AFP 28: Business Idea Faceoff

Justin Cooke

August 10, 2012

We were having a conversation with John The Intern a couple of weeks ago about how Joe and I have significantly different approaches to business.  Based on that conversation, we thought it would be interesting to lay out a few different business ideas to see what we might do differently to make them profitable.

The Business Idea Face Off!

John’s the moderator for the faceoff and we were given the following rules:

  1. $500 starting capital (Unless you state otherwise)
  2. Must reach $5,000 net per month within a year (or state otherwise)
  3. Cannot simply recreate the AdSense Flippers process
  4. Cannot use current audience (Listeners, email subscribers, blog readers, etc.)

Here are the four different business ideas presented:

  1. Build a team and a business through oDesk
  2. Build, monetize, and/or flip one website to hit revenue goals
  3. Launch a profitable podcast
  4. Sell Kindle ebooks to hit revenue goals

Check out this week’s episode here:

Direct Download – Right Click And Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • The TropicalMBA crew and their latest workshop in Puerto Galera
  • An update on our Internship and Ryan’s help in building a CRM Building a business around an oDesk team
  • Authority site creation and monetization strategy
  • Podcasting for a profit
  • Killing it with Kindle ebooks 
  • Sexy, bed-friendly earbuds and study hacks you could blow a weekend on

Mentions:

  • TropicalMBA – Our friends Dan and Ian kicking ass in Puerto Galera…will be visiting them in Bangkok in October.
  • vTiger CRMA highly-functional (Tier 2?) CRM we’re building out for AdSense Flippers
  • Niche Site Expansion at SPI – Pat Flynn’s write-up on expanding his niche site and taking it to the next level.
  • BedPhones.com A slick product…bedphones are earbuds that are soft and won’t bother you while you’re in bed.
  • CalNewport.com – Unconventional tips and tricks towards being successful.  (Careful…the content’s addicting!)

Now…over to you! 

What do you think about the methods and strategies laid out in this episode?  Anything you love?  Anything you hate?  Let us know in the comments below or feel free to say hi on Twitter!  Or…you can use SpeakPipe to leave a message below and have a chance to be featured in the next podcast!

 

 


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Discussion
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  1. Justin,
    In regards to your first idea about heavily researching a topic then having writers create great content on it….how would you go about finding great researchers? I’ve had issues finding great researchers on Odesk and my thinking is I’m not asking the right questions of my researchers.
    Any input would be great.

  2. David says:

    Hey Flippers,

    I love your show : )

    I have one small question… The vTiger CRM is mostly for tracking sales leads and less about tracking a full project like base camp or actavecolab (that is what I use now ; )
    What type of cosomtizations have you have to make to the vTiger CRM to track your projects and sites ? I would really like to hear more about it.

    Thank you,
    David

    • While this is true, any CRM system is better at tracking data than a normal spreadsheet. And that’s what we are upgrading from. We haven’t really done any customizations, we removed several sections of the vTiger CRM to make it easier to use. We don’t use tickets or task — only organizations and filters. This approach works for us, but your mileage may vary! ;-)

      Honestly, I think we could do entire post on the CRM migration and setup process. Perhaps it’s something to consider. Justin might consider it a bit boring, but useful.

      We tried using project management software like basecamp and found it overly complex for our agents. They spent more time updating it than doing their actual job. That’s not a good thing. Plus, search features and individual data fields could not be easily accessed making it prohibitive to increased efficiency.
      If you have thousands of sites to track, you want a simple page by page display of data, not complex project management tracking. vTiger does this for us. Our troops are familiar with it (we had a customer that used before) and the UI is easy enough to navigate that training is easy.

      • David says:

        Joseph,

        Thanks so much for your replay :)
        I am sure me and so many of your 6140 readers would enjoy an entire post on the CRM migration and setup process ; )
        If you ever do such a post I know it would put a smile on my face : )

        David

  3. Dan Norris says:

    Hey guys not sure if this is the best place for this but I’d love your thoughts on something. I own the site http://createafreewebsite.com – 8k exact searches in the US 18k worldwide. Site has content with aff links, not ranking, no traffic. Very competitive. I don’t want to spend any time on it. What do I do with it? Ideas I have are:

    1. Pay someone to get it ranking and sell it
    2. Partner with someone who can rank it, sell it and go halves
    3. Cold contact the big companies ranking on page 1 and tell them to buy it off my to keep me off the front page (I’ll tell them my old site ranked no 1 in Aus for ‘website design’). If I get it ranking it will take business away from them cause it educates people to use WordPress.
    4. Just put it up on Flippa as is (could be a good lead generator for a wordpress freelancer to offer support or a small web host or something).

