What do you do best, and what differentiates you from the rest? Join Victoria Wieck as she continues to give us tips on how to turn your passion into a business. In this episode, learn tips on how to identify your strength and find what gives you the greatest opportunity to make a positive impact.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Turning Your Passion Into Business
We’re still in the middle of my Do It Now System to help you figure out how you can turn your passion and purpose into a dream business and make a few dollars of profit along the way. We discussed defining the dream and how to set your goals. If you haven’t done so, go back and start over. It may sound like it’s a simple thing, how to define your dream and your American dream but trust me. Go ahead and read it because there’s a systematic way for you to figure out the dreams, not just a pie in the sky kind of dreams, but dreams that you can turn into reality.
It doesn’t have to stay a dream life. Go ahead and read the last episodes about your dream, what you’re willing to do for it and how you’re going to go ahead and achieve your dream, and how realistic it is. In this episode, we’re going to talk about the opportunity. We’re going to talk about the many business ideas you might have, or maybe you just have one. If you have more than one business idea, what’s the big idea that gives you the greatest opportunity to make a positive impact in the world and also to make the most amount of profits?
We would all love that. Ideally, that is easily possible for you. Again, this show is all about real transformation for people who don’t want to waste a lot of time or a ton of money learning how to do it. You don’t want to have to wait years to do it. You can do this now, especially if you’re talking about a side hustle. Let’s talk about what opportunities are out there for you.
Everyone is born with some kind of gift.
Before that, I’d like you to think about what is your why and what is your what. Why do you do what you do and what do you do better than other people? That’s important. These seem like there are philosophical questions, and they are philosophical, but I want you to think about that because when you have your business, go out, and start hustling, you start marketing your business, and you talk about all the things you do or your company does and all the things. They don’t care about what you do. They care about why you do what you do because it matters. To our consumers, it matters.
For example, if you’ve got a healthy food/protein bar that gives you a lot of energy with very low carbs and no sugar, you could sit here and say, “I manufacture protein bars that have no sugar, zero carbs, zero this and that.” You can go on all the things about it, but if you came in and said, “As a young child, I have diagnosed a diabetic. I had a heart condition. All the males in my family died young, and I was determined to make sure that I stayed healthy.”
Once I’ve known how to do that, I couldn’t wait to share it with everybody. That’s a completely different kind of marketing message. Think about your why, why do you want to do what you do, and what you want to do. Think about what is your God-given given gift. In other words, even if you don’t believe in God, I believe that everyone is born with some kind of gift. No gift is any more precious than others, but some people have the gift of gab. Some people have an amazing eye for things. Some people are great mathematicians. Some people love having conversations. Some people are healers. Some people are teachers.
Turning Passion Into Business: Whatever your gift is, find it, even if it’s something you don’t want to do.
Whatever your gift is, find it, even if it’s something you don’t want to do. I know that one of my children is very gifted in writing, but she doesn’t want to have any to do with writing. She doesn’t want to make a living doing writing. She’d write every once in a while when she wanted to. She doesn’t want to be on a schedule about writing. She doesn’t think she’s talented enough, so it’s a no-go. She does other things with her talents that she’s not talented in, but she has a lot of passion for it.
We’re going to discuss this as we move along in this episode. Figure out your why, and then figure out what you’re better at than most people. I’m going to give you some examples. Maybe you’re passionate about photography or food. Maybe you like a certain food. Maybe you want to be a chef or a food blogger. Maybe you want to be a photographer. There are a lot of different ways you can go with the category of food.
It could be gardening and yoga. You could be a yoga teacher or create yoga clothing lines. You could write books. There are all kinds of things you can do, like general fitness, hair, and makeup. We talked about this writing. Maybe you play a musical instrument. Maybe you’re a great writer of music. You like automobiles. Do you like to talk? Maybe it could be a talk show host or a YouTuber. Are you a jogger?
Turn your passion-based business idea into a highly profitable dream business so that you can live the life you want to live, not the life you think you have to live because you’ve got to pay your bills.
We can, believe it or not, know how to monetize your passion for jogging as well. I listed a few things. If you’re like most people, you might have more than one thing that you’re good at. For example, I love to read. I have been reading when I was growing up in South Korea. I read a lot because that’s how I saw the world. You’re living on a tiny island. I lived literally on an island within Korea. Korea is a peninsula. We had no internet. Nobody had internet at that time around the world. We had a TV, but the connectivity wasn’t there. It didn’t get as far to a remote island at that time.
