- Jan 20, 2018
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How to Start An Online Marketing Without Spending Any Money
Millions of people spend much time online these days searching for one information or the other which has been a better opportunity for online marketers to make more money on daily basis.
When most people think about starting an online business, they have a vision of selling some amazing product that will enable them the freedom to work on something they truly enjoy. But despite early enthusiasm, sometimes they end up not taking action.
So what happens to these people?
- They don’t have any idea of what to sell
- Worrying about failing prevents them from starting
- They have an idea but are not sure what to do next
Do you fall into any of these categories? Don’t worry. We’re going to show you some meaty and actionable stories of how two people were able to start their own ecommerce businesses without spending any money.
These two people are members of my How to Make a $1,000 a Month Business Course. We’ve helped over 3,000+ entrepreneurs and it’s been fascinating to see how these people started their businesses.
Let’s get to it, enter Brian Pulliam of Backplane:
What problem was he facing?
He injured his back and realized the importance of having good posture during rehab. Since he sat in an office chair all day for engineering work, he decided to make a product for himself. When he realized it was helping him, he wanted to help others too.
Brian’s product helps user to have a better posture and ultimately a happier back while sitting on his desk all day.
How did he determine that people will definitely buy his product?
Simple. He validated the idea by asking people to buy before he started producing them. Pre-sales is a powerful strategy that helps you ensure there's real demand for your product and reduces financial risk. Also, He had faith in his product's ability to help people with their posture because he was the first client (which sounds very Hair Club for Men, but it's true).
Too many people spend too many hours scouring Alibaba, doing market research and wondering if people will buy the product they want to sell. Pre-sales helps reduce those assumptions and gets you moving forward faster with your business.
How did he create the first version of his product?
His product is about posture, and his PT and chiropractor suggested a foam roll laid along his spine. He did some measurements on how much his shoulders relaxed when using a foam roll, picked up a hacksaw, and started experimenting. In short, he failed a bunch with the first prototype. In fact, it gave one of his early customers a migraine (not the intended effect, oops!) It would have been easy to give up right there, but he knew that success was through a forest of failures, and got to iterating.
What were the core takeaways you had from this process?
- Pre-sales (as explained above)
- Focus on fundamentals: Try to find out those problems that people around you face, identify a solution, pre-sell it, over-deliver with execution, go where the customers are, and show them how it solves their problem.
- Get over your fear of failure (yes, it is stopping you from success).
Most people focus on the solutions instead of identifying the problems people want solved. Make sure to work backwards from the needs of your potential customers (including yourself).
What were the biggest roadblocks he faced starting his business?
Convincing people it will work before they buy was solved with video and testimonials. Some folks also have an issue with his product not being made of fancy materials. he's more of a guy that cares if something works. To keep his costs down, he keep things simple.
Your product will NEVER be perfect. Focus on finding people who want it and then you can evolve your product to be better over time. Think about the first generation iPod vs the current iPhone 8!
What were the most memorable moments from selling his product?
Practicing failure was key to persevering with his product. It's a turning point.
Fear of failure is one of the most non-talked about issues people face when starting a business. Practicing failing in your business and personal life will help you overcome the fear of failure.
Enter Dan Maisano of EasyWhey, who started his own protein drink to-go product.
Why did he decide to sell his product online?
According to EasyWhey, He read Tim Ferriss' book Four Hour Workweek and the idea of a "Muse" type business appealed to him. He decided to create "Dan's Super Convenient and Awesome Protein" shake because he drink whey protein on a regular basis but it has never been the most convenient thing to do.
As one of the healthier snacks/meals out there it would be great to be able to drink it anytime. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, traveling, car trips, movies etc. He knew many people who use the shakers that lets them scoop in their own whey, add water or milk and drink. To him this was never convenient.
A person had to then carry the shaker around with them, make sure they clean it as soon as possible (if you ever have smelled an old protein shaker you know why) and just plan to have it with them until they are able to get home. He personally wanted something that he could drink when he wanted and then forget about it.
As we’ve seen in both examples, creating solutions to your own problems is a great place to start with business ideas.
How did he determine his products were a good product to sell online?
Once he had the idea in his head he used the advice from the How to Make a $1,000 a Month Business course and validated it by seeing if anyone would be willing to buy his product before he invested any time or money into it. he had 7 people actually Paypal he $30 for a guarantee that he would send them his first shipments OR their money back if he never actually got to production. Up to this point he spent $0.
Pre-sales remove a lot of assumptions and doubt whether people will buy what you are producing.
How did he create his first prototype once he validated it?
The hardest thing for him was actually creating the product. He had his idea in his head but had an "OK, now what?" moment. He shopped around on Google trying to find bottles and lids that he thought would work well. He got a few free samples to test different sizes and he used the whey protein that he normally use and put it in the bottles to try it out. He really liked how it worked so he placed a bigger order for bottles and lids and this was actually the first money he invested into this. However as he already had money from the people he pre-sold to, he was able to use that to purchase the supplies he needed.
The fulfillment of the product can be challenging but focus on making a basic budget (to ensure at least break-even) before you pre-sell and focus on keeping your solution to that problem as ghetto as possible at first.
What were the most memorable moments from selling his product?
Definitely when he got his first customer to say that they liked his idea enough to invest $30 into it. Second time was when he placed his order for my bottle samples. It was a "Wow, I am really doing this" moment for me. Third was sending out his first shipments. It felt like a really big accomplishment to him.
It’s important to know who your ideal customers are so it makes your life easier to find out WHERE they are online or offline.
What did he learn about selling physical products online?
According to him, He never really thought it was possible to sell a product without already having it. The idea that he could sell his idea first and then turn it into a product after he knew it would work was a major step turning from "wantrepreneur” to entrepreneur.
Validate your idea first before setting up a store. And you should be doing everything and anything manually until you have such a demand that you can't do it all yourself anymore. Keep it ghetto for as long as possible!