Today I’m giving away one of the greatest books about money ever: “MONEY: Master the Game” by Tony Robbins!
If you’re keen to finally find out what you need to achieve financial freedom, just sign up and win this amazing book!
Today I’m giving away one of the greatest books about money ever: “MONEY: Master the Game” by Tony Robbins!
If you’re keen to finally find out what you need to achieve financial freedom, just sign up and win this amazing book!
Today you have the chance to win a business call with me in order to start or grow your business!
Today you have the chance to win a $25 gift card from AppSumo.com. Get amazing tools for entrepreneurs to a suuuuper discounted price! Sign up now!
Another day – another giveaway! Today I’m giving away Eric Ries’ stunning book “The Lean Startup“! Sign up now!
yay! December 1 is here and you have the chance to win an amazing book from Tim Ferriss!
Ho, ho, ho! 🎅🏻 🎅🏿
It’s time to announce something I am super excited about! From 12/01/2017 to 12/24/2017 I will run the entrepreneur’s advent calendar!
Each day you will find right here at timkock.de (better bookmark the page now!) a new amazing giveaway. Total worth: OVER $1,140 !!! 💸
In total worth over $ 1,140 💸💸
Come back each day to timkock.de and sign-up for each giveaway. Per sign-up, you have 1 entry. Refer 1 friend and you get 3 more entries (you will receive a link to share). The winner of each giveaway will receive an email seven days after each giveaway!
I know you are (I was, too)… scroll down to finally build a real business!
Good move… let’s get sh*t done together!
I’m currently creating a comprehensive video course on how to (finally) build a real business out of AliExpress dropshipping. No bullshit – I promise!
Forget about the times chasing sale after sale! It’s time to build something real… something sustainable… something worth the effort!
I know you are keen to start your first dropshipping business! you are motivated as hell – you read tons of blog posts, watch millions of YouTube videos and listen to podcasts while driving to your hated 9 to 5 job…
>> fast forward your life… >>
One year later: you’re still driving to your hated 9 to 5 job – your business failed. Why? Because it never was a real biz. You never had a fair chance!
I’m so sick of seeing people like you being motivated as f*ck, having amazing knowledge but will never see something like this…
(Good job on that one, Derek!)
That’s why I will show you how to…
sounds good? Yay! sounds really good!
The following post is the first chapter of an online course/guide I’m currently building. Even though the title is “How To Make $ 100” it’s more about the ultimate niche validation. Within this course, I will introduce my personal approach on how I validate new ideas. Besides of validation, I will also show you where and how to find new ideas.
[You will find affiliate links to Shopify here in this post, too.]
As I’m a huge fan of keeping it simple af, I built this guide asap (as simple as possible).
It’s my approach to validating this idea. As this whole course will be all about validation it would be ridiculous if I wouldn’t validate this course itself, right? I would also love to have early feedback from you on what I can improve. Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com
A short note before we start: As I’m still building this course you will find some missing parts here and there. Mostly when it comes down to bonus material or access to spreadsheets. I marked these parts with red notes.
START SNEAK PREVIEW
Please don’t get confused by the title. This is definitely not the next weird online course or guide where someone will tell you the secret on how to make money.
Personal note: I built this course/guide in a way I would have needed it when I started about six years ago. I made a lot of mistakes and wasted even more money just to find out how I should not work (even if all these “experts” told me to do so). As I really want to help people who want to become successful (whatever this means to you) I started my personal branding journey.
Even though we are aiming for $ 100 it’s more about the validation of your business idea and/or products. From my personal experience is making money the best and ultimate way to find out if a niche is (or can be) profitable or not. If you are able to make $ 100 within the next weekend you are definitely able to grow this to $ 1,000 and then (hopefully) strive for the big money.
But as I want to keep it real and we’re just at the beginning of our journey we are aiming for the 100.
Bonus: I will give you a list of 10 FREE marketing strategies (Bonus material will be available at the full course).
As I don’t know your personal preferences I decided to use all mediums to build this course: video, audio and text.
If you like videos, watch the videos. If you love to read, read the text. And if you want to listen to this course while in the gym or on your way to work, listen to my voice. In the end, it’s up to you. But here is my personal recommendation on how to work through this course:
I know you can find value in this course. Some will find eye-opening parts, others will just find one to two things they can apply while others simply get inspired. But if all you get is “just” getting inspired, I am more than happy.