We got mostly snow, and sometimes we’d get one little slip snippet of news, but we were sheltered there. I have read a lot since I was maybe four years old. I read picture books then. As I got older, I read fiction and historical novels. Everything I could get my hands on, I read. I love books, and then eventually, I learned to write and wanted to write. I love writing. I was very talented in art like painting and designing. What do you do? Do you become a writer? Do you become a writer and a designer? Do you become a writer and a painter?
Most people have more than one thing they’re good at, and it’s natural. I also love photography. Now, list out all the things you see yourself doing passionately for the rest of your life. If you don’t know how to go about doing that, and you’re like, “I don’t know. Is this going to make money? I don’t know if I’m going to love this. If I do this eight hours a day, would I love it?” don’t conflate all these other decisions. Only think about what you see yourself doing. Can you see yourself taking pictures, traveling, taking more pictures, and editing for the rest of your life if you’re a photographer? Can you picture yourself constantly evolving, educating other people about fitness, and sharing your passion?
Turning Passion Into Business: Pick the one idea that represents the biggest monetary potential with the least amount of effort.
Can you imagine yourself doing that? Envision what your life would be like if you chose one thing out of the whole list. There’s a lot, more or less. It’s important that you narrow it down to one thing. It’s tough to start three businesses and make them all succeed at the same time. Pick one idea, and we’re going to pick the one idea that gives you the most that represents the biggest monetary potential with the least amount of effort on your part. Next episode, we’ll talk about the target audience, how you identify them, how you reach out to them, and how you message them.
Let’s go back to this lesson about how you find the idea with the greatest opportunity. I have a worksheet that helps you do this. You can go to my website, VictoriaWieck.com, and download this worksheet so that you can plug in all your hobbies and interests, and you’ll be able to figure out exactly where you belong in terms of which idea is going to give you the most amount of satisfaction and profits.
In the meantime, I will tell you this. I’ll give you a hint. A simple way to figure out this is, “What would you do with your time if you knew you never had to worry about money?” If you’re competing with several ideas, you might be good at photography. You might be good at musical instruments. You might be good at cars, fixing cars, or buying and trading cars. This exercise will teach you how to figure out where you are going to get the most enjoyment and where you are going to get the most amount of money. Which idea is going to get the most amount of money?
It gives you a self-examination of competing ideas. Come to VictoriaWieck.com or MillionDollarPassion.com and download that worksheet, and you’ll find that very interesting. This is all about turning your passion-based business idea into a highly profitable dream business so that you can live the life you want to live, not the life you think you have to live because you’ve got to pay your bills and you’re stuck at a job.
I look forward to the next episode because we’re going to kick it up in high gear and get into your target audience, pricing, and negotiating. All of that happens in the next few episodes. Until next time, please stay happy and healthy. Remember, happiness is a choice, and I hope you make great choices. Please do me a favor. Can you please share this episode with at least one friend or person? Please hit the subscribe button. I know I’m asking for a lot, but please leave me a review because that’s how other people find me. Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll talk to you next episode.
https://victoriawieck.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Graphics-Episode-Art-MDH-76-Square.jpg600600victoriawieckhttps://victoriawieck.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Victoria-Wieck-2.pngvictoriawieck2022-06-15 03:00:292023-07-20 18:28:15Turning Your Passion Into Business
Entrepreneurship is a great equalizer and can be a great tool to uplift people from generational poverty. So how does one build a thriving business in this current economy? We’ll tell you how as Victoria Wieck talks to CEO, entrepreneur, and author John Meese about how to launch a successful business. John and Victoria discuss products and growth models and why it’s easier than ever to start your business. Learn more tips and strategies for entrepreneurs by tuning in to Victoria and her special guests.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Survive And Thrive: Leveraging Entrepreneurship To Beat Generational Poverty With John Meese
How To Start A Business And Thrive In Any Economy
I have an amazing guest and you know what we do in every single episode. We bring you incredible tips from people who have done it, felt the pain, and somehow learned to persevere and thrive. My next guest is no exception to that role. He wrote a book called Survive and Thrive. His name is John Meese and he also has a podcast called the Thrive School and he’s on a mission to eradicate generational poverty. Now, instead of reading his whole bio, I prefer to let him tell his story because it’s probably a lot more interesting coming from him. Without further ado, I would like to welcome John Meese. Welcome to the show, John.
Thank you so much, Victoria. I’m glad to be here.
It’s great to have you. First off, there’s so much to unpack from your bio and all the things you have accomplished at such a young age but you are on a mission to eradicate Generational Poverty. One of the ways you do that is to share your knowledge and help entrepreneurs reach their dreams by working more efficiently, effectively, and having some tips that everybody should have. Tell me a little bit about your background because I think that a person’s background or events shaped you, what you are doing now and why you do what you do. Do you want to take a couple of minutes and tell us why you were on this mission?
