The results of my 4 Hour Work Week experiment
A lot of people asked me about Itch Juice, a product I created and sell online that makes a few grand a month without me doing much work (it’s automated). Instead of repeating the answer over and over, I thought I’d write about how it got started.
***UPDATE***: I’ve since close down Itch Juice. When I shut it down it was making about $3,000 a month. Why did I shut it down you ask? Because I only did this as a test to prove that I could do it. I had just read The 4 Hour Work Week and this site is all about implementing what I learn. However, I HATED the whole passive income thing. All the internet marketers who kept asking me questions about my site were super annoying, sleazy, and dumb. In general, I am not a fan of this passive income stuff because it limits the imagination. If I’m gonna build a business, I wanna create a HUGE, awesome company…not a small, sleazy internet business to help me live a hedonistic life, like most passive income fools. For the record, I 100% back the product I was selling…it’s just I wasn’t passionate about poison ivy remedies.
Next week I’ll dive deeper into Itch Juice and explain how it grew from $1,000 to $2,000 a month.
But right now I’m gonna talk about how Itch Juice got started and how I made $500 in sales in my first 2 weeks…because getting started seems to be the hardest for most people.
About Itch Juice
- Itch Juice is a poison ivy treatment that I created and sell online
- I only spend a few hours a week working on it (besides set up time), but it generates around $2,000 a month
- My website is mypoisonivytreatment.com
- The site did $1,000 in sales it’s first month
- I created Itch Juice in December 2013
How it all started
Last month while reading The Four Hour Work Week I was inspired when Tim Ferriss talked about his health supplement BrainQuicken. If you haven’t read the book (you TOTALLY should) here’s the summary :
- Tim starts BrainQuicken
- Sales are great but he gets sick of working 15 hours a day
- He figures out how to automate his business so he only has to work on it 4 hours a week
- BrainQuicken makes $40k a month and allows Tim to travel and live a fun life
Sounds freakin’ amazing, right? Of course it does. And since this site is all about ACTION I decided to create my own little automated web business as a fun experiment…and this post is a recap of my first 2 months in business.
Finding a product to sell
I’ve sold e-products before but I really wanted to give physical products a go.
Before I started I had three rules:
- Don’t create demand – I didn’t want to have to create demand for a product.. I used Google Adwords to find out if people were searching for…this way I KNEW that’d buy it.
- High on the needs list – I wanted to sell something people needed…not wanted. Fancy, state of the art bedsheets? Yeah, kinda cool, but people aren’t gonna say “You know what I need RIGHT NOW? Some fancy fucking bedsheets. I need them ASAP.” You know that ole’ chart called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? I wanted my product to be up top.
- The mother test – I’ve sold a bunch of stuff online. At one point in college I had an online moonshine business that made a TON of money. But I wasn’t proud of it because it was kinda illegal (another story). I wanted to sell something I knew worked and would have no problem selling it to my mother. I wanted to be proud enough to put my name on my own product…none of this affiliate marketer or 6 pack abs nonsense.
After 3 days of intense research I found a product that fit all three of these rules:
Poison ivy treatment
Why poison ivy treatment?
If you were LISTENING then you would already know this answer (3 requirements up top!).
I’m just joking…I’ll dig a little deeper into this (I hate when folks skip over the nitty gritty)
I started with Google Adwords and acted like a consumer. What would I search if I had poison ivy?
- poison oak treatment
- what cures poison ivy
- how to get rid of poison ivy
- poison ivy treatment
- the best poison ivy treatment
I added all of these keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner (the tool that tells you how many people search for those specific terms) and decided that poison ivy treatment had plenty of volume (about 200,000 a month).
All of the keywords added up to 200,000 searches
What EXACTLY is Itch Juice?
I’m not gonna dive toooooo deep here because this took me a ton of work and I don’t wanna give ALL my secrets away. If you REALLY wanna know about this, then take me out to a steak dinner (I’m free this week) and I’ll tell ya.
But basically I found the #1 selling poison ivy treatment, did a shit ton of cold calling/social engineering and was able to convince someone to tell me the recipe. Then I convinced someone to sell it to me in bulk for very, VERY cheap. And yes, Itch Juice really does cure poison ivy. It works really, really well. In fact, I offer a money back guarantee and have yet to have one customer who was unhappy with the product.
And voila…we have ourselves a supplier of poison ivy treatment!
I had a product, but now what?
I picked poison ivy treatment and I knew where I was gonna get the product in bulk.
Did I start buying the big old barrels of stuff and have it delivered to my house. Did I look for a dropshipper?
I’m a cheap-o and plus I wanted more of a guarantee. Yes, people need poison ivy treatment…but how do I know they’d buy it from me?
So I tested it!
