Use The 1–50 Rule to Make Money Within the Next 24 Hours


Danny Forest, VNP in Entrepreneur’s Handbook

A fast and profitable way to launch new projects

I stopped counting how many products and services I’ve built that have made money from day one.I’m not talking huge money, but money nonetheless. What I’ve learned will change your mindset forever on how to approach new projects to test their viability.Here’s the method:

The 1–50 Rule

For any new project you’re thinking about starting, ask yourself:How can I build and launch this in ONE day and still deliver 50% of the results?We all have big ideas. Ideas that would take weeks, months, or even years to build. I have those at least once a week and, obviously, I can’t build them all.For example, I know a few people who want to start coaching other people but take months before they release their services. I did that in an hour or two using takes only a few minutes and you can start coaching others right way. You set the price per minute. People can call you during your available hours or can book online appointments with you.What’s important in a coaching business? Bringing results for your clients. That’s it. That’s more than 50% of the results in less than a day’s work.You can charge any amount of money you want per minute. I was charging $5/minute, which amounts to $300/hour if fully booked for the hour.I’ll mention other examples below.

What makes the 1–50 Rule work?

1. It forces you to think outside the box

Are you scared of starting a project because it’s too ambitious?We’ve all been there.Maybe you decided to start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) but you really couldn’t figure out where to cut the development costs. If you’re thinking “development,” you’re already thinking too far.Start thinking about how can you cut the development of the product to one day. Stop saying it’s impossible and get ready to think differently.

2. You can actually fit the 1–50 Rule into your schedule

I hear so many people say that they don’t have the time to implement their big ideas. Well, it’s likely true. Their ideas are too big to be accomplished by traditional methods.When you figure out a way to build your idea in one day and yield 50% of the results, suddenly the schedule doesn’t seem so tight anymore.

3. You can bring immense value to people with just 50% of the results

I’m a software engineer by trade. I do appreciate a well-crafted, bug-free software. But you know what I appreciate more? Helping as many people as efficiently as possible, and sometimes that comes at the cost of imperfection.

4. You can be profitable much faster than you think

When you launch a product in one day, you save a tremendous amount on development cost and can start generating money right away.Most of my 1–50 products have been profitable from day 1 without much marketing effort. In the coaching app mentioned above,, they feature your profile in the categories you should be in. People who use the app are already looking for coaching, like people search for books on Amazon.

How you can apply the 1–50 Rule for your projects

Here’s a 5-step process for using the rule for your next ambitious project.

Step 1: Define what 100% of the results mean for your project

Be as clear as possible on that. Use quantifiable metrics:I want my users to make at least $100/month writing one hour a day five times a week.I want my users to learn one new skill every month.I want my users to achieve 80% of the goals they set for themselves every month.I want my users to get 50% more views on their articles.Try to limit it to one or two quantifiable metrics at most. What is the real value you bring to your users with the product or service?

Step 2: Define what tasks and actions need to be done to get to 100% of the results

How is the product or service going to get built? Is it a course, a website, a spreadsheet template, a custom-built software, a physical product, a service, something else?What are its components? How many web pages? What are they? How many worksheets? What are they? What material do you need to build the product? Do I need a community?What action steps do you need to take? Can you do this alone? Do you need freelancers? Do you need to go to the store and buy material? Do you need to contact anyone?

Step 3: Rate how critical each task and action is to the intended result using a percentage

For each of the components from step 2, figure out how much each contributes to reaching the desired results. Spend a good amount of time on this.If we use the coaching example, 100 percent of the results means helping your customers reach the goals you set together.Here’s how one might break it down (there’s no right or wrong):1%: Create a home page for a website1%: Create a contact page for a website1%: Integrate a payment system on the website1%: Set up an email provider1%: Set up a customer database1%: Set up a calendar1%: Sign up for a video call software (or use phone if operating within the same country)5%: Strategic planning60%: Do the calls27%: Follow up with your clientI’m greatly simplifying everything here, but looking at this, you can understand how overwhelming it may seem at first until you realize that most of the tasks don’t bring you closer to the results.Find solutions that take care of the barriers to entry, which typically don’t bring results. In that example, takes care of all of the above except for the last three. That’s your job! 🙂

Step 4: Combine the tasks and actions leading to about 50% of the results

To use another example, if I want my users to get 50% more views on their articles, what components deliver roughly 50% of the results?The headline is always the number one thing to focus on to get more views. The product, therefore, needs a good way to craft better headlines.

