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NOTABLE! Zero sales, not enough $ to move out from parents

Arthur Redline

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You can be dependent on a job, that is not a problem. Problem is when you have no other plans and stay dependent on a job your whole life. But for now you can be dependent on your job, but by having a place for yourself your motivation will change and so will your ideas about the world. A simple moving out can give you a lot of backwind.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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As I expected, that's your problem.

You don't have marketing problem, you have a product problem.

If channel, messaging, and reach fails, your product is a failure.

You either want to find the problem, solve it, and get moving in a positive direction, or you want to be right.
 

Andy Black

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... buddy... I just... I can't... I...

I think from now on you're only allowed to say that after busting your a$$ for 10 years or more.

@everyone

Is this the "Millennial disease?"

@MakeMoreMoves I'm not trying to pick on you man but the mentality here is so far off my thought process I'm trying to understand so please forgive my ignorance.

I'm seeing this all over the place coaching lately. So many young guys and gals are missing the ENTIRE point of a business.

They all want to be "coaches" and "influencers" but it's as if no one taught them the basics?

Read Phil Knight's book or Daymond John's book and see that before all of the "influencer marketing" and "brand awareness" they speak about so much -- they were selling shit out of their trunk.

What happened to the basics?

It's not easy to build a business. Anyone who says that is lying to you. It takes rolling up your sleeves, going and talking to thousands of people, and making it happen.

I know everyone is listening to Gary Vee lately -- which is fantastic -- but you can't just pick out the stuff you like and ignore the stuff you don't.

Patience. Hustle. Gary Vee is the guy that was delivering personally wine Christmas Eve AND Christmas day.

Anybody can sell T-shirts, buddy. Just ask the hustlers standing on some corner in New York. Maybe that's who you need to learn from for a bit.

Pointless rant over :p
Speaking of Gary V... here's his take on it:
How to build a personal brand from nothing
 

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None, sorry somehow skipped your post. I might settle for 15% margin and see how that works.
You are delusional. Settle for 15% margin? You better hope you can get your money back. You seem to think that your product is worth X dollars but the market is telling you it is not.

Obviously your website, IG and whatever you are doing is not conveying value. But you are too blind to honestly answer the question, is it my marketing or is the product the reason that I am not getting sales?
 

PaulRobert

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Is this the "Millennial disease?"
As a 25 year old I can say YES.... almost every "entrepreneur" (and I stress the quotes) that you meet that is in there 20s think that if they put in "the grind & hustle" for maybe 2 years they will come out rich as hell after those 2 years. This thought process is accelerated even more by all the mental motivation masturbation posts all over social media.


@MakeMoreMoves If this marketing strategy isn't working, it's time for a new one.

My honest opinion.... Influencer marketing is bullshit and almost dead in a lot of niches. This marketing strategy is completed saturated and flawed. Why is it saturated... cause every social media marketing "EXPERT" is saying the same cookie cutter shit... influencer marketing, you need influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing was prime in 2012-2014. Back then you could buy a post for $25 to an account that had 250K followers and get some excellent conversions.

Now because of the algorithm changes and plethora of accounts, engagement and attention spans for content are wayyyy down, even though the FB people might tell you otherwise.

One account that I used back in the day with the 250K followers had usually 10K-30K likes per post with about 100-500 REAL interaction comments.

Now after these algorithm changes and increased engagements according to Facebook, this account that now has about 3.5 Million followers is lucky to get 10k likes and max 50 comments per post.


The big thing is this.. stop trying to have OTHER people sell your product.... YOU have to be the one to sell your product.
 

ZF Lee

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You need to do a better job of taking advice. You're purposefully ignoring great advice in this thread.

As MJ says, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be rich?"
If you can get rich, chances are that it's a right route you took.

On marketing, whatever happened with good old phone calling and personal meet-ups and demonstrations?

On money problems, a quick hustle might make it.

