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You Can't Outsmart ACTION! (How We Were So Wrong!)

Anything related to matters of the mind

fastlane_dad

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This came to my mind this morning how much energy and brainpower is wasted overthinking about the right product, business, strategy and marketing plan.

Even when we get beaten over the face again and again by market surprises, we continue overthinking why things would or would not work. The inner voice that discourages us from taking the first steps is always so strong.

Case in point.

As referenced by @NeoDialectic in this post here one of the projects we have been working on for an hour or two a week is niche set of products set up on AMAZON FBA, that we derived by using Idea Generation Framework.

Even post our exit, we still love the e-commerce business model as it's one of the fastest ways to get cash-flow and profit going, in a relatively short span of time (either that or old tricks die hard).

It requiring a minimal investment because of the plethora of methods under our sleeve to test. You can't cheat action, and our core mentality is and has always been make $5 before you make $10.

After finding the general niche, we mapped out a set of products, according to how we thought they would perform for us, and where we though the market would be.

Product ONE - We invested the most effort, and planned on this being our 'blockbuster'.
Product TWO - Rolled out months later. We thought this one had the potential to really perform, but it was in a more crowded field so we thought chances were slim.
Product THREE - rolled out an additional several months later -- A product @NeoDialectic suggested we add, and to me had the SLIMMEST chances of success. We did hardly any work for this product getting it up and getting it ready to go. I was hesitant on adding this product, and went with it 'to see what happens'.

Now that all 3 products have been up for several months the results are SHOCKING.

Product THREE is our best converting product BY A SIGNIFICANT margin. I would of NEVER bet on this product, OR started our journey with it. To me it seemed like a dead end right from the start.

Product ONE is our POOREST performer. We have invested the MOST into that product, and have came out with the least. Conversions are bad.

We have come up with many explanations for why things worked out the way they did. It's all 'much clearer' in hindsight.

But - NONE of these things would of been obvious if we didn't just start. We had to keep going. We never threw in the towel. We didn't give up. Our mindset and attitude was always open - let's set it up, and see what happens! Let's see how the MARKET will respond.

Also - to all of you just getting started -- please note that none of these products are new inventions of any sort or revolution to the field they are in in any way. They are in very big fields (crowded marketplace), with several twists and 'value adds' added, presented nicely.

----------------------------

Moral of the story is you can't THINK yourself into the right products, or know what the market and marketplace will resonate with. We can't go based on our emotions of what we *think* the market will respond to.

@NeoDialectic and I have decades worth of e-commerce experience and still have to go through the same grind everyone else does to find good market fits by experimenting (especially in a new to us niche).

As this is a very small investment from us, and something we spend no more than 1-2 hours a week monitoring and acting on - we aren't sure of how much more we will add to this line. The 'correct' next step would be to add next 4-12 products immediately and expand our offering. Give the market more chances to let us know what it wants. With all that said, we aren't sure if want to contribute any more time and effort to this project then we currently do.

Hope all is having a good Friday - and remember, action and trial/error trumps all!!
 
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Last edited:

Practic

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Nov 29, 2022
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This came to my mind this morning -- of how much energy and brainpower is spent thinking of the right product, business, strategy, marketing plan.

We overthink of why things would or would not work. And we get beaten in the face over and over with surprises. The inner voice is always so strong to help us not take the first steps needed forward.

Case in point.

As referenced by @NeoDialectic in this post here one of the projects we have been working on for an hour or two a week is niche set of products set up on AMAZON FBA, that we derived by using @NeoDialectic Idea Generation Framework.

We still love the e-commerce business model as it's one of the fastest ways to get cash-flow / profit going, in a relatively short span of time - with plenty of methods under our sleeve to test markets before doing more massive investments. You can't cheat action, and our core mentality is and has always been make $5 before you make $10.

We mapped out a set of products, according to how we thought they would perform for us, and where we though the market would be.

Product ONE - We invested the most effort, and planned on that being our 'blockbuster'.
Product TWO - Rolled out months later, an extension on product one, we thought would possibly perform, but in a more crowded field we thought chances were slim.
Product THREE - rolled out an additional several months later -- A product @NeoDialectic suggested we add, and to me had the SLIMMEST chances of success. We did hardly any work for this product getting it up and getting it ready to go. I was hesitant on adding this product, and went with it 'to see what happens'.

Now that all 3 products have been up for several months now the results are SHOCKING.

