Whoa, way late. Way, way late. According to my schedule, I will be posting another blog post in 2 days. Ugh. A lot has happened since the last post went up- most importantly, I revitalized I READ BOOKS, a project I created during The Great Lakes Book Project to help make some scratch. I READ BOOKS is very simple, both in aesthetics and nature. It’s a line of merchandise (stickers, pencils, notepads) that I placed into about 100 bookstores across the country. I kind of let it fall of the end the past year or two, but this weekend I devoted a couple of hours to bringing it back to life. I’ve got a warehouse, I’ve got employees, now it is time to scale. Most would say this means focusing on a single product and blowing the hell out of it, but I consider this horizontal scaling. As to say, I’ve got logistics down for how to contact small businesses and fulfill orders, now it is time to contact as many businesses and fulfill as many orders as I can.
I posted about this on twitter- this weekend, I made enough money to pay for about a year of state college (assuming you go to a cheap state college like me, of course) and people were very interested in my process. Without going into details about what products I sourced and the names of businesses I contacted, here’s the gist of it.
- Create a product. It does not need to be good. This might seem counter-intuitive but, when dealing with the sort of thing that can be easily sourced in a weekend, I promise you, there is no such thing as a good product, only good opportunities. My first product of the sort was vinyl I READ BOOKS stickers. These have no intrinsic value, only that which is projected upon it by the consumer. I love capitalism.
- Sell to small businesses. This also might seem counter-intuitive. Small businesses are, by definition, small- so why focus on the little fish? Because the little fish are easier to catch. Everyone is trying to find the next billion dollar idea. There a bubble. A billion dollar idea bubble. Leaving lots of room for million dollar ideas. Approx 1000 startups a year are going to get some sort of VC funding. This is about a .05% “success” rate. Are more than .05% percent of businesses focused on getting funding? You betcha. This allows for open space in the sub-VC world. If you’re trying to raise your personal wealth, focus on that.
- Find contact info for said companies. CAN SPAM laws are very particular- however, the mostly only protect consumers. While you can’t scrape craigslist for personal emails and then spam them, you can use public directories (like chambers of commerce) to find contact info for businesses and, assuming you give them an opportunity to opt-out of you contacting them again and your subject header isn’t misleading or sexually explicit, you can connect with them for businesses reasons.
Rinse, wash, repeat. This is the foundation to every business. Development and sales. Of course, this isn’t everything, but it’s a start. I encourage you to create a product that you think you can sell to small businesses- maybe it’s your own brand of pool cleaner, maybe it’s custom rubber bands, maybe it,s fancy shoelaces- whatever it is, make it and contact 5000 potential customers. Even with a 1% success rate, you’ll have a great base for further growth.