As I wait for Upwork replies to pop in, I am dragging out tons of books I don't read these days to sell off. Novels, encyclopaedias and so on. Some of them are no longer produced these days, so I might be able to mark up prices and have a good run. A few thousands bucks should cut it, at the minimum.

@theag is right on selling off inventory quickly if this route is not going well.

Chances are, even the minuscule money you get from the sale is still sufficient to get up and rolling again.
 
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MakeMoreMoves

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You need to do a better job of taking advice. You're purposefully ignoring great advice in this thread.

As MJ says, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be rich?"
Just got back from work and I want to be rich.

It's just me looking at other businesses that is hard for me to see which variable really is the problem. Let me explain.

So I showed my website to others for feedback.

First thing they said was price was the issue. Ok, so I lowered them. But then I see a competitor in the niche selling very similar products and is doing well based on research. I don't know if those particular models are selling though, but their business is clearly doing well. There are competitors selling at the same, below, and above my price range. If there is a similar business that is selling at all ends of the price range, how does price become the problem variable anymore? I always tend to find a business that is making it work for the variable that I thought was the problem. Which makes me wonder what really is the problem

Forgot to add: It seems like all the businesses just have social proof and I don't. But then again, I am doing this influencer to build social proof... Chicken and egg.

You are delusional. Settle for 15% margin? You better hope you can get your money back. You seem to think that your product is worth X dollars but the market is telling you it is not.

Obviously your website, IG and whatever you are doing is not conveying value. But you are too blind to honestly answer the question, is it my marketing or is the product the reason that I am not getting sales?
Website has been validated and confirmed good. No question about that.

Instagram content looks good and confirmed, but severely lacking social proof since I started building it not too long ago.

See above.
 
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Lumo

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1. Change your attitude - See it as a game.

2. It is not the problem that other people have more money, it is that they can spend more.

Think about this.

If your marketing isn't profitable, money is most likely not the problem.
 

PureA

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Website has been validated and confirmed good. No question about that.

Instagram content looks good and confirmed, but severely lacking social proof since I started building it not too long ago.

See above.
But. you. have. 0. sales.

Numbers don't lie. Anyone of you buddies can say a website looks 'good' - does it convert in the real, objective, world? The market gives you feedback every second of every day even if that's through silence...

First thing they said was price was the issue. Ok, so I lowered them. But then I see a competitor in the niche selling very similar products and is doing well based on research. I don't know if those particular models are selling though, but their business is clearly doing well. There are competitors selling at the same, below, and above my price range. If there is a similar business that is selling at all ends of the price range, how does price become the problem variable anymore? I always tend to find a business that is making it work for the variable that I thought was the problem. Which makes me wonder what really is the problem
Your logic is flawed. It's like saying:

I started a running shoe company, my shoes same/better than nike/adidas/underarmour my price is the same and even lower in some cases. My website is good, my instagram posts are good. Why is no one buying?????? Why don't I have at least 50% of the sales that these other companies have? I mean it makes sense right?

You are looking at business through a 2D lens.

Don't build something that you think you can sell. Build something that people want to buy.
 
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MakeMoreMoves

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But. you. have. 0. sales.

Numbers don't lie. Anyone of you buddies can say a website looks 'good' - does it convert in the real, objective, world? The market gives you feedback every second of every day even if that's through silence...



Your logic is flawed. It's like saying:

I started a running shoe company, my shoes same/better than nike/adidas/underarmour my price is the same and even lower in some cases. My website is good, my instagram posts are good. Why is no one buying?????? Why don't I have at least 50% of the sales that these other companies have? I mean it makes sense right?

You are looking at business through a 2D lens.

Don't build something that you think you can sell. Build something that people want to buy.
Feedback was from random people on web as well as people that have been in this ecommerce field for a while. The one thing these brands have is well...branding and social proof. So based on your example and mine. It seems like differentiating variable is social proof/brand.

It’s just this chicken and egg thing again.

I need sales/influencers to build up social proof/brand, but I can’t get sales/influencers because I don’t have social proof/brand.

