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I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico last week for Disrupt Week  .  It is a gathering of all things tech, startup enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, influencers, digital nomads, blockchain, coders, marketers, and creators.

I was lucky to sneak in some time with investor Jennifer Hopp.  She is a successful entrepreneur turned investor from Silicon Valley.  She relocated to Puerto Rico out of her passion to help build up the economy after Hurricane Maria in 2017 by fostering the emerging tech/startup ecosystem.  She is using her talents to play a big role in the community and mentor the young entrepreneurs.

We shot this video in Old San Juan which has an old iconic feel with it’s vibrantly colored buildings and weathered down cobblestone streets.  She had some great advice for entrepreneurs on product market validation, raising money, selling to your ideal customers and tips on how she stays fit while running not just one but multiple companies.  To me that’s the true sign of success when someone prioritizes the things that truly matter (health, relationships, giving back) in their life while still hustling hard to create their impact in the world.  Unfortunately most people are so fixed on being successful in business and economics, even if they achieve it they do it at the sacrifice of their health and relationships.

Here are some key takeaways from Jen’s talk:

 

On Deciding Whether you Have a Good Idea

Test ideas before investing time and money on it

Before talking with investors make sure it works on paper first!

If it doesn’t work on paper it’s probably not going to work in reality 🙂

You want revenue to exceed cost

Unit by unit basis price of product needs to be higher than cost.  Rule of thumb price is at least 2x more than cost.  (while this seems obvious and simple Jen sees smart people get stuck on this a lot!)

Find your target customer.  How many of them exist?  Get your product in front of them and get feedback from your market and see if they will buy it and recommend it to their friends!

 

On Raising Money From Investors

Understand who the investor is.

Investors are people just like you.

Investors aren’t in it just to make money.

Understand what motivates them.

What feeling are they going after?

 

How Jen Stays Fit While Running Her Companies 

Don’t have time?  Take a deep breath.  Pretend you had a flat tire.  What would happen?

You will figure it out.  At end of day nobody will be upset with you.

1. We often pack our schedules with things that are unnecessary

2. We don’t leave enough gaps in our time for ‘flat tires’.  Carve out time – an extra hour a day.

3. We don’t recognize the world is still going to go on without us.

Working out is productive time.  Ideas come when she works out.  Brain shifts and becomes more creative

always flexibility.  So while most people think taking time away from sitting in front of the computer/doing direct work-related activities is a negative, Jen sees working out as a productive activity because it gives her the ability to solve problems and see things in more creative ways.

Set a plan and execute on it as much as you can AND be flexible and use guidelines. FLEXIBILITY is key!

Jen prefers a high protein diet based on what her body tells her.

Set yourself up for success.  Doesn’t allow saturated fat or sugar in her house so she isn’t tempted.

Enjoys her cheat meal once in a while!

 

Connect with Jennifer Hopp

Instagram

BizStart.Live

 

Hope you enjoyed this!

Comment below on a key takeaway!

Best comment gets a free gift!

 

The biggest problem we find people have when starting their business is generating revenue.

It’s ‘deer in the headlights’ and they get caught in all the other fancy strategies out there to avoid doing what they need to do most….go out and talk to people and convert them into a paying customer.

I also got caught in this trap when I was starting my business.  I was looking for the best program or trying to build the ultimate sales funnel.

The cure is a concept I heard from Noah Kagan, founder of AppSumo, called ‘the velocity to a dollar’.

All you have to do is go out and sell your product/service for$1!

It seems so simple and so insignificant, why would you do it?  $1 isn’t going to move the needle for a business.

True.

The reason is the same concept you want to just get in the gym for 5 minutes if you’ve never worked out before.  5 minutes quickly turns into 30 minutes, an amazing workout, momentum and a great body six months later.

Same with generating revenue for your biz!  Once you break through the fear of selling and earning money for your labor.  You will build on the success and find it exhilarating!

That’s it.  Go out and try it now!  I will send $10 to the first person who completes it and comments below!

I’ve been getting my feet wet in the crypto world.  I invested a small amount that I am willing and able to totally part with if anything happens in the volatile world of cryptocurrency and blockchain.  I hesitate to even call it investing as cryptocurrencies are highly speculative and pretty much nobody knows much about it.

So why would I get into this?  Because I believe in the blockchain technology behind it and I also enjoy watching the markets and trading from time to time.  Bitcoin could be worth $100,000 one day or it is highly possible bitcoin and all the alt coins get totally wiped out in the next few years.

