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Startup Ideas Recap of My First Million Podcast đź’µ Episode #98

The latest startup ideas Sam Par and Ryan Begelman discussed on the August 5, 2020 episode with time stamps and links


Wes Kimbell

Aug 06 2020

7 mins read



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13:00 Ryan begins by explaining why he prefers to boot strap startups rather than raise money.

  • 1) Don’t build capital intensive companies Lots of ways to make a reasonable amount of income. Need little to no money to start and get to $500K and up and even sell it later to a PE
  • 2) Build a company with positive working capital. I.e. build a product where they pay you before you delivery like ads
  • 3) There’s riches in the niches. Don’t worry about giant markets worth billions.
  • 15:40 How do you find / create these types of companies?
  • 1) Look at who PE (private equity) firms are buying because they usually buy profitable businesses and figure out a smaller version of the business to start

17:25 Frameworks

  • Unbundling: Take a look at reddit and what’s hot in the community and take it out and make a community just on that. Or Fivver and see the most popular / profitable niches and break it out into its own platform.
  • “3 Columns”
    • 1st column: Marketing tactics you can study like PPC (pay per click), SEO, etc
    • 2nd column: Monetization methods: sell tickets to an even, sell courses, etc
    • 3rd column: Markets: Study a bunch of markets and cross pollinate them with different permutations.
  • By using the “3 columns” framework you can look at a company you want to buy or start and analyze what they are missing. Ie. they are missing a key marketing tactic, or they are missing an easy way to monetize. Then go fix it.
  • “Hobbies”
    • Get into a bunch of difference hobbies and find a niche in that hobby
    • Come out with products for that niche
    • Test things that are cash flow positive early on
    • Like Pickle Ball that’s one one state but not other states / cities

19:35 Build a “Master Class” for doctors on how to build a successful business

  • Film the top / most famous doctors in America
  • Create a series like Master Class
  • Pay a subscription to learn from other doctors
  • How to get it off the ground without raising money: Persuade 3 or 4 doctors to pay you $4000-$5000 to be a part of a live Zoom interview with other doctors who have made successful practices
  • Use that initial $80,000 from the first 20 doctors to build your service or offering
  • Sam say’s Health Stream is like this: “Health Stream is dedicated to improving patient outcomes through the development of health care organizations’s created asset: their people”
  • Video program that hospitals buy to train doctors / nurses
  • Health Stream does $300M / year in sales

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21:35 Drop servicing / productized servicing

  • Like drop shipping (you don’t manufacture the product or hold inventory but just market and sell it)
  • Drop servicing is where you go on Fivver or Etsy and look for services that exist on those platforms
  • For example: Find a good logo maker contractor on Fivver. Then build a website / company that markets / sells a logo making service and mark up the services from the contractor on Fivver.
  • So if the logo is $5 on Fivver, sell it to your customer higher or as a package with other things.
  • Another example: Brides and grooms who want a drawing of themselves. You can make this your niche and own the marketing on Facebook, Google and duplicate around the country.
  • You can start these without money
  • Sam says Design Pickle does this and makes around $15m/year
  • Sam says one issue is problems with scaling it.
  • Barrier to this type of business: is building a great order management platform. You need a handful of coders from abroad to make this
  • You can hire an agency to make this simpler. On Fivver, some of them are actually agencies.

27:40 Subscription memberships

  • Joel Holland squired a business from a mom and pop called Harvest Host who built a great membership that allows users to find wineries that allows you to park your RVs to stay overnight. 1,400 wineries around the US. You can park your RV for free. Wineries like this because customers. RVers like it because it’s different. Joel improved the website and marketing and now has tens of thousands of RV leads. Low seven figures in profit, not sure about their revenue. They charge $60-$70 per member

32:00 Newsletter niches

  • Newsletters for people that have certain diseases. If you have these diseases you need to keep up with the latest research, the top doctors in the space, etc. A lot of these things you can get gov aid if you can’t afford treatments. There’s a huge learning curve if you have these diseases and people would pay a subscription fee to get a head start on this info.
  • Sam discusses a newsletter that “drips” emails to expectant mothers on what to expect each week and how to help them with issues that typically arise on those weeks of pregnancy
  • Ryan says he likes to combine content, community and experiences: Sam did this with Trends. Great content with a free subscription, small segment pays the paid subscription, built a community around it, can create experiences (like a charity walk for one of the diseases)

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35:40 Experiences and cheap amusements

  • Haunted houses: building and buying them and rolling up the haunted house industry
  • Meow Wolf: Interactive museums. Experience art in cool ways. Take photos and you do the marketing for them when you post on social media. Sam says they do over $100M in yearly sales.
  • Refinery 29: They have a new event business model. They sell sponsors and tickets. Go to Brooklyn, find a cheap warehouse and lease it for 3 weekends. Announce on their newsletter they are coming Brooklyn. Tickets are $50 and sell out. Show up at “red rope” event like a nightclub. Get 29 local artists to pop up a room and build an immersive experience. Each room is branded with a sponsor with a meaningful thing like curing cancer. They light the pale so it’s like a studio which makes for great social media. Sell alcohol. If you can serve alcohol, higher margins. And if you can do corporate events you can bank.

48:40 Burning Man for the south of the US

  • Basically BM is again tale gate
  • People in the South are already into this stuff. They have RVs, they like to tailgate, like to co-create things
  • All you need is an outdoor location like a farm and a bunch of camps
  • BM does not build much at BM. They just mark out the roads and make a giant burning man
  • Go to 20 people and convince them to build a camp and sell tickets to their friends and they then bring everything and build everything
  • BM makes $45M in revenue
  • It’s a non-profit and they break even
  • They do regional events
  • Ryan says you can make a new way of doing events by getting attendees doing the work
  • Sam thinks these are unprofitable and so hard to do. You should only do it if you are a good operator. Ryan agrees you can die a death of a thousand cuts

52:10 New Westminster dog show but for rescue dogs only

  • Huge marketing coop
  • Could launch 6 months before the event and says anyone who has a rescue dog that can do something cool, send me a video
  • Pick the top 100 videos
  • Partner with all the non-profits
  • Sell tens of thousands of tickets to the event.
  • American Kennel Club has over $100M in revenue
  • Dogs are the attraction but all around you have monetizing opportunities like exhibit halls, ads, etc

You can contact Ryan at his website.

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