For the past several years, it seems like every week I get a question from someone asking “how to get rich quick.”
“How can I be a millionaire within the next two years.”
You’ll see these guys in affiliate forums declaring that they want to make $10,000 a day within a few months.
If you check back in a few months later, the updates disappeared a few weeks into their journey.
It’s good to be ambitious, but I’d be wary of setting too early of a time frame.
“We overestimate what we can achieve in one year, but we underestimate what we can achieve in ten years.” – Bill Gates
What’s great about the internet is that you no longer need permission to be successful.
Imagine trying to be a famous singer several decades ago. The record labels were the gatekeepers because you needed them for distribution.
If you didn’t have the right “look,” then tough luck. You can’t be a star.
Nowadays, you can start a YouTube channel or a Soundcloud. You can create and distribute your album. Heck, you can create your music video with just an iPhone.
There are no excuses to not be successful in 2019…you are in control of your destiny.
I’ve been friends with, and have observed many entrepreneurs for the past decade.
Some of them have been able to be multi-millionaires in a relatively short amount of time.
What are the patterns?
- I’m not going to make this a “sacrifice everything, work 12 hours a day, laser focus, hustler harder” post. There’s plenty of that type of content over on YouTube.
- I’m going to ignore luck / black swan situations such as winning the lottery, gambling, going all-in on an obscure cryptocurrency coin, an inheritance from Aunt Sally, insurance settlements, etc.
I want to look at this from a strategic level, and share some of the patterns I’ve noticed.
Being the First Mover on a Trend:
Trends are the general direction unto which something is changing or developing.
It means jumping in when something’s at its introduction or growth phase.
There’s money to be made when a market is mature or on the decline – but it’s way harder, and you’ll need more resources to compete.
There are two ways to capitalize on a trend:
1. Being at the Right Place, at the Right Time
Imagine that you and your mom have a small online shop selling “waist trainers.” You got the idea from corsets, and it’s been doing ok for the past few years.
All of a sudden, the Kardashians and all the celebrities are rocking waist trainers. They are Godzilla influencers and can set the trend with a single tweet.
Now thousands of women want to obtain a slimmer waist through trainers, but no one’s selling them. Oh wait, you do. Your business explodes.
That’s an example of being at the right place at the right time.
I don’t place too much emphasis on luck, but this is an example of it.
Just remember to capitalize on luck if it does happen.
2. Researching and Positioning
This is where you notice that a trend is developing, and you create a product/service that takes advantage of it.
Here’s a quick brainstorm:
I feel that augmented reality glasses are going to be huge. Google glasses came and went, but they were too early to the market.
Amazon is coming out with their set of glasses, and allegedly Apple will come out with their version soon.
One thing I know is when Apple introduces a technology; that’s when it becomes mainstream. They make it easy for the masses to use, they make the products “cool,” and developers know that there’s money to be made.
I’m predicting that augmented reality via glasses will be the trend.
What business opportunity can be created because of these?
- Fitness classes: Peloton and Soulcycle are huge. What if you could develop an app to have a virtual yoga teacher doing poses right in front of you?
- Discounts: I’m at Target and see a huge bag of dog food.
My glasses identify the dog food, or I can look at the bar code. The software automatically scans the entire internet to find it cheaper. It finds it cheaper online at Chewy.com. Your software automatically orders it and gets a 5% commission. The user saved money.
- Accessories: I looked at things from a software perspective.
There’s always a market to customize, protect, and improve the hardware. There are multi-million dollar companies formed around iPhone and iWatch accessories. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a market for pink heart accessories for the glasses.
This is an excellent exercise if you’re trying to think of a business idea. Think about trends, and think about what business opportunities that you can leverage based off of it.
So how do you identify trends and think of business ideas?
A few quick ways: Google trends and keyword research, observing Kickstarter / Producthunt / Amazon top sellers, seeing what YouTube videos are trending, talking to people, etc.
I mean, it’s virtually unlimited, and you can get lost doing all the research.
An 80 / 20 solution is something called Trends by the hustle.
It’s a paid subscription newsletter where researchers/analysts sent out an email containing interviews and trends research.
I’ve been a subscriber for several months; it’s easily given me 10x the value.
Trends by The Hustle
Exploiting a Distribution Channel:
A distribution channel means how you are going to “market” your product. You can also think about it like your traffic source.
