The Marsupial Method: How to launch a profitable business with a guaranteed customer base in 24 hours or less

When I first started brainstorming different ways to make money, or possible businesses to start, I felt like taking a can of bright red spray paint, drawing an X on a concrete wall and smashing my head straight through it. Hopefully I would just hit a beam and put myself out of my misery.

I kept doing the mental marathon. You know the drill: Coming up with dozens of ideas every day and rejecting all of them.

“No, that won’t work”
“Can’t do that, it’s already been done”
“Nobody’s going to buy from me”
“That idea is boring”
“That idea is too complicated”

It was exhausting. On and on I went like this. Day after day. I probably came up with 729 “not good enough” ideas.
Here’s the problem with this mindset: You go through all this mental anxiety trying to come up with the “perfect” idea…and you make no progress. Meanwhile, you see other people doing completely uncreative, uninventive crap and making tons of money. And that makes you even MORE anxious.

I remember reading an article about some guy who opened up a coffee company – but all he did was “drop ship” it. Basically, he took orders for coffee on a website, then sent the order to a factory, and they just sent the coffee out under his brand name. He didn’t have ANY products. All he had was a website. And he was making something like $92,000/year.

When I saw stuff like that, it made my blood boil.

What do THEY know that I don’t know? How do you even set something like that up? And if he’s already doing the coffee thing, now I can’t do that. Back to the drawing board. Over and over again. I couldn’t get out of this pattern.

Many things I wanted to do seemed too far out of my reach. I didn’t have hardcore “techie” skills, and I didn’t have a business degree. I didn’t feel like a “natural” entrepreneur.

I guess what it boiled down to was that I simply didn’t feel like I had any relevant experience that was worth money.

But then, it hit me.

I remembered that somehow, some way, I’d managed to stay employed. A miracle, I know. This meant that I actually DID have at least a few skills that were valuable to someone else. Otherwise, people would never bother hiring me.

(Takeaway here: If you are employed — or ever have been — you have at least one skill that’s worth money.)

One of those skills was as an SAT/ACT test prep coach working for Kaplan Test Prep in college (and shortly after).

I’d never really taken the time to step back and think about how much a skill like this was worth to the people I was providing the service for — both Kaplan and the families I was helping. I only thought about how much I was getting paid. I was solely focused on my hourly rate. How many of us do this?

How many of us are so concerned with what we’re getting paid, that we never stop to think about what we’re WORTH?

This is the WRONG way to think about your skills.

Your salary is not equivalent to what your skills are actually worth to the company that employs you. Think about it — if you were getting paid exactly what your skills were worth, the company hiring you would make no profit off you. After the onboarding and training process, many business have already spent $5,000-$10,000 just to acquire you. Yes, little you. Then, once you start working, you still have to make them money. They HAVE to pay you way less than what your skills are worth in order to make a profit from your work.

In fact, most companies usually make 2x-5x more than what you bring in for every hour you work.

For example, if you’re getting paid $25/hour to do tech support for a company, they are probably making an average of $75-$100/hour from the customers that you’re helping. That’s not a typo.

When I looked at my work for Kaplan, I realized this was happening right in front of my eyes.

My hourly rate was $18. I thought this was fantastic at the time. (Poverty mentality: “It’s almost 3x minimum wage! Yay!”) Then I found that they were charging the families I was helping over $100/hour for me to come to the house and teach little Timmy quadratic equations.

They weren’t doing ANYTHING except connecting me with the student. I was coordinating with the families, teaching the material, developing most of the curriculum and following up. In short, I was doing $100 worth of work every hour for them, and they were taking $82 out of my pocket every time.

FUCK. THAT.

At that point, I realized that I had a viable skill that people had proven they would pay great money for — but I was missing the connection piece. Even if I branched out on my own, how would I find the clients on my own? This piece of the equation caused me a ton of anxiety — and it cause me to stall.

This is the place where many of us quit and turn around, back towards the safety of our jobs.

We think to ourselves, “Well, I may have a skill, but my company is the one giving me all the work. I need them.”

And for a minute, I have to admit, I felt like that too. I mean, let’s get real here — it’s hard to find clients, isn’t it. What was I supposed to do? Post ads on Craigslist? Pin flyers on the bulletin board at my apartment complex?