But then back to my OP, influencers don’t want to represent a no name brand.

I don’t want to fake social proof or use those black hat tactics because that destroys an Instagram account permanently.
 

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PureA

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Feedback was from random people on web as well as people that have been in this ecommerce field for a while. The one thing these brands have is well...branding and social proof. So based on your example and mine. It seems like differentiating variable is social proof/brand.

It’s just this chicken and egg thing again.

I need sales/influencers to build up social proof/brand, but I can’t get sales/influencers because I don’t have social proof/brand.

But then back to my OP, influencers don’t want to represent a no name brand.

I don’t want to fake social proof or use those black hat tactics because that destroys an Instagram account permanently.
It's not a chicken and egg thing...

Again, I hear (subtle) cries of "It's not fair" and playing the blame game thinking it's "just out of your control" "If only".

Brands have come from nowhere and hit millions in sales through influencers before you, and countless others will in the future.

The issue is with your product

Let's say you had a new super cool widget 4500 that was new, or that at least a value array that was skewed in someway... influencers would be much more likely to represent something that they actually loved/thought was cool. As opposed to a me-too business/product (you got no chance). Everyone and their dog has a clothing line. Does that mean you can't be successful in fashion? No. It just means you are going to have to have/be something different/better and communicate it well.

An example in your industry...

Performance Fabric Menswear - Mizzen+Main

I've heard multiple influencers mention this company. Paid? maybe. But they are willing to represent the company because they believe in the company. They offer something just a little different.

I am sure they do a lot of other things but to my knowledge Mizzen & Main have a line of non iron dress shirts, which means you can chuck them in your suitcase, and use them, wrinkle-free, when you arrive at your destination.

That's all it takes.

Because of this, 'influencers' are all of over them. Go to the same influencers with a dress shirt with your logo on... not sure that you would get any response whatsoever (which is what you are experiencing).

You can't just follow the steps and bring to market what everyone else has too. Bring something different, a bit weird, something notable, something to talk about, it doesn't even have to be that much different. Just different.
 

theag

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Well, if after all the feedback you got here you still want to continue, I guess you need to do some paid traffic to get that "social proof/brand". Lets make it 10k in adspend to reach the 20k in total spent on this business that someone mentioned here. Let us know how it goes.
 

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How many have you sold ........... 0
What could you sell this 'business' for ......... 0
What is this business worth ....... only what you have learned so far .... the rest is cost of education
------------
Pivot.

Name any business that has gone years selling 0 units and is still doing what they were doing.

Pivot.

Name any business that had sold 0 units and the just dropped the price a little bit and is now selling millions.

Pivot.
 

Kung Fu Steve

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It's just that I am seeing these case studies of people building a million dollar business in 2 or less years. This is why I have this type of time frame. I am basing that as the average time frame.
I get it man. You want it all and you want it right now. You're failing to see behind the curtain though. Behind the curtain was years and years of hard work to become an "overnight success".

9/10 businesses fail in the first year.
9/10 of those that survive fail in the next 5 years.
Those that survive the 5 year mark often aren't even profitable businesses.

The businesses that take off have the stars aligned behind them as well of years and years of hard work and preparation behind them.

Count the number of businesses that actually meet MJ's standard of CENTS (or it's CENTS now, isn't it?) and you'll see the stars are aligned. It's not just luck (although luck is always helpful) but you've got to realize unless you have a very unique product that people love, or if they love YOU and your personality, and your sales skills -- you aren't going to come close to a million bucks within 2 years.

You've got to sell a lot of $12.99 t-shirts to hit $1mm... 76,983 of them to be exact... and that's just revenue ... we're not talking profitability...

Or people growth hacking the hell out of instagram building half a million followers in a less than a year. This is the core of the so called impatience? It's like what the hell. This person finds success in a year time frame so its hard for me to justify that it should take 10 years.
Half a million "followers" doesn't translate into business success my friend. Show me a person who has created a million dollar business simply by having 500k followers on Instagram.

