How Starting A Business Feels

In 24 hours, with less than $8 in start up costs, Noah Kagan earned $1000 in profit.

He did this by creating a new business. A subscription jerky service.

Meat snacks by mail.

And, since these are subscriptions, in 3 months he’ll start getting approximately $300/month in recurring revenue on top of the $1000 he’s already collected.

Amazing results.

A continuous $300/month income for 1 day of work.

How many “days of work” would you need to do to completely replace your income?

At that rate, 28 days would be $8400/month…or $100k/year.

A month of work and you’re set with a $100k salary…not just for that year, but for multiple years after that.

That’s the power of creating a business.

Tell Me How!

How he did this is detailed in the AppSumo Jerky post.

A further analysis and commentary of the methods he used can be found at shoestring 101.

Is That The Whole Story?

The “how” is obviously interesting, but it misses a key piece.

I want to look at how this FELT.

When doing something that requires persistence like starting a business, it’s a good idea to accurately set your expectations. That way when it gets hard, you’ll be expecting it, and you won’t give up.

Just reading the AppSumo post, the actual actions he took sound pretty easy.

But he says he worked harder than he has in a long time, and that he was surprisingly tired afterward.

Worked hard?

He made some social media posts, sent some emails, and made some phone calls.

He probably does that every day.

YOU probably do that every day on TOP of your regular job.

Why so tired?

I’m willing to bet (from personal experience) that the exhaustion had something to do with the emotional drain of pushing through after being rejected.

He doesn’t go into detail about rejections in his write up, but he has a link to the spreadsheet where he tracked his progresss.

The Pain Behind The Numbers

To get to $1000 in profit, he needed about $3000 in sales.

So let’s dig in to that spreadsheet and see if we can recreate some of the exhausting pain he went through while getting that $1000 in profit.

And hopefully, we can inoculate ourselves to that pain, and be able to push through when it shows up in our own businesses.

Friends and Family

Look at lines 20, 21, 32…aka Brother, Parents, and “good friend”.

ALL 3 were flat-out rejections. $0 in sales.

That’s the holy triumvirate of rejection.

If you can’t count on family and “good friends” to back you up…who can you count on?!

Notice this is about $100 in purchases he was probably CERTAIN he could get.

Think about how that feels.

Oof…bit of a gut punch.

Remember though, he did get to the $3000 in sales, and $1000 in profits. He kept pushing through this pain.

So even if right as you get started, you hit some particularly deep potholes, just shake it off, and keep rolling. It doesn’t mean it won’t work.

Social Media Meat Market

In the AppSumo post he mentions that he posted to Twitter and Facebook and then replied personally to anyone that showed any interest.

I’m going to assume that the “0 sales” in those rows means that the results from these show up as “People” some where else in the spreadsheet, since all of the revenue is accounted for in this spreadsheet.

It looks like he did get some sales from 2 FB (Facebook) Groups that he posted to…but much less than he was hoping for.

Projected $540…got $180.

$180 is still good…but if you were thinking you could get $540, then $180 is kind of a slap in the face.

At this point, it probably feels like no one likes you. I mean you do have some support, some interest, but dang, that’s a lot of rejection to overwhelm the pittance of good news.

In this case though, the rejection isn’t too bad. He never experienced directly the rejection of most of the people in those groups.

Maybe they didn’t understand what he was offering?

Maybe they just didn’t see the post?

Mainly the pain here is he just didn’t see the revenue he was expecting.

This was probably disheartening, and didn’t help him to stay motivated, but it wasn’t that bad.

But these were the easy ones. These were the “post and relax” moves.

Now we come to the “IN-YOUR-FACE-NO!”s.

“Friends”

There are 38 “People” in the spreadsheet.

These are people he contacted by some kind of personal direct contact (email, messaging, etc).

14 of them actively rejected the offer. About 37%.

This is a totally different situation than the social media posts. These people actively said “NO” when he personally directly asked them.

There’s no room for fooling yourself here that they misunderstood or didn’t see the post.

That hurts.

Also, about 90% of the people he contacted were people he knew…aka friends. Ouch.

The other 10% were people who were referrals or new people he didn’t know.

I don’t know the split of who bought and who didn’t on known vs not known, but think about that.