    Any thoughts? If you’d prefer to answer this on the podcast I’ll record it and send it to you.

  4. Ryan mclean says:

    Quick question. I have $300 I made from one of my sites to reinvest. I want to gain $30 per month from this investment. Am I better off buying a site that is already earning, reinvesting into the site that made the money (it’s currently makes $100/month in adsense), or starting multiple micro niche sites with the money? What do you think will get me the best return on my money?

    • At that level, I would suggest creating your own sites. It will give you the opportunity to make more sites (especially if you do most of it yourself) which means you can refine your process for later when you decide to scale.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Ryan,

      Well that IS the question, isn’t it! We can’t really answer that for ourselves with certainty and so we can’t answer it for you definitively either. Instead of answering with what I think you should do, let’s look at what we do NOW.

      Currently…we take the money and reinvest in new niche sites. Hopefully, you can get another $100/month earner out of the next batch and then repeat the process again in a few months.

      That being said, wouldn’t it be a good idea for us to be expanding the sites we currently have and figuring out a scalable process for that? Couldn’t we be buying other sites and expanding them? We’re looking into these, but our goto choice is building more niche sites…

  5. Hey Flippers, loved this show. Just a bit of feedback about the passion thing (oh no you say!)

    Well from what I understand, first hearing this “passion” thing from Gary Vee and DHH and other luminaries, the point of using passion to choose your vertical is not about avoiding stuff you don’t like! That’s not it at all.

    The idea is that you need as much help as you can get as an entrepreneur, because it will be hard work, you’re going to feel like giving up and if you choose something you’re passionate about then the fact that you love LOVE LOVE origami (or whatever) is going to give you that edge – something to pull you through the tough times or even just doing the crap that (as you point out) you don’t want to do but have to in any business.

    Imagine trying to win against competitors who live and breathe “Star Wars Figurines” while you are “meh”?

    I’m not actually defending the idea, I just think you might have misinterpreted the message.

    • I got it, but would counter that some passion ideas are not very profitable. There has to be a balance and you have to understand it’s not going to be all play, even you are playing with toys all day!

      • I guess it would be helpful to understand what passions you don’t think can be monetized.

        • I guess it depends on far removed you want to get from the subject. If your passion is watching TV, you could create a TV review site and perhaps even meetups where charge per head. Still I think some passions are more profitable than others.

        • JustinWCooke says:

          That’s a tough one to answer…

          For every “passion” I might mention, no matter how quaint or “unmonetizable” it may sound, one could argue an outlier case where it could be wildly successful (and profitable) My point would be that those are the exceptions rather than the rule…

          I think I came off a bit harsh against passion in this episode, which is funny as I’m so “passionately” arguing the issue, lol. My overall thoughts on passion are a more nuanced than that. It just frustrates me when I read bloggers saying things like, “follow your passion” without any meat to back up what that really means.

  6. Dan Norris says:

    Great one. Best quote ‘I hate passion’ gold. I agree but I also think its useful to think about the sort of work youll be doing on a daily basis and whether or not you really want to spend your time doing that. I’ve made this mistake before, started an ecommerce business and did the fulfillment & customer service myself fking hated it!

  7. Sebastian says:

    hi guys! i just came back from a marathon trip and was excited to hear my voice on your podcast! and now damn you!!! I know have a niche ebook business i could tap into. Great! another hustle….I need to slow down. hehe!

  8. Definitely the best episode I’ve listened to. It’s interesting how you would both use about $10,000 to get your business up and running. I’m more of a cheapy myself, but that’s probably because I don’t have money lol

    I might start looking into investing about $750 per month after the year, so thanks for giving me the motivation to try it. I’d be happy with $1000 per month recurring after a year so I don’t think it’s unrealistic.

    I’d also like to read a romance novel by “hot money” lol

  9. This episode is amazing, guys. Second time in a row that you blow my mind. I enjoyed a lot the interview with Thomas Smale about website brokers. Each and every question was incisive. I’m so glad you didn’t stick to the usual superficial questions you can hear in all podcasts around the Internet.

