519: Million Dollar Weekend with Noah Kagan

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Noah Kagan

If you’ve ever thought of starting a business or taking an existing one to the next level, how many times have you caught yourself saying, “I’m not ready yet,” or “I just don’t have enough time/money to make it happen”? There are countless people out there who’ve let their dreams slip away without even dipping their toes in to try.

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Noah Kagan. Noah is the CEO of the $80 million dollar company, AppSumo and author of the new book, Million Dollar Weekend.

He’s launched seven multimillion-dollar businesses and was even a part of the early teams at Facebook and Mint. And he’s here to give a crash course on how to start a million-dollar business in a single weekend. Literally.

You’ll learn what it takes to make that daunting first step that trips up so many people. Noah even breaks down how to test drive your dream in 48 hours to see if it can be profitable and then maps out how to turn that ambitious idea into a million-dollar venture.

But this isn’t just about starting a business or launching a side hustle. It’s about creating the life you always wanted, free from the shackles of “what ifs” and regrets. So, whatever your dream is, this is an episode that could change everything for you.



KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • If you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re not in control of your destiny
  • Start it, build it, grow it
  • Every rejection is a stepping stone to wisdom
  • Gripes and complaints can also be business opportunities
  • The ‘Law of 100’: Commit to giving it your all a hundred times before you judge your efforts
  • You’re capable of so much more than you realize
  • Grant yourself permission to pursue your dreams

 

AYG TWEETABLES

 

“I've always thought it's riskier to have a day job that you hate or that you don't like, doing things you don't want to do, making not as much as you think you can or deserve. I felt that was always riskier than wondering what if I ever tried it.”

“That's one of the best goals in life. Find something you’re excited to sell, create it yourself, or go work for it.”

 

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Copyright © 2024 Miracle Morning, LP and International Literary Properties LLC

Hal Elrod: Noah Kagan, welcome to the podcast.

Noah Kagan: What up, Hal Elrod? I had a miracle lunch. Good to see you. I was thinking about you.

Hal Elrod: Oh, we should coauthor. We should coauthor the book, the Miracle Lunch. The Miracle Breakfast, The Miracle, yeah. Now, I got Miracle Morning, Miracle Evening. Hey, man. So, I want to talk about you. I mentioned this to you before we started recording that depending on when I have an author on, a lot of times I will really like it depends on how much the book resonates with me in terms of how much I really want to talk about it. So, a lot of times I read a book and I’m like, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” Right? And then I end up talking to the author not about the book so much. And then at the end of the interview, I’m like, “By the way, you have a new book. Mention that,” right? And your book, and I’m a few chapters in. I got it a few days ago and I’m in the middle of my book launch and all the excuses I have, but I love the book, I love the title, I love the concept. I love how you deliver on the promise of the title like in an extraordinary way. And, yeah, you, buddy, you. Million Dollar Weekend, right? That’s the name of the book. What a great… Dude, I mean, that’s like, hey, 4-Hour Workweek. That was cool back then but now we’re talking the Million Dollar Weekend, man. So, I love that.

Before we dive into the book, I want our listeners to get to know you a little bit because of a few things. You’re more qualified than most business authors to write about starting and growing a million-dollar or multimillion-dollar business because you’ve started not just one or like even two or four. Like, you’ve started eight million-dollar businesses, right, that you count at least on two hands. And so, walk us through like you were the number 30 employee at Facebook, which is really cool if you want to weave it in. I’m like I think I’m curious. What was that like? But I’d love to hear your journey from being the number 30 employee at Facebook. And even before that, if you want to go back into like your childhood, whatever you feel good about, and then how you got into starting these businesses and writing this book, man. Spend as long as you want, man. I’m here for it.

Noah Kagan: Dude, awesome. Thank you for having me. And like a lot of a lot of people out there, they have a dream to be an author or to be an entrepreneur or to be whatever that is. And the idea with Million Dollar Weekend is you can all do that and change your life in 48 hours, which everyone has a weekend to be able to change their life. I started out, let’s just go back to the womb. I remember being in the womb, Hal. I’m thinking, “You know, it’s just not that cozy. I got to get out of here.”

Hal Elrod: I got to start a business.

