I’ve thought about writing a ebook and posting it on amazon.com for a long time. So the other day I decided to write down ideas. They would be quick 30 page ebooks. It would be a fun experiment to see if I could do it. Without further ado here are my ideas:
United States in 2020 After Four Years of Trump : Lots of google searches on him at the moment. Could be a HUGE seller.
Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar Movies : discuss other movies he should have won an Oscar. For example: The Beach.
Why Minorities Struggle in Hollywood/Creative Fields. This was also a big topic at the Oscars.
How to Save Kanye West. He’s back in the headlines with crazy tweets. This would discuss his recent meltdown. Maybe relate it to what media does to famous people like in the movie Amy.
Top 20 recipes to make in a crock pot in 5 minutes: I recently bought a crock pot and it’s slowly changing my life. I still need more recipes. This would help me and help others. Win/win.
Top Rug Designs in 2016. I work with rugs so this would be a easy peasy one. A subjective one yes, but that’s the beauty of art. I can discuss trends in modern decor and interior design for young people.
Top Ten Music Festivals to attend in 2016. I attend a music fest once a year for past 5 years so I could write some helpful tips. Best food at a music festival, best city, best line ups, best bang for your Canadian dollar.
Canada Needs to invade Europe. This would be about stealing golden ideas from Europe, such as 8 week paid holiday leave in Italy for all its citizens and zero home work in Finland schools, and amazing 5 course lunches in France for public school kids. Free University Education in Slovenia. Inspired by the Michael Moore movie – Where to Invade Next.
How to Throw a Successful Reading Party in the Park. I’ve done 3 of these so I have some experience with this.
Top 10 Hikes to do around Calgary for a Beginner. I’ve been hiking lots past year or so. Consider myself a beginner, so I’m authority on this subject.
Okay some of these ideas suck. But who cares. Writing this list was itself a mind exercise. Let’s see if I actually follow through and turn one of these ideas into an Amazon kindle book.
Recently got back in the habit of writing ten ideas down every day. One of the subjects I decided to brain storm on was the new Apple Watch.
While I was travelling in Scotland recently, one of my friends was wearing the new Apple Watch. He had one app in particular that’s a way better than that super annoying but popular – selfie stick.
There is a timer photo app that allows you to put your iPhone on a ledge for instance and snap a photo using the watch. Nifty fifty.
I feel right now is the best time to create an app for this newly created Apple Watch platform. Why? Less competition for starters.
I read an article by Andrew Chen called ” The race for Apple Watch’s killer app”where he talks about what ingredients are necessary for a killer Watch app. Among other things in this article he talks about the mobile apps for iphone led to huge companies like Snapchat, Uber, and Whatsapp. Similar things could happen with wearable apps.
Without further adieu, here are my Apple Watch Apps that I would like use. It doesn’t matter that they already exist or not, I think they would be helpful for me:
Universal translator: It listens to the spanish/hindi/chinese speaker etc. Voice translation in English. I realize this is a Star Trek level app.
Tells you how many laps you complete in the pool (water proof cover)
Tells you how many yards you are from the golf hole. So you know what iron to use.
Tells you how fast your golf/tennis/etc swing is. Is this possible? Who knows.
In busy traffic, gives route suggestions when driving using google api.
For elderly people sends notifications to important family members when they fall down.
Dims the lights in your living room for sexy time (9 pm)
Sends notifications when your fav roknrol band announces tour date/venue in your ciudad.
Sends me healthy paleo style dinner after my workout is complete while driving home.
Alerts you when someone mentions you on fb or twitter or instragram or linked in.
bonus: Tap your apple watch next to visa machine. Don’t need to get your credit card out. BOOM.
Anyways, he wanted to 1. ) market his business using the power of the inter-webs. Secondly, he wanted to collect payment through the website, instead of manually getting cash from clients or doing email money transfers.
Enter me. I helped him set up the store, sort out nerdy tech stuff and choose/install the theme and sort out email with his business domain. Also do some copy writing on the site.
Some minor issues? Getting business tax set up from the government. Shopify has great customer support to sort out these details.
Apart from that, it was also good fun. This project has helped me improve my skills with shopify as well!
Yesterday I wrote about 13 different ways to make 100 or even 1000 dollars in thirty days.
Okay let’s think bigger.
What about getting to the 10,000 dollar level?
Could be thinking of a new promotion to your existing business.
Some random ideas that work for my situation. Your situation will of course depend on your existing resources, skill level in an area, etc.
Find dentists/chiropractors. Sell 10 local business apps for 1,000 piece. Maybe just find 5, charge a bit more for extra features.
Create a business conference. Find sponsors and also sell tickets. Get 6-7 CEO’s of cool companies in Calgary area to talk about different aspects of business (sales, copywriting, accounting, etc). This one takes some planning, hustling and an email list.
Hold a client night at your existing business. 3-4 new customer relationships can get you there.
Book a booth at Home/Interior Design Show (in my case) that has traffic of 10,000 plus people.
Arbitrage. Use Amazon/Ebay to sell antique furniture. We would really have to hustle, 10 or more pieces to reach that outcome. Need to do more research on this.
