Aloha, I’m Tom Gaddis. I’ve been working in marketing for the past 11 years, specializing in local marketing. I live in Maui and help run two 7-figure online businesses, and I love every minute of it.
Before this job, I tried a couple of different careers, but nothing really stuck. In fact, my previous job was at a restaurant, where I ended up getting fired… which was also the best thing that ever happened to me. My story of starting out in marketing isn’t much different from the people I get to help every day.
We surveyed our audience recently and here were the top pains they experience in entrepreneurship:
- I need high-quality clients but don’t know how/where to get them.
- There are too many “paths to success”. I just need one thing to focus on.
- I’m not sure if I can successfully start an online business and consistently deliver.
- I feel stuck working a dead-end job but don’t make enough to quit yet.
This story addresses all of those concerns. I too was stuck at a dead-end job, until I was unceremoniously un-stuck and thrown out into the harsh world. I wasn’t sure if I could start an online business and deliver, but it was something I’d wanted to try for years. I ended up starting my online business by intentionally going offline, something I highly recommend. I also wasn’t sure quite how to start, but I knew I needed high-quality clients, pronto.
With all that in mind, I went about my first seven days as an entrepreneur and digital CEO.
During my first week as a marketer, I made $7,000 and scored 16 happy clients by employing the M.I.L.K. It Method
If you look for tips about starting an online business, you won’t have to look far before you find several so-called “gurus” who teach you about a dozen courses you need to buy, and 50 SaaS tools you need to use… or failure is imminent.
I completely disagree.
While SaaS tools are neat, and online courses can help, all you need at the start is one hungry market and one good idea. That’s all. I made my first five figures without any digital tools or courses… and didn’t rack up any credit card debt, either. Here’s what happened:
After I was fired, I knew it was a matter of time before bills came due. This meant my next idea had to work… or at least buy me some time. So, I looked around for a market willing to buy something, anything, to solve their biggest pain points. Then, I came up with an idea to help.
At the time in Hawaii, most small businesses relied on word-of-mouth and media ads to drive new business. I also knew that they wanted the edge over their competition. Recently, I had learned about a program whereby you could send mass mail to addresses all over your area for cheap.
The reason you have mail like that sitting in your house right now is that it works. Maybe not for everyone, but with a wide enough net, you’re bound to catch some fish.
So, I put two and two together: I created a jumbo mailer and offered local businesses ad space. Here's a picture of one of my first completed cards.
Here’s how I made my pitches. I designed an “example” mailer with a bunch of ads on it and printed out one copy. I looked up all the businesses around me and made up my mind to walk into every single one, show them the example, and ask if they would be interested in buying ad space on them.
The first people I asked said yes. And the next. I got plenty of “no’s” too, but by the end of the first day, I ran out of space on my first mailer. By the end of the first week, I had 16 takers buy $7,000 worth of ad space… most of whom became long-term clients. By the end of my first year, I was a self-employed success with an established business and over six figures in revenue.
I used my first week as a springboard to dive headlong into the amazing world of online business and entrepreneurship. And I did it without any loans.
It wasn’t rocket science. Though I didn’t fully understand it at the time, my actions formed what I now call the M.I.L.K. It Method, a self-contained strategy that can turn your product, skill, or idea into a major cash cow.
How the M.I.L.K. It Method Works For You
Let me explain the four small steps to your first big win in business. With it, you can quit your dead-end job (make sure you have some savings), start a successful online business, and score high-quality clients.
- “M” is for Market
The first thing you must do is identify a hungry market. Do this before you have one shred of an idea for your product. Many new entrepreneurs get this mixed up. They develop an amazing product without knowing if anyone wants it. Or they assume that people will buy it up, and get disheartened when the phone doesn’t ring on launch day.
Always, always, always begin by finding a group of buyers with a proven track record of spending money. This is known as a hot and hungry market. For me, it was small businesses in Hawaii. They already had a monthly budget for advertising. Some forked over thousands for television and radio ads, and billboards. I knew they’d be willing to at least try how my mailers worked.
- “I” is for Idea
When you know your market you can begin developing your idea. The best way to come up with a brilliant (and hot-selling) product is to identify the problems and pains of your market and make something to solve them.
Did you know that people love to talk about the things that irritate them? Through this, you can determine where the pain really lies.
For me, I knew that ineffective marketing was a pain for small businesses in Hawaii. I also knew the thought of their competition putting ads in every local mailbox while they missed out would motivate them to spend.
As you learn your market, build an audience around your upcoming product. This can be done through Facebook, YouTube, or other places your market is known to frequent. Having an audience helps you get feelers out about what will work before it launches. It will also lead to more sales.
The most important piece here isn’t quality, but speed. You’re not going to start with your Mona Lisa or Hail Mary pass. What you need is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that goes to your market, generates revenue, and gives you feedback for your upcoming MVP 2.0.
- “L” is for Launch
I love launches. They’re my favorite part of online business. For one, they require you to bring your A-game for weeks before and after the magic day. For two, you get to see your product alleviate the pain your market feels. For three, it’s payday, baby!
Get your MVP out there. The most important part here is action. At the start of my first week, I was unemployed and running out of savings. By the end, I was a local marketer with 16 clients. The change occurred when I decided to stop waiting until I was a guru or expert and simply put myself out there.
You can do it too. You may not have the most experience, education, acumen, or even smarts. I know I didn’t. But if you’re willing to launch that MVP, come what may, you’re already doing better than 95% of would-be entrepreneurs.
- “K” is for Ka-Ching
Not much action is required here, besides good accounting. If you’ve done steps 1-3 well, then step 4 is about enjoying your success. Take it in. You did it. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Then get back to work. Ask yourself what worked, and what didn’t the first time around. What systems and tactics do you need to add and subtract? What new streams of revenue can you open up? How should you invest the profit from your first go-around?
Soon enough, you’ll realize you’re back on step 1. And that my friend, is when you’re on your way to building your empire.
This post was a summary of the M.I.L.K. It Method. To get the entire guide, for free, click on this link. Here’s to your upcoming success!