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When I grow up, I want to sell deodorant, razors, and heating pads.

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MJ DeMarco

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Native Deodorant sold to P&G for $100M in cash.
Dollar Shave Club sold to Unilever for $1 Billion dollars.

This company which sells heating pads has over 100,000 reviews. Assuming a 1% review rate, that's 10,000,000 units.


At $3 profit for each unit, that's $30,000,000.

And here's the hook: I can guarantee you none of these entrepreneurs dreamed as teenagers about owning these boring, unsexy companies. "When I grow up, I want to own a deodorant company!" Same holds for a razor company, or a business that sells simple heating pads.

Stop complicating this and narrowing your markets down to sexy, or "passionate" industries. Be passionate about your value, and that value can range from picking up dog shit, to heating pads, to razors, to socks.

Opportunity is everywhere. Do it better. Create multiple value skews and you have a business-- make those skews discernible to your potential client, and you will attract business.

Yes, it's that simple.
 
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fastlane_dad

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Native Deodorant sold to P&G for $100M in cash.
Dollar Shave Club sold to Unilever for $1 Billion dollars.

This company which sells heating pads has over 100,000 reviews. Assuming a 1% review rate, that's 10,000,000 units.


At $3 profit for each unit, that's $30,000,000.

And here's the hook: I can guarantee you none of these entrepreneurs dreamed as teenagers about owning these boring, unsexy companies. "When I grow up, I want to own a deodorant company!" Same holds for a razor company, or a business that sells simple heating pads.

Stop complicating this and narrowing your markets down to sexy, or "passionate" industries. Be passionate about your value, and that value can range from picking up dog shit, to heating pads, to razors, to socks.

Opportunity is everywhere. Do it better. Create multiple value skews and you have a business-- make those skews discernible to your potential client, and you will attract business.

Yes, it's that simple.
Well put!

Value adds are everywhere.

Believe it or not I chose a set of toilet plungers the other day that matched the rest of my home decor the best (talk about a value add!).
 

Parks

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Love this MJ. Girlfriend keeps telling me that's she's surprised to see me so passionate about something I've been actively learning on; "I didn't know you love trees so much Parks".

Can't say I ever paid that much mind to them when I was younger or even two years ago. I am passionate though and highly motivated about what I can understand and package convey/give as value about them to our customers though.

The most valuable thing I've gotten from your books is understanding how value works. Although I still feel like I'm only just starting to understand it..
 

LiveEntrepreneur

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Native Deodorant sold to P&G for $100M in cash.
Dollar Shave Club sold to Unilever for $1 Billion dollars.

This company which sells heating pads has over 100,000 reviews. Assuming a 1% review rate, that's 10,000,000 units.


At $3 profit for each unit, that's $30,000,000.

And here's the hook: I can guarantee you none of these entrepreneurs dreamed as teenagers about owning these boring, unsexy companies. "When I grow up, I want to own a deodorant company!" Same holds for a razor company, or a business that sells simple heating pads.

Stop complicating this and narrowing your markets down to sexy, or "passionate" industries. Be passionate about your value, and that value can range from picking up dog shit, to heating pads, to razors, to socks.

Opportunity is everywhere. Do it better. Create multiple value skews and you have a business-- make those skews discernible to your potential client, and you will attract business.

Yes, it's that simple.
I've definitely been guilty of wanting to start a "sexy" or "cool to own" business, because after all why would I want to work on a boring business? The question I wanted to ask you though, should someone start a business that is boring or they hate just for the purpose of the end goal?

Let's pretend it's to become financially free / rich. This is one question I haven't been able to figure out. I also think to myself that, "if I hate the entire process and if I somehow miraculously make it and my business becomes a success, and I reach my goal, I won't be satisfied.
 
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MitchC

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The reviews on that heating pad are crazy.

That should be a lesson in how to create value skews for your products.

People are comparing it to other heating pads and saying it’s so much better because:
- The cord is really long so they aren’t stuck sitting next to the electrical outlet
- the temperature is adjustable so they can have it really hot if they need to or just a little bit warm.
-it’s washable
-it has an automatic 2 hour shut off

These feature are so simple and cheap to add, it just takes someone to actually give a F*ck, think about what someone wants, and spend the extra effort to do it.

And like Mj said, look at the results, probably $30m in sales.

You really don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Also for anyone thinking those reviews are fake, you’d be surprised the long and detailed reviews you get with no incentive if you have a good product. I’m still shocked at some of the reviews I get on my products and you’d probably think they are fake if you saw them.
 

