Hey Steppers! Another brilliant one with less than 7 minutes reading time 🙂 We’re gonna analyze Noah Kagan’s startup Sumo Jerky and how he was able to start a business with a $1000 profit already in place… within ONE revolution of the planet. In today’s post:
insane jealousy rantglowing review of Noah Kagan’s recent “Sumo Jerky” $1,000 Challenge
- The steps that Noah followed, being suspiciously similar to the Shoestring Steps 😉
- What I’M gonna do because of it!
In case you’re new around here, Shoestring101 is about taking very little capital and testing, tweaking, growing a business from nothing but an idea.
Once in a while something hits you right upside the head and says, “Look, dummy! THIS is what you’ve been talking about and someone else did a better job of it!”
<=== Most recent example: Noah Kagan of AppSumo did me one better. here’s how:
In a post about a year ago on this blog, I put it out there that I could take less money than a night out to dinner and make a business idea profitable to the tune of $1000 profit in 30 days. It worked; with part-time effort my 14 year old son and I recovered our $62.66 in three hours… and ended up making$1195.33 profit in the 30 days.
Noah had his blog readers vote on a niche biz that he would start and make $1,000 profit on in 24 hours.
To quote Neo in The Matrix after seeing Morpheus take a running jump to an adjacent building…
The suggestions for Noah’s biz opp included a lemonade stand and a salsa of the month. Not sure if that was about spicy food or spicier dancing 😉 but beef jerky… aptly named “Sumo Jerky” was the chosen product for him to make a grand with in one revolution of the planet.
And he DID it. Son of a gun!
If you had asked me how to make a thousand bucks in 24 hours with beef jerky, I think I mighta hung my head in shame. Because that SEEMed like a pretty tall order when I first read about it in an email I got from AppSumo just a few days ago. Sumo Jerky earned over a thousand bucks within one day of its official inception.
But just like with the magician’s illusion… once you see the mechanics and the workings behind the trick, it’s not so special at all. It just takes common sense, some specialized knowledge, and a bit of work.
Kurt vs. Noah: Comparison of Business Startup Results
Now, my own 30 Day Challenge was a year ago. I recently updated Shoestring101 with the status of that business that my son and I started.
I’m happy to report that a few months ago we reached a $500 per day profit level.
But I’d dearly LOVE to see what Sumo Jerky is doing a year from now. I think it may be doing better as well.
Here’s the end result of Noah’s and my challenge:
Kurt profited $1195.53
Noah profited $1135.00
(HA! I WIN!)
Initial Risk… Startup Costs:
(Okay, Noah, well I had to buy signs and plant ’em. You only needed a domain name. Phbbbt!)
Kurt did it in less than 24 hours… but those hours were NOT in a row… more like six hours every weekend.
NOAH… well, Noah did it in ONE 24-hour period.
Sigh. Reluctantly I admit the winner: Noah. The whiner! ~ME.
Because even while giving a sound thrashing to yers truly, Noah managed to prove a point: that the principles I based Shoestring101 upon are timeless, universal… and can even be used by young punks.
The Shoestring Steps and Sumo Jerky
So let’s make a quick flyby analysis of how Sumo Jerky got to $1135 profit in just one day. You’ll want to go to Results of the 24 Hour Business Challenge on the AppSumo site to see all the details, but I’m going to summarize (and add my BRILLIANT analysis to) the highlights here.
Shoestring Step ONE: Get OFF Your ASS
FUN. One thing that impresses me with this challenge, and that we should all take a lesson from, is that Noah seems to have had a great time with this. One key to motivation is to have fun with your work.
ACCOUNTABILITY. Also, Noah lit a fire under himself by giving this thang a time limit… and GET THIS… telling everyone about what he was going to try and do. It wasn’t just his team at AppSumo that was involved; I was part of the skeptical but curious crowd he bragged to before setting sail.
HUSTLE. Noah didn’t just make a couple of phone calls and put up a Facebook post, then leisurely wait for an order to pop thru on PayPal. He went ape-stain crazy about getting the word out and following interested parties up for solid commitments. He only had a day to do this, for cryin’ outside.
HOMEWORK. Before settling on price points and a lot of other important details, Noah reverse-engineered the numbers to see what it would take
TEAMWORK. All through the post you see Noah gettin’ help where he could, even to name the site. Everyone vetoed Noahsajerk.com which is funny… I’da gone for it (kidding AGAIN Noah) but he got things done quickly without drawn-out meetings.
Shoestring Step TWO: Find Out The W’s (Market Research)
KISS. Keep it simple, shoestring. Noah put up a stupid-simple website, essentially a virtual placeholder. I LOVE this; rather than ‘playing bizness’ and getting b-cards made up, logos designed, all manner of bells and whistles… he simply got to the freakin’ point and started sending potential customers to it. Refinements come later, let’s get the customers to pay for and justify them along the way.
Customer Avatar. Noah decided Who he was targeting, which made finding Where they were easy.
Chunking: Birds of a Feather… Rather than thinking only of individuals as customers, Noah targeted whole businesses as well. Knowing that they have budgets for office snacks and that they would be larger customers, Noah went after bigger game. Also, he kept those offices to known health-minded companies.
