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Tricky subject (Gun/weapon training)

Greg R

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Hello all!

I just finished reading Unscripted and decided to join the Fastlane Entrepreneur Forum. I would like your thoughts on how to best develop a business based around a sensitive subject in America.

I have worked in the firearm industry for about 20 years, and I know that there is a definite need for a female's perspective when it comes to teaching other women. I decided to write a book, but I am having a hard time with the best way to put it out there. I know there will be a lot of criticism, and I am ok with that. I am just unsure of how to brand myself, or really convey the message that I am trying to get across to readers. I also have other business ideas related to this subject, and would like to incorporate all of it in the best way possible.
Any input you have will definitely be appreciated.

Thank you!
@Greg R is in the same industry. Hoping he chimes in ... I will as well this weekend.

Also there are some female gun owners here as well, that might share a perspective too. @Red
Hey @blueyedgibson,

It sounds like you may need some clarity on what exactly your message is and who you are targeting.

Is it women who are want to be more educated on self-defense? Is it changing the existing stereotypes about women owning guns? Is it for the pro-2A millennial girls on Instagram? Who is going to read this and get the most benefit and who was it written for? Do both of those things align? Once you have this, branding and channels should fall in to place.

One of the largest organizations on this topic is the Well Armed Woman. You may already know about them. If you're trying to tap this market, that would be a great place to start.

Next, I would seek out content creators like podcasts, blogs, Youtube, and pretty much anything that has Influencers. Particularly Gun Funny (tell Ava, Greg from HACKETT sent you) and there are a few other women-led podcasts out there. Pro 2A women influencers on Instagram could be a cheap way to generate buzz around your book. Find out who they are and write a personalized message on the inside cover and sent it to them. No doubt they will give you a shout out and promote your book. Don't stop until you find 100 firearm-related women influencers.

I would need more context and specifics to give you a better answer, and this should be a good place to start.
 

blueyedgibson

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Hello all!

I just finished reading Unscripted and decided to join the Fastlane Entrepreneur Forum. I would like your thoughts on how to best develop a business based around a sensitive subject in America.

I have worked in the firearm industry for about 20 years, and I know that there is a definite need for a female's perspective when it comes to teaching other women. I decided to write a book, but I am having a hard time with the best way to put it out there. I know there will be a lot of criticism, and I am ok with that. I am just unsure of how to brand myself, or really convey the message that I am trying to get across to readers. I also have other business ideas related to this subject, and would like to incorporate all of it in the best way possible.
Any input you have will definitely be appreciated.

Thank you!
 

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ChickenHawk

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Welcome to the forum! First off, I LOVE what you're doing. Very, very cool!

Regarding self-publishing, @MTF makes some great points. These days it's hard to make a real splash with one book alone. Happily, there's lots of other great ideas here on what you can do to have multiple streams of readers/viewers/buyers.

And the idea IS really intriguing. When I took Firearm training, I took it from a guy. He was terrific, but thinking out loud, it would've been nice to have a gal's perspective.

Something to Ponder: You might have a hard time being able to promote your product(s) regardless of what it is (meaning whether it's books, videos, etc.). I self-publish and do a ton of advertising on Facebook. I'm not sure FB would advertise your book because it might be considered too controversial. (I don't agree with this, BTW.) This might also become true (if it's not already) with YouTube. I could see a time in the not-too-distant future where YouTube bans gun-related videos entirely (once again, if they haven't already). And I think it's a pretty good assumption that gun-related videos will be be unlikely to show up in recommendation algos. All this to say, you might be in for more challenges in launching your product(s) than if you were writing romances, for example.

But the good news in all of this is that your competitors won't be able to advertise either. And, you won't be in a position where advertising eats up all of your revenue. This can be a nice advantage.

Still, you'll probably have some serious challenges, as you obviously already know. Controversy aside, more and more, I'm hearing of great content producers losing years of work because their topic has fallen suddenly out of favor with those who set the agenda. YouTube channels disappear and books get suddenly pulled from Amazon. I hope that doesn't happen, but it' s something to think about as you move forward -- having contingency plans for when/if that happens.