I’m not a registered investment advisor so take this all with a grain of salt, along with anyone else you talk to.  Even a professional because everyone’s advice is filtered through their beliefs and values so you need to do what is in line with your own beliefs and values.  Most investment advisors would not even talk with you about cryptocurrencies as even Warren Buffett thinks it is a big waste of time.  If the Oracle of Omaha is against crypto that is a big red flag and has swayed a lot of my own optimism about it.

Despite all this I still choose to play in the crypto world for the reasons I mentioned above.  For people who do want to get into crypto the first place most get started is with Coinbase.  It is an online platform that brokers exchanges of the main cryptos Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin and has over 13 million users.  From there if you want to get into alt coins and make trades there are other exchanges that have access to more coins.  Three of the top ones are Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX – a product of Coinbase), Bittrex and Binance.  The one I use is Binance.

Here’s how I transfer funds from my Coinbase account to Binance so I can make trades with other coins:

 

FIRST

Go to your Coinbase account and then at the top of your screen select accounts.

If you’re on mobile then Accounts will be at the bottom of your screen.

 

SECOND

Choose the cryptocurrency that you want to send from your wallets.

 

THIRD

Now you have to enter the address that is found in your Binance account.

If you’re on mobile tap on the little paper airplane icon on the top right hand side of your screen.

Then enter the amount you want to send.

To find this address go into your Binance account

Select funds at the top of your screen (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile) and then tap on deposits withdrawals.

On mobile it’s just Deposit at the top.

Tap on deposit on the cryptocurrency you’re transferring and then get the deposit address.

 

FOURTH

Enter the deposit address that you just got right under recipient in your Coinbase.

Choose the amount you want to send.

On mobile add the address that you just got and then hit send and you’re done!

 

FIFTH

Hit continue and make sure to check all the details of the transaction and then complete the send.

 

When I first started my business I was fumbling around like a fish out of water.  And honestly I still do in many ways as business is has many dynamic facets you must learn to master and new levels of growth come with new sets of problems to solve.

Business is about constant innovation and the world is changing faster than ever because of technological advancements.  For some people that freaks them out and they contract into their comfort zone.  For others it means possibility and they expand into the unknown.

In the beginning I was enamored by the success stories I saw of companies hitting it big.  I wanted that too!  I wanted to scale from 0 to tons of customers overnight.  By trying to get everyone as my customer, nobody was my customer.

In truth I was more focused on me vs. my clients and what I was actually doing for them!  Like most people who get into business I fell into the trap of doing it solely for my reasons and focused on my needs vs. trying to meet my customers’ needs and solve their problems.

I read an article by Kevin Kelly founder of WIRED Magazine  called ‘1,000 True Fans’ and it gave me a new perspective on how to approach my business.  In essence as the title suggests if you focus on nurturing your core audience you can run a successful enterprise.  It’s cool if you want to grow a bigger business than 1,000 customers but the principle is that you must focus on starting with your core audience and it ripples out from there.  Most people do it backwards in that they look to get thousands of customers without adding any deep value and cultivating a relationship with them.  Even the biggest companies that exist today (Amazon, Airbnb, Facebook) started with a small group of customers and grew from that base because they created so much value for them to start with.

It is totally achievable to create a successful business where you can share your creative work and live a financially independent lifestyle.  If you can get your 1,000 customers to pay you $100/year that’s $100,000 in revenue!

Here’s the article (1000 True Fans) and I also made a video for you below:

 

How can implementing this concept help you in your business?  Comment below!

Abrazo!

Naeem

One key skill successful people have is the ability to turn problems into opportunities.  They alchemize the painful experience and turn it into a pleasurable one.  Here’s a video I made that discusses more about it:

If you like what you read comment below, subscribe to my email list and share it with someone who’d like to know this!

You just need to take one step after the next.  You just need to listen to your heart and let it shine through.  You don’t need to do everything all at once.  You don’t need to come up with a secret formula for success.  The main problem people have on their road to achieving their vision is a lack of forward progress.  The reason people lack forward progress is twofold.  First, most people are overwhelmed by all the things they need to do so they try to come up with a special ‘hack’ to have things magically work out perfectly.  Second, most people also are so concerned with the end result of being successful and only focus on the ‘overnight’ successes they see that they try to do everything yesterday.  I am speaking from my own experience as well on these insights btw … I still do get caught in these patterns of behavior sometimes and then I also do my very best to nip it in the bud right away.

