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NOTABLE! Does what you do make CENTS?

Discussion in 'Lessons from Success/Failure' started by EvanOkanagan, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. EvanOkanagan
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    EvanOkanagan Gold Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    I was thinking the other day about businesses my friends owned, and which commandments they were reaching in CENTS, and then relating it to my own situation.

    Thought it would be interesting to see what other people do on the forum and what commandments their job/business respects. It was a great exercise to go through both my job and business to see where I stand.

    Here's mine:


    Realtor (my J.O.B) - 1/5

    Control - No. Even though I have quite a bit of say at my brokerage it could still change the structure/payscale.
    Entry - Definitely no. It's quite easy to get licensed and there are over 1000 Realtors in my area.
    Need - This is really the only commandment it obeys. People will always be buying and selling homes.
    Time - No... though I do have an assistant, I still need to be the one who's negotiating and there for my clients to view homes/write offers etc.
    Scale - No. Magnitude, possibly in the case of selling million dollar homes but that market is tough to get a foothold on and there's a lot of competition going for it.


    RE Investor (Owning Cashflowing Rental properties) - 4/5

    Control - Yes. I can decide on rents, structure deals how I want, and buy and sell freely.
    Entry - Yes! To be successful in this industry there is a lot to know and consistently study, plus the ability to finance properties limits the amount of competition.
    Need - Yes. 30% of the residents in my city rent and the vacancy rate is less than 1%. I could buy in another city as well that has a higher demand for rentals if this market had a higher vacancy rate.
    Time - Yes. I have a property manager that can handle anything and basically my phone doesn't have to ring.
    Scale - Yes/no. This is the most difficult commandment to respect... Currently I own a list of residential homes--buying commercial (apartment buildings) would satisfy the scale which is what I'm gearing towards next, but at this point it's a no.
     
  2. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Publishing Company (Books/Online Content) - 4/ 5

    Control - Yes and No. (.5) I decide on what to publish, the topic, the length, the design, etc, but have a heavy reliance on the Amazon channel.
    Entry - Yes and No (.5) -- It's easy to publish a book and throw it on Amazon and call yourself an author, therefore I have to write better material than the competition and have a better platform - a forum platform, while easy to start, is not easy to replicate in terms of content and activity. Creating the platform to sell the books is the entry portion.
    Need - Yes. Huge.
    Time - Yes. Once written, the books survive time. Content on the forum, survive time. I invest my time into things that pay not only money, but time.
    Scale - Yes. I can sell millions of books without much change to the dynamics.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
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  3. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Sure, I'll go.

    Ecommerce - 2.8/5

    Control - Yes and No (.3) Giving it a .3 because yes I have my online stores, but Google still controls its traffic and a huge chunk of my sales are from Amazon, so that's a big No.
    Entry - Yes and No. (.5) While it's certainly easy to open a store, list on Amazon, contact a factory and import similar things. It's not that easy to replicate the brand I've built.
    Need - No. (0) I'm going to say no to this because people don't really need what I sell as evidenced by it being a niche. Small percentage just seem to want it.
    Time - Yes. (1) A huge yes to this.
    Scale - Yes. (1) A huge yes to this. These last 2 make the absence of first 3 all worth it.
     
  4. PureA
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    PureA Winners never quit Speedway Pass

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    Inspiring to see this. I think a lot of us when starting out are waiting until we have that 'idea' that satisfies all of the commandments.

    I know it held me back for way longer than it should have.

    'Just getting started' has led and continue to leads onto things that I could have never have stumbled across had I just sat there thinking about and trying to find that 'idea'.

    It's funny "just take action" is thrown around a lot, but them words are powerful beyond belief.

    You really can change your life by just taking that seemingly non-impactful first step.
     
  5. ZF Lee
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    ZF Lee Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Err...MJ can this be a GOLD or notable post? We need this kind of classification. There are lots of niches and areas to specify so that we understand what systems to introduce.
     
  6. ZF Lee
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    ZF Lee Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Then we need some copywriting to convince the majority otherwise! :)
     
  7. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    A lot of times things to not begin with ALL FIVE, but slowly morph there.

    The same concept applies to people who want to make millions and yet, don't have the slightest clue on how to make hundreds.
     
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  8. Sanj Modha
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    Sanj Modha Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Ecommerce with FB, Adwords and email marketing (3/5).

