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Please Steal My Business Idea…A Roadmap To $10,000/Month

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Image By Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I should probably sell this article on building a successful social media agency for around $997, but f*ck it. But here it is for free.

So, I was in the shower the other day and had a huge craving for ice cream, a bowl of Neapolitan with Oreo crumble to be exact. I recently moved to San Diego and due to quarantine, I haven’t really been able to explore the area to find some fire dessert spots. So I did what every other passionate dessert seeker would do…

Popped onto Yelp.

Then I had an epiphany. I have never once seen a paid digital advertisement for a dessert shop. This was interesting for two reasons…

  1. I am a self-proclaimed “foodie” who follows all the accounts and interacts with food-specific content regularly…mean I should be within the targets for restaurant-related digital ads.
  2. I run a digital brand development studio and spend tens of thousands of dollars a month on digital. ads so I pay more attention to advertisements on social platforms than the actual content.

So I did a quick google search for “social media agency for ice cream shops” and you guessed it…

NOTHING.

Well, a few blog posts from 2015 but those are irrelevant now. Consider my interest piqued. I did a few more searches and quickly realized there was a gap in the market and today I am going to share the exact steps I would take to capitalize on this profitable and delicious opportunity.

Here Is What We Will Cover Today (Part One)

  1. The Business Idea → The foundation of what you are building and why the market makes sense to pursue.
  2. What You Need To Start → Less than $100 and a little bit of time on your hands.
  3. What You Will Offer → Understand the variables that will help you decide what you will actually sell.
  4. Customer Attraction → How to attract your target customer and build relationships with key players.
  5. Why I Wrote This → Pretty simple, I love ice cream and helping other entrepreneurs win.

Follow Me For These Upcoming Articles (Parts 2, 3, +)

I will write continue writing follow-up pieces to help you with a few more key details that will help you make this successful.

  1. Agency Financial Management → How to make sure this endeavor is profitable and that you don’t fall into the “agency trap”.
  2. Simple Sales Strategy → My strategy for closing 80% of my sales calls, and no, it’s not a crazy hack or script.
  3. Building A Team → How to effectively scale by building an affordable and effective team.
  4. How I Sent 75,000 Emails a Day → How to scale up your outreach and absolutely smash customer acquisition.
Photo by Elisheva Gohar via Unsplash

The Business Idea

Super simple. A social media agency focused on only serving the sweets industry. I am talking about ice cream shops, bakeries, and donut dens.

This is a super valuable niche for a few reasons:

  1. High Margins + Repeat Customers→ Ice cream shops specifically run on an average 40% margin (thanks Google) and more often than not they run a loyalty program (think “buy 9 and get your 10th cone free”) meaning that they can afford to spend a few bucks to get people in the door for the first time.
  2. Easy To Market Their Products → C’mon, it’s ice cream. People love ice cream. Offer a BOGO deal or 50% of your first purchase in exchange for a potential customer’s email address and boom, you are adding immediate value to your new clients.
  3. Clear Target Market → Local businesses need local customers so you don’t need to chase after every ice cream lover on Instagram. You can run simple ads with location targeting, a wide-open 16+ age bracket (16-year-olds can drive) and well, that’s about it.
  4. Large Potential Client Base → Pop on yelp and search “desserts” to see a full list of your potential customers in your area. I did this in San Diego and got 283 businesses within a 10-mile radius of my apartment.

What You Need To Get Started (Less than $100)

I want to make this as simple as possible so let’s avoid complex funnels, exotic growth marketing tactics, and even a robust website. Here is what you need:

  1. Clever Company Name (Free)→ Something niche specific to the sweets industry. Think “Sweet Tooth Social” or “Ice Cream Social” (the second one isn’t available, I checked)
  2. Domain Name ($12) → Pop over to GoDaddy and search your name. Try to find a “.com” domain name. Avoid “.net” and “.org” and if you have to you can use a “.co”. You can get creative with this and add an action verb to the beginning to find available domains (similar to how Creatify used joincreatify.com because creatify.com was taken). Even better if you want to only target a specific area grab something like “SanDiegoSweets.com” and only target customers near your location.
  3. Instagram Account (Free) → Check to see if your company name is available on Instagram. If not then you might want to just grab a niche-specific username. You will use this as a mini-asset that can help you promote yourself and your clients.
  4. Landing Page ($30/month) → There are plenty of platforms on the market but if you are completely inexperienced my top recommendations would be Leadpages. If you know your way around a website builder I have recently fallen in love with Webflow. And no, I am not being paid to recommend them. I will dive more into the landing page when we cover Customer Acquisition.
  5. Email Account With Your Domain ($5/month) → Lookup “set up G-Suite account” and Google will help you create an email address, google drive, and calendar under your custom domain name. This not only will make you look ultra professional but will also serve as your control panel for the entire business.
  6. PayPal Account (Free) → This is how you will send invoices and receive payments. There are better ways to do this in the long term but until you hit $10,000/month PayPal will work just fine.
  7. Calendly Account ($12/month) → This is a scheduling app that you will use to have potential clients and connections use to schedule a time to talk to you on the phone.

