.

4. Lastly, look at the total number of people available on Facebook for dogs:

59 million. Not bad, not bad.

And for Chihuahuas:

1.6 million people. Score.

Some other groups you can think of targeting:

  • Local cities (Austin, Boulder, San Jose)
  • Narrow interest groups (disc golf, fat tire mountain bike)
  • Demographics (Jewish people who live in South America, Indian people who live in Sydney)

You can also see if there is a large property that you can piggyback on, and funnel traffic from.

Paypal did this with eBay, AirBnb is doing it with Craigslist home listings, and AppSumo looks to the 100 million LinkedIn users. If you can find a comparable site with a large number of potential customers, you’ll be in good shape.

What helped me with finding $1,000,000 worth of customers for AppSumo was studying my successful competitors; specifically, Macheist. Their site did a Mac-only deal that generated more than $800,000.

Macheist shares their sales revenue publicly, but you can use your own business acumen on the CrunchBase or Angel.co to see which business you want to replicate.

For instance, you might research Airbnb.com, discover that they have a profitable and growing marketplace, then decide to create a similar service for RVs (like RVshare did).

I like to create a Google Spreadsheet of the key numbers for my competitors’ businesses. Below is an example of what that might look like for Macheist in their Mac bundles. [Warning to the haters: This may not be accurate, but I used these numbers just to get a rough idea of the business’ potential.]

Link to access the Google Spreadsheet for yourself

Step 3: Assess your customer’s value.

Once you’ve found your idea and a big pool of potential customers, you’ll need to calculate the value of those customers. For our example above, we’ll need to estimate how much a Chihuahua owner (i.e. our customer) is worth to us. This will help us determine the likelihood of them actually buying our product, and will also help with pricing. Here’s how we do that:

  1. Find out how much it costs, on average, to buy a Chihuahua (about $650). This is the base cost.
  2. See how much it costs to maintain a Chihuahua each year (i.e. recurring costs). Looks like it’s between $500-3,000. For this example, we’ll call it $1,000.
  3. Look up their life expectancy, which is roughly 15 years. This is the number of times they’ll have to pay those recurring costs.

Therefore, a Chihuahua’s average total cost of ownership is:

[$650 + ($1,000*15)] = $15,650

Damn… you could buy a lot of tacos with that kind of cash. Silly dog owners.

In any case, these owners are already committing to spend a LOT of money on their dogs (i.e. they are valuable). After putting down $650 on the dog itself and an average of $80/month on maintenance (a.k.a. food), spending $50 on an information product that could help them train their Chihuahua–or save money, or create a better relationship between them, etc.–does not seem unreasonable. Of course, the product doesn’t have to cost $50, but we now have some perspective for later deciding on a price.

Now we need to utilize the TAM formula (a.k.a. Total Available Market), which will help us see our product’s potential to generate a million dollars.

Here’s the TAM formula for estimating your idea’s potential:

(Number of available customers) x (Value of each customer) = TAM

If TAM > $1,000,000, then you can start your business.

Let’s plug in some basic numbers to see the TAM for our Chihuahua information product:

(8,000 available customers — 5% of Facebook #s) x ($50 information product) = $4,000,000

We have a winner!

Okay, obviously you are not going to reach 100% market penetration, but consider the following…

  1. This is only through Facebook traffic.
  2. This is only for one breed of dog. If you find success with Chihuahuas, you can easily repeat the process many times with other dog breeds.
  3. This is only for one product. It’s far easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to acquire new ones, so once we’ve built up a decent customer base, we can make even more products to sell to them.

By all measures, it appears that we have a million dollar idea on our hands. Now we can move on to the final step!

Step 4: Validate your idea.

By now, you have successfully verified that your idea has that special million-dollar-potential. Feels good, right? Well, brace yourself — it’s time to test whether people will actually spend money on your product. In other words, is it truly commercially viable?

This step is critical. A lot of your ideas will seem great in theory, but you’ll never know if they’re going to work until you actually test your target market’s willingness to pay.

For instance, I believed AppSumo’s model would work just on gut-feeling alone, but I wasn’t 100% convinced people wanted to buy digital goods on a time-limited basis. I mean, how often do people find themselves needing a productivity tool (compared with, for instance, how often they need to eat)?

I decided to validate AppSumo’s model by finding a guaranteed product I could sell, one with its own traffic source (i.e. customers).

Because I’m a frequent Redditor and I knew they had an affordable advertising system (in addition to 100 million+ monthly users), I wanted to find a digital good that I could advertise on their site. I noticed Imgur.com was the most popular tool on Reddit for sharing images, and they offered a paid pro account option ($25/year). It was the perfect fit for my test run.

I cold-emailed the founder of Imgur, Alan Schaaf, and said that I wanted to bring him paying customers and would pay Imgur for each one. Alan is a great guy, and the idea of getting paid to receive more customers was not a tough sell🙂 The stage was set!

Here’s one of the emails w/ Alan when we launched

Before we started the ad campaign, I set a personal validation goal for 100 sales, which would encourage me to keep going or figure out what was wrong with our model. I decided on “100” after looking at my time value of money. If I could arrange a deal in two hours (find, secure, and launch), I wanted to have a return of at least $300 for those two hours of work. 100 sales ($3 commission per sale) was that amount.

By the end of the campaign, we had sold more than 200 Imgur pro accounts. AppSumo.com was born.

I share this story because it illustrates an important point:

You need to make small, calculated bets on your ideas in order to validate them.

Validation is absolutely essential for saving time and money, which will ultimately allow you to test as many of your ideas as possible.

There are two simple methods for rapidly validating whether people will buy your product or not:

Drive traffic to a basic sales page. This is the method Tim advocates in The 4-Hour Workweek. All you need to do is set up a sales page using Unbounce or WordPress, create a few ads to run on Google and/or Facebook, then evaluate your conversion rate for ad-clicks and collecting email addresses. This is how we launched Mint.com (see one of our original sales pages here). You are not looking for people to buy; you are simply gauging interest and gathering data.

[Note: With Facebook advertising, $100 can get you roughly 100,000 people viewing your ad, and about 80 people visiting your site and potentially giving you their email addresses.]

Email 10 people you know who would want your pseudo-product, then ask them to send payment via Paypal. This might sound a bit crazy, but you’re doing it to see what the overall response is like. If a few of them send payment, great! You now have validation and can build the product (or you can refund your friends and buy them all tacos for playing along). If they don’t bite, figure out why they don’t want your product. Again, the goal is to get validation for your product, not to rip off your friends.

Of course, there are other techniques for validating your product (like Stephen Key leaving his guitar pick designs in a convenience store to see if people would try to buy them). However, I’ve found these two methods to be super efficient and effective for validating ideas online.

No need to get fancy if it does the trick. Here’s a few ideas below in case you are not a dog lover.

Bonus business ideas for you to do today

For the people that just NEVER have a great idea. Here are 5 ideas that you can do today. Don’t worry, every business has competition and has been done already. If you’ve never heard of the company already providing this specific service, it means you have an opportunity!

