How to find your target market online & make contact

For those of you who have no idea on how to find people to speak to about your product, but you’ve got some idea of who the persona is, you’re going to find this really powerful. I am going to show you one of the ways I find my personas online and how to reach out to them, for free.

Using this method you should be able to come up with a few hundred people to contact who you should be confident are interested in the problem you’re trying to solve. I’ll also show you a couple of tools I use to automate a few of the steps…

Links featured in the video

How to map out your Ideal Average Day

Having a clear understanding of what you want from your business once it’s up and running, particularly while it’s growing is crucial. Over the years I have constantly met founders who have started businesses that require them to spend their days in a routine that they hate. This isn’t only important from the perspective of knowing that you need to keep working in hard times, but also important when you consider that if things go well, you will need to keep doing the things you hate for the business to sustain, talk less of growing.

I want to be clear, all businesses will include aspects that you won’t enjoy. You might be an introvert, but you’ll have to sell. You might like human interaction but will have to spend countless hours doing admin and accounts for years to come. I believe you can automate and outsource everything (let’s face it, many of the Johnson & Johnson family can’t do any of the jobs in their business so they pay others to do the work), that being said, you are probably intending on building a single or portfolio of micro-digital businesses. If this is a case, you will have to do much of the work yourself, at least at the beginning.

Think about it, if you want to travel the world with minimal resources, is it wise to start a service business that requires your customers to visit a well resourced location? For example, if you start a Printing company, you probably need to have expensive machinery on site, with skilled staff to use it. While this blog is about digital businesses, some businesses come with less than obvious requirements. Are you willing to build software and talk to customers to drive sales and manage support? …for many of you, I’d imagine you’d wand to build one of these businesses so you can cut down on talking with customers.

With this in mind, it’s worth mapping out your ideal average day which you can then use to guide you in forming a criteria for your ideal project. If you haven’t created an ideal average day, I would suggest you do this first.

Mapping out your ideal average day

I can’t remember where I learned of this idea, but it’s one of the most valuable ideas I have come across.

It’s simple, all you have to do is sit back and list all of the things you would do on an average day if your life was exactly where you’d want it to be.

Remember, this isn’t “What I will buy once I am rich”, this is not about a one off event. This is about building a routine that would be great for you and your business. For example, it sounds weird, but when I built my first totally automated business, it never occurred to me just how much free time I would have and that I couldn’t fill it by spending time with my friends because they were at work. It sounds stupid, but it genuinely never occurred to me and turned out to be a massive issue for me. Not to mention the coutless founders I have met who realised that they hate running teams, but it’s too late once they have taken on Venture Capital, so I encourage everyone to start here on their entrepreneurial journey.

Be as detailed as possible

The aim with this project is to be as detailed as possible. All of the things you will need to build and exclude from your life will be affected by this this vision. The more detail you have, the easier it becomes to make decisions. If you know that your ideal average day starts off by watching the sunrise over the sea before you go surfing, you probably can’t live in London.

Be selfish & honest

Answer them for yourself, not what others (friends or your wider community), would want you to say. This is for you and you alone. While I have shared mine with others, I am not encouraging you to do so. This is a personal document for personal use, so don’t feel worried or concerned by the idea that others my stumble across it at this point.

Being honest is key to this. For example, if you don’t want to spend your time helping sick children or animals, that’s totally fine. Your contribution to society can come from other things (ideally, one being your business, but more on this later.)

Right now, all you have to do is create a limitless list of fun and engaging experiences tailored to you.

How to get started

Getting started can be a little tricky, most people have never been asked this question so might defalut to a shopping list influenced by GQ or a celebrity Instagram. That’s fine, start there if it works for you, you can tailor the list to you over time. Costs should not be considered and nothing is too crazy at this point.

Personally, I have found opening a notebook or blank page in your notes app / journal, then answering the following questions, being a great place for myself and others to be a great place to start:

  • What would you like to see as soon as you wake up?
  • Who would you like to wake up to?
  • What do you value?
  • What do you value most in a partner?
  • How do you want to feel when you wake up?
  • Who would you like to work with?
  • What verity of things would you like to do in your working day?
  • Where would you be geographically ?
  • How would your partner fit into the routine?
  • How would your friends & family fit into your routine?
  • What do you value most with regards to friends and family?
  • How much would it cost to live where you want to live?
  • How would your hobbies fit into your routine?
  • What would you enjoy spending money on?
  • How would your income generation fit into your routine?
  • What kinds of customers do you want to support?
  • How will you be aware of external changes that might influence your business?
  • How much time / resources are you expecting your business to need from you personally?
  • What skillsets would a team you can rely on to run your business, need?