BUT they cannot be selling a course about "how to make $$ with your followers on Instagram"
 
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biophase

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Website has been validated and confirmed good. No question about that.
LOL, You have no clue. Validated = Making Money. Validated does not equal, looks good to me.

You refuse to believe that your business has a product issue. Good luck with that. We can't help you anymore. But I'll leave you with one last thing. Go ask someone today what he thinks about your website. If the person answers that it looks good, then ask him if he would like to place an order immediately. Come back and let us know what he says.

Here is an example of a decent product that people want. I launched on FB last week and here are some of the replies from my post. Now granted, I already have a brand and a following. But if the product itself were bad or the price was too high, the response would not have been the same.


Untitled.png
 

MJ DeMarco

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LOL, You have no clue. Validated = Making Money.
Yes, but people make this rocket science.

Validated = Money.

Validated <> My neighbor said the website looked great!

Thread marked NOTABLE.

He might not get it, but others will.
 

MitchM

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Is your product something that can be sold on amazon? In my opinion, if you really think you need the social proofing then you should be selling it as cheaply as possible and focusing on getting reviews (which you can migrate to your own sites).

This won't work, of course, if your product isn't desirable in the first place.

Don't worry about being profitable - worry about making enough money to re-order your inventory and place your focus on making sales that will convert to reviews. One avenue of doing this is setting up a squeeze page for huge discounts on your product. The squeeze page will give you their email, which you can then follow up on for a review (if on Amazon make sure you aren't incentivizing the review with the discount - check the TOS).
 

MoneyDoc

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Dude, I’m around your age (23). You’re getting advice here from some people that built million dollar businesses and currently own million dollar businesses. But it seems like you're running around in a circle with their advice. I don’t even know how some of these guys continue to give you GOLD advice... keep quiet for a second. Take in everything that everyone has said; and then decide what you want to do.

0 sales in this amount of time should tell you something. As someone else mentioned; if you can sell it on amazon, forget about social marketing. Amazon has millions of people waiting to buy something. I always tell my friends, start your brands on amazon (of course clothing is a bit different but not impossible.)
 
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Envision

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You're putting the cart before the horse. I actively do influencer marketing etc but you cant do it with a single product and no brand... Here's a reality check that I hope helps you understand more.

1. Review the need your filling, yes you may have competitors in the same niche but are you better? are you actually providing something that is different than everyone else to the market. If you are not, liquidate your inventory, take the lessons you've learned and start another brand.

2. If you can address the issue and fill a need you MUST have a paid traffic source to build your business. Whether its FBA, FB ads, or Google Ads, you can't scale a business effectively (like the way you are describing) without paid traffic. Influencer marketing doesnt count because you cant reinvest profits at a known rate for a predictable ROI.

* This is where I see alot of people fail and was why I failed because I was scared to spend money and didnt have a method of achieving growth otherwise. Spend the money.

3. Once you have a predictable paid traffic source that can scale that is when you can reinvest those profits and test with influencers. I pay influencers a flat rate each month and they post my products and represent my brand and in turn I get spikes in sales, social proof, and brand recognition/following.

4. You're going to need a 30%+ margin because at scale you will need to pay for overhead like warehousing, utilities, process improvements, employees etc not to mention the volatility that can be experienced with ad spend on various platforms. On top of that if you are building a brand and releasing new products the profits need to be reinvested.

5. To point 4, you probably can expect to not pay yourself a liveable wage for years. I'm 3 years into my business and I still do not pay myself anything over what is required by law and to get to where you're describing it will be a few more years at the current growth rate. I work a day job that gives me flexibility and allows me to live on that while I build it.

If it were easy, everyone would do it.
 

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Dude, I’m around your age (23). You’re getting advice here from some people that built million dollar businesses and currently own million dollar businesses. But it seems like you're running around in a circle with their advice. I don’t even know how some of these guys continue to give you GOLD advice... keep quiet for a second. Take in everything that everyone has said; and then decide what you want to do.

