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…
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:
- 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.
- 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:
- Find out how much it costs, on average, to buy a Chihuahua (about $650). This is the base cost.
- 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.
- 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:
(80,000 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…
- This is only through Facebook traffic.
- 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.
- 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.
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.
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541 Replies to “How to Create a Million-Dollar Business This Weekend (Examples: AppSumo, Mint, Chihuahuas)”
Wow, amazing post 😀 I gotta say I’m guilty of having several ideas, but not taking the time (at least a weekend) to really doing some research, crunching the numbers and getting started… Thanks!
This Post is hugely helpful to me, thanks Noah for sharing. I’m in the process of figuring out what I’m gonna do next year after college, and this article really points me in the right direction!
After a few months still haven’t found an idea to start working on. So I’m kind of looking to partner up. If anyone has an idea or wants to brainstorm and is looking to partner up, email me at email@example.com
Very interesting and inspirational stuff!
While i like the challenge very much, i’m wondering what kind of product we are talking about here? With a 14 day time-limit, i would figure the idea is to create an information product. Could you clarify that part Tim?
Here is my attempt at the mint.com lead generator.
Feedback is always appreciated.
This looks like a text book landing page… How is it working for you?
Nice work Zach! Like the concept. Give the hard times, it can be a great niche.
One suggestion… add some colour. Seems a bit stark. Maybe a nice blue gradient in the background?
Good luck. Keep us posted on its progress.
I’ve also been working on a job related website… will post when it’s ready!
Inspiring post. will start working on it.
One of the problems I realized were that I was literally skipping the first couple chapters
I guess one of the biggest set backs that most people have is taking the first steps , most of us have many multi million dollar ideas but we are afraid to take them because we don’t believe in ourselves or are afraid of failure..
Hi, great post.
I have started numerous sites and businesses. I have gone at it and I still have not made any great money. Something seems to be blocking it, I’m in that ‘This ain’t never gonna work’ phase as I have been at it for a few years now. Any ideas?
So I have a question. If I want to partner with another website, how do I approach this up front without potentially giving away my idea for them to steal?
What are the key point I need to remember when considering product protection?
On a similar topic (I know it was also mentioned above), how can we avoid or protect ourselves from our idea being stolen by a programmer. Let’s say I have an idea and hire a programmer to make a website for me. Hypothetically, the programmer may create my website but then turn around and make a better website that does the same thing themselves. Maybe I’m paranoid but this is a question I have always always had.
Great info… always wanted to know how to research keywords and product location search zones etc. Great resources. Inspiring.
Im more in the make a months wage catagory, and could def use to raise the goal line. Reworked my ads while I was going through this, apparently I’m selling to a very small crowd DOH!
After being a fan of fourhourworkweek.com and Tim Ferriss, i decided to try my luck as well.
Ive never been much of a tech guy, anyways based on the book i started a website.
Main business idea was the Amazon partnershop programm, plus google ads.
The website went on in June, so far i have 190 visitors a month in average, but its not really making money or conversions.
Turnover so far : 20 bucks.
Anyways just wanted to share this, and for my first experience in this world im quite proud and looking forward to the next project.
Hey everyone. I’m just wondering if anybody could shoot me some advice as to where to look regarding supplement manufacturers and drink manufacturers.
This probably turns alot of people off and these markets are flooded. I’m well aware. But I’ve got an idea and a gut feeling, and these are the things I’m very knowledgeable on.
So again, if anybody out there has some insight as to where I can find a place that will custom make me my product, I’d be much appreciated.
Great article by the way.
You can try Nutricaps labs.
I can’t stop thinking about this thread. Many thanks to all contributors.
i have a quest to Noah : How many subscribers do I need to get from my landing page and within how much time to say : “Ok, its a good idea, let’s carry on”! THANKS FOR POSSIBLE REPLY
hi!,I love your writing very so much! percentage we communicate more approximately your article on AOL? I need a specialist in this area to unravel my problem. May be that is you! Taking a look ahead to look you.
I hope to Buddha I’m not shit-balls retarded. . .
It’s official, I think I must have a brain tumor or something because I can’t fill in any of the gaps. I just got the Appsumo Business Blueprint and I got super inspired. So I started trying to validate this idea for an instructional DVD on how to make your own hamster clothing. (SHUT UP!) But now I’m getting lost and I need direction. Help please!
So this is what I’ve done so far:
-checked out the market size
Global monthly searches for “hamster”:16,600,000!! with nobody
advertising against it!!!
