The Entrepreneur Forum | Financial Freedom | Starting a Business | Motivation | Money | Success

The Double My Money Thread: Insider Edition

Learn how to build wealth and win financial freedom the Fastlane way!

Say "NO" to mediocre living rife with jobs, ascetic frugality, and suffocating savings rituals— learn how to build a Fastlane business that pays both freedom and lifestyle affluence. Join more than 70,000 entrepreneurs who are making it happen.
Join for FREE Today
Get the books
Remove ads? Join Fastlane INSIDERS
(Registration removes this block)

TheDillon__

Silver Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Apr 11, 2016
421
628
25
DFW
Hey all! Needed some space to flesh out my ideas without getting picked up on the outside.

I started this challenge with $1000. The goal? Make $2000.

Now, of course, I'm shooting far and above that $2000 goal, and in fact, I'm trying to spend as little of that seed money as possible! (Sorry Vistaprint, no fancy double-sided business cards with "Founder and CEO" on them just yet!)

I'd been tossing around a few ideas in the back of my head.

One was an import product that, I felt, would sell fairly well (with the right marketing.) However, I mainly use Google AdWords to validate my business ideas, and the monthly search count for this is *looooooow*. However, I feel like I could potentially have a cheap product that sits on a market with no big names in the ring yet. Perhaps after finding some alternative validation methods, I'll come back to this one.

Secondly, I thought to stick with what I know. After all, being an active member of an industry is a great way to know what's missing! And boy do I know language learning. Through that, coincidentally, I'm also very fond of language teaching!

When I first started tutoring, I wanted to offer the language course I wish I always had.
1. I wanted to speak the language. I wanted to learn real, applicable phrases. Not "The brown dog is hungry."

2. I wanted something involved. God I'm sick of YouTube language channels that all offer the same safe, cookie-cutter formula. "Lesson 0: Alphabet, Lesson 1: Hello/Greetings," It gets really old really quick.

3. I wanted something fast. I don't want to wait four years until I had my bachelor's in order to be able to speak Spanish. I want to speak Spanish by the end of the quarter.

So, simply, I built it! I have, what I believe to be, the best and most efficient language teaching methodology on the market. No textbooks, homework, note taking whatsoever is needed. The only thing you need is 20 minutes a day.

----

So now what? I've got an awesome system. What do I do with it?

1. I know! I'll create another B2C language learning webapp and win the quality war!
No, not now. You don't have the money it would take to market this correctly.

1.5. Okay - what if I started off with only one niche language like Afrikaans or Dothraki?
Bad Dillon! Bad! You go to your room and think of something else!

2. Got it. I'm on the forum already, and I have some good* copy figured out, what if I made a Spanish course for business owners?
Dillon. Business owners don't want to learn Spanish. They want to hire Spanish-speaking employees and send their marketing to cost-effective translating services. Try again.

3. Well, government sponsored language learning products suck. What if I went B2G and made an app for that?
Now you're getting somewhere kiddo! But do you have the budget or the patience to close something as meticulous as a government contract? Maybe if you had some funding under your wings first.

3.5 Fair enough. Well, the military men and women doing all the heavy lifting in the armed forces are the ones who would use the product anyway. Why not sell directly to them? They can apply for a monthly bonus check for speaking a second language. They won't have to stress about communicating with locals in unknown areas. They've got extra cash to feed their kids and pay their mortgage.

----

So I'm interested in looking into either 3 or 3.5. Luckily I've spent the last six months being a nerd, so I can do all the software work myself. I'm also capable of designing and piecing the courses together. Just a matter of getting my hands dirty and seeing if the market even wants this!

Anyone with B2G experience - how do you handle market testing in this area?
 
Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

The-J

Dog Dad
FASTLANE INSIDER
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 28, 2011
3,933
9,866
Ontario
Curious: what's your credentials for creating this course?

There are a LOT, and I mean a LOT of language courses out there. Most of them have some sort of Ph.D. or something backing them. Or celebrity power like Michel Thomas.

Take Benny Lewis's course, for example. He's a relatively accomplished polyglot, but that's ALL he is. His language courses sell pretty well, but they tend to get subpar results for people because it revolves around something that most people aren't willing to do: speak to strangers in a language they're not comfortable with. FLR (promoted by a Youtube polyglot Moses McCormick) is low priced but ONLY teaches you phrases that you could use with native speakers. It won't put you past beginner. LingQ (promoted by another Youtube polyglot Steve Kaufmann) won't help you in the beginner phase nearly at all but is excellent for learning to read and building vocabulary.

All of the courses out there have benefits and flaws. Michel Thomas gets people to change the way they think about languages, but it provides no resource material and the teaching method causes you to forget what you've learned nearly instantly. Pimsleur is audio-only and drills pronunciation, but the resource material is incomplete and it prompts you to speak.