What You Will Offer

Okay so this is admittedly the part I struggle to share because there are a lot of variables. Namely how much time and expertise you have. So I have broken it down based on those two elements.

  1. If you have time and have expertise → Consulting. Plain and simple. Bring on 10 clients who pay you $1,000 a month to spend an hour or two with you on the phone/Zoom and you can teach them how to grow their business.
  2. If you have time, but don’t have expertise → Done-for-you social media management services is the way to go. If you don’t have the expertise that brings value to your clients then your time and ability to do work is what you can sell. Managing social platforms is easily learned and use can use a simple tool like Hootsuite or Later to manage clients’ accounts.
  3. If you don’t have time, but have expertise → Digital products that teach the owners/managers of sweet shops how to better grow their customer base, build loyalty programs, and improve their social presence. Creating a $97– 497 course will be something you can sell forever without spending any time.
  4. If you don’t have time or expertise → then maybe this isn’t for you. I would start learning. Read articles, buy courses, and join powerful mentorship communities like Social Equinox that help people like you find their path and support you every step along the way.
Photo By Austin Distel via Unsplash

Customer Attraction

Okay, so by this point you should have a pretty good idea about why this idea will work, what you need to set-up to start, and what you are going to be selling. The next piece is actually getting yourself some clients.

I have broken this down into 3 primary verticals but first I want to share a golden tip that has literally made my entire career possible.

GET THEM ON THE PHONE.

If you can get someone on the phone you are able to connect, add value, and eventually close them on working with you. I will be writing an in-depth sales article in the future, but in the meantime, this is how you can start attracting the right people and getting them on the phone with you:

  1. Cold Outreach → This is where your custom email, Instagram account, and good ol’ Yelp come into play. Look on Yelp to identify the businesses you want to work with and grab their email addresses. Send them an inquiry email and DM (yes, both) saying how you noticed their social accounts and wanted to reach out to get to know more about the company. Start with a few emails a day to test different copy. I will write an article on how I sent 75,000 cold emails a day in the near future. If you want to reach that toss me a follow on Medium and it will let you know when that is released.
  2. Media Opportunities → Start to get creative with content. Invite shop owners to join you on an Instagram live stream, write an article about growing ice cream social accounts and tag them, start a podcast, and invite key players on to build those relationships. Add free value first, then offer your services only if they really could use your services.
  3. Key Relationships → Remember the old anecdote: “your network is your net worth”? This couldn’t be more true. Start looking for key relationships outside of your target customer base. Maybe you can connect with the media liaison for the local chamber of commerce or a local influencer who works with a lot of local businesses. People love to introduce other people to each other. Use that to your advantage and see who you can meet.

Quick Tip: As you are connecting with people remember to use handy dandy Calendly. It will help you keep on top of your calendar and always look super professional when dealing with your potential clients.


In Conclusion (well, kinda)

I am hoping this helped you get your brain juices flowing and gave you some clarity on how to getting moving with this business idea. I will dive into more specifics in my next article!

Follow for Part Two (and more exclusive articles) coming soon.


Samuel Thompson is the founder and CEO of Social Equinox, a digital brand growth and development studio based in San Diego, CA. He recently launched a powerful mentorship community supporting up-and-coming entrepreneurs to unlock their financial and personal potential.

Connect with Sam on Instagram.

Samuel Thompson is a college drop-out turned Top 100 Growth Expert. As the Founder & CEO of Social Equinox, his goal is to disrupt how young entrepreneurs learn, connect, and grow. Sam worked with Fortune 500 brands, award-winning start-ups, and some of the biggest influencers before shifting his focus to providing affordable and impactful education for the next generation of creators and entrepreneurs.

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Advice

9 Productivity Boosting Tools For The College Entrepreneur

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Photo By Matt Raglan on Unsplash

While everyone else is looking for the next marketing hack or “ultimate” sales script, there are a few elite college entrepreneurs who focused in the “boring” stuff…

SYSTEMS, PROCESSES & PRODUCTIVITY.