Estimated Reach on Facebook Ads for hamsters: 338,640 people
Estimated cost to buy and maintain a hamster: 75 initial + 20 per month!
Estimated market 20 x 338,640 = 6,772,800 per month if potential!!!!!!
-I made a landing page with a sign up form and started trying to drive traffic to it by talking to people on hamster blogs.
No one’s signing up for my list!
Is it time to ditch or get really extreme about talking to people?
I dunno, I can’t think when my tumor’s itching.
I think you came across an amazing niche opportunity! Don’t give up! It could be that people aren’t interested in making hamster clothing. I would say you should explore three ideas of hamster owner target marketing then see what bites.
Update from my weekend launch post.
Since my launch I’ve continued to push forward on this business. I’ve been selling units, mostly through my personal network but a few from google adwords.
To date here is what I’ve done moving it forward and what tools i’ve been using.
I’ve used Elance to have a PE design my circuit, then bid the manufacturing of this circuit out on alibaba. Using alibaba I’ve found a solar panel manufacturer to build cells to my specific specs. I’ve used 99design to hire a graphic artist to design my logo and she is currently designing me a t-shirt that I will give free to any customer who takes a pic of them using their charger and posts it on facebook along with a short story of where they were when they took the pic.
Also through Elance I’ve hired a writer from Australia to help me with content for onsite and off-site. I am evaluating VA’s on Elance and Odesk to help me with some slow white hat backlink building.
I am still doing the final product assembly myself, with a plan to outsource when I reach a certain sales number, then I will begin evaluating outsourcing my fulfillment.
Here’s what I’ve learned: researching market size and competition – easy, building prototypes and product development – easy, researching manufacturing and sourcing – easy, building online presence – tough and time consuming (when weeding through all the “sales pitches” from get rich quick and easy shysters), MARKETING – hardest. I will admit this is not what I though it would be when I started.
Thanks Tim and Noah for so much inspiration!
Got an update since January?
If you have an idea for an app, is it necessary to patent your application? The process is long and very expensive.
Nowadays there are so many claims for patent/copyright infringement, so I wonder if patenting is a worthwhile measure of protection (to some degree; obviously there are so many overlaps in patents that there is no guarantee that you will be protected).
I just have to bookmark this and come back to read again.
Reading this post stops me from making a new blog post on my blog. cause its not as detailed as this blog post is and since i wanna be the best, i must dig more and bring out the best too.
Thanks for sharing the knowledge and insights
How does selling 200 copies of imgur validate appsumo, which has nothing to do with image hosting?
“Wantrepreneur”!!! Awesome! Great post
love this….i can smell my first mill.
Wow. I went from having Zero muse ideas to 25 (and counting). Idea overload. I’m trying to weed through them, find the first gem.
This is a great post. Just stumbled on it. Thanks guys.
I do accept as true with all the concepts you have introduced for your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very brief for starters. Could you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.
What all of you gushing posters above me should really be paying attention to is the way Noah wrote this post. That’s why it was so good… nothing new here. He simply communicated effectively..IE: Sales Copy.
I’m not talking smack… it was a great write up and I’m glad people are able draw inspiration from it. All I’m saying is don’t miss the forest for the trees. Learn to write and communicate as effectively as Noah just did and your golden.
“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 was what I came here looking for some more info on… the setup to this nugget was great ok but THIS is the meat that requires moar words.
The link to “The New Sales Page” was not super helpful for creating validation landing pages, that design he dissected was not a validation landing page that you can build in a few hours, but a fine tuned conversion monster that Noah & team split tested and perfected during the first year of App Sumo.
Does anyone have any guides or links for best practices on this specific strategy of creating validation landing pages through unbounce or wordpress? For this process I’d like to get some best practices tips on:
1) Layout for the sales page (use a long sales letter or less copy? have a video? how many pages? What if you’re selling a product like coffee?)
2) Tools to help (wordpress sales page plugins, unbounce themes, etc)
3) Types of ads to run in google adwords and facebook ads (example of high converting headlines?)
If App Sumo has done a course on this, I’d buy it right now … anyone know if there’s a course available for rapid prototyping and validating through this sales page / PPC method?
Hi there! This post could not be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
He always kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this article to
him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!
amazing post. well done
What an inspiring post! it makes me want to take action asap
I love this post thanks for sharing I have currently seen a lot of growth in my company which is a online community for parents and I just started in June of 2012 and already I have had over 1,000 unique people that visit my site a each week to me that speaks volume! To start up a site in June and then work so hard and have that type of volume I am very proud of my self. Trust me it’s not easy I have been busting my butt to make it happen so to everyone that post on this blog stay encouraged because the battle is not hard you just have to keep trying !
