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I'm not sure what I'm doing but I'm excited about it

A detailed account of a Fastlane process...

TaylorP

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All,

Thank you for taking a minute to read this. I hoping to gain any feedback or constructive criticism I can from this community. The title of this thread is a single sentence description of where I'm at in my Fastlane pursuit.

Me:
29 year old happily married guy
I have 90k in college debt (worth every....)
My wife and I have 127k left on our mortgage
We're employed and sick of grind.... completely sick of the grind

What I'm working on...
Supplements... Actually just one supplement. I grew lifting and playing sports through high school. For about three years in college I thought I could be a bodybuilder without sticking a needle in my butt cheek. Can't. I tore up my neck in playing football and never really got it addressed; back has always had pain that comes and goes as well. Work, life, school and all the other typically excuses got in the way of continuing to workout. I've always been a big, strong guy but I became a big, less strong, fat guy. Back pain increased with the number on the scale.

This past year the pain got to a point where I needed to address it. Thankfully, my slowlane gig actually offers excellent insurance and my recovery has been very good while cheap as well. My physical recovery is improving weekly and have prevented my L5 bulge from becoming completely herniated.

I started looking into natural remedies for joint and muscle pain. Anything that with anti-inflammatory properties caught my attention. I stumbled on a YouTube video made by a amateur bodybuilder who created a cocktail of ingredients that tasted awful but did mitigate joint/muscle pain and also offered thermogenic benefits. My idea was born.

I researched the ingredients along with others in an attempt to make something palatable AND effective. I made a list, ordered the ingredients and IT WORKS! I lost on average 4 lbs per week while only exercising once or twice (during physical therapy-no approval to workout independently at that point). I'm eating much better and have recently started following a ketogenic diet. I think it's important to include that I have had stomach/digestive issues my entire life. If the only benefit from this supplement is that I wake up each morning with a flat stomach, zero to minimal body soreness that's a "win" for me. That happens after every dose but I'm losing weight!

Getting down to it...
1.) I'm working on finding a manufacturing partner to produce this supplement.
*Question for the forum: Best practices for getting a response from manufacturers? To this point I haven't created a website for the supplement; I am working on a Facebook page. What more can I do immediately.

2.) My target demographic, at least right now, is mid-income women (mothers preferably) between 25-40. Baby weight, sore joints and plateaus in fitness goals are the issues I'm trying to demonstrate a remedy for with this product.
*Question for the forum: Am I narrow casting with this approach? Suggestion desired on adjusting this approach if necessary

3.) Amazon vs Shopify vs Standalone product website
*Question for the forum: what have you personally experienced the most success with?

4.) I'm working on developing targeted Facebook ads specific to the demographic I'm currently pursuing. It's my understanding that these can be highly successful and from personal experience Facebook is a major hub for moms/baby pics.
* Question for the forum: Advice on approaching Facebook ads-I'm a novice-Any content that has helped you in your business.

5.) Co-Branding... Part of my motivation for pursuing entrepreneurship is to help other people. From the start I wanted to co brand my product with a non profit. I want to send a dedicated amount of profits to that non profit. Yes, this of course decreases net profit but I think being a good person is part of being a successful person. There's a local company my wife really likes and they donate a portion of their profits to a local non profit. I'm working on setting up an informational interview with them to gain some insight into what that tangibly looks like. Will update when meeting is done.
*Question for the forum: My question here is what does this community think about co branding with a non profit? What level of exposure do you think is appropriate. My thinking behind this is that I don't what to come off as using the effort of good people trying to remedy a real problem to sell my product. I want to be genuine in this pursuit.

6.) Affiliate Marketing... I have some connections with people who have a solid social network following (5k+ followers). None of them fit the target demographic that I, at least for now, think will really get on board with my product.
*Question for the forum: If I pursue these connections am I doing myself a disservice as these people don't fit my target?
*Is that a stupid question?