Noah Kagan: I haven’t made money and I’m already eight weeks old now. And so, I was very blessed to have grown up in Silicon Valley and be around all these elite people. I had a biological dad who was this non-English-speaking immigrant who just sold, cold-called people, and hustled really hard and taught me a lot about entrepreneurship, what I like, I didn’t like, and then I had these straight edge parents on the other side, a nurse and a software engineer that didn’t drink, home on time, showed up on time, very clean, told me to stay the safe path, and had a lot of good things that got me really into computers as well. And I was very blessed to be in that environment that led me to entrepreneurship and technology. And I always dreamed of being rich. I was like I didn’t know how it was going to happen. And so, this is a book I wish I had when I was eight years old that it’s like, “Hey, you don’t need investors. You don’t need a lot of time. You don’t even need really special ability, if at all. A lot of ordinary people get rich every day.”

And the steps to feel good mentally, to be able to get there as well as the tactics, once you’re ready to do that, which everyone is to be able to make sure your idea is successful, how to get ideas, and then how to get customers and beyond. And for myself, in my own entrepreneurship journey, I want to get rich, but I never knew how. And I was always trying things. I was always just tinkering and starting businesses, failing most of the time. And I ended up getting a day job out of college at Intel, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun. And for the people who know that sound, shout out. And I just hate it every day. And it was the worst thing ever. And it just was more motivation to finally have my dream of being an entrepreneur. Along the way, I was able to get a job at Facebook. Not through any special network but through some grit which we can talk about, which is interesting for others. And I was able…

Hal Elrod: What year was that, by the way?

Noah Kagan: How I got the job or…?

Hal Elrod: What year did you get the job?

Noah Kagan: 2005. So, we had about 10 million users on the site and no one knew really about it. And I just saw that this is going to be a million, if not billion, if not now, trillion-dollar opportunity that I wanted to be a part of. And I was part of Facebook early. I was a part of helping start Mint.com. I was number four. We sold for 200 million. And then I went on to start a lot of different businesses. Some worked out pretty well. And then to this day, now I started AppSumo.com, which is the number one site online for software deals for entrepreneurs. We do around $80 million a year. I’m the CEO of that. And so, I’ve definitely had – I’ve been in the trenches.

Hal Elrod: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: And I feel very qualified and excited to now see and meet other people that are excited to have their own entrepreneurship journeys and be able to support them. I just got off a call an hour ago with seven people just workshopping their own business trainings. So, it’s something I’m really excited about. I’m excited to see people change their lives, which everyone can do.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. For me, the way that I look at entrepreneurship or one of many ways that I look at it is having multiple sources of income I feel like is the responsible thing to do. We’ve seen, especially, I mean, for ourselves but if you have people that are relying on you to provide for them, I feel like if you put all your eggs in one basket, we’ve seen whether it’s you get laid off or a company goes out of business. I just feel like for me and I had that happen in 2008, the economy crashed and I was a coach, and I lost over half of my clients and half of my income, and I couldn’t pay the bills. And I was like, “Oh, never again.” Like, I need to build more than one source of income so that if one industry that I’m in like tanks or if one business goes under, like I have other options to invest my energy into. So, I think that’s an important part of entrepreneurship is you can then create these different streams of income and different product lines and so on and so forth. I want to start…

Noah Kagan: Can I comment on something on that?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Please. Please.

Noah Kagan: Thanks, man. I’ve always thought it’s riskier to have a day job that you hate.

Hal Elrod: Thank you.

Noah Kagan: Or that you don’t like, doing things you don’t want to do, making not as much as you think you can or deserve. I felt that was always riskier than wondering what if like if I ever tried it. And the risk really, like you called out, probably before that sometimes, though, for almost everyone that’s listening, if you’re not an entrepreneur, is that you’re really not in control of your destiny. You have one person decision that could impact your entire livelihood and your family’s livelihood. And so, I’m not actually saying people need to take a big risk to be an entrepreneur. I never took a risk to be an entrepreneur and create millions of dollars, which is unreal, is that it felt that I should create this. So, if I want to, I have that option, I have that ability. And if you like your day job, we have a lot of people at AppSumo.com that have day jobs but they’ve started their own entrepreneurship things on the side. So, if they want to do that, great. If not, they get both. And I think I would encourage everyone to be considering that, especially if you want more time with your kids, if you want to be out there running, or if you want to be traveling. Entrepreneurship gives you that flexibility.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Now, when you say that you never took any risk, what do you mean?