It’s very personal in the sense that I come from a long line of a family with poor financial decisions. I was supposed to be the golden boy to change the family trajectory by becoming a first-generation college student. I became a first-generation college student. I’ve got a couple of pieces of paper that say I know some things. I graduated and started looking around for this magical wealth that’s supposed to appear once you have a college degree.
Didn’t you sign them?
No, I was seriously disappointed. It wasn’t like a massive surprise. As I was in academia, I began realizing, “This isn’t quite maybe what it’s cracked up to be, at least anymore.” I’ve got a degree in Economics and I’ve got another degree in Spanish but I worked for an economics research lab coming out of that and studying things that were going on, learning how to understand what was going on in the world and the global economy.
I latched on to this fascination with entrepreneurship. At that time, I was focused on building online businesses. I built my own online business and I was able to make that my full-time living. I was able to retire my new life from being a teacher with my online business and we were able to start a family. Along the way, I started getting more fascinated with the fact that entrepreneurship is the great equalizer.
The fact that your business doesn’t care about your race, gender, age, background, and even if your customers don’t care, your customers want to know if you have a solution to a real problem that they want to solve. I’ve got excited about that with my businesses but then that became my personal mission to say that there are so many people all over the world who are caught in these cycles of poverty. It’s tough for them to break out of that. I believe that if we can eradicate Generational Poverty, we make entrepreneurship more accessible.
That’s very profound. You suffered from the results of poor financial decisions by the people who are supposed to guide and teach you. It’s special that you are sharing your knowledge now because a lot of people that I know are entrepreneurs. I came from the corporate world then started my business. Even now, I counsel a lot of people who are in corporate. They can sit here and make a lot of money for their companies, and for everyone else but they don’t have the confidence that they can succeed partly because, either what they have been told or they have witnessed other people in their families start their businesses fail over and over again. It’s engraved in their brain. The smarter thing to do is to stay in a job that you may not even like.
Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One)
I like the fact that you have now dedicated your life to this cause. I know that you have also started your own business. You have had started three different businesses with no money basically, from scratch. Do you want to tell me a little bit about your first business and if there’s a common theme between all three that you started and scaled?
In my first business, I stumbled into, I was trying to figure out how to run an online business. Funny enough, I was creating software tutorials. I created a whole course on how to use a very specific niche type of software that only 3,000 people on the planet were using. I launched that online course. I built a hyper-target audience and launched that. I made it from scratch, no ad money or anything like that. I made a little over $10,000 in a week, which at that time, was an amazing life-changing amount of money.
What was fascinating about that was then I went and wrote up a whole blog post on every detail of how I did the launch and how it went well. That content, every time I would go over here and build the software tutorial part of my business, it would do well, and then I would do a write-up of, “Here’s everything I did. Here’s how it worked.” That content would blow up. At one point, there were several different businesses. ConvertKit was the software we used to run my email list. Brian Harris was the friend who taught me how to launch an online course. Platform University from Michael Hyatt was also another place I learned. Ray Edwards is where I learned copywriting.
At one point, all four of them were teaching webinars to their customers, saying, “John needs to do this $10,000 launch. Here are all the details he shared.” Everyone was far more interested in my content on how to build an online business. I paid attention to that. I shifted my business to focus more on teaching people that have to build their online business in 30 minutes a day. That was the core focus. Originally, it was to say, “You’ve got full-time family responsibilities. You’ve got a full-time job and you are trying to build an online business on the side.” That business did well. I was able to grow that essentially a course and coaching business.
Michael Hyatt was one of the people I learned from along the way. He reached out and asked if I would come work with him to take over Platform University, which was a huge multimillion-dollar membership site that he owned that was all focused on helping people do what I was teaching on my blog. I took over that essentially, a division we spun off as its own company for several years. A little over a few years later, behind the scenes, I was also preparing Platform University for acquisition. We did sell that to Pete Vargas.
That was when I began to focus more on my other businesses but that was incredible. Talk about skipping the line in terms of professional growth and education with business. Along the way, I also launched a software company called Notable. Our flagship product is called NotablePress. Essentially, it’s a super-powered WordPress theme for content creators like you. We’ve got podcasters, YouTubers, and bloggers.
What I hear from you, and I think my audience would probably going to agree with this, is I’m a huge believer in providing something to your customers like not agitated information, copying, pasting from this side or that side, whatever’s trending because that’s going to get you a little bit of lift for the day but consistently. What you were offering in your first online business was original content, original thoughts, how to do something different enough if people clicked on it, and it caught the eye of professionals in the business. The lesson here is if you have expertise that you want to share, it doesn’t have to cost you a huge fortune to start a business.
