NEW: “The 7 Day Startup Challenge”

So…

Remember on Wednesday when I told you about the “7 Day Challenge” I issued for myself, and asked you what type of business I should start?

Umm, if you don’t, you need to check this out — the post got almost 100 comments and the tribe came up with some CRAZY ideas — suggesting everything from bank robbing to bake sales.

The premise of the challenge is pretty simple: In 7 days, I’m going to attempt to start a business from scratch that generates at least $1,000 in profit.

There are only 3 rules:

  1. The business cannot be something I’ve done before — so this means internet freelancing, marketing and related hustles are out.
  2. I cannot use the Tribe as leverage — you won’t see me asking anybody on Rich20 to purchase. I’ll show you what I’m doing because I HAVE to, so I guess there will be a certain amount of risk…but there won’t be any sales emails, calls to participate, etc. You don’t need an email list to start a business, and I need you to SEE that!
  3. My initial budget for getting started has to be $25 or less — this is to prove that no matter who you are, or what your situation is, you can DO this.

You gave me great suggestions, and I’ve decided what I’m type of business I’m going to launch.

It’s about to go down…

CAVEMAN STYLE.

 

paleo_snack

Is it just early, or am I extremely hungry?

PALEO is huge right now, and I think the diet protocol itself is ok. I have no feelings for or against it.

But what I DO love about this diet is the devotion of its followers.

Much like the Crossfitters they often overlap with, Paleo dieters are EXTREMELY devoted.

It’s a little cult-ish, actually.

The Unique Selling Proposition (USP): There have already been successful Paleo/raw food snack subscription services, but there’s a hole in the OFFICE space. Nobody is providing high-quality paleo snacks to the work place.

Why the hell not?

Think about it: People who are devoted to the Paleo lifestyle LIVE it 24/7…but most offices buy cheap nabisco crap from Costco.

Devotees everywhere are crying (and sneaking in their own snacks in their desk drawers.)

Shouldn’t we solve their problem?

Shouldn’t we take away their pain?

 

Validation

Now I have to make sure this idea is something people will buy. It seems sound, but I’m not sure.

1.) Do you think it’s a good idea?

2.) How should I go about validating it?

Leave me a comment, and let’s LAUNCH THIS THING!

57 comments
Nick Graf
Nick Graf

Daniel,

How do you plan on getting a distributor so fast?  Do you have something already set up?

Mike Clarkin
Mike Clarkin

Hi y'all.


Being all the way down in Noo-Zeeeland, I had to actually google Paleo to find out what it was! (not so much of a phenomenon down this way)


The comments below make for interesting reading- as do these links;


http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Paleo_diet


http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Fad_diet


If this challenge were to create a sustainable startup in 7 days, I'd say your biggest hurdle would be maintaining longevity in a fickle market.


However as you're just looking to generate $1000 in profit in week one, this should be fairly achievable in any number of ways. Presumably you'll stick with this startup at the end of the week (?!) 


All the best with this one bro, I look forward to seeing how it pans out...


Nice one, Mikey C.



kayvee
kayvee

Man, this challenge is gonna be epic


But im a little unclear...is this a digital business or are you going to provide actual snacks?


I was hoping you would do a digital business since most people would have time for that after work and would have access to more customers


either way man...i wish you success


you da man for doing this

Oliver Armstrong
Oliver Armstrong

This is interesting. I was thinking that you should do something along the food services line as well, since your starting limit of $25 is so low.


It is going to be VERY difficult to grow that money organically in 7 days. Especially since you really only have 5 selling days because 99% of your customer base won't be at work on the weekend. 


@ShellyNajjar I'm also curious about when @Rich20Something will start the countdown timer, when he starts cooking? When he delivers the first batch? The first sales call?


I have to assume you are considering lots of costs, such as gas for deliveries, as an externality not included in the $25 budget. All in all its a cool concept to get ppl thinking about whats possible with almost no overhead.


P.S. I didn't get around to making a suggestion, but it would have been for selling street food to the post bar crowd. Start on Saturday at 2:15am to get 3 weekend nights out of the week. the only research you'd need to to is where the densest concentration of bars is with good foot traffic. You'd sell out first night and have a whole week to organically grow your operating funds until you have enough inventory to probably sell $500 - $1000 just on Friday alone.

ShellyNajjar
ShellyNajjar

So does this not count as part of the "start a business from scratch"? Were you only counting post-launch as the start of 7 days?