Noah Kagan: I never spent money. The real businesses that have become seven figures never spend a lot of money, never spend a lot of time. Now, most people, I just got a guy. His name is Ceasar. He was messaging me, “Hey, I have this domain, but I can’t get any investors.” And I was like, “Well, do you have any customers?” Because those are my favorite investors. And he’s like, “No.” And I was like, “Okay.” He’s like, “I just need a ton of money.” I was like, “Well, let’s try to understand your problem.” Okay. Now, let’s try to see with this problem you’re solving, how can you actually get someone to pay you today. How can we validate it’s a business so that when you go to investors, maybe if you want to later you can prove it’s a successful thing? And for me, let me just give you an example. With AppSumo.com, I was really excited to solve the problem of how do you get software creator’s customers? I felt like it was such a valuable problem that I felt, “Wow. That’s something I’ve always wanted for myself,” because I love deals. I still do. And I was like, “Oh man, how do I try to prove this is a real business and validate it so I can invest more in it, that I don’t have to quit my day job?”

And the one way you can do that for anyone out there is think about your freedom number. And so, my freedom number is $3,000. And I said if I can make $3,000 on my side hustle, I’ll quit my day job or quit my, yeah, I was consulting at the time at a dating website and I was like, “Oh, if I can get this going and get to 3,000, everyone should think about what is my freedom number. And if I get this going and it gets that number, I’ll quit.” And so, with AppSumo.com, it was truly the million-dollar weekend framework where I didn’t spend a lot of money. I didn’t spend a lot of time. I spent $48 on a developer with me putting a PayPal button on a website. I got to admit, I spent another $12 on the domain and I’m sorry. I spent $60. My bad. And in a weekend, I had a PayPal button on a website. I cold-emailed a guy to see, “Hey, can you give me your software to discount?” That was Imgur. And then I posted it on Reddit and said, “Hey, I have the software deal. I’m paying this guy $7.” Put it out there and 200 people bought it.

And the reality was that that took a weekend. That was not a lot of money. There was almost no time. And I was able to find out very quickly that this is a business that people are excited to give me money for. And then within two months, I was able to quit my day job. And so, literally, the risk was not taking the chance, not starting. The risk was not sitting on the sidelines wondering what kind of life I could live. And thank God I started then, and I’m able to really enjoy all the fruits of that now.

Hal Elrod: Well, and you talked about that. The risk is not starting. And I love how you open your book with frequently made excuses, right, instead of frequently asked questions, because I think it really is a reality check that there’s nothing holding us back except for us, right? Except for our excuses. And I have to admit that as I’m reading these, I’m like, “Oh man, not only have I made those excuses like in the early days like I’m still making those excuses to not do the next thing that I want to do or could do.” So, those aren’t just for like someone that’s brand new. It’s like even a seasoned entrepreneur it’s like, “Oh, these excuses still potentially hold me back.” From your experience, what are some of the biggest excuses that we tell ourselves that hold us back from starting a business, taking that chance, creating that side hustle, whatever it is?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. One thing I would… What’s something that you were afraid of or you make an excuse on?

Hal Elrod: Let me look. I made a list here. I have too many ideas, that’s for sure. One, I have too many ideas. How will it scale? I think that, for me, I often have trouble seeing how it’s going to scale because I have a unique thing where I haven’t really scaled businesses. I’ve written books, created a keynote speaking career, which I don’t scale my keynote. It’s like I have to go speak. So, I think that for me we have an app now, and now it’s like, “Okay. We got to scale this out, but, oh, I’ve never done that before really.” So, I think a lot of it’s just a limitation of like if there was a high arching, limiting belief or excuse, it’s, “Well, if I’ve never done it before, what if I fail trying to do it now?”

Noah Kagan: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. So, let’s just take your example. I have too many ideas and I don’t know how it will scale. Not necessarily you, but a lot of people in this, they have too many ideas. It’s because they’re afraid of doing any of them. And that’s a way of avoiding starting. And so, the first part of the book is how do we just get going now, right now, not how. For instance, let’s say you have an idea for some type of business. Great. How can you just email? You have an audience. You can literally send an email right now. You could text your audience. You can post on your social media literally to say, “Hey, I’m working on this idea. I got ten slots, $100 each, send me PayPal, Venmo, Stripe, Cash App, crypto, whatever that is, and you can find out right now if that’s something that people actually want. That’s literally anyone could do that for any business idea instantly and find out the truth. And zooming out to higher level, like you have a business, I don’t know if it’s eight figures, six, seven, eight.