Shotgun/Laser. Anyone that read my series of “pillar posts” Effective Marketing on a Shoestring Budget remembers the Shotgun/Laser principle. Noah puts out a Facebook post: “Any of y’all like jerky? Shotgun. Then anyone that responded he would hit with a instant messages talking up his site and what he was doing with it. Laser.
Viral-ation. Noah then put together an incentivized form letter, essentially giving his existing customers both a reason and the means to refer others easily. This took the form of both an email to forward and a Facebook post to share.
Shoestring Step THREE: Learn To CREATE Value
Solve Your Own Problem. Noah is himself quite a consumer of jerky (pause for snarky you-are-what-you-eat reference). So in his own experience, having both a variety to try and having enough of it on-hand is his problem. Off to the races we go… because there have to be other paleo-minded healthy munchmeisters out there.
Identify and Identify With Your Customer. Questions were employed to get to just what would motivate Noah’s target customer to buy.
Product-ize a Service or Service-ize a Product. Rather than simply offering “the best jerky in the world” for a one-time sell Noah turned his jerky company into a subscription. You’re signing up to buy again and again. Plus, people just effin’ LOVE to get things in the mail that aren’t bills. Genius.
Shoestring Step FOUR: Measure Everything You Can
Beginning with the homework sheet above from Step ONE: Get OFF Your ASS, Noah reverse-engineered his numbers. He knew what most expenses would be, going in. But along the way there were metrics to be measured.
(By the way, EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS that I’ve ever personally taken to five figures per month profitability…. or seen anyone else sustain… has taken this particular Shoestring Step. Without it you might still do okay but you are doomed to struggle. As strange as it may seem, this most boring of the Steps yields the most excitement when you start applying it.)
Examples of intelligence gathered for this particular bizness, by measuring things along the way:
Personal Contact. Real-time communication was the most effective way to convince fence-walkers to jump on in and buy a subscription. This larger investment of time up-front will pay off later… as subscriptions require less time and energy to maintain.
Refine and Expand Customer Avatar. Along the way, it was noticed that bigger buyers included offices with budgets for snacks. Go after decision makers in companies. Duh.
WHEN is one of the W’s in Step Two. Finding the right time of day to tweet, to email, to Facebook.
Shoestring Step Number FIVE: Now Write Everything Down
What will become of Sumo Jerky should Noah get hit by a bus, or infected by a zombie? If Noah were to leave instructions regarding each step of promoting and running SJ, he could rest easy that his employees would get along fine until a cure is found.
While I don’t have any insightful comments to make about the inner workings… the secret “operations manual” for Sumo Jerky that no doubt exists… I’ll say this: It’s valuable.
Step THREE: Learn to CREATE Value is where we create value for others. Step FIVE: Now WRITE Everything DOWN is where we create value for ourselves.
Because now, any single operation that can be done at SJC (Sumo Jerky Central) is documented, Noah can pass on that documentation in part (to employees or outsourced contractors), or in full (to his heirs or to a buyer or franchisee).
Bottom line: as sure as you sit there, reading this post… this “jerky” thang is a bonafide business. It lives and breathes because of the principles upon which it’s founded.
And ANYone with a will to take the Steps can do it.
$1,000 Challenge Conclusion(S)
Noah Kagan and AppSumo seem to be about many of the same things Shoestring101 is about; taking an idea and making it make you money. And doing it with a low investment. Low risk. Low failure rate. And have fun while doing it.
Steppers, there are so many ways to take a business idea and make it work. You just have to think a certain way and apply yourself.
Below, I’ve assembled a bunch of brain fodder to help you in your quest. Some of these posts live here on Shoestring101; others are located elsewhere in the webnitude. They ALL have the property of being able to motivate, educate and inspire YOU to a worthy effort: your own business, $1,000 on the side or more.
We MADE it! Results of the 30 Day, $1000 Challenge
My teenage son’s and my startup, begun with $62.66 seed capital.
Another Case Study: Five Steps to Five Figures a Month
This followup report documents how that startup^ reached $500/day profit!
10 Principles of a Shoestring101 Business
How to Start, Grow, and Scale any “Bizness” From Zero
Results of the 24 Hour Business Challenge
Noah Kagan’s post that I analyzed above. Inspiring!
AppSumo How to Make Your First Dollar Course
The principles Noah used to make $1000 in 24 hours
Effective Marketing on a Shoestring Budget Part ONE
The Shotgun/Laser Technique and how to use it
Effective Marketing on a Shoestring Budget Part TWO
Why Demographics is soooo 80’s… and what it’s about NOW
Effective Marketing on a Shoestring Budget Part THREE
3 most important words in marketing, PLUS! The U.S.P.
Effective Marketing on a Shoestring Budget Part FOUR
The World Domination from ZERO Strategy; how to scale.
Okay Steppers, sound off! Any suggestions for my next $1,000 challenge, to be done using AppSumo/Shoestring101 principles?
Put ’em in the comments. I’m-a gonna make a shot for the title 😎