30 Day Rapid Startup Challenge
This is an experiment. Much like the best laid plans..this could really go anywhere.
More than likely you won’t be reading this live, but that’s part of the plan – there isn’t one yet! I’m kicking this off as an ambitious idea, but the magic will be in the execution; get that right and this will be a hoot, get it wrong and burning the candle at both ends will be…a harsh lesson.
Now, this isn’t going to be deep and introspective, so let’s get into it
What’s Going On? or THE IDEA
I want to help you start and grow your own business. This is aimed at solo, indi-preneurs just getting started, but the strategies, tools, and tactics will apply to most small to medium businesses these days.
A couple of the hot topics coming:
- Building a landing page that converts
- Hiring/Outsourcing and VA’s
- Marketing and the art of paid traffic
Who Are You?
As I said, this isn’t really about me, but to give you a little insight into my background and experience.
I’m Nathan. I’ve been building and helping others create and grow businesses for the last 7 years. After reading the 4 Hour Workweek and more recently Dan Norris’s fantastic 7 Day Startup, an obsession with finding, creating, and growing small but profitable, simple to run businesses has sparked something in me.
Last year I started an ecommerce store with an idea and got my first sale in 7 days. That side business is now turning close to $20k a month. We now have 3 online stores.
On the back of that success, I started helping friends and family with their ideas and eventually moved to helping strangers.
I say all this not to impress you, but to impress upon you that I’m here to help and doing it 1-1 doesn’t scale when you’re doing it for free
Sounds like this will be easy huh? Did I mention I still have a day job? (shh…don’t tell the boss!) Oh, and 2 kids under 5. 🙂
How’s this going to work?
- Weekly Plan/Actions: Over the next 30-odd days we’ll cover 4 major areas of starting and growing a business – the bulk of this will be in weekly updates
- Daily Updates: Each day I will release an update on how things are going, what’s changing along the way, for each weekly update. I’ll share all my tips and everything that’s helped me start and grow these businesses to date. Feel free to copy any or all of it 🙂
- BONUS 1: Self-professed #Periscope fiend here – so an excuse to do some of my own, I will be jumping on for a #RapidScope
- BONUS x: I’ve been collecting and intend on continuing to collect special offers from tool and service providers to help us build these businesses and keep them on a shoestring. I’ll share all these with you along the way (shout out to any providers – hit me up, these indi-preneurs can use your help!!)
What Can You Do?
Take action! Please, I will do my best to keep things short, to the point, and actionable.
But, YOU need to put things into motion and make things happen.
2 other things you can do that will help you get the most out of this, even if you don’t stick around for the whole 30 Days
- Put your best email in the sidebar (or at the bottom if you’re on a mobile) and you will get access to the Trello board, so you can follow along AND you will get notified of each of these updates
- Follow me on Twitter and especially on #PERISCOPE!
Tomorrow I’ll share with you The Plan.
Hope to hear from you. I’m excited to hear about your ideas and of course – YOUR ACTIONS!
[Day 2 Update] – The Plan
The Big Plan
Helping people start businesses is fun. Exciting even. There’s just one (big) problem – time.
Here’s a hard truth, I’m a “pleaser” personality. It’s a character flaw. I say YES far too often.
New Friend: Can you just help me with thi…
I’m helping hundreds of people here locally start their businesses, but it’s slow, people can’t get away from their busy life to each meetup, and it’s tough to cover off everyone’s questions in a big room of people at different stages in their business.
If we get this thing going, tighten up the roadmap, and get people helping each other, we can launch thousands of businesses in less time. Now that sounds like a better use of time.
That brings me to the Plan:
- Back of the napkin
- Lay it all out – read: Get Technology Involved
- Add as much outreach as possible – read: Accountability
- Ask. Lot’s of giving, give give give! But don’t forget to ASK!
- Walk the Talk and Open the Kimono – see everything I’ve done and am doing to run my businesses
- Automate – so we can repeat this, improve, and help as many people as possible!
1. A couple weeks back I was lucky enough to be given a block of ‘uninterruptable’ writing time (3hrs!!) and it was the perfect creativity-storm of high-caffeine, peak state hours (mid-morning), and guilt free – I was flying alone. It was wonderful and this is what came of it:
That’s it. That’s the whole plan.