It's trendy. I think this could be a good idea depending on which businesses you target. I'd aim for those with wellness programs or local startups because they often have the culture to support providing free "healthy" snacks ("healthy" in quotes because there are varying definitions of the term). And to save time I wouldn't recommend making snacks in house. Source them from somewhere else and resell. And side note: If you store the snacks (even prepackaged), you may have some food laws that affect storage but I'm not certain on that.  For food service establishments it's things like storage  temperature and space from floor and ceiling.

Justin Tan
Justin Tan

Hey Daniel, there definitely is an opportunity to fill that space given how devoted the PALEO diet followers are, however I don't think it's the office members you have to worry about (most likely most places will have 10-20% paleo dieters). Instead I think you would have to focus on contacting the people who buy the snacks for the office, and find out if the officer managers would be willing to buy the snacks. My guess is it would likely come down to price, with a secondary concern for supporting the Paleo dieting staff.


If you were to go directly to the staff though, that would be another option as GeorgeBoyd mentioned below. However that would be harder given the paleo followers likely already stock up on paleo snacks at home and bring them to the office which then reduces your attractiveness a lot. 


I think your first steps should be to contact offices near you to see if they would be interested, and you can see how it goes from there!


Daniel Lucca
Daniel Lucca

I'm a hardcore Paleo person who has a beer from time to time. To validate this idea you could do the following;

1. Go to Google adwords and check out the keyword "Paleo" using PCC cost column instead of volume column. Notice if there is spending interest in those Paleo related keywords.

2. Second I will go to follow.net and check out how much ad spending is been done on this topic. How? google paleo keyword and notice if there are paid ads. Write down the websites and the products they are selling. Then go to follow.net and enter those websites to learn about the products and landing pages used.

3. Answers - Go to Yahoo Answers and enter "paleo" in combination of other related keyword that came from your prodcuts research. Also, enter "Paleo" and the keyword "Office" to learn if someone is having a problem been Paleo in the office.

4. Amazon is the best for letting you know what books are been sold under the Paleo keyword. See if there is a book covering the topic of Paleo and Office and read the negative and the positive comments.

This should get you going,I guess.

Take care and thank you for showing us how to do this

V.

SamuelOkoro
SamuelOkoro

Whoa! Did I just stumble upon something incredibly awesome?

I definitely want to try this as well!

QuintonHamp
QuintonHamp

I love your angle. It is so hard to get healthy food when I am out and about.

TheDarkLlama
TheDarkLlama

Sounds like a pretty good shot at working.  


Validation... the big Qmark at the start of it all.... I think I'd start with facebook.  It allows you to see which of your friends would've already liked something paleo, message them with the proposition and have a means to refer so maybe they pass it on to someone they know.  I always liked the "1 is a fluke, 2 is stubbornness, 3 now you probably have something." approach, so if you get 3 offers to buy and/or direct payments, I'd move forward.  The one caveat is that your friends might not like anything paleo or you might not be able to find the right page (there's at least 6 paleo thingies which none of my friends like)... in which case maybe a standard social media post?  OR (better?) you could alter the filter so it's "friends of friends" which is what I did and now I have over 100 people who liked some paleo page.  The big issue here is that your message would probably land in their "other" folder, so if I was doing this, I'd probably select a different medium.  I just don't have any direct friends that like paleo stuff... 


Alternate path, approaching the office down the street and / or friends via a phone call with a few key questions to answer (straight from the sumo jerky challenge): 

How often do you eat paleo?  Where and how do you buy paleo snacks?  What would make you pay for paleo stuff now?  What's your hesitation in not buying paleo snacks right now?

A Ron
A Ron

You've already tainted the "experiment" by posting about it. It would've given better results had you kept it under wraps, or talked about it more abstractly, THEN revealed the results.


Anyway, I'm still interested because I like shit like this.


I think it's a decent idea. But $1000 in 7 days decent?


If you can find a Google or Facebook ads credit and throw up a simple sales site with potential products, then that might be a good way to validate interest.


Or maybe you could convince one of the paleo Jesus's with a strong following to write a guest post and gauge interest by the comments.


Or throw together a quick e-book with the recipes you're thinking of making and give it away. Then include links in the book to the website with the products.


Or, and this is my favorite, have your grandmother or girlfriend or whoever make a bunch of samples of the snacks, then rent a helicopter from a friend, then hover over the city where you live and drop them out.