0 sales in this amount of time should tell you something. As someone else mentioned; if you can sell it on amazon, forget about social marketing. Amazon has millions of people waiting to buy something. I always tell my friends, start your brands on amazon (of course clothing is a bit different but not impossible.)
True.
I bought TMF and UNSCRIPTED based on the Amazon reviews.
Same goes for lots of other products.

At best, social media extends your brand awareness. But of course, early sales provide for good validity of value to promote.

On the GOLD advice thrown in here, I think that Fastlaners must have taken too much Christmas eggnog or Santa's steroids to be on fire!
 

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Looking at it now, thanks a bunch for the write up. Will get back to you soon.



It's just that I am seeing these case studies of people building a million dollar business in 2 or less years. This is why I have this type of time frame. I am basing that as the average time frame. Or people growth hacking the hell out of instagram building half a million followers in a less than a year. This is the core of the so called impatience? It's like what the hell. This person finds success in a year time frame so its hard for me to justify that it should take 10 years.
Let me tell you from the perspective of a novice entrepreneur and a historical perfectionist, comparing to anyone is setting up for psychological failure. One of the truest cliches I've heard is "Your only competition is yourself." It's a simple concept, and damn hard to really internalize and believe. If you look at the successes over the course of your life so far, no matter how big or small, I'm willing to bet they occurred because you changed something about yourself fundamentally. You gained and applied new knowledge. You gained awareness of a bad habit and removed it. You worked harder, or shifted priorities. These modes of change do not depend on what other people are doing / experiencing. To taint your confidence and motivation by using others as a gauge of success is very toxic. When I was a college athlete I started out doing that, and it got me nothing but anxiety and doubt. Once I recognized the need to focus on incremental improvement INDEPENDENT OF OTHERS I started to soar. The process to my target became clear. I knew how to put one foot in front of the other. This concept is the same in entrepreneurship. MJ talked about solving one problem after the next. Your current problem definitions are misplaced. You're defining problems against things over which you have no control; your success relative to others. The only way to improve your success relative to others is to define actionable, value-add problems and strategize to solve them.

- Cheers
 

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It sounds like you are clinging on to the thought that you stock is a pile of untapped profit whilst the market is refusing to buy.

Lower your price and get rid of it, at a loss if you need to. People clearly are not interested in your products.
 

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Hey Op, I started making money early in life. But money wasn't everything for me, now I don't say so because I made money and all. There were times when my family was broke.

To establish any business you need to do little market research, see who your competitors are, what are their products and how much are they selling for etc, basically, a SWOT analysis is what you need to do before you start your business.

You need to ask your self why am I better than my competitor, what is my product's core competency, will my product make any difference to the current market, what is my target segment and how will my product benefit them. After all, these evaluations try to assess your product and your abilities and you will have your answers.

After reading your posts here I felt that you never did SWOT analysis which leads you to pay more money to the manufacturer to manufacture your products. The easy way out is to reduce your pricing. It's better to lose 100 bucks than 500. Sell off your products quickly and find a better manufacturer who can supply you the right product for a better price and with that, you will have your margins too.
 
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Hi guys, thanks for all the GOLD advice. Even though I read the books, I was taking actions differently from what i read. So I wasn't blatantly ignoring everyone's advice, but the thought of having this much invested and losing it tended to overpower everything else at the time. I have listed everything at a loss.

Reading and and taking action what I learned in the books is different with all the real world variables in terms effecting my decision.

Should have made the cost and time frame more clear.

For the 10k costs, it was like this. 7k in development. 3k in actual inventory. It was about 2 years of other business failures that amounted this frustration. But this specific venture I am 7 months total. 6 months development, but a little over a month into the "market". I guess that explains me still having the hope before.

Developing an entirely new product for this brand.
 

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Hey everyone... this is my first post so slightly out of sequence - will drop by the intros once I've finished the book - just got started over the holidays and will be finished soon.