I will show you some very basic and simple things. Maybe they are so simple that you don’t even think about it or simply did not believe such things can be helpful. You won’t learn some crazy new marketing strategy or a (wannabe) business-hack.
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
We will take a deep look at your personal assets and work from there on. You don’t have to learn some crazy or fancy marketing strategy to get your business to a point where you call it successful. I truly believe that you already have access to everything you need. You might just not using it in a proper way. But don’t worry about that; we will figure out how to do this together.
If you think you don’t have the skills you need to build your online store, I can highly recommend entering Shopify’s dropshipping webinar. At the end of this webinar you will get access to a bunch of bonus material including a case study I have written for Shopify on “How I Built a Profitable Dropshipping Business in 14 Days (Without Spending Money on Ads)” where I documented every single step I took in a 14 day experiment to make around $ 200. I spent zero dollars. No custom domain, no ads, no products for influencer… just work.
But today, as you are participating in this course, we will dig deeper. You will learn this:
Sounds good? Awesome!
But before we jump into this course I would like to introduce you into the files section (no file section at the moment):
If you click here you will get instant access to the files section of this course. You will find summaries of each step, bonus material and the $ 100 spreadsheet. Within this spreadsheets, you will find a bunch of sheets which we will use and I will explain every sheet once we come to a point where we use this. As for now I just want you to do three things:
You have to do this in order to work with this sheet. Otherwise, you just have access to read it, but not to edit it.
If you’ve never worked with Google Drive before, this link will help.
As we will go through quite some stuff I can highly recommend to make notes on the way. Therefore I created a learning sheet for you (“Notes”). If you want to use it feel free to make notes like what you’ve learned, what you would like to take a deeper look into or what suddenly came into your head. Even though it’s not required to do this I can highly recommend doing this.
Personal note: Feel free to share your notes with me. I would love to see what you have learned and maybe I can give you even more input on a specific topic.
Just send your notes over to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Even though there is no spreadsheet for your notes, I would also love to take a look at your notes)
Personal note: Even if you already have products you want to sell I recommend to not skip this part. You never know if you will find new inspirations for new products or just get the confidence to stick with your existing product.
It’s pretty obvious that you have to have products to get to a point where you achieved your goal. So this will be our starting point.
We will cover two ways of finding and validating products:
Both ways are equally good. Since using recommendations from legit companies who have a strong relation to e-commerce and dropshipping is easier we will start here.
Companies like Shopify and Oberlo regularly publish posts on what to sell. So why not using recommendations from companies who have a very strong interest in making you successful? As I mentioned before, keep things as simple as possible. You really don’t have to do everything on your own.
Personal note: I know some people from Shopify and Oberlo personally and I can promise you that they are doing everything they can to make you successful. I can highly recommend to trust them. I do it, too.
My favourite posts:
*Even though the last post is about things other than physical products it’s very helpful to get your thoughts out of the box. Who knows, maybe you end up selling yoga classes or digital products – who cares? Dropshipping is not the only way to make money and to live happily. As long as you love what you’re doing (and can pay your bills) the business model itself doesn’t matter.
I am very sure you will find great products within these posts which allows you to reach your goal.
Another great way to find products you can sell is to take a look at the bestselling lists of major shopping sites. This step alone is one kind of product validation itself. Those lists show you exactly what people like to buy at this moment. If they are willing to spend their hard earned money over there, they are probably also willing to spend money on your store. Let the market decide what you should sell.
Here are my top four bestselling lists:
Spend some time to discover all the bestsellers and make some notes while doing this. If you go to your “$ 100 Spreadsheet” you will find a sheet called “Products”. Put your notes, products or ideas in there. We will work with this sheet later even more. (Remember: no spreadsheets at the moment).
Besides of finding a product, you will also learn how the market thinks. Entrepreneurs, especially when starting, have this tendency to think just within their own world: “If I don’t like it, the others don’t like, too”.
By regularly taking a look on bestselling lists you will develop a natural intuition on what will work and what does not. It’s like taking a look into the head of the market. The more you can “feel” upcoming trends, the more you will sell.
Personal note: One of the first things I do in the morning is to take a super quick look (20-30 seconds each) on all these bestselling lists. Whenever I have the feeling something can become successful I make some notes to take a deeper look at it when I have more time.
