Idea generation How do you do it? I know everyone says solve a problem your'e having but that doesn't help my personal idea generation very much. Do you have any old examples you can share? If you're coming up with original, custom products and designs, how do you deal with knockoffs showing up and eating into your margin?
Chinese sellers are particularly adept at copying a product at lightning speed. And it's very difficult to enforce trademark or patent rights.
It's Weighed Down - Various - A Helping Hand Comp (Cassette) a problem because like you said, we don't rely on Amazon or feEbay for anything.
Are they channels? Broke people can't afford our products anyways. Two totally different audiences if that makes sense? To give you a great example I had a company I exited last year and it sold cosmetics. People buying our products are not going to go out and buy Chinese made cosmetics.
People even looking at our products in the first place are not going to buy Chinese cosmetics. We manufacture in the US and have a crazy marketing setup that some random Chinese copycat co.
Thanks, that's helpful and appreciate the example. How do you come up with your niches to target? It seems like you've had success across multiple categories and you probably didn't start out as an expert in all of them e.
Are you looking at things like category gross margins, undermonetized influencers, etc to guide towards what to go after? Could swear I replied, but it seems to have vanished. Thank YOU for making this site! Not many people realize how much custom work went into the backend I think I took a few ideas from how you run things and applied them to my first online community BTW! Were you solo in this or did you have a Partner? For example, surely once you began to scale, you would want to hire or partner with an accountant.
I've had various partners, none I'd want to keep long term until I met the guys I work with now on the investment side but we still use our own capital and our own entities. Re: professionals. As soon as I could afford them really. The gap is the fucking worst though. As an accountant CPAI'm curious how you handled the accounting as the company developed. Upgrade to Quickbooks, then eventually hire an external accountant? Appreciate if you could walk through the various stages and share your experience with the accounting aspect of entrepreneurship.
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur and did you make the jump before or after you had your first idea? I have always wanted to jump ship, but let be honest, the idea of abandoning the track I have set up for myself and going into the complete unknown is incredibly daunting. I kind of fell into it, the initial flipping let into the community which I then realized was a "real" company. I was also really frustrated whenever I would work for other people because they moved way too slowly.
I still have that issue with current business partners which I'll buy out soon. Thanks for your post. What businesses would you do today if you were in university? Would you still do the ecommerce business? It really wasn't an eCommerce "business".
It was flipping a certain item on eBay to make seed capital. Morphed into one, but kind of by accident.
What business would you start if you had limited capital and in university today? How did you learn how to do all the stuff you mentioned? Any forums that you recommend for fellow entrepreneurs? Great post by the way. Have been thinking of doing something in eCommerce recently, so really appreciate the insight.
I made way too many funny but not very PC jokes on this site already unfortunately and dont really want that coming back to me. Any good road maps on the web that will get us going in the right direction? Are you talking about the investing side? The investing side is a relatively unique situation that my primary business partner and I came up with.
Nowhere to really learn that side of it and it's impossible to get the kinds of deals we do on equity we purchase unless you have heavy entrepreneurial experience. A lot of books! I can post the whole reading list if you want? I would like that if you wouldn't mind. Also if you have anything on idea generation for products please post that as well.
You mentioned that you bought out the influencers within your markets to build a moat. Just to clarify it was for one company in one industry.
We maintain their loyalty with money and exposure. The pay depends entirely on who it is, what their following is, how much volume they can push for us, etc Great stuff!.
Love this post. Your core recommendations are so spot on. I particularly enjoyed reading the first few:. They fail to see that no one really cares yet they pour their soles in to it and their cash. Micro test Weighed Down - Various - A Helping Hand Comp (Cassette) key. You can't afford big, drawn out losses until you have scale, and youc an't afford to build scale. You need quick small wins. Every day, win. Don't worry about scale and exits - There are basically two types of very successful models, 1.
Low margin scaled business 2. High margin, unique client experience business. Way too many people try to start a Scaled, high margin, unique experience business. They go away quickly because the truly scaled businesses can put squash them in a second. The high margin thing is great because you can afford to make big mistakes and it's not a huge deal.
One thing I think people could really benefit from if you care to share is how to choose a product I've heard of various methods all the way from inventing something new, to taking an existing product and making it a little better. For someone that's just starting out I would be curious to see what you recommend? It depends immensely on so many factors that it's hard to recommend a specific approach. If you check out Purple Cow, I think it's honestly an amazing guide to product creation.