Turn the list into a first hand account

Once you’ve got the list above answered, you should write out your Ideal Average Day as though it’s a first hand account being told as a matter of fact to someone.

Ideally, you want to have a one pager that talks through your ideal average day in such a way that a stranger would picture it as a movie scene in their mind as you go through each sentence:

I typically start my day getting waking up late, like 9am to my wife. We like to sleep in and for the sun to be beaming down on us through the large windows, before we get out of bed. It’s refreshing to see the light bounce off the floor onto the high ceiling.

After a hot shower, I normally head downstairs to have a cooked breakfast with the whole family including the dogs…

While fitting it onto a single page is ideal, don’t sacrifice detail for this ascetic. Just know it needs to be more than a paragraph about how much you like travelling.

Get that added level of clarity

For an added level of clarity, running each of your answers to the above while asking yourself the following is important:

  • Is this something I truly want or something that others want?
    • Why do I want this? How would it make me feel?
    • Was I too scared to say what I really wanted?
    • Am I aware of all of the options I could be choosing from for better or worse?
  • Is this a healthy and engaging routine to maintain over long periods of time?
    • …would people who you respect agree?

I believe this is a key part of the exercise because many people realise key things that aren’t obvious on day one. For example, I realised that I value my time and, the freedom to explore / learn very above almost anything else, but I would hate the digital nomad lifestyle. I would hate it because I value having a tight connection to a small group of people more than meeting new people and discovering new cultures. So, I highly recommend not skipping this step.

Review your one-pager and highlight key aspects

The next step is to review all of the things in your one pager. Go back and think about the implications of each sentence. For example…

I typically start my day getting waking up late, like 9am to my wife.

This single line suggests multiple things…

  • You can’t have a job that needs you to be on site by 9am, away from your wife
  • You’re not going to be in traffic or, answering Customer Service Emails at 6am
  • You need a wife …or a husband, maybe just a long term partner
  • You need a room, potentially in a house with a bed in it – do you need to own the house?
  • If you are waking up in a large room with high ceilings in a major city you might need a significant income
  • You need work out how to make a significant income without working 9am – 5pm

Now, ask yourself – does this all add up?

Once this your Ideal Average Day is documented, every time you look at a business opportunity, one of the first things you should do is, evaluate how running the business will develop or take away from your ideal average day and, for how long.

 

 

 

 

First, you should know that this is an on-going process. What you might want today could change in a month or year from now, that’s totally fine. You should use this exercise to understand what you really want, it’s not for any other purpose so if what you want changes, change your description of your IAD.

This is part of setting clear goals.

Doing this will help you set clear goals that will resonate with you and help you to create goals and objectives which you’ll hold yourself accountable to.

Now for actually putting pen to paper…

At a high-level, the process of creating your ideal average day should look something like:

  1. Brainstorm
    • Open up a notebook or a new word document on your computer
    • Simply write down all of the things you enjoy. At this point it’s just a brain dump of all the things you’d like to own, achieve or experience.
  2. Map out the day
    1. Next,  create a table on another page or in Excel with 2 columns; ‘Time’ and ‘Activity’
    2. Divide the rows into hour increments in the first column starting with 5 am until you have a full day mapped out
    3. Add the ideas noted in your brainstorm into the hours
  3. Create a narrative
    1. Turn the time-table into a description of your day

 

Tips for brainstorming

  • What would you like to do during the day while your friends are at work?
  • What kind of room would you wake up in?
  • Who would you wake up next to?
  • Will you have kids? Where would they be?
  • What kind of income would be needed to maintain your lifestyle?
  • Where would you like to live?
  • What kind of home would you live in? Apartment in the city or house in the country? Both?
  • Who would you live with?
  • What would your partner enjoy doing daily?
  • What do you value? Personal connections, time, money…? how can you factor these in?

 

Thoughts on mapping out your day

At this point, you’re trying to see how things would fit into the day. Equally you could be doing this for the week. Maybe you’d be at work during the week and with your family evenings and weekends.

 

Next you should break down your ideal average day into prioritised objectives with timelines.