Look at the way John started his business. It was almost like a side hustle. As he said, he stumbled on to that, which led to the next thing. I always say to people to make sure that you have something that you can share that is original. We will get into this a little bit about your business philosophy in your book Survive and Thrive, which I love, by the way.
Your customers really want to know if you have a real solution to a real problem that they want to solve.
If you haven’t heard about this book, it’s titled Survive and Thrive. To go with that, John has a podcast along that same theme, Thrive School, where he shares a lot more information. One of the first things and you mentioned in your original introduction, is you have to figure out what you are providing to your target audience and how you are uniquely qualified to provide that.
It’s a matter of finding out what your customers want, what their problems are, what their pain points are, and alleviating that quickly at an affordable price. It’s like a Business Model 101, I would say you. I like to think about this. Your first three businesses were online and you’ve got a software company. I know that you have a coworking space. I would say that your podcast is also a business because you could easily monetize that as well. I know that you are a firm believer that there are three types of products that every entrepreneur should offer. What are those three?
First of all, I would say you can have 100 products or 1 product. There are many different ways to build your business but what I found is that there’s this framework that seems to work incredibly well for both balancing the needs of the business to generate revenue and profit. Also, the needs of a customer in an over-saturated world of information for the customer to be able to quickly understand how your products fit together in what I refer to as the selling story, where someone is not looking at your business. They are not seeing a bunch of things they can shove in a bag but they are seeing a story of how you can make their life better.
The first product is the Gateway Product. Think of this as a painless purchase. There are a lot of different terms for this. Some would call it a loss leader or a tripwire. I think of this as a gateway product because the goal here with your gateway product is not to generate a lot of profit in your business. The goal is to earn a customer’s trust with a gateway product. The gateway product is a painless purchase. Whatever price point your customer is comfortable with, you want to price it in such a way that it’s painless so they can go, “I can spend $5 or $50 on that item depending upon your demographic to test it.”
They are taking a gamble on you. Your job with the gateway product is to make sure that you go above and beyond their expectations and wow them with the gateway product. There’s no magic formula for this but I usually try to use about 10X as how to think about this. If someone is paying you $50 for a gateway product, try to give them at least $500 in value. Something that surprises them in a way that you earn their trust.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Flagship Product. The flagship product is the epitome of the full transformation of your business. Whatever transformation you are selling, the idea is the flagship product is probably the most expensive thing you offer but it’s the all-in package. If a customer is ready to go all-in, the question I will ask clients occasionally when we are trying to think through their business and say, “Now, what’s the most amount of transformation that you will let a customer go through?”
Relate to that, “What is the most amount of money that you allow a customer to pay you now?” People are like, “All of it.” I’m like, “No, you can’t pick up the phone.” If someone is looking through your business, whatever that is, online or in person, what is the most amount of money you will have to accept? The flagship product.
Victoria, you may have seen something similar. What I found is that in all the businesses that I have been involved in is less than 10% of your customer who is going to buy the flagship product. The goal for the rest of the customers, it gives them something to aspire to because you are communicating to them. This is the vision of where you are going. For those customers that do go all in, that can be a huge source of revenue.
Entrepreneurship: There are so many people all over the world who are caught in these cycles of poverty. It’s really tough for them to break out of that. We can eradicate generational poverty if we make entrepreneurship more accessible.
The third category is the Continuity or the Subscription Product. This is the glue that holds everything together. Between purchases, you want an automatic transaction with a customer where you are finding some recurring problem or need in their life that you can solve through a recurring subscription. This could be a delivery service like Dollar Shave Club. This could be an information product like a Thrive School Pro, my membership site.
There are so many ways you could do this but the goal here is you are creating an ongoing relationship with your customer. You can have other products but if you have those three at the core, that gateway product, a continuity product, and a flagship product, that’s enough to build a highly profitable business and serve your customers.
That’s funny you say that because I come from brick and mortar. In retail, we call that the good, better, best. Your gateway product would be a good product. We don’t call them cheap. It is the least expensive, I would call them. The second is going to be the better and the third one is the best. It’s like the window dressing.
If you go to a regular department store, go to Neiman’s, Saks, Bloomingdale’s, any of the fancy stores or whatever is at the window is there to give you the striking beauty factor. You want to go into the store to see what’s there. You go in there and I don’t think I have ever seen anybody buy anything on the window like it does its job. You are like, “It’s beautiful.”