    Control - Yes - I control campaigns, targeting and budgets.
    Entry - Yes/No - anyone can do what I do. There's no 'barrier to entry' if you want to buy traffic. That said it's the secret sauce that separates us.
    Need - 100% yes - I can always source and sell to people who want it. That will never stop.
    Time - Yes/No - I have a team of 2 full-time staffers and 2 contractors. They do a lot of the admin and day to day but running, testing and scaling ads takes up most of my time.
    Scale - HUGE YES - I can target millions of people in any country with FB or Google traffic.

    I think that's right.
     
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  9. ZF Lee
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    ZF Lee Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I love the CONTROL part. If people want to hop onto bandwagons, all you need to do is to put up affliate programs and you have a Fastlane machine working for you!
    As for ENTRY, as long as you provide value that helps other people, I'm sure that will be the barrier itself. I see so many Internet marketers treating their gigs as one-trick ponies, offering this secret to internet success or that secret to prosperity....total crap.

    Soon we might not have to deal with money gurus, but internet gurus. And MJ and the moderators will have their hands tied once more :(
     
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  10. Sharilli
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    Importing/Exporting (E-commerce using amazon/ebay/alibaba) - 4/ 5

    Control - Yes/no .5, I chose what products I want to buy/sell whatever platforms (amazon, ebay, alibaba...) I want. No because it's not my own website nor did I create the product I'm selling.
    Entry - No, anyone can create an account and start. Yes because not everybody knows how to do their research on statistics from which platform to use.
    Need - Yes, helping customers get what they want is a big need.
    Time - No .5 ,Very time consuming like any business to start building. No because it is not a system where you can leave it by itself for months and generate a source of income.
    Scale - Yes, biggest Scale: Internet Scale is where it's all at. Good thing is that you can leverage your business by investing the money you earned into more items in bulk, and keep making bigger profit. Exponentially growing your profits, helping people get what they want on the internet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
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  11. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Reading this I feel like there is some delusion here.

    First, importing and exporting online is so vague. This is not a business. It's like me saying ecommerce. If you noticed, I was specific with my answers pertaining to my business. If you say ecommerce, you can mean Amazon or Zappos or my niche online store. Big difference in them all.

    I don't feel like you are interpreting CENTS incorrectly.

    I'd argue with control because you talk about controlling what products you import, but you don't control the platform you are selling on. Control is not about deciding what to sell.

    I'd argue with entry because anyone can jump onto alibaba and import some stuff.

    I'd argue with your need, because there is no need for customers to import and export. There is a need for some products, other products no, you can't just generalize this and yes and no without thinking about what you sell.

    I'd argue with your concept of time because your time is not directly attached to selling online. This is asking if you get paid $/hr or not. And selling online is not time based.

    I agree with scale, but disagree with your reasoning. Scale talks about the ability to reach massive customers. It's not about buying more items and bigger profits. You need to look at it from the customer side, not your side. Anyone can buy items in bulk, not everyone can sell them.

    I think you need to re-read and re-interpret CENTS again.
     
  12. Sharilli
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    It's not a business, however, it does follow at least 3 of the commandments, and can generate a lot of income.
    "Anyone can buy items in bulk, not everyone can sell them."
    If you do the research properly, you post the product you are selling through one of the platforms (ebay,amazon,etsy..etc.. )
    Then it's out there reaching massive customers. The research will give you enough evidence that your product will sell.
     
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  13. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Wow, reading this has made me realise that not only have I been too harsh in how many points in CENTS I should have covered, but also how tough I'm judging each individual principle.

    I've got 1 client now (lol) in a business that doesn't satisfy enough of these principles (yet...) but my entire focus is on making it work for this person (they are getting amazing value out of me for the price that's for sure). If I can't make it a success for one person I don't see the point in scaling yet (which is driving one or two people crazy I think :happy: )

    However I've almost finished developing a product that I am aiming to license to a company/industry I previously worked in. So it's purely B2B. Although until I get that first license deal, it's not really a business.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
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  14. Fox
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    Web Developer - 2.4 :(

    Control - 1. I build on my own platform, using my own company and with clients that I approach directly.

    Entry - .2 - You have to learn code and be able to sell. Which isn't too hard.

    Need - 1. - Although there are a lot of developers there are even more terrible websites. No shortage of work.

    Time - 0. - If I stop working the money stops coming in. I do some outsourcing but not enough.