Teach Yourself, Berlitz, Living Language, and Assimil (fr) are all in a book-audio format that teaches you relatively useless phrases in the beginning. Duolingo is translation only (but it's free!) Rosetta Stone is overpriced trash that presents itself as a game but is probably the most boring thing ever. HelloTalk puts you in front of native speakers immediately, but doesn't TEACH you anything.

You mentioned the government... the FSI courses are actually some of the best out there (if not painful to go through). And those were created by the government in the 60s. Their language drills have service members go through some intense exercises, creating a pseudo-immersive environment. And they're free. (But you have to know about them and be willing to repeat "Sont-ils toujours en vacances?" over and over for about 2 hours)

See where I'm going?

What will separate your course from ALL the stuff out there? There's just so much of it that it's ultimately daunting for a beginner.

My take: if you've chosen a market, do your research into that market to see how they're going to be using the language. Find your credibility in that niche and leverage it. Then market directly to them to see what they say. Yes, you're joining the throng of existing language products but at least you have a niche, credibility, and the reach to make it work.

Apologies from the rant, I just hate how language products are marketed.
 
G

Guest06196

Guest
Just a short post to add to good points by @The-J
Value Skew in language courses:

1. Fun, alleviate the pain of learning. Many successful teachers deliver a language course in a funny way. Even if the student does not learn a ton, they will still be happy customers.

2. Credibility, as mentioned by The-J

3. Effectiveness. Same as credibility, hard to establish.

The rich & successful people I know in language teaching overcome the three by teaching language exam skills.

1. Fun: Learn how to be a comedian.

2. Credibility: Take the exam as many times as possible & get stunning scores

3. Effectiveness: Exams have a format and thus certain skills can be honed.

0.02 £
 

The-J

Dog Dad
FASTLANE INSIDER
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 28, 2011
3,933
9,866
Ontario
Just a short post to add to good points by @The-J
Value Skew in language courses:

1. Fun, alleviate the pain of learning. Many successful teachers deliver a language course in a funny way. Even if the student does not learn a ton, they will still be happy customers.

2. Credibility, as mentioned by The-J

3. Effectiveness. Same as credibility, hard to establish.

The rich & successful people I know in language teaching overcome the three by teaching language exam skills.

1. Fun: Learn how to be a comedian.

2. Credibility: Take the exam as many times as possible & get stunning scores

3. Effectiveness: Exams have a format and thus certain skills can be honed.

0.02 £

Well, exams are different from learning to speak the language. Passing an exam requires a much stronger grasp of grammar and things like that. Speaking the language 'currently' requires more present-day cultural exposure and involvement with a community of speakers of that language.

That's why the language courses I mentioned, none of them say "Pass the TOEFL" or whatever. They all say "Speak with confidence" or something like that. Plus, your typical person who wants to take the exam probably already speaks the language conversationally and just wants to get to a level that will allow them to pass an exam that tests them on grammar and context clues.
 
Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
Staff member
FASTLANE INSIDER
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
34,643
136,388
Utah
Hit the Goodwill store and put these to work!

Buy dirty stuff for $10, resell it clean for $20!

Repeat!
MagicEraserOriginal.jpg
 

MidwestLandlord

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Dec 6, 2016
1,479
10,984
Hit the Goodwill store and put these to work!

Buy dirty stuff for $10, resell it clean for $20!

Yep.

And you can scale retail arbitrage like this by buying whole pallets of discontinued, customer returned, and shelf pulled items from companies that specialize in flipping those items from major retailers.

Get the pallet, sort the stuff, clean the stuff, list the stuff on eBay...profit.

Simple. Time consuming listing all that stuff, but easy cash really.

I've made thousands of dollars doing just that over the years (enough to buy a slightly used F-150)

bulq.com is a good place to start. (also an awesome story about 2 ebay resellers that figured there was a big need for an easier way for retail arbitrage resellers to source product online, and started their own company to fill that need. Excellent service. Just gotta be careful what you buy!)
 

TheDillon__

Silver Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Apr 11, 2016
421
628
25
DFW
Hey all! Posting before I've read through all of the updates yet.

@The-J had a really wonderful write up of the language learning industry. Essentially, my plan was to put some refinements on the Michel Thomas method, and put that backbone behind a segment of 10-minute lessons.

Michel Thomas makes phenomenal courses. My biggest issues with them are 1. Accessibility, and 2. Offerings.

Michel Thomas courses are, as far as I'm concerned, the best on the market as it stands. You walk away from the course (should you finish it) having a strong, working handle on a language. I have them to thank for a lot of the reason that I speak as many as I do. The issue is accessibility. It can be confusing to get to their product (they have a strange sales funnel), their offerings are confusing, and their courses can be pricey (IIRC).