Hal Elrod: Seven.

Noah Kagan: How does it scale?

Hal Elrod: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: Sorry. What was that?

Hal Elrod: Oh, seven.

Noah Kagan: Dude, awesome. Most people never get one. That’s how they never get to seven. All these big tech companies, not even tech companies, every big company started with one or two people getting going with one customer. And I think that’s what’s missed out on. They’re like how did I scale? It’s like, “Did you get even one customer?” They’re like, “No.” I’m like, “Let’s just start with that and then we’ll build those things up.” But now the second part for yourself, and this is something we do at AppSumo.com, two pieces. One, how do you double down what’s working? Most successful entrepreneurs they’re worried, “How do I scale it?” It’s like, well, what did you do to get to where you are? Well, for you, you spoke a lot. You promoted your book. You went on shows you. What else?

Hal Elrod: Mostly interviews. It’s word of mouth. I don’t know how you…

Noah Kagan: Word of mouth. Do you have a course thing?

Hal Elrod: I don’t have a course.

Noah Kagan: Okay. There’s kind of like a standard influencer playbook that can be repeated. But what I would say for almost every single business operator out there, especially as we run AppSumo.com, and I’ve been able to help a lot of others, how much are you not doing what you used to do that was working? And everyone’s like, “Oh yeah, actually I’m not going on as many shows as possible.” You maybe. “I’m not keynoting as much as possible.” And maybe there’s another revenue stream that’s out there that you used to do that was like, “Sh*t, I could do that again.” So, that’s part one. I would say for I want to worry about scale. It’s like just keep revisiting what was working, what has been working. So, for AppSumo, it’s a really basic model. It’s go find the best software tools out there in the planet, negotiate an insane deal and send an email. And we just do that over and over again.

Now, the second part of it, where you’re thinking, “All right., I got an app, but I can only do so many keynotes I can only do so many things that I’d like to scale.” The reality is like don’t go really fast up the wrong river. And I do this all the time. I still do this to this day. I did it last year and I lost $1 million cash. And what I mean by that is you can test a lot of things out very quickly using the million-dollar framework to find the thing that actually could be a million or billion-dollar opportunity for yourself. So, it could be an app, it could be a course, it could be an in-person-like program. It could be a lot of different things, but it’s testing them out very quickly to see what actually people are excited and you can help them with then we can worry about how to actually get more people in that.

Hal Elrod: Got it. Got it. And really like I love the way you talked about it. It’s simple. It’s simplifying, not overcomplicating it. In fact, like that’s the flow of the book I really liked. As soon as I opened up the book and I was like, “Oh, part one, start it. Part two, build it. Part three, grow it.” And each of the chapters are organized in that way. It’s like, “Okay. Here’s how you start it. Here’s how you get the idea, so, on and so forth.” Tell us, just what is the Million Dollar Weekend process? Because I know you’ve got your frameworks but the big picture Million Dollar Weekend process?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. Yeah. Great. It’s insane. There’s a guy named Jake who I’ve got to work with, and he went through Million Dollar Weekend and what he did, what he’s been talking about, which is what’s very common, “I’m not ready yet,” which is another excuse most people make. “I don’t have enough funding,” another excuse people make. And those are all solvable. What he has been thinking about for two years, we were able to do in 48 hours. And that’s the power of just getting going and figuring out, “Okay. What’s the problem? And how do I solve this as quickly as possible to understand the true essence?” So, breaking that down to start it, build it, grow it. Now start it really, this is the most shocking thing is that people, the two biggest problems that’s holding people back is starting and asking but they don’t realize that. People are never, “No, no. It’s like my stuff is unique, Noah. Trust me.” Like, okay, that’s fine. But if you’ve never started, you’re never going to get anywhere. So, for you and for everyone out there, how many things have they started that led them to finally get success?

