Month: March 2022

From e-mails and communities to profitability.

Make email the backbone of your marketing – maintain control. Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook can take away your business at any time by changing the algorithms, shutting down your account, or making you pay to turn up. Social media is a great place to gain distribution, but you are building on rented land. Once you have social media followers, start building an email list. Email is a peer-to-peer network giving you a direct line to your customers. This is not controlled by anyone but yourself, an algorithm or whether you spend money. The author’s position is that when someone gives you their e-mail address they are your friend, not a stranger. But it is very easy to lose that friendship. You would not spam your friends so you should not spam these contacts either. I have had some bad experiences recently. Look I get it, a business owner has spent time to develop a piece of useful content, or to produce a YouTube video. If I want more, then I buy the additional information …

Marketing: Just be You

Selling to strangers is hard, it’s much easier if you have a connection with your potential client.  In this episode we will hear what Sahil Lavingia tells us on developing your audience. Congratulations, by following steps outlined in last week’s  blogs which were part manifesto and part roadmap. you know how to build a community, a product and one hundred customers. You have achieved product market fit. Note the 100 customers is not a hard number, it will depend on your business. If you are a coach, consultant or other solopreneur this number maybe only 5 or even as low as 3. The point is that you have repeat customers. This week we will look at the advice for the minimalist entrepreneur offered by Savil Lavingia on how to grow beyond 100 customers starting with marketing by being you. Sales got you to 100 customers, marketing will bring you thousands. Marketing at this stage of your business should not be confused with advertising. Ads cost money and as a minimalist entrepreneurs we only spend money …

Getting Ready to Launch – Your first 100 customers

Lessons from “The Minimalist Entrepreneur – How Great Founders Do More With Less.” By Sahil Lavingia Constraints lead to Creativity. If you are a minimalist entrepreneur the early stages of launching your business is all about constraints. You need to focus on doing one thing well and avoiding the temptation to try to do everything at once. Scope creep where a project or product launch becomes unwieldy due adding just one more feature and wouldn’t be nice if we could do this. Sahal Lavingia uses this check list to keep things manageable. Can I ship it in a weekend? Most prototypes of a product offering should be capable of being developed in 2 to 3 days Will it make my customers lives a little better? Is it likely a customer will be willing to pay me for this solution? Can I get feedback quickly? This first product does not need to be pretty. Maybe the best example of a popular but not pretty solution is Craigslist. It’s never been pretty, but it has always worked. …

Be Confident Be Minimalist

Lessons from “The Minimalist Entrepreneur – How Great Founders Do More With Less.” By Sahil Lavingia Don’t let self-doubt set in; build as little as possible. Writers are told, “Write what you know” for entrepreneurs it’s not quite that simple. When you are starting a business you are imaging something that has not been done before, or at least not in the way you are contemplating your business vision. This applies even if you are considering a consulting or coaching business, there may be many similar businesses out there, but yours will be unique because you will bring your skill sets and unique personality to the table. Unfortunately, this is when many aspiring solopreneurs decide that building a business is not for them. Although they have the passion, they let self-doubt set in. They convince themselves they do not have the hard skills they need to be successful.  Let me tell you a secret, every entrepreneur has doubts that their business with be successful. Even the most successful were not sure of success when they …

Finding your business niche

Lessons from “The Minimalist Entrepreneur – How Great Founders Do More With Less.” By Sahil Lavingia Give away so much value that you think you’ve given too much, then give more. Michael Port Book Yourself Solid Start with Community Sahil Lavingia starts this chapter with a story about entrepreneur Sol Orwell who, in 2009, was overweight and unhappy. He decided he needed to learn more about fitness and nutrition. He joined a Reddit community and the more he learned about the subject, the more he shared, he answered questions and posted about his personal journey of losing sixty pounds (27KG). Working with co “Redditor” Kurtis Frank, they built a community of 50,000 members. Kurtis and Sol noticed a common theme, many questions were raised around the subject of nutritional supplements. In 2011 together they launched Examine.com, they did not sell anything, just provided information. In 2013 they began to think about monetizing. By asking their audience Kurtis and Sahil identified a need for a single reliable source of information about supplements available in the market. They launched Research Digest a …

The Minimalist Approach to Success.