2. When I got off the plane I was so pumped I tethered my phone in the taxi so I could log into Trello on my laptop and start typing it up – “I’m doin this!!”
If you’re not already on the [30 Day Challenge] email list, jump on for access to the Trello board. I’ve made it public 🙂
We’ll get into all the tools in next weekend’s posts, but Trello will allow collaboration and it’s visual for those of you (like me) that work better that way.
This is a simple To Do board that keeps track of all the tasks required to put all this together. Trust me, it’s a bigger task than I originally imagined and the list of tasks grows every hour..
Tasks are laid out into 4 streams
- To Do (planning) items that have initial skeleton actions on them and aren’t being worked on
- Doing (in progress) stuff that’s being worked on now in some way shape or form (this is actually way too big at this early stage. Lesson 1: Do more up front work; UP FRONT!
- Waiting (done) cards here – empty right now (boo!) are where all that UP FRONT work should be. Anything that is done and scheduled gets moved here. Lesson 2: Break weekly update tasks into Daily Cards so you can actually get something to “Done”!!
- Done (published/finished) will eventually have everything in it…eventually
3. Being part of a several meetups, forums, online groups, FB groups, etc, it’s amazing how much opportunity there is to get people’s attention. If you haven’t seen Periscope yet, you gotta go check it out. Such a great tool for instantly connecting to people. I’ve had my website reviewed by the awesome YouPreneur Chris Ducker and questions answered by passive income guru Pat Flynn, started conversations with other viewers and helped them out right there from the scope, continuing the conversation on Twitter, and now it’s time to give back.
These live broadcasts are intended to be a cut down version of the in-person meetups that we’ve been running for the last few months. Basically, a topic-of-the-day with some actionable tips, followed with some Q&A from the viewers.
Jump on, they are sure to be a hoot.
4. Don’t get me wrong – we all hate spam, but if you have a genuine desire to help people and are actively doing that, then there is no harm letting people know what you’re up to.
5. Treating things like an experiment frees the mind up from perfection. It much easier to explain what you’re up to when there isn’t an ego in the way, worrying about what everyone else will think. It just feels much more natural to tell a friend about a great app or tool that you use and exactly what benefit you are seeing in it than writing about it online, so my promise here is that I will keep this as conversational and natural as possible. What I use, how I use it, and why it might help you. Simple.
Along with that comes full transparency on the stuff that isn’t working or doesn’t pan out as planned. I’ve created a “PROBLEMS” card on Trello, it’s close to the end of Day 1 as I write this and it’s already got 10 big boo boos on it:
What gets measured, gets managed.
You will also get all the numbers. Here is a quick snapshot, more to come as we get into this:
- Meetup Group – 737 members
- Mailing List members after day 1 – 30!! HOORAY! Awesome guys!!
6. Automation rocks. Ultimately it leads to the holy grail of business – #passive
That’s it. A Plan.
Now, to execute
Just one point from yesterday’s update on the “Day Job”. I do not recommend, nor do I, do side-gig work while on the clock at the 9-5. Having said that, LUNCH is ALL MINE! muhahahhaha
Are you enjoying this? Too wordy? No enough GIFs? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you and make this as helpful as possible.
[Day 3 Update] – Could This Fail? or #procrastination
#Resistance. It’s a real thing.
This took 3 weeks of false starts until I finally hit the send button on the first outreach email to lock in The Plan – no going back now!!
“What’s the worst that can happen?” – #StepUp!
At the outset of this week, it says “this is an experiment”. Let’s clarify what that actually means:
- If something doesn’t work along the way here, it won’t go into the #fail bucket, it will be worked on to make sure it improves over time.
- This isn’t going away. I’m fully committed to helping people start and grow their businesses for the next 10 years.
(Why only 10 years? I can’t promise any commitments at that point as I will have a 15 year old daughter; my entire focus will be on background checks of any 15 year old boy that I catch hanging around the house..)
This is just a quick update, Sunday’s are Restdays – everyone needs some downtime.
Not to say there isn’t anything going on though – I’m busy Preparing for tomorrow’s scope! WOO! Consistency is just as important as focus in business, so our weekly live chats will be at 7:30pm WST (that’s 10:30pm EST or 11:30am GMT/UT). That may be a little tricky for some, so let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter if there is a better time and we’ll see what we can do to accommodate as many people as possible.