MTF

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Now that's a masterful headline, MJ.

I have to admit that this concept appeals to me a lot. However, with writing being my only core skill, I'd find it an inefficient use of my time to switch to an area where I wouldn't be able to use it much.
 

MitchC

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Now that's a masterful headline, MJ.

I have to admit that this concept appeals to me a lot. However, with writing being my only core skill, I'd find it an inefficient use of my time to switch to an area where I wouldn't be able to use it much.
The way I interpreted it was not to switch to selling products, but more along the lines of writing something that you don’t really care about but that people want to read or that makes money.

Don’t care about might be the wrong word, but the razor or heating pad equivalent of writing.

I think I disagree with it a little bit in that context though. From listening to Sam parr talk about building the hustle I would say writing and building a newsletter requires a lot more effort, passion and commitment than making and selling a product.

I don’t think building a newsletter about something you don’t care all that much about would work because it wouldn’t be authentic, I also don’t think it would be something anyone would want to and be able to do.

The takeaway for that would be to build a newsletter you are passionate about, but also consider how it provides value, and value skews rather than just passion alone.

And I think you are doing that already, I subscribe to your newsletter, I like it and I get a lot of value from it.
 
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MTF

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I think I disagree with it a little bit in that context though. From listening to Sam parr talk about building the hustle I would say writing and building a newsletter requires a lot more effort, passion and commitment than making and selling a product.

I don’t think building a newsletter about something you don’t care all that much about would work because it wouldn’t be authentic, I also don’t think it would be something anyone would want to and be able to do.

There's no way you can be an excellent writer who doesn't care about the topics he writes about. In this aspect, it's different than business.
 

MitchC

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There's no way you can be an excellent writer who doesn't care about the topics he writes about. In this aspect, it's different than business.
I agree.

There’s more to it though.

Do people want what you are writing?

Do you need to be excellent?

This heating pad example is someone putting effort in and being better, being good enough, providing value.

I wouldn’t say the guy has passion and I wouldn’t say the heating pad is excellence. It’s just better and provides value.

Could someone passionate do the heating pad with excellence and crush him? Probably.

Is there some type of writing that can be better, good enough, provide value, without having the excellence that comes with passion? Probably.

Shaans Milk Road is probably a good example.

Obviously he already has a following so that makes the growth easy, and he is interested in crypto, but really the writing isn’t that great and I doubt he’s really that passionate, I see it as a cash grab combined with a bit of an interest he has.

He just picked a market everyone wants to read about and is providing value. Anyone could do a better or good enough newsletter for that market without passion.

I’m not saying you should do this, but I do think you are trying to create a bit of a box or excuse with why writing is different that isn’t true.
 

MTF

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I’m not saying you should do this, but I do think you are trying to create a bit of a box or excuse with why writing is different that isn’t true.

No, I agree with you. You still need to write about a marketable topic. Average writers can still have lucrative writing-based businesses.

My only argument is that from the perspective of craftsmanship, a writer who isn't passionate about what he's writing about will not be able to write exceptional non-fiction or fiction. Writing is an emotive process. If enthusiasm is lacking, it'll show.

Or at least it always shows for me. That's why I worked only very briefly as a freelance writer. I couldn't be proud of my work because I wasn't emotionally invested in it.
 
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Boogie

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Dollar shave club is or at least was a very sexy business. Good value skew with exceptionally fun marketing.

The product doesn't have to be sexy for the business to be.

My son still gets Dollar Shave Club blades and other products that he got into based on their viral video. He didn't follow his boring dad into the market. I prefer better double edge razor blades like Feather, Astra, or Derby blades (the choice depending on what I need or want out of a shave) that I buy in bulk.

They probably had a lot of fun with creating a company that made the thought of shaving or buying shaving products into something fun. The fun marketing skew and value skew together created a massive success. This video went viral and nailed their demographic:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI


There is a good video here with some background from the founder:
 

Bouncing Soul

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This is a tricky one for me. I am an engineer and love working on the highest tech.

If you want to be the owner and bootstrap though, it seems FAR better to choose something less sexy or “small tech” (if it’s tech at all) for financial returns.
 

MJ DeMarco

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The reviews on that heating pad are crazy.

That should be a lesson in how to create value skews for your products.

People are comparing it to other heating pads and saying it’s so much better because:
- The cord is really long so they aren’t stuck sitting next to the electrical outlet
- the temperature is adjustable so they can have it really hot if they need to or just a little bit warm.
-it’s washable
-it has an automatic 2 hour shut off

These feature are so simple and cheap to add, it just takes someone to actually give a f*ck, think about what someone wants, and spend the extra effort to do it.