AmyEMarshall
AmyEMarshall

Love the idea Daniel! I'm a crossfitter and paleo/primal follower and would totally be interested in something like this. While I work at home now, I can say this is certainly a need. The offices I've worked in the past had no healthy snack options. The same goes for vending machines in most offices. For the most part, they're filled with processed junk foods. 


You're certainly on to something because I believe a lot of companies are starting to jump on the healthy bandwagon. This is perfect timing. The last company that I worked for was committed to having healthier options in the break room. They had fruit delivered once a week and looked into Nature Box and other similar subscriptions. If this were around, it may have been something they were interested in. Plus, Paleo and Primal snacks are great for more than paleo followers. They're perfect for diabetics and those following a gluten free diet. Whether or not an office is actual "Paleo" doesn't matter here. These snacks foods would do great in all offices because they're low in sugar and empty carbs which will stop employees from crashing after lunch. The productivity gains alone could be worth it :)


John B
John B

Great idea. I run into this problem in the office everyday. So many snacks, but nothing healthy!

Alex La Foo
Alex La Foo

This reminds me of the Noah Kagan doing his beef jerky thang Dan. 


re validation - see if you have any friends who are paleos and ask if them

1. for their opinion and more importantly 

2. contact person organising the office snacks


JansenMartin
JansenMartin

Hey, great stuff!  You're right that Paleo is huge right now, and that a lot of people are passionate about it.  If there are other Paleo snack subscriptions out there, but none geared especially for people at the office, people very well might be willing to pay for it.


One way to go about validating it is by asking people who do Paleo (whether face-to-face, over the phone, on a message board, or some other means) what their biggest challenge is when it comes to following this diet at the work place, and why it's such a challenge.   Not only will this validate whether there's a need for your product, but their responses will help you understand prospective clients enough to write great copy.


The landing page idea you talked about awhile back is another cool idea.  Making a landing page, paying 5 bucks for a logo, and then using that to get a feel for who's interested enough to give you their e-mail sounds like a quick, cheap way to go about testing it as well, albeit with less of a chance to dig into your potential client's pain point or figure out what their biggest objections might be when signing up for such a service. (Money, won't have time to do anything with the recipes, etc.)


So, ideally, a mixture of those two methods would work in validating it.  But, if you were crunched for time, it sounds like a landing page could at least help you see whether there's SOME interest, even if the finer details are still a little fuzzy for now.


Will definitely be watching this project with interest!  Thanks, Daniel!

Natalie
Natalie

You could create a survey through survey monkey, then on Facebook, ask your friends to do you a solid and share like crazy. At crossfit in my city, they have a paleo snack vending machine; it's called H.U.M.A.N. if you haven't heard of them, check it out :) best of luck; can't wait to see how this unfolds.

FreshFaya
FreshFaya

to validate prob easiest with facebook ads. 


Create 2 Timeline ads (NOT right-hand side ads, they're ignored too often now), different pictures (that are super-engaging and relevant), same copy (copy could say, paleo-lunches delivered fresh at 12.30pm to "specific area").

Target  these 2 "Interests" when setting up the ads, "paleo dieters/diet" + "writer/secretary/blogger/any job that requires sitting in one place 9to5". 


Target geo-areas like Industrial Estates with a concentration of offices in one place OR target HUGE office buildings with over 50 businesses in them. Include several of these in your targeting.


Clicking on the ad should point to a landing page with the same picture that was in the ad, and copy that states you will deliver to a specific area for a limited time e.g. "I'll be delivering freshly prepared Paleo lunches to "fictional office building/area" by 12.30pm every Monday and Wednesday for this week only ending 1st of August. Enter your best email (and name) below and i'll send you 3 delicious paleo-lunch recipes (with pictures) you can choose from right now!"


or something along those lines.


Set your budget to 10 bucks and start on a Monday Eastern Time (I'm assuming people usually clear all the crap on the timeline/emails from the weekend Sunday night leaving fresh stuff to show up) .


Set campaign to end same night Monday since you've got only a 25 bucks to work with.


Follow up with and close the new leads.

Brian Lang
Brian Lang

My concern is the targeting. In other words, there might only be a few people in each office that are into the Paleo trend. Perhaps if you were to target organizations that have encouraged and exhibited health conscious policies already. Large companies might have enough people that are into Paleo also, so it could work. In short, I think Paleo snacks is a good idea, but getting companies on board could be a challenge. 