    Scale - .2 - I Outsource, have people sell for me, use fast designs and work processes. But its still a one man show really and its limited by me.

    Overall thoughts - Yes its okay money it its limited by me and nearly always will be unless huge changes are made. Still only first year doing this stuff so no point being overly harsh. I only learned in January of this year but I do need to evolve the business or it will become just another job.


    I will be working on a new business model next year and a different direction in some areas.
    Hopefully I can post on this end of next year with a higher score.
    This was a good little exercise.
     
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  15. AndrewNC
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    AndrewNC Limitless Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Limitless - 4.5/5

    Control - Yes - I had one point of failure when my magazine app was only on the iOS app store - but now I have a website, email list, and building a Facebook community; so there is no longer one point of failure.
    Entry - Yes and no. - the core Unique Selling Point for my business involves being trained in a skill that is little-known and I now have 3 years of experience doing it. Anybody can do this - but it take commitment.
    Need - Everybody has struggles in their lie that need solved. Lots of need here. Too much of a need for me to handle alone.
    Scale - Yes - I am training others to handle one-on-one sessions and partnering up with someone for sales. Also creating video training courses to address a lot of the common struggle people have.

    The entry is the main thing that isn't making it a 5/5, but my dedication and ability to out-perform anyone else who tries - doesn't make me worried.
     
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  16. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Why do I feel like most people here want to believe that they have all the commandments. Maybe it's just me, but I'm constantly paranoid of my business in all aspects. Once you get too comfortable, you will lose that edge. Based on a few previous responses and Andrew's included, it makes me think that people overestimate their business's ability to grow and sustain.

    For example, on the issue of control above. You have listed IOS app store, website, email list and FB community. To me, there is no control in 3 out of the 4. IOS store is obvious. Your website is at the mercy of search engines, UNLESS your have built you brand. For example, if Pepsi.com no longer existed in Google or Yahoo results, Pepsi would not miss a beat. I would bet that if your website became absent from Google, you'd take a huge hit. Email list I agree is something that you control. FB group, I'd say that you have no control of it. What if FB bans and removes your group one day?

    The issue of need is not, does someone need the product or service. The question is, does someone need YOUR product or service. Is there a need for Coke or Pepsi? Clearly the market says yes. But is there a need for Biophase's Cola? How can I answer yes to this without exploring the quality and value of it? Does the world need another soft drink? That is the question. Maybe if I created a cola that tasted like Pepsi, had 0 carbs and 25g of protein!

    Andrew, you missed the Time commandment. I don't see how you can say yes when you have 1 on 1 sessions. If you are talking about the App magazines, then I'd say yes.

    Sorry don't mean to pick on you, but just using your answers as an example.

    I think more people should be realistic about their business's weak points and not give themselves a 1 or .5 in the commandments to make themselves feel better about their business being fastlane. If any of you think you have a 4/5 and it were truly 4/5 you should be multi millionaires within a year. I hope you can understand why this would be the case.
     
  17. Insaint
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    Insaint Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Buying/selling websites - 2.2

    Control
    - Kind of (0.4) - While I decide what sites to buy/sell the traffic that comes to each site is mostly outside of my control (social media networks/search traffic/etc.). Because I own multiple sites at a time the risk is reduced, but it is still there.

    Entry - Not really (0.3) - There are some barriers. One is the investment size, but plenty of people have enough money to buy the sites I can currently afford. Another is the knowledge required to evaluate sites and running them. Based on some buyers I have talked to they do not see this barrier at all. All they see is the yield.

    Need - Yes and no (0.4) - Nobody needs me to buy their website because there are enough buyers. Good websites are not easy to find so buyers are very interested in the websites I've sold so far. I find it hard to quantify this commandment.

    Time - Yes and no (0.6) - I only buy websites that require very little work or are almost fully outsourced. So that's a big plus. On the other hand the buying/selling process is all on me as is figuring out how to improve the websites. Outsourcing those parts will be almost impossible unfortunately.

    Scale - Limited (0.5) - The ceiling for this is websites worth a few million max. Sites worth more than that are rarely sold on the open market and to get the scoop on those I imagine you need a large network and be prepared to pay a serious multiple. I don't need a bigger scale to be honest, but nonetheless I can't give it a high mark.

