It's a serious question. If you were starting today, what strategy would you take?
First, I agree with Chad in that the pure pursuit of money is unlikely to render anything significant. By using a monetary value as a primary goal, you're only diluting the real drivers of success: passion, crafting great customer experiences, building an incredible team and culture etc.
That said, making $1m isn't that hard. :) I love this thinking by Amy Hoy and that's how I would go about making $1m: http://unicornfree.com/30x500. Using that logic, this is what I'd do:
* To earn $1m in a year, I need to earn +- $80k a month.
* To earn $80k a month, I need 1600 customers paying me $50 per month.
* So what can I build that could attract 1600 people to pay me $50?
* Or, what could I build that could attract 400 people to pay me $200 per month?
This logic works on two drivers:
* Cumulative revenue and growth. So SaaS works best in this regard, as you only need to focus on having new signups that are greater than your churn.
* Building something that people are willing to (really) pay for and going for quality over quantity. If you are building something that sells for $5 pm, you'll need to sell at much higher volumes (which are tricky).
In terms of doing that, these are the areas of my business that I would prioritize:
1. Build an awesome team that do things they're passionate about.
2. Prioritize customer experiences above anything else. Do everything in your power (regardless of whether it can't scale) to add value and help your customers.
3. Build a brand and reputation that has long-lasting value.
Go to work at an mid-stage, venture-backed startup where:
* You get lots of options ("lots" being relative to the stage of the company and the % of ownership you'd get at other companies of a similar stage and risk - "lots" can be difficult to determine ; )
* The business is executing well
* Much of the risk has been removed, but this isn't well-understood by the market in general (this is part of why you'll get "lots" of options rather than "very few" options)
* The company is running roughly at break-even, or could be if it dialed-back hiring/marketing a bit
* The company is within a few years of going public
Then, work like crazy, make the place a huge success, and ask for additional options as often as you reasonably can.
Ideally you'll end up with enough options that you'll have $1M soon after IPO.
Look for a public contract. There's where the real money is.
A fantastic business lesson that I learned early on was "If you want better answers... Ask better questions."
So in the spirit of that lesson:
If your question is a serious one and you want a serious and helpful answer the you need to be more specific.
Consider the following to develop a better question:
1. WHO will be making the money - me or you? Your initial question is about YOU. Your subsequent question asks what strategy I would take. These are 2 different questions. Pick one as the focus of your question.
2. The next question is: In what time frame? How fast do you want/need the money?
3. Is this a lump sum that comes at the end of the effort? Or is it accumulated along the way?
4. Is that million before or after taxes?
5. Is this million gross or net? In other words - how much of it do you intend to keep for yourself?
6. How much investment capital do you have to start with?
7. How much time do you have to dedicate to making your million?
8. What other resources (i.e. aside from investment capital and time) do you have at your disposal?
There are surely more ways to refine your question... My hope is that this serves as a good starting point for you.
Best of luck to you!
Focus on being a person of value not a person of financial success. Financial success will come with providing exceptional value.
Find a pain and make it go away. People will pay to have their pains removed. When this really works, get them to talk about it with others sharing the same pain.
You don't have to be the first, or the prettiest, or the cheapest to market with your idea. It just has to solve a basic pain.
To identify that pain, know who has that pain. In other words, get to know your potential customer. Where do they hang out both online and in the real world? What do they spend their discretionary time and money on? Who hangs out with them? That's how you determine how to reach them.
Fail early and fail often. Version 1.0 doesn't have to be perfect. And always keep your eyes open for the next pain coming around the bend.
Commit to a consistent savings plan in a tax deferred and tax free withdrawal vehicle. Remember time is your best strategy. The longer money remain untouched, the better the return. Forget get rich schemes that compel you to invest money for large returns.
It depends on your goals and what you are trying to accomplish. For me personally, I'd rather have a consistent stream of income that comes in every month than one big bag of gold. We hear stories of people who win the lottery all the time only to find out years down the road they are right back where they have started. When it comes to money and finance, it's not just about making money but preserving it as well. Find something you enjoy doing and eventually the money will follow.
I love this question. I also love the fact that the question is 2 years old. I would like to know if you are a millionaire now after receiving the advice that you received.