Secondly, their offerings. As with any language course, they cover the largest languages in the market. Spanish, French, German, etc. In the B2C space - this is wonderful! This is exactly the things that one should offer should they hope to succeed.

I should have clarified above. I'm not yet looking at the market as a whole, rather than my mission being "Having the best language learning course on the market," my mission, should I really decide to pursue this space, should be I have the best Defense Language Proficiency Test preparation course in the market. My goal isn't to teach Spanish to your Uncle Jim - rather, to help Private Sizemore get an extra couple hundred bucks attached to their paycheck at the end of the month.


__________

That said! I'm noticing that this is a longevity project. Not exactly something that fits a "double your money" project.

It was then that I realized I'm being dumb.

You know what is a double your money project? Getting a few customers to pay you $200/mo for a service, and let them pay for the overhead.

You know who did take @Andy Black 's awesome course on AdWords? This guy.

You know who is certified in Search Engine Advertisement with Google? This guy.

You know who's sitting on that knowledge, letting it rust, and go to waste?

You guessed it.

This guy.

I've got no doubt in my mind that I can make some quality ads and help some small businesses get customers. Indeed - I have a potential customer waiting for me already that I haven't reached out to! Like an idiot!

Let's dive on in.
 
Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

TheDillon__

Silver Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Apr 11, 2016
421
628
25
DFW
Oh, look at that! I read the thread and @The-J is already 4 steps ahead of me ;)

Man I love this place.
 

The-J

Dog Dad
FASTLANE INSIDER
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 28, 2011
3,933
9,866
Ontario
I should have clarified above. I'm not yet looking at the market as a whole, rather than my mission being "Having the best language learning course on the market," my mission, should I really decide to pursue this space, should be I have the best Defense Language Proficiency Test preparation course in the market.

Sounds good, but you really gotta look at your market size and your expected price point. Many of these guys are using Rosetta Stone because they don't know better. Some of the more astute ones are taking courses. Very few are using optimal methods, though.

How many people sit the DLPT every year? For which languages? Are they all military, or is there a mix? Whats the difference between a re-sit and a person sitting for the first time? Etc.

You're going to need some credentials here, though, but that shouldn't be too hard. If you pair up with someone who teaches to the test or is involved with the test, you could get credibility there.

You won't be able to have the best language course on the market, because people prefer to do things differently (and some language learners know the process better than others). There is no 'best course'. Some swear by Michel Thomas, others swear by Teach Yourself, others swear by Pimsleur. Three very different approaches.

Once you create the course and get some takers (and results; results NEED to come from it. If no results, then you must tweak.) you need to figure out how to (1) scale and (2) get the government to pay for it (likely to be hard).
 

Andy Black

Help people. Get paid. Help more people.
Staff member
FASTLANE INSIDER
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
14,576
54,935
Ireland
Hey all! Posting before I've read through all of the updates yet.

@The-J had a really wonderful write up of the language learning industry. Essentially, my plan was to put some refinements on the Michel Thomas method, and put that backbone behind a segment of 10-minute lessons.

Michel Thomas makes phenomenal courses. My biggest issues with them are 1. Accessibility, and 2. Offerings.

Michel Thomas courses are, as far as I'm concerned, the best on the market as it stands. You walk away from the course (should you finish it) having a strong, working handle on a language. I have them to thank for a lot of the reason that I speak as many as I do. The issue is accessibility. It can be confusing to get to their product (they have a strange sales funnel), their offerings are confusing, and their courses can be pricey (IIRC).

Secondly, their offerings. As with any language course, they cover the largest languages in the market. Spanish, French, German, etc. In the B2C space - this is wonderful! This is exactly the things that one should offer should they hope to succeed.

I should have clarified above. I'm not yet looking at the market as a whole, rather than my mission being "Having the best language learning course on the market," my mission, should I really decide to pursue this space, should be I have the best Defense Language Proficiency Test preparation course in the market. My goal isn't to teach Spanish to your Uncle Jim - rather, to help Private Sizemore get an extra couple hundred bucks attached to their paycheck at the end of the month.


__________

That said! I'm noticing that this is a longevity project. Not exactly something that fits a "double your money" project.

It was then that I realized I'm being dumb.

You know what is a double your money project? Getting a few customers to pay you $200/mo for a service, and let them pay for the overhead.

You know who did take @Andy Black 's awesome course on AdWords? This guy.

You know who is certified in Search Engine Advertisement with Google? This guy.

You know who's sitting on that knowledge, letting it rust, and go to waste?

You guessed it.

This guy.

I've got no doubt in my mind that I can make some quality ads and help some small businesses get customers. Indeed - I have a potential customer waiting for me already that I haven't reached out to! Like an idiot!

