Thursday, September 21, 2017
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Authentic Startup: The Concept

Or, Don’t Overthink, Stick To The Model That Works

“Authentic Startup” is a way of creating profitable startups from scratch using personal and business experience you already have, or can easily obtain. It took several years for “Authentic Startup” to be transformed into a system in its present form.  It started as a “cheat sheet” I intended to use to “cheat” on any future exams at my “Experience University.”

In my own example, I was able to launch/co-launch several startups, including graphic design startup, a healthcare startup, a pharmacy (recently acquired by a chain), and even an EMR medical records startup by progressively building on each one of my business and life experiences.

“Authentic Startup” is founded on a concept that all of our experiences have a real cash value and it is up to us to “unlock” it using proper “packaging,” pricing and marketing tools while taking advantage of S.P.I.N. model at its core.

 

Authentic Startup: The Book

Eventually, “Authentic Startup” turned into a book with 40+ illustrations, graphs and inspirational content that takes a mystery out of launching a startup by setting up theoretical and practical frameworks to make your startup (or existing business) successful by keeping you away from overthinking and re-inventing the wheel by focusing on:

  1. How To Become a True Leader Of Your Own Startup and Stop Waiting on Others To Believe In Your Project

  2. How to Be Excited About Your Product

  3. How to Determine When is the Best Time to Seek Financing While Avoiding Traps

  4. How to Define an Authentic Product

  5. How to Package Your Product and Properly Price It.

  6. How to Properly Build a Website and Landing Pages with Conversion in Mind

  7. How to Achieve Explosive Sales Using Online Marketing and “The Nuclear Marketing” Concept

 

addtocart-amazon2

 Contents:

Listed below are the actual chapters of “Authentic SPIN: How To Turn Your Unique Experiences Into a Profitable Startup”:
  1. Authenticity as a Starting Point of Your Startup

  2. The Three Words That Will Make All The Difference

  3. The “Experience Game” Strategy

  4. The Omega Mission Principle & The Two Types of Startups

  5. The Startup Capital Trap 101

  6. “SPIN” Packaging Your Experience Into a Sellable Product or Service

  7. How To Create an Authentic Product or Service The Smart Way: Marginal Authenticity Principle

  8. How to “Tweak” Your Product and Improve Conversion Using 7SP Authenticity Test

  9. SPIN Packages and Pricing

  10. Internet Sales 101: 8 Elements Of a SPIN Website

  11. Internet Marketing: Search Engine Timbuktu Dilemma

  12. Unlimited Customer Leads: Adding SPIN Copywriting and Social Media Components To Your Sales Funnel

  13. Even More Customer Leads: Google Bus Scenario

  14. The Nuclear Sales Funnel

  15. The Spin Gravity Theory

 

addtocart-amazon2

Download it now! I look forward to your reviews and feedback.

On Google, a cost of 1(!) click for a word “startup” in my geographical preference is $10.

No, this is not a typo it is $10, yes, American, yes, dollars.

This means that if I needed to launch a test version of my marketing campaign in my niche and run it for 1,000 clicks (as I used to back in the days when a click didn’t cost nearly as much), I will have to spend $10,000, yes, American, yes dollars.

Let’s let it sink in: that’s probably enough money to jumpstart a brand new business.

If you are, let’s say legalzoom.com (sorry, guys, for spending your hard earned $10 on frivolous research) that looks to capitalize on incorporating startups, $10 (may) make sense (I cannot tell for sure, since I don’t know their sales funnel). But one thing I can tell for sure, is that a company trying to promote any product for which it will receive less than $10 is,well, out of luck.

How High Does The Cost Per Click Go?

So how high does Google’s price per click go? According to a recent article on wordstream.com it goes as high as $54.91 (for insurance related keywords). The lowest cost per click on their Top 20 list is for the word “cord blood” at $27.80, which makes my “lousy” $10 per click seem almost laughable.

Below is the infographic chart you can find on wordstream’s website.

where-does-google-make-its-money

Now Let’s Take a Look At The Top 4 Most Horrific Places Where Your Clicks May End Up

Yes, of course your Google clicks may end in the right hands clicking on your link moments before reaching for their very special American Express Black card and become your customers. That’s the ideal scenario and yes it can happen. Very often, however, it is far from being the case.

