Yes, our CEO decided to give away his best-selling book for free. Crazy, right? We’ll release a new chapter each week here on the Ad Zombies blog. You can also listen in to the audiobook by subscribing to the Three Yellow Chairs podcast!
We hope you enjoy Chapter 2 of Jab Till It Hurts: How Following Gary Vaynerchuk's Advice Helped Me Build A 7-Figure Brand.
People spend a lot of time preparing to do something, telling themselves “I’m getting ready.” Preparing to write a book, preparing to start a new hobby. They spend a lot of time getting ready to get ready. All they do is find themselves preparing, and that’s not going to cut it.
You have to jump in.
It’s like having kids. People are never prepared, never ready, to become parents. They have all these questions: “Are we financially stable? Do we have enough money?” Spoiler alert: No. There are all of these concerns, and most of them revolve around money. You spend a lot of time preparing to have kids, yet you’re never really ready. But when they come along, you just kind of figure it out. It’s the same thing when you are starting a business.
People spend so much time making business plans and figuring out their corporate strategy or their mission statement. My God, the amount of energy people waste on their damn mission statement is ridiculous. How about you come up with your mission statement after you actually build something?
Take some action. Do it today.
It’s just unbelievable how many people have the desire, or say they have the desire to do something, yet their actions don’t map to their words. Open the door, step outside, and do it. Take the action first. It’s not going to happen on its own. Water does not boil unless you put the burner on and crank it. Looking at it won’t help. Getting ready won’t help. Until you turn it on, it ain’t gonna boil. Business is the same way.
When you first start something, you’re taking a leap of faith. You’re starting with nothing. You’re starting from zero, which is where I started from with Ad Zombies. By the way, I took no money from Wedgie Media, my other company, to start Ad Zombies. It started on its own and it grew on its own, and it generated revenue from Day One on its own.
To take a company from zero to the trajectory of seven figures to hopefully eight figures is a remarkable feat. But it’s not unachievable for you in your business. It is unachievable, however, if you don’t take Step One, which is starting.
Zero Money Down
If you focus on the outcome rather than the income, the outcome will be the income. And it doesn’t cost anything to do it. You could start your jabbing with zero dollars. That’s right. Literally no money, just your time, and you can build a huge foundation, a huge network, for no money. It sounds like a bad commercial: “Zero money down!” But the truth is, zero money down can net you lots of zeroes on the back end. And by “lots of zeroes,” I mean six figures. Seven figures.
It also costs nothing to be nice. Think about that. Don’t do things with a motive. Don’t do things with an ulterior motive of, “I’m going to drive sales.” No, instead just do things to be nice. The more time you spend helping others and being nice, the more it’s going to benefit you naturally. You don’t have to work for that. It just comes to you. It’s called karma, the way the world works. It’s the ebb and flow. Give, give, give. And you will get, get, get.
Effective Jabbing for a New Business
Let’s say you are a digital marketing specialist. You want to help companies grow their sales online. You’ve started this awesome little boutique agency, and you want to bring value to a community of roofers—roofers are your specialty niche, that’s where you want to spend your time. There are literally dozens of Groups you could join that have to do with roofing on Facebook. Roofers Helping Roofers, Roofers Asking Questions, etc. Use the search bar, the search tool that no one ever uses on Facebook, and find them.
Just join those groups. Join them with the intent of helping them. Do not join them with the intent of selling them. Because if you do, you will freaking lose—not to mention, they’ll probably kick you out. Go in and provide value:
“Hey! This is Mark from Wisconsin. Let me tell you that if you do XYZ in your ads, you’ll get a better return on them because of X. By the way, we’ve done this for several clients and it works really, really well. If you have any questions, hit me up. Have an amazing day!”
You’ve not told them your business name, you haven’t given them a phone number to call, you didn’t mention your landing page, nothing. You’re just offering value and information, and saying, “If you need help, hit me up.” That’s it. If you don’t think that has value for your business, you’re wrong. There is so much value in being able to give freely. Everyone should be able to jab till it hurts because it doesn’t hurt to give.