Even though this whole guide is one big validation, we will now validate your ideas within this validation. Let’s call this step “micro-validation”.
Why niche validation?
Because otherwise, you can lose a lot of money and time. Whereas money can (and will) come back, time is lost forever. But an also very important point why you should validate your ideas is simply to stay motivated and focused.
A validated idea is more likely to become successful than “just some idea”. As success is one of the biggest factors when it comes down to motivation we simply can’t ignore this validation step.
Google Trends is a free tool from – who would have thought of – Google. You simply put in your main-keyword(s) of your niche or products in the search field and Google shows you instantly if there is an increasing or decreasing search volume on Google for this specific term.
As the majority of the people who search for something on the internet will use Google this is an extremely powerful tool.
If you would like to compare up to five ideas you can simply add more terms to this search. This will help you to decide on which idea you should focus the most.
The best way to validate ideas with Google Trends is to look at each graph itself and also on the comparison of all ideas.
Even though the yellow graph has the highest amount of search volume it doesn’t have to mean it is the best idea. It’s probably also the most competitive idea. That’s why validation with Google Trends is just one piece of the puzzle to validate your idea.
While Google Trends doesn’t show you actual search volume numbers we have to use another free and powerful validation tool from Google: Global Market Finder.
To get the data you need you simply put in the search terms (your niche/idea) into the “Keyword(s)” box. Google now shows you the exact amount of monthly searches for your term(s).
Raw numbers are not all. You always have to have in mind that the higher a number of monthly searches, the more competitive is the niche. You have to find that sweet spot.
Personal note: I usually try to go for ideas which have at least 1,000 monthly searches (okay, 986 is also okay…) and not higher as 100,000. From my personal experience, it’s usually like this: entrepreneurs with quite some money in the bank go for the big ones because they can afford the expensive ads which are necessary to separate yourself in such a competitive market. But if you run on a tight or even zero budget I can highly recommend starting with the low end. Once you made your first money you can (and should) re-invest this money into bigger opportunities.
As you now have a first and rough picture of the demand for your idea we will now go to take a look at what people are actually saying about your product or your niche in general.
When entrepreneurs or marketers think about social media they’re mostly thinking about ads and marketing. But we are far away from spending money on marketing. We will use social media as our next step towards validation.
As Facebook is THE social network, we will start our social media validation here.
What we will do now is a mix of niche validation and competitor research. I will show you a super simple way to see how high the demand for your product is AND how your competitors advertise them. Besides of the validation, this will give you an idea on how you could (later) build your ads.
Personal note: What we do now may not work for every niche as the products have to be “cheap”. But as Facebook validation is just one step it doesn’t really matter if you can’t do this step.
Let’s say you found out that strapless bras currently trending. To find out if there is potential in your idea, just type – strapless bra “just pay shipping” – into the Facebook search field.
You will now see a bunch of ads from your competitors who set up free + shipping campaigns. We don’t do this because want to do the same but we have to find a way on how to filter all posts on Facebook. We just want to see ads and not personal recommendations etc.
Instead of “just pay shipping” you could also use “shop here”, “Get yours here”, “Order here” or “Click here”. Just try them all.
As you now see a lot of ads from competitors you can look at the reactions, likes, comments and amount of shares.
942 positive reactions, 470 comments and 289 shares!
Even though we don’t know how much money your competitor spent on this ad this is a good signal that there is a demand for strapless bras.
The next step of our social media validation is Instagram. As Instagram is getting bigger and bigger without any sign to stop its growth we should definitely take a look at it.
If we decide to stay with our example, we will put in the most obvious hashtag into the search field: #straplessbra (you should also take a look at other niche related hashtags)
34.741 posts – pretty good!
Most of those posts are probably from other stores selling strapless bras, which gives us the confidence that this idea is good. If others believe in it, why shouldn’t we do it?
To get a more clear view on the demand we will take a look at the first nine posts. These are the most popular posts at the moment.
(At the moment I’m writing these lines) there are 21,042 likes and 484 comments in total for those nine images. Solid as a rock!
Twitter is just amazing when it comes down to see what people actually think (and talk) about your product. To get this extremely valuable information you just have to type in your idea into the Twitter search field.
You will now see one of the most valuable information you can get as an entrepreneur: People’s opinion.