Umm, nah bro. These just didn’t seem like the best solutions. I wasn’t trying to open a lemonade stand here. My rent is $1,100/month.

I needed something that worked really well — and fast.

Then, EUREKA.

I had one of the two or three of bright ideas I’ve had in the past 25 years.

Rather than searching up and down, scouring the classifieds and 7-year old yellow page ads looking for clients, I came up with a better idea…

“If I’m looking for a very specific type of customer, why not just go to where existing customers already are?”

If I go to where the customers I’m looking for a plentiful, and they’re already in a buying mood, I’ll have a virtually endless sea of leads and paying customers instantly.

That’s when I developed The Marsupial Method — and set up my first business in less than 24 hours.

Here’s how The Marsupial Method works:

 

I know. Dumb simple, right? The great thing about The Marsupial Method is that it can work with both products or services.

It’s all about providing value for another person and enhancing their business, then using that relationship to launch your own business rapidly.

I’ve helped many people in my Tribal Accelerator Program figure out how to launch their first profitable business using The Marsupial Method. Now, it’s your turn.

Feedback

In the comments below, let me know a few things:

1.) What product or service are you working on and who are your customers?

2.) Where are they already doing business?

I have a few extra hours this week — so leave a comment, and I’ll jump in and help where I can.

[box] Liked this material? Members of my private Rich20Something Tribe get even better strategies. Best part — it’s free. Sign up below.[/box]

52 comments
humbirduk
humbirduk

Hi Daniel   Just did a little research which might help a few of the tribe ..


164 billion $ was spent on training /develope --employees in USA  This must cover many of the skills the community 


could offer  ?   How would we get the information we need from the suppliers  ? Do they not gate keep the lists?


 Regards   Ian  

humbirduk
humbirduk

Hi Daniel ..Brilliant stuff  ..I have for years thought of agencies as the best business model but you just summed a model so simply 

..My skill is i am a trained /experienced public speaker 100 ---18,000   but do it free  ..My knowledge is  creative thinking  ..


. Can you suggest where to find  a hot  market in practical terms ..


Thank you for the value you bring to the table           Ian  

Lane
Lane

On-point stuff! I'm dabbling in trying to launch a few different web projects of my own (I'm a web developer, but currently have a corporate job). What weighs on my mind most right now is finding enough time to build on them! But a few of them are nearing ready to start asking for attention from the world, so I've actually been starting to dance around this idea as I've been thinking about how to position the sites to get traffic. You clarified how to do this very succinctly and directly! Thank you --

nicknoble
nicknoble

Hi Daniel,


Thanks for the great insight, I'm finding it really helpful for marketing my businesses. 


I'm currently working on a charity 'Loud Shirt Day', but I'm struggling to use the marsupial method on this campaign. LSD raises money for hearing I paired children, by wearing a bright 'Loud' shirt to school or a workplace. As there is so many charities, it is hard to break into these places because they are already supporting so many other charities. 


Do you think I could use the Marsupial Method, or is the customer base to broad? 


Thanks


Nick

OLIDURR
OLIDURR

Good stuff, Daniel. Always gets me thinking!

Tuliobbs
Tuliobbs

The method is not showing for me!
Mavericks & Chrome


JohnVito
JohnVito

I run a small record company and was wondering how i would find a "marsupial" if most music is downloaded through websites?

ZachPatrick
ZachPatrick

SOLID article. This is similar to the strategy Jay Abraham advocates in Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got. 


1) I write autoresponder sequences for Kickstarter-funded startups.


2) Looks like they're already doing business with ecommerce tools like BackerKit and Shopstarter...Tools that specialize in getting post-KS startups (my prospects) ready for business. Time to reach out.

BenBlue
BenBlue

I am an independent vegan chef in Washington DC. I am very skilled at making healthy food. I have had a couple clients before, but now work a full time job. I would LOVE to regain my independence and work on my own terms... where do I find clients?

I get the idea that If i find where people are looking for vegan chefs and I go there (irl or internets) then I can present myself and get clients... but I don't know where that is...