Out of curiosity, if you ask how much is that dress, the price is going to be somewhere between $3,000 to $5,000. You probably went in there hoping to buy a $500 dress on sale for $300. They are like, “It’s $3,000 to $5,000. It’s such a good deal because the store down the streets sells them for $10,000 to $15,000.” What it does do, though, is if you do see a dress inside for $195, $300 or something that looks similar and you are like, “Why is it so cheap?” It sets the psychology that what you are buying is a pretty good deal. As opposed to, if you went to Target and you saw that same dress for $59 and you are like, “I’m at Target. Why is that so expensive? It should be $19.99 or $39.99 at the most.” It sets that thing.
In nowadays business, especially if you are selling online or coaching to have your gateway product, as you said, you need to earn the trust of the customer and you have the flagship product, which is the most expensive and it’s all in. I also think that having the gateway product and a transitional product because you are giving them irresistible offers at each point.
It makes sense because after they have experienced it the first time, they were like, “That was good for $50,” or whatever it is. You go in and you go, “It’s probably worth a few hundred dollars and I’ve got a good deal. I’ve got a lot more than I ever paid for. I’m ready to go to the next level.” The next level, again, adds more value. It’s a friction-free way to generate income, I would say.
You mentioned the good, better, best. Dollar Shave Club did this remarkably well when they first launched. The name of their whole company is Dollar Shave Club. The whole promise is that you can get a razor for $1 and that’s a painless purchase. That’s a crazy price for a razor and that’s one of the examples I go into my book because I have always dreaded walking down the line to try to pretend like I know what razor to buy.
The goal with your gateway product is actually not to generate a lot of profit in your business. The goal is to earn a customer’s trust.
The first time Dollar Shave Club said, “For $1, we will send you a simple razor every month that does what it needs to do.” I said, “Yes,” but as soon as I said yes to that gateway product, they said, “Great. Before we send it, by the way, did you know we have a good, better, best?” I’ve never got the $1 razor. I’ve got the $5 razor because, like most people, I consider myself a middle-of-the-road customer, so I bought the $5 a month razor.
Even the $5 is pretty cheap.
I checked, though. I spent over $1,000 with Dollar Shave Club because I checked my account added everything out because, over the years, it’s the $5 a month razor. They were like, “By the way, there’s a great travel bath bag with the razor has this perfect slot in it,” but then you get it. There were all these empty pockets. I accidentally spent over $1,000 with Dollar Shave Club because I signed up for their $1 video gateway product.
Here’s the thing. All the things you talk about in retail. The retailers know what they are doing. I don’t know if you realize this but when you go to a store, the way the displays are done and everything, it’s like when you go to casinos in Vegas. When you try to check into a room, you have to walk a mile of the tables before reaching the elevator. We tell very similar stories.
The fact that you buy the $5 razor because they gave you an opportunity to upgrade right there and then. When you get it and you have tried it a couple of times, the things like travel bags and all this stuff, that’s what we call the upsell. Normally speaking, if we are getting, let’s say, a 30% margin on the gateway product and you upgrade them, you are getting a 50% margin but in the upsell, you are getting a 200% margin because the upsell is a convenience product. We don’t expect everybody to buy it.
There’s no cost involved in selling this person because they are buying it themselves. You are only telling them, “You can make your life simpler.” That item is where they make real money. The other stuff you’ve got to keep is turning inventory to meet your dollar volume. It’s all free money for them. The other one is if you sell 1 out of 10 people, they have this upsell.
If they are going to order 100,000 pieces of the $5 razor, they only order 10,000. They sell that out before anything else because it’s an unlimited amount of it but they will charge you quite a bit of money. Usually, the travel bag was probably more money than all the razors put together. This is how you spent all those thousands of dollars.
The three core products we talked about are crucial and fundamental. The gateway product, continuity, and flagship, and you hit on 1 of the 2 other categories that I teach about in the book in terms of products. There are two types of upsells. There are supplementary products and complementary products. The backpack is a complementary product because it’s an add-on but the good, better, best versions of the razors are all supplementary products.
There’s a reason why I would want all three but they are different alternatives. Especially when entrepreneurs try to think, “How do I generate more revenue for my business?” Often, it’s tempting to create one more product. I ask, “Let’s back up for a second and make sure we are not confusing the customer by making it clear. Do you know what your gateway product is? What your continuity product and what is your flagship product is?” In every other product in your business, is it a compliment or a supplement to 1 of those 3? If it’s not, if you can’t tie back to 1 of those 3 things, it might not belong in your business. It might be a whole separate business.
Entrepreneurship: Less than 10% of your customers actually go through to buy the flagship product.