You go through your entire network, and ask a bunch of people you know to help you out. You have likely done something for these people in the past. People who are supposedly your friends, and a huge chunk of them (37%!!!) reject you.

Now, even if you are doing a soft ask like “hey, do you eat jerky?”, you’re likely going to be feeling some doubt and want to stop.

This kind of thing gets really uncomfortable, really quick.

But again, he did hit his goal.

He pushed forward. He kept contacting people.

So even though it was uncomfortable, persistence won out.

Also, this category accounts for $1720 of the $3000 in sales that he eventually got.

Going through all that pain got him about 2/3s of the way to his goal.

So if he wanted to get to his goal, he couldn’t just “skip” this part.

Companies

The last category of sales in the spreadsheet is “Company”.

Just from the numbers in the spreadsheet it looks like they all bought exactly what he had projected.

That seemed a little fortuitous given the other results, so I asked. He said companies definitely did not buy at the level he wanted, some bought more and others bought less.

Still, the companies accounted for $1170 of sales, or about 1/3 of the goal.

But something to note here is that he was probably calling these companies on the phone.

The “People” were all mostly done by email or messaging (I’m guessing), but here he was on the phone with the person at the company as they accepted or rejected the offer.

And these aren’t people he necessarily knows. These are probably cold calls or “referral” calls.

Either way there’s no familiar voice on the other end.

This is REALLY HARD WORK.

You get done with one of these calls and you are exhausted…even if it only took a few minutes of actually being on the phone.

The Silver Bullet

There wasn’t one.

2/3s of the sales came from individuals, but he had to trudge through at least 38 contacts to get that.

The other 1/3 of the sales came from companies, but that’s at least 7 phone calls. Phone calls are harder and take longer than emails (no cut and paste). And you have to make a list of companies to call on.

One thing to note though is that “no silver bullet” might be a blessing.

If you have one customer that makes up the bulk of your sales, then that customer owns you, and you could lose your income at any moment if they decide to cancel their subscription.

So, although it was hard work building up this $300/month income sale by sale, it’s probably a more stable income than if he had one home-run sale that got him all the way to his goal.

Also, going through this taught him how it would feel to go get more sales, instead of giving him false expectations that getting more sales would be just as easy as a home-run.

Rejection is Exhausting

Noah built a new business that is generating $300/month for him.

He did it with hard work and persistence.

The hard work was pushing through and continuing to look for customers even after others had said “NO”.

Starting a business is well worth the work…and the pain.

And if you know to expect the pain, you’ll have a better chance of pushing through to your goal when the pain shows up.

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2 thoughts on “How Starting A Business Feels”

  1. Hey thanks for the shout out about my analysis of Noah Kagan’s 24 hour, $1,000 challenge.

    I actually heard from Noah about the “zombie picture”. He was an incredibly good sport about it.

    As a result of contact between Noah and me afterwards, I went ahead and bought his course, How To Make Your First Dollar.

    (BTW, quick disclaimer: I am NOT an affiliate for Noah or AppSumo.)

    Anyhoo, regaring how it feels to start a business:

    Noah’s “Failure Olympics” is a wonderful way that he teaches how to avoid and/or CONQUER the fears, pressure, and emotional ups and downs of business ownership. There are a number of Failure Olympic games that are available free on his site, as well as in the course. I’ve done many of the events… failed at an awesome number of them 😉 but also had some surprising successes. Liberating!

    Also was able to start a business in about one hour using those principles that Noah used for his 24 hour challenge. I’m at $123 profit and counting so far!

    Thanks again for the shout-out about the analysis of Noah’s 24 hour, $1,000 Business Challenge on my blog. I can’t say enough good things about Noah Kagan… though since he became a zombie he doesn’t say much back 😉

    Keep Stepping,

    Kurt

    Like

    1. Yes, I also bought the course, and agree the failure Olympics piece is pretty cool, and really gets you to stretch your comfort zone.

      There’s a picture of me some where on the AppSumo site standing next to some random lady holding a sign that says “I don’t know this person ->”.

      (…and I am also not an affiliate of Noah or AppSumo…just enjoy the products they make)

      Starting a business in one hour…nice!

      Like

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