And like Mj said, look at the results, probably $30m in sales.

I think he has had $30M in PROFITS, not sales.

Interesting note on this particular heating pad...

I bought one many years ago from the same company. Now there are 5 in my family alone. I use it a lot and it delivers on the skews it advertises.

However when I bought it years ago (before 100K reviews, more like 2K back then) I got a personalized, handwritten note SNAIL MAILED to me. Anytime someone gets a note like this in their postal mailbox, it is opened and paid attention to... who is writing me? Family? A long lost cousin? Inside it was a message from the owner of the heating pad company who said something to the effect of, "I'm a small business owner trying to support my family, please give my heating pad a review if you like it." Can't say I remember leaving a review, but I remember the tactic quite vividly.

Now I'm wondering if that is done any longer, I'd say he has gone beyond "providing for my family" and now is living on a beach somewhere in Cabo.

There's no way you can be an excellent writer who doesn't care about the topics he writes about. In this aspect, it's different than business.

Yea I don't think this applies to writing or creative/artistic endeavors as the "flow" process is entirely different.

I've definitely been guilty of wanting to start a "sexy" or "cool to own" business, because after all why would I want to work on a boring business? The question I wanted to ask you though, should someone start a business that is boring or they hate just for the purpose of the end goal?

Let's pretend it's to become financially free / rich. This is one question I haven't been able to figure out. I also think to myself that, "if I hate the entire process and if I somehow miraculously make it and my business becomes a success, and I reach my goal, I won't be satisfied.

This statement, if I had to guess, says to me you've never owned a business.

Be passionate about your value and the product/service you are delivering -- the end goal. Be passionate about transforming your life.

Instead of looking at it like giving birth to a BUSINESS, look at it as if it were a CHILD. If your spouse gave birth to an ugly child, would you love him any less? If he grew up to be an geeky awkward teen, would you love him any less because he wasn't on the football team and was unattractive? When you give birth to something, you love it -- or it dies.

You want to pigeon hole yourself in a "sexy" or "non-boring" business? Be my guest, just say hello to the 500,000,000 other people who are also doing the same.
 
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Simon Angel

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Be passionate about your value and the product/service you are delivering -- the end goal. Be passionate about transforming your life.

Once I figured this out (which wasn't all that long ago) I've become passionate about practically every business there is. The focus really is on identifying a problem, coming up with a solution, and dangling it in front of your problem audience to see if they'll bite. Also getting past obstacles like e.g finding investors rather than throwing your hands up in the air and stating "I don't have the capital to start this business" and whatnot.

Before acquiring this wisdom my thinking was limited to:

"Oh, I should do web design. Yeah, if I close 5% of the cold calls I make, I'll be earning X amount per month.

Wait, no, I would be better off dropshipping again.

Actually, I should probably just do "this other thing" because it looks like something I might enjoy doing."


And so on and so forth.

Now, however, I'm much more excited about the process/principles involved rather than the specifics. Whether that involves building a garbage pickup business (wow, this is so cool) or a space exploration one (wow, this is so cool) seems completely irrelevant now.
 
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LiveEntrepreneur

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I think he has had $30M in PROFITS, not sales.

Interesting note on this particular heating pad...

I bought one many years ago from the same company. Now there are 5 in my family alone. I use it a lot and it delivers on the skews it advertises.

However when I bought it years ago (before 100K reviews, more like 2K back then) I got a personalized, handwritten note SNAIL MAILED to me. Anytime someone gets a note like this in their postal mailbox, it is opened and paid attention to... who is writing me? Family? A long lost cousin? Inside it was a message from the owner of the heating pad company who said something to the effect of, "I'm a small business owner trying to support my family, please give my heating pad a review if you like it." Can't say I remember leaving a review, but I remember the tactic quite vividly.

Now I'm wondering if that is done any longer, I'd say he has gone beyond "providing for my family" and now is living on a beach somewhere in Cabo.



Yea I don't think this applies to writing or creative/artistic endeavors as the "flow" process is entirely different.



This statement, if I had to guess, says to me you've never owned a business.

Be passionate about your value and the product/service you are delivering -- the end goal. Be passionate about transforming your life.

Instead of looking at it like giving birth to a BUSINESS, look at it as if it were a CHILD. If your spouse gave birth to an ugly child, would you love him any less? If he grew up to be an geeky awkward teen, would you love him any less because he wasn't on the football team and was unattractive? When you give birth to something, you love it -- or it dies.