Ask your potential customers to validate with their wallets, then scale up from there. Good luck!


Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Nick Graf I'll find a manufacturer and BECOME the distributor, I think. It's ghetto, but it'll work.

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Mike Clarkin Mikey! Isn't it interested how something that's so HUGE in one market can be relatively dead in another?

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@kayvee Well it will be PARTLY digital. I'll have to contact people online, etc :)

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Oliver Armstrong @ShellyNajjar THIS IS A GREAT idea — when @mattwilsontv and I were in Nicaragua in December, the street vendors were KILLING it. The post bar crowd just doesn't care. As for logistics, I won't be driving around, I'll be shipping the snacks — and I won't make any orders until I have the sales, so I'll always be cash-positive. Countdown starts next week!

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Justin Tan Yep, price and benefit. I also think a strong positioning might be the "whole" or "raw" market rather than using the actual word "Paleo". Thoughts?

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@TheDarkLlama I think FB is the way to go. Just asking ppl DIRECTLY. Don't get me wrong, I like the whole advertising analysis/ninja route, but sometimes it's just easier to say..."hey, would you buy this?"

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@georgeboyd Good one. I know about these guys, but I also don't (think) they primarily serve offices. That's a good USP, right?

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@A Ron Nah, it would be tainted if I posted the URL I'm going to use — but I won't, so nobody from Rich20 will be able to buy :)

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@AmyEMarshall Thanks Amy! That's why I was thinking that rather than the "Paleo" approach, we could just position it as "raw" or "whole" food — less of a dichotomy between the followers of the diet, and people who just want to eat healthier. 


Annnnnd I'm going to need you to tell people about Primal Pooch on here, because it's awesome :)

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@JansenMartin Yeah I'm making a landing page soon — but I think you're right, the person-to-person interaction is where it's at :)

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Natalie VERY interesting on the vending machine! Never heard of it before!!

Justin Tan
Justin Tan

@Rich20Something Actually thinking about it, it's so interesting how just by going from a "paleo" market to a "raw/whole foods" market, even though you're technically supplying the same goods, the entire market changes. It really goes to show how important identifying our customers is in order to truly connect them with what they want.

Oliver Armstrong
Oliver Armstrong

Ya, both these ideas are a gray areas with out permits. But you can definitely get away with a guerrilla operation for 1 week :) Even if you got fined, it'd be worth finding out if you've got a good profit model and a deep enough market.

Justin Tan
Justin Tan

@Rich20Something @Justin Tan Yea I definitely agree. Paleo always seemed to have that cult-like following that you mentioned above, and I think people who don't follow it naturally want to shy away from it. When I think of Paleo I only think of a small number of people, but when I think of whole/raw foods, I think of a much bigger market. Opening it up to raw or whole foods really does make it much more appealing and overall seems to have a better health vibe to it. Definitely looking forward to seeing your results!

georgeboyd
georgeboyd

@Rich20Something @georgeboyd I see what you mean. So let me pivot my question. What does primarily serving offices mean? How will you handle delivery? Will I get a brontosauras leg delivered to my cubicle? Will it come by mail to me at the office? How will you reach me at the office?

FreshFaya
FreshFaya

@Rich20Something Err thanks Daniel... but i'm not that smart. Would be happy to give my 2cents if you have any trouble setting up this campaign.

Brian Lang
Brian Lang

@Rich20Something  Hi Daniel. I think natural would be better since not everyone knows what Paleo is. Maybe target companies that have their own fitness centers or have shown other signs of promoting the healthy lifestyle. Looking forward to seeing the results of your experiment.

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@georgeboyd @Rich20Something Haha, I'm thinking rather than the bronto leg to the individual cubicle, we ship a big ol' box to the office manager and he can put it in the breakroom. Thoughts?

georgeboyd
georgeboyd

@Rich20Something @georgeboyd Delivering a box o' bronto legs to the office manager sounds like the right approach to me. 


Also, bear in mind that while the paleo/crossfit people may be the identified consumer, your snackage may have broader appeal. Since evidence by anecdote is always compelling, consider this: In my office there is one guy who does paleo. And we all know it because he's always preaching. But there are ten other guys who are doing low carb. They aren't going to go to spin class, but they will destroy two packages of bacon apiece. Like the Paleo guy, they are stuck in an office where the current treats are crackers, cakes and cookies. Your paleo treats may find a wider table if you can pitch some of them to the low carbers as well.