On the upside, these are barriers to entry, which will help keep your field of expertise from getting flooded. I hope when you get going, you'll start a progress thread and keep all of us posted. Personally, I'm rooting for you, bigtime!

The picture of the woman in White Dress walking around with an Assault Rifle and uploading to social media was in my opinion not too cool for kids to see.
I respectfully disagree. When I first saw that pix (maybe a few years ago?), I found it to be inspiring and empowering. I'd love for my son to bring home that girl and marry her. She's not advocating violence. She's standing up to potential government tyrany, which I personally think is a great lesson for kids -- a much better lesson than most of what's on Social Media.
 

Jon L

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Welcome!

I don't have any experience with this kind of thing, but one thing I do know is: DON'T APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT YOU DO. Be controversial. State your opinion boldly. You'll have plenty of haters with what you do. So what? There are a ton of women out there that would love to learn the feminine side of gun ownership.
 

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@Greg R is in the same industry. Hoping he chimes in ... I will as well this weekend.

Also there are some female gun owners here as well, that might share a perspective too. @Red
 

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Having never been in an Americans house I could be completely wrong but here is a question for you chaps and chapesses.

People who cook have multiple cook books. People who don't especially cook also have at least one cook book. Usually in the pristine state it arrived.

People who dance however do not necessarily have any books of dance in their homes. They go to classes or go to clubs or watch videos on Youtube for techniques.

I would put guns in the latter category.

I can understand why people who shoot might buy magazines which have multiple articles and Ads and product reviews etc etc or go on blogs or YT channels but a book seems odd.

Even looking at the website referenced above, well armed woman, the shop section with books has zero reviews on any of the books .

Looking at your long term aim surely a blog/YT channel is your best place to start. People like to engage. Women especially like to engage.

Anyway, this was just a thought when I saw what you had written.

Feel free to dismiss based on my opening sentence.

Dan
 

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@MTF might want to help. He’s battled some giants and taken out a few ogres in the book world.
Thanks for tagging me.

@blueyedgibson, do you already have a following or maybe a list of previous students of yours that would be interested in reading your book?

What's your goal with this book? Get more students, make a living as an author (very hard to do with one book unless you use it as a way to prove your experience and score interviews, public speaking opportunities, etc.), or perhaps just get visibility in the industry and later on launch some kind of a business selling gun accessories, gun-related events, comprehensive video courses, or something like that?

A non-fiction book, when launched properly, can be a pretty solid asset to boost your expert status, but IMO before you start writing it you should have a clear objective what you want this book to accomplish.

I also want to create videos on YouTube based around the book. I was thinking of self publishing, then going the YouTube route.
This is a very visual niche so I agree with @biophase that it would be best to start a YouTube channel first and then release a book after you gain at least a small following (and ask them to help you with the launch, particularly with early reviews). That's also why I asked if you already have a following. Launching a book without one makes it very hard to do it well.

The problem is that many people who will follow your channel might not be interested in reading a book, so perhaps it would be a good idea to write a book that not only includes text, but also videos. You'd upload them on YouTube as private videos and share the links in your book as well as mention it on the cover to offer additional value. You could also create a membership area with additional content for book readers only (share a link where they can sign up, give them a password in the book) and this way you'll start building your list for future products.

People who cook have multiple cook books. People who don't especially cook also have at least one cook book. Usually in the pristine state it arrived.

People who dance however do not necessarily have any books of dance in their homes. They go to classes or go to clubs or watch videos on Youtube for techniques.

I would put guns in the latter category.
I do agree with this, but only partly. The people who have a casual interest in a subject like that will indeed limit themselves to videos, classes, etc. But if you're super into the subject (and these are also the best clients/readers you can have), you'll consume information in any format you usually consume.

For example, it sounds silly to write a book on how to surf as it seems impossible to explain the sport in words and besides, who would read it? Well, I did, and based on the reviews many others did and found a how to surf book very valuable (here's an example).