Hi Tim ,
everytime i come back to your blog i learn a lot , thank you
This post about Noah biz style is really great and open up my mind on a different angle , related to start a new biz .
What can i say ? GREAT , GREAT , GREAT , keep up the good job
i will be back for more.
Awesome share and detail from someone who has actually done it, rather than just business philosophy and theory. Hopefully, readers of this post will appreciate just how valuable this information is and act on it. Kudos.
Wow! Amazing and inspiring post! Can’t believe some of those ideas were cooked up in a weekend. As they say, KISS. It’s inspired me to simplify my processes. Almost at my 1,000,000 business. Took me a little longer. 3 years, but nonetheless got there.
This Noah guy really inspired me !!! FANTASTIC POST ! Will most certainly put my ideas to good use from here on out 🙂
Incredibly inspiring and valuable post. My mind is buzzing 😉
It is a little late to join this contest but I was disappointing on why I didn’t find this blog last year. I started my artificial flower business following the Craigslist idea. Basically I posted some ads on Craigslist of flower arrangement I made. People ordered! Then I asked my husband to build a shopping cart site around the idea. I had not spent a dime on ads yet but look like it will be my next step! Thanks so much on the Google/Facebook data points…
I was wondering if I am going to advertise on FB and choose the Cost per thousand views options , how much will it cost when people click on my ad?
This is one of the best posts/articles I’ve read about starting a profitable business, ever. Really valuable info presented in the clearest, most engaging way. Inspiring.
This is a very intellectual article. Also, this is one post where (I feel) all the comments/suggestions are gold too.
I printed this whole post out for fear of loosing it due to technical reasons. Challenge to myself: post another comment here after I have applied this knowledge.
LinkedIn Q& A is not available anymore, amazon.com does not provide bestseller lists outside U.S.
I made my own paper
I have an idea that I know would make over a million dollars. The problem is when I look for someone to talk to about it, it leads to the same place which is where in the hell do I start. How do I reach someone that will listen to my idea real quick and point me in the right direction or even move forward with me on the idea. My other problem is, no money. My restaurant Garlic & Shots in Tempe didnt make it. Ran out of money and I spent my life savings over, 350,000$ because I got robbed by a swindler. Any advice on who to talk to. My project can be an app, streamlined on the web, it could be a tv show. There isn’t anything like it out there and potential customer base could easily in the millions. It covers a need that can change the way apps etc…will be looked at and it would be the first one to set the playing field for the future. Thank you to someone who hopefully is out there and is hopefully actually took the time to read. Thank you!
Hello Dax Hoover! I’m sorry you were swindled. It’s happened to me as well, a time or two, over the past several decades. I would be interested in looking at your idea(s) and hopefully seeing a potential match for putting something together for the both of us. Aloha, Hj
I will give you a ring today @ Carmen’s 🙂 say 11 am your time. If not there, I will leave you my number. Thx GL
I too have been burned. My father told me it is one of those unfortunate lessons life always has to teach. I certainly am stronger though a touch poorer for it 🙂 I am a serial entrepreneur who is currently searching for his next focus. I have an idea that I am currently mapping out. I also would have interest in hearing your idea. I was once told by someone I truly respect that you should not fear sharing an idea as chances are 50 other people also have it. It can only help to talk and who knows maybe we could do something together. We could even get HJ in the mix 🙂 Cheers! GL
That would be awesome! How should I get in touch with you guys?
Appears I accidentally responded to HJs post so you never saw my response. I have called a couple of times@ Carmens but you have not been there. I am away for about 10 days and we can work to coordinate when I get back. Thx GL
Very clear and concise information . Step by step workable solutions on how to start, build and test business potential. Love the article. Perhaps ,if there are any updates or revisions , he should include those. Great stuff.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thanks
Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit
my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog!
One of the best ever articles I read on Four Hour Work Week Blog. The practical information and steps Noah Kagan, CEO of AppSumo gives you will help you build a business of any scale. This is the second time I read this article and going for new experimentation to test one services I’ve thinking for sometime.
Finally I have to say this is one of the most valuable posts I’ve seen on practical advice for BUSINESS STARTUPS.
This is a great read and a great motivator. I created a small start-up about ten years ago (it didn’t work out). I’m going to get started on my second start-up today.
Thanks, ill keep you posted.