Go after 1-2 clients. Propose to re-work copywriting/full service website & marketing.
Just a matter of picking one and laser focusing on it. Wasn’t this a good creative exercise for the mind?
Every day I write in my journal. I write 3 main to do’s and then little to do’s ones to accomplish those.
On top of that, I like to write random thoughts, cool quotes and something recently – business ideas. I read James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself, where he mentions you should come up with ideas every day.
For example, how would you go about earning an extra $100 in 30 days?
Extra $100 a month doesn’t have to be so hard.
It could be as simple as cleaning some small business store’s windows.
Mowing your neighbours lawns in the summer or shovelling there snow in the winter.
What about writing content for blogs devoted to interior design or travel? Email one today.
Rent our your apartment using Airbnb. It’s the sharing economy!!
Do Book keeping for a small business if you have Quickbooks knowledge.
Sell OLD stuff. clothes, guitars, old computers, ipads, camera’s on http://www.kijiji.ca/ or have ol fashion yard sale.
Installing wordpress/shopify site for a client.
Walk dogs. You also get exercise. Call all your friends who are about to go outta town.
All the time I see small businesses that have a website, but are using gmail, yahoo, etc. for their company email address. Email them saying you could create one with their domain.
Copywriting for a small business. Write their emails when people sign up. Maybe charge more than 100 dollars.
Offer marketing consulting.
Workshop on how to outsource/build iphone apps. I would charge more than 100 again.
Workshop for 55 yr old + people :How to use an iphone/android device, send pics, get music, etc with ease. Pain Free! Email all your parents friends. Maybe just go after four people – charge them 25 bucks each include free starbucks coffee lol and hold it at Starbucks.
This was fun. Some of the later ideas actually may fetch more than 100 dollars. Perhaps even one thousand dollars. Hmm. How would you make an extra hundred or even one thousand dollars?
This is a long-ish post. But quite an informative/fun one if I may say so. Read Time: 7 mins approx.
Recently I organized a fun cocktail event on the last Wednesday of May. And it went off without any hiccups!!
It was a super fun evening and I learned a LOT about setting up events.
Now I typically love to throw fun events for friends. Roaring Twenties/Magician party, Ugly Xmas Sweater Party, Reading party in a Park, my Birthday party ha ha ; )
Okay seriously though, I wanted a challenge this time.
Could it be possible to throw a fun event and get paid for it!?!? I didn’t think so until I saw a blog post emailed to me from AppSumo.com Chief Noah Kagan.
He showed step-by-step how he did craft cocktail hour event in Austin, Texas. The premise was you get 1 free drink + learn how to make a craft cocktail from a bad ass mixologist + hang out in cool atmosphere with friends.
His approach? Create a basic budget first, then validate with 3 paying customers then organize everything else later.
I decided I HAD to do it as well.I would love to attend a craft cocktail event myself and this could be a chance to do it with friends. This could be a lot of fun. He always mentions TAKE ACTION. And sure he’s got a bigger network than me… but why not try anyways?
So after weeks of hesitating – making excuse after excuse, over thinking, would the timing be right? I finally did it. I got over my Fear of Failure. You’ve got to TAKE ACTION.
I want to elaborate on this point. Despite doing sales for my family business I still had some sorta of hesitation selling to friends for the first time. I’ve never thrown a paid event before – that is most probably why. This was something new. Whenever you’re doing something different, you get these feelings of self-sabotage resistance. This doesn’t feel good. But I said to myself – screw it, let’s do it anyways. Plus I had a feelingthis would be something my friends would love as well. I’ll give more details later on this post. So keep reading….
I made a basic budge to make sure costs/revenues were sound. I didn’t think too much about this. I actually just made a wild guess that a fancy cocktail would be 10-15 dollars in Calgary, thankfully I was right.
Validate Your Idea.
Noah always mentions to validate your idea before spending any money. So I did.
I decided to go after 3 paying customers like he stresses. WHY? To see if this craft cocktail idea even resonated in my social circle. So I casually asked 3 friends and 2 paid me in cash face to face, while third sent me on money on Event Brite to get the momentum going. Hallelujah. We have lift off! I was excited.
This was 3 weeks before the planned Wednesday night event.
I chose Wednesday night, as it’s typically slow day at the bars and they’d love to see paying customers come through there door.
My Goal was to sell first then organize/book the place. Backwards.
After I made those 3 initial sales, here’s what I did to get more sales.
1. Created a Facebook event. One friend shared this with Fb friends. That was cool. But no tickets resulted through that.
2. I also made an Eventbrite event which I encourage my friends who bought to refer to, just like Noah did. This would make it easy for anyone to buy a ticket.
3. Texting and Phone Calls. This was the most EFFECTIVE mode for selling tickets. I pretty much sold 80% of tickets this way. I created a bundle deal as well, that if you bought 3, you get One free. Two friends took advantage of that.
4. I also posted on Twitter and Google Plus, that didn’t do much. Didn’t do anything.
5. I talked to some friends of a friend on a Friday night at a bar and told them about this. They were super interested and actually got two tickets! Woo.