  • Virtual eBay merchant. Pick up stuff from your friends and neighbors houses. Sell it, then give them 50% of the profits (I really want this).
  • Reduce credit card transaction fees. These companies take 3% for doing very little. How can you fix that? What other companies are taking high margins that you can beat?
  • Tinder specialist. Many wealthy guys don’t want to spend the time creating a profile, texting and arranging dates. Do this for them.
  • Virtual Reality Realtor. Go sell to local realtors the ability to have 3D / VR tours for them to offer to their clients. On the flip side, you can charge the consumer to go and take tours of houses on their behalf.
  • Rich person apprentice. Rich people have more money than time. Go see what has been on their to-do list for longer than a week OR see if they have investments they are interested in and want someone to do the research.
  • Home Automation Expert. The number of “internet of things” devices is growing rapidly and more people want their houses totally connected. Own it.

Btw, if you are looking for additional resources and support in creating your own business, check out this course that’ll walk you through it..

The Final Frontier: Killing Your Inner Wantrepreneur

We made it! You officially have a $1,000,000 idea on your hands and you know for a fact that people are willing to pay for it. Now you can get started on actually building the product, creating your business, and freeing yourself from the rat race!

I can just see it… You’re all nodding and thinking, “Hey, this Noah guy is pretty snazzy!” (Sorry ladies, I’m single.)

So, what now?

– You are inspired. Check.

– You want to do something. Check.

– You get a link to a funny YouTube video, then you open up Facebook. Check.

– Suddenly, everything you thought you were going to do goes down the drain. Check.

– I softly weep. Check.

Don’t let this post become another feather in your Wantrepreneurship cap. Just follow the steps and start working towards your $1,000,000 business! Remember, you can start laying the foundation for your product without building anything.

All you need is one weekend.

P.S. Once your biz website is up and running, make sure to use Sumo to get more customers, make more $$$, and eat even more tacos.

 

Posted on: September 24, 2011.

Please check out Tools of Titans, my latest book, which shares the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. It was distilled from more than 10,000 pages of notes, and everything has been vetted and tested in my own life in some fashion. The tips and tricks in Tools of Titans changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for sample chapters, full details, and a Foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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520 comments on “How to Create a Million-Dollar Business This Weekend (Examples: AppSumo, Mint, Chihuahuas)

  1. Hey Guys,

    I’ve seen this question listed a couple of times above but not answered. Noah says he got his test site coded for about $60 in Pakistan. How did you find them and what language did they code in. I have an idea for web app but don’t how to create a simple version to test it.

    Thanks

    Like

      • Late reply i know, but you can find coders for that price on elance. I had a great coder from Bangladesh take my design from psd to joomla template for $100. and he was quite pleasant to work with as well.

        Like

  2. Very inspiring – thank you not only for the motivation to pull this off, but the tools to get it done. It’s alway so nice to see inside the mind and success of someone like Tim.

    Like

  3. Great post, the specific actions detailed really help push past emotional inspiration to actual action — and will lead to the death of the my “Wantrepreneur”. I also wanted to give a quick shout to Noah, this post was the first time realized that he is the owner of AppSumo etc. But when I had problems with delivery of a product purchased there Noah personally went to great lengths to make certain I was a satisfied customer, without ever letting on that he was indeed the owner. One of the best consumer interactions I have ever had (and led to more purchases as well). Thanks Noah and Tim for the great information and service!

    Like

  4. Tim, where do you keep finding these pieces of gold. I’ve still been working on that $100million product that I can turn into an app. I’m in the process of building the 1st model, re-coding my muse, and setting my goals through the roof. This idea is getting a lot of positive re-enforcement and has advanced several times to really blow away the competition. With a $3billion market, I am confident that this idea will brand, sell, and be able to produce upgraded models or versions every year. if been in a contest with myself for years and the finish line is getting closer and closer with every passing day acquiring new knowledge from such great posts like this one. I still haven’t given up nor will I ever. I need you to work on this idea time ill go 50/50 with you and will donate $500 to your charity for a 10minute phone call.
    I have the ideas and all the means to connect the dots. I want you to fund this venture because its right up your alley in every way.

    Let me know Tim and thanks again, we need more people like you in this world giving society a helping hand. I need to show you what you inspired me to do build.

    Like

  5. Hi Noah & Tim
    Your both nearly as annoying as the guy (Dan Wardrope) who sent me to look at your action taking energy… just kidding about the annoying (read inspiring, encouraging & very helpful).

    Dan has a site about being Lazy. He then proceeds to be the least lazy person I’ve met! He keeps moving me into that place where I can’t be a successful wantrepreneur!

    I’ll report back on Monday.
    Cheers Phil Tozer

    Like

  6. Thanks for the insight! Quite helpful. I have a couple of followup questions.

    1) My potential business would need a substantial number of users to be appealing. It would also be Farmville-esque in that the basic service is free, but the revenue would come from selling digital goodies and add-ons to users who are already hooked. How can I market test something like that?

    2) I like to think my idea is revolutionary and pretty unique. It’s also pretty easily duplicatable. How can I do market research without worrying about thieves?

    Any advice from y’all “if-you-got-it-then-flauntrepreneurs” would be appreciated.

    Like

  7. I just saw this and want to do this contest so bad because I AM a “wantrepreneur”!

    My problem is – I can’t think of a “good” idea! I’m not technically savvy like creating apps or anything. I would love more of an online business, not a product based business. I am intermediate with SEO, have experience in creating websites (from a sitebuilder, not from scratch) and have scowered the sites Noah discusses to help come up with a business idea and can’t come up with a good idea!

    Can someone help me please!

    Like

  8. Excellent post, and very timely. After shooting a promo video for my newest venture (5k obstacle course) this weekend, I will be testing the principals discussed. You can never have too many things going, right?

    Like

  9. Love this post, Tim, and Noah! Great summary. The Appsumo deal is an easy sell to any new entrepreneur. I’d recommend everyone reach out to them once you have a product. We took advantage for KickoffLabs.

    There are also cheap products available to make the landing DIY, fast, and viral in order to validate your idea. Ours is just one of the competitors out there, but we happen to be the best… and we have an AppSumo deal:

    http://appsumo.com/kickofflabs-promo/

    Like

  10. Tim,

    Great post, I am currently sending out requests for a prototype of my muse. I really want to enter the Shopify competition within the next month, but I’m not sure if they offer drop shipping, can you provide an insight to this?

    Like

  11. For those of you that have come up with new products and subsequently had someone manufacture them, how did you protect your idea/product from being stolen? Thanks!

    Like

  12. Hi Tim, quick update. Finished the website, called Google to help set up an adwords campaign. Nice outsourcing, free too. But the keywords they picked, I don’t feel they’re that good. So I tweaked it, and waiting 24hours to see what happens. Would like a crash course on adwords.
    Next plan is to try facebook ads. So far, something like 35 views on my website, but nobody buying. 2 weeks, when does the competition end again? Oct 8?
    Dr J

    Like

  13. This was a great post. As soon as I got done reading it, I set up a landing page on Unbounce, and put ads up on Google AdWords and Facebook. It took literally a few hours. We”ll see how it goes. It’s exciting though.

    Like

  14. Amazing post Noah.
    Thank you Tim and Noah for the insight.
    I look forward to testing this out with a new product and getting something going in the next few days.
    Best of luck to all in this competition!