Start with Nothing
Ad Zombies started with zero dollars in. It started with no website. It started with no Facebook page. It started with nothing. It was just me, in a Facebook Group, helping. I didn’t ask anyone for anything. I was just giving them value.
You’ve got to be able to give, to show value, first. It’s just a really a great way to start a business. Imagine if you were to take your passion, and go into a Facebook Group, and help other people problem solve because you have some knowledge other people don’t possess. That’s powerful. Super powerful.
From that Facebook Group I told you about in the last chapter, a little bit of revenue got generated immediately, within the first week, by me offering to write ads for people. There are website platforms today, Wix, Squarespace (I love Squarespace, by the way—it’s the greatest platform ever) that you could, with no coding experience, no special web training, spend a half a day, maybe two days, putting together a basic website. Can you pretty it up over time? Absolutely. Does it have to be perfect right away? No way. It’s better if it isn’t, and you have some warts. Why? Because if you start documenting everything you’re doing as you’re building a business, and sharing it with the world, that endears you to people, to your customers. They want to experience the journey with you, the wins, the losses. It’s all part of your story. Remember, a version one is better than a version none, too.
So, when you start, don’t be ashamed to talk about the failures. Don’t be afraid to talk about the real situation: “Hey, I’m not making any money at this,” or of sharing the details of not understanding how the process of something works. If you surround yourself with enough good people, over time, you’ll overcome these things and your business will start to thrive.
One is Better Than None
So, you’ve started your business. You’ve built a little brand around sewing, or gardening, or Matchbox cars, or antique designer buttons. We have an entire jar of buttons sitting at home on my buffet, collected by my wife’s dad, and I see it every day, so that’s why I’m thinking about buttons! Anyway, you’ve started your business, and you’re in these Facebook Groups jabbing, giving advice, telling people where this button came from or that Matchbox car’s year of manufacture, and the value of that car. You’re teaching people about unique stitches that you can do with knitting, or how to have a green thumb even if they’ve never had a plant live more than a week in the past. You’re giving value to these Groups in your niche, in your specialty, and now you have a way to monetize it, and you’re trying to figure out, “How do I grow this thing?”
Eventually, you’ve got your first sale. You’ve got a dollar. But you’re not very happy about it. You go, “Man, that sucked. I worked so hard, and now all I’ve got is a dollar.”
I’m going to tell you right now—that dollar, that first dollar tastes so good that you want more and more. Don’t worry about more, that shouldn’t be your focus. More will come in time.
A buck is better than broke and zero dollars is what you had. So, as this business of yours starts to grow, and as you start to figure out how to monetize your brand, and sell your collectibles, or package your information in an e-course or an e-book for gardening or knitting or whatever your niche is, instead of getting greedy or getting pissed off that you’ve only made a hundred dollars in a week rather than a thousand, just know that with time, with patience, by continuing to add value to the world and the communities online that you participate in, that money will grow.
Remember, I started my company Ad Zombies in Facebook Groups by jabbing, by helping people rewrite ad copy, which led to the first transactions— ten businesses, ten entrepreneurs just like you who gave me a hundred bucks a month to write ten ads for them. These transactions worked out to ten dollars an ad. That’s nothing! But soon, it turned into a hundred people paying us $49 an ad.
Today, we have agencies all over the world that pay us a monthly retainer to write their ads for them. We have thousands of businesses that pay us anywhere from $49 to several hundred dollars per transaction to write their ads, their landing pages, their email sequences—all of the components they need to be successful in the marketing space.
Don’t get greedy. Stay focused, stay hungry, and just know that the first dollar’s going to taste really good.
One dollar is better than zero, and you’re starting at zero.
Get Some Attention
From those first ten Ad Zombies customers, I had a foundation to work off of. That foundation gave us the money to build the website and to get a video piece done. Then, the big disruptive opportunity came: Infusionsoft was having their Icon Conference in Phoenix. This was a month after Ad Zombies took its first breath. I had previously arranged a meeting with the President and CEO of Design Pickle, and when I got there, I walked in their office, and said, “Guys, I want to know what you did at the Infusionsoft conference. What is it that you did that launched your business?” I wasn’t sure of how they executed it, and I wanted to know.