If you haven’t already followed me on Periscope or at least Twitter, <–click those so we can connect. I’m really excited to meet you and hear about where you are on your entrepreneurial journey. Also, you won’t miss the scope either, but don’t fret if you can’t watch live, the replays hang around for 24hrs and (as long as I remember to) I’ll be using Katch so we can all watch them again later.
That’s it for today – #downtime peeps, you need your energy!
[Day 4 Update] – First #RapidScope! Tonight! woot woot!!
Tonight, we’re jumping on Periscope to have a live chat about creating a business. If you are thinking about starting something new, follow me on Periscope (links above) or Twitter to be notified when the broadcast starts.
Here is a sneak peak of what we’ll discuss:
The $10 Startup
- Grab something (physical or some skill you have)
- Grab a domain name $5
- Grab a real email address (Google for Work) $5
We’ll run through that as quick as we can so we can get to the Q&A – ask any question you have about starting a business and we will see if we can get you an answer to help move you forward; technology, marketing, ideas, social media, bring your questions, let’s get you over the humps and onto your goals.
Don’t forget, follow me on Periscope @lifeonautosite and look out for notification around 7:30pm WST in Australia. If you miss the broadcast, you can watch the replay for up to 24hrs afterwards, hopefully someone else asks your question for you 🙂
See you tonight!
[Day 5 Update] – What’s coming next week?
Today – Day 5, being a Tuesday, is the toughest day of the week for me so we’ll take a sneak peak of the coming week.
We’re getting close to the end of the first week…let’s do a quick recap:
- We kicked off on Friday last week and got our first subscriber within an hour 🙂
- We covered The Plan and what we are going to do over the coming weeks to get your businesses started and growing
- I’ve also been sharing some of the struggles, problems, fires burning, while all this has been going on, which I will continue to do to show you that you can expect this sort of thing too but it won’t stop you from achieving your business Goal if you have a plan and a roadmap to get there
- You guys have been responding via email at a Rapid Pace (I love it!) about where you’re at, what your planning, and letting me kick your butts on what you should be focusing on instead!
- Last night we jumped on Periscope (still a few hours left to watch it) and went through 3 Tips on how to create a professional business now, with less than $10. We also covered some viewer questions and a little bit about how Periscope works
- (I also learnt (just now) that when you save a DRAFT the night before it goes live, you better change that to published or your readers only get half of your info!! :O)
By far the most popular sessions we’ve had as part of the Rapid Startup meetup is “Create Your Website”. It’s so popular that we get 10x more people than all other sessions.
That’s why we’ll do a whole week on technology – regardless of whether you are a tech-genius or a complete techno-phobe, you will get something out of it.
- Create a converting landing page (that’s a 1 page website) in 15 minutes
- Best freebie tools and resources for everything your business will need
- The $100 startup
- Becoming legal – going pro
Tomorrow we’re #Scoping again! This time we’ll chat about the [30 Day Challenge] and what you can do to start validating an idea – no technology (apart from an email address), no lists, no customers, nada. I’ll walk you through 2 really amazing case studies on how you could get your idea validated in a weekend, so you know whether it’s worth doubling-down on – or hitting the QUIT button and trying your next idea.
Enjoying this? Have a question? Did you catch the Periscope last night? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter.
[Day 6 Update] – #Scope! Let’s live chat again 🙂
3 Tips to Starting Today
On the last scope on Monday we chatted about getting started as a “proper” business by grabbing a domain name, getting that domain into an email to make it appear that you are a functional business, and getting out and selling.
It was a great chat and some of you went ahead and got started already. A few of you asked “what if I don’t have a product?” or “what if I don’t have any skills”, or even “what if I don’t have $10?” and other such non-action questions. (enter cranky-personal-trainer Nathan), so tonight we’ll cover a super easy formula to start right now, no idea, no money, no new tools.
For now, here is a couple of teasers to get you started:
- Make Your Bed Every Morning. Seriously.
- The Santa Claus Formula
Tonight, 7:30pm WST we will break down a method of getting started today with just your email – you can do it from your phone!