 

 

My Ideal Average Day

In line with the Ideal Average Day exercise, here’s mine…

I wake up at 6am to my beautiful girlfriend feeling well rested. We’d start the day by having sex or working out, followed by a breakfast.

Our breakfast would consist of fresh fruit or scrambled eggs & toast. With ice cold water and juices. We’ll eat by a large window over looking the city, while smiling and talking about what we want to do with the day.

While my girlfriend is in the large shower, I typically check on my ventures by reviewing dashboards. My dashboards give me a birds-eye view of my projects’ metrics. I typically focus on the acquisition, retention, and cashflow. This gives me some indication of where I need to focus and what my next moves are.

At this point, Journal then, dive into messages from; family, friends, clients and, the guys that I work with. I’ll be getting updates on business projects, sales recently closed, Investment opportunities, marketing opportunities, adventures and events that we’re all excited about. I will also be confirming sales and checking in on happy customers. I normally round up by pinging a few things to our assistant like booking flights, and booking some time with my mentee.

When my girlfriend is done in the shower and getting dressed, I normally jump in the shower while she checks on her business.

Once I’m out of the shower, we’ll chat about the dogs, flying out to London / NY, parties, dinners and girls we want to have sex with, while I am getting dressed and we’re making our way down 20 plus floors. While selecting between our vintage cars and the S Class, we are greeted by friends and staff before we leave the building.

Once in the car, we head to one of the popular shopping districts to pick up some things for our friends and ourselves. We’d both have our laptops / iPads on us, so after shopping and a light lunch at one of the best restaurants in the city. We often have lunch with business partners and clients too. After which, we’d separate to go and get some stuff done from our work spaces.

I mostly work in a beautiful shared office in Manhattan or Canary Wharf. They are great places to getting work done, bouncing ideas off the guys and, meeting clients. I enjoy my work; closing deals; adding value by rolling out new features; optimising marketing strategies and, building my portfolio. I get paid well because I add massive value to the other businesses.

Wrapping up the work day, I typically respond to messages on the way home. These will be confirmations from our assistant; tattoos, flights, sales closed, funny things from the family / friends and anyone I want to see before I fly out.

Once back, I freshen up then change into a casual suit while my misses gets ready and we head out to dinner with friends. The dinner is held at a friends house or one of the best restaurants in town. The evening is filled with laughter and ends with a starlit walk home on a warm summer’s evening. If it’s cold out, I’ll book an UberLux.

Tools for finding the email addresses for people you need to contact

For those of you looking for B2B leads for your business, LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool but, it can be tricky getting contact details without a premium account.

In this video, I show you how to use Skrapp, a really powerful tool for getting contact details to add to your CRM / pipeline…

 

Visit Skrapp

It might also be worth checking out hunter.io, it’s a really popular tool in the bootstrapping community.

 

Further reading & resources

How to work out your runway for non-accountants

One of your main goals on this journey should simply be to stay alive – the ability to cover your bills, rent and food.

  • It’s simply budgeting over time
  • Here is why it’s useful
  • Revisit it monthly
  • Here is how to build a basic cashflow thats easy to understand
  • Here is how to extend your runway
    • Lower costs
    • Sell more
      • Optimise your funnel
      • Old fashioned sales
      • Ebay stuff you don’t need
    • Take a loan
      • I recommend avoiding this at all costs, you are simply pushing back the expense, but it can be useful if you get your unit economics under control
    • Take on investment

Starting to feel out my chosen market

The opportunity for Indie Hackers is growing right now. More and more people are trying to build businesses online. More and more people are happy to try out new software. More and more people expect to use software while working and to pay for it. I truly believe one simply has to pick a market and do a decent job, not even great, or amazing, just good and they can make a living wage.

Think about it, I am not trying to start a company of 15 people. I don’t need to manage a payroll of 15+ people. Assuming that I was paying 15 people on average £2,000 a month that’s £30,000 a month. £360,000 a year. Thats before the office, desks, computers, software… I would be happy with £30,000 a year from my next project LOL …I wouldn’t stop there but it would be an amazing start or benchmark to hit.

Let’s look at some numbers – to hit £30,000 a year for something I could charge £29 for a month – I would need 86 users throughout the year. If it was an ebook, I would need to sell 1,034. Now there is obviously a cost per acquisition but, these numbers are obviously achievable.