Secondly, I love the question because I firmly believe that you will be a millionaire if you keep that goal in front of you. In fact, I would tell to you write it on a 3x5 card and read it at least 3 times a day every day.
If you truly want to be a millionaire, follow my instructions below. By the way, there are millions of ways to make a million dollars.
Always specialize and find a niche. But do not find a ditch instead of a niche. Let me explain.
You can actually find several or even 100's of niches and specialize in each. Note that this very different from trying to appeal to everybody with the same product. However, nobody on here will be able to tell you the gaps in the software development market. But, I can tell you how to find the answer to your question. You can do this through testing, pre-launching, and launching. Your potential customers will give you the answers if you follow the techniques below.
Test, test, test. You should run several split tests using different videos within the campaign and drive customers to take some concrete, measurable actions. This action can be signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, signing up for a White Paper, signing up for a free bonus, etc. But you have to key each of these along with the video to make sure that the actual video is driving the actual action.
I am sharing other information from my other posts below in hopes that this also helps you.
Boot Strapping or Million Dollar Marketing. Here is the formula.
I am adding information below that I have shared with others.
If you were looking for a doctor, you would go to a hospital. If you were fishing you might use worms even if worms disgusted you. You would not use ice cream to catch a fish even if you yourself love ice cream for obvious reasons. The fish nor the customers don’t care what you like or what you want. They only care about what they want. Customers instinctively think “What’s in it for me?” Understanding this is the key to marketing. And understanding marketing is the key to get whatever you want in life or business.
For investors, try contacting owners of existing similar companies. They have more money and experience than you. Have them sign an NDA when possible before discussing your business proposition.
So, here are several of my marketing solutions:
Here is $10,000 worth of information for free and in a nutshell. (each of these proven concepts could actually be worth millions of dollars in the right hands).
I like your idea. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as say, it is a great idea. So...don't give up. But don't keep beating your head against the wall either. You have to get over the wall.
You have to quit focusing on marketing and sales tactics and focus on a strategy. How do you to this? You have to come up with a really solid USP. Why would a customer choose you over others similar companies? Find the answer to this before you continue with your marketing strategy.
Secondly, you need an irresistible offer.
Thirdly, you need to offer an unbelievable guarantee. By doing this and following the directions below on pre-launch and launch you should be a lot closer to getting real solid customers.
I didn't actually invent the pre-launch or the launch. Concert goers are very familiar with winning concert tickets by calling into radio stations or winning VIP treatment, or back stage passes, lunch with a star, the list goes on.
Likewise, if you look at "professional wrestling" or boxing, or MMA, the whole fighting before the fight is just a pre-launch. Unfortunately, even heroin dealers use a pre-launch technique better than most business people. PT Barnum was doing this for circus goers over 100 years earlier. And I can only imagine the pre-launch of the Romans for the Gladiator Fights.
In more recent history, every type of business from Retail Stores to Real Estate companies have used multiple pre-launch techniques. Believe me; tourists are bombarded with Condo deals when they visit Disney Land.
This is similar, but different from lead generation, another power marketing concept along with backend sales techniques (I don't have the enough space to discuss these and other powerful techniques here). But I use these techniques in my own businesses including offering free information packed newsletters and encouraging my clients to move up my sales ladder because it is best for them. Most do move up the sales ladder as their ambition and drive increases. Some move all the way up from the very beginning. Both benefit from this, one just takes longer to receive the benefits. Others will never take a chance on becoming successful.
Okay, to pre-launch campaigns for SaaS platforms, a startup, or any product or service. Simply, come up with a taste of what you have, ask a serious question and answer it. At the end of the end of the first "answer and solution" set the potential client up with another problem that is very familiar to them. Convince them that you have the answer. Follow this technique several times. Most do this repetition 2 or 3 times, but a famous golfer has sent me literally dozens of how to videos in order for me to take the bait.
You might think that giving the answer to a solution makes your product less valuable and your opinion less valuable. If you think that…then you would be wrong. Heck, look at what I have given out in this answer alone. But, this is just the microscopic tip of my business and marketing knowledge. My experience is if you give you will receive. That is…if you know what to give, how much to give, and how to receive.