With this one tweet alone you get a great insight. You now know one of the main problems with strapless bras. If you can solve this problem you’ll probably win.
That said: the more problems you solve, the more money you make.
Besides of finding points which aren’t that good in order to validate your idea, Twitter can also give you confidence:
More than solid!
Personal note: The above-mentioned tweets are a marketers dream! You could easily jump into a conversation and offer those girls a free strapless bra (for promotion) or a discount code. It’s almost ridiculous that no one replied to those extreme obvious sales opportunities.
Bottom line: there is a demand!
With all the micro validation steps we took it’s time to take a deep look at our personal assets…
End of this sneak preview. What will follow are the next 4 steps + amazing bonus material (for example a video about 10 free marketing channels) to finish this course.
END OF SNEAK PREVIEW
I hope you enjoyed this first part. If you want to get a short notification once this course is published, please enter your email below.
If our grandparents had chosen to become entrepreneurs they would have spent so much more time and effort on their businesses. Back then it was one of the main reasons why most people could never even imagine becoming entrepreneurs (self-employed); TIME
These days we think the internet will make it sooooo easy (and less time consuming) to make money. From my experience this is true — but just when it comes down to scaling. The foundation — the first 100 sales — are super hard.
And it’s just logical; why should it be easy? There is absolutely no reason.
I know we all tend to think that we’ve done everything we could. But to be brutally honest — most of us just build a Shopify store and then pay Facebook for ads. And… that’s not even close to being enough “effort.”
We have to do more, especially more real business stuff;
All this should (in a perfect world) be done BEFORE we build the store. However, if we missed doing some of these things prior to launch, we should absolutely still do them afterwards.
Yes, I know. But, there is something we do NOW to cover a lot of these topics with one technique. What is it?
BECOME AN “INFLUENCER”
Create an Instagram account (NOT WITH THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS!) around your niche without promoting your products. Just put out content (5–8 times a day) which is related to your niche. Don’t promote anything (for now). Your goal is to build an audience.
Post relevant, interesting and maybe even controversial content. Every day!
Then, search for 30 relevant hashtags and use them! Don’t go for the general ones. Find niche hashtags. Don’t avoid this work! I know it’s tempting, but it will pay off in the long run.
After you have your hashtags it’s time for content; re-post images of people using the hashtags and which make sense for your niche.. Tag and mention those people. Give them a free shoutout. I would NOT go for people on Instagram with 8k + follower. They might not like it. But you could ask them for permission.
If you’re lucky you will get a shout out for free too. That’s the beginning.
While you are doing this over and over again you can search for your biggest competitors and:
After all of this we’ll start to gain a solid audience. You can speed this process up by investing ALL OF YOUR TIME into doing this.
Now it’s time to promote products which you could imagine selling later on — or at least some similar products. Use call to actions like “love this [product]?? Please leave a comment!” to see the responses. After some time you will have a lot of data;
And most importantly;
You’ll learn valuable business execution skills on Instagram. You can use the same techniques for your business Instagram account — meaning you will have two traffic streams for your store. Isn’t that great? It’s like stealing your own customers. But in the end all the money will go to your bank account!
(Fun part; if your audience is big enough your competitors will reach out to you asking for promotions… Isn’t that cool?!)
All together this is an incredible COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.
If you are only 1 out of 1000 people doing this, you will make money while others are still complaining “Why don’t my Facebook ads work?”
It’s 100% up to you; do the stuff the majority does (and get what the majority gets…) or go the extra mile and accomplish what others won’t.
I would love to see you making lots of sales; that’s why I’m giving away this strategy. It’s not something that will happen fast and get you 1–3 sales. It’s a real and honest online marketing strategy which works AND lasts!
I have mixed feelings about this because I know (not just think, I know!) that everyone will benefit from learning the basics and will be able to make sales out of fit. So covering this topic is a fun part for me. But, I DON’T actually know if this will bring you real value. Maybe it will end up as a great post which works perfectly in your mind, but once you do it in the real world it will fail. I’m always 100 % honest with you. So have that in mind while reading through this.
Another thing you should be aware of is that these “creative and unique ways“ have NEVER been applied to one of my businesses. I actually invented some of these methods while writing! So again: I have no idea if these techniques will work! I have never done them myself. So if you want to invest money or time into these strategies — please be SUPER careful.