Going back to look at where I am with my project for getting there. I currently have a few app ideas that I like and want to build:

  1. Digital Downloads Cart, which I am thinking of calling “Soobu”
  2. The AirBnB for ads platform

…there are others, but the main issue here is that these are not monthly subscription businesses. They are businesses that rely on the customer making sales so I can in turn make a percentage from the sale. While I know there is a lot of demand for these businesses, it also means it will be hard to get decent unit economics from paid traffic. I would have to rely on content and referrals. While I don’t think this would be impossible, it’s ideal. I want to have as many options as possible.

I will have a look through some of the other ideas I have…

  • SMS blaster – send out SMS rather than just email
  • Simple Dojo – this could be monthly but I haven’t figured out what to do about video hosting
  • Excel course for accountants…

None of these ideas are in the right vein. I will go look at the funnel of one of my personas to see what they are currently doing…

Looking at Cici the “Six Figure Chick”…

She has an Instagram profile, which she updates daily. This is where new followers find her, and where she keeps her community engaged until they are ready to buy from her.

She keeps people engaged with a mixture of Inspirational content and advice on building personal brands and businesses on Instagram.

While at first glance it would seem like there is nothing original here, she is one of the best people in the game as far as I can tell. Her delivery is rough around the edges, but she is VERY consistent and knows her market inside out. She’s built an amazing business and should be commended for it.

Back to her funnel – The link in her bio leads to a landing page with links in it…

The design of this page is very simple, clean and, to the point. It’s simply buttons with text on them, pretty much what I was trying to achieve with lnks.to

When you click on the links they all lead to a samcart.com page selling everything from free ebooks to $1,000+ consulting packages…

When you sit back and think about it, it’s classic internet marketing: “Buy my ebook on how I got rich selling ebooks” LOL, but it works.

While I have never used or even looked at SamCart in the past, it looks like a solid, feature rich platform…

Interestingly, you pay monthly for this platform…

This is good to know, while it would take me some time before I am able to compete from a features perspective, it means the market may not be against paying monthly for platforms like this. Having said that, I wouldn’t know what to do about transaction fees. I would have to pay these myself. While they could be rolled into the monthly fee, I think that would be a risky play.

It just occurred to me that it might be worth making a membership site, so form people pay to have access to your entire volt. Or maybe they pay to get access to the information, which is kinda in the site so there can always be ads to other things right by the content. You can add ads to ebooks as I have done lots of times in the past, but they will be out of date shortly if not handled well. I could potentially do a video on how I went about building ebooks.

Back to looking at the funnel…

Looking at Cici’s SamCart landing pages, it looks like you’re buying ebooks

Doing a quick search to see if many instagram accounts are linking to SamCart pages…

Only 413 results. This suggests that I am looking at this in the wrong place.

I will check twitter and then see if I can search linktr.ee

…again, not much with twitter…

Not much here for now, but back to looking at Cici’s funnel…

When you go to her site, interestingly the home page is the collection of links as seen above but, there are other pages…

She’s got…

  • A blog
  • Earn with Cici, leads to the page with links
  • About, is her story
  • Contact page

Very simple site, most of her efforts are on Instagram so, not sure she’d need much else. Interestingly, she (and I have seen this on many other sites) has a page where she talks about tools she uses on a regular basis…

This post allows me to see what tools she uses and what she likes about them. It also has comments from some of her followers. This means I can see what some of them are interested in and what their likes and dislikes are.

I can go through this to work out what she’s using and look for subscription based tools. Knowing that this is one of the common behaviours in this market makes it much easier to look for ideas. It also means I might be able to reach out to these creators to see if they would be interested in creating a review for sharing with their followers. This can be a really powerful way to grow, especially when linked to an affiliate or referral program.

I’ve got to take a break for now as I have to make something to eat and sort out some stuff before the day is over, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Goal Cards

Creating goal cards

 

Once you have mapped out your Ideal Average Day and, broken it down into your goals. One you might want to consider making Goal Cards.

This isn’t my idea, I got it from an old school friend, years ago and I’m grateful he share it with me. The underlying concept is pretty simple: On one side of the card you have an image and on the other you have your clearly written goal. By having your goals in this format, you can take them with you where ever you go. Each time you reach into your pocket, they will be a reminder of what you are or, should be working towards.

They don’t have to be perfect. My Goal Cards are simply printed at home (I was out of colour ink at the time). I trimmed them with scissors to fit laminating pouches from Amazon. I don’t even have a laminator, I use an iron with some cloth over the card. Works surprisingly well.