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Create a Business Challenge: June & July Update (Combined Post)

Beach Office

I’m writing this from the island of Gili Trawangan in Indonesia. Like my beach office?

BIG NEWS: I’ve pre-sold a book, begun writing it, and will be publishing it on Amazon this month. Huge turnaround from our last check-in, eh?!

Current working title: $25K in 4 Months: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Debt Elimination, Incredible Profitability, and Achieving Financial Freedom.

I’m super excited to share how all this came together – from quick validation on Facebook, to pre-selling copies of the book, to actually writing it… there are so many takeaways from this and I bet a lot of you could do this too.

Stay tuned for the August update where I explain all of this in detail (just a couple weeks away… and yes, I promise there’ll be an on-time August update).

Why I’ve Been Radio Silent For 2.5 months

For starters, let me say, “I’m sorry.” If you’ve been following along in my Create a Business Challenge, you’ll note that after the last update in May, I went completely AWOL. Which was lame, I know.

But there were a number of reasons for this. Here are the big ones:

  1. Working with orangutans in Malaysia was time consuming (June)
  2. A nasty stomach bug knocked me off course for a bit – diarrhea and no sleep make Charlie a dull boy (June)
  3. I started my Product Manager job full-time – I’ve never done this before, turns out it’s not easy (July)

Some Good Things Have Come Out Of That AWOL Time Though…

I got paid $1,000 for the Adwords consulting work I’d done during my time in Malaysia.

$1,000 for paid consulting gig

I spent the month of July living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where I met a bunch of digital nomads and entrepreneurs… and managed to not get killed riding around on UberMOTO.

UberMOTO in Vietnam

I think this facial expression = 1 parts excited, 2 parts unsure if I’ll live. (Saigon traffic is like entering the wild west, anything goes)

I dramatically improved my customer interview skills after working with some entrepreneurs who are further along in their businesses than me. I then re-engaged a bunch of people I’ve been talking with about their experience paying off debt. (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post where I share the exact interview questions I use to draw out customer pain points and ideas for products.)

Re-engaging people in debt

And speaking of debt… I paid off the credit card debt I’d accumulated this year. I’d been using my credit cards to make up for my huge drop in income after leaving my job earlier this year, but no longer! I’m 100% debt free, and I now have an emergency fund and a budget that I use religiously.

Progress Building a Business (in June/July)

  • I pitched my services for one-on-one debt coaching with no luck thus far
  • I found that “making money” is a much bigger topic online than “paying off debt”
  • I came up with potential pivots to explore: teaching people how to negotiate a 30-40% raise, giving people a step-by-step system for successfully starting a new career or job where you have no education or experience, and creating a Relay for Life-meets debt elimination challenge where you raise money to pay off debt by running.

These are just the highlights, there was a lot of psychological and process-oriented progress that was made but don’t merit the lengthy explanations they’d require to share in a way that makes sense.

My Promise To You

One thing I’ve realized after spending 2.5 months focused exclusively on work and making business progress, is that I feel a lot less momentum in my work when I don’t post updates about it. There’s a lesson in there somewhere: something about the importance of celebrating “small wins” and the psychology of public accountability…

But the selfish truth is that having you read these updates gives me more motivation to keep going.

And I AM going to achieve my goal of creating a business that makes money this year.

So with only 4.5 months left of the challenge, I really hope that you’ll follow along, let me know what you think, and benefit from the takeaways I share over the coming weeks and months.

My promise:

  • I’ll post on the blog at least once a month, probably twice
  • I’ll keep sharing tips, strategies, and brief lessons learned over email
  • If you have a question or comment that you email me, I’ll respond ASAP

I’ve talked with some of you who’ve emailed me directly over the past couple months and I love helping you overcome your obstacles and offering whatever input I can – keep it coming!

What’s Coming Next

So many things I’m not sure what to share first!

First and foremost, you’ll have the August update where I detail validating, pre-selling, and publishing my ebook.

After that, expect a post showing you the exact word-for-word questions and phrases I’ve discovered elicit the best responses in customer interviews. These will help you uncover the pain, frustration, and challenges that exist in a given market and will give you new ideas for products and businesses.

I’ll also be sharing about Vietnam and how perfect Ho Chi Minh City is for digital nomads and budding entrepreneurs. A) It’s ridiculously cheap (I paid $200/mo for rent and I could buy breakfast for under $1), and B) There are a ton of fellow hustlers and hackers from all over the world you can quickly meet and learn from.

I’m excited to be back on track and sharing with you again, I hope you are too.

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