Step 5: Figure out which existing tools you can use for each task and action, and how to combine them to achieve 50% of the results.

This is very important. Don’t re-invent the wheel if you don’t need to! There are so many great tools out there to make products and services really quick.By combining the above tools, you can create many different types of products and services in less than a day.

Step 6: Use your mailing list, friends, local events, and social networks to promote the new product or service.

Most products or services you’ll create in a single day won’t have a very high price tag. A mailing list, however small, should bring you some sales. On your next newsletter, casually mention your new offering after you add value to them for free.You can also show it to your friends. They may not buy but they can spread the word for you and give you testimonials. Word of mouth is still incredibly powerful. Try to show people one-on-one for a more personal interaction.You can promote on social media but always remember that people buy from people. Anything that looks like an ad will not work. Make it a story.An overlooked way to sell is the join local events and mastermind groups. Inevitably, you’ll talk about yourself and what you do. Many times people will be curious and ask for more. Many are genuinely helpful and will either buy your product or help spread the word.

More examples to get you started

Create an email course

A few people I know created a course that was distributed solely by using email. It consisted of sending one important lesson every day for 30 days. This can easily be done using Mailerlite, Mailchimp or any mailing list product. If you have the content already, putting the product together should take no time at all. If you don’t have the content already, well, you’ve got a day between each email!Depending on your “renown,” you can charge anywhere from $30 to $300 for such a course. If you make a single sale that day, you’ll already make $30. But what’s nice about an email course is that you’ll continue making money after its release, constantly increasing its value.

Create a paid newsletter

Niklas Göke started a paid newsletter called Empty Your Cup using Substack. Within an hour, you can get it running , start building a list, and send emails. You can use Patreon in a similar way also, like Shannon Ashley did here.Nik charges $5/month for it and signed up many people. This takes much less than 24 hours to get running and can bring you good recurring revenues.Similarly, Shannon charges $5 or up to $20 per month for it.

Create an eBook from content you’ve already written

My first three books were put together in less than a day because the content was already written. I used Scrivener to take the best content from some of my most popular articles and I created books out of it. I published on Amazon Kindle and each book was approved within 24 hours.Using Amazon Kindle, you can promote your book for free for a short period of time so you can gather invaluable reviews. Once you have a few reviews, the sales can pick up decently enough. If you do things right, selling 100 copies within a month is certainly doable, and the more reviews you gather, the easier it becomes to sell.

Create spreadsheet templates

My productivity tools are Airtable templates. They are worth something because they are organized in ways that save people time. And many people are not creative or knowledgeable enough to get them started from scratch.I was charging $100 for the whole package and sold over 10 of them within the first week. Implementing these templates took me about 7 hours in total, so that’s worth more than $100/hour and they keep making me more for months after.


The 1–50 Rule is about releasing a product built in one day that provides 50% of the value to the user, then scaling from there.This approach accomplishes two amazing things:You receive early feedback from your users; andSome money to help you bring it to the next level.With baby steps, you can reach 100% results while getting both money and valuable feedback from your early adopters.So, next time you think of another big and ambitious project, think about the 1–50 Rule. Think outside the box and figure out what tools you can combine in creative ways to build your product or service. Using the 1–50 Rule, you can start making profits within less than 24 hours.It’s time to outpace your competition and try the 1–50 Rule out for your next project!You can do this!

