On Tuesday in 2014, I started the 24-Hour Business Challenge to show you that there’s no reason you can’t start your business today.
I challenged myself to make $1,000 in less than 24 hours, and let the AppSumo audience pick which business I would do.
Well, I started from the bottom, and now I’m here …
This is based on the framework for starting a business that we teach in our How to Make a $1,000 a Month Business course.
The top voted comment said that I could pick any business from the comments but that I couldn’t use my available networks of AppSumo/OkDork to promote this. Game on.
The 3 most interesting businesses y’all suggested were: lemonade, salsa of the month, and beef jerky.
The BEST way I’ve found to start a business is to solve your own problem.
I already spend about $100 – $200 a month on jerky and would love to try new and delicious jerky. Boom, let’s do this.
First off, I started finding a domain name, obviously (wantrepreneur style).
Tip: Search “godaddy” online and then click their ad to get a domain for only 99 cents.
Literally spent around 3 minutes deciding with the team to call it “Sumo Jerky” after everybody vetoed noahsajerk.com.
A common pitfall is people over-thinking their name when they’ve made no profit. People just want the solution and could care less what you’re called.
Then spent 2 minutes to whip up this site:
A few key questions I used in helping figure out what it would take to get them to give me money:
- How often do you eat jerky?
- Where and how do you decide to buy your jerky?
- What would make you pay for jerky right now?
- What’s your hesitation in not buying right now?
These questions helped me see that they preferred not to think about the jerky they buy. They like it cause it’s a healthy snack and are open to trying a variety of snacks.
Tip: When selling, a key thing is to get to the root of the rejection and see if you can solve that.
One potential customer specifically said the value in this business would be: “that I get to try new ones without even thinking.”
After getting a general idea of what I was going to sell (healthy special jerky of the month), I went to the gym and figured I’d hit the goal pretty easily when starting in the morning.
But while reading Fifty Shades of Grey Book 2, I got anxiety about failing you and had to get out of bed at midnight to work on the idea. So here’s what I did:
1. I made a basic budget so I could work backwards to see what amount of sales I would need to do to hit $1,000.
Copy my budget sheet here.
One of the most insightful things from this was the margins are small so I decided to aim for selling 3-month plans vs. just 1 month of jerky.
2. I made a customer avatar to help me sort through who to contact the following day. If you know WHO your customer is, then finding WHERE they are is much easier.
Who I decided to go for:
- Offices for healthy snacks
- Young professionals who already eat healthy
3. Then I did quant-based marketing (mapping out my sales/marketing numerically) to plan out how I would hit the # of sales I would need to reach $1,000 in profit. The idea here is if you can plan on who you’re going to reach out, it makes your day MUCH easier.
I updated the sheet during the day so I can see what’s working and what’s not, then adjust in real-time which sales activities to focus on.
Then I started reaching out to some of the people I thought would be ideal customers.
Here’s the script I sent to the first person:
I then posted on Facebook and Twitter to my friends. ANYONE who said they were interested I immediately directly messaged.
I went down my list of people/offices and sales were slowly trickling in, whew. Feeling a bit better but SO much further to go.
Then I realized I should ask for referrals (d’oh, forgot about this). A key thing is to make referrals EASY for the other person to do.
1. Here’s the email I provided for people to forward to friends:
Hope you’re all doing insanely well.
A good buddy of mine is starting a neat service to send 1 amazing bag of beef jerky every month.
I signed up for $20 / month for 3 months (which is enough jerky for every day). It’s only $0.67 a day for some good snacking…
He’s only taking a certain amount of people for this first run. Thought I’d hook y’all up.
Who else is in?
Keep it real.
Ps. Any of you work in offices or know of offices who buy snacks? This is perfect for that.
2. Here’s what I provided for people to post on Facebook:
Attention Beef Jerky Fans! My buddy Noah is launching a beef subscription jerky service. He is crazy and so are you for loving beef jerky. Check it out: http://sumojerky.com/
Went to sleep around 2 AM and got back up at 7ish to get on it …
I searched my Facebook graph for people who like paleo, health or jerky. I had a few friends and messaged them.
Once sales started happening, I began asking people who they think I should talk to.
Tip: One of my FAVORITE email subject lines to use: “Referred by (person they trust)”
9 hours later after barely eating, 4 large amounts of caffeine and working harder than I have in a long time … here’s what I ended up with:
- $3,030 in total revenue
- $1,135 in profit (BOOYAH BABY!)
Dang, I am surprisingly tired. Whiskey and taco time for me 🙂
Future ways I can grow this business:
- Look up office managers on LinkedIn and spend time seeing who knew them.
- Give away samples to offices for them to have a great experience and then sign them up. A great way to get in the door and meet people.
- Get jerky companies to give away jerky in exchange for all the promotion they are getting to the buyers.
Really fascinating takeaways during this process:
1. Real-time communication (Skype, texting, phone calls) wins. This was the most effective way in selling vs more passive forms (emails, Facebook/Twitter posts).
2. Ask for referrals. If someone isn’t interested, ask who is. If someone is interested, just ask for 1 person who else they think will like it. I incentivized this with an extra month of jerky with any successful referral.
3. Downsells work. If someone didn’t want 3 months which helped me with my goal, I asked if they were okay with just 1 month of jerky.
4. You can’t sell everyone. With limited time, anyone who did not eat jerky or didn’t care about high-quality specialty jerky wasn’t worth selling to.
5. Focus on what already works. Quickly, I noticed offices already order snacks AND have larger budgets to expense things (perfect).
6. Ask people what they want. If people liked a certain type of jerky already, I noted that and will just get them the kinds they like. Why guess? Work backwards from what people already want.
7. Social media is noisy. I posted twice on both Facebook/Twitter to make sure anybody who knows me has a better chance of finding my jerky. I usually assume one tweet should reach everyone, it doesn’t.
8. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to start a business. With only 24 hours and $7.99, I got this biz going. You don’t need to spend tons of money and time to validate a business.
9. The secret to success … is work. That’s it. It’s hard and tiring but if you want it, you can do anything.
10. You’ve got to ask. I focused on people who I thought the jerky would genuinely be good for. It is a bit uncomfortable but I noticed that’s generally the case when you aren’t promoting something you believe in.
11. Build (or maintain) your network. If you complain you don’t have enough people to sell to, build it now. I noticed I hadn’t reached out to many friends in awhile. You have to tend to your “garden” or it will decay.
What it all boils down to is yourself. If you really want it and are willing to work, the lifestyle you want is available to you.
I made $1,000+ in less than 24 hours with Sumo Jerky.
And you can seriously do the same thing. What’s stopping you from launch TODAY?