    Overall this exercise has driven home some of the weaknesses of this part of my business. Working towards becoming a marketplace would eliminate most of these weaknesses, but I'm not sure if I want to go in that direction yet.
     
  18. theag
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    theag Most Aggressive Guy on the Internet on the Planet Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Proprietary physical products

    Control - 0/1
    2 reasons:
    Sales: My main channel is Facebook ads. Basically no ads = barely any sales. Working on other channels but hard to make them profitable at scale. I have a pretty big list of buyers, but right now not a big enough product range to really utilize it.
    Manufacturing: I have outsourced manufacturing (not offshore though) of my proprietary product. Currently using a single manufacturer that could shut down or decide not to work with me anymore from one day to the other, which would cause me to have to stop sales completely until I have set up my own manufacturing or found another manufacturer to outsource to.

    Entry - 0/1
    Everybody could replicate my products within a pretty short time as they are unfortunately not patentable and not very complicated. The only "barrier" is my marketing and little brand that I built in the market, although, other than biophase, I dont see this outweighing the easy entry. And to be honest, at roughly 50k customers I dont really feel like I have a real brand here.

    Need - 0/1
    People dont really need what I sell. Its an impulse buy, something cool, a "want". You could argue if "creating a need" by marketing a product well warrants a point, but in my opinion thats still not a real need.

    Time - 1/1
    Operations are 99% outsourced (except a few customer service issues like refunds that I do personally because I dont want an employee to have bank account access). All I have to do is marketing at this point. This took a lot of time to set up like this obviously.

    Scale - 1/1
    Big market that can be reached by different channels and is regularly spending money on this type of product.

    So 2/5 in total.

    I am constantly paranoid too, because my business violates 3 of the commandments. Right now ad prices on FB are so high because of Black Friday/Cyber Monday and the Christmas season in general that I cant run them profitable anymore. I'm adding new products and an innovative (extremely high margin) fully automated service in 2017 that will hopefully increase my profits a lot. My single goal with this business is to roll profits and hopefully the proceeds of a complete asset sale in the next 1-2 years into something with a stronger base as its so unstable by itself.

    I think some people in this thread need to think really hard if they are being honest with themselves and the assessment of their business.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  19. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I would like to comment on the subject of need. The concept of need is itself highly subjective. What one person considers a need is for another person, even in the same demographic, a luxury.

    Once, after 3 1/2 years in B2B selling I was obliged by my next employer to take an in-house sales course. Lesson #1 was: 'Establish The Need!" This was correctly interpreted by the instructor to mean that sales people should find out if the prospect saw the product or service as a need, and if they didn't, the next step was to convince them that they did need it.

    Having previously had an extremely successful 3 1/2 years as a technical sales representative, (800% increase in sales in the first 3 years) I already knew that and had successfully applied it. A good sales person can persuade a person to feel the need without resorting to unethical methods, but after Lesson #1 the sales course became boring and the instruction was heading into sleazy and unethical territory so I quit. That's when I started my first business.

    I appreciate that B2B selling is different to online B2C sales because you don't often get to personally interact with the potential customers. To overcome this, I suggest research into the reasons why the customers who have that "need" are convinced that they need the product or service.

    Once you know that, the world is your oyster. What you will sell online is: The reason/s why your product or service meets their need, whether or not they originally believed that they had that need.

    Having said all that, I would like to make it clear that convincing a person with no feet that they need trainers/sneakers/running shoes/ballet shoes/steel capped work boots, is not what I have in mind.

    Walter
     
  20. eliquid
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    eliquid ( Jason Brown ) Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I have always found CENTS ( not the terms, but the idea ) hard to grasp.

    The fact people are ratings things as .3 and .2 and such shows me others have the same issues I did.

    Lets take a RE agent idea:

    For example, do people really need a house? Or is it they need a RE Agent to buy a house. Both are no, you could live at home with parents or in an apartment or even a hotel room. You can buy a home without an agent.

    So how do you really grade these things? To me no one needs a home, but others would disagree with popular opinion. Or do you flip the idea as "do you need an agent to buy a home?" No, our mortgage lender did the work for us/me personally.

    See how complicated it can be? How do you ask the question, how do you answer it?

    For ecommerce, is it really control because you pick the products and who you market to, or is not control bc ultimately you are dependent on some traffic source somewhere.
     