Seth has always been way way way ahead of his time. I've also been opportunistically flipping things on eBay and Craigslist.
I've love to get to a point where I could captain my own ship full time. Have you considered selling courses, what is your take on that part of the industry? Think Tai Lopez, Sam Owens etc. Flipping is great easy cash and a pretty safe way to build up some capital to invest in starting a more scalable business. Good call! I respect those guys as the brilliant internet marketers they are and one of my friends is the ex-CMO for a huge infoproduct guy and I know his current CEO too but I don't think it creates real wealth long term personally.
At the end of the day for them those aren't long term sustainable businesses but gimmicky sales schemes. Thanks again. I'd love to learn how you got into the cosmetic business. I was thinking about this the other day seeing how successful Kylie Jenner has been granted she has an unbelievable reach given her family brand, it just had me thinking I used to run old school landing pages to with affiliate links buried in copy with keywords for the search engines.
It was short-lived, but the dudes who trekked on and made it big guys on WarriorForum, TheVault made an absolute killing. In modern day, looks like you're killing it man! My question would be when Weighed Down - Various - A Helping Hand Comp (Cassette) comes to building a brand, what's your bread and butter? My father does what you do full-time and has been self-employed for the past 10 years and like you, he doesn't deal with business partners.
Must be an IM guy thing. Well, I have partners for every business but my issue has been getting them to scale with the business properly. This is because they are all from my first batch though when I was greener. The guys I do the PE style deals with are essentially partners and I love working with them. They actually work real hours as well and we are total personality matches. How you build a brand really depends on the industry, the approach is different for every industry.
My main focus is always on delivering a great product but also an amazing experience overall. For example, when you buy some of our products, you usually get a nice hand written note with it and access to a special VIP CSetc Re: channels, we aim for diversification as it's always bad to rely on one channel as a matter of practicality but also EV. Not all companies use influencers. Great post.
I am in the tech industry right now and I am planning to start my company as soon as I will have a great idea. However, my point is I am not in a target school with thousands of extremely driven individuals. In my opinion, people are the most important criteria to have a successful start-up. I guess it's also going to be harder to raise funds due to a lack of credibility and track record.
I am currently a CS master student and I was thinking to either work for a big tech company or apply for a PhD in a top-school in order to develop a network? I think you will be better off in working for a big tech company, it'd serve you well and you can build a strong network based from it. I've seen a TON of terrible tech founders with no experience get funded lately. IMO just go for it while the environment is excellent for raising capital. By the time you finish up it's likely the environment will change.
If anyone is interested in just how shitty returns are for VCseven smaller ones btw, I'd recommend looking up Kauffman Foundation's report on the alpha VCs have generated as of late. Thanks for doing this! As I'm sure you can imagine, a lot of guys on these forums probably see "run a business that nets 7 figures a year," and think Oh that's cool but if I make MD one day at my bank I'll make that too lol but they don't really understand the freedom to travel when you want, work as much or as little as you want, and eventually sell the asset a few years down the road if you want to.
I'm fresh out of UG and have just started my IB analyst gig. My one question is this. Would you consider dropping IB and taking up a more traditional job that frees up A LOT of time for you to work on the biz? I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this, since I'm sure a lot of people on this forum are in the same boat. Hey Elvemage, I've recently been thinking of getting into eCommerce. Given your successful experience, do you mind if I PM you with some questions?
Thanks in advance. What you're saying makes sense, Weighed Down - Various - A Helping Hand Comp (Cassette). Maybe a job in the same industry your new business is in provided there isn't a conflict of interest?
Thanks for doing the AMA! Very helpful for someone stuck in the idea generation phase. I was wondering what's your social life like given the amount of success in such young age and what do you do for fun? I have a few hobbies that align with some of my investments but by far my favorite thing to do is deals. I get a huge rush out of putting my own capital at risk and then trying to make the deal work. My primary partners both feel the same way and IMO there's nothing more addictive Socially, I don't really gel with anyone my age or even people that are older.
I just get super bored when I could be working on bigger and bigger deals. I automated my dating by hiring someone to manage my profiles which has worked out very well, but it's kind of hard to find girls worth dating that way.
Probably going to change that method once I have some time to build out a new system. Thoughts on doing SEO for local businesses doctors, dentist, chiropractor, plumbers, electricians, roofer, etc I'm thinking of pulling the trigger on the software and making a run as a side business. Curious what your thoughts would be? Doesn't really scale cleanly and I'm not a fan of relying on Google's search algorithms staying the same for very long.
