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OJLMG

Beautiful sunny days make it hard to sit inside and work on a computer. And this is evident by me only achieving 11 of my 20 goals. Whether I errored in setting or accomplishing, I certainly learned from this experience.

Objective 1: To develop the guides.

I wanted to continue promoting the Official JuniorBiz Lawn Mowing Guide and write the Official JuniorBiz 75 Young Business Ideas. I didn’t do as much as I should have in terms of promoting the OJLMG. And this objective changed dramatically for the OJ75YBI.

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When I first wrote the JuniorBiz Business Plan, I projected selling 750 copies of my Lawn Mowing Guide by the end of the year. All you have to do is write it and put it on Amazon, right? Unfortunately it’s not that easy. I’ve only sold 15 copies since I published it in April, but I’ve learned several lessons along the way.

The Breakdown of Sales

I obviously had high expectations for selling my first book and the Lawn Mowing Guide just didn’t cut it. Besides the fact that I didn’t sell as many books as I wanted to, they also didn’t sell how I thought they would.

Here’s the breakdown of Lawn Mowing Guide Sales:

  • In Person: 11 books
    Eight of those were sold at speaking engagements and three were to people I have known for awhile. I’ve also given away about 10 copies to friends and family.
  • My Website: 1 book and 1 ebook
    The book was sold on JuniorBiz.com and the ebook was sold on LawnMowingGuide.com.
  • A Dental Office: 1 book
    My editor, Nick Scheidies, sold a copy to one of his mom’s patients who happened to know the co-author, Emil Motycka.
  • Amazon: 1 book
    I didn’t sell my first copy on Amazon.com until last week despite being atop the list when you search, “Lawn Mowing Guide”.
  • Ebay: 0 books
    I had the Lawn Mowing Guide on Ebay for 30 days in the middle of the summer and haven’t bothered to repost it.

Lessons Learned

Selling 15 books has yet to cover my costs for the whole process, but I don’t consider it a loss. I plan on publishing a few more books over the next year and this experience has taught me some valuable lessons.

Lesson 1: People tend to buy from people they know or meet.

People are especially cautious with their purchases when money is tight. Unless it’s something they know they need, people aren’t going to buy.

It takes a lot of convincing. And the easiest way to convince someone is to talk to them in person. I’m not saying I’m an excellent salesman (in fact I’m terrible at it), but if people can see and talk to me before they hand me their hard-earned cash, there’s comfort for them in that.

Lesson 2: Unless you’re an authority, you’re going to have a tough time selling an informational product on the Internet.

The supply of things to buy online is growing much faster than demand. The increasing ease of online publishing is making it possible for anyone to create a website. And once online, people try to sell stuff.

I’ve found that the most successful informational products (i.e. books, ebooks and even online courses) are being sold by the most authoritative figures on the Internet (i.e. Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, Yaro Starak, etc.).

Once you’ve established yourself as a credible resource within your niche, people feel more at ease buying from you. This goes along the same lines as Lesson 1.

Lesson 3: Writing a book or developing a product is much easier than selling it.

All it takes to write a book is discipline. I don’t want to say it’s easy, because it’s not. But when you’re developing a product, you’re the only one you have to motivate. When you’re selling that product, you have to motivate other people.

You have to determine who you’re trying to sell to, what motivates them to buy, figure out how you’re going to communicate your message and then go out and do it. It’s a lot easier to sit at my computer and type. Not as rewarding, but easier.

Plans for Future Books

This summer may not have gone exactly as planned, but I have a book that doesn’t just expire at the end the lawn season. In addition to the Lawn Mowing Guide, I’m going to be writing the Internet Marketing Guide this fall. I’m excited to start working on it later this week!

Something I haven’t mentioned on this site before is that I’m going to be writing another book under the 50 Interviews license, 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs. This will be a collection of interviews from 50 of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world. My list is up to 34 already and it’s growing every day. This is going to be an absolute blast for me! I just hope they’re all willing to talk.

Brief Recap

Realize that this is just one person’s experience with selling one book. I’ve found plenty of people who are about as well known as I am, yet much more successful. If you’re one of them, please leave your comments below. Also, if you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this post, you should get JuniorBiz by Email..