    Like

  15. i applaud the post and efforts of this contest – i almost jumped in and set up a “muse” with one of my “products.” but we’re trying to grow our current business much more slowly – in my opinion, it seems that when things are grown slowly, they have higher long term sustainability. we’re able to build relationships with customers, get feedback, and help feed hungry kids good food along the way. when you rush for that illusive $1 million dollars, sure there will be a few who make it, but the rest are unsustainable ventures built in a weekend.

    i understand the prodding and how it’s helping people to take action – i just think their needs to be caution when thinking about how to realistically grow a business.

    may the winds prevail for you all.

    adrian
    founder, head yumologist
    yumbutter

    Like

  16. I stumbled across Tim’s the 4 Hour Body in a crazy way, I was looking at Impresso, the company which did the landing pages for him to help sell his book online. I decided to see what it was about. Turns out I was able to stumble onto the single best blog post I have read all year.

    Excellent content here. I am not in the Million dollar business yet, but I expect to clear just over $400,000 this year with 5 projects in the pipeline alone with ideas that are way too big.

    Seeing this gives me hope that I am not far from where I want to be.

    Thanks for a great value added resource Tim and and first rate article Noah. I would love to compete but I think I might have stumbled on this a little too late.

    Mike

    Like

    • One of my first web ideas was http://www.dreaddit.com. With over 8 Million people on facebook begging for a dislike button, Google searches around 250,000/month I thought it could be an interesting project.

      Biggest problem; No product to sell. My business model was to receive traffic and sell ad space. As of right now.. It just didn’t bring in enough revenue.

      My biggest lesson; To create an actual transaction from your customer. Whether you are selling a product or service. And after reading 4HWW I definitely think products are the easiest way to go.

      Let’s rock the competition.

      Like

  17. Quick update from me.
    I used one more factor for my advantage.
    Google trends.

    There is listeria ourbreak now in Colorado.
    So I made a test landing page for a guide how to protect yourself from that poisoning.
    I thought it’s a great idea:)

    So results after 5 hours:
    Facebook:
    23 $ spent on facebook ads. 60000 impressions, 19 clicks. No sale.
    Google adwords:
    Site supended after few minutes due to landing page policy. So be careful.

    I have only 27 $ left to test this one, but it;s not looking good, eventho the landing page looks great for me, and the huge buzz about the outbreak.

    So again, not as easy as it seems, and I would love to have more money to spend on facebook ads to test it properly.

    And to answer your future question: No, I don’t have the guide written:) If I get orders to cover the ads then I will write it. If I get less, I will refund money with some excuse.

    So as you can see I’m quick in setting up test pages that look good, I’m not even too bad in ideas, but I’m not great in funds:) Anyone wants to team up?…

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hey just an idea…

        Most people go AD > WEBSITE and get very low conversion rates.

        Have you tried AD > SQUEEZE PAGE > EMAIL LIST > AUTO-RESPONDER WITH SALES PAGE?

        When you give first, accept their email in return, and then present a sales page your conversion rate will increase dramatically.

        Like

  18. While this contest may be out of my reach (I only started last night), I do want thank Noah for a great article that was the final the straw that made me get off my duff. I bought webspace several months ago and have been periodically kicking around a prototype for at least several weeks now. I’d get hung up on little things until calling it quits for a given night and then let myself back burner it. This finally made me say screw it, it won’t be perfect but it’ll be out there trying to find someone who’s interested!

    Something we’ve all heard before but I caught again viewing a TechStars excerpt Tim did. Ideas aren’t as important as action. I definitely have the problem of avoiding sharing ideas because they’ll somehow be less valuable by sharing. But I’ve decided to work toward a mentality of looking for people to share ideas with because theres a change either a) I’ll find likeminded people to walk the path with or b) someone will make a go of something I haven’t/won’t act on. Fear of the latter I think keeps us from finding the former. I don’t want to be like that anymore.

    Good luck, folks. And remember: action action action! 🙂

    Like

  19. This article motivated me to finish and launch my idea, http://rentadoo.com. All I had was a basic prototype started but I busted my ass over the last couple days and got it out the door. I can officially say I’m not a wantrepreneur anymore.

    Thank you Noah and Tim for the amazing article. More importantly thanks for motivating us and encouraging us to follow through. Everyone has an idea but the important part is executing your idea.

    Tim, if you’re reading this, you would be the perfect seed round investor for my startup, just saying. Hit me up if you’re interested.

    Like

    • Re: How to outsource the code for $60.

      I’ve used Scriptlance and Elance for small coding/ web design projects – less than a $1000. Both sites allow you to specify what you need to have done and programmers and web designers from around the world can bid on your project.

      Like

    • http://www.elance.com for outsourcing web projects.

      Now is not the time to outsource.

      If your idea can generate $500 per day, and you wait 4 days to outsource instead of just getting it done, you just lost $2,000.

      For the sake of the contest, I’d just get started ASAP.

      If you have a good idea and just need web pages, I’ll build them for you for no cost, if you hook me up on the back end with a percentage. I also build squeeze pages and ad campaigns for traffic.

      Like

      • Hello and Good day

        James could you provide me with your contact information (Email). I am more then willing to run some ideas by you and provide with a split. I believe a split is more then fair in this situation. I look forward to hearing from you .

        Good Day
        Edward

        Like

    • … Plus you could just use http://www.kajabi.com and build an entire funnel of web pages, store your info product, add / remove members etc.

      If I was in a hurry, or even if I wasn’t, Kajabi is what the above example (that made $23,000 in a week) is using.

      If you purchased it right now, you could have you entire web page funnel up and going in about an hour or two.

      Like

  20. HELP! I’ve been a long time 4HWW follower and have launched many online businesses – but have not hit the “big one” yet…

    Noah’s post was great! It took me until Monday to find the business need. Lots of Google searches and Craigslist gigs led to me to my idea.

    I launched it on Friday and it has huge potential with it’s business model. Best of all, it is automated… 🙂

    However, I need serious help generating traffic. I’m seeing decent results with PPC but that is not going to get close to winning this contest in 6 days.

    Anyone have any ideas to help generate traffic or want to partner?

    Target market is bloggers or small businesses who want to blog.

    Thanks!

    Bob

    Like

  21. Just had my a-ha moment 2minutes/30 seconds ago…a very unique line of clothing & accessories (yeah, yeah…how many times have you heard THAT one, huh?)

    Won’t make this contest deadline, but I will keep you all posted. 😉

    Like

  22. This is why I love the internet, you really can learn to do a lot, for free!, just by looking around. Noah’s article is a great resource for testing your market and commenter Patrick’s quick explanation of CPC and CPM ads added to the value of the post.

    I’d like to add a bit myself:
    Steve Blank teaches a lean start-up class at Stanford and puts a lot of his stuff online.
    This post:
    http://steveblank.com/2011/09/22/how-to-build-a-web-startup-lean-launchpad-edition/

    Cover a lot of ground for getting started and makes a great compliment to Noah’s post.

    May a 1000 flowers bloom

    cheers

    Like

  23. This is awesome! If I had an information based product, which would be the best route? Shopify seems to be for physical products… thanks for any help!

    Like

  24. I started my latest muse idea just after this post came out – it doesn’t get more niche than an app which translates words into UK numberplate combinations (number plate translator dot com) but we’ll see where it goes 🙂

    This is a great post- love the specifics on how to define the market etc- resources such as FB and adsense/adwords are great to get an idea of the numbers.