Let's dive on in.
I’m guessing you can make quality ads in different languages too? There’s likely some great opportunities to use language skills *and* AdWords skills.
 
Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

TheDillon__

Silver Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Apr 11, 2016
421
628
25
DFW
I’m guessing you can make quality ads in different languages too? There’s likely some great opportunities to use language skills *and* AdWords skills.

Don't go giving away all my evil plans now! ;)

I think @The-J's analysis of the expectations of this space is very accurate - I applaud their ability to foresee obstacles and necessities that will need to be met! Very easy to tell someone speaks from experience here.

That said - I think I've found another "bike rack" project fit for a later time.

Looks like my Double My Money goal is taking me back to my old home of local lead gen. It's one space that I feel well-equipped and prepared for, where a need does indeed still exist.

I'm building up a list of cities in my ideal population range right now, matching it with a list of services, and looking for a handful (3-5) of targets to start up with. Two customers paying a monthly retainer will be enough to recoup my initial investment. Excited to see the outcomes of this!
 

TheDillon__

Silver Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Apr 11, 2016
421
628
25
DFW
Doing my research right now. Man I can't believe some people out there have the budget to afford $60 clicks! That's insane!

I'm targeting a lot of cities and matching them to a small list of services that I would like to target. I'm trying to target city/service combinations that have >1000 searches/mo and clicks <$3. Crazy how some people can afford 20x that.


Edit: Got it. ;) Stay tuned.
 
Last edited:

steelandchrome

Author of The Retail Leader Book.
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Nov 6, 2016
438
684
Goodyear Az
Have you made any monetary progress on the goal yet? In addition to the goodwill mention above I'd bet you have something laying around the house that you could sell as well and start off at least making a few bucks while waiting to launch your bigger plan. I just unloaded $300 worth of junk I was ready to throw away on offerup that had been sitting in my garage for a year or more. I bet if you thought about it you could get the first couple hundred in a day or two doing that as well with NO investment other than your time... Good luck either way ;)
 
Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum: Subscribe to Fastlane Insiders.

TheDillon__

Silver Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Apr 11, 2016
421
628
25
DFW
Have you made any monetary progress on the goal yet? In addition to the goodwill mention above I'd bet you have something laying around the house that you could sell as well and start off at least making a few bucks while waiting to launch your bigger plan. I just unloaded $300 worth of junk I was ready to throw away on offerup that had been sitting in my garage for a year or more. I bet if you thought about it you could get the first couple hundred in a day or two doing that as well with NO investment other than your time... Good luck either way ;)
More than you know. I'm in the process of moving house so I've got a fair bit of real crap that has to go, go, go.
 

TheDillon__

Silver Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Apr 11, 2016
421
628
25
DFW
Update: I spent $400 on gas, nicotine, and Triscuits.

Hi there.

Did you think I'd leave my people with no update? Come on now. ;)

So when we left off, I had just under a grand. After a few electric bills, insurance payments, and various costs encountered with finally leaving my old place, I ended up with $400 in the bank.

My initial move with this whole project was to dive into the world of SEM and lead generation. It's a very sound space for the CENTS world. Businesses always need more customers. Knowledge of how to place strong ads serves as a decent barrier to entry (few steps above a dropshipped tshirt business).

However I found that I had this nagging, uncomfortable feeling as I approached the task. Between finding the right landing page service, and the insecurity of whether people would actually interact with my ads, what looked like a promising business venture started to feel more and more like blind gambling. I would love to get into this space - but I feel there's a knowledge barrier I've still yet to pass.

So now what?

Well, the answer is simple.

I went to a gas station, filled my tank, and bought cigalikes. Lots of cigalikes. Can't run a project if you don't have your sanity!

Then, I turned to Udemy. I saw lots of local attention for people who can build good mobile apps. This was already in my scope - I've been programming as a hobby for awhile now, and my mentor had an idea for an app he'd wanted to build as well!

So I bought $50 worth of courses on React Native - a language that enables you to design apps for both Android and iOS.

Having followed the tutorials, built their examples, and a few personal projects on top of that, I felt in an adequate position to start pitching my services to local startups.

Not two weeks later - I get an email with a CEO who's frustrated with the team he had outsourced to build his MVP.

We talk more and more - I drive out to Dallas and meet with him at his office, and hear out his struggles.

That night, I send him a free proposal for a renewed tech stack (the set of technologies he should use for the project) and showed him how I would go about building the app.

The next day, he pitches me the idea of building out the MVP for him.

Yesterday, I sign a $2000 contract to build it out.

Mission accomplished.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Post New Topic

Please SEARCH before posting.
Please select the BEST category.

Post new topic

New Topics

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Must Read Books...

Explore books recommended by MJ DeMarco and other members of the Fastlane entrepreneurial community.
Fastlane Bookstore
Top