Lessons from “The Minimalist Entrepreneur – How Great Founders Do More With Less.” By Sahil Lavingia  Are you a Minimalist Entrepreneur? Introduction: Sahil Lavingia started his career chasing unicorns. He joined Pinterest as employee number two but left before his stock invested to build his own billion dollar company: Gumroad. A tool to help creators sell their products online. Simplicity was key, no complicated setup, no elaborate storefront. Just a link for customers to pay and you are in business. Fifty thousand people visited the site on the first day and Sahil felt he was on the cusp of something big. Gumroad never did become a unicorn, after burning through $10 million of investor’s capital, growth plateaued, attempts to raise additional capital failed. Three quarters of the company’s staff were laid off, including many of Sahil’s good friends. From the perspective of Silicon Valley, and in his own eyes, Mr. Lavinga was a failure. A move from San Francisco to Provo Utah enabled Sahil to change his perspective. Gumroad was a sustainable business, thousands of …

More Ideas from Dori Clark’s “The Long View”

Continually reinvent yourself – Think in Waves. That you cannot do it all at once is obvious, nor should you try if you are playing the long game. But do not fall into a trap that many professionals fall into. Which is finding an activity you are good at, and simply keep doing that forever. This leads to frustration as you begin to feel you have plateaued. Often this is because they have overplayed their strengths and ignored areas where they are weak, or they are afraid to take a chance on something new Heads Up, Heads Down. Articulated by Jared Kleinert an Atlanta based entrepreneur. Heads Up, Heads Down provides guidance on how to avoid the shiny object syndrome, the difficulty many of us face in avoiding chasing the next big thing. There is no shame in trying other things, but only when you are in Heads Up mode, where you are looking for opportunities, But not when you should be Heads Down mode, the time when you are focused on execution, getting stuff …

Taking the Long Game View

Making the impossible, possible When setting objectives for our careers whether entrepreneurial or corporate we often default to monetary objectives. That’s why business degrees are so popular, they appear to offer a more direct route to well-paid employment. But one of the best aspects of being an entrepreneur is that you can focus your activities on what interests you. Dorie Clark calls it optimize for interesting. One of my greatest regrets is that I spent my corporate career in a company that made products that really did not fire my imagination. My hobbies were fishing, boating and aviation, not construction chemicals. When considering where your business should take you, evaluate what you are already doing. What catches and holds your  interest? Set big goals for yourself. It may seem to you that making a living out of what interests you is impossible, so you elect to pay it safe. After all who wants to be loser. By playing the long game however, what appears to be impossible becomes possible. Making a living doing what you …

To Achieve Success Learn to say No

Based on ideas from Dorie Clark’s “The Long Game – how to be a long term thinker in short term world.” When Nancy Reagan, wife of then President Ronald Reagan was visiting a primary school in California she told the kids “Just say no” to drugs. This was later used as a slogan in the campaign against drugs in the US during the early 1980s. But as we know many people have difficulty saying no to drugs, and many entrepreneurs have difficulty saying no to requests for meetings, to speak at events, to do write a guest blog, anything to raise their profile. When I stated out, I fell into this trap, if someone who seemed to have a chance of providing me with a lead or a gig contacted me I would agree to meet them. Usually at a place convenient for them, they were a potential customer after all. I have spoken pro bono at many CFO conferences, I have even made Podcasts for that giant ERP provider SAP. All without payment and …

Are you too busy to be successful?

Lessons from Dorie Clarks book “The Long View” Part 1 Rejection is part of every entrepreneur’s life. The proposal that is not accepted, the call that is not returned, the blog that attracts little interest, the client who terminates a contract. But if you believe social media, stories in the press, courses that offer instant income, you could feel that everyone else has the secret to success figured out and only you are struggling to gain traction. Maybe you tell yourself that you need to work harder, put in longer hours, expand your social media presence, start podcasting, writing a blog. These activities take time, and it is likely you are hustling as hard and as fast as you possibly can. You do not have time to breath, let alone think. Even though you know it’s not right, you focus on execution and the short term. What can you do about it? Dorie Clark suggests you adopt strategic patience. Strategic patience is the ability to do the work without any guarantee of success, to toil …