Like, you started your Cutco thing. You started another thing and then you finally you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to do this book thing.” And then it didn’t work again. And then you did it again and again. And eventually, though, it does work and most people just never start. They never get off the finish line or they didn’t. Yeah, they never go up the starting line. It’s like trying to learn to cook but you never go in the kitchen. You have to actually be in the kitchen a little bit. How do we make it a fun thing that you get going right now? And keep going with these things because it does take some time. It might take two weekends, but that’s why it’s a process. Now, the second part is really how do you get better at asking. So, Hal, you’re doing a book tour. You’re asking people to come on their shows. You’re asking people to pay for you to be… Like, how much is your keynote fee?

Hal Elrod: 30,000.

Noah Kagan: Dude! Like, you’re asking someone that they’re asking you to speak or you’re asking them like, “Hey, I want 30K to give…” You have a great speech. I have seen it. And to be on stage, that’s an ask. And you start, you kind of zoom out of the picture. You’re like, “Wow. Everything in life is asking. And the more I get better asking, the more I get better at getting.”

Hal Elrod: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: And we have practices. We have the coffee challenge where you go and ask for 10% off when you buy coffee and they say no and they reject you and you realize like, “Okay. I practiced asking. I got rejected. That’s not so bad. Let me do it again.” And then you start thinking, “I could apply this to speaking fees, to e-commerce products, to service businesses,” to whatever it is you’re building a software product, a lawn care business, whatever that is. The more you post it and say, “Hey, I’m looking to see if five people want to buy my cookies.” Anyone can do that right now. Not how. They could just be posting on social media. They can post it in their WhatsApp groups, post in their text groups, posted in their community groups. And then the second and third part of the book, after you’ve really gotten going and you’ve gotten the mindset and the confidence really that realizing like, “Holy sh*t, I can get going.” And the book I would say is simplified because you only have a weekend.

People teach this stuff in four years and I’m like I don’t know why you’re spending all that money and time when you could find on 48 hours whether it’s real business. That could be $1 million and beyond. And I’ve done it time and time again. And I’m helping other people do the same exact thing. Now, the second part to build it is how do you make sure you have a $1 million opportunity. So, let’s say for yourself another great example, “Hey, I could do this business.” All right. Well, if you want to do an app business that you’re doing, how many people can buy the app and how much do you think they’ll spend? Very, very basic. And there are ways you can look at Google and Facebook ads, which I have tutorials on MillionDollarWeekend.com that people can get and that’ll help you walk through. But let’s even do a quick experiment now, like how many people you think can have your app potentially. And how much do they spend on the app?

Hal Elrod: I mean, the app’s been out for a while. So, it’s 59.99 a year and we’ve got 12,000 users right now.

Noah Kagan: Do you really pay them $60 a month or $60 a year?

Hal Elrod: A year. Yeah, a year.

Noah Kagan: Dude, good job.

Hal Elrod: Thank you.

Noah Kagan: $720,000 a year on the app, that’s awesome. How many people do you think are out? So, let’s say you never had an app. How many people do you think could be potentially on the app?

Hal Elrod: I mean, I look at Calm and I look at Headspace and I don’t remember their numbers, but our goal was like make an app that rivals the quality and the experience of Calm and Headspace. And I feel like we did that. So, now it’s just really about scaling is reaching those people.

Noah Kagan: Yeah. I mean, my specific point, we can talk about marketing advanced strategies, which I don’t even get. I get a lot of my marketing plan in the book, but advanced stuff we do at AppSumo is billion dollar a month. That’s the sequel. So, the second part of build it…

Hal Elrod: I love it. That’s so fun.

Noah Kagan: The second part of this is really build it. What I was trying to highlight with your app is you want to make sure you’re working in a $1 million opportunity. So, the belief and the clarity in that, “All right. If I’m going to work on something and I only have 48 hours, I want to make sure I can make at least $1 million. So, are there at least $1 million with the money in this market?” Then you do a quick business model like the app, how much does it sell for? What does it cost? Not much probably besides after you build it and some maintenance. And my profit, “All right. How many do I have to sell to make $1 million?” So, ideally in the build it phase, you’ve worked through our… We have I think ten different ways of coming up business ideas. And I’ll give you one of them, which is literally go through your entire day and write down everything you’re complaining about or what you want to avoid doing. Those are all business opportunities.

Hal Elrod: Nice.

Noah Kagan: Those are my favorite ones.

Hal Elrod: Solving those problems for people?