I also read books about other topics that are best explained in person or with video like rock climbing, freediving, calisthenics, or even shooting videos. No matter the niche, there are still many people who prefer books to videos.
 

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Respect is very mutual my friend.

Kids are getting shot up in mass shootings you mean those kids?

Not a gun, not consealed...an Assault weapon as a Medallion necklace.

Yahoo was non stop with a hurricane of Glamorizing Assault Weapon articles and all of a sudden stopped recently. Wonder why.

I think what America really needs is mandatory Coping Skills taught.

People wait until they are Adults to read something like T. Robbins to understand how their Brain works.
No one asked for your horribly uninformed opinions dude. This is about how to start a business, not what you think of firearms.

Take your opinions to the off topic threads.

Ps. That’s not an assault rifle.
 

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No kidding Stable Genius.

I just still found it to be in bad taste in this Era we are living in.

I came to help out the OP ,not want to distract from her original post.
Apologies to O.P.

Yes guns market can be very Tricky Subject indeed.
So it's bad taste to use the word bullet even in its alternative meaning? If that offends you then you probably shouldn't responding in a thread about guns.
 

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Your reader is the hero, and you are a trusted advisor to heros. That's how you put it out there - make it about her, and how the information and resources you provide will enable her to do the things she needs to do. Protect her family, live without fear of being overpowered by some criminal, prove her skill to herself, exercise her right. She's at the center of it. If you find a sentence in your marketing that starts with "I" or "we," think about this. It will probably help the message.

If you find yourself worrying about criticism:

It is fruitless and a waste of time to worry about what is acceptable and what one had better not say so as not to evoke resistance. The things one worries about never happen. And objections and difficulties no one thought about suddenly turn out to be almost insurmountable obstacles. One gains nothing in other words by starting out with the question: "What is acceptable?" And in the process of answering it, one gives away the important things, as a rule, and loses any chance to come up with an effective, let alone with the right, answer.
- Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive
 

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Honestly, I think just the fact that you’re a woman will have an effect.

I don’t think I’ve seen a single gun instructional video made by a woman. Which is strange because there are definitely a lot of female gun owners. But I think a lot of women will gravitate towards seeing another woman as an authority in this field. You won’t even need to say “Gun Ownership For Women,” just you being you sharing what you know about guns will be enough.
 

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Lots of good ideas on things to do to generate awareness.

Since this is a controversial subject you can probably use that to gain publicity after you have some media out there for people to find.

A scenario can go like this:
1. You have a YouTube channel + Pinterest + all the other social medias that women use. There is a lot of good content supporting your cause.
2. You run a campaign to push some message that will be hot button like "Woman should learn to fire a weapon." (Doesn't seem controversial to me but I guarantee a conversation would heat up online on the right context)
3. People wonder who you are and by looking you up find a rich trove of resources for women wanting to own guns for self defense.
4. You get a news interview and more people hear about you.
5. You build a following with the hype.
6. You use your judgement from there to decide the best way to release your book. You'll have an audience to ask so that will make things easier.

It can surely play out a ton of different ways but using the controversial side of the topic might be helpful.

My mom just got a conceal permit and she's 55. She loves books and prefers them to online media. I think the older generations will welcome a book to help them.
 
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blueyedgibson

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Hey @blueyedgibson,

It sounds like you may need some clarity on what exactly your message is and who you are targeting.

Is it women who are want to be more educated on self-defense? Is it changing the existing stereotypes about women owning guns? Is it for the pro-2A millennial girls on Instagram? Who is going to read this and get the most benefit and who was it written for? Do both of those things align? Once you have this, branding and channels should fall in to place.

One of the largest organizations on this topic is the Well Armed Woman. You may already know about them. If you're trying to tap this market, that would be a great place to start.