#1. I’ll admit, my heart skips a beat every time I see a 3 year old chasing a digital frog on a free app (with AdWords’ clickable ads at the bottom) her Daddy downloaded last night onto her tablet. Sometimes she catches a frog. Sometimes she catches an ad costing an advertiser more and more of his marketing dollars.

To a little girl clicking on an ad is a minor disturbance in a fun game. To you, it may be a cost of a long awaited pizza dinner after hours of work. Now, imagine not one, but thousands of those little cute 3 year old kids with their cute 3 year old hands clicking your business all the way into the ground, one $54.91 click at a time. Insert  a track to your favorite horror movie music and fade into black.

#2. Let’s think of those “Top 20,” or “Top 30” anything lists i.e. (Top “Photoshop Fails” and the like), where in order to move to the next “Photoshop fail” you have to click on a tiny arrow, surrounded by Google ads. While someone accidentally clicks on a link and quickly backs out of it, to you it may be another $10 dollar expense you simply cannot afford.

#3. Your 2 year old decides to spend Saturday watching funny kittens on YouTube. Non-stop. No one has taught him how to skip or how to not click on ads. Thus, in a matter of just a couple of hours he “earned” $100s of dollars for Google while costing you as an owner more and more resources.

#4.  AdSense scams. While Google claimed at some point that they are looking into the problem, but I do, personally, believe that AdWord scams are out in full force. This happens when a person who signs up for AdSense clicks away on ads AdSense places on his/her websites.

Fine. Some of it, of course is an exaggeration. The 3 year olds, the no-good fraudsters that click their way into riches at your own expense, it may all not be as bad, but the question remains: at what point the risk associated with paid advertisement outweigh the returns?

Content Marketing vs. Pay-Per-Click Marketing

Content Marketing vs. Pay-Per-Click Marketing

This weekend Google “suggested” I spend $2.75 per click for keyword “fashion” for my clothing startup. I said sure, let’s give this another shot. AdWords gives me a pretty good data on traffic I get to my site and that’s great. And yet, when it came down to what mattered most, i.e. signups, the outcome was very much comparable to what our Twitter account brought to us just one week ago for exactly $0.

Yes, of course, you may say that I am not providing you with enough data and that, of course, the number of users I added with Twitter last week ultimately reflected the amount of followers on my specific Twitter account. Sure. But this goes beyond the point I will attempt to make here.

 

Content Marketing + Social Media Clicks vs. Paid Clicks

It is year 2015 and pay-per-click by large search engines become less and less affordable, while their clicks become more and more questionable. Google’s 35 allowable letters for $1-$54 per click in 2015 cannot compare with Twitter’s 140 letters for $0. The idea that your Google dollars can go to a click-happy toddler with no interest in your product may seem to be okay at $.10 per click as it was in the good ol’ days.  At $10 per click, it is no longer reasonable. And just like 10 years ago, when it took everyone to realize that Google was a much more profitable model over, let’s say Excite or Yahoo when it came to ROI, today everything looks completely different and paid clicks today gradually become what billboards became to businesses 10 years ago – an exceedingly losing proposition.

 

An Exceedingly Winning Proposition: Building Your Own Superior Resource of Niche-Specific Valuable Information via a Niche-Specific Blog, One User at a Time 

Google didn’t have AdWords to market itself. It built its customer/user base one visitor at a time, by providing a superior product.

Back in the early 2000s Google won everyone over by being an efficient “content broker” and a hub for all things valuable on the internet. It was better than Yahoo, Excite, HotBot and whatever else we were using back in the days as a search engine. It re-defined the internet by giving us what we wanted when we wanted instantaneously though its unique algorithm of prioritizing more popular websites over less popular ones. It made sense. The AdSense.

However it is 2015 and users are going more and more beyond popular and into a content that is more and more useful within a specific nicheFor example, a particular piece of information may be extremely useful, but not particularly popular outside of its niche and, as a result, Google will not make it readily available on its search pages.

Users Looking For More Useful Content Tend To Find It Outside of Search Engine Results

Today, the technology allows us to exceedingly do away with various non-niche “content brokers” and non-niche resources (i.e. big name search engines). In the past decade or so, we’ve all learned our way around the internet and we now tend to hangout on what I would like to call “tribal platforms,” i.e. twitters, wordpress blogs, and various quality online communities we have learned to love and enjoy. It is those “tribal” blogs, sites and platforms that are gradually taking more and more bites out of Google’s main function of a superior “content broker.”