Noah Kagan: Solving for yourself and then checking the market size, checking your one-minute business model. See the profitability of it. And now let’s go to the validation part. Okay. Let’s actually see and there’s three validation methods that work on every single business universally whether someone actually wants to buy it or not. And I can find out really quickly in one day or less if this business has helped. So, let’s take your app, for instance. I have a different app. I think 100,000 people will buy it, $60 each. That’s at least $1 million of people that I can sell to. That’s great. Now, in validation, there’s three ways. So, with your app, I would message a few people that have read your book or been interested in your book and said, “Hey, I’m building an app. Will you pay me today $60 for this app? It’s going to come out in six months.” You can do that literally right now. And people will be like, “Yeah. You know, just when it comes out, I’ll pay.” “Okay. Well, how come you don’t want to pay right now?” “You know, I want to see a preview.” “Okay. Well, here’s a mockup. I just drew it on a page. And then would you want to pay now?” “Well, I want to try it out.”

“Okay. Well, I’ll text you. I’ll send you a Google form so you can actually do an example of it. Do you want to pay right now?” You see what I’m doing? I haven’t built an app and sh*t. I haven’t built zero. And people are like, “No, no, no.” And this is what everyone does, Hal, “Mine is unique. I’m a butterfly,” and I’m like we’re all butterflies in the world. Everyone. But I’ve built $100,000 software projects that no one wanted twice. And I spent six months doing it and I could have in 24 hours just texted, messaged, called, gone to my neighbor and been, “Hey, I think this is something you want.” And think about it, build businesses and things that you have problems with and within your zone of influence. And you could find out very quickly if this is a problem that people want. There’s other two ways of doing it. One is through putting it on marketplaces where people are raising their hand and saying they want to spend money, Etsy, Facebook, Craigslist, Amazon.

And then lastly, you can do ads and landing pages, which is, “Hey, I have an idea for an app. Let me buy ads, targeted people on Facebook, send it to a landing page, see if they’ll buy or give me their email.” And that is a lighter form of validation but that takes time and money, which I hate. And the last part of the book is to grow it. So, now that you have three customers, 48 hours, that’s the golden rule of validation. How do we get a lot more? So, we break it down to social media is how you get them for free. Email is how you profit. And then lastly, how do you turn it into more of a growth machine, which is the same playbook I’ve used time and time again that’s worked in these businesses.

Hal Elrod: Talk about the social media piece for a minute because that’s obviously a huge part of anybody who’s growing a business typically is their audience, their social media audience. And you’ve grown, I mean, you’ve got well over a million social media followers, in fact, almost a million just on YouTube alone right now. I think you’re at 967,000. How have you built such a grand social media following? And what tips do you have?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. And so, we break it down very detailed in the book. What I’d recommend for people and I’ll tell them from me and what I’ve seen from others, let me tell another person story, which his name is Trent. He’s part of Million Dollar Weekend. Trent has a day job in sales in Chicago. Just a 24-year-old kid, I would say. And he wanted to get popular on YouTube. And so, I went and looked at his channel and he was doing all these different videos. I was like, “All right. Well, there’s nothing unique about you. What’s your unfair advantage?” He’s like, “Well, my day job is in sales and I’m pretty good at sales.” I’m like, “Okay. Well, that’s at least something you have that no one else has. How many videos have you done about that?” “I did one.” How did it do?” “It did actually best of all my videos.” “All right. Only do sales videos, Trent.” I talk very quickly. I’m like rrrrrrrrrrrr. So, to Trent I said, “Okay. That’s your unfair advantage. Do the law of 100, meaning do 100 videos. Talk to me after you do 100 videos.” And now he has, this is a few months ago, he’s at 34,000 subscribers, and I believe he’s making pretty good money. I don’t think he’s quit his day job, nor do I think he wants to, but just focusing on something he had an unfair advantage on and he picked one platform to succeed in.

And so, that’s the playbook I’d recommend for everyone else that’s out there, which is what’s the one platform you want to succeed on. And you can succeed on any platform. I think people are like, what I see a lot of newbies do, and this is a common mistake is, “Well, I’m going to post on YouTube. I’m going to chop it up and put it on Twitter and take it on Twitter and shove it on this and chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop.

Hal Elrod: Repurpose. Yeah.