The cool thing is, when you ask people, they’re usually more than willing to tell you, they’re willing to help you out. Successful people do not have the scarcity mentality. On the contrary, they want to share in your success, help you succeed. We should be doing that for one another constantly—giving, sharing, and growing together. They said, “Okay, here’s what we did. We rented this pickle suit and this pushcart, and we basically just handed out pickles wrapped with our flyer. That’s how Design Pickle was born.”
I took a leap, and thought, “Hmm, what if we get some red bags, printed with our rudimentary logo on it, and our website, and stuffed the bags with a special coupon, a discount code?” Big red bags are like a walking billboard, and we needed some eyeballs on the company. So, we ordered the bags for the Infusionsoft conference. Then, my awesome First Assistant Director from my other company connected me with a zombie troupe—a group of people who are actors and go out as zombies. They’re professionals, they’re paid for this, but they’re also zombie nerds, and they dig it. I said, “Okay, how much is each of these people going to cost us?” I knew we needed more zombies rather than fewer. Right?
The morning of the conference, I had a horde of zombies with these bags, outside of the convention center. They were wandering up and down the street, handing out these bright red bags. We guerrilla marketed to get this thing going, to give Ad Zombies some momentum. We even had a run- in with the security of the convention center. They wanted us off the property, but I knew we were within our rights, because I had talked to someone at the Phoenix PD, and we weren’t blocking anything or violating any laws. So, eventually the security team just let us do our thing.
We started. We started. That conference got us a lot of traction in the marketing world. We started picking up little jobs here or there from people who saw us at Icon.
We got people to post pictures and selfies with the zombies—the zombies would stop their act at the conference and pose with people. We took this bold leap, spent some money on bags and on those actors. We dropped some dough; I put it on my credit card. I’m like, “Alright, let’s see where this goes.” It wasn’t like I was risking life or limb, however, or mortgaging the house to do this. It was just taking some money, and say, “Let’s see if we can do something with this.”
Between a small Facebook ad spend of $550, printing the bags and putting handouts in them, hiring the actors, and all the little extras, we spent just under $6,000 to have a dominant presence at ICON. The results were remarkable.
Side note: I ran into Clate Mask and Scott Martineau at the Infusionsoft hosted cocktail hour and apologized for our guerrilla marketing tactics.
It’s always better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Be bold, put yourself out there, and be humble too.
Good Enough Is Good Enough
It worked. Sales started to come in. Sales started as a trickle, but they were showing a pattern. It wasn’t big money at first, but it was something. It validated the concept for me. I knew this business needed to exist.
The first thing I had to do was start. Nothing was perfect at first—it couldn’t have been less perfect. When someone placed an order online, the entire process was manual. It was a nightmare. Now, it wasn’t a nightmare when it was five orders a day, but when orders start coming in the 50, 70, 100 a day range? When you hit those kinds of numbers, holy shit! It’s devastating if you’re manually processed. A sale would get transacted online. We’d get a receipt in the email, then we’d send them a link to fill out a creative brief. Then, they’d send the brief back and we had to match it up to make sure this brief went with that order. It was chaotic, but it was good enough. And sometimes, good enough is good enough.
Stop planning, start doing. You can adjust along the way.
Tactics to Try Immediately
So, there you are, sitting in your office, at a job you hate, with a boss who’s a dick, and you’re trying to figure out the answer to one question: How do I turn my passion for Matchbox car collectibles into a business that actually makes me money? I use that example, but it could be anything. It could be dolls. It could be artwork. It could be Rae Dunn ceramics. I know people who trade up Rae Dunn, who literally will go to the store, buy all the Rae Dunn stuff the day it comes out and then go online, on eBay, and flip it.
There’s this one woman I know of who buys the stuff, and then, with her partner, sets up auctions on Facebook. You buy into the auction for $5. It’s only $5, and you have a good shot of winning. They let it go to 200 people, then once it goes to that number, a winner gets picked in the auction to receive the pottery that cost them $30. They’ve collected five bucks 200 times over! Do the math. That’s a business.