The other thing I’m a huge proponent of is I’m interviewing you, you are coaching a bunch of people, and you are writing a book. Again, the book is Survive and Thrive by John Meese, one of the Top Sellers on Amazon. Podcasts, to me, are like a mastermind class every week, so go and listen to his podcast, the Thrive School. Even if you can’t do it every week, at least catch it. Here’s the thing. None of us know who your customers are but I will tell you who your customer is not. A confused customer will never buy. They won’t buy anything.
You want to make sure that you give complete clarity to yourself also but to the customer, they have to know why, even if it’s an upsell. I talked about how the upsells. Usually, the upsells to me, the margins are very high but even then, you have to be crystal clear as to why that’s there, what it goes with, and the type of service that product does on its own and also in combination with other things. That’s interesting, John.
Even then, the basic principles of running a fantastic business don’t change because it’s finding a problem and a solution to this. When you talk about Generational Poverty so that you cycle and go on this again, could you explain the risk factor now? How much risk is acceptable, in your opinion? In other words, if somebody who was 30 now and wants to start a business, are you a proponent of them taking no financial risks? What’s your position on that? What is acceptable? Is that a yearly salary or do you borrow money from a bank or your parents?
If I’m assuming Generational Poverty is involved, that’s not an option for the students when I’m teaching. It’s a great question. The first thing I would say is that it is cheaper to become a highly successful entrepreneur now than at any other time in history like with the internet and with digital marketing. In 2019, we were at a 40-year low of entrepreneurship in America.
In America, being the leading country full of entrepreneurs in the world and being at a 40-year low or in entrepreneurship, that’s very concerning because that’s where our economy’s wealth and progress comes from. Now, 2020 was challenging for lots of reasons. In 2021, we have broken the record twice now in terms of businesses started each quarter. We are making a good term. This is a good trend. I want this trend to continue.
I would say the first thing to know is that it’s cheaper than it ever has been to start a business. Most of what I teach is in the bootstrapping category. I started with $500. I set aside $500 and opened a business checking account. I put $500 in it and that was it. I never put any other money in it. I took plenty of money out as the business grew but that was my budget. I think constraints are incredibly helpful.
I have a friend who was planning to start a business. He wanted to be as safe as possible. He worked very hard. He worked at his full-time job and saved enough money. He had an entire year’s worth of expenses set aside in a reserve account. He said, “I have a one-year runway to launch my business. I’m going to do it.”
He quit his job and spent eleven months playing around with being an entrepreneur. He spent 30 days growing his business. It wasn’t until he was running out of money that he started to feel the pressure. That’s when he started pushing through and seeing results. It’s healthy to have some real pressure and stakes, even if it’s only, “There’s $500 or $100 in my checking account. That’s it. Let’s go.” You can start with more than that, especially if you are new to the business. I’m not a fan of giving a new entrepreneur, whether it’s a bank, a parent or a venture capital investor. I’m not a huge fan of giving a brand-new entrepreneur $100,000 or $1 million and saying, “Go build something,” because there are so many mistakes that you are going to have to make.
I completely agree with you on that. My view on that is a risk no money. I started my company with $30. At that time, starting an online business was not possible. When I started, online businesses didn’t exist. We didn’t have internet, laptop, computers or anything like your generation takes completely for granted.
We didn’t have social media, so we didn’t even have a chance to try out our skills and get our word out. It’s very challenging. When I started my business, several people wanted to start their own. Many of them started as a side hustle. There’s a great book called Good to Great. I don’t know if you have ever read her or not.
It is cheaper to become a highly successful entrepreneur today than at any other time in history.
Basically, the whole premise of the book is that because things are good, you don’t become the best. For example, it’s a known fact that in many of the cities and states in America, our schools are failing. It has been a subject in those places where the schools are failing. It has been a point of contention for 50 years and they never fix it.
Even the most failing schools here in America are still better than schools all around the world in other countries, so we never fix it. In 2019, things were good like most people that the economy was good. They are getting a great salary. Even though they hated their jobs, their coworkers or probably could rarely stomach their customers, things were good.
It goes with that theme that we didn’t have a lot of entrepreneurs because they thought things were good. When things are good is when you have to buckle down and say, “This is a great opportunity for me.” I also found that to be not a coincidence at all that in 2021, the Census Bureau said that they had the most number of business licenses applied than any other time in our history. That makes sense. I haven’t gone through this myself. When you have no money, you are forced to do things with no money.
For example, I didn’t have any money to make any samples. I couldn’t make a physical sample of anything. I didn’t have any money to pay for it. People could say, “How can you sell jewelry without ever making a sample?” A sample cost anywhere from $300 to $1,200 per piece. It’s labor. Not gold. It’s only to make an original mold.