Rather than asking people “Hey if I had a poison ivy product, would you buy it?” I started collecting cash. Talk is cheap. The only REAL way to know if you’ve got a good business on your hands is if people buy.
Creating a site to collect pre-sales
In order to start collecting sales I needed a site. Nothing fancy, just basic.
My first step was to put a logo on a box. I mean, who’s gonna buy something from me if I don’t have a product to show? I solved this by having my buddy create a simple logo.
Here it is:
Itch Juice, baby!
Then I hired a guy on Fiverr.com to put that logo on a box (I don’t know how to work photoshop).
Pretty ghetto, but I just needed it for my first sale. I’ve since taken this off the site because it didn’t pass the mom test (is using someone’s else box illegal? Maybe) but it was good enough during the validation process. Once my idea was validated, I invested more money for a proper product picture.
Ghetto but functional
And if you’re wondering where I got the box, I simply took another treatment and smacked my logo on it.
Couldn’t find the original, but this is close
Creating my landing page
I don’t know how to code so I had to use a simple drag and drop website builder. I picked Unbounce because I was able to quickly throw up a page. For rapid validation, Unbounce is hands-down the way to go.
Now, I’ve been a student of sales, ecommerce, marketing, and copywriting for a while so this wasn’t too hard for me. I don’t wanna say it’ll be easy for everyone, because it won’t be. But here’s the basic page I made:
The page was a little longer, but this is just a screenshot.
The copy was pretty good but the site was ghetto. Heck…when you clicked the “buy now” button users were sent to a basic PayPal check out.
But hey…the copy made the page good enough. Check out that conversion rate!
6% is pretty freakin’ good
Once I had my landing page up I turned on a few Google and Bing ads. The best part about this is that every new Google and Bing get’s like $75 free…so my first $75 in ads were completely free.
Once the ads were turned on the sales started rolling in:
Not gonna lie…I did a dance like this when I got the first sale:
After some tinkering with the ads, the sales really started coming in:
Woah Sam…wait a minute. You’re making sales but you don’t even have a freakin product yet!
You’re exactly right…even though I had 10 sales the first week I still didn’t have a product to sell.
So here’s exactly what I did:
When I saw an order come in I immediately emailed the customer and said “Hey there. Really happy you ordered Itch Juice. Unfortunately because we’re overwhelmed this week with sales we have a slight delay. I can either refund you your entire purchase or we can ship Itch Juice to you a week late with a 50% discount.”
Shockingly, 9/10 people agreed to the 50% off one.
Because getting 10 sales was so easy I KNEW I had a good business on my hands. At this point I ordered the treatment from my supplier and create the actual product. I’ll talk more about product creation next week.
But what about dropshipping?
I hear this ALLL THE TIME and cannot stand it. People always say “I wanna create a passive income business, but I don’t have a dropshipper.” This is just a crappy excuse for someone to not start.
Yes, eventually you will need a dropshipper. But if you’re only selling one or two products at first then you can (and should) do it on your own. It’s pretty easy. I check the sales every morning and drop the packages off in the mailbox on my way out. I plan on getting a dropshipper soon, but in order to save costs, speed up the validation process, and keep things simple I just ship the packages on my own every morning.
Just your typical poison ivy business magnate
Summary and what I learned
Act NOW! – From idea to first sale only took 10 days. I was able to do this quickly because I had intense focus on getting it done. In the past I messed around and a project would take me 30548 day to actually start and finish. Now I try to get my sites up and running in days so I can stay motivated.
I did over $1,000 in sales the first month – Not bad for only like $10 in start up costs. I can see this being a 10k a month business by July. But don’t think this is typical. I’ve tried and failed a TON of times in the past few years so I knew what would and would not work. Plus, I’m a student of marketing so I simply implemented everything I read.
Discipline – I make a ton of these little money making websites and my roommates give me a hard time because I’m glued to the computer while they’re out and having fun. If you wanna be an entrepreneur you’ll make sacrifices and put in the work. I may not have been able to go out and party, but I now have a $2k a month business. If you wanna do cool shit you gotta put in the work. No short cuts.
Passive income isn’t passive – I’m close to having my site 100% automated, but it didn’t start like this. I made calls, hit the streets, and treated this like a real business (which it is). It will eventually be passive income (as in I just sit back and collect cash) but I don’t treat it like that.
Making money is a skill – I’m not passionate about poison ivy treatment and $2,000 a month ain’t gonna make or break me. I’m doing this because creating businesses is fun and I’m trying to perfect a craft. Like I said earlier, I’m a student of entrepreneurship and marketing and used this project to work on my skill set. Folks who don’t have a skill will never be extraordinary in life. Whether it’s laying brick, making sales, or coding…treat everything you do as a way to perfect your craft.
Next week I’ll give you an update on how I increased sales from $1,000 to $2,000.
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Talk to ya soon!