I am not trying to convince you to call me. Frankly, most people cannot afford to call me and I am very selective about who I accept as my clients. Besides, I am pretty busy with my own businesses and consulting with some very high paying customers. However, I would need more info from you before I could have a greater impact in helping you.
Most solutions involved this: Ask, Ask, Ask, then Ask again.
Concentrate on the 3 M's of Marketing. I have come up with 7 M’s of Marketing, but 3 will do for now. These are Market, Message, and Media. They come in that order.
Who is your target market (customer, clients, buyers, users, etc.)?
Tailor your laser focused message for this target market.
What is the best media mix to get your message to that market?
Here's what you do...first, take steps to make sure that you are actually selling something that a hungry crowd wants like a baby wants milk, then…make an offer that is so incredible that they cannot resist. Secondly, do all the work for them. Make it so easy to make the purchase now that they can do it virtually without effort. Thirdly, give them an incentive to act right now. Fourthly, offer an almost unbelievable guarantee. Fifth, offer a bonus for acting now. There are many other incredible steps in my playbook, but these steps should help the novice to the professional sell anything.
Whether you are selling B2B or B2C, you have to focus on selling to only one person. You can actually sell to one person at a time while selling to millions at a time. These are one and the same. Don't get off track. What we call digital marketing selling is just selling in print. And that has not changed since in the last couple of thousand years.
The secret to success: I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the biggest names in business, celebrities, actors, entrepreneurs, business people, and companies from startup to billion dollar operations. The number one reason for their success is doing what they know and love while doing it in new, creative, and innovative ways.
Ask, Ask, Ask. Have thick skin and learn from each "mistake." In a short while, the market will tell you what you need to do and who and what you need to ask. But get started now, even if that just means asking a contact on LinkedIn.
While you are thinking, you might as well think really big and think of something at least 1% better, newer, or different. And being cheaper is not a winning strategy.
Make decisions quickly and change decisions slowly…unless you are actually going off a cliff.
Remember these two 11 letter words...persistence and consistency. They are two of the most important tools ever invented.
Even better yet, remember my 411 Rule of Achievement – It consists of (4) eleven letter words for super achievement (also an 11 letter word). Here it is, my 411 Rule of Super Achievement:
Consistency can change even the smallest
Possibility into a big time
Persistence + Consistency =
By the way, I get a lot of people asking me if I can take phone calls for free (a free sample). Sorry, I can’t. I respect Clarity.fm and what they are trying to accomplish. And I wouldn’t if I could. The information that I offer is just too valuable to give away for free. I used to give information away for free and nobody used it. I found that when I charge $3,000/hour people paid attention and actually used my unique techniques, strategies, and tactics. Without taking action on this incredible information or paying someone to take action, you will not succeed no matter how “lucky” you may be.
Treat everybody you talk to and everybody you meet (including yourself) like each is your number one million dollar customer.
Remember this for most people who really want to achieve a dream:
First: Your dreams are important and those who don’t support and believe in your dreams either don’t understand your desire and ambition or they have some other reason (many times reasons they themselves don’t understand) for not wanting you to spend the time and effort necessary to achieve your dreams.
Secondly: If you haven’t achieved your dreams and goals so far, it is not your fault. I know that this goes against what you usually hear, but it is true. Stop blaming yourself. You have a whole world of obstacles that are truly to blame. You only need to figure out how to go over, go under, go through, go around, or go with these obstacles in the direction of your dreams.
Thirdly: Fear is normal, but don’t give into it. Use it to motivate you and guide you.
Fourth: You are right; there are probably some people who don’t want you to succeed.
Fifth: Keep this in mind, there are people competing to get there first, do more, have more, invent what you are considering inventing, or simply trying to win. Believing in yourself and what you are doing is part of a powerfull strategy for winning over your competition.
I also always suggest that everybody at every stage work with a coach, mentor, or consultant. Heck, it works for Tiger Woods, every team in the NFL, the NBA, and etc. We all need guidance and support.
Best of luck,
Take massive action and never give up.
Michael Irvin, MBA, RN
PS – Many people have “Upvoted” my answers. Thanks to those who do this. I really appreciated.
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