7.) My next step is to reorder and make significantly more product. Then, I want to hand out 30 day samples with the promise that each individual will commit to using it for 30 days and give me honest feedback.
*Question for the forum: In your experience, what is an adequate number of documented reviews from users. I will post the sample reviews to my website for proof of concept purposes. Is 10 initial reviews a waste of time? Is 30? I'm looking for a number that is effective starting out.

In closing...
My last order cost me $92 for about 75 days worth at 1.2 oz per serving ( I ordered minimum powdered amounts). At that price point the product isn't viable to pursue. I need to hear back on the 15 RFIs I sent out to manufacturers to get a real cost per unit at higher volumes. Right now I'm at $36.80 for a 30 day supply. Ideally, I'd like that number to be under $20 shipped. I found that I felt it worked better in smaller scoops. I started using roughly .8 oz and actually felt better. So lets say my initial order would yield 30% more if I had used 8 oz the entire time I would have had roughly 97.5 days of servings.
97.5/30 days=3.25
$92/3.25= $28.31
So there's a 23.1% gain there. Manufacturing in mass quantities "should" provide the desired margin.

That's all for now! Thank you in advance for any comments or feedback you may have.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Excellent intro, I might have to pull this out and make it a progress thread.

Best practices for getting a response from manufacturers?

Foremost, CALL them. Emails can get lost and downsized in priority. A call shows you are serious.

And be specific to your needs.

Am I narrow casting with this approach?

I believe so, based on the info provided. When you described your product, I actually wanted to buy it. I'm not a middle aged woman with kids.

what have you personally experienced the most success with?

I'd do all the above.

My question here is what does this community think about co branding with a non profit?

I like JV and partnering with a non-profit, but NOT as part of the brand build. Your JV could be a part of the story.

If I pursue these connections am I doing myself a disservice as these people don't fit my target?

No. Everyone wants to lose weight and decrease inflammation.

I'd be very careful in your brand decisions.

In your experience, what is an adequate number of documented reviews from users. I will post the sample reviews to my website for proof of concept purposes. Is 10 initial reviews a waste of time? Is 30? I'm looking for a number that is effective starting out.

An effective number starting out is 3, but the more the better as it really proves the concept and dispels any thoughts of "scam!"

I'm moving this out of INTRO and into a PROGRESS THREAD. More people will read it, vs an intro.

Welcome to the forum.
 

Walter Hay

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You need to be circumspect about what claims you make. Don't go over the top, but they must be attractive to your target market, as well as believable.

The very best way to make your claims believable is to do what you are planning, namely distribute free samples for reviews. Bear in mind that many people won't bother to provide their promised review. It doesn't hurt to give a little prompting regarding comments in reviews. For example you might send a questionnaire with the sample, so that each review would (should) include a comment on a) weight loss, and b) anti inflammatory effect.

Weight loss is a huge market, but I believe inflammation relief is potentially much bigger. Combining the two is brilliant.

One way to overcome that is to also promise a long term or "lifetime" discount as VIP customers. That could prove to be the most cost effective advertising you will ever do in your marketing campaign.

Walter
 

TaylorP

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You need to be circumspect about what claims you make. Don't go over the top, but they must be attractive to your target market, as well as believable.

The very best way to make your claims believable is to do what you are planning, namely distribute free samples for reviews. Bear in mind that many people won't bother to provide their promised review. It doesn't hurt to give a little prompting regarding comments in reviews. For example you might send a questionnaire with the sample, so that each review would (should) include a comment on a) weight loss, and b) anti inflammatory effect.

Weight loss is a huge market, but I believe inflammation relief is potentially much bigger. Combining the two is brilliant.

One way to overcome that is to also promise a long term or "lifetime" discount as VIP customers. That could prove to be the most cost effective advertising you will ever do in your marketing campaign.

Walter
Walter,

Thank you for your feedback! I really like your idea about "lifetime" discount for VIP customers. I was playing with the idea that if a customer signs up for a year "subscription" there could be a discount incentive provided.

Your other points...