There lies and opportunity for all of us.

Today, using blogs and community-based platform we have the ability to “build tribes” of like-minded individuals, one user, one fan at a time using WordPress or whatever other content hosting platform of your choosing. Today, anyone can, if you will, become an efficient content hub, as well as content “broker” with a website or a blog  that can provide exceedingly more useful (not just more popular) content for its visitors within a specific niche.

If you are reading this post today, chances are you came here either from another blog, a social media post, or any number of other tribal platforms that have nothing to do with a typical search engine as we know it. Those “mini-content-broker” blogs and social platforms are here to stay for many years to come and I see the advertisers in a very near future moving away from search engines and into individual blogs and social communities within targeted niches.

High volume, high quality blogs in a specific “niche” do not have to pay a penny to search engines and at the same time charge thousands of dollars for ads and blogposts as their audience within their niche keeps expanding independent of any non-niche search engines.

One user, one fan, one blog subscriber at a time. This means that if you woke up this morning thinking that the 1 blog fan you gained on your company’s blog (after spending 2 nights putting together a useful article) is not worth the effort, think again. This is the future.

 

Truly yours,

Max Azarov
Authentic Spin, Author
YoloStartup.com Project Founder

When I came to America with just a few hundred dollars in my pocket, I didn’t yet understand the full potential of what it means to build an American dream from scratch. I didn’t know that an average Joe like myself had the capacity to make thousands, and later, tens of thousands of dollars in a single day as a part of my journey of consistently learning from, and building on both positive and negative experiences.

So, How Much Money Do You Need To Start a Startup?

Is it $5,000? $10,000? 100,000? 100 million?

What if I told that the amount of money you need to start your own business equals to, precisely, whatever you have in your bank account + however creative you can be to get the rest of what you need to get your startup going  ($0 in additional costs) + whatever experience you can bring to your business ($0 in additional costs), plus the cost of knowledge you will gain in the process.

I will explain.

A startup with $100MM does not have to be nearly as creative as a startup with only $1,000 to play with.
Similarly, a person with $1,000 in startup money will have to bring a lot more experience to, and be willing to learn a lot more from running a brand new startup:

before

 

10 Startup Courses (and Lessons I have Learned) at My True Alma Mater, “The Experience University”

Of course, the “knowledge” part can be a tricky one. During just the first few years of my startups I racked up a pretty hefty tuition fee payable to my true Alma Mater I call “The Experience University” (disclaimer: “Experience University” is not an actual university :)) The following is a short list of some of my pretty expensive “courses” I took at the “E.U.” while paying to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and unnecessary business expenses (while the lessons below are real, course numbers, of course, are not :)).

1. Being Authentic 101 
A real life lesson where I found out that selling unique, authentic product(s) is the best way to maintain control of my pricing and profit margins. Startup that is founded on a unique/authentic product is, generally speaking, much more likely to succeed. Selling a high priced, unique product is much more rewarding and keeps your anxiety level within the normal range :). In addition, whenever you sell a product that is neither unique nor authentic you run a risk of competing with others over increasingly slimmer profit margins, thus automatically running a risk of losing your business.

2. Don’t Start a Business Just Because Someone Thinks You Should Start A Business 101
You can easily get yourself in a total disaster of a situation by jumping into, let’s say, a social networking project, or a brand new coffee shop business, expecting it to work just because it worked for someone else. Or perhaps because your friend told you that coffee shops in general make a lot of money.

3. Your Product Does Not Have To Be “Disruptive” to be Unique 101
Most of the billion dollar ideas (i.e. Facebook, Amazon.com, Google.com, Chobani Yogurt) are not all that “new” and not all that “unique.” All of them are slightly modified versions of products/services which already existed in the market at the time they were introduced. And yes, it took me a lot of valuable time to determine how much modification is needed for my product to be in demand.

4. Not Waiting On Others 105
Another real life course where I learned not to spend so much valuable time waiting on others instead of taking a lead and proactively doing a lot of the things (sales, etc) on my own.

5. Just Because You Have A Business It Does Not Mean It Will Make Money 201
Strange, but true. Going to work early and staying up late while working on your business does not equate to making money. What I have learned was the fact that one type of businesses is more likely to succeed and make more money than others and, ironically enough, the businesses that are likely to make more (a lot more) money, typically, require less (a lot less) work.