This Is What It Takes to Go from $0 to $1 Million in Less Than One Year

I came across an individual who figured out how to start a successful business from zero multiple times.No resources, no capital, no investors.His name is Michael Sherman, a Long Island native. He launched his latest business LetterDash in July 2018. One year later, he says his business is on track to pull in over $100,000 in revenue in July 2019.Previously, he started a handful of other businesses, including Qualified Impressions, which reached $2M per year before decline, Penalty Be Gone, $500,000 before decline, and Great Agencies, $100,000 per year.I was intrigued to know what his process looks like: what, exactly, does he do to build these companies?So I reached out, and picked his brain over a chat. Here’s what he said.

Michael Sherman’s Story

Stephen Moore
 in Entrepreneur’s Handbook

Michael Sherman, CEO of LetterDashWhen I ask Michael to define what he does, he says that he’s not sure what to call his “profession.”Before becoming what he is today, he gave the 9–5 a shot — about 10 times.His résumé of jobs is varied. In no particular order, he has done door-to-door sales selling vacuums, worked at Home Depot and McDonalds, became a licensed investment banker, tried his hand at computer tech, and even became a licensed bartender.His education is no different. Michael transferred in and out of a total of five different universities before finally graduating, and that was all after dropping out of high school.Nothing gave him the excitement or passion he craved. So he took a different path — entrepreneurship — and never looked back.Each business Michael built achieved a healthy profit — and he did that with nothing more than his brain, a laptop, and a couple of Google Ads coupons.His latest company, LetterDash, an on-demand legal letter sending service, just turned one year old. Michael shared some of the financial figures from the year so far —July 7, 2018 — spent $18; generated a single lead; generated $4,000 during month 1.August — about $11,000.January — about $56,000.May 2019 — about $79,000.June 2019 — about $105,000.July 2019 — Over $100,000 (final numbers aren’t in yet).But Michael has gained far more than just money from LetterDash. The experience has been full of learning, and below he shares the lessons you can learn from his journey.

1. Don’t Rush to Raise Capital

When he started LetterDash, he didn’t need or want to raise capital. He explained that raising capital only adds layers of complications and pressure.“These pressures come in many forms — pressure to grow fast, pressure to hire, pressure to put up numbers.”And this pressure can lead to bad decisions, he warns.In the end, he started the business with a bank account of zero, no framework, and no plan.There was nothing but an idea. He says that all you need in the early days is the commitment to grow from there.

2. Don’t Rush Into Development

Michael learned this lesson the hard way. He invested heavily in building software applications for previous companies and all of the businesses failed miserably.He had learned that the software produced was never the problem. The problem was that he had focused solely on his vision and on how it would be executed, before figuring out who the software was for.In the case of LetterDash, he says that the software they would have developed would have automated the interactions between the client, LetterDash, and the attorney.But now that the company is up and running, he sees that it would have been completely useless, and was able to dedicate resources elsewhere.His advice?“Get customers first, build your software later. It’s cool to say you have software, it’s much cooler to say you have revenue from paying customers.”

3. Start Small …and Boring

Getting to a million is never easy. It might be easy for the Elon Musks of the world, those with deep connections and vast resources, who can spend millions in advertising and infrastructure.For all the Michael Shermans out there, it’s easier said than done.He said his approach to building LetterDash was boring and straightforward.“We spent about 15 minutes of keyword research using the Google Ads Keyword Tool. There was enough search volume being reported to warrant the green light and test the idea. We came up with a business name, found a cheap .co domain and threw up a very basic, yet credible looking website.”This is a point worth emphasizing. The purpose of the website is to generate leads and validate demand. If both of these are ticked, there is scope to build bigger down the line.“We spent about $100 on web development. We found a Google Ads coupon, I believe it was $100 free for spending $25, we put together a barebones ad campaign and started sending traffic to the site. Twenty-four hours later, we received our first client request. A week later, we had a dozen requests.”This was the indicator he was looking for, and he was now ready to hire some attorneys and begin scaling.