After doing all of this I eventually sold 24 tickets. This is way before I organized/booked any venue.
I should mention the first few days I began texting people I still only had 6 sales.
My one friend mentioned “you should honestly cancel this event.” Thanks for the words of encouragement. I almost did.
Another good friend mentioned people aren’t coming because it’s “weird to buy tickets before an event”.
O RLY? How do concerts happen? He said people aren’t used to buying tickets from me. Ok perhaps. Fair point. But wouldn’t you rather buy from a friend than some stranger throwing a similar event?
I went for a sushi dinner with another friend the next Monday. At this point I had about 12 sales so I was confident this would go well, but still short of my goal of 25. So I was stressing. This was taking so much time – texting, calling people, overthinking everything etc. He encouraged me to keep pushing!! I needed that talk.
Some people said Yes to me, but didn’t buy. This was frustrating, because I was also dealing with friends. I didn’t wanna be too pushy. It’s a delicate balance. It’s a gentle push he reminded me. You want to remind them, but also not force them. Some were genuinely not interested or busy – fine. Either way I came to the conclusion that throwing your first event is hard work.
One week before the event my sold tickets were 18. I was breathing better. It was at this stage I decided to phone some venues to partner with.
Luckily that Wednesday date was open at Raw Bar. They seemed excited that 20 plus paying people were coming to there bar on a typically slow Wednesday. I was more relaxed at this point.
Here’s a breakdown of my thinking/model for this business:
My validation technique: Pre-Sales. If I didn’t sell tickets to at least 10 people to this event – i’d have cancelled it and refunded everyone.
Fulfilled my interest: I had never been to a craft cocktail event myself and really wanted to. So this wasn’t just some random event just to make money.
Work backwards: People told me they would pay money for attending this sorta event.
Keep thing simple: I tried facbook, twitter, google plus, email. But what worked best was texting and phone calls when making sales.
Scarcity: Only sell 25 tickets. That was it. I’d have been very happy with just 10 people actually, but I pushed myself to get 20 to make it more of a party. Luckily I got 24 sold tickets.
Here’s some pics.. plus more notes afterwards.
Some Issues/Feedback from customers:
I marketed this event as “Craft Cocktail Hour.”
The word Craft in Calgary usually means this big bar called Craft. So many people thought the event was taking place at Craft!! This was sorta hilarious.
This told me that headlines are so important.
Another issue was I didn’t tell anyone initially where the event would happen. Some peeps wanted some more details about location. Well I simply said it’s most likely be at Local 510, Raw Bar or Commonwealth – another popular place in my circles. This may have caused some people to think this event wasn’t legit.
Other people who couldn’t make it asked me to organize other cool events later in the summer. That gave me some ideas for new events they would love to attend. That was super helpful.
Other Concerns? Could I Deliver:
I was concerned with people getting enough value for 25 dollars. One Drink + plus fancy cocktail class + cool atmosphere with friends. This was what I was selling. But will I be able to deliver? UNCERTAINTY!
Thankfully, Raw Bar is well known in the city for not only making the best craft cocktails, but also they organized it for me beautifully. They had a super long table a little bit aways from the bar. Everyone had ingredients/utensil to share. The mixologist guided everyone in style.
People were LOVING IT. I don’t think anyone had been to an event like this before. Afterwards everyone was handed a card with the recipe on how they can make one themselves. Nice touch.
More importantly? EVERYONE HAD FUN!
Other lessons from this?
You can read about it, but until you do it yourselves you get the real lessons. Plus it was fun! It was eustress. Stress that’s good for you.
I felt pretty accomplished afterwards. I was happy everyone had fun. I didn’t force anyone to come, yet they did. That was a cool feeling.
I might hold other cool events over the summer, we shall see.
Cheers to Noah Kagan for the inspiration. You can check out his insanely cool marketing blog at okdork.com
Several months ago, there was a documentary screening at a local independent movie theater. It was about the disturbing trend of decreasing bee populations that is occurring worldwide. Somehow my friend got word of this documentary (he’s a bee keeper) and decided to have a little fun.
Now, there are all sorts of concerns about how decreasing bee populations affect the environment. But what really interested me was that my business savvy bee keeper and his friends decided to create a booth outside the cinema hall and sell honey right after the film was over!
So smart. Why??
Everyone attending was already interested in honey, thus this led to many sales. Easy peasy japanesey. I did something similar during university days, I made and sold protein smoothies right outside of the gym entrance.
Lesson: Go where your market is located.
Who are they, where are they located? They are already interested in products related to this, so you have permission to sell them. Not to mention in this particular case – there is a willingness to assist local honey producers after seeing the plight of the bee populations. I should add they got some funny looks from other honey farmers attending… probably jealous that they didn’t take advantage of this opportunity!
Textbook knowledge can’t compare with real world experience.
PS: if you’re thinking “oh what about a business license to do this or getting permission for this”.. relax. As the old saying goes – easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Work around these issues, the police aren’t going to chase after you.