Shark Tank Success for the Average Entrepreneurs

Posted May 4th, 2015 in Making Money by Jeremy Waller

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Shark Tank has done an amazing job of making entrepreneurship look easy. Pitch your idea to millionaires and billionaires, get some cash, get some advice and make your own millions. For the handful of entrepreneurs that get to live this story, it’s a dream.

That story creates a false picture though. For every success on the show, there’s dozens that didn’t work out. If you can’t remember just how many products have been pitched, just browse through all of the shark tank products that have appeared on the show over the years.

Even all of this is a fraction of the number of entrepreneurs that apply for the show. Moreover, that group is an even smaller fraction of the total number of entrepreneurs in the world.

Since the average inventor, creator or business owner will never make it in front of the sharks, what options do you have to find the same level of Shark Tank Success?

Why Were Shark Tank Success Stories Successful?

Before we can talk about finding success, we have to define the ingredients for success.

The Sharks have two huge things to offer, mentorship and capital. These are incredibly valuable and, I would argue, contribute far more to the success of the company than the actual product itself.

Having a great product or idea doesn’t mean anything if you can’t finance it and market it. Many entrepreneurs bootstrap it and learn as they go. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just going to take a long time and may be difficult to build the momentum you need to really get off the ground.

However, if you can find someone who’s walked the path before to lead you you can shave months or years off the learning curve. Combine this with proper financing and you’ve got the ingredients for success.

So, as an average entrepreneur, how do you find this?

Mentorship Opportunities

Pay attention to the next episode of Shark Tank. You’ll likely see several companies openly admit that they don’t need the money. They need an experienced partner to lead them in the next part of their journey.

You shouldn’t need me to tell you that there are thousands of wildly successful people outside of the 5 sharks. Unless you have a really weird niche, there are people within your own industry that are super successful.

These successful people are potential mentors for you. They exist within every industry. If you don’t know any, then you need to get out and network until you find them. Networking is about far more than making sales, it’s also about making connections that you can learn from.

More often than not, these experienced people are more than willing to help you out, you just have to ask. They’re not going to volunteer on their own.

Sure, it can be scary to ask, but what’s the worst that can happen? They say no? Ok. Move on and ask someone else.

You may be surprised that you get more yesses that you expect. Think about it.

If someone saw you as an expert and asked for your advice, would you be put off or flattered? For most, someone seeking your advice and mentorship is an ego boost.

Opportunities for mentorship exist in any industry.

Finding Capital

Between mentorship and capital, capital is the easiest by far. The path you take is going to depend on your product, your current situation and your goals.

You you have a product focused on consumers, it’s a little quirky, solves a unique need or has a great story, crowdfunding is a great option. Millions has been raised through crowdfunding. On top of that, you can get a great marketing boost as well.

If your product isn’t a fit for the crowdfunding model, there are a wide array of financing methods that are specifically designed for small businesses.

I’m not an advocate of debt; however, I don’t mind some business debt if it’s used wisely. There should be a specific plan for the funds. That plan should generate enough cash flow to repay the loan on time or early and it should generate a positive ROI.

That may seem silly to say, but I’ve seen plenty of companies that see a big bank balance after their loan is funded and do some really stupid things.

For most, a traditional bank loan won’t be an option. Most startups aren’t bankable. It’s nothing personal, you just don’t meet the underwriting criteria. There are, however, asset based lenders, factors and other forms of alternative financing that are specifically designed for small businesses whose financials aren’t in the best of shape.

Shark Tank isn’t a Magic Button

It’s easy to see these Shark Tank success stories and think that you can’t see the same levels of success on your own. You see stories like Scrub Daddy who barely had $100k in sales when they went on the tank to over $18 million less than a year later. That seems impossible on your own.

However, stories like this happen every day. You just never hear about it. There are millions of successful entrepreneurs in the world that got where they are through hard work and knowing how to leverage the right resources.

You don’t need Shark Tank. Hard work and determination leads to success.

My Search for Residual Income

Posted May 31st, 2012 in Making Money by Jeremy Waller

residual income

Over the last 5 years I have constantly had a number of side projects to earn an extra income. In most cases it wasn’t much, maybe a couple hundred per month. There have been a few times I did really well and brought in over $1,000 of extra income. Those months were great, but they were always short lived.

Recently, I have been working on a plan to generate a more sustainable residual income stream that doesn’t take a lot of capital up front. I also need something that doesn’t take up a lot of extra time.

Sounds like I need to find a goose that lays golden eggs, right?

I do admit that there aren’t many things that fit those criteria. Most things that generate residual income take a lot of time, a lot of money or both.

I think I may have found something this month that if I do it myself – doesn’t take much time up front – or I can outsource it relatively cheaply.

I think I have stumbled into a market where I can produce a product for either 10 hours of work or $250 (approximately) and then sell that product in a way that should generate $100 of residual income each month. The process can then be repeated over and over.

