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The Journey of Creating a Physical Product [Case Study]

Dustin Lien is a reader turned friend who is experimenting with a new business called Fit Fly Shaker that I helped fund. This episode of Noah Kagan Presents is the first episode in a series where we’ll follow Dustin’s business journey and learn about what works, what doesn’t work, and how to focus on your goals and tactics.

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Questions and topics in this episode:

  • What is your business and where are you today?
  • How long have you been working on it and how’s it going?
  • How much have you invested in the business so far
  • How long from idea to prototype?
  • Where did you find your manufacturers?
  • How do you prototype the product?
  • What’s your total revenue to date?
  • How long have you been selling them for?
  • What’s worked in your sales and what’s not worked?
  • The difference between passive and direct marketing.
  • Discussion of targeted email, referral, and follow-up tactics.
  • How did you build your mailing list?
  • What are the 2017 goals for the company?
  • Goal setting workshop and target focusing.
  • Goal simplification tactics.
  • The $100 Challenge
  • Mapping and tracking company goals.
  • Accountability buddies.
  • Focusing on where the demand for the product is.
  • Understand why people aren’t buying.

Links discussed in this episode:

Dustin on Instagram

The Five Foot Traveller



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16 responses to “The Journey of Creating a Physical Product [Case Study]”

Rick Benz
March 13, 2017 at 6:00 pm

I took a look at Dustin’s Instagram account and I’m wondering why he’s driving his traffic from his Instagram account to his blog. There’s no real CTA on his IG account and at the time I’m leaving this comment he has 13k followers. I feel that it’s a tremendous waste of real estate. I think it would be a great idea for him to have one great CTA rather than linking out to his blog which gives people a ton of things to do when they get there.

Also, why doesn’t he have a trackable link on his IG page so he knows exactly how many people are actually clicking the link?

Here are some examples of people are in the fitness niche who are leveraging their IG accounts well.


He drives traffic from his Instagram account to a landing page.


2. Hannah Eden

She drives traffic from her Instagram account to her Facebook page where she is able to sell them tickets to her events.



He drives traffic from his Instagram account to his Elements of Life website where they have a chance to enroll in his workout plan.



Matthew drives traffic from his Instagram account to his E-commerce website where he sells CrossFit tennis shoes.


Arizona-based trainer Jeremy Scott has the ultra-lean, muscular body most guys would kill for—and his Instagram is a documentation of the hard work required to achieve it. He posts daily about what he’s up to in the gym and what he puts on his plate.

Instagram: ( (

Jeremy drives traffic from his Instagram account to his 30 Day Fat Loss Finisher Challenge free video series where he is able to capture a name and email address. (


Here are some other ideas:

1. Run an IG contest connected with Fit Fly Shaker.

2. Do proper Hashtag research to make sure you are connecting to your targeted audience.

3. Choose one single target market to focus on. Stop trying to be all things to all people. Going small is the new big. You can always expand later. Look at all the Chicken Soup For The Soul books.

4. Be clear on the problem you’re tring to solve. Obviously, you created the product to scratch your own itch. You had some type of pain you were trying to eliminate so there must be others who have similar pain that your Fit Fly Shaker can solve. Help the people get the result and they will become your evangelists. How would having your shaker in their hands impact their life?

5. One of the things that marketers have that they often don’t realize is that they have their product at cost. It’s a consummable product so what can you do to get it in as many hands of your targeted audience at your cost? It may be lost leader but if it delivers they will come back and buy it over and over again. (I’m writing this as I’m listening to the podcast and I hear that you’re already doing this)

6. Educate people on why they need this and how it will help them in their daily workout life. Once they use it get them to share their story. Ask them what they liked or didn’t like about the product. The market is there to give you feed back but you’ve got to ask for it.

7. Send an a personal email or pick up the phone and call everyone who buys and ask them for feedback. Also, personally thank them for being a customer. You are small enough now that you can afford to do this. Also, like Noah said you should be contacting everyone who hasn’t bought and ask them why. It works if you work it.

8. Also, like Noah said follow up is key. The fortune is in the follow up. Most of your sales will not come on the first contact with the prospect. It may take you 5-7 contacts before they eventually buy. How can you continue to add value to your email list during the interim?