I get it. These might not be the sexiest things to talk (or write) about on the internet, but they helped me grow my personal business and will help you do the same if you are lucky enough to understand how valuable systems are to building a successful business.

I have used all of these tools over the past few years as I ran an app development agency, grew my Instagram to over 130k followers, scaled an online community platform to over 28,000 members and worked with massive digital campaigns for Fortune 500 brands.

Productivity was the game changer.

This isn’t the most interesting topic, but if you are looking to radically improve your productivity and thus grow your business then here are the tools you need to make it happen.


The God Father Of Productivity

Shift

I honestly don’t understand how this isn’t the most popular productivity app on the market. If you download Shift and stop reading now I will be happy. This app has changed my life to the point that I have everyone on my team buy it to make sure they stay organized. It aggregates all of your tools into one desktop and lets you easily access everything you need within 2 clicks.

There are over 100 apps (including almost all the tools that I mention in this article) you can integrate directly to create a true command center.

Communications

Everyone has heard the anecdote “your network is your net worth”. This couldn’t be more true for college entrepreneurs. Building relationships right now will have massive benefits throughout the rest of your career as an entrepreneur. Here are the best tools to facilitate those relationships.

Zoom Pro

Stop dealing with those awkward “40 minute limit” messages. This will create more fluid meetings and upgraded your level of professionalism. If you use Zoom frequently, this is a MUST HAVE.

Calendly

Take back control of your calendar and stop wasting time trying to figure out times to talk to your network. It creates a personal scheduling link, automatically checks your calendar and provides meeting times based on your availability.

Create various events (15 min, 30 min, etc) and send out links to whomever you are planning to speak with. I even have a private link for my girlfriend to schedule times throughout the work day for lunch or watching an episode of The Buried Life.

Slack

The gold standard of business communications. I love Slack because I am able to put all of my team members, clients and students in one communication platform. I log into Slack three times a day for 30 minutes and answer messages, then I close it down and turn off notifications so I can stay focused on my deep work.

Loom

My personal favorite for delegating tasks and sharing insights with my students/clients quickly. Instead of typing long emails and spending hours explaining topics, simply pop open Loom and screen record whatever you are sharing.

Ideation & Planning

These are my go-to apps when I have an “ah-ha” moment and want to dive into the details. I use these as my brain dumping ground and organize my thoughts into to actual cohesive plans.

Miro

A fantastic white-boarding tool that I use for mind maps, email sequence planning and just pure brainstorming. Miro also lets you collaborate live with your team so you can all contribute virtually.

Notion

One of the cleanest note-taking apps I have used. I used to be a huge advocate for Evernote but have since shifted to Notion as my primary note taking app. Specifically because you can link notes within each other and create mini dashboards with resources you need to access quickly.

Project Management

These tools will help you stay on top of your data and tasks. Simple to use and make sure you are staying on the right path without losing track of the details.

AirTable

An insanely powerful data management tool. Think Excel/Google Sheets on Barry Bonds level steroids. I love the customizability (I hope that’s a real word) AirTable offers. They have great templates that can help you manage your content creation, personal CRM and even your finances.

Monday.com

My absolute favorite task manager EVER. I track everything in Monday from my personal routines to my team’s project deliverables. It allows you to stay on top of everything in your business in a simple dashboard so nothing falls through the cracks.


How About You?

These platforms are part of my day-to-day routines and have tremendously helped me grow my business and feel 10x more productive as an entrepreneur.

With that being said, I am always looking to hear more about the tools you use as well as your thoughts on the ones I mentioned above.

Drop a comment with your favorite productivity tools below so we can learn together.


Samuel Thompson is a leading authority on digital growth and has supported Fortune 500 companies, award-winning start-ups, and prominent influencers scale their growth online. His passion is helping provide affordable support to the next generation of entrepreneurs and creators unlock their potential and build a life they truly love. Connect with him on Instagram @samuel.thompson to learn more about the opportunity to work directly with Sam and his team of digital experts.

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Hot Tips on Being a Young Entrepreneur

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4 Basic Ways of thinking To Jump Start The Young Entrepreneur

One good thing about being young is the opportunity of exploring beyond your boundaries with a good excuse because you are young. And this is what makes young entrepreneurship fun, ideal and worthwhile.

A big advantage that teenagers have is fewer responsibilities and more time to waste. Unlike adults who are stretching their 24-hour life thinking on how to make a living. Although the risk would be immense with a lack of experience and knowledge, a teenager can start with what he knows about being young.

New entrepreneurs aging 16-21 are showing more vitality and perseverance to engage in profitable market industry. Growing adolescent minds develop as fast as mobile companies introduce a new breed of mobile phones. An ideal teenager can earn as much as $50 a day. Now, are you paying attention?