Noah Kagan: And I’m like, “Well, guess what? None of them are going to work because you have to be an expert in one. And just go all in on that one. And then when you’re an expert in that one, then you can move to a different platform.” And most people want to do all the platforms and that’s why they’re not succeeding. Pick one. So, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, blogging, YouTube, whatever this is. And for myself, I did try all of them at once and I wasn’t having any success. I was trying LinkedIn, I was trying Twitter, and I noticed that relative to the amount of work and the amount of enjoyment, I was getting a lot of results on YouTube and it’s kind of harder to make a video. Anyone can post text, but to make a video it takes some effort. And so, I picked one platform, YouTube, and I think this is one of the most important things for everyone out there. I didn’t have a big studio. So, right now I’m in my home studio. You were here. It’s a $20,000 studio that I had custom set up. And so, I started my YouTube channel. It’s got a million subscribers today. It makes… I actually don’t know how much it makes. I don’t really pay attention to that.

But we put out two videos a month and I can talk a little bit about that but it was just me and my phone. Most of my first videos were just me on my phone, and this is a phone everyone has. It’s not a special phone. It’s like iPhone 10 or whatever the hell it was. But coming back to Million Dollar Weekend, I got started, and by getting started, committing to 100, law of 100, I was able to eventually get after almost 100 videos, none of them were really doing super well, but I stuck with it and I was like, “Okay. I like it. I’m getting some responses. I’m talking to all the commenters.” I tried a different type of video, which is knocking on doors, and then I found out like, “Oh, no one else is willing.” One, that video went viral and, two, no one else is willing to do those kinds of videos.

Hal Elrod: What did you knock on the door for?

Noah Kagan: I would ask the people what they did for a living.

Hal Elrod: Okay.

Noah Kagan: So, I just went up to the richest houses I liked in Boston, and I said, “Hey, I’m doing a documentary. I love to ask you, I love your house.” Compliment them. And I said, “I love to know what you do for a living because a lot of people are curious.” And then we blot out their address and things like that. But it was through sticking with it, getting going, and then finding that’s our unique advantage where I’m like, “Okay. No one else is willing to do what I’ll do there. I’m going to do these kind of videos.” So, everyone has their own unique story and their own unfair advantage. It’s just recognizing that, embracing it. And now I’m moving content more to like things about running AppSumo.com. No one else is running an $80 million-a-year business that they’re sharing publicly. Like, most of them are talking about their fake businesses. But not a lot of people can run AppSumo except me because there’s only one. And everyone has this out there.

So, I would say if I had to break it down to a few things, and we go much more detail into the book and step-by-step with videos and tutorials at MillionDollarWeekend.com. Pick one platform. And you don’t have to be imposed. Pick one platform, think about unique advantage, and then stick to at least 100 pieces of content before you quit. And that is a way of really figuring out how to dominate in any type of social media. And that’s how you build an audience that you can turn from an audience in the next chapter, seven, into customers.

Hal Elrod: Now, let me ask you a question on YouTube as a social media platform because to my knowledge, it doesn’t have the same sharing ability that like a Facebook or an Instagram has. Like, you can share the link and then text it to somebody or email it to somebody, but you can’t share it on your page just with a click of a button. Am I wrong about that or what about that is like, is that a limitation? Is that a con in terms of pros and cons? I’m curious.

Noah Kagan: 90% of YouTube traffic comes from recommended. So, it’s not actually worried about sharing. It’s more that people see some type of content. You know, we spend a lot of times like almost all of our content, we come up with a thousand topics and we pick two. And we found the strategy that works for us. We used to do three videos a week every week and we found that if we just did two really high-quality videos a week, a month, just two. Just two videos a month that they mostly, almost every time bang. And to us, a bang is about a million views. Maybe another thing in passing for people out there that are creating content is who are you making the content for? So, every one of our videos is for underdogs. So, I don’t put bouncy balls in houses. I don’t blow up Ferraris. I’m not here to like… It’s entertaining and I think it’s fun. I like watching that. I’m probably the biggest watcher of my own content, and I think we should all do it for our own content. And it’s just doing this stuff that’s towards a specific audience that you also enjoy.

Now, in terms of sharing and things like that, I found that YouTube has literally the biggest market. There’s 2 billion people, I believe, a month that watch YouTube, which is crazy, 155 million people a day watch YouTube, which I believe is one of the biggest sites out there, period. And I do find if you can create content, stick with it, even with your phone, whatever category you’re in, like local lawn care, Austin. If you’re doing inspirational coaching, you. Whatever it is, there’s a lot of different niches. Even if you’re doing maybe faith-based, like there’s a guy, Ryan Pineda, he does faith-based business on YouTube, which I love.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. And Ryan has a huge following.