    Yes it may take more than a weekend to build your business / product but the point is you can make a *ton* of progress in a weekend if you stop everything and focus on what you want- as Gary V says “stop watching f*** lost!”

    I struggled with ideas for a long time but keep thinking and keep plugging away and you’ll find your muse- a winner never quits after all.

    Tranquilo 🙂

    Like

  25. This a great post. I am too late for the comp but I now finally have my muse, still in my head though at this stage. I have totally enjoyed reading everyone’s comments, there is definitely a supportive spirit present but guess in a way that is to be expected as Noah said more than most entrepreneurs, going into a lot of detail, making quiet a complex topic manageable/ understandable for non-techies (like me). Plus another thing I am beginning to understand from reading Tim’s blog and 4HWW is (especially for Muse no. 1) It is not so important what the idea is, it is how we execute the idea, then once we have the dough we can do something honorable e.g. save the world or/ and work on the business of our dreams. I have spent too long ‘thinking’ about the my muse and finally decided to just do it! Anyway best of luck to all the wantrepreneurs out there, may you all be entrepreneurs very soon.

    Like

  26. I did the latter and built “a world-changing product that requires months of fine-tuning.” I wish I wasn’t so much of an extremist. At the end of the day I’m a perfectionist that strives for simplicity. (An oxymoron that has to be managed by prioritization and delegation.)

    I loved the article and now I know exactly what I am doing this weekend 🙂 After all Zuckerberg had many “weekend businesses” when FB was a start-up…

    Like

  27. Hi, All
    Honestly, I am disappointed. A great number of people will fail from using the information of this post. It is dangerously incomplete. By the way, “Wantrepreneur” was a nice touch, but it is only a motivational trick (a harmful one). This plan requires you to be Noah Kagan to work. I can say with 99% certainty and most readers are not.

    The marketing plan in this post is wowfully horrible. Basically, it states to find what people are searching for and spend money on, make a website and sell product. My god, it’s so simple. Get ready to lose your rent money. But, hey you’re going to have a $1,000,000 idea at the end, right? Let me add more zeros and see if it sounds better. $1,000,000,000 idea. No, it’s still a fictional number that has been pulled out of thin air and it stinks too.

    The cost and income potential in this post is wildly speculative. The marketing plan using paid reddit ads (or any other social media ads) can be incredibly expensive. Yes, one should validate if a venture is going to work (duh), but the cost of doing so can (most probably will) more than quadruple per campaign than the projections in this post.

    This whole post plays on the readers emotion not to be a “Wantrepreneur”, which hundreds of dollars put into a horrible business plan can only remedy. No thank you.

    Like

    • Hey… so our muse has generated $50,000 now since we launched it a couple weeks ago. Not sure who to talk to about this, but we’ve got tons of proof & this thing isn’t done yet.

      Any idea who I can talk to in regards to getting this recognized b/c I”m pretty confident I’m the leader right now 😉

      I can be reached at adam@airiusmedia(.)com

      Cheers
      Adam

      Like

      • Great result so far Adam.

        I thought the landing pages had to be using Unbounce or WordPress – it seems like you’re using Kajabi and selling to your existing mailing list which may have cost thousands and have been build up over many years.

        It sounds like you had a lot of things in place before this competition started. Even just creating the hours of edited video content must have taken a while.

        From the type of product that you’re selling it’s clear that that you’ve sold info products many times before because your content is based on making many sales & how to replicate it.

        Would you say you’re still at $50,000 profit after considering what you had at your disposal to start the project?

        It would be awesome if this kind of profit could be generated from a stand-still.

        Best of luck!

        Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the idea here was to set it all up for as low cost as possible and to NOT throw money at ideas until you’re certain there is a market and you’ve already started making money. There is no throwing away of rent money here!

      I have to say I started my idea quickly last Friday and had 100 clicks and close to 20 signups in the first 3 days and I haven’t even spent a single dollar!

      Now I’m working on better conversion rate by tweaking the landing page. I’m no where near the level of profit other entrants have mentioned but I’m still really pleased – this is the furthest I’ve got in such a short time ever!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No e-mail list, I just used the £30 free adwords voucher that they send to new accounts & the 30 day trial of Unbounce.

        Like

  28. Quote:

    “Hey just an idea…

    Most people go AD > WEBSITE and get very low conversion rates.

    Have you tried AD > SQUEEZE PAGE > EMAIL LIST > AUTO-RESPONDER WITH SALES PAGE?

    When you give first, accept their email in return, and then present a sales page your conversion rate will increase dramatically.”

    That’s exactly what I do… did you get that idea from a product you bought recently? Lol I just did a BIG product launch that taught exactly that and we’ve sold thousands of copies 🙂

    Cheers
    -Adam

    Like

  29. Thanks for all the information. My idea requires a homepage that has two opt-in boxes in the center of the page because each opt-in will take a different kind of client to a different part of the website. Once in the designated part of the site, it will need to be an interactive experience for the user, setting up a profile, account info, etc.

    Can this be done on WordPress or do I need a web designer to set it up for me? If so, are elance, odesk, and the other places mentioned a safe place to submit the work to be done (meaning that people won’t steal ideas)?

    Thanks again.

    Like

  30. Profit made on 4 day sale.. $600

    I ran 4 day sale over this weekend and used many of the tips that Noah mentioned.

    I basically did a Motorsports version of AppSumo. I did a 50/50 split with my promotional partner and Chompon takes 10%

    Stats from Chompon.com
    Total Views: 981
    Total Shares: 23
    Total Purchases: 6
    Total Revenue: $1,350.00

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Espree

        I used weebly.com to setup my site, highly recommended. Cheap and super easy for a novice. There are even templates are even templates pug there. I then used Chompon.com as our daily deals platform which is widget based and just grabbed code and was done.

        My trick was partnering with friends who already get traffic. They have the same type of customers I am looking for so it was a match. My friend quickly made a video for me this weekend which got us up and running.

        Key points
        Friends and contacts= resources (use them)
        Video is a great way to extend reach
        Stay in a vertical or niche you have passion

        Thanks
        Tom

        Like

    • Does Weebly then capture your emails and then allow you to send emails to your list whenever you wish? What do they charge for this? I didn’t see any mention of this on their site.

      Like

      • Hi Ash,

        Yes Weebly has a form widget that I plugged into the splash page. I then take those emails and import them into Mailchimp. I would have preferred to use Mailchimp exclusively for form ingestion but I couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted it to.

        Sorry for the late reply..

        Like

  31. I don’t have enough time for to compete in the contest but I am going to transfer Noah’s wisdom and document myself as I do the interactive research for my future restaurant/ satisfy the gist for a project in a class. Maybe I could show you when it’s done Tim 🙂

    Like

  32. Profit Made: $70

    Step 1: Find your (profitable) idea

    I have had this idea in my head for a while, but never acted upon it. I dance Argentine Tango, and noticed that there seems to be a lack of specialized clothing for this specific dance.

    I’m sure as you know Tim, in Traditional Tango, men are wearing suits and women are wearing evening dresses (at milongas). The clothing line I want to create would be high-quality, stylish comfortable, functional clothes geared towards:

    a) The Younger crowd of dancers emerging in Argentine Tango
    b) People who are starting to incorporate“nuevo tango” elements in their dance (which is having an impact on their fashion)
    c) People who want comfortable, fashionable clothing for practica, classes and milongas

    I have been to different festivals, danced in different cities and started to notice this trend of shifting away from suits and evening dresses. Also, the market is not saturated, there are very few Argentine Tango specific clothing lines. On top of this, there is a brand of high-end, high-quality women Tango shoes “Comme Il Faut” that are priced high, and selling very well.

    Step 2: Find $1,000,000 worth of customers

    I decided to use the Facebook method outlined in the post to find my future customers.

    Here we my (very very limited) search parameters:

    Facebook users who live in one of the counties: Canada or United States
    Age 18 or older
    Who are Female
    Who like #Argentine Tango

    Estimated Reach – 10,300 people

    I am planning to sell each article of clothing around $100

    10,300 future customers (x) $100 = $100
    Average cost of a milonga (attended most likely 1-2 times a week) = $10
    Average cost of private lesson = >$80 an hour (in North America with very good teacher)
    Average cost of festival = $200-$500
    Average cost of a pair of shoes = $100-$350

    One of my teachers did a study and found that over 70% of women who danced Argentine Tango, in my city, have a PhD.

    I have noticed that most people who are dancing Argentine Tango are older, they have well paying jobs, they wear nice clothing, seem to have above average income. In conclusion, Argentine Tango is an expensive hobby, mostly danced by people who are older and have an average to above-average income.

    Step 4: Validate your idea

    I created a landing page using Unbounce:
    http://unbouncepages.com/voleostangoclothing/

    (I was very reluctant to share this because it is going to mess up my stats and add to how many unique visitors I can have, but it is proof of my landing page)

    I advertised on Facebook Ads and Google Adwords.

    For Facebook Ads I started off with a $10 campaign. In the end my CPC was down to $0.17 (awesome). I was able to get 56 clicks.

    For Google Adwords I found a $75 voucher. I created a campaign with $50, was able to get 57 clicks.

    In total I received 113 unique visitors to the landing page. I got 21 emails or “conversions” which works out to be 18.6%. I am quite happy with that number, I guessed I was going to have under 10%.

    A few considerations, obviously an email doesn’t count as a sale, but I have no products on the landing page, no pictures, no sketches or anything. I feel that this test did validate my idea and I feel that there is a demand for this product.

    It is hard to validate my idea further at this stage as I don’t have a physical product (or even a picture) to attempt to sell or receive payment for.

    My next step will be to design and create a few prototypes, then do more testing (ie. validating my idea by actually selling these prototypes). After that (I know it will be successful), the plan is to find a manufacturer and sell. Whether I want to sell locally first, or online, or at festivals is still up in the air.

    My small profit came from a customer I was telling this idea about. She gave me a down payment for one of the first pairs of pants that I design and make. As far as proof for this $70, here is a screen shot of the Email Money Transfer. I blurred out her name and some other details just for privacy reasons.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fom9Yg1WMym9ZG9C_MTZqauzXwSWGh5S9Evy5bPCyTA/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1

    I wanted to thank Noah for writing this post as I gave me the boost I needed. I know I will probably not create the most profit (as I really haven’t created any), but I am on something big here. I am so excited to create this product and start implementing everything I learned in the 4HWW.

    Tim and Noah, you guys rock! I hope I get the change to meet you both (whether through this contest, or sometime in the future).

    Time to get back to studying for my midterms 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  33. $6569.81 and counting (I’m going on a road trip, not sure what internet access will be like, and wanted to get in a number.)

    I don’t know if this will count… and if it doesn’t, I’m totally cool with it. I tried another business too but it didn’t work out as well. 🙂

    (It will… I just couldn’t create enough time to drive leads to it in the last few days.)

    The reason this might not count is I have an existing internet marketing business, so this was another product I added to my funnel. It was a new landing page, new domain, etc… but I did already have a list and a plan to market this product.

    Just being honest – you can use your judgment if you think it’s fair or not.

    Proof of revenue:

    http://screencast.com/t/TpFfGBhBPG0

    http://screencast.com/t/jWCEAaxvxV

    Basically, I launched a new product and gave 100% commissions on the front end ($5 up to $9.95) and the back end ($17) to affiliates.

    I wanted to bring in leads for a lower dollar product so we could get them in our funnel and upsell them to a higher dollar product later on.

    We launched October 4th and have had 2378 front end sales so far, and 745 upsells (going up every time I hit refresh):

    http://screencast.com/t/1KXqi4xexQf

    …Total sales have been over $33k but I took out the affiliate commissions.

    Thanks for this post… it was fun to do and I LOVE the term “wantrepreneur!”

    Like

  34. $200 worse off. Don’t care.

    Actually managed to launch something. As a serial ideas tester I’ve been making a lot of people a lot of money though affiliates. Thought I’d give it a shot.

    Made a produc in a week that I thought I could sell. Sponsored a couple of things that drove a bit of traffic. No bites.

    I can quite happily prove I’m $200 in the red. I’m not bitter. It’s been fun and I’ve got stuff out there.

    Thank you.

    Like

  35. Tim, although I’m unsure if we can share numbers for the contest, are
    you interested in any case studies?

    Let me know if there’s some place I can send a writeup walking through the process. We had a great launch this week and may be able to provide some real world examples.

    Thanks!
    Mike Robertson

    Like

  36. NET PROFIT: $17.40

    REVENUE: $37.00

    PRODUCT: Outsourcing Cheat Sheet
    http://www.outsourcingcheatsheet.net/

    PROOF: VIDEO Documented the whole process…

    you can see the video here on YouTube… http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9B72378C2BA594D3

    LANDING PAGE: Site Visitors 128 | Conversions 13 | Conv Rate 10.16%

    _________________

    EXPENSES
    _________________

    ADVERTISING [all cold – did no outreach to people I know or via social]

    Google Adwords: 15 clicks | 5,924 impressions | CTR .25% | avg CPC $1.60
    TOTAL SPEND $24.07
    [have a $100 credit for adwords]

    Facebook Ads: 38 clicks 25,511 | campaign reach | CTR .022%
    TOTAL SPEND $56.12
    [have a $50 credit for facebook ads]

    LinkedIn Ads: 1 Click | 16,180 impressions | CTR .006% | avg CPC $3.94
    TOTAL SPEND $3.94

    TOTAL AD SPEND: – $84.13
    AFTER APPLYING CREDIT: – $10.06

    PayPal Transaction fees: -$1.37

    Domain Name: – $8.17

    ___________________________

    TOOLS I USED FOR CHALLENGE
    ___________________________

    PRODUCT CREATION

    Writing

    Microsoft Word

    Screen cast video

    jing – http://www.techsmith.com/jing/

    Mind Mapping

    mindmeister – http://www.mindmeister.com/

    eBook made pretty 🙂

    ebookcake – http://ebookcake.com/about/

    SITE DEVELOPMENT AND ADVERTISING

    Domain Name

    godaddy – http://www.godaddy.com/

    Landing Page

    unbounce – http://unbounce.com/

    Video Camera

    mackbook isight

    AppSumo Adwords Class

    http://www.appsumo.com/introduction-to-adwords/

    AppSumo Copy Writing Course

    http://www.appsumo.com/kopywriting-kourse/

    Mind Mapping

    mindmeister – http://www.mindmeister.com/

    Live Chat

    snap engage – http://www.snapengage.com/

    Market Research

    Google Insights, Google Trends, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Answers, Google External Keyword Tool

    Phone

    google voice – http://www.google.com/voice

    Merchant

    paypal http://www.paypal.com/

    Potential Buyer Abandonment Page

    say hello there – http://www.sayhellothere.com/

    Advertising

    Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads

    Website Analytics

    google analytics – http://www.google.com/analytics

    Google Website Crawler

    http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl

    ….I think that covers it…

    _________________________

    NEXT STEPS
    _________________________

    Improve the landing page video, blogger outreach, buy a banner ad in a related forum, tweak current advertising campaigns and set up Get Clicky http://getclicky.com/ to know what sites my buyers are coming from… Wish me luck!

    Like

  37. Direct profit = $0
    Indirect profit $99 contract per month.

    In my regular business I provide IT services for small business with 5-20 employees specialzing in doctors. There is a wholesale market in help desksupport. So I thought it be interesting to create a muse that would sell 1 seat tech support to soho businesses. I wanted it to be as automatic as possible so I setup a shopify site and then found a wholesale helpdesk group and twisted the owners arm till he agreed to let me sell a single support contract at a time (rather than a minimum of 5 employees).
    Then I discovered shopify cannot support a monthly subscription model.
    So had to change my pricing.
    Shopify gave me $100 free google adwords.
    And I started everything up.
    Within a couple days I received an email from a Chiropractor, a market I had never done before.
    I met with him an sold him on a monthly support contract.
    The PPC ad cost like $3.93
    It was not a fully automated muse.
    But the calls and emails that came in from the test have resulted in business.
    Not a direct muse profit.
    But it had brought me new clients which still rocks!

    Like

  38. 36 Hour Profit: -£3

    Business: stevejobsrip.myshopify.com
    A site is dedicated to sell Steve Jobs memorabilia

    Started: 36 Hours Ago.

    Time Taken To the Design the products: 7 minutes
    Time Taken To set Up Shopify: 20 minutes
    Time Taken To Set Up FaceBook Ads: 5 minutes
    Time Taken To Configure My PayPal Account: 23 minutes

    Total Time Taken: 55 minutes

    Like

  39. Noah,
    Appreciate the thorough blog post~ I’m happy to report I did not find a million dollar muse, but you lit a fire under me and I did push my edges and put something out there that hopefully will generate lots of smiles~ if not bucks 🙂 Gratitude Dude http://bit.ly/ngQT2x on sale at http://www.ElectrasMonograms.com

    If something should happen and Gary V. buys several thousand after the buzzer, I’ll be in touch just to let you know! ha ha
    Be well, Electra

    Like

  40. 100$ worse off.

    No worries.
    2 muses tested, no sales.
    Shit happens.
    But I learned a lot regarding facebook ads and now I’m applying it to my offline business.
    Thanks for this post, it was fun and I’m hoping for more 4HWW related posts in the future.

    Like

  41. I made £ 15!!! (thats just over 20 dollars)

    …I also spent about £50 on advertising.

    I’m not even going to bother posting proof of revenue! I don’t think I’m going to be winning any prizes with a loss of £ 35.

    The challenge was awesome though!!!

    I put together a 25 page e-booklet for people who have BACK PAIN. People also got access to an online exercise library with clear video demonstration of each exercise and stretch.

    Thank you Tim and Noah for much needed nudge (and what a great post!).

    I am happy with what I put together. So much so, that I gave the booklet to both my parents. They are half way through the program and it’s doing them wonders!

    I think the booklet is useful and anyone who has back pain. If you have aches please take a look at it.

    I understand that this is no million dollar idea so I have decided to make it free for everyone!

    You download a copy here and get access to the exercise library for a month.
    http://bit.ly/qO39oV

    If you have ideas for improvement or just want to get in touch just drop me a line on my clinic’s facebook page
    http://on.fb.me/qdXqIp

    All the best,

    Josh

    Like

  42. This post gave me the final motivation to push my idea through. Noah, thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. The term Wantreprenuer hit me like a 2 ton heavy thing.

    This is an idea I have been “wanting” to do for about 3 years now. I was taking my sweet time, but now I’ve got to stop with the excuses. My concept was a solar charger that was portable and simply had a usb port so I could charge any of my devices that would recharge via the usb port on a PC or laptop. I noticed everything on the market had a battery with it that the solar cells would charge first. I didn’t think this was very efficient and a waste of time.

    I also like the idea of recycling the materials that we can so I use recycled vinyl billboard for the material to stitch the solar charger into. My web site is http://www.recycledsolarcharger.com

    So, I went live with my worpress web site (I build myself, and had to do it twice) on Tuesday, October 4.
    I had everything final with shopping cart and Google checkout (I plan to get better pictures, but not letting that stop me) by Friday, October 7th.
    Launched my first adwords campaign at 1:00pm using a New User credit of $80 for using bluehost as my hosting site. As of 12:20 I’m no longer a wantreprenuer as I had my first customer. My profit….$32.00! And I am so giddy about it, my girlfriend told me this morning I’m walking around with my “just had sex” face!

    Here’s my proof: (not of my sex face)
    http://db.tt/jPawGDF7
    http://db.tt/kulMzvbQ

    Thanks for giving me the inspiration I needed to stop making excuses!
    Josh

    Like

  43. Now that people are reporting back with the Wins, Loses, and Experiences, what have we learned and how can we do better next time?

    It seems that most people either lost money (and gained some experience) or they made very little money (and gained some experience).

    Why didn’t the majority of people who tried, found their million dollar audience, and stayed in the game NOT do better?

    I’m down $75 on the 14 Day Challenge (I still have 2 weeks to go since I set a 30 Day Goal at the same time).

    If I’m learning anything, it’s that you can”t sell A THING unless you have traffic (meaning “potential customers who want what you have to offer”). So, you can borrow someone else’s traffic, buy traffic, advertise for traffic, find a group of people starving for whatever it is you have to offer (or find a group that’s starving and offer to feed them), or you ca sell to others and have them spread the word and create some traffic.

    So far, I have NOT found my traffic source. All I need now is a High Tech Divining Rod.

    Anyone else have thoughts about how we can do better?

    Like

    • instant paid traffic – you need to do kw research use the google kw tool… if you dont have a adwords acct set one up. go through the google tutorials… they will even help you these days set up a campaign (newer friendlier Google). Adwords is how I started making money immeditatly with my niche product. go get perry marshalls book “ultimate guide to google adwords” read it then read it again then read again. It all depends what niche you are in as far as cost per click, however the better you dial your campaigns – the cheaper the clicks get – google rewards ads that get lots of clicks and you will start paying less. You can lose your shorts if you go into adwords blind…as most do. That book will help you get started safely, get cheaper clicks and strategy to get more clicks cheaper. I was no slouch at Adwords when I found that book however I trimmed my monthly adwords spend (search network not content) from $1600 to $500 (for the same amt of clicks – of course the flip side – I could have had 2X the clicks for $1600 – however the amt of clicks I was getting for $500 fit well for cash flow, conversion rate, at the time when the biz was brand new) by following the lessons in the book. I was paying 65% – 80% less per click than my competitors. Google rewards landing page content kw’s matching the kw’s in your campaign…this is how you beat your competitors. The more laser targeted your kw campaign is to landing page kw’s…the cheaper it gets. and of course you sell more stuff…which is why we are here right?!
      dont forget Bing can help out too…they are slightly cheaper on clicks…but only go there after you get Google dialed in. you can import you google campaigns directly into Bing…how nice of them huh?
      now go get you some of that traffic OK.