Think Young

The majority of our population is composed of teenagers with a curious mind. Introducing a new line of clothing that looks like a blast from the past would not catch their attention. When you think of putting up a business intended for the youth like yourself, it should coincide with their heart’s desires. Look at the path where they trod.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Extract it From Reality

Practical people always go for what they need instead of buying what they want. Recognize the difference? Something you want wouldnít turn out as something you need. You would want apple juice to quench your thirst but all you need is water. Yet something you need would always be something you want. Pacify the masses with whatís essential.

But don’t settle to what is traditional and basic. Instead, add up to whatís already there. Invent. Awake your innovative mind. Improvise. Water would always be water. But when you mix minerals and electrolytes, wham! an energy drink is born.

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

Be a Techie

Information before is wired up to a tube. But now, it flies with the wind. Computer technology is becoming a must among everyone. It has successfully improved the lifestyle of business establishments, big or small. If you try to dig into the internet, billions of advertisements flood your screen. Why not clicking on one of them? You never know when it might interest you.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Count Your Savings

A penny for your thoughts? Nah, keep your thoughts, I’ll keep my penny. Putting up a business is a tough deal especially when you don’t have the appropriate amount of money to fund it. But where would a kid like you get it when your piggy bank has been used up? If you’re 13, talk convincingly to your parents or your close relatives and try to make them understand that you are old enough to run your own business and donít let them think that you’ll just use the money for a video game.

If you’re 16, you could borrow it from your friends or significant someone. The moment you turn 18, more opportunities to borrow money or capital would come through. Business firms allowing enthusiasts to accumulate a certain kind of amount plus interest. Lending companies as we call them. With determination, you could see your money rolling.

Fine a cure for teenage immaturity. Engage yourself with what you’re made of. Don’t be satisfied sitting at one corner reading your notes. Being small doesn’t mean you have to aim and act small. Live to conquer. Start with something.

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

Connect with Terry Marc on Instagram

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The True Definition of Entrepreneur

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Is There Really A Definition For The Word Entrepreneur?

When you encounter a new word, what do you usually do? Do you ignore it, or do you try to look up its definition in the dictionary? For smart individuals, they will surely look up for the new word’s meaning. If you’re engaged in business undertakings, perhaps you want to define an entrepreneur. Are you an entrepreneur?

There is a specific definition of an entrepreneur. According to most dictionaries, an entrepreneur is a businessperson who finances or initiates emerging commercial enterprises. He or she is the person who provides for the capital of the business. However, giving capital alone is not enough to be called an entrepreneur. How is that?

It’s because some individuals prefer to invest in a particular business venture, but that person will let someone else handle all the business activities.

Any person who finances a business venture and runs it can be called an entrepreneur. According to some economists, an entrepreneur is someone who develops a fresh and new product, a new way of producing something, or an innovative market. Usually, entrepreneurs start with a small business, and if it proves to be successful, the company will slowly expand.

So why put up small businesses? You see, small businesses require a smaller amount of capital while larger ones demand colossal money. Not many entrepreneurs nowadays are willing to take the risk of putting up big companies without proper research and studies.

Some say that being an entrepreneur starts right after a child is born. The child already possesses the qualities from the moment of birth. The individual is already a thinker and schemer of things. These individuals will want to reach the impossible. So if you’re a born entrepreneur, you must develop your skills and qualities so that you can use them shortly for your success.

Putting up a new enterprise may sound very hard, but for the entrepreneur, nothing is impossible to achieve. Innovation, creativity, leadership, being a risk-taker, and having the right inner drive or passion are some of the keys to being a successful entrepreneur. If you possess these things, nothing can stop you from being one of the biggest names in the marketplace.

There are thousands of opportunities that you can find from emerging communications, culture, and science and technology. All you need to do is identify these business opportunities and turn them into a real business enterprise. However, choosing an excellent business opportunity requires careful study and market research. Even if entrepreneurs are known to be risk-takers, they still have to make sure that they are entering a good business.

If you want to know more about the definitions of an entrepreneur, you can effortlessly search for the meaning of the word in popular search engines like Google and Yahoo. By using the power of the internet, you can find a lot of definitions for you to understand the word much better. There are many resources to find online; all it takes is diligent research.

Being an entrepreneur is an exciting and challenging task. If you have the guts, the capital, the true inner passion, appropriate qualities, and skills, don’t hesitate to introduce something new to the market.

Besides, most customers like new stuff. So what are you waiting for? Study the market and see if you can enter it and become a new entrepreneur.

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