If you did 100 molds, you were looking at $10,000 to $50,000, an average of $500 before you ever tested, whether or not your designs were going to ever sell. What I did was I simply do them on a lookbook and painted them nicely. I have been to all the stores and asked them, “If you had something like this, would you be able to sell it?” I think that when you don’t have money, you could maybe be a little bit more creative in that.
I agree with you that you don’t need to make a whole lot of money and put your family or go to your parents as your bankers or anything like that. The most important thing is to figure out your business. What does your product do? Does it help save money and time? Does it help you do something faster? Does it help you create security around? Whatever it is, you need to figure out what it is that you are offering. If you are adding value to somebody else’s life, I think that’s the most critical thing. What John is preaching is understanding how you offer them with a lot of clarity and value to your customers.
I liked all of the things that you shared. As we come to near the end of our interview, are there real actionable tips? What are two major tips that you could share that maybe had guided you when you were going through it? I’m sure when you are running three different businesses, you have had times when you wonder like, “What the heck am I doing here? Why would I start this?” How did you survive those?
I will give one. This one is a bigger picture to start then we can talk about it a little more tactical. You and I have talked around this but it’s important to emphasize the fact that your business success is built on creating a real solution to a real problem, to real people. If you want to help how to figure out who your real people are or what their real problems are, that’s all in my book. It’s important to say that. I say real every time, a real solution and real problem with people because many businesses start and they struggle because they are focusing on the money. They are not taking into account the people on the other side.
You will pick up on this. You will be in a meeting with someone and they will be talking about all their numbers and might list 1,000 sales, 10,000 customers or 100,000 followers on social media. Anytime that I’m meeting with someone and work with a client or a partner and we are working on that stuff, I always like to pause for a minute to say, “Remember, those are real human beings. Every single one of those real human beings with aspirations, dreams, fears, problems, children, sickness, parents, death and all these things.”
Entrepreneurship: So many businesses really struggle because they’re focusing on the money and not really taking into account the people on the other side.
I think it’s a powerful human skill to tap into our ability to empathize with other human beings. That honestly is one of the most underutilized skills in business, where many businesses are focused on more sales, growth hacks, products, and forget the fact that their business is designed to help people either become happier, healthier and wealthier. Those are like the broad categories of products.
You have to remember that the key to your success is serving people. The businesses that do the best when economies change and shifts are the businesses that stay in tune with how their customer’s needs have changed. It’s not how we can shove our product down their throat. It’s, “Had their needs changed? Does our product need to change to meet that?” Those are the businesses that have done the best time again.
I agree with you on that for sure. Do you have a second point?
The other one is the flip side. The good thing is that it’s easier to build a business than ever before because there are so many ways to build a business. The problem is there are so many ways to grow your business. It can be incredibly overwhelming. A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to do one more thing. They were like, “Maybe we should get on TikTok. Maybe we should run a Facebook Ad campaign. I hear billboards are coming back. Maybe we should do SMS marketing.” The reality is any one of those things can grow your business. The key is you have to become the master of one growth model.
That’s to scale your business. If you are at the point where you could hire a marketing team to start taking over different growth models, then you can start getting into having different growth models going on in your business. Many entrepreneurs get lost because they are trying to do a little bit of a podcast, Facebook Ad campaign or something else. They are the master of none of those. From a tactical perspective, I would say, focus on one primary growth model. Double down on that and you will see way more success than if you are to do 5 or 10 different growth models at a surface.
I’m going to play a devil’s advocate. They might say, “If I did a one growth model but it doesn’t work, how do I know that I’m in the right growth model?” I think your 1st and 2nd point are tied together. Your first point was that we are selling real products or services to real people. We need to have empathy. Even more than that, it comes down to understanding who your customer is. What does she need? What does she suffer with? How can I help her? You need to have that question every single day. If you do that, then your business growth model becomes easier. Like my customers, they are all in a 35 to 55-ish, highly educated customer base.
I’ve got a lot of Millennial entrepreneurs. They are risking their money and creating wealth every single day because that’s how entrepreneurs make money and pay their people. They are going to realize that if you are selling, for example, anti-aging products or life insurance for the elderly, they are probably not going to hang out on TikTok. You can sit there and say, “I can get all cutesy and everything. I’ve got 30,000 followers on TikTok.” They are not your customer because that’s not where they hang out.
If you take time to understand where they are, they are not hanging out there by understanding who your customers are, where they hang out in big numbers, how they shop, what are their main gripes, and what do they value the most.I’m not a Millennial but I have to tell you I’m trying to attract Millennials to my business because they are the future.