Basically my take on this story is two things (and I'll tell you a little of my story so you see how it works out better that way).

1. 2 years is no time at all. Even if you have the perfect idea you can end up making money really soon afterwards.
2. Knowing the industry inside out is super useful before you start 'doing stuff'.

Gary Vaynerchuk was mentioned a few times in the thread so far. He actually gave the advice from 2. to a fashion entrepreneur on his Ask Gary Vee show. Quit the business/give up immediately and go find a fashion exec to be an assistant to. Learn the industry inside out. See how an existing mega player actually works, not how you guess it works from the outside. Then when you're a master go back to it.

My first business failed. After much more effort than two years. But before I started it I'd actually become a manager in commercial finance at a bank. Understood the industry inside out. Actually had more knowledge than most commercial brokers out there.

Left to start my first business. Was on 0 sales for all of 0 weeks. Hit the ground running because I was part of the industry/knew a lot/had learnt from the best - people with 30 years experience were my friends/mentors.

The credit crunch, and the death of my business partner (and one of my best friends) came close together and left me with effectively 'nothing' and debt.

What I had learnt, though, was that digital marketing was hugely powerful. I was lucky enough to do some contracting work where we did the commercial mortgages for big brokerages that just did residential in house and punted the commercial to people like us for a cut. One was killing it online with leads from LeadBay (who also closed during the credit crunch).

They didn't sell commercial mortgage leads so I had to reverse engineer what their residential lead gen people were doing, translate that to commercial, and build my own lead gen. It went great.

But I wasn't mad enough to just jump in and pretend to be a complete expert who could market anything. I took the time to work for a couple of internet businesses. The first was 'general' and I realised outreach/public relations and SEO were where I wanted to specialise.

So I got a contract working as a junior member of staff at another business which specialised in those areas. Worked my way into more and more work for them, and a contract to manage a lot of their operations in the end.

By the time I'd finished there - 2+ years just of learning - I was ready to start my own shop.

And here I am today - doing really well finally (all of 7 years later... 11 including all the learning and working in the industry beforehand).

You'll see some people do well and achieve a shortcut. They'll release a song on YouTube that goes nuts and they're the next Arctic Monkeys. They'll make a new trendy made in America sweatshirt and some famous people will be wearing it on year one. You'll see a complete nobody who lost their job blow up on LinkedIn and suddenly be very much a somebody speaking in Dubai and printing the dosh.

All those things are just an illusion of how everyone else got there. It's a mirage.

Most of us had to spend years learning and perfecting skills before we could even properly start. Then when we did we still had to do years of work to get the business to a scale where we were actually free. And I have many more years ahead before I can even pretend to be a part of the Millionaire Fastlane. And I'm ok with that.
 

WJS

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@MakeMoreMoves,
Have you ever thought of running a contest to generate buzz for your brand? I see some FB marketers use it quite often. Here's how they do it:

1) they create a FB post and aim it at their target audience (posting it at specific FB groups, forums etc) - such as "New year give-away" or "slogan contest" etc, stating that the winners will get the products (valued at XXX) for free (just pay postage)

2) they lay out the rules - participants must share the post and make it public (that way everyone can see it and awareness is generated) - people like freebies, the more people participate, the more shares you get, and the more buzz you generate

3) when contest ends, they announce the winners - participants are happy, and the marketers get a lot of free advertisements at minimal cost

4) they repeat the contest every few months to generate more buzz

Give it a try. The cost is not too high. You can follow up with the winners some time later and get their feedback on your product. Ask them what they like/don't like about your product and how you can improve. Get them to write testimonials for you. If everything is positive you'll have your social proof soon. I wish you all the best!
 

Van Halen

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Just from reading the initial post, you have a product problem. The influencers and marketing etc is a push not a pull. Is your product simply a clothing line with your logo on? Why would anybody want to wear that? What problem does it solve? What value does it provide?
 

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