Claims: I'll get into this more when I write a product update... My current thought process in regards to advertising benefits would be strictly facts and how to use the product. There are three components of what my product does for your body 1) Promotes natural thermogenic effects. I'm not adding cayenne pepper to create the illusion of increased metabolism. No, the ingredients in my product DO create a natural metabolism boost every single time. 2) Some ingredients have anti inflammatory properties. There isn't a single chemical in the product that "masks" pain. The ingredients do it naturally. 3) The remaining ingredients help detox your body. Again, 100% natural ingredients; zero chems added. Documented proof that these components aid in the flushing of free radicals for your system.

Additionally, there are a number of micro-nutrient benefits.

My hope when I put this all together and tried it on my own body was that these ingredients would act synergistically to clean the body. That this would be something that helped keep my body in a healthy state at a micro level. If I was able to accomplish that then the only barrier to getting healthier would be the discipline of eating healthy and exercising. Sounds like a silver bullet? It's not, they don't exist. This is a product that "keeps you in the game" but you still need to put in the work.

Sidenote: The dosing is incredibly simple. Mix with 12 oz of cold water, drink, brush teeth and go to sleep. This product contains zero stimulants and it doesn't make your drowsy. I wanted to make something that helped my body get healthier while I slept.

Off the cuff catchphrase: "Live healthy, eat healthy and drink XYZ"-Product name TBD- I want this to become a staple of a daily routine. Millions drink coffee when they wake up (out of necessity) and I want them to drink my product every night (out of necessity).

In terms of reviews... I would pass samples out to friends or acquaintances that have already expressed interest in trying it. Your idea of sending a questionnaire to fill out is great validation of the approach I've been mulling over. I thought about creating a "guided" questionnaire to keep responses on track. I don't have the means to make 50 30 day samples and hope that I get some kind of feedback. My intention is to maintain some kind of control in this process.

Thank you again for your input and please feel welcome to continue to provide insight.
 
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Last edited:

TaylorP

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Excellent intro, I might have to pull this out and make it a progress thread.



Foremost, CALL them. Emails can get lost and downsized in priority. A call shows you are serious.

And be specific to your needs.



I believe so, based on the info provided. When you described your product, I actually wanted to buy it. I'm not a middle aged woman with kids.



I'd do all the above.



I like JV and partnering with a non-profit, but NOT as part of the brand build. Your JV could be a part of the story.



No. Everyone wants to lose weight and decrease inflammation.

I'd be very careful in your brand decisions.



An effective number starting out is 3, but the more the better as it really proves the concept and dispels any thoughts of "scam!"

I'm moving this out of INTRO and into a PROGRESS THREAD. More people will read it, vs an intro.

Welcome to the forum.
MJ, thank you for your insight! I will document these and add them to my task timeline.

I agree that a JV would be ideal. I wanted to make my desire to donate to a worthy cause part of the brand story without creating the impression that I'm using a non profit for my own profit. I even considered leaving the non profit idea out of it completely and simply donating privately. I think that brands that show they stand for the betterment of society stand out. I want people to not only feel good from the benefits of this product but know that they're investing in real change by using a product that gives a damn about this world.

Any other opinions, comments, critiques or advice is very welcome. I want to learn as much as I can!
 

Nigel B

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My only input is to echo MJ's comment - I was reading the claims and thinking this is interesting for me, and my wife. Neither in the demographic you suggested niching to. Inflammation is supposed to be a factor is some astronomic proportion of the population, so targeting that with weight loss as a side-benefit might keep you out of the dietary supplement blood-bath.

I am (very) allergic to NSAID - which when diagnosed at 25 was no issue to me, just blew it off. At 50, not being able to use any pharma anti-inflamatories is much more of a problem. Tae Kwon Do and three seriously compressed disks don't jive well. So assuming none of your ingredients hit the same allergy spectrum as whatever it is in NSAID which is a problem - you have a winner with me, and a decent number of people who also react to them.

Good luck! In addition to the great work so far.
 
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TaylorP

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Hello everyone!