In the jewelry business, for example, the people my age are big, bold, and things that are thicker because there’s more gold in there or whatever. Millennials like things that are very minimalistic. They like things that express without all the fuss. If I’m trying to get a lot of Millennials coming into my world, they might be hanging out at Instagram or Pinterest for visual stuff but they are not hanging out on Facebook. Basically, understanding what your customers want, where they hang out in large numbers because then if you have an Instagram post or whatever a post that you come up with, the messaging will be clearer because you understand who they are, why they hang there, and what they are looking for.
Your point number 1 and 2 is you have to know exactly who you are serving. You can’t be sitting there pretending that you are serving everybody because you are not. Try not to do that because you are not a superwoman. You are going to serve no one because your product is water down and everything else. I think those were very sound advice for any entrepreneur. I do quite a bit of coaching myself. The number one mistake that a lot of young entrepreneurs make is trying to be everything to everybody. Number two is, it’s true that you could sit there and talk about your customer numbers and your ROI.
It’s really important to emphasize the fact that your business success is built on creating a real solution to a real problem.
I’m going to go back to one more point you made earlier, which is the power of storytelling. Everybody’s story is very interesting. Yours is very interesting. I wish I was as smart as you when I was 30 because then I would be a billionaire by now. Unfortunately, I have had to learn lessons along the way. I had to learn the hard way but I would say that the power of storytelling, the authenticity, being vulnerable, being who you are, offering what you can, being honest that you don’t know everything, you own your mistakes and weaknesses.
Those are the key traits that entrepreneurs without a lot of money can hang on to because that’s whom we root for as Americans. We root for underdogs, for people who are not perfect, and who try hard. We hate perfect people. Who wants them? Who wants to take lessons from them? I would say everything you have shared so far is amazing. How can my audience get ahold of you, connect with you and get ahold of your book?
I wish we had the time to go too much deeper into it. I will be happy to share resources that will help. As we talked about growth models, for example, one of the things that I teach in the book Survive and Thrive:How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One) is specifically the fact that there are only five growth models and other things that fit underneath them. I would say go to SurviveAndThriveBook.com to get a copy of the book. That will have links where you can get it on Amazon, Audible, Bookshop, or Barnes & Noble, wherever you prefer to get your books.
It also has a form where you can download a free one-page Playbook. Think of this like a one-page business plan that takes the principles we talked about of who are the real people you are serving, what is the real problem, what is your real solution, connects that to your growth model, and your core products. That’s a free resource that’s there as well at SurviveAndThriveBook.com.
As you mentioned, I hosted the Thrive School Podcast. If you want to listen in and love to share, I have some incredible interviews on there with incredibly successful entrepreneurs. The whole commitment there is building a thriving business. Not only profitable but enjoyable, too. A business that fuels your life. That’s something that I’m passionate about.
I preach this all the time. A lot of entrepreneurs start their businesses. If you ask people like, “Why do you want to be your own boss?” Money ranks about number four out of that. Most people want freedom of time, freedom of emotion and fulfillment. They want to be their own boss, so they can call their own shots. They want to work fewer hours for more money. Oftentimes, we find entrepreneurs working three times more hours and making less money.
A lot of you who are in the corporate world now, I have about 30% of them that are on the verge of starting something but they don’t have the courage to do that but if you look at someone like John, who wrote the Survive and Thrive, what he’s giving is almost like a plug-and-play framework for you to follow so that you are not having to make all the mistakes and learn. You will still make some, trust me.
A lot of the stuff that has been worked out by somebody who didn’t come from a lot of money, I think there are a lot of value in that. With that, I always end my show with this message, which is to stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice. I hope you make great choices until we see each other next time. Thank you so much.
Amazon – Survive and Thrive:How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One
Audible – Survive and Thrive:How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One
Bookshop – Survive and Thrive:How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One
Barnes & Noble – Survive and Thrive:How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One
About John Meese
Hi friend 👋 I’m John Meese, the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur myself, I am on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch.
I’m the CEO of Cowork Inc, co-founder of Notable, and I regularly publish interviews and insight on my Thrive School podcast and right here at JohnMeese.com. I’ve worked closely with multiple clients who have repeatedly hit the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing privately-owned businesses in America. I currently offer strategic advisor services to a limited selection of companies, as well.
https://victoriawieck.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/47MDHsquare.png600600victoriawieckhttps://victoriawieck.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Victoria-Wieck-2.pngvictoriawieck2021-11-24 03:00:392023-07-20 18:43:42Survive And Thrive: Leveraging Entrepreneurship To Beat Generational Poverty With John Meese