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 Magnifi.io.It 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, Magnifi.io, 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, Magnifi.io 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!