The only reason I had to waste time on businesses that didn't scale cleanly is because I needed the cash. If you need the cash, then yeah, go for it. Do whatever it takes. I read every one of your comments; written by a true wizard. I'm currently in my last year of university and have recently dived head first into the dropshipping waters as I recognise its vast potential.
I've not generated sales as of yet as my focus has been on building a very solid knowledge base e. FB advertising, outsourcing, copywriting etc. If I could so humbly ask: If you were me and capital wasn't too big an issue mainly timewhat would you be focusing on in the next days? As soon as you have enough data, use a 3PL like fulfillment.
Good luck! Is there anywhere you might privately or publicly release lessons or musings from your ecommerce journey? Would love to learn more about your journey and experience. Thanks for the AMA.
I majored in liberal arts in undergrad and haven't started looking for a job yet. I have a sub-par, full-time job, that I had in undergrad. I want to pursue entrepreneurship but have no capital. Here are the options I'm considering to raise capital; flipping stuff like what you did, go back to school possibly for an msf or csor get a better job that pays ok.
What do you think I should do? Really depends where your strengths are. Kind of hard to give you good advice because I don't know you at all. Flipping stuff isn't sensible if you've already gone to school because you can just get a real job to build capital to bootstrap a business.
Being able to test ideas without heavy expenditure is a skill that will last you a lifetime and transfers into anything. One Weighed Down - Various - A Helping Hand Comp (Cassette) off the top of my head; surveying your potential target market is probably your cheapest way of getting market research.
You can easily gain access to thousands of people if you just find a subreddit that is highly if not exactly correlated to your idea i. This in theory should cost you practically nothing other than time spent, and will net you a lot of opinions from people who actually have interest in whatever universe your idea falls under from a consumer perspective.
Facebook ads are a great way to do this. Throw up a generic website or sales page, run some traffic to it and see how it converts. The business model that I have requires testing a ton of products and within a few hundred bucks in spend I'll know whether or not it scales.
I don't spend much more since I'm not heavily invested into the products but if I was and had a unique or patented product, I'd definitely spend more testing before calling it quits. WSO depends on everyone being able to pitch in when they know something. Yet for the last three months, its charity shops and 13 donation centres have been shut.
So, now that this grand old charity could do with a helping hand, Mail Force is more than happy to oblige. Like the entire charitable sector, these organisations have all suffered a major downturn in fundraising and donations since the start of the pandemic. They all desperately need PPE in large quantities if they are to keep both their staff and beneficiaries free from infection in order to maintain their important work.
But at the very moment they need this kit most, budgets are being cut back just as the cost of PPE shoots up. Not only does it slash the chances of infection but it also frees up resources for use elsewhere.
Having such a big donation means we can re-channel some of that money. The money raised will fund essential equipment required by the NHS and care workers. This equipment is vital in protecting the heroic staff whilst they perform their fantastic work in helping the UK overcome this pandemic. If we raise more money than is needed for vital Covid-1 equipment, we will apply all funds to support the work of the NHS in other ways.
If the button is not visible, click here. At a time when the historical evils of slavery are dominating public discourse, the charity is in the vanguard of dealing with the modern slave trade.
Some gangs are known to be trafficking migrant children and women into the sex trade from places such as Albania or Nigeria, while others keep unregistered Eastern European or Vietnamese manual labourers on a pittance in squalid conditions. Those who manage to escape are looked after by the Salvation Army under a government programme created in It is one which has helped secure many prosecutions and the charity currently has nearly residents in half a dozen safe houses, all of which need PPE.
It opened its first centre for the homeless in But, right now, the most sought-after commodity is PPE as thousands of volunteers prepare to resume fundraising operations. Founded by the wartime RAF hero inits 4, staff help 2, people with a range of disabilities in care homes across the UK. Last year another beneficiary, Turning Point, helpedpeople with a wide variety of disabilities and mental health issues, many of them in a residential setting.
The sentiment was echoed by Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, which relies on PPE if it is to continue offering care services and support for the elderly in their own homes. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Argos AO. Share this article Share.
Share or comment on this article: Salvation at last for historic charities that need more PPE as Mail Force comes to the rescue e-mail Comments 1 Share what you think. View all. More top stories.
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