Product THREE is our best converting product BY A SIGNIFICANT margin. I would of NEVER bet on this product, OR started our journey with it. To me it was (seemed) like a dead end right from the start.

Product ONE is our POOREST performer. We have invested the MOST into that product, and have came out with the least. Conversions are bad.

We have several inherent reasons now we believe the success fell harder for us for product three vs one. It's all 'much clearer' in hindsight.

But - NONE of these things would of been obvious if we didn't just start. We had to keep going. We never threw in the towel. We didn't give up. Our mindset and attitude was always open - let's set it up, and see what happens! Let's see how the MARKET will respond.

----------------------------

Moral of the story is you can't THINK yourself into the right products, or know what the market and marketplace will resonate with. We can't go based on our emotions of what we *think* the market will respond to.

@NeoDialectic and I have decades worth of e-commerce experience and still have to go through the same grind everyone else does to find good market fits by experimenting (especially in a new to us niche).

As this is a very small investment from us, and something we spend no more than 1-2 hours a week monitoring and acting on - we aren't sure of how much more we will add to this line --- BUT we easily can have the next 4-12 products added and expand our offering if we were more devoted to this project.

Hope all is having a good Friday - and remember, action and trial/error trumps all!!
"Moral of the story is you can't THINK yourself into the right products, or know what the market and marketplace will resonate with"

You are right, no one can see the future with 100% of accuracy. We only can guess and forecast the future with some certainty.
 

fastlane_dad

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I often hear people say you need $20-$50K to get going in e-comm, where do you think that opinion comes from? You two seem to feel differently, so just curious.
We have always loved to operate very lean right from the beginning. Our mantra is always test before committing in full. Quick to action / quick to try / quick to fail.

We (on many occasions) - will factor in risk / what it costs to run some trials with minimal cost incorporating the Idea Generation Framework.

Also - obviously the niche, product, design costs, websites, bulk orders all can cost tens of thousands of dollars. We have generally avoided many of those fields and industries, and have almost never invested more than $1000 into ANY of our ventures from the get-go, including the one that yielded us an 8 figure pay day.

There is absolutely no need to sink in $20K to get an idea / product up and running. Seems absurd to us, especially for a beginner, with no e-com or real world experience. You will land on your a$$ in more ways than one, with any of the initial ideas and products you pump out.

Again -- the products we have started above, each required an investment of no more than $500 to get going.

------------------------


This has been our experience and mindset - but there could be other routes that DO require a more substantial investment, depending on the size of the project and what you are looking to get out of it. There could be products that if you are going totally custom, hiring designers, molds to be made, prototypes tested, and need some large minimum orders, rolling out a huge marketing campaign day one, etc etc can quickly run up the tab into tens of thousands of dollars.
 
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Last edited:

Eudaimonium

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Expanding on the principles contained in your post:

1. "Why does it work?" is the philosophical question. Leave it to the philosophers.
2. "How does it work?" is the scientific question. Leave it to the scientists.
3. "What works?" is the practical question. Leave it to the entrepreneur.
 

fastlane_dad

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Expanding on the principles contained in your post:

1. "Why does it work?" is the philosophical question. Leave it to the philosophers.
2. "How does it work?" is the scientific question. Leave it to the scientists.
3. "What works?" is the practical question. Leave it to the entrepreneur.
You hit the nail on the head.
 

Goodfella999

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There is absolutely no need to sink in $20K to get an idea / product up and running. Seems absurd to us, especially for a beginner, with no e-com or real world experience. You will land on your a$$ in more ways than one, with any of the initial ideas and products you pump out.

I wish I was on this forum and saw this shit back in 2018 when I spent 7k on amazon FBA products. Good advice
 
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Goodfella999

My biggest regret is not starting sooner
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Product THREE is our best converting product BY A SIGNIFICANT margin. I would of NEVER bet on this product, OR started our journey with it. To me it seemed like a dead end right from the start.
@fastlane_dad with this product, was this a quick shopify website sort of thing? Without telling us the niche etc can you explain what you used to get it up and running.
 

Mathuin

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Another great thread, thanks guys!
 

Practic

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I often hear people say you need $20-$50K to get going in e-comm, where do you think that opinion comes from? You two seem to feel differently, so just curious.
From my own experience, I can state that you can start eCommerce business with zero money. I did it in the past with software products. I placed my products on site where software was sold. (total costs -zero) In total I had earned from this business over $5,000. The lessons I had learned from this business are:
1) software market is fast changing (from demands to tools (programming languages, APIs, etc) it is hard for a one person to compete and adapt to fast changeless in the market;
2) it easy for competitors to copy your business solution incorporated into your software;
3) loyalty of customers is low if you have not develop some "bonding" with your customers (which is hard in e-commerce).
 