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Following up on my Twitter Experiment with Direct Messages… It was a success, but at what cost? I’ll go into more detail under Objective 3 in this post.

Additionally, this is the final JJ Entry from the JuniorBiz Project Charter. In later JJ Entries I will focus on the cool things that happen to me and my business on a week-to-week basis.

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On Sunday April 19th, 2009, I started an experiment with the Twitter direct message feature to try and get more traffic and feedback on JuniorBiz.com. I also completed numerous other tasks in the JuniorBiz Project Charter this week, but the majority of this post will focus on the implementation and results of my Twitter experiment.

Obj. 1: Finish Guide

Since the Official JuniorBiz Lawn Mowing Guide is written and published, I have designed tasks under this objective with the intention to market and promote the guide. Early last week the OJLMG was finally posted on Amazon.com and is at the top of the list when you search “lawn mowing guide.” Additionally I sent the eBook version to Ben, owner of teenlawncare.com, so he could read it and review it on his site.

Obj. 2: Increase Traffic

Increasing traffic to JuniorBiz.com is the second objective. My primary task for this objective was to post a comment on an influential blog with a link to JuniorBiz.com. So I found an interesting and relative article, “Cupcakes and Cattle Breeding: Teens Turn to Summer Start-Ups,” on The Wall Street Journal’s website. I left a comment at the end of the article with a link back to my site. So WSJ.com officially links to JuniorBiz.com.

Obj. 2: Boost Online Presence

Getting back to my Twitter experiment, the third object is to boost my online presence. So at the beginning of the week I created an automatic direct message that every new follower of mine will receive. Typically these auto-messages say something like, “Thanks for the follow, looking forward to your tweets.” To me a message like this is pointless and just another thing I have to spend precious seconds deleting.

In general, automatic direct messages are looked down upon in the Twitter community but I’m going a different direction with my message. The message reads:

“Check out my site http://JuniorBiz.com, send me a comment (good or bad) & I’ll mention it (w/ a link) in a post. Thanks!”

The goal of this message is to initially get people to click on the link and hopefully get them to send me their opinions about my site. When they do, I’ll compensate them with a link of their choice – to their Twitter account or website. It’s a win-win and I should get to talk to some interesting people in the process.

Here is a list of feedback I received in the 7 days following the start of the experiment:

  • WAHM_WAHD – Nick, Your website is an awesome idea to help youngsters:) WAHU~ http://www.parents4wellness.com
  • AlanDonegan @JuniorBiz Very coolarticle, Thanks for sharing. This is exactly what I am promoting in England! What do you do in the US?
  • HopeHeals @JuniorBiz Hey Nick…you’re doin’ great things! Keep it up and thanks so much for following us!
  • HandymanConnect @juniorbiz is an interesting business model; helping young people run a business with the things they do anyway; mow lawns, babysit, etc.
  • ReferralTeams @JuniorBiz So I like the title of your home page. Lots of good content on BizIntros.com for articles, audio and video
  • GivingPoint I visited your juniorbiz.com website and it is great! if you know any teens interested in earning points to get rewarded with microgrants for causes they care about, please tell them to check out mygivingpoint.org

In addition to the comments, JuniorBiz.com also experienced a 215% increase in traffic from Twitter.com when comparing last week (April 19-25) to the average of the previous 5 weeks (March 15 – April 18).

Overall, this Twitter direct message marketing campaign has been going great! I’ve gotten more traffic, great feedback and have met interesting people that I otherwise may not have met.

I also eclipsed 1000 followers last week.

Obj. 4: Add Content

I wrote 2 new articles last week. Thus far, “Venture Adventure Results and Outcome – JJ Entry #10” has received 113 hits and “10 Things My Entrepreneurship Professor Has Learned” has received 122 hits. The second article has only been up for 3 days.

Obj. 5: Expand Local Awareness

As far as expanding local awareness for JuniorBiz, I spent a lot of time writing and sending emails. Venture Adventure was the previous weekend and I met quite a few interesting people that I wanted to follow-up with. So I did, and it took a long time, but it was worth it. As most young entrepreneurs will find, networking is just as important as anything else when starting a new business..

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