      Like

  44. Profit: $17,867.64

    Final total for my project with Adam Schneller Nolan.

    I’m pretty sure Adam submitted the income proof for
    us – if not, contact us and we’re happy to provide! This
    has been an amazing inspiration to get off our butts,
    leverage every relationship and contact we could, and
    make some serious cash in a very short period of time.

    If anyone wants to know, of course we’re happy to show
    exactly how we did it!

    Russ

    Like

  45. Profit Made: $17,867.64

    Website: Note: Removed website as per Comment Rules.

    Income Proof: (more provided upon request): http://randompromostuff.s3.amazonaws.com/usfproof.png

    Notes: For some reason I posted this yesterday and it hasn’t shown up. Maybe it’s waiting to be approved, but it was DEFINITELY submitted WAY before the deadline (and I’ve been posting updates). As you can see the screenshot is from yesterday.

    Description: Info Product targeted towards the four hour work week community and the internet marketing community. Product is a video and PDF series that explains how to make more money from current customers using sales funnels. Product was launched on the 20th of Sept (and can be verified by domain name registration date), however profit recorded for this experiment has been stated above. Actual profit to date is closer to $30,000.

    Website is hosted on HostGator, using a wordpress setup and the Optimize Press theme. All payments were accepted through PayPal.

    Total time to produce the muse: Approx. 10 hours.

    Cheers & may the best company win!

    -Adam & Russ

    Like

  46. Noah,
    Profit: $32!
    Thanks for taking the time to post your experience and advice. Your comment about being a wantreprenuer really hit me. I’ve gotten to work on a side project that I’ve wanted to do for some time.

    I’ve developed a solar charger for usb powered devices that does not have an on board battery. It will charge an iphone with direct current form solar panels. All the units I was looking at all have batteries and I felt this just added more time.

    Well I worked through my prototypes and went live with my web site at the beginning of this week. The solar cells are stitched into recycled vinyl billboards. My original plan was to also use the solar cells from old garden lights as well as some of the cable wiring from old computers, but the voltage just wouldn’t work out in either case.

    So, I was finally up and ready to sell Friday and used an $80 credit with google adwords for my first to days of my adword campaign. Checking my email this morning I had my first confirmed sales at 12:20am last night. And this was not a sale to any family of friend.

    Just want to say thanks to you and Tim for all you’ve done to inspire and teach me that I can be an entreprenuer.

    Here are links to my google analytics page and google checkout page. I am still very excited about my first sale! My profit….$32!

    http://db.tt/jPawGDF7
    http://db.tt/kulMzvbQ

    Next phase is to automate the shipping!
    Thanks again!
    Josh

    Like

  47. killer blog post. thanks for the nuggets I will put them to work. This strategy is essentially how I built and launched my niche biz in 6 months way back in the olden days of late 2008… that now does $10K month (and growing) I did not reinvent the wheel…I simply made it better with more value, better marketing + its the most expensive solution in the niche (part of my market positioning strategy) My marketing is completely unique in this seasoned niche. I paid to be taught the fundamentals of building any biz on the internet (IMC when Derek Gehl was running it )…. old skool kw research….now days if I get an idea…10 min in the Google kw tool and I can get an idea of the monthly search volume for a given idea keyword cluster in a niche. If I want to test put up a ad words campaign (with the kw intellegence) send to a web page and collect emails to gauge interest.
    With my main biz I knew there was massive world wide demand so I put the sales letter up and began selling my product immeadiatly using Ad words. now my biz is 2.5 yrs old and have Google top page organic rank for some of the most competitive kws in my niche and spend my advertising money these days on SEO not adwords.

    Like

  48. This is truly the highlight of my month for anyone who participated in the contest. You can now remove your label of Wantrepreneur forever!

    I have about 3 college thesis’ worth of failed business attempts, but the real value you now have is the momentum and learnings from taking these chances in improving your future.

    Really proud of everyone and looking forward to eating some tacos!

    Like

  49. I created a website that allows people to ask a question and receive an honest opinion for a $1. I didn’t make enough to cover my losses, but it was fun nonetheless.

    The website is called Truthishly, but now I’m not sure if I should continue it.

    Like

  50. Tim,

    Mike Robertson and I ran a pretty good launch last week. Although we’re not in the running for the contest I’ve done a writeup on our process. If you’re interested in seeing it for use as a case study, let one of us know where to send it.

    Thanks!
    Allen

    Like

  51. Interesting I think I am going to use this method for my next venture. I would interested to hear from others whom have real world application of this method. Keep it up Tim! You the man!

    Like

  52. I just wanted to say thanks to Tim and Noah.. I was informed late last week that I was the winner. I was shocked!! .. I’m super stoked for Taco time with Noah and $1000 of Appsumo credit. If that isn’t a recipe for success I don’t know what is!

    p.s — I also purchased the 4hourworkweek on Audible after listening to a podcast with Noah making a reference to it calling it the “Lean Startup” before the Lean Startup was cool.. that intrigued me and after listening to the book… I def see the similarities.

    Thanks so much!!
    Tom

    Like

    • hey this is cool you won. what business did you submit? I saw you started racecrowds in July I think? did you do a shopify business with this or something else that was a new component?

      Like

      • Hi Charlie,

        I registered the domain racecrowds I think in Aug.. and I originally wanted to create a platform similar to Songkick.com for automotive fans..

        I started talking to potential users and started to see a need for special events experiences. I launched a launchrock page in late Sep and then had my first deal the first week of Oct. after I read the blog post. I seriously didn’t think I had a chance to be honest.. I made $600.. but it was a great first start and the post was the motivation I needed to actually launch a deal..

        Hope this helps..

        Like

    • very cool! i know sometimes I never develop a domain for 2-3 years. I really like the idea for racecrowds. it’s a pretty awesome idea. groupon had a drive a nascar special about a year ago and that and a half price movie ticket are the only things i’ve been interested in. thanks for the launchrock link.

      Like

  53. Done! We acted on this post and built a Shopify store around a new product we produced a few months ago: http://www.morelmushroomcandles.com

    We did this in less than 48 hours.

    Using the Facebook Ads formula in this post, we confirmed there is a market and in less than 24 hours after launch we’ve had 8 orders. We’re full speed ahead from here.

    Thanks for the inspirational post!

    Like

    • Hi Tom, I just checked out your morel mushroom candle and looks really cool, good luck with the sales. I grew up in Australia and now live in Hong Kong and never heard of morel mushrooms so can only image the smell. I am presently researching candles as a muse idea too (v diff from your concept) and wanted to know if you are willing to discuss candles offline? My email address is sammystar888@hotmail.com please drop me a line if you have time, thanks

      Like

  54. Although an interesting article, it really underestimates the important of doing a competitive analysis. I mean, if you set up a (paid) service that is highly popular but that others are already offering for free (maybe by using banner ads to support it) how will your business survive?

    It’s not as easy as just doing KW research — you need to see what’s already out there…

    Like

  55. Tim,

    Saw you live in Melbourne and didn’t get to ask my question!