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NeoDialectic

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I often hear people say you need $20-$50K to get going in e-comm, where do you think that opinion comes from? You two seem to feel differently, so just curious.
I think this is a fair take when looking at eCommerce in general. When I think of the standard route someone takes when creating a product, I imagine it could easily take $20k-$50k. Workers are expensive. Molds are expensive. Storefronts are expensive. Etc...

However.

Like anything else, your point of view, values, goals, and predispositions color everything you do in life.

@fastlane_dad and I take a more specific and unique view on starting businesses. Some people rejoice when they find a problem without a solution, and then they set out to solve it. This would be the only way to succeed in a world where ideas and problems are scarce.

We believe that the world is abundant with workable ideas and there are unlimited problems to solve. With that in mind, we are incredibly picky when we decide on the problem we want to solve. Why choose a problem that requires $50k to get going when I could choose one that I can test with almost no investment?

As @fastlane_dad implied, this does not have to be the only way to do things. There are significant advantages and disadvantages to all methods and styles of business. But we do believe there are more/less optimal methods depending on someone's personality and situation.

As we grow, our methods change as well. Not necessarily for the "better". They just evolve to fit our situation/priorities/values. I wouldn't preclude the idea that in a future venture, I may choose to solve a problem that requires $100k+ just to get going. It's a much easier decision to do that when you are working with a big pot.
 
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fastlane_dad

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@fastlane_dad with this product, was this a quick shopify website sort of thing? Without telling us the niche etc can you explain what you used to get it up and running.
Amazon FBA in a subniche of a niche. Running very light ads to test conversions / keywords. Good content pages setup.

Products that we test with are more generic versions that we can buy off the shelves in small quantities, with our version of a value add (I.E if we are advertising yoga pants than can fit an iphone max since most don't, we would buy all pants until we find one that naturally does fit an iphone max. Then we would use that one as a test).

We will eventually transition the successful products we tested to our actual materials and production, increasing even higher on value adds, packaging, presentation etc. The less successful products will either remain in beta-test mode or killed off entirely.

Limited investment, but large potential upside if there is a market for the subniche of a niche we are trying.
 
Last edited:

Goodfella999

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Amazon FBA in a subniche of a niche. Running very light ads to test conversions / keywords. Good content pages setup.

Products that we test with are more generic versions that we can buy off the shelves in small quantities, with our version of a value add (I.E if we are advertising yoga pants than can fit an iphone max since most don't, we would buy all pants until we find one that naturally does fit an iphone max. Then we would use that one as a test).

We will eventually transition the successful products we tested to our actual materials and production, increasing even higher on value adds, packaging, presentation etc. The less successful products will either remain in beta-test mode or killed off entirely.

Limited investment, but large potential upside if there is a market for the subniche of a niche we are trying.
Good idea, I tried FBA, did you mean FBM to start? Fba requires you to send in a pallet of products so amazon can ship it for you, correct? I guess you could find a cheap products and send the amazon warehouse a small test quantity batch?
 
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NeoDialectic

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Good idea, I tried FBA, did you mean FBM to start? Fba requires you to send in a pallet of products so amazon can ship it for you, correct? I guess you could find a cheap products and send the amazon warehouse a small test quantity batch?
Why do you think you need to send a pallet of products? You could send them products one at a time if you so wish.

FBM is ok, but unless the product isn't conducive to FBA, we generally try to do FBA immediately as it increases visibility and conversions immensely in our experience.
 

fastlane_dad

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You and neodialectic are really on a different league. Your threads are pure mentorship. Your kids are lucky. Not for the wealth you guys made, but for the wisdom and knowledge you're able to deliver. They won't grow anything but with the mindset of a king.
What can I say.. thank you guys!
Appreciate the kind words. We try and contribute what we can. We also have close to 20 years of working and sitting around in the same room for many hours a day - so mostly anything (and everything) that is discussed on these forums, under almost any light we have debated to no end from each and every angle.

The funny part even by the time TMF came out, we both read it and felt like @MJ DeMarco stole it from right under our tongue !! We haven't had any big successes then, but sticking with it -- it all unfolded like the book said over the next decade or so.
 
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