I think it’s stupid to start a company without thinking about distribution. I’ve seen too many companies throw all their money towards developing a product.
Once they develop the product, they don’t have any strategy or plan on how to market or sell it.
The “If you built it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work here – not when you’re burning cash on rent and salaries.
So let’s talk about “exploiting” a distribution channel.
Buzzfeed and all those shitty viral content sites were created by taking advantage of Facebook’s newsfeeds.
I remember a few years ago that 80% of your Facebook fan page likes could see anything you posted. They got massive distribution for free.
Now their algorithms have been tweaked, and you’re lucky even to get 5%. Same with Instagram, Youtube, etc.
So many of those Slim Teas leveraged Instagram Influencers as distribution channels. The influencers had huge audiences who didn’t understand the value of a sponsored post.
I remember my buddy sent free supplements to an influencer in 2013 and sold $50k worth of products from their post.
Now every surgically-enhanced Instagram “influencer” thinks a sponsored post is worth thousands.
That’s the lifecycle of distribution channels.
- Not many people know about it, and it’s fucking awesome.
- People start knowing about it, and it becomes competitive. Or the channel itself makes some tweaks to their algorithms to make it less effective.
- The channel is now efficient. You have to spend a lot of money and be more creative to use the channel
It’s probably going to be hard to “exploit” traffic sources like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. They’ve been around for a few years and the market is efficient.
SnapChat and Tik Tok are relatively newer and could present opportunity…(beware that their audience is young)
Leveraging an Untapped Asset:
Andy Puddicombe spent many years living in Asia, studying to become a Buddhist monk. His travels took him to Nepal, India, and Thailand.
He went back home to the U.K. The problem is that his skill set wasn’t too in demand at the time. People weren’t really into meditation back then.
Then in 2012, he created the HeadSpace app with his business partner. It’s now estimated to be worth around $250 million.
His meditation and teaching ability was an asset that wasn’t used to its full capacity. Once he found the right partner and business model, his net worth skyrocketed.
My girlfriend loves watching different YouTube beauty channels. YouTube has created many “beauty” millionaires in the past few years.
The beauty experts build an asset, which is their skill + distribution channel (YouTube). I’m sure they’re making decent money from Adsense and sponsorships, but there’s plenty of juice left to be squeezed.
The trend now is to start creating their products through private labeling. Way fatter profit margins. And more control.
Suddenly their apartment tour videos become mansion tour videos a year later.
Where do untapped assets come from?
I think a big part of it comes from developing rare skills.
If your hobbies include going to the gym, being a foodie, and watching the Office, then you’re just like everyone else.
There’s no demand for basic skills.
I don’t think Andy studied to become a monk to get rich. He was exploring something authentic to him, and he built a rare skill.
I’m not going to dive too deep into this one lol.
But yes, you can make a ton of money scamming / misleading people.
Just beware of the lawsuits and Karma, however.
Don’t Set a Timeframe
I didn’t have any vast goals when I entered affiliate marketing.
My goal was to make $40,000 a year. I wanted to live the 4-hour workweek lifestyle in South East Asia, and I didn’t need that much money.
Here’s the thing: I was motivated because I knew for a fact that I could achieve that goal. I didn’t know if it’d be in 6 months, six years, or 20 years. I knew for a fact that if I worked at it every day, I could make at least $40,000 a year in affiliate marketing.
If I set a goal of making $1,000,000 within my first year, I would’ve quit after a few months. It would’ve been too much stress and pressure.
Most of us underestimate the external factors that affect our success. You could be hardworking and smart, but your lazy friend becomes a millionaire before you do. He was in the right industry. He had the proper connection. Or just plain just got lucky.
My best piece of advice is to focus on your inputs. They’re the activities that you can control.
You can’t directly control if your product will be successful on Kickstarter or not. But you can do a focus group with ten people. You can study copywriting to make your video pitch script fucking bomb.
I can’t control when I’m going to get my next belt promotion in Brazilian Jiujitsu. I can focus on going to class. I can focus on doing proper stretching to prevent injuries.
You have to be relentless and consistent with your actions.
Focus on the process, and the results will come.
It might not come as fast as you want, that’s where patience, grit, and perseverance come in.
Featured Image by AlexSkopje