Thanks,

Ben 

http://www.awesomeveganblog.com


SamirNavare
SamirNavare


How would the method work for new products that not any direct competitors?

kartiksiyer
kartiksiyer

Hi Daniel,


I run a digital outsourcing agency, we offer web development, mobile development and digital media marketing services to digital agencies across the globe. We work as extended partners to these agencies, do all the heavy lifting and above all help them to increase their bottom line. How do i apply the marsupial method for my business ?

owens346
owens346

I FINALLY GOT IT! I'm a web developer and I was wondering where this would apply. ADVERTISING BUSINESSES

Shajee
Shajee

One thing I like about your post Daniel, they are all upright so simple and honest.

I am a highly skilled software engineer, a trainer, I think I can have a portal with online training helping freshers and experienced people. I am liking this idea of provide online video trainings for free and some with specific value as paid.

The thing is there are already a herd of online training materials available.

electronicBits
electronicBits

Hi Daniel,


I've worked as a software engineer for the last 15 years, as a consultant/contractor, and I want to start my own business. I've had the opportunity to work with a few financial traders in the past, and occurred to me a few years ago I could start my own software platform for traders. Trying to be not too technical, I want to mention that  I've been working on this platform for the last two years during nights and spare time. 


Things you mentioned at the start of your post:


“No, that won’t work”
“Can’t do that, it’s already been done”
“Nobody’s going to buy from me”
“That idea is boring”
“That idea is too complicated”


I already went through every one of them and counting... and I'm still adding a few more. Still, I'm enjoying what I'm doing. And I don't know if that's a drawback (the enjoying part of it) or an advantage that keeps me there, since my market research has been very vague. I mean, I haven't compared my ideas with what is in the market, and that's because the market is huge in this area. I know someone somewhere already created something similar. Software development is very complicated because of that.


Anyway, I see myself having what they call a MVP (minimum viable product) in 6 months time, and start testing the idea... However, I don't have a clientele yet, and would need to start developing one.


Any ideas/suggestions would be really appreciated.


Dario


adam5
adam5

Hi Daniel,

I have a digital marketing business and have had some larger clients (for example Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!), but I am not getting a consistent stream. It is a relatively new business and am wondering where you would go to find your "kangaroo". I tried a traditional PR firm and they seemed uninterested. Mainly I offer blog and pay per click. You or Aman have any ideas? Also are you calling or emailing or literally just going in?

Thanks,

Ada,

ciaraf
ciaraf

Hi, 


I've been following your blog for sometime and I think your content is great. Sometime ago I came up with a seminar for my manager in how to spot your potential target audience. Obviously, my presentation (being the first one I have ever done) is slightly ropey and needs a little work doing to it, but I wondered (after it's spick and span) if you could suggest how I would get started with maybe trialling it. I've had a few ideas but nothing solid.


Ciara

SeinfeldOKC
SeinfeldOKC

Dan this article helped snap my mind into working. My main skill is Im a musician. My band is recording our first EP soon and having issues about spending the appropriate money to do it right. We are broke musicians after all.

This made me immediately realize that we should kickstart it and make a video to develop the persobal connection you hit on in you Elance hacking article... Thanks man

CuriousSteve
CuriousSteve

I don't know if this is necessarily 'Starting a business overnight with the marsupial method' and more 'You need a solid idea first, one that your actually into and then use The Marsupial Method to get some guaranteed clients in 24hours' guess its not as catchy though :/

Aman Chand
Aman Chand

So the freaky thing here is that I did EXACTLY this when I started my business consultancy, and i actually call it "The Joey Method" (having grown up in Australia) and have talked about this in a LOT of my public speaking engagements. I use a few small accounting firms who handle medium sized business accounts and get them to market my services as an auxiliary service to their own, and share 5% per client that signs up through them, and I make the same off them when I push clients their way too. Sort of like an affiliate arrangement between us, so its win win all around. As being someone who's done this (and still does) I can vouch for "The Marsupial Method" being a major time saver that yields amazing results. Great post as usual Daniel.

practicalcivilization
practicalcivilization

Daniel, great advice as usual. I'm trying to start a side business of guitar lessons. I feel that it will be fun and pay as well, I love to play the guitar. However, I'm having trouble getting clients. Maybe I should try to market to high school kids with their parents paying? Any thoughts?