So, what do you do? How do you get out of that job? The first thing you do, if you haven’t done it yet, is set up a Facebook page. Now, I’m not talking about your personal page with pictures of your kids, I’m talking about setting up a business page. You can create a page for your business with any name you want: Matchbox Collectibles, Dollhouse Collectibles. Don’t agonize over the name, you can always change it later before you grow your following. I would also create an Instagram account and do the same exact thing. Give it a name and start posting pictures of your collection and talk about each of the items in it.
Start looking for Facebook pages who have like- minded individuals in them. If you go up to the top of the page, there’s a search field. Search for “Rae Dunn pottery,” or “Matchbox cars,” for example. You start sharing in those Groups, not selling. For example, “Hey, this is my 1954 Matchbox blah, blah, blah.” You give them a description, you share a picture, and you say something like, “Look at the details! What’s your favorite car?” You’ll start getting responses. When people want to connect with you, you can say “Hey, I don’t want to take connections on my personal page, but let’s chat on my business page.” It’s okay. You can keep them separate, you’re not being a jerk by doing that.
Then, on Instagram, deploy a hashtag strategy. What’s a hashtag strategy? With every post, the moment you post, the next thing you do is, in the first comment, you paste in the hashtags that are associated with the post you just made. In this case, you’re going to search for hashtags and type in “Matchbox,” “collectibles,” and build a list of 30 relevant hashtags. That’s your hashtag list for your new business. Hashtag every time you post on Instagram to get more eyes on your pics.
Then, follow people who are into Matchbox cars. When people post questions about the value of a car, there’s your chance to jab. Someone might say, “Hey, I have this cool car, is it worth anything?” With your knowledge, you jump in and help by providing guidance. You say, “Hey, that car is worth $20, not $5.” Or, if somebody thinks they have a car that’s worth some real money, you might offer to buy it.
That’s how you start to build your reputation, your credibility, and your—listen to this word—brand. That is how you begin. These are some basic steps that anyone can take for getting your business off the ground.
When it comes time to take orders, payment processing is easy. Too many people get bent out of shape about paying credit card processing fees to PayPal or Stripe, or Square, or whatever the app is that they use. Get over it. Every business has to make money somehow, and that’s how they make money. It’s cheap as shit and easy to set up.
If I sat down at a computer with you, I could have your business set up in less than 30 minutes. That’s a Facebook page, an Instagram account, payment processing, hell, even a rudimentary, basic website.
Freaking 30 minutes and you’re able to start taking money from people. That’s how real it is.
Connecting the Dots to Your Potential Consumer
“There are not enough people out there to buy my product or service. There aren’t enough people who would even be interested in it! And I certainly don’t know how to connect with them.”
This is something I hear, almost daily, from small- thinking individuals who don’t understand the numbers today—the sheer volume of people who are online. So, how do you connect to your potential consumer? Let’s say, for a moment, that you are a beef jerky enthusiast. You not only create your own jerky and marinades, but you like to sample and test beef jerky varieties from all around the world and review them as well. You also sell homemade jerky to friends, who are all saying, “You should make a business out of this!”
Let’s talk about who will buy your beef jerky. There are, right now, 2.2 billion active users on Facebook. Think about how massive that number is. YouTube has 1.5 billion active monthly users. 1.5 billion. WhatsApp, which was just purchased by Facebook, 1.5 billion. Messenger, 1.3 billion. Instagram just surpassed 1 billion monthly active accounts. That’s a shitload of people. Tell me there is not someone in there who will buy your beef jerky. Think about that. There’s a lot of people you have access to through Facebook advertising who will buy your jerky. It’s not that hard to find them. By the way, 2.2 billion Facebook users...that’s way too many to hit with your soon-to-be digital budget, so let’s say you just focus on the United States. You’re still in the millions.