Howdy! This post could not be written much better! Going through
this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this.
I’ll send this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!
Insightful. Wish I read this at the beginning of the year, would have saved me months of second guessing. Anyway, sometimes we learn more by failing. Thanks for the guidelines.
I am a student of yours who some time ago purchased your book the 4 hour work week and put it down when I was maybe a chapter in ( I just hadn’t had the intelligence to fully grasp what you were saying at the time). Since that time I have had a multitude of jobs in many diverse and various fields. I always fought that thought in my head “you’ll reach the top in anything you do, just pick something and stick to it”.
The voice in my head was right, I will always rise to the top but the second part of that thought was opposed by the expression “diversity is the key to life”. You see, It was important for me to experience many types of careers to get a understanding of a broader picture. To have perspective from different angles. Perspective one does not gain from just picking something and sticking to it.
I remember hearing you on the Joe Rogan podcast, not recognizing your name from a book I had purchased and not read. Your outlook felt so familiar. Like something I had herd as a child that resonated in my psyche. I feel like now is the time I can better understand and comprehend the knowledge you so generously pass on.
I am trying to keep this short, what I am asking of you is a favor. Circumstances in my life have brought me to this serendipitous moment where clarity has shown itself on my horizon. I have moved to Beaverton, Oregon leaving my life in Southern California to help my wife pursue her dreams and finish school so that she may become a physicians assistant.
I told her, on one condition! We move near nike headquarters so I can run their track. I had no idea what the portland area had in store for me. I just knew that if times were good or bad I can find my bliss, my life’s balance running that track. We have been up here for a little over two weeks now and of course I have been looking for jobs at nike. Not really knowing where I would fit in and just last week I found it.
The nike “EKIN”! A position that utilizes all my talents but will also allow me to grow in ways I couldn’t even imagine before. My philosophies align and my imagination soars with the amount I can contribute to this position and beyond it.
I ask as your student to endorse me, recommend me, do what you can do to help me reach this launching pad for which I can take off. It would be my deepest and most sincere gratitude, of which you have already earned.
I’m writing this open letter with a thank you for what you have already done for my life, in hope that there is more in-store.
I came across this blog by Googling The effects of LSD on creativity :). Expected it to be a “junkie” forum/blog and as I kept reading the posts it become evident that it is a kind of “junkie” blog :). So many people getting high on how easy and simple it is to make money…lots of money with little downtime and effort…if you just know how. I felt i had to make a comment 🙂
As a general rule there is no fast and easy money. Of course there are exception to rules and it seems most are used as case studies here. In reality to make it in the online business at this day and age you have to be smart above average like this guy Hogan. Unfortunetly, judging by the posts, most people aren’t. How many of you would think to offer money to bring someone else clients? The standard thinking is to cold email and ask for a commission…but who pays attention to cold emails these days. Its little things like that which matter and most of us do not have that kind of thinking. To make it you need to be smart and/or lucky. Do a simple fact mathematics. There are probably over 100million people trying to make money online and not so many profitable ideas out there. Although the internet market seems to be big it really isnt…..its actually just the western countries spending money online but people from all over the world compete for them. There has never been so much competition in the hstory of the world and brains and luck had never played such a big role as now. Give it a shot, and when it does not work try something offline..you got bigger chances there.
This is like Lean Startup in one page. Awesome.
I love the website and your post is really inspring to me.
It motivates me to continue with my own project, a language learning method with which I have learned 5 languages.
I am still working on it, having it launched 2 months ago. I hope one day it will be my muse and allow me to learn others languages and travel.
Keep on posting, because it gives good ideas and motivates people to keep on going.
Thanks a lot
Similar to elance, GWriters also offers a platform for freelancers. Although, it is for academics only.
I have followed this thread for two years and it still has the same magical impact to any passionate entrepreneur.
Its however more directed to online businesses none the less the knowledge may apply to offline businesses as well. However it’s imperative to consider proven entrepreneur processes such as customer development and lean start-up approaches to minimize on the loss of precious time coding and investing money on resources that are not needed. Any business would require that you personally engage the intended market to understand their need and invest to achieve exactly that.
wow very interesting article to read, thank you for share ……
What a great strategy, I know not much people will be able to find the product that they can sell even with this strategy or some of them could have a product but they loose time promoting it because it’s useless; But some people may have already the product that will work but don’t have a plan to sell it. you have been kind enough to show us how to validate the product and see if it will work before wasting time and money.
Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips for newbie blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.
Great article. I have a few ideas panning around in my head. I just don’t want to start too many things at once.