MARTAELBOLSON
MARTAELBOLSON

Hello Daniel,

I think this is going to be difficult. I am making home bakery, and specialize in a kind of dessert called flan (see image 1 https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/21796559/Public.rarattached). It is made with eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla extract. It has to be eaten before 15 days. Can´t be frozen.

I started selling it in the street. Walking and visiting people at work. I couldn´t walk and carry a lot of weight, therefore my sells were not as much as I wanted.

Then I wanted to sell it in markets thinking "oh, I can give them a smaller price and they are going to sell it for me. All I have to do is to give them 10 or 20 every day to just some markets and they will do the selling." Big mistake. Market owners only sold to my original clients. It is the same for them to sell my flan, a pencil, a piece of cheese or whatever. They don´t do anything to sell anything. Sells depend on publicity and I am competing with big brands that sell plastic food (junk food) for a very small price. 

I am stating to make my flanes more funny by putting some comics into them, or gifts. I even made them as different characters (see file 2 attached).

I live in a 40.000 people town. I only need (want) to be able to sell 2000 per month.

Thank you for your help, tips, or even for reading this!

Jansen
Jansen

Hey, great stuff!  It's true that we all have something someone else is willing to pay for.  It's just a matter of digging deep and figuring out how to help other people.

Daniel, your advice came at a really great time. 

As it so happens, I've been really wracking my brain on how to do one of the following: a) teaching ESL courses to adults in their 20s (I'm certified), or b) becoming a writing coach for high school students (not certified or experienced, but am in the 99th percentile for grammar and reading comprehension, and always made high As on my research papers).

1)  In the case of ESL students, a lot of them are in ESL schools/programs just down the street from my house (seeking to enter the local university).  As far as I know, the teachers there make $15-20 an hour, but I know the families of these students are paying a lot more than that.

2) In the case of high school students who need a writing coach, my customers would obviously be their parents.  They normally use places like Sylvan Learning Center.

It never occurred to me that a middle man could be involved in either of these businesses.  The Marsupial Method means getting into "pocket" with these people for referrals, right?  If you're not sure about who that could be, do you have any suggestions on how to go about finding out?

Thanks.

Nick Loper
Nick Loper

"If you are employed — or ever have been — you have at least one skill that’s worth money." Love this!

And I think the lightbulb moment is when you can find a customer willing to pay for that skill outside of work. Great post -- keep it up!

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@JohnVito  Good question. Start with your ideal customer. Where are they already doing business?

JulietAnnerino
JulietAnnerino

@BenBlue How about posting at all the Whole Foods you can find, Ben? Upscale gyms? You could even offer a few free samples one day at a gym or whole foods to introduce people to your great work! Another idea: Find an upscale event in its beginning stages of planning, maybe a charity event, and offer to bring samples for people if you can set up a small table with your name and contact info prominently displayed and hand out biz cards!

Aman Chand
Aman Chand

@SamirNavare  In the same way as Daniel mentioned. You're not looking for competitors, you're looking for someone who's already serving your customers with something different. Your product will merely add value to theirs and to their customers. 

Aman Chand
Aman Chand

@adam5  It's not about "where" you go to find your kangaroo, it's about knowing who that kangaroo is. Or who they are. There are a number of issues here that may be the cause of the inconsistent stream of clientele, however, if you haven't already, the first thing you need to do is determine who your ideal customer is. I understand digital marketing has a potentially huge customer base but when you zero-in on your ideal client you're able to approach them in a more targeted and guided manner. You can have multiple ideal clients but each different segment of the market will have its own specific approach to it. 


Now, for the Kangaroo.  You have to find a business that already offers a particular product or service to YOUR ideal customer. They don't offer what YOU offer, but they offer something. For example maybe a local freelance web designer who doesn't offer what you offer. My ideal clients back then were small to medium sized businesses, so I went to Accounting firms that had small to medium sized businesses as their clients. So your kangaroo are those businesses that are already serving YOUR customer, but just giving them something else. Critical success factor here is to provide mutual benefit. As for calling, emailing, etc., I just rocked up in person. Yeah I got rejected a number of times but you have to hustle. My advice is a tad general 'cos I'll be honest I'm not entirely sure what it is you offer and who your ideal customers are, but I hope this helps. I'm sure Daniel will be of more help than I.


Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Aman Chand we must be GENIUSES or long lost twins. If you don't mind, would you go into a little closer detail about exactly what you did?

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@practicalcivilization Let's dig a little deeper here: What's your positioning. What type of music do you teach, what type of area would you be teaching in, etc?

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Jansen This is great! My first suggestion would be to go the private route. It's harder to use this strategy with schools as the middle men. Are there private counselors or consultants in your area that deal with these types of clients, then send them to Sylvan, etc. (Hint - the answer is probably yes. You just have to look.)

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Nick Loper I'd say the light bulb is customer #3. The first is usually your mom or your dog. The second could be a fluke. But #3, you're like...holy shit...this is a business.

Aman Chand
Aman Chand

@Rich20Something  perhaps long lost genius twins? Ha. So, this particular company of mine focuses on developing customer service standards and training employees once the standards have been developed (this particular company does work mostly in Fiji and the South Pacific region). I knew of a few smaller accounting firms that handled mostly medium sized business accounts, so what I did was I actually just rocked up one day and asked if I could meet with the owner of the company or whoever is in charge. 3 out of 4 agreed to see me right away.

I was also very honest about why I was there. I told them my company is new and we do lack credibility and we're hoping we can not only ride on your established reputation but to also add value to what you currently offer your clients. We even threw in some full refund guarantees if the clients were unhappy with our service - removing the risk of permanent damage to the accounting firm by offering a way to restore reputation if we ever did something to ruin that. The thing is, sometimes you just have to do a cold read on who you're talking to. I didn't have to make such promises to all the firms I dealt with. Some are just more apprehensive about partnering with a young nobody, so you have to address all the concerns they might have, even the ones they don't know they have. It shows that you've thought about this potential relationship in detail and are committed to holding up your end.
And there's a tip in that for others who haven't tried this yet - be sure you think about exactly what value it is you're bringing to the "Kangaroo". Just offering a percentage of your profits might not be incentive enough. We even used this approach in some of their marketing campaigns - that XYZ Accounting Firm not only provides financial book keeping services, but we also want to help you take your business to the next level by offering ABC services etc. It's almost a positioning statement for some of these firms now and because of it they have grown, my company grew, and the clients have prospered. Everyone shared in the benefit. 
So it's important to look at how YOU can make THEM look better. Make it all about them, not about you - and you'll have a better chance at making that relationship work. I guess that's pretty much like any relationship right? 
And I apologize for practically hammering out a blog post in reply to your comment. 

practicalcivilization
practicalcivilization

@Rich20Something Good points! I am brand new to the market and enjoy playing blues/rock/jazz. Perhaps I need to be striking up conversations with people in record shops, bars, etc.  

Aman Chand
Aman Chand

@Rich20Something Exactly. I think that's what it's all about really. Creating the most win-win scenarios. 

On a purely unrelated note, I was wondering if I could get some private feedback on something I'm working on right now. It's another blog I'm looking to launch within the month. Let me know if you're okay with me picking your brain for a bit and I'll send you a quick email explaining the project. Thanks in advance!

Rich20Something
Rich20Something moderator

@Aman Chand No man, this is as valuable as the post itself! This is the type of feedback we need.

My biggest takeway here: "It's almost a positioning statement for some of these firms now and because of it they have grown, my company grew, and the clients have prospered. Everyone shared in the benefit. "

How can we create the most win-win scenarios and be the "good guys"?

Aman Chand
Aman Chand

@practicalcivilization Don't forget to go where the tools of your trade are sold (of course in your locality). Not everyone who walks in to buy a guitar knows how to play one. Well, I didn't when I bought mine. Hell I still don't! lol. Make a deal with the store to hand out 20% discount coupons on your guitar lessons when people purchase certain types of guitars or something. And the store can get a percentage of your fee. Of course you can develop the idea more and see what you can offer and there's still more you have to dig deeper into as Daniel said, but that's just one of many approaches you could take to reaching your target market.