6. Being Your Own Boss Does Not Always Make You Free 205
Pick a business that does not tie you up to one geographical location. If you do not follow this advice, say good-bye to your travel plans and vacations. When planning a business, choose one that can be eventually managed via your phone and a laptop. I call it “The Agency Model.”

7. Many Already Have A Best Selling Product Or Service To Sell. They Just Don’t Know It Yet 305
Most of your business and life experiences can be packaged and sold by turning it into a new innovative service (consulting, graphic design, brokerage, a book, etc) or an innovative product (actual physical or software product). The problem for so many is not the lack of experience, it is the inability to turn experience into sellable packages and eventually into actual dollars. (Read my book, Authentic Spin, to find out more).

8. You Don’t Always Have To Spend Money To Make Money 401
Marketing can be very costly. Or it can be very cheap. It all depends on whether you are willing to spend some time learning how to do it. If you do it properly, you can get unlimited leads at very little cost. Yes, I am talking about online marketing.

9. Nuclear Sales Funnel 405
Don’t spend another dollar on advertisement until you can be sure that the sale of your product to just 1 customer will bring 2 more to your doorsteps.

10. Life Goes By Fast: The “Now” Method 410
From the time we are born util the time we die, only one moment matters. This moment is called “now.” Yesterday cannot be changed and tomorrow is not guaranteed. So if you want to start something. Start now.

 

Authentic Startup: The Concept

Or, Don’t Overthink, Stick To The Model That Works

“Authentic Startup” is a way of creating profitable startups from scratch using personal and business experience you already have, or can easily obtain. It took several years for “Authentic Startup” to be transformed into a system in its present form.  It started as a “cheat sheet” I intended to use to “cheat” on any future exams at my “Experience University.”

In my own example, I was able to launch/co-launch several startups, including graphic design startup, a healthcare startup, a pharmacy (recently acquired by a chain), and even an EMR medical records startup by progressively building on each one of my business and life experiences.

“Authentic Startup” is founded on a concept that all of our experiences have a real cash value and it is up to us to “unlock” it using proper “packaging,” pricing and marketing tools while taking advantage of S.P.I.N. model at its core.

 

Authentic Startup: The Book

Eventually, “Authentic Startup” turned into a book with 40+ illustrations, graphs and inspirational content that takes a mystery out of launching a startup by setting up theoretical and practical frameworks to make your startup (or existing business) successful by keeping you away from overthinking and re-inventing the wheel by focusing on:

  1. How To Become a True Leader Of Your Own Startup and Stop Waiting on Others To Believe In Your Project

  2. How to Be Excited About Your Product

  3. How to Determine When is the Best Time to Seek Financing While Avoiding Traps

  4. How to Define an Authentic Product

  5. How to Package Your Product and Properly Price It.

  6. How to Properly Build a Website and Landing Pages with Conversion in Mind

  7. How to Achieve Explosive Sales Using Online Marketing and “The Nuclear Marketing” Concept

 

addtocart-amazon2

 Contents:

Listed below are the actual chapters of “Authentic Startup: How To Turn Your Unique Experiences Into a Profitable Startup”:
  1. Authenticity as a Starting Point of Your Startup

  2. The Three Words That Will Make All The Difference

  3. The “Experience Game” Strategy

  4. The Omega Mission Principle & The Two Types of Startups

  5. The Startup Capital Trap 101

  6. “SPIN” Packaging Your Experience Into a Sellable Product or Service

  7. How To Create an Authentic Product or Service The Smart Way: Marginal Authenticity Principle

  8. How to “Tweak” Your Product and Improve Conversion Using 7SP Authenticity Test

  9. SPIN Packages and Pricing

  10. Internet Sales 101: 8 Elements Of a SPIN Website

  11. Internet Marketing: Search Engine Timbuktu Dilemma

  12. Unlimited Customer Leads: Adding SPIN Copywriting and Social Media Components To Your Sales Funnel

  13. Even More Customer Leads: Google Bus Scenario

  14. The Nuclear Sales Funnel

  15. The Spin Gravity Theory

 

addtocart-amazon2

Download it now! I look forward to your reviews and feedback.

The Old Sales Funnel: “Tell Me What I Need and I Will Buy It From You”

First time I’ve heard a term “sales funnel” was back in my days when I got a job as a financial advisor for a major corporation.