I went step by step. Testing: I have setup the website. Collected emails of those who are interested. I am now sure there is a demand. I did split tests with pricing etc. I even developed the product to 80% market ready. But so what when I don’t have money to finish the product and to cope with demand even if a percentage of the ones who left email address would order. Anyone?
If there really is a demand for a product and You have a solid background to prove it, surely You can find an investor. Just get out of the building, talk to people with cash and present them some charts and slides. They love to see sth real – not just the ideas and predictions.
Btw, great article. The most inspiring one!
How can I join to this
Some very cool insights and tools.
I like the way it covers from start to finish.
Very useful, thanks 🙂
Great article you have here!
Really enjoyed all the information and research you displayed here
Can’t wait to see what you post next time
Keep it up!
Wow, amazing framework. I want to use this for my companies next iteration. You may have just inspired to kill the first version. Thanks, makes a lot of sense.
Just the article and inspiration I needed to read I want my kids to learn and understand this business. So they can become there own business.
Thank you so much for sharing your success.
hi!,I like your writing so much! share we keep up a correspondence more about your article on AOL?
I need a specialist on this space to unravel my problem. Maybe that is you!
Having a look ahead to see you.
Your way of telling the whole thing in this paragraph is actually fastidious, all can simply understand it,
Thanks a lot.
Wow! I am a South African Student and I am only reading this a year later and I am sick and tired of being just thinking about my ideas… My biggest fear though is how to I turn my idea into International Money Making Products…
I have to say, this is really amazing. This article is pretty thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing your great idea for me.
Hey guys, I’ve been so inspired buy all the posts. This one really got me motivated. I’ve actually have an idea Id like to take to market, so to speak. I’ve done what I can to research the idea and it seems pretty good. (I hope) Im to the point where I need to test its viability in the marketplace, but Im sort of stumped as how to do it. I was hoping the group might have some ideas or pointers for me. Its a kitchen item, sort of a pressure cooker accessory. I’ve looked around some forums but they don’t seem as active as Id like at least not enough to test sales ad. Any ideas on where I could plant the idea online to see if it’ll stick? Thanks again.
I’ve watched/read several things from Noah & Tim both, though am still seeking my own success so take this for what it’s worth. 😛
There are a couple common themes you’ll see with these two. As is emphasized in the article, never ask people IF they’ll buy; ask them to buy. It’s not real validation unless it’s effectual in the target audiences’ mind. Also, the human-to-human channel is underutilized. So often we want to take out an ad, make a website, and anything else that’ll keep us from having to be face-to-face with a prospect. But every non-personal channel is crowded and thus mostly ignored. Personal interactions are hard to ignore, cheap (in money cost anyway) and most conducive to actual, factual feedback. You won’t be left wondering if it was your ad or your product that failed.
Even if you don’t have a prototype, find a friend who has a pressure cooker that could use your product, pitch them on the benefits and offer to sell them one that you have “in the car”. That’ll at least get the wheels turning. If they say no, find out why. If they say yes, great! Like Noah said, buy them some tacos and have a laugh over it or something. Repeat to taste. Remember: if you can’t sell benefits, you can’t sell products. It’s tough to stick your neck out, but it has to be done at some point or other. Might as well start with a format you’ll get a lot out of.
PS Also Google Noah Kagan as he’s got a lot of good vids out there. Just don’t let your entrepreneurial spirit devolve into wantrepreneur video watching. 😉
A lot of fantastic information. My head exploded after the first couple of paragraphs. I have bookmarked it and plan on revisiting it.
I am still trying to wrap my head around selling information products.
A lot of good ideas in this post and also the post that I came here from, on the postal guy who is now making 4 thousand USD a month for his climbing glasses.
I guess a lot of times people have good ideas, but don’t follow up on them. The most important thing is to take a risk and just jump in. Otherwise nothing will change. You need to take a risk to also get a gain!
Thanks Noah and Tim, from Wantrepreneur to BOSSpreneur in 2014! I revisit this post and it always helps validate new ideas to start.
Hey Tim, Noah, et al!
In this post you said…
“We were able to build the core product in one weekend, using an outsourced team in Pakistan, for a grand total of $60.”
I have an idea for a mobile app I want to build. I’ve seen all kinds of do-it-yourself tools, but I’d way rather pay somebody $60, hell I’d even pop with $100 to get a fairly robust version of my idea in one weekend.
Can you share contact info or other details with me.