That’s not a bad ROI. If I decide to outsource, then I should recoup my investment in 2.5 months. Everything after that is profit.

Even if it doesn’t do nearly as well as I think it will, it shouldn’t take longer than 6 months to recoup my costs. That’s still a 100% ROI in the first year.

There is, of course, the possibility that this idea could totally flop and I won’t make a dime. But I’ve looked at it again and again and can’t find any major flaws in my plan.

Nothing is guaranteed, but the strengths and opportunities far outweigh the weaknesses and threats.

…Drum Roll Please…

What is this magical business I’ve stumbled on?

I’m not going to tell you…yet.

I will say that this business has been around for hundreds of years. But, technology over the last few years has changed the business model substantially.

It is now possible for nearly anyone to break into this business and be very successful.

That’s my theory anyways. Over the next few weeks I’m going to test it.

As soon as my first project is done, you’ll be the first to know about it.

Do you do any projects on the side to generate extra income?

The Difference Between Passive Income and Residual Income

Posted April 11th, 2012 in Making Money by Jeremy Waller

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I came across a podcast the other day called Residual Income Life. It sounded like something up my alley. I like residual income. So I started listening to it and come to find that it’s your run of the mill internet marking podcast.

They talk about building websites, selling products and marketing on social media. On one hand, I was disappointed that it was another “me-to” blog, but on the other hand I was pleased that they actually called what they are doing residual income.

I’m involved in a lot of internet marketing on the side. I follow a number of internet marketing and business blogs. One of my favorites is Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income.

Pat is a great guy, but most of what he does it not passive income. In fact, most of what he does is miles away from passive. He works his tail off. What Pat, and most people in his niche have, is residual income.

Some people use passive income and residual income interchangeably, but they are two separate things.

I consider passive income to be something where there is one singular point in which you invest with the goal of generating returns for which little or no work is required to maintain.

Some examples of passive income are:

  • Income from dividends or bonds
  • Real estate (assuming you have a property manager)
  • Silent partner in a business
  • Interest on savings accouns

Residual Income is something that results from some amount of work up front that you will continue to receive proceeds from for a certain period of time.

Some examples of residual income are:

  • Book royalties
  • Some affiliate marketing
  • Some sales jobs

I worked in insurance sales for a couple of years. Many insurance products pay residuals years after you make the initial sale. Practically all of the work was done up front. But once the sale was done, I would continue to receive a commission for as long that that individual continued to pay their premiums.

Then there is a whole class of other income sources that sometimes fall under this passive income umbrella:

  • Blogging
  • Starting your own business
  • Working a job

Well obviously, working a job isn’t passive income. But, working a job isn’t much different than blogging. Blogging is a lot of work. It is far from passive.

Starting your own business is even worse. Business get their start on blood, sweat and tears.

There’s nothing wrong with starting a business. In fact, I think starting a business is a fantastic thing to do. Just don’t think a running a business is anywhere close to passive.

Out of all of these income sources, one type isn’t necessarily better than the other. Residual income is easy, but will typically have a lower ROI. Passive income requires more work, but has the potential for a large payout with minimal up front capital. And other sources of income sources can provide a steady stream of funds while you are working to build other income streams.

Personally, I want a mixture of both passive and residual income. I love the passive income I receive from my investments, but it’s a slow burning fire. Until I have a couple million bucks to invest, passive income isn’t going to replace my day job.

I also have a stream of residual income from a number of websites I have. They took very little capital to set up, but they took a lot of time. I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands, so my opportunities to expand this stream is somewhat limited.

My long term plan is to have a balance of both. It’s not the only way to do it, but it works for me with the time and money I have available to invest.

Do you have any sources of passive or residual income?

Learn A New Skill And Earn More Money

Posted January 19th, 2012 in Making Money by Jeremy Waller

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A little extra money can never hurt right? There aren’t many people in the world that would turn down extra money. You can use it to pay off debt or save for college or retirement or a vacation or 100 other things.

The problem is most people find it difficult to make extra money.

I’m stuck in a job and the only way I can make more money is if I get a raise..

That kind of attitude is why so many people struggle financially their entire life. They play the victim card. They don’t believe that they are in control of their life.

You have the ability to control your income – especially income that doesn’t come from a traditional employer. Continue Reading »

How To Make Extra Money From Home With A Side Job

Posted November 28th, 2011 in Making Money by Jeremy Waller

In managing your finances there are 2 sides of the equation – income and expenses. We often focus solely on the expense side. In the personal finance world, it seems that all you ever hear are things like deferred gratification and living within your means.

But, it can be discouraging cutting expense after expense to try and make ends meet or to try to get ahead.

When your means aren’t much it’s difficult to live within them.

But there is a whole other side to the equation – the income side. Instead of trying to cut $500 of spending, why don’t you just make $500 more each month?

That’s easier said that done right? You can’t just pull $6,000 per year out of thin air. Or can you? Continue Reading »