Next, I would seek out content creators like podcasts, blogs, Youtube, and pretty much anything that has Influencers. Particularly Gun Funny (tell Ava, Greg from HACKETT sent you) and there are a few other women-led podcasts out there. Pro 2A women influencers on Instagram could be a cheap way to generate buzz around your book. Find out who they are and write a personalized message on the inside cover and sent it to them. No doubt they will give you a shout out and promote your book. Don't stop until you find 100 firearm-related women influencers.

I would need more context and specifics to give you a better answer, and this should be a good place to start.
Thank you for your response and useful resources.
As far as the message for my book, I initially wanted to target (no pun intended) first time female shooters.
I have been a firearms instructor for years and have taught both men and women of all ages. I get told time and time again that it is really nice to have another women's perspective when it comes to firearms. Most ladies I have talked to that actually want to learn how to shoot are hesitant because it is a predominantly male environment.
I want to expand the audience of women that would benefit from an introduction to firearms.
In the book I discuss everything from safety and marksmanship to owning a firearm, and touch a little on self defense.
I also want to create videos on YouTube based around the book. I was thinking of self publishing, then going the YouTube route.
I know that gun control is a very sensitive subject, and just wanted some input on how to approach it on a larger scale.
Thank you!
 
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blueyedgibson

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Having never been in an Americans house I could be completely wrong but here is a question for you chaps and chapesses.

People who cook have multiple cook books. People who don't especially cook also have at least one cook book. Usually in the pristine state it arrived.

People who dance however do not necessarily have any books of dance in their homes. They go to classes or go to clubs or watch videos on Youtube for techniques.

I would put guns in the latter category.

I can understand why people who shoot might buy magazines which have multiple articles and Ads and product reviews etc etc or go on blogs or YT channels but a book seems odd.

Even looking at the website referenced above, well armed woman, the shop section with books has zero reviews on any of the books .

Looking at your long term aim surely a blog/YT channel is your best place to start. People like to engage. Women especially like to engage.

Anyway, this was just a thought when I saw what you had written.

Feel free to dismiss based on my opening sentence.

Dan
I appreciate your feedback, and like the examples that you used. I agree that most people now turn to the internet for information and video tutorials. I considered just making how-to videos geared towards women, but wanted to put it all into a book as well.
I think some people may still like to have books to reference when they are learning a new skill or getting into a new hobby. So I will act, assess and adjust!
 

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blueyedgibson

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I would learn how to self-publish and then go that route. Have a PR push coincide with the release date.

As for the branding - what is the core message of the book? Who is your intended audience? Who are you? Base it around that and craft a narrative for you + the book and then market that.

Tying in speaking opportunities, building a digital community around your area of focus, gun affiliate sales, coaching, partnerships with gun safety groups and networking through them, etc., can all possibly tie in very nicely to your endeavors.
Thank you for the feedback.
I have been thinking about crafting a narrative around me + the book. At first it was more informative, but I know that people like stories so I am incorporating myself into it. I just want to be able to target women that have different views and goals when it comes to firearms. Some may want to just get over the initial fear of shooting, others may want to purchase a gun for self defense, and some may go on to shoot in competitions. This is where I will need to do a lot of research for proper marketing because of the subject. I like the idea of partnerships with gun safety groups and building a digital community that will tie it all together.
 
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blueyedgibson

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Thanks for tagging me.

@blueyedgibson, do you already have a following or maybe a list of previous students of yours that would be interested in reading your book?

What's your goal with this book? Get more students, make a living as an author (very hard to do with one book unless you use it as a way to prove your experience and score interviews, public speaking opportunities, etc.), or perhaps just get visibility in the industry and later on launch some kind of a business selling gun accessories, gun-related events, comprehensive video courses, or something like that?

A non-fiction book, when launched properly, can be a pretty solid asset to boost your expert status, but IMO before you start writing it you should have a clear objective what you want this book to accomplish.



This is a very visual niche so I agree with @biophase that it would be best to start a YouTube channel first and then release a book after you gain at least a small following (and ask them to help you with the launch, particularly with early reviews). That's also why I asked if you already have a following. Launching a book without one makes it very hard to do it well.