You want to pigeon hole yourself in a "sexy" or "non-boring" business? Be my guest, just say hello to the 500,000,000 other people who are also doing the same.
That makes sense. I had a business in the sense that I had paying customers on these crappy dropshipping businesses but I look at them more as side projects.
 
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notorious

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This is seriously hard to do though. In consumer products like these you have to compete against a few extremely big players (Unilever and P&G) who essentially control the entire market. You could be succesful if you're an innovator with your product and marketing, which is what all these products did. Problem with consumer product is that the cost for an MVP are insane (traditionally).
 

Kevin88660

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This is seriously hard to do though. In consumer products like these you have to compete against a few extremely big players (Unilever and P&G) who essentially control the entire market. You could be succesful if you're an innovator with your product and marketing, which is what all these products did. Problem with consumer product is that the cost for an MVP are insane (traditionally).
Probably the founder had a lot domain knowledge and industry expertise.

If not it wont be venture backed too.

The company growth took 2/3 years but the whole process could be a lot longer depending how you look at it
 
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MitchC

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Probably the founder had a lot domain knowledge and industry expertise.

If not it wont be venture backed too.

The company growth took 2/3 years but the whole process could be a lot longer depending how you look at it
The founder of this company is very public, you can find plenty of interviews with him and his story.

They talk about him a lot on my first million podcast too.

Basically he just picked a product that was small and easy to ship, that people reordered, put a spin on it which was aluminium free, and then ran Facebook ads.

He executed extremely well but I don’t think it was some secret connection or domain knowledge that helped him.
 

DarkZero

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Love this thread. Too many people on twitter and podcasts and youtube ads promoting "sexy" businesses. And everyone is fighting to be "known" in those industries. Then you have "boring" businesses where people just end up living great and being extremely profitable.

Couple of other examples of people I know personally:
1. Guy in the printing industry (selling printing machines, not doing the printing) - still super profitable.
2. Guy created a 360 degree mirror for cutting/styling your own hair. Got it in walmart. Makes a killing.
3. Pressure washing business - not as profitable as deodorant or razors, but a good monthly cashflow positive business with a good operator installed... owner is completely hands off in it.
 

Walter Hay

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Native Deodorant sold to P&G for $100M in cash.
Dollar Shave Club sold to Unilever for $1 Billion dollars.

This company which sells heating pads has over 100,000 reviews. Assuming a 1% review rate, that's 10,000,000 units.


At $3 profit for each unit, that's $30,000,000.

And here's the hook: I can guarantee you none of these entrepreneurs dreamed as teenagers about owning these boring, unsexy companies. "When I grow up, I want to own a deodorant company!" Same holds for a razor company, or a business that sells simple heating pads.

Stop complicating this and narrowing your markets down to sexy, or "passionate" industries. Be passionate about your value, and that value can range from picking up dog shit, to heating pads, to razors, to socks.

Opportunity is everywhere. Do it better. Create multiple value skews and you have a business-- make those skews discernible to your potential client, and you will attract business.

Yes, it's that simple.
These businesses- deodorant and shaving equipment, are nearly as good as B2B, because they involve predictable repeat orders.

Walter
 
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MattDMND

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I think the key benefit in the DTC market is to create what I call "the Nespresso" factor (also Dollar Shave Club works like that): the coffee machine you have to buy upfront is relatively cheaper than the capsules (in comparison, of course) and it works like a lead magnet, gluing to that format/brand for life (almost). The coffee capsules are insanely expensive compared to the good, old coffee powder for espresso. But "subscription inertia" creeps in. Once you set it and forget, it's easier to leave it like that than change it entirely.

The same principle is valid for razor blades: the razor costs pennies, while the blades are freaking expensive, but you think "now I have this blade, I don't want to toss away the $paid for it" and you keep on buying those blades. Again, "subscription inertia". This is incredibly not rational (if you pay the razor 5$ once, and each blade pack costs 8$, it would be wiser to toss away those 5$ and recoup it on the next blades) but our minds don't work that way. This is neuro-marketing.
The same is for e-cigs and a million other businesses.

So, in my next biz, I want to find a need where you can build a one-off entry product that works as a lead magnet and consumables components as the real MRR business. And you're off to a win.
It's like real-products SaaS. You have clear MRR and ARR, and selling the biz would be a breeze.

In the end, consumables have always been an awesome business (like supplements, cosmetics, etc) but in that case (supplements, cosmetics) you can easily switch brands without any consequence. So the real deal is the entry-offer one-off product that acts like the enabler of your recurrent model.
 

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