Giles has recently tried the challenge of launching one mini-business per month. He did this to test the limits of creativity, see what lessons he could learn, and hopefully make some money doing it as well. He managed to achieve all three goals.
He did this by first becoming a master of Ruby on Rails and speaking at tech conferences and blogging on the subject to build a reputation. His background was also in acting, and he's found ways to combine his interests in acting, coaching, and technology to make money through online mini-businesses. A lot of the lessons he taught (like the power of virtual assistants) reminded me of the life-changing and mind-altering lessons I learned in The Four-Hour Workweek, which I recently completed reading and can't wait to blog about.
The books he read that helped him with his challenge were the following:
- Millionaire Next Door
- No BS Marketing to the Affluent
- My job went to India (and all I got was this lousy book)
- Purple Cow (which I recently blogged about too)
- Forget failures. Take what you learned and move on. Don't reminisce on problems and failures. Doing anything great requires lots of failing.
- Repeat wins. Focus on what works and expand it. Emphasize and develop your strengths; downplay and minimize your weaknesses.
- Create mini-sites to sell books and services through affiliate marketing. He was a non-believer like most of us, and he also thought online marketing is not as cool or hardcore as making money in other ways. However, once he got into it, he learned how scientific and hardcore it actually can be, and he learned to leverage every piece of infrastructure out there to create mini-businesses that bring a period cash inflows that he sure doesn't mind.
- Offer free awesome seminars on a subject you know and immediately up-sell. He spoke about how this technique works and talked about how it was successful for him (Note: he didn't really up-sell us at his talk, which was considerate). Offering free short online videos and tutorials is a good way to do this too.
Another technique he discussed was limited time sales and expiring offers. We have seen recently how this can be a powerful motivator through daily deal sites. In addition, countdowns to launch and hints/previews to build up excitement before sales can really help.
More techniques for online sales and marketing can be learned from the following gurus he mentioned: Dan Kennedy, Eben Pagan, Frank Kern, Russell Brunson, and John Carlton.
- Revenue management. Offer multiple price points to see what people are willing to pay. Market your product to have demand exceed supply; keep expanding capacity or doubling price until you go too far and then back up. That was effectively the formula he advocated.
- Lean product design. Find out people's questions and make products answering their questions. Just jump in and start; early is better than perfect. Actions are better than plans. A great audience is better than great technology.
- Change your habits to change your life. You really can support yourself and have a good time while starting mini-businesses on your own. He says money management is essential, including tracking how much you're earning and spending on each activity. To spice things up, he's enjoyed co-working with friends.
Overall, it was a fun and engagement presentation, and I look forward to the next meetup.