Thursday, 23 January 2014


Making Sales is a crucial part for your business.

No matter how good you build your products and your business strategy, your business will be in trouble if you fail to make decent sales.

Here’s the reality: if you want to earn an income from a product you’ve created – a web app, an e-book, an iOS app, or desktop software – you’re going to put a price on it and ask people to buy.

You might not like it, but there’s no other way. No one is going to just give you money so that you can achieve your dreams. Truthfully, customers don’t really care about you; they’re just regular people looking to solve their own problems.

It’s not about you

I keep meeting brilliant people who are building products wrong. It’s not the technical aspects that are wrong; the problem is they’re not starting with the customer in mind. They’re starting with themselves. Instead of finding pain that people need solved, they’re focused on their own needs: they want to use the latest tech, the latest framework, the latest design technique.

It’s not about you.

No seriously, it’s not about you. If you want a business, you can’t be your own customer.
If you started your project without talking to a single soul you’re doing it wrong. If you’ve talked to 100 people, it won’t matter until you connect with a group of people who need your help. That’s where you start. Not with yourself, and your ideas, but with other people.

You’re not connecting with a real need

Derek Sivers tells a great story about trying to make it in the music business. He hustled for years as a musician, but his career never really took off. Then he created CD Baby, a site that allowed artists to sell their music. This was before PayPal existed, and setting up a shopping cart was difficult. The company he’d accidentally created in a weekend, took off and became a great success.

“I’d finally created something people wanted. It was like I’d written a hit song. Once you have a hit, all the locked doors open wide. People love it so much, it seems to promote itself. Don’t persistently do what’s not working.”

Finding a hit means starting with people (as I mentioned above), and figuring out what they need.
You don’t start with code, or with an idea; you start by listening to people. It’s inherently difficult to find a genuine pain that others have for two reasons:

We’re inherently self-focused, and not thinking about the needs of others
A lot of legitimate problems have boring solutions, or solutions that require hard work

You might be a photographer that really wants to do artsy photo shoots for magazines. But the reality is that there are more weddings that need photographers than artsy magazines. Doing artsy photos is a desire you have for yourself; being a wedding photographer connects with a need people actually have. You can test this easily by searching Craigslist: how many people are looking for wedding photographers? How many people want to pay you just so you can express yourself creatively in a way that is satisfying only to you?

Tell me about what you’re selling

Whenever people tell me they’ve built a new product, I ask them to tell me about it, or show me the web page.
This is where words really matter. Every elevator pitch, landing page, or sales letter basically boils down to this formula:

You (the customer) have ___ problem.
Hire my product, and you’ll solve that problem.

That’s it. However, that’s easier said than done. The key is to keep it as simple and as direct as you can. The customer doesn’t need to hear about your philosophy or your ideals. They don’t need to hear your mission statement. All they want to know is: “Can you solve my problem?”

You need to appeal to the person with the checkbook

This is often the hardest part for creatives to swallow. When you’re selling to businesses, you’re not appealing to the cool, hip designer, or the brilliant engineer. Usually, you’re selling to a boring manager with a checkbook. They don’t care about what framework you used for your software, or about that beautiful font pairing you made. Generally they only care about four things:

How will this make me more money?
How will this save me more money?
How will this save me more time?
How will this make me look good?

I know: capitalistic, boring, pragmatic and vain. And yet while things like user experience, design, and technical architecture do matter over the long haul, they’re not going to get you the sale up-front. Your value proposition is what gets you the sale; everything else helps you keep the sale (or creates repeat sales).

Monday, 20 January 2014

Tips Before Launching Your Side Business to Make Money

No. 1: Figure out what you have to offer

Before starting your own business, it’s necessary to get a sense of the overall market, and where you might be able to fit in.

“Go to popular ecommerce sites like Etsy, or sites like Fiverr, or, to see how people are making money,” says Palmer. (Fiverr is a marketplace for online services costing $5, while Elance and help people find freelance gigs online.) By exploring online marketplaces, Palmer says budding entrepreneurs can better understand what they might be able to offer that’s unique, or how to price services that others are offering.

No. 2: Keep costs down.

Palmer says a common mistake first-time entrepreneurs make is spending too much to get a business off the ground.

“It’s easy to take advantage of existing e-commerce sites,” says Palmer, like Etsy or eBay. By setting up shop on one of these platforms, Palmer says entrepreneurs can bypass the need for a potentially costly website.

No. 3: Identify your weaknesses.

While you may be an experienced graphic designer, you may not have a lot of marketing or sales experience. Once you figure out what you don’t know, Palmer suggests connecting with other entrepreneurs online to improve your own abilities.

“I copied what the people I admired were doing,” says Palmer. In her case, the key to marketing her money workbooks was getting coverage on popular online blogs aimed at mothers; by reaching out to these writers, Palmer was able to increase sales.

No. 4: Test the marketplace.

“It’s hard to know or predict what customers want,” says Palmer. She says soliciting feedback from clients can help you figure out exactly what’s going to resonate with your target audience. In her personal experience, Palmer started out selling paper money planners, but soon discovered that buyers were more interested in online money workbooks.

No. 5: Embrace challenges.

If you’re a first-time entrepreneur, it’s unlikely you’ll hit it out of the ballpark on your first try. However, Palmer says new business owners can’t let early-stage struggles get them down.

 “Know there will be failures and bumps along the road. Being entrepreneurial means there’s going to be rejection. It just means you have to tweak things or slightly change what you’re offering,” says Palmer.