To be great at anything you must practice and it takes time to build and create great work, especially a masterpiece.  The daily repetition of a skill is what creates works that we look upon with wonder and will create unimaginable new works in the future.  Solve one small problem after the next until you get to your destination.

A good example of this is Matt Damon’s scene from “The Martian” below:

You also must connect your heart with what you are doing.  You must have your heart in it because that provides you with the fuel to keep on going when you feel defeated.  When your heart is in it the end result is also irrelevant because you are already at the end result each moment.  You love what you are doing each small step of the way.  The reason you are moving towards a vision is because growth is a human need you want to fulfill and challenges are what make life worth living.  You aren’t moving towards a vision to achieve and be significant because that pattern leads to an unfulfilled life.

When your heart is in it you are sending the vibration of love into your work and people can feel it.  They feel your essence and it leads to them sharing your work with people they care about.  Two people each share it with two more people.  Those people share it with two more people and so on.  That is how viral success happens … small steps from the heart.

Have you ever wondered why some people/companies gain traction and others don’t?  I did.  I struggled a lot when I first started creating for my business.  I saw people creating amazing work with positive feedback from their audience and I felt like I was spinning my tires.  The difference between what the successful people were doing and I was doing was they were sharing their work and observing the feedback/lack of feedback they received from their audience.  I was holding back from sharing my work and I wasn’t paying attention to my audience.  I was creating what I thought people wanted and actually was focusing more on what I wanted.  Also, in all honesty I didn’t want to know what others thought of my work because I was embarrassed to find out if they didn’t like it.

A great strategy I read in Tim Ferriss’ book “Tools of Titans” is from Seth Godin, one of the best marketers out there is called the rule of 10.  Tell 10 people about your idea/product/service, show 10 people and share it with 10 people.  The test is what they do with it.  If they decide to share it with others in their network that is a good sign.  If they don’t that means you might strongly consider iterating.

Do you know why most small businesses can’t get off the ground?  Are you one of them?  The challenge is that most businesses don’t know who their customer is!  Even those who have done the standard customer avatar roadmap on a business model canvas, few delve into it as deep as they should given it’s importance to any business.  You don’t know what you don’t know and the customer is who you need to know!

Jeff Bezos at Amazon obsesses over his customers.  He wants to meet their needs and wants and desires.  Even beyond that he anticipates what they will need and want and desire and invents it for them.

Steve Jobs said he invents what his customers want next.

As  Henry Ford said,

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

 

Bezos says it is not the customer’s job to know what they want, it is his job.  He loves it!

 

If you found this post valuable share it, like it, comment and let me know what you liked/didn’t like.  The feedback helps me grow and refine what I do so I can put out better work for you!

 

Do you ever have trouble getting started on something?  Or perhaps you get stuck in the process of a project and don’t know what to do next.  I have had plenty of those moments and they still pop up for me.  A client of mine mentioned this happens for her as well and she went on to ask, “how do you snowball your motivation once you do get going?”  It can be tough to keep the momentum going when you run into a road block which is inevitable.  One way is to reframe the idea of problems as challenges that are part of the process you are going through.  They are the workout you need to become the bigger stronger person you need to be so you can have a greater impact in this world.  Also I love the quote that says, “every problem is an opportunity in disguise.”  If you choose to look at your problems this way, which is what successful people do the entire paradigm shifts.  It’s not always easy as life can have it’s ups and downs, it is worth it though.

When it comes to business successful entrepreneurs take on an experimental mindset and test their ideas.  They do not see things as right/wrong, they test the market/their customers to get feedback and then refine their ideas.  Most people get tripped up in business because they are doing it to meet their needs vs. their clients’ needs.  It’s true many businesses start with the founder scratching their own itch and the ones that go on to become profitable also make sure to come up with solutions for their customers.  They find out the answers by reframing the problems they are up against as experiments and they test them to get real life feedback and information.  In the video I talk about three simple questions my friend, a successful entrepreneur who sold his business, asks himself when getting started each day and when he gets stuck.

What’s the simplest thing you can do now?

What’s the easiest thing you can do now?

What’s the thing that will give you the biggest return on your time?

Those are the questions above!  What do you think.  Are you willing to try it out when you get stuck?  If you find it useful or not send me some feedback so I know 🙂