The problem is that many people who will follow your channel might not be interested in reading a book, so perhaps it would be a good idea to write a book that not only includes text, but also videos. You'd upload them on YouTube as private videos and share the links in your book as well as mention it on the cover to offer additional value. You could also create a membership area with additional content for book readers only (share a link where they can sign up, give them a password in the book) and this way you'll start building your list for future products.



I do agree with this, but only partly. The people who have a casual interest in a subject like that will indeed limit themselves to videos, classes, etc. But if you're super into the subject (and these are also the best clients/readers you can have), you'll consume information in any format you usually consume.

For example, it sounds silly to write a book on how to surf as it seems impossible to explain the sport in words and besides, who would read it? Well, I did, and based on the reviews many others did and found a how to surf book very valuable (here's an example).

I also read books about other topics that are best explained in person or with video like rock climbing, freediving, calisthenics, or even shooting videos. No matter the niche, there are still many people who prefer books to videos.

Thank you for your response.
I do not really have a following at the moment, but do have several references and a small network that would be interested in reading the book. I keep in touch with quite a few of my previous students and they still refer friends, coworkers and family members. Also, the small business Facebook page I set up has about 750 followers.
My goal for the book is not to make a living as an author, but to pass on what I have learned and experienced over the years from a woman's perspective. It started as an informative how-to guide with a bit of a story, geared towards helping women in a male dominant environment. Now I have incorporated more content about being self-reliant and independent, and being aware of all the resources available.
I agree with what you said about it being a visual niche, and that is where I was torn between a book and YouTube channel. I think each have their own advantages and will appeal to different people in different ways, so I will do both.
I think I need a clear objective from a business standpoint, and appreciate all of the feedback and ideas in this thread. I am going to do some brainstorming, research and make it happen..
 

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I appreciate your feedback, and like the examples that you used. I agree that most people now turn to the internet for information and video tutorials. I considered just making how-to videos geared towards women, but wanted to put it all into a book as well.
I think some people may still like to have books to reference when they are learning a new skill or getting into a new hobby. So I will act, assess and adjust!
I like your book idea alot! I know my daughter would buy a copy, or I'd buy it for her. You have a lot of information to offer a very special niche - or overlapping niches. There is no justification for burying all of it in pages of text on websites, and there is no way a prospective gun owner wants to limit her perusal of guns she might want to buy to websites and shopping sites!
No, much like antique furniture guides and home design books for the coffee table, women gun owners and also women gun shooters need a nice, well-done, colorful book with a lot of information, side bars, an index, and great illustrations. Notice I've described two books for you to write. The third of course could be essays and narratives by female gun enthusiasts.
Controversial discussion is a good thing, not to be avoided in publishing. Who wants to read a a book that they 100% agree with?

There are 1.5 million people in LEO and security who will know at least one woman gun owner. You can find a big audience of women who own or are curious about gun ownership by affinitty with security and LEO's.

Some possessions do inspire a person to want to but a book before or with a special purchase. We find books on crafts, cooking, cars, guns (very often male-oriented), whiskey stills, gardens, animals, home repair, pilates, and many titles on empowerment. You topic certainly falls under that category.

Best of luck!
 
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Hey @blueyedgibson, not sure I can be of much help in the way of ideas or guidance here, but being a part of your target audience & a gun owner, I can offer what I saw missing in the market previously:

Gun cleaning techniques for women -why specifically for women? Because often our hands are smaller & not quite as strong (don't even get me started on nails & wrecking a manicure)... My first gun was a Glock 19 given to me by my father, a man who had his FFL for longer than I'd been alive. He showed me ways to clean it & leverage hand grips so I could disassemble the thing. I couldn't do it the way he did, as I wasn't strong enough, but he found workarounds for me, specifically, the positioning of my hands to grip so I could get the slide off. That 19 wasn't small but I did have an easier time with the 9mm Shield, which is my personal carry firearm of choice.