4. You Need to Obsessively Tweak

“There wasn’t a single action or moment that led to success or the $1M in revenue. I’d say there might have literally been a million little tweaks and ideas tested along the way.”Michael says that as they received customer feedback, they began to analyze the success of the letters being sent out by one attorney to another. As they went through responses to the attorneys’ letters, they continuously tested newideas.“We’re constantly tweaking and optimizing the letterheads, the shipping method, the packaging, the presentation, even the language used by the attorneys in the letters.”That same customer feedback led to the formulation of new products and ancillary services that significantly boosted company revenue, without having to worry about new user acquisition costs.“Listening to the customers, what they want and what they need after the primary service was delivered has been key.”

5. Invest in Customer Success

Customers are everything. Their feedback and word of mouth are critical to expanding your client base, and in being able to improve and expand your service.With LetterDash, customer service has played a major role in the growth of the company.“The many 18 hour workdays and time we spent focusing on each tiny thing to make sure the customer was blown away by the service have all been a major factor in our explosive growth and ability to reach that $1M milestone,” says Michael.The biggest lesson here is to focus on customers’ feedback and to use it to improve your service. You must always be focused on making sure every customer is a satisfied one, even when in reality that likely cannot be achieved.

“My Advice Is Nothing Unique”

You might have noticed that the advice Michael offers is nothing unique. You’ve likely seen a lot of it before. And that’s exactly the point. As he said himself, it’s boring and straightforward.But this means it’s replicable. It’s a process that anyone can follow to achieve similar successes.The key takeaway here for entrepreneurs is this: Don’t focus or obsess on anything other than validating demand for your product or solution. In the end, nothing else matters if you don’t have a market.

6 hostage negotiation techniques that will get you what you want

July 1, 2019

Eric Barker

This article originally appeared at Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

These are the techniques that FBI hostage negotiation professionals use to get information and achieve results. Photo: Fort Bragg via FlickrHow does hostage negotiation get people to change their minds? The Behavioral Change Stairway Model was developed by the FBI’s hostage negotiation unit, and it shows the 5 steps to getting someone else to see your point of view and change what they’re doing. It’s not something that only works with barricaded criminals wielding assault rifles — it applies to most any form of disagreement.

There are five steps:

  1. Active Listening: Listen to their side and make them aware you’re listening.
  2. Empathy: You get an understanding of where they’re coming from and how they feel.
  3. Rapport: Empathy is what you feel. Rapport is when they feel it back. They start to trust you.
  4. Influence: Now that they trust you, you’ve earned the right to work on problem-solving with them and recommend a course of action.
  5. Behavioral Change: They act. (And maybe come out with their hands up.)

The problem is, you’re probably screwing it up.

What you’re doing wrong

In all likelihood you usually skip the first three steps. You start at 4 (Influence) and expect the other person to immediately go to 5 (Behavioral Change).And that never works.Saying “Here’s why I’m right and you’re wrong” might be effective if people were fundamentally rational.But they’re not.From my interview with former head of FBI international hostage negotiation, Chris Voss:…business negotiations try to pretend that emotions don’t exist. What’s your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or ‘BATNA’?  That’s to try to be completely unemotional and rational, which is a fiction about negotiation. Human beings are incapable of being rational, regardless… So instead of pretending emotions don’t exist in negotiations, hostage negotiators have actually designed an approach that takes emotions fully into account and uses them to influence situations, which is the reality of the way all negotiations go…The most critical step in the Behavioral Change Staircase is actually the first part: active listening. The other steps all follow from it. But most people are terrible at listening. Here’s Chris again: If while you’re making your argument, the only time the other side is silent is because they’re thinking about their own argument, they’ve got a voice in their head that’s talking to them. They’re not listening to you. When they’re making their argument to you, you’re thinking about your argument, that’s the voice in your head that’s talking to you. So it’s very much like dealing with a schizophrenic. If your first objective in the negotiation, instead of making your argument, is to hear the other side out, that’s the only way you can quiet the voice in the other guy’s mind. But most people don’t do that. They don’t walk into a negotiation wanting to hear what the other side has to say. They walk into a negotiation wanting to make an argument. They don’t pay attention to emotions and they don’t listen. The basics of active listening are pretty straightforward:

  1. Listen to what they say. Don’t interrupt, disagree or “evaluate.”
  2. Nod your head, and make brief acknowledging comments like “yes” and “uh-huh.”
  3. Without being awkward, repeat back the gist of what they just said, from their frame of reference.
  4. Inquire. Ask questions that show you’ve been paying attention and that move the discussion forward.

So what six techniques do FBI hostage negotiation professionals use to take it to the next level?

1. Ask open-ended questions

You don’t want yes/no answers, you want them to open up. Via Crisis Negotiations, Fourth Edition: Managing Critical Incidents and Hostage Situations in Law Enforcement and Corrections: A good open-ended question would be “Sounds like a tough deal. Tell me how it all happened.” It is non-judgmental, shows interest, and is likely to lead to more information about the man’s situation. A poor response would be “Do you have a gun? What kind? How many bullets do you have?” because it forces the man into one-word answers, gives the impression that the negotiator is more interested in the gun than the man, and communicates a sense of urgency that will build rather than defuse tension.

2. Effective pauses

Pausing is powerful. Use it for emphasis, to encourage someone to keep talking or to defuse things when people get emotional. Gary Noesner, author of Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator has said: Eventually, even the most emotionally overwrought subjects will find it difficult to sustain a one-sided argument, and they again will return to meaningful dialogue with negotiators. Thus, by remaining silent at the right times, negotiators actually can move the overall negotiation process forward.

3. Minimal Encouragers

Brief statements to let the person know you’re listening and to keep them talking. Gary Noesner: Even relatively simple phrases, such as “yes,” “O.K.,” or “I see,” effectively convey that a negotiator is paying attention to the subject. These responses will encourage the subject to continue talking and gradually relinquish more control of the situation to the negotiator.

4. Mirroring

Repeating the last word or phrase the person said to show you’re listening and engaged. Yes, it’s that simple — just repeat the last word or two: Gary Noesner: For example, a subject may declare, “I’m sick and tired of being pushed around,” to which the negotiator can respond, “Feel pushed, huh?”

5. Paraphrasing

Repeating what the other person is saying back to them in your own words. This powerfully shows you really do understand and aren’t merely parroting. From my interview with the former head of FBI international hostage negotiation, Chris Voss: The idea is to really listen to what the other side is saying and feed it back to them. It’s kind of a discovery process for both sides. First of all, you’re trying to discover what’s important to them, and secondly, you’re trying to help them hear what they’re saying to find out if what they are saying makes sense to them.

6. Emotional Labeling

Give their feelings a name. It shows you’re identifying with how they feel. Don’t comment on the validity of the feelings — they could be totally crazy — but show them you understand. Via Crisis Negotiations, Fourth Edition: Managing Critical Incidents and Hostage Situations in Law Enforcement and Corrections: A good use of emotional labeling would be “You sound pretty hurt about being left. It doesn’t seem fair.” because it recognizes the feelings without judging them. It is a good Additive Empathetic response because it identifies the hurt that underlies the anger the woman feels and adds the idea of justice to the actor’s message, an idea that can lead to other ways of getting justice. A poor response would be “You don’t need to feel that way. If he was messing around on you, he was not worth the energy.” It is judgmental. It tells the subject how not to feel. It minimizes the subject’s feelings, which are a major part of who she is. It is Subtractive Empathy. Curious to learn more? To get my exclusive full interview with the former head of FBI hostage negotiation Chris Voss (where he explains the two words that tell you a negotiation is going very badly) join my free weekly newsletter. Click here. Join over 140,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.