    Thanks to your book – 3 years ago my parter and I tested and created our first muse modeling a lot of your strategies and have been quite successful selling downloadable information products.  Thank-you!!

    I know you use a lot of online software tools to simplify your life and your business – this the direction we’re going bootstrapping and building these types of services.

    My question:
    Do you have any strategies or advice specific to marketing & selling SaaS (software as a service) products and how do you go about getting the initial mass of raving fans to these?!

    Like

  56. This post and the video really inspired me and along with reading 4HW gave me the knowledge to pull together enough info about the subject I decided to start a business based on. Golf was the subject I decided to concentrate on as I thought there were lots of people interested in golf who would be willing to spend some of their cash on products.
    Not sure how it will all go but my fingers are crossed and I would like to thank you for the inspiration you gave me to step up and do something.
    Thanks.

    Like

  57. I have a great idea that i know could make a lot, but where do I start? This article was great for encouragment but I live pay check to pay check and have limited spare because I am serving in the military. How to I invest the money in my idea to make it work? Help will be greatly appreciated.

    Like

    • Hey Randy, this is prototypical wantrapreneur thinking. I dont say this to bring you down, but to try and shake you. Snap out of it!

      If you watch a few episodes of Sharks tank or Dragons den you’ll see that ideas arent worth much (unless patented or patentable). Businesses are what gets them salivating.

      If you’re really short on money, then you could do a few things:
      — Cut spending (be drastic! Eat only rice, buy Nothing etc)
      — Earn more (Sleep less and spend the time making money on Odesk.com or get a Part time job)
      If you’re really short on time, then you do a few things:
      — Eliminate (see tims book 4 hour work week for tips)
      — Spend money to save time, Charge out work w/ money to get additional time, such as pay a local kid to mow your lawn etc..
      — Quit your job and start your business if you’re very confident it is a “Great idea” .

      Like

      • -Mike!
        Thanks for the reply. I understand what you are getting at. What I was trying to really say is. I do not have the skill neccisary to build the actual idea. I would need someone with programming skills and be the computer savy type. The idea is great but how to I build it? Where do I start by recruiting others to help actually ‘make’ the idea come true. I was thinking of trying to find programmers at the local college.

        Like

      • Hi Randy, instead of the local college I would find someone on
        odesk.com
        guru.com
        elance.com
        freelancer.com
        like John suggested above. Just be sure to look at their reviews or get references of their previous work. MOST important of all make sure you are administrating and tracking the code through a Code Management Software (CMS) like beanstalkapp.com or something similar (there are a ton of CMS’ out there – Wikipedia actually has a good comparison chart). Last thing you want to do is have a programmer go sideways and hold your code hostage. With a CMS your programmer will have to check the code in and out and if something goes wrong you can always go back to a previous revision of the code and hire someone new. Most likely you will want your app/site coded in Ruby, PHP, or MVC3. The mistake most make is to get their site/app programmed first then get it designed – and that is really backwards. Spend $200-$2,000 designing the site first then get it programmed. You want your site programmed to your design not the other way around. It will save you programming time of having to reprogram to the design. Hope that helps

        Like

  58. Read the post, signed up for AppSumo and got their free Facebook Ads How-To Video, Applied the techniques, in less than a week we added over 1,400 fans to our page http://www.facebook.com/revestor and got over 1,000 users to reserve their username and request an invite to our launch. Not bad shooting for 10,000 now! Thank Tim, Noah and Appsumo

    Like

  59. All the inventions are good as I am working on something right now. However, no one has mentioned anything about patents and idea protection. Any thoughts on this?

    Like

  60. This was awesome. Its Monday so I’m starting now and not waiting on the week end. Thank you for the step by step info. I can come up with ideas all day long. Some of us are much older and kinda stuck in an older way of thinking. So you step by step guide is needed and appreciated.

    Michelle

    Like

  61. Can anyone help me out with the figures here?
    Facebook came up with 84,000 facebook users to target. Noah then calculates the TAM (84000x$50) to over $4m, and is satisfied with the figure.

    Later he suggests that a fb ad to 100,000 people might get 80 clicks to your website. So from our 84000 chihuahua lovers we might get 70 clicks. These 70 clicks might convert to only one buyer on the site…

    So I might make $50 from my one buyer, but where is my $1m business? I understand there are other channels to grow into (adwords etc) but the point of this analysis is to determine whether this is a good opportunity or whether I move on. And I’m not sure if I’ve got a $50 or $1m idea here…
    What am I missing???

    Like

  62. How about creating a ‘go to the top’ button below? I want to check the post again after eye strainingly reading all the precious comments on my palm top.

    Thanks Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, i’ve read every post and almost everone did nothing, a little, something and two did alot. Like 15,000 alot. I still can’t see how they did it.

      Like

  63. Tim,

    Let’s chat. I must be doing something wrong. Any advice on increasing gravity on ClickBank? I’m offering the 75% but received little response from affiliates.
    You can find it on CB by searching “SEO Book and Video Tutorials”

    Appreciate your time and advice.

    Zac

    Like

  64. its kinda just statistics. You get 300 ppl trying something and if businesses are .333% likely to succeed, there should be atleast 1 who can say “Tim/Noah are the bomb”.

    That being said, statistics aside, I do believe they are offering more than just randomness…

    Like

  65. Hi Randy (Nov 7th post)
    I hear what your saying. I am a single parent, worked a full time job (until recently) while developing and growing my business Fast Fix Buttons. Your full time employment is a false sense of security, why not create your own destiny. While you are working your f/t gig you should be motivated more for your own future. At the beginning (of your project) you may have to work wierd (additional) hours. Put in a lot of sweat equity and determination. And depending on your idea, you may need to develop thicker skin (lots of nay sayers out there!)

    I took my product from an idea, made my proto type (my product is simple) have learned a lot about patent law (via my patent lawyers & trial and error $$$$) I designed my marketing/insert card, found simplistic packaging. The website was the easy part (even easier in todays market) I know how to import from overseas (finding a factory, moving freight and trucking to final destination) My product has been published in National Magazine’s (no cost to me!) we recently did a TV Media Campaign that flopped ( & cost me too much money!) I trusted the wrong people. We are currently restructuring various elements of the business (that’s the fun part!) It all has not been easy but the thought that it is “mine” motivates me, as well as I believe I am providing a good role model for my child.

    The road less travel is not paved and the terrain can be challenging, but the journey can be exciting along the way, make sure you put on your rose colored glasses, it takes out some of the glare of reality.

    Check out my product at Fast Fix Buttons, I always enjoy the feed back (and the additional sales!). If you need assistance with various elements of business development and / or product development I would be more than happy to assist you or point you in the right direction. 4HWW has been a terrific motivator for me (Thank you Tim!) I actually bought 4HWW after I read “Start Something That Matters” by Blake M. both have been excellent reads and priceless resources.

    Be Well my Friend(s) ~ Good Luck

    Like

  66. Interesting article and some useful points to take away. I still believe the sort of person who can make a million dollar company over a weekend has to have a certain type of personality, which only limited people have. Still have 100% respect for anyone who gives it a go though.

    Like

  67. Another good resource for Step 1: “Find your profitable idea” is to search Kickstarter’s “Most Funded.” There you can see what kinds of ideas people are most willing to get behind, as well as general patterns in the kinds of things they want to support.

    Like