I’ve also got 2 amazing case studies of high-profile people that have done this exact thing.
I’ve also created some presentation notes to accompany the live chat, which I linked up in today’s email. Jump on the mailing list if you aren’t already. (I’ll also explain the bed thing..)
Tomorrow is the end of the first week of this challenge. We’ll do a full recap and see what’s working and what we’ll change or add for next week, where we will go through #Technology.
[Day 7 Update] – RECAP
My email box is exploding! It was already bad – running 4 businesses (1 full-time, 3 side-businesses) there is actually 14 inboxes, meaning one going off is just fuel to the already blazing fire.
Why is this good? It’s full of positive comments about what we’re doing here which is massively motivating and I am truly inspired by what some of you are planning (and of course ACTIONING) out there! So keep it coming..
What’s on hold or can wait?
As I’ve said, I’m committed to getting you started and growing your business. Family and full-time client are taking absolute priority for certain hours in the day, our awesome customers for our health products get looked after, followed closely by the 30 Day Challenge. Sounds like a lot huh?
Well, there are several things being left behind while this is in full swing:
- UsingSlack.com – Ultimate Guide to Using Slack is 75% complete and was due to launch last month 🙁
- GreenMatcha.com.au – made a decision to sell this site…but haven’t done anything with that decision yet (product is amazing)
- Marketing – my great email course for anyone looking for a simple but powerful solution to teach their thing is getting no promotional time at all, poor thing 🙁
- …small stuff (I’d rather stop thinking about it in case my mind turns it into big stuff)
Marketing is really a key component of any business and it’s particularly true of any online business.
Our health products business has massive spikes in readers, traffic, and obviously SALES when we do content marketing. We have set a Goal of 1 post per month minimum – doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider these posts need to be actionable, pretty, “science-y”, and detailed – it’s not something that can be done with a bit of Googling and some word-salading. (Side note: I make up words. Send all hate mail to my email list 🙂
Will my lovely customers get their juicy, educational, and ultimately helpful healthy tip this month? uhh…maybe
What’s on hold that actually should be getting done?
We’ll get into Marketing in Week 4 on the 30 Day Challenge, but apart from standard content marketing our social accounts aren’t getting any love either.
Instagram is a killer tool for anyone in health, wellness, fitness, fashion, and food (we hit 4 of those 5) among other things but it takes work to make it work. But boy, when it works…!! When we get to our Scope during week 4 I’ll go deep on Instagram and how we exploded our followers and created a whole new channel virtually overnight from about 2hrs of “thumbing” my smart phone.
Maintaining authority for each of the 4 businesses is a monumental task in social, so these are suffering right now. Having systems in place and using automation is one way to combat this and again, we cover this in 2 weeks.
Big thank you goes out to reader Bec for calling me out on being clear on my own Goal with this 30 Day Challenge!
So, my Goal – apart from helping as many (number: 20+) people take action and start their own business, this 30 Day Challenge will be successful if it achieves the following:
200 People on the mailing list
Why? Based on the meetup numbers, I can expect to easily help 10% of those people kick off their business – win.
200 Followers on Periscope
Why? Scaling the meetup ‘online’ is at the heart of this challenge. Sounds a little like a vanity metric, but I’m not sure yet how else to measure this part. Suggestions anyone?
As we mentioned earlier, the positive reaction and thank you emails already coming in mean this has been a successful challenge. I really appreciate you all and we’re just getting started!
What should be on hold but is setting off alarm bells?
Passing in the night (it’s not that bad) with my wife, we discussed being busy and she asked “can I do anything to help?” which tells me that things are going ok on the home front. If I can give you one piece of advice on getting started on your business, especially for those of you who are starting something on the side, it’s this
Your family/friends/house-mates are important people – don’t neglect them!
What is suffering then? Sleep. One thing that is suffering is my sleep. I fixed this on day 4 by going to bed immediately after our scope. This also helped me not tear the session apart in my head and slept on it instead. I slept like a LOG.
Fun Fact: That explains why the initial Day 5 update was published without all the content 🙂
So, I’ll wrap up this week by saying – make sure you are checking in on your goals. Celebrate your wins. AND HAVE FUN!
See you tomorrow..
p.s. if you’ve started your business, let us know in the comments below – we want to celebrate with you!