After I (hopefully) made everything clear we’re ready for take off.
In an obvious way this just does not make any sense. That’s for sure. But every successful business has people against them. It’s simply human nature. We don’t want to agree with everyone because we (often just try to) have our own opinion. So why not start backwards?
I would like to call this strategy “HATER MARKETING.“
When it comes down to haters you have to earn them. The more attention you have the more haters you will have. So right now if you don’t have any attention, maybe starting with the haters could be helpful. Let me give you an example of how this could (!) work on Facebook:
You’re selling leather products. So target vegans & animal rights activists. You can even create your own hashtag like #leatherfortheworld — yep that’s hard. (But I checked Instagram and there are 61,904 uses of the hashtag #leatherlove. So there are people on your side). And if you want to be aggressive as hell then even insert a call to action with “Tag a friend who knows that leather goes perfectly with a hot BBQ!“ Try to be as much of a jerk as possible and attack your opposition in a not so obvious way.
Your goal is to get those vegans and animal rights activists to tag their friends and leave angry comments. If you can even create some kind of shitstorm you’ve achieved everything you wanted to with this campaign. You got ATTENTION — those animal rights activists will (hopefully) post some angry messages about your biz on their personal social media accounts and maybe even tag your business site. You want other people to see this, that’s the whole point. The Facebook Algorithm will notice a strong “demand” for your brand. This will lead to better ranking in FB’s Alg. and more people will see your ads, etc…
The result will be a ton of attention, brand awareness (besides the haters, other people will like your products!), free marketing (because haters will stand up against you!), and the Facebook algorithm will notice a demand on your stuff.
Wait, what?! Yes, you heard me right. This comes from something I noticed in a local supermarket. If you are able to build a brand which LOOKS like a low budget store and also has SOME (not all!) low quality products people will automatically think that every product is underpriced. They will assume some products are bad quality and others “just because”. Now comes the tricky part:
While having some VERY VERY low budget products (e.g. < $ 1) which you will sell for $ 2, you should also add products that look expensive and sell them for around the $ 10 price point. People will think that this price is also underpriced.
You can even run Facebook ads and target people who like Wal-Mart, GAP or any other low budget store.
This technique is very difficult because you have to find the right balance between something that looks cheap but is also trustworthy. It’s a game for advanced players. But hey, give it a try if you want to. Just be careful!
This one could be coooooool. You‘ll switch the roles here. Instead of being the dropshipper you will be the supplier. There are a lot of people out there who don’t know what dropshipping is.
Even if those people are engaged in the online world. Personally, I know at least 50 people who are running (moderately successful) blogs but don’t know anything about DS. So why not target those people? (To make it clear upfront; I will not give you the names of my friends).
But how could this work?
You will reach out to these kinds of people (via Instagram DM for example) and ask if they want to have their own online shop. If you find a guy who is all into running why not offer a running equipment store to him? Schedule a Skype call (or FB video; which I prefer tbh) to talk about this project.
Since he has no clue how to operate the store, you should run it. Great! But definitely add him as a staff member to your store.
Before starting this kind of project you should have done your calculation. I think 30–60 % of the margin should go to him/her. I would even invest in buying some of the products yourself and send them for free to your partner so he/she can show it on his/her blog/instagram page/whatever.
Btw. Let him/her choose the products! Your opinion doesn’t matter here. I know! It hurts our precious egos so much … but really, it doesn’t matter (here!) Send over some product images and then add this stuff to the store.
The great thing about having a blogger as a partner is that you can easily have a blog on your store which will be helpful for SEO. And yes, the margin is lower. But fuck that. You can set the prices higher. Or sell more. Or open two other stores, etc…
I think those ways are unique and creative enough, right?
I’ve certainly never heard of any of those methods before. But I don’t think I’m the first one to ever think of them.
Please still remember that you don’t need such crazy things to make sales. All of this is pretty advanced stuff. To be brutally honest; if you can’t make money with Facebook ads you should focus on getting the basics right and and really zero in on your target market. This video will help:
I really hope you liked this because it took me almost a day of coming up with this stuff! But it was fun so definitely not wasted time!
If someone is willing to test this stuff and you get stuck at some point, just reach out on Instagram.
So yeah, please let me know what you think. I know it’s very theoretical but I would loooooove to hear your feedback on these ideas. Do you think they could work?