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  21. eliquid
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    eliquid ( Jason Brown ) Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Im gonna do a few of my past things here as an example

    Affiliate 1/5

    Control
    - No. While you can CONTROL what you run, ultimately it's someone else's product where caps can come into play and you can get kicked off the offer or not paid if they go under. Your under their "terms" for marketing ( SEO or email or PPC or etc ) and also under their terms for payment ( Net 45, etc ).

    Entry - No - I know people who don't know how to make a website or how to program that make money in affiliate marketing. Spy tools are making it easier and anyone that sticks with it can make marginal success from it. Getting big requires some barrier, but anyone can throw up a site, get some traffic and make some money from it.

    Need - No - No one really needs affiliates. No one really needs what we push as affiliates either. It's just marketing.

    Time - No - Unless you hire out to others, it's all you. Even when you train others, many people can learn what you do and they replicate it leaving you back at just you again. For the most part, most affiliates are really one man shops. Some move to shops with outsourcers, but that's higher end stuff mostly and not the norm.

    Scale - Yes. If you get the message/angle right and also the demographics, you pretty much can replicate it to multiple traffic channels without much work. At some point though, only so many people "want" your product and you hit saturation. If you hit things right, you can expand into other products too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  22. eliquid
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    Marketing Consultant 1/5

    Control
    - No. I depend on someone else to ultimately cut me a check and send it to me and also agree to work with me ( winning them over on RFP or request ). I also am at the mercy to what "they want" and how they want it. Basically on their terms. Im having to give them weekly meetings or monthly reports to prove my worth to them.

    Entry - No - Sadly, I have seen people with less than 3 months of work/skill try to do what I do and win clients over. People lie about their "experience" all the time and if I look at Upwork or similar places, it's all about price plus who can pitch the best at that certain price level.

    Need - Yes - While I can say no one needs a consultant ( they could hire an employee ), I have to assume if they are looking for a consultant in X type of work, they need it.

    Time - No - Most consultants are just themselves. Even well run shops/agencies can end up like this where if 1 main person stops, the income stops ( or becomes extremely difficult ). Such as where the agency is mostly ran by a CEO who does all the proposals and meetings and payments/collections. Even though they have a VP, Director, and underlings, if the CEO get under the weather, stuff gets backed up on proposals, meetings, and payments/collections.

    Scale - No - this is not easily scaled.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  23. eliquid
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    eliquid ( Jason Brown ) Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    SaaS Owner/Software 5/5

    Control
    - Yes. - While I might listen to what customers tell me what they want, I ultimately build what I want, when I want, and under what language and terms I decide. I am not dependent on someone else to do it.

    Entry - Yes - While there are many coding bootcamps and courses, it still takes a special type of person to code it up AND ALSO make it "production" ready. It also costs money to hire good programmers if YOU do not code it yourself. There is some barrier here.

    Need - Yes - You may build it, but maybe no one will buy it. Does the market really need another rank tracker or email script? However, most good SaaS/software fills a void that has demand and makes things easier or faster. If people can solve a problem easier, faster, or cheaper.... they will tend to need it or at least really want it.

    Time - Yes - If done correctly, code can be handed off to another person and depending on SaaS, maybe never changed. If changes do need to happen, it is generally small compared to the original code base. The code/output of the code will outlast me and can be ran by others.

    Scale - Yes - I can sell to lots of people without having to add more to the "product" and without hiring more people, other than maybe buying more "servers" at different milestones to handle loads of the software ( like having lots of customers ), but this is at large scale and the events for this are spread out over time spans.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  24. eliquid
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    eliquid ( Jason Brown ) Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    @MJ DeMarco

    Can you do one based on options trading?
     
  25. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    There is clearly a need for an RE agent. This is evidenced by the number of people making a living as a real estate agent. But this is not the question. The question is, does the world NEED YOU as a real estate agent. The NEED question is specifically directed to you, your service or your product. It is not directed at the business category.

    Let's say that you are an average worker and decide to become an average RE agent. And you make average money. You are an average negotiator, sometimes you screw up paperwork, provide no inspection recommendations, etc...

    You quit after 1 year thinking the whole doesn't need more RE agents.

    On the other hand, someone who is a hustler, becomes an RE agent. Kicks a$$, finds her clients awesome deals, is super detail oriented, closes every time. She gets referrals like crazy, makes $200,000 a year and now has an assistant, etc...

    The world did NEED her. Her area needed a responsible, competent, real estate agent.
     

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