After passing my “Series 7” exam and becoming a licensed broker for NYSE, I had to become intimately familiar with our corporate sales funnel for selling our main product, individualized financial plans. For those of us working in the front lines of this financial sales machine, a simplified version of our sales funnel looked something like this:

  1. Endlessly “cold call” outdated sales leads for hours at a time.
  2. Upon successful contact, invite a lead to visit the office for a “cup of coffee.”
  3. Then, there came a “sales pitch,” culminated with a sale of a firm’s “financial plan” as a form of initial engagement.
  4. If the lead liked the financial plan we put together, he or she would, often, decide to transfer a large bulk of his/her funds to be placed under our firm’s management.
  5. If the client was not willing to transfer his or her money to us, the sale was considered unsuccessful, but as a minimum, we got paid for a financial plan we put together.

Whether it was my work as a financial advisor or most of my other sales jobs, essentially, it all came down to this: you start with a sales pitch, you “close,” you charge a fee, and you hope that the client keeps buying more and more products from you:

Old Model

 

Death of a “Sales Pitch”

With time, however, a very interesting trend began to occur: more and more consumers stopped caring about a “sales pitch.” They stopped answering telemarketing phone calls and stopped paying attention to TV ads.

Today, for the most part, if a consumer has a need for something, he/she can get it by searching the internet.

Need a traffic attorney in Chicago? How about a hundred of them? Just keep hitting the “Next” button of your search engine.

Need a wedding planner? Here is another hundred showing up right on the first few pages of Google.

Need a financial planner? Not a problem. Google will give you a long list you wouldn’t know what to do with.

Counting on the old sales funnel in order to survive, over time, became a loser’s game. Something had to be done.

 

The New Sales Funnel: “I Know What I Need, Use Your Blog to Tell Me Why I Should Choose You.

Today, when it comes to sales, my approach is this: customers already have a pretty good general idea of what they are looking for, and it is now my job to showcase my product and build enough of a relationship with them to help them choose my product over my competition. And there is simply no better way to do it than using a blog as a part of your overall online strategy.

Today’s sales funnel looks much different from what it was years ago. Somehow, over time, that annoying outbound telemarketing phone call gradually transformed into something completely unexpected: a click (or a touch, if you are using your phone). And that cup of coffee when you get to learn about the company and start developing a relationship with your client turned into something even more unexpected: a website with a blog.  

New Model-1

 

A Click (Formerly Known as a “Cold Lead”)

Today, it doesn’t matter where your click comes from. It can come from your online ad, your twitter account, or your Facebook page. What matters is your ability to get the click.

A Blog (Formerly Known as a “Free Cup Of Coffee”)

Unlike the “good old days” of selling, now you get to have an endless metaphorical cup of coffee with your potential audience in the form of a blog. Blog for a business is, first and foremost, a real-time relationship builder. Secondly, it is a showcase of your work. Thirdly, it is a lead generator. 

blogdefinition

 

Here I am talking about a blog that does not revolve around “Buy my product now!” message, but rather contains valuable information that allows you to build trust between you and your future customer. The goal of your blog is to not “pitch,” but rather let others know that you are an “ok” guy or a girl to work with. Your second goal is to give your visitors an opportunity to learn and interact with you in order to build even more trust.


Let’s look at it this way. Once your blog is established, the visitors of your blog will typically be divided into 3 categories:

1. The Non-Buyers :/  (typically around 90%) who will never buy anything from you no matter what you say or offer. Some of those visitors are still getting to know you, some are there by mistake, some don’t have the money and others are there for all the wrong reasons altogether.

2. Occasional Buyers 🙂  (or skeptics like myself) who enjoy reading and learning, but are willing to pay for a product as long as they see value in it. Those will be the majority of your buying visitors.

3. Fan-Buyers 🙂 🙂 who will buy anything you have for sale on your website, no matter what it is. They sign up for your seminars, buy your books and try your products.

While you will not be able to tell which one of the 3 categories a particular visitor of your website belongs to until they decide to spend money on your website, it is important to continue using your blog as a relationship builder with 100% of your visitors, buyers, fans and non-buyers alike.

Technology will change. Sales funnels will evolve. And yet your need to build a true human relationship in order to connect with others and grow your fan base will remain.

 

Authentically yours,

Max Azarov, Authentic Spin, Author

 

What Was Your Experience?

What was your experience of adding a blog feature to your business website? Did it help your customer interaction, or did it make it worse? Please feel free to comment below.