“Funemployment,” straight razors, and the backyard bunker
Unemployment really messes with your head.
While some guys end up sitting on the couch and binge-watching TV in a depressive funk, geeks like me tend to focus their frustration into some weird obsession.
Back in 2008-09 I spent 6 months “between jobs,” and I threw myself into…
The art of forging steel to a wicked cutting edge.
In my case, I naturally turned it into a business. I made one-of-a-kind straight razors (yes, the kind you could actually shave with) and sold them online for $300 a pop.
It made a total mess in my garage, and my neighbors got really curious about the orange glow and hammer strike-sounds emanating from my suburban 2-car garage…
But I had a blast with it—in some ways you could say I was “funemployed.”
(And as a side note, now you know why I decided to name my business Razor Edge Copy.)
That whole experience came rushing back when I got an email from Terran.
He ran a giveaway recently to promote his blacksmithing business—and added 450 subscribers to his email list.
Terran wants to expand his business online. He’s tried:
– Affiliate offers on his website
– Publishing three “pay what you want” guides
– Converting 2 of the guides to short Kindle books
– Selling sign-ups for in-person classes
And lately he’s experimenting with selling subscriptions to an online magazine.
Ideally, the magazine would attract people very interested in blacksmithing as well as those who have a passing interest. I’m still working on how to market it to different segments: DIYers, Preppers/Survivalists, Sustainability Enthusiasts, etc.
Through testing, figure out a few online avenues in the blacksmithing niche that will generate $2500/month. This could mean looking at what I’m already doing in a different way or trying out something new.
The thing that jumped out to me when I first read Terran’s email was who he was going after:
“Ideally, the magazine would attract people very interested in blacksmithing as well as those who have a passing interest. I’m still working on how to market it to different segments: DIYers, Preppers/Survivalists, Sustainability Enthusiasts, etc.”
Bzzzzzztt. Wrong answer!
That’s not a market—that’s actually about 5 different markets.
And it’s pretty much impossible to talk to all of them at the same time.
For example, how could you possibly write something that’s going to strike a strong emotional chord with a right-wing, bunker-in-the-back-yard, ready-for-the-zombie-apocalypse prepper…
AND a left-wing, granola-crunching, save-the-earth sustainability enthusiast?
I’d be hard pressed to find two people who are more different in their outlook and worldview.
The right move here is to slice off ONE of these subgroups and create a product just for them.
I suggested to Terran that preppers would be a good market to start with.
They pass all 5 parts of the “Power Disqualifiers” test in 80/20 Sales and Marketing.
Including the most important one—do they spend money on the problem your product solves?
Preppers are likely a better niche than DIY blacksmiths, because the DIY crowd takes pride in finding the cheapest path to getting the task accomplished—even if it’s, shall we say, suboptimal.
(One of the best-selling knifemaking books is “The $50 Knife Shop.” The author shows you how to use a washing machine motor to grind knives out of old files.)
So I recommended that Terran do some digging to find out what, if anything, is already available on blacksmithing that’s targeted to preppers.
Then he can put together a video course tailored to their specific goals…
The Internet is crawling with prepper sites that would fall all over themselves to offer Terran’s course to their audiences.
Here’s the point:
When you find yourself thrashing around to figure out what products to create or what to say in your marketing…
Chances are you haven’t nailed down WHO you’re talking to yet.
Just answering that question is often 90% of the battle.
P.S. One of the core concepts in marketing is that it’s often more important to figure out who is NOT your customer. That’s what the 5 “Power Disqualifiers” are all about.
Go here to get the other 4: