Having a lifestyle business
Before starting HTMYFD, I was a financial analyst staring at spreadsheets 8 hours a day and dying a little inside. To avoid serious depression I started looking around and found AppSumo. I love to write so I thought by improving my ability to write persuasively and understanding how to grow a business I could start my own company.
The course taught me that building a website and reading endless blogs on startups was really my avoidance of facing rejection. I decided to actually validate whether there was a market for my writing style and if I could sell myself effectively. I started to find opportunities all over the web to write copy and began writing for free to build up a portfolio. I then leveraged that experience to start landing paying gigs.
Within 3 months I was bringing in $1,000/month on the side while still working full time. I’m about to sign a contract that will provide enough work that I’ll be able to leave my 9-5 for good and focus on my writing business!
Find Your Golden Idea
The 'AHA' moment
I was coming off a pretty gut-wrenching business failure when AppSumo launched the First Dollar course. I'd just seen six months of my life go up in smoke when a competitor beat me to market with an app that not only contained all my secret sauce (even the stuff I never told anyone about), but even had the same name. And it was all my fault. I'm a writer, not a programmer, and my fear of partnering with a developer and giving up fifty percent of my profits earned me one hundred percent of a giant goose egg.
I signed up for the First Dollar course looking for a new direction in business, and to figure out how to break the cycle of Wantrepreneurism. As I went through the course and learned more about the validation methods, it occurred to me that I already had a validated business idea sitting in my top desk drawer for the past couple of years. I had an e-book 90% written which I'd already validated two and a half years earlier with a survey which resulted in 250 respondents saying they would "definitely" or "probably" buy it if it were priced between $10-$20.
I emailed Noah Kagan to see what he thought I should do and he pretty much flipped out.
"You have a book that 250 people told you they wanted to buy and you haven't sold it to them yet? Bro, come on."
So he suggested that I sell the book as-is to see if there was still any demand. I chose 25 names at random from my previous validation and sent them an email offering them the opportunity to help me edit the book for $5, which would get them the finished product for free. I would consider three takers a valid idea. I got six. And that was six out of twenty-five email addresses over two years old.
They were enormously helpful. Thanks to their suggestions, I completely re-structured the book and made it ten times better. After our initial review, I sent it out for professional editing and what came back was something you'd find on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. Needless to say I was pretty excited. "The Best of Braverman" was finally a reality.
I didn't really know what to expect, so you can imagine my surprise when sales passed the $1,000 mark in the first 24 hours after launch. I was blown away. Then the reviews started coming in and people loved the book. I think that means even more to me than the money, and here's why:
The reason the First Dollar course was so clutch for me wasn't all the great stuff about validation (and believe me, it is great stuff and absolutely critical to getting money rolling in). What really made the difference for me was all the stuff about overcoming your fears and getting out of your own way. I never realized how big a role fear played in my constant procrastination, both fear of failure and fear of success. What if the book doesn't sell? What if it does? Helping me overcome the mental hurdles I'd placed in front of my success is what really made the difference.
That's why I can't recommend the First Dollar course enough. Sure, I more than tripled my investment in the course on Day One, but that's not the important thing. The way the course is laid out together with the access to guys like Noah and the other sumos (they are very hands-on, believe me) is the real reason you should pull the trigger if you're on the fence about the course. I didn't even realize what was holding me back before taking the course, and I had a five (and maybe even six) figure product sitting in my top desk drawer.
Everyone's business idea is different, and everyone has different obstacles to overcome. Very rarely do you find a blueprint for making a business a reality so quickly. Will some of it be uncomfortable? Absolutely. But it is so worth it. As a serial wantrepreneur who bought course after course after course, I can say unequivocally that this is the last course you'll need to buy if what you really want is an income generating business. I can't wait to get back into the course and create something even bigger!
Find Your Golden Idea
A Surprising Discovery
I moved to NYC from Minneapolis and was basically thrown into the finance world by accident. If you saw me in my day-job, you'd really wonder about me... I work for a hedge fund. I was a futures trader for years and now am the head of investor relations and marketing for the same hedge fund. I sit in a big office over-looking Central Park.
I never really thought I'd start a food business, but then I met Noah. When I served him my muesli, he said, "Why are you at the hedge fund? You should be doing this!" I thought he was crazy. He told me to take it to work the next day and have my co-workers try it. They loved it. So the next day, Noah said that when they ask me for muesli again, I should charge them. No way, I thought. Who would pay me for it? I felt sheepish and stupid, but Noah made me promise that I would tell them it cost $$. Well guess what? They ALL paid. Everyone that asked me about it paid--and they still pay every day. In fact, there are a lot of days I sell out completely. That's how I validated it and that's how I knew it would work.
Since then my clients include: Bergdorf Goodman, Cole Haan, Conde Nast, Code and Theory, and several other offices in Manhattan that have standing weekly subscription orders with me. I'm now expanding to a commercial shared kitchen space and looking to move into retail distribution. I've been contacted by producers at the Today Show and Fox Morning News about my muesli and my story. And this is all via word-of-mouth through my clients. Like Noah has said, when you have a good product, people love to tell others about it.
Find Your Golden Idea