Hi Noah. You’re wonderful and i am really impressed. I have a brilliant idea that i’ve been going about it for a year now. It is a beautiful app to developed but am afraid they will steal it. Am looking for a reputable organization that can work on it. A university professor told me that this is wonderful idea but they will steal your idea. I checked google for similar app but no app like that. I’m scare! Please advice me.
Hi! I also have a few awesome ideas for some really good apps but I am also nervous about people stealing it. If you get any info on where I can go for help on who can help me with that can you please let me know?? It would be greatly appreciated 😀
@Taylor, why are you worried about stealing your idea when you haven’t even begun to develop it?
@Nbaa Belbari:- please contact me, i might be able to provide a guideline on how you can protect your intellectual idea, copyright before launching the product.
I have some ideas on creating a website, I’m really interested to know which company from Pakistan helped out for a whopping $60 ?
If anyone can help me out with that it would be great. 😀
By the way I’m loving all of these posts. So inspiring, motivational and helpful, especially for someone my age and just getting started.
Thanks all! You’re wonderful!
hi. i liked your post even tho i think its kind of confusing…
i’ve got an idea i just need to learn how to create the app.
is there any advice that you could give me??
also, who do i have to speak about the app to be seen on the appl store( iphone etc.?
excellent step by step guide on how to get into a market. So many times people have an idea but dont know the steps to a ball park validation of the markets capability to keep on buying/ giving money. Excellent excellent guide.
Thanks for the post. I’m just beginning the process of building a business. This was the kind of inspiration I needed.
[Moderator: link removed]
Read this article about two weeks ago for the first time. It and its followup article with Noah have helped immensely to understand the “muse” business concepts……just wanted to say thanks.
You’re a very beneficial site; couldn’t make it without ya!
You know, I must confess that you are the first person I have come across who has not only told us how to go about creating a business but also linking to the tools we can use. There are so many “gurus” out there who claim to want to make us the next big thing, but all they do is provide useless info for money. I have never met one who gave away useful info for free. Thank you very much Tim for not being like them.
I am going to apply your suggestions and I will definitely return to let you know how well *hopefully* it goes.
Keep up the good work!
Google Insights keeps bringing up the Google Trends page ? Is that normal?
Great post, but some of the links to the Google / Facebook tools arent what they used to be! They’ve cottened on to Noahs techniques!
Any alternatives out there these days?
They are there. They’ve just updated links. You just have to look a big harder on Google and Facebook.
There are many theories of how search engines work and what
people tend to search for your web pages. Another reason that makes this a matter
of custom web pages and finance + blog has become very important to
consider the total experience of the company. You’ll
want to find sites with a high page rank and
enhance yourwebsite value according to Google or other
major search engines on which the ranking matters a lot!
Hello there…Great information you have shared,..thank you so much. Well,…here’s my dilemma. I m very creative, and am looking for someone that would be willing to take the time to invest in me,learn about my creative talents without them stealing from me. There’s so much on the internet, you don’t know who to go to, who to trust….it’s just so over whelming. I would like to work for someone,…to come up with creative ideas for businesses, services, or products and get paid for what i’m truly worth for making them wealthy. I promise this is no joke.
What I want to know is the name of this Pakistani company that charged $60 for a core product!
Did you ever find out?
A very interesting idea. I took the Appsumo course which has helped. But… I have yet to come up with an idea of any kind. I am a complete blank.
Sorry for my third comment in one post but I have a question.
Usually newsletter subscription request for a confirmation. Usually Aweber implement double opt-in to be compliant to SPAM ACT.
I noticed that your first email does not have a confrimation link.
Is this normal? Am I subscribed without confirm my subscription?
Thanks in advance for help.
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Can anyone explain the detailed calculation behind this excerpt?
“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.”
so interesting, as in wow.
So really if you already did your research and have the ability to access these metrics without undue effort and have a team on standby to do your coding etc etc ….misleading title yet again Tim. Another priviledged white males post.
Keep up the excellent well deserved
Love this post!
I am having trouble using facebook’s search function in the same way that Noah did however. I see he was able narrow down his search to people who liked chihuahua, were 20 or older and lived in an English speaking country. Is this a standard facebook search feature or it is provided through their advertising platform?
If anyone can help point me in the right direction I would really appreciate it.
For the past 5 months I have been regularly looking on the web in hopes of finding sites with articles about entrepreneurship and stumbled
upon fourhourworkweek.com. I really want to write thanks, this was just what I have been searching for.
Awesome article. I’m going to use this when developing our product and service offerings. Thanks Noah.