I'm back with an update.... I'll get right into it

I started calling manufacturers directly and of course was more successful. I have 3 NDA out and we're starting the quoting process now. One of the manufacturers works with several brands on bodybuilding.com. They offer fulfillment services as well. I've been working on my Facebook page and website. Once I have those to my liking I will link them in this thread for your viewing pleasure. In my initial post I stated that I wanted to co-brand with a non profit. I'm working on a time next week to conduct an informational interview with a local essential oil company whose taken a similar approach. I want to get as much applicable info from them prior to approaching the non profit I want to work with.

I'm reordering this weekend and will begin my sample stage of this process. The plan is to have 10 two week samples out to people in my community that have expressed interest. I will post my sample questionnaire for critiques here as well.

I do have a poll question for the forum: How important is the taste of a supplement too you?
-Meaning... If something is effective but doesn't taste like a milkshake would you use it?

Cheers!
 

Nigel B

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Taylor - there is a Poll feature here, but I think you need to start another thread.

To give you a more detailed response than a poll would provide anyway.

Personally I have taken things which did not taste good for a while to achieve an objective - but the negative taste means it is hard to make it habit forming. So if you want people to stick with your supplement, I suspect taste could be a major factor in the length of time they use it.
 

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Sounds like you are on the right track. I agree with opening up your target audience. I can think of several people that I know personally who would benefit but aren't moms. Looking forward to following your progress.
 
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sparechange

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i was thinking of a similar strategy for co branding but it looks scummy at first imo. maybe the best strategy would be to just publicly announce without warning and advertising that your brand/company just donated XXXX to XXXX cause.

currently in the pet industry and that will be my approach, for a supplement that promotes healthy living you could contribute to sick kids, cancer/anti bullying etc, although i think having a promotion where you are stating ''buy my crap and ill give 10% to starving children'' is not an ideal approach.

recently i filmed some short clips at an animal shelter in vancouver promoting them (barely i have little traffic lol) maybe the best approach is to be involved hands on. say if you are interested in helping out impoverished kids you could have youtube videos of yourself or employees giving out food/clothing whatever.

why stop at money? money is a peice of paper, giving your *time* is the biggest commodity you can donate.
 

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Looks really good and I'm looking forward to seeing how you get on.

What form will this supplement take? Powder, tablet or premixed liquid? I was toying with an idea similar to this before, and I was struggling to work out the process of turning my ingredients into a powder.
 

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If something is effective but doesn't taste like a milkshake would you use it?

Personally, yes. I currently drink a plain flavoured (whatever plain tastes like) vegan shake every morning. I am not a vegan and it doesn't taste great, but it has a good texture and it serves my dietary needs.

I think the texture is more important than taste, but should still be palatable. It doesn't necessarily need to taste like a milkshake. Naturally semi-sweet should do it.
 
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BeFound Faithful

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@TaylorP

Consider, I hope very seriously, your story.

I know you wrote out the details for the forum to include your background, which is cool because you didn't come across too much in selling mode.

Hooks that got me to read did not feel like an infomercial. Build on those. Hone the way you tell your story.

The thing is this.

You've got a solid personal experience that people can empathize with to help build your brand.

Just don't crush it under sales jargon in the process (and don't let it get steamrolled under the weight of an Amazon or whoever, use them for your purposes but keep Control). Instead, work on your story so it even more clearly communicates, getting rid of the parts that detract.

Get feedback, so you know you've not chucked out the baby with the dirty water. Don't lose what made people on here respond. Your story at its best will connect you and your product to people with the needs you want to help.

Work (don't get rid of what works) on your story until it gives the customer no reason to say, oh it's another one of..."

Your story connected with me and others who responded for a reason. Not losing THAT —It's illusive, be careful—IMHO, is key, and building around it could be part of your secret sauce, not everything of course; the product has to be great, but there's something about your story.

People connect with stories.

Even I'm not your market and it appeals to me. That's magic!

I don't know if others see what I do here or not, but that connection that somehow you are making is rare and that differentiation is huge.

Cherish that.

Sounds corny, but to me, it's like a seed. And a seed can be stepped on or cared for and watered and given what it needs.

Help it grow.

Hope you'll keep the thread updated.
 

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