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7 lessons to make 2014 a year to remember

Noah Kagan
Noah Kagan

January 24, 2014

What we learned last year and how that can help you in your career

When I applied for a job at Intel in 2004 the interviewer asked me where I wanted to be in 3 years.

I point blank told him: “not here.”

He laughed hysterically and said he felt the same.

Knowing where you want to go helps you get there. Imagine trying to drive to a destination without knowing where it is. Yeah ... not so easy.

During this fun time of the year we have some time off to drink way too much whisky, reflect on how the year went, and plan what we want to get out of 2014.

For AppSumo, it’s been quite the ride this past year.

We went from 18 to 5 employees, successfully created and promoted our "How to Make a $1,000 a Month Business" course and now are more profitable than we've ever been.

Here’s 7 things we learned this year that we want to share to help make your career better:

1. Work on something you care about.

Your time is fixed and you won’t get it back. If you’re living your life “conditionally” aka you say “I’ll do this later when...” you should seriously re-evaluate what you’re doing.

It's important to realize our time is limited on earth.

Personally I’ve always made the most money when I created products, services or events that I loved and wanted to attend. When I reversed the equation and focused on how to make more money, it was always short-lived and not enjoyable.

There is a way for you to make money doing what you love.

2. Have a singular goal.

Our goal was to create a course that helped 3,333 people create their own $1,000 a month business.

This was a sincere thing I wanted to accomplish and the whole team clearly knew the designation of where we wanted to go this year.

Here’s a picture of our current dashboard:

Our current dashboard

Compare this to our previous year’s dashboard:

Our old dashboard

Notice the difference? Focusing on one specific thing helped us say no to other distracting things and accomplish our goal.

3. Creating makes you feel better.

During part of last year I was depressed about life and wasn’t sure what to do with AppSumo. I even paid $10,000 per day for someone to basically tell me what to do.

After I started helping just one person start their business I began to feel better.

If you’re feeling low, how can you create something? Maybe make a drawing, write an article, or fix up something around your place.

Making something with immediate results can help you overcome temporary barriers.

4. Limitations can help you.

Last year we spent around $1,500,000 on advertising which wasn’t always profitable.

This year we limited our budget to only $30,000 a month.

This made us think creatively and only focus on advertising when it brought us positive ROI (return on investment).

We spent way less but were 100% more effective by only focusing on advertising that actually made us money.

5. Keep it ghetto.

When we decided to create our own course from scratch we didn’t just start coding. Here's what we did instead:

  • We did in-person meet ups to understand exactly what people needed when trying to start a business.
  • Wrote out the course just in basic text format.
  • Used free web pages to host that version of text to see if it would help people.
  • Had people manually pay us via PayPal each month to determine if they would prefer a monthly payment plan.

After we kept it ghetto and knew that what we built actually worked we invested heavily in making the course the absolute best.

6. Work with people you really really like.

You spend more time with them than any other person.

We’ve had over 35 different people work at AppSumo so I’ve seen a fair amount of talent levels.

The 3 key things that I’ve learned:

  1. If people like who they work with they are more likely to want to keep working at your company. Your best people are like hot girls at a bar, they get a lot of attention (“recruiters”) whether you try to prevent it or not.
  2. Better people are more effective. Need less supervision and are more likely to figure out ways to pay for themselves.
  3. People who care about your purpose are likely to work harder, including when times are tough.

More employees doesn't mean you're more successful. Instead brag that you get more done with less.

7. Explore the why of what you’re working on.

Last year with AppSumo we declared that we wanted to help a million entrepreneurs with their businesses.

Internally I did NOT care about this at all. I knew it, it wasn’t authentic.

I started AppSumo to promote cool stuff and that’s all I want to do.

So this year we focused on that.

Even Momma Sumo noticed and asked why we emailed so much less this year. Last year, we sent around 30,000,000 emails a month. Now we do 1,000,000 but are significantly more profitable. Quality > Quantity.

2013 was quite the year and we learned a lot.

Let us show you what else we've learned through our experiences running successful companies and let us guide you to your own successful company.

If your New Year's Resolution is to start your own business ... what are you waiting for?

With the How to Make a $1,000 a Month Business course, we'll give you the blueprint, individual attention, and access to a private community of 3000+ entrepreneurs to start your business today

Click here and make 2014 a year you'll always remember. The year that you'll think back on and say ... "that's when it all changed."

How To Make a $1,000 a Month Business 12 Month Plan

  • Interactive assignments teaching you everything from failure to validating your business.
  • Access to a proprietary online web tool to help make sure you are on track.
  • Access to the online wantrepreneur community.
  • 60-day money back guarantee. No matter the reason.

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