Let me walk you through how you build an audience on Facebook for your company and apply your specific niche or brand to the audience you’re trying to target. First, go into the Ads Manager and create an audience. Let’s call it Beef Jerky Lovers. Who do we want to target? People in the United States. Include everybody, but we know 18-year- olds probably aren’t going to order stuff online, so let’s target men and women over age 25. You can exclude people from the list who identify themselves as vegan—now we won’t even offend vegans when we serve up our beef jerky ads!
Let’s see if there’s a group of people who like beef jerky. If you type in “beef jerky” into the targeting detail field, there are a couple of companies. You can target people who are fans of “jerky” or fans of specific meat or sausage companies. Oberto has almost a quarter of a million fans! People who like beef jerky? Over 5 million people. You create that audience. Then, you create ads and target these people: “If you think Oberto beef jerky is the best, wait until you try Bob’s of Wisconsin! Click here to save 50% off your first order!”
Think about that. You’ve just created your first e- comm transaction. By the way, you don’t even need an e-commerce website to get started. You can do everything through Stripe, PayPal, through Facebook Messenger. Or you can set up a very simple e-commerce website on SquareSpace or Wix—nothing fancy and nothing crazy expensive. Sure, you’re going to have higher credit card transaction fees at first, but who gives a crap? If you’re making $5,000 a week and you’re paying transaction fees? Great! That’s $5,000 a week more in sales than you had before you started. Be practical and look at the big picture, not today’s picture.
Lots of people will buy your shit, and there are lots of people out there to buy it.
The Economics of Growing a New Business
Sometimes, jabs cost more than time. They can cost money, depending on the type of jab. For the most part, jabs are not going to cost you anything other than your time, your expertise, and that’s it. But let’s talk about the thing that everybody stresses about: “It’s going to cost me a ton of money to grow my new business.”
Have you ever seen the moments, on America’s Got Talent, when they have the three X’s come on the screen? That statement about growing a new business costing a ton of money earns this kind of reaction in my mind because it’s not accurate at all.
Let’s talk about the budget of Ad Zombies when it began.
First, it started with a jab in a Facebook Group, which cost absolutely nothing. My second jab was to offer help to anyone who needed assistance writing ads. That cost nothing. The only thing it cost me was the time it cost to fix, to write, to help them with their ads. Time has value, but when you’re starting a business, that’s all you have to give.
It was only when I decided that I needed to make this service available to ten people that I decided to put any dollars into it. The dollars were used to build a basic website, a basic connection point where people could transact with me. That generated the revenue to build the initial foundation of the company. Not once did I take money from my personal savings or my other business.
I had a basic website set up that cost one hundred- something dollars. I did the entire layout internally, so there was no cost there, other than time. The reality is, I didn’t even need a website. I could’ve done it all through Stripe, sending payment links without one person going to a website. But, because ten people had already said, “I’m going to pay you for this,” I had $1,000 in working capital to play with. This gave me the ability to have more people sign up and purchase ad copy.
It was only when we started to have multiple orders coming in per day that we had the cash flow that allowed us to expand further and reinvest back in the business. Growing from zero to seven figures that quickly takes constant reinvestment in the business. It takes incredible discipline and 19-hour workdays. It’s not easy. But when it’s your passion, it is.
Key Points from Chapter 2
Stop preparing to start your business. Just start.
It doesn’t take a lot of money to begin. Join Facebook Groups that cater to your market or passion and start sharing your knowledge and giving value to people.
Build a simple Facebook page and website for your business; you can improve it later.
Ask for help from those who know more than you.
Don’t try to hide what you don’t know. Your customers want to go on a journey with you! Even your failures or mistakes are part of the story.
There are millions and millions of people online at every moment—the opportunity is there. Stop thinking small!
Did You Get Value From This?
If it did and you feel compelled to buy a few copies of my book to give away as Christmas gifts to friends, I’m okay with that!
Get your copy of Jab Till It Hurts here or tap on the book cover.
Want the audio version of this? You can get that by subscribing to my podcast TYC.
ken ‘spanky’ moskowitz
founder | ceo | zombie ❤️ lover