I think women shy away from training because we've all been in the presence of that one macho guy who thinks he was the next best thing to a retired SEAL after winning the neighborhood championship of CoD. I think you've got a great thing going being a woman in this industry & agree on the video stuff. I would think women would be much more keen on taking classes/buying books if they could see your demeanor & knowledge displayed online first.

Right now I know that firearm protection businesses are targeting Realtors right now due to another female agent being killed earlier this year/last year. That's all I got! But I'll definitely be following your progress. ps: welcome to the forum.
 

Osmotic

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Hello all!

I just finished reading Unscripted and decided to join the Fastlane Entrepreneur Forum. I would like your thoughts on how to best develop a business based around a sensitive subject in America.

I have worked in the firearm industry for about 20 years, and I know that there is a definite need for a female's perspective when it comes to teaching other women. I decided to write a book, but I am having a hard time with the best way to put it out there. I know there will be a lot of criticism, and I am ok with that. I am just unsure of how to brand myself, or really convey the message that I am trying to get across to readers. I also have other business ideas related to this subject, and would like to incorporate all of it in the best way possible.
Any input you have will definitely be appreciated.

Thank you!
I would learn how to self-publish and then go that route. Have a PR push coincide with the release date.

As for the branding - what is the core message of the book? Who is your intended audience? Who are you? Base it around that and craft a narrative for you + the book and then market that.

Tying in speaking opportunities, building a digital community around your area of focus, gun affiliate sales, coaching, partnerships with gun safety groups and networking through them, etc., can all possibly tie in very nicely to your endeavors.
 

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You are a brand with a target audience.

A female gun owner with a female gun owning audience (or thinking of owning one soon)

You need to think larger than just a book. You need to think of "what does my audience want and what are they willing to pay for?"

And then you need to think "where does my audience spend most of their time online and where is their attention?"

Will they pay for training? Digital training? In person training? Will they pay for a book? Will they pay for a branded T-shirt? Maybe you could even manufacture your own firearms... okay maybe an extreme example. But you need to think about how you're going to get their attention and then how you're going to monetize it. It's bigger than being a writer unless you're the greatest writer of all time and it's miles ahead of anything else you can give them. But otherwise it's bigger than the book.

1. Understand your audience
2. Reverse engineer where to post content that brings them value based on two things
a. where they spend their time online
b. what you're good at (good at writing? write blog posts. Good on camera? Make youtube videos.
3. Monetize your audience in a tier level system. Free content > content given out through getting their email address > cheap offer > expensive offer > ultimate offer (such as personal coaching) and then adjust prices based on demand. No one pays you yet? Everything is free. Raise prices as demand increases.

My advice: take the book and put everything online for free. You can still sell the book if you like but just put all of your stuff out there to help people. Information is a commodity. Someone else will just post it on YouTube for free and will benefit more in the long term by getting more people paying attention to them.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

Honestly, I think just the fact that you’re a woman will have an effect.

I don’t think I’ve seen a single gun instructional video made by a woman. Which is strange because there are definitely a lot of female gun owners. But I think a lot of women will gravitate towards seeing another woman as an authority in this field. You won’t even need to say “Gun Ownership For Women,” just you being you sharing what you know about guns will be enough.
Agreed!
 

Andy Black

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I would create a youtube channel and make instructional videos and then sell the book around the channel.
I was going to say this too.

Create a personal branded YouTube channel, start putting up videos. When you contact those influencers you can then point to them.

I have a YouTube progress thread in here, although it’s only new. @Fox has one too. There may be others.

Put a link in the description to some free resource that you give away, and send folks to a squeeze page to capture their email.


The first few videos in the AndyTalks Progress thread may help too if you’re not comfortable on camera.


Once you have videos on YouTube maybe they can go onto other platforms? I don’t know much about those other platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook), so don’t know if they’d be allowed, or even the best way to post them.
 

Kevin88660

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Welcome.

In my country we don’t own guns but there is a compulsory two years military training that every man goes through.

The greatest pain the a$$ is the process of cleaning rifle after shooting in the range. If someone can create a tool box to do that quickly it will be a big business having governments as your clients.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Moved to new category.
 

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