    As someone who has made quite a bit of money selling Kindle books, I’d say Justin’s approach is more realistic. The problem I see is keyword research. I’ve heard tons of gurus selling the idea of using Google Keyword Tool to research for Amazon. However, so far I haven’t seen anybody’s success doing that (not saying it doesn’t happen, but please, someone prove it).

    You gotta do your research on Amazon. Learn how the best seller lists work, the popularity lists, the “Also bough”t lists, etc.
    Then research what kinds of books are selling in different niches. Fiction and non-fiction are worlds apart. I haven’t tried fiction yet because I still have to solve the problem of finding a good writer. In non-fiction, every category is different too. Research, research and research.

    Joe is on the money when he says the problem is promoting your book. Your options are very limited. On the other hand, building a list seems to be the only way to protect your business against the changes Amazon may introduce any moment. It will happen sooner or later.

    Thanks guys. I’ll be looking forward to your next podcast. The bar is very high though :)

    • Wow, thanks for sharing your insight Christina! I figured my approach was high risk, but there may be more of a pay off in the long run, especially if one of your books really takes off.

      It would be nice if Amazon had a keyword research tool for their site. This would allow you to promote products and content to more popular searches.

  10. Ryan says:

    Nice podcast guys. I’ve been enjoying working with you two on the vTiger project.

    I could see the poker podcast idea going really well if you can get the listeners. There is a LOT of money in the poker business. One of the blogs I used to run (Freelance Flash Games) isn’t even related to poker, but I still get offers every month from poker sites willing to spend a good amount of money for ads.

    • Thanks Ryan, you’ve been doing a great good on setting things up. I’m looking forward to finally getting it completed. Thanks for making it easy.

      Glad you see poker angle as a path to monetization. There are so many ways to make money out there on the internet, but sometimes you need to think out of the box a little.

  11. Dan says:

    AWESOME episode guys. This is a super fun format and you really showed your chops. I could have listened to 2x time. I request another!

  12. Jason says:

    For fiction books on Kindle, many people are releasing them as serials instead of one fat book. Release a couple chapters as one “book” for a low price, $0.99 – $2.99. Then a couple weeks later, release another couple chapters, repeat, repeat, repeat…

    • See, I’m not the only crazy one with this idea. The key would be a) to create quality content through good writing and b) to market your book well (though I am unsure how to accomplish this part).

    • dre says:

      serialized fiction, that is. the catch here is each part must be interesting enough to establish following. i think if your book is great, you can enrol in amazon kdp, run free promo, then word of mouth would make it bestseller

  13. Hi

    Great to hear you have the vTiger project rolling will be interested to hear how that goes something im looking at and trying to find the best platform to provide a solution to my needs.

    Joe your right about the knob dialing! I think they have already made that turn back. there are folks out their hitting sites with links and getting away with it. You know one of these guys doing around 100 links in the first month and its working with one page sites. No names :-o Still caution is the best way forward.

    And yes if you can get sites ranked page one with no links why not. It does require an extra level of KW research but it seems to be working well at my end. I am upping the quality of the front page as well not SEO wise but readability and engagement etc. And with sites ranking in a few days from launch its a lot less involved than the older methodologies. Plus of course were leaving a much lower foot print (some back linking is required but very little).

    I SO AGREE ABOUT PASSION – BULL SHIT – its the new “location independent blah blah thing” – Dan at TMBA probably has little passion for cat furniture or Portable bars (although more for bars :-)) and those guys have an awesome business.

    If passion and a business come together heck thats great but its not the first thing.

    I would like to have hear about the $500. If thats all you had how much do you think you could produce per month after a year?

    cheers

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Steve!

      vTiger was a good option for us. We’re very familiar with it as is our team, which will be helpful when it comes to a smooth transition.

      Happy to do less linkbuilding, but it really just comes down to ROI. It’s a hefty cost and definitely worth testing!

      Yeah, I doubt Dan and Ian are really “passionate” about cat furniture…but they find their passions in other areas of their business, for sure.

      $500 is VERY little to start with. If that’s really all I had but I had some time, I would definitely focus on a business that requires content creation. (Excited to finally meet you in Bangkok in October, by the way!)

      • Hey Justin!

        Sure $500 is a low amount and it would need a lot of doubling up. but for a lot of people startin out its a fair amount to risk.. However as you know its also not really enough to test anything properly.

        I had been working on a blog post on starting with $500 and im not sure its going to see the light of day.

        Looking forward to meeting you as well. I have a feeling it could be outstanding.

        As well as meeting _____ I wonder if Dan could get @garyvee :-)

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