9. Create a referral system. The best people to promote your product are the ones that already know, like, and trust what you are selling. Why not give them some type of gift card that they can gift to a friend that is just like them. You know how we love to be able to tell all of our friends about the latest and greatest thing, well you are giving your current customers a reason to talk about your product to their friends, family and colleagues.

10. I also like what Noah said about how you need to find a way to make your product a “must have” instead of a “need to have”. Diabetics love sweets but they need insulin.

Hope some of these suggestions help you Dustin.

February 10, 2017 at 11:15 am

So impressed with this episode! Great insight and direction. Interested in how things are going to play out for Dustin. The promotional aspect of the product makes so much sense.

February 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

I like Noah’s idea for pre-filling them, or something along those lines. Either way I think a video on how it used on the website (front page if it’s somewhere else I didn’t see) would be nice because it is a little unclear to me. GOOD LUCK Dustin and thank you both for the motivating info!

Andrew M. Warner
February 2, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Hot damn. Where have you been all my adult life, Noah?

You shared some timeless tips with Dustin here. I loved how you helped him narrow down and focus on specific goals. More specifically the $100 challenge.

I’m going to personally share this with a few entrepreneurs I know that have businesses but clearly aren’t focused. They’ll learn a lot just from this episode.

Great stuff.

– Andrew

January 25, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Thanks for the podcast, pls continue the series. Couple of Qs to Dustin:
/ was the option to proceed in direct-to-consumer only mode reviewed? Your product is good for such, also it could be supplied subscription-based. I am refering to dollar shave club biz model
/ any plans to do crowd funding? It is a new product, many of prospects simply do not know about its existence: the campaign could be a good mean to get the exposure to big audience

Dustin Lien
January 26, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Hey Pavel 🙂 Subscription based is definitely something that was looked at and may happen in the future. The trick is getting people to try them out and create the habit before pitching subscription model. No plans to crowd fund at the moment. – Thanks for the ideas!

January 25, 2017 at 3:03 pm

I think this could be a successful product if, like Noah implied, you can market it to the right niche. One caveat, though, might be that disposable protein shakers seem a bit wasteful. Could become a negative externality in some people’s eyes as they would view it as opposite of eco-friendly. Design of product & website are dope though!

Dustin Lien
January 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Thanks Samuel! They are recyclable which helps with the wastefulness. Lots of things are in the same category like paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, sandwich bags, straws – very proud that they are recyclable though because the eco-friendliness is an important factor to me personally. Thanks for checking out the website…YOU are dope too sir 😉

January 26, 2017 at 4:07 pm

ahhh! okay I understand. They’re recycle, just not reusable. As someone that goes to the gym on a weekly basis (unfortunately I don’t have much to show for it lol) I don’t see the why the average gym goer would rather have disposable shakers instead of normal ones, that could last perpetually. I have like 4 or 5 that I bought on eBay from china for about $3-4 each. So, if one is dirty, I just grab the other. In the long run, for me it’s more cost efficient to have indispensable shakers. They’re not too inconvenient to carry, in my opinion, either. Like i said before, I still think in another target market this would rock. Maybe for hikers, idk. Anyway hope this pov helps & good luck! PS: How much did your site cost to create and get running? Was the cost included in the 1500? Thanks!

January 25, 2017 at 3:01 pm


Peter, Contest Listing
January 25, 2017 at 5:40 am

Another great interview. Thanks Noah!

A giveaway is really a great source of traffic / newsletter subscribers / potential customers etc. Not only we help people promoting their giveaways, we also use giveaways to promote our other businesses.


Daniel H
January 23, 2017 at 8:34 am

Listening to your podcast I thought of another market segment that would be easy to target and less competitive. People who are into ultralight backpacking gear. They are always looking for ways to reduce the size of things they carry and add things without adding a lot of space. Meal replacement shakes without the shaker would cut down on food, shaker, etc. —- Lots of groups and dedicated gear manufacturers to target. — Just a thought. Good luck with the product.

Noah Kagan
January 23, 2017 at 11:59 am

Dope Daniel. I’m into that as well. Dustin should check it out 🙂

Dustin Lien
January 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Great idea Daniel! Thanks 🙂

January 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Great set of questions! Kudos to Dustin.

Now, you can throw tomatoes at me, but bugger thoughts like these come to my mind:

How long till Platypus® come after him with cease and desist letter?

Will Chou
January 18, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Keep it up, Noah. You’re making waves.

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