Noah Kagan: Yeah. I’m Jewish. I wouldn’t talk about Christian. So, it’s an advantage for him. So, it’s just the biggest thing out there. For me, Twitter is not big enough. LinkedIn’s too noisy and there’s too many coaches competing against each other. I’m not a big photographer, so I don’t do Instagram. TikTok to me is garbage, so I don’t give a sh*t. Yeah. Twitter wasn’t growing. Blogging was declining in terms of volume. And so, it was like, “Well, I’m going to just pick one and then stick with it for some time to get the benefits of that.” And then that was YouTube.

Hal Elrod: I am taking notes, so hold on.

Noah Kagan: Good. I mean, we can break down more the YouTube-specific strategy. I don’t think people are doing it enough. And regardless of your, yeah.

Hal Elrod: Do it because actually what I just wrote to myself is to model Noah Kagan’s YouTube strategy. He posts two high-quality videos per month, watch his videos to model them, choose one niche (mornings) and stick with that because people find videos via recommendations. What other tips can you give me, Noah?

Noah Kagan: Yeah, I got you. So, what I would personally look for is I would try to look in other people. So, the way we approach it, think of it like a TV show. Like, if you’re getting content or it’s a TV show, you’re trying to create entertainment. So, the way I like to think about is how do I test? This is, again, I’m coming back to everything that’s Million Dollar Weekend. How do you test and invest? How do you test out things to see, okay, is this really popular or not? So, when I create the content, if I invest like each of our videos costs around $30,000 cash to me.

Hal Elrod: Oh, wow.

Noah Kagan: Yeah. So, if we’re only doing two, they better be f*cking good. Can I swear here, Hal? Is this like a PG?

Hal Elrod: Oh, we don’t usually curse, but no…

Noah Kagan: I won’t curse. I’ll take it back. If I’m only doing two friggin videos a month that cost me $30,000 each to make…

Hal Elrod: Can you do Dargone? Can you do dog on? Can you throw a dog gone?

Noah Kagan: Dosh, garn it! And so, taking a step back here, within YouTube specifically, the number one thing that matters is your topic, number one by far. Everything is topic. If you could spend 90% on something, just pick a topic and we have 1,000 ideas. We have a sheet of 1,000 ideas and we only pick two each month. And those things are constantly by, one, look at your tweets that are popular. So, I’ll tweet about real estate and losing money. I’ll tweet different like small things to see if, like for the book, even Million Dollar Weekend, again, this is the same process. How do you test things before you go and invest more? So, I try a lot of tweets and I’m like, “Oh, that’s interesting. Maybe we put that. Make that as a video.” So, one of the videos is about how I start a lot of businesses that didn’t work. Okay. People really like that. That’s interesting. Then other things is just look on other YouTubers. So, what other YouTubers so go to their channels, click video, click popular, and see. They’ll tell you what people want to watch.

And so, what I would encourage you in the beginning is have a lot of ideas and really thinking about how do I create one to two content buckets that are repeatable. So, again, if you think about me in YouTube, I did 50 videos and almost none of them worked. And they’re quick videos. They’re all like, du, duru, duru, duru for underdogs. One video, which was knocking on doors, that went crazy, and the other one that went crazy, was I asked rich old people their regrets. And those two videos were the only ones that got a million views out of almost 100. And then now all of our videos in there are those two buckets. That’s it. It’s asking billionaires now not just regrets, but like how they got rich and me doing challenges. So, going up the houses, going up to yachts, asking first class passengers, asking rich people where I’m putting myself out there to find out how they got rich. And so, coming back for yourself, I would go look at your most popular videos already out there. Like, you have a video where you got 4 million views on someone else’s channel, I probably just repeat that video for your channel.

Hal Elrod: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: I would copy that and then I would go look at certain, I think people, “Oh, keyword research.” I wouldn’t keyword research. I’m looking for what is big topics that are available. So, mornings maybe it’s mornings to certain people, maybe it’s like, I’m trying to think of like one of the other morning-related activities that you can go over and then look it over all the stuff you’ve ever done, and then have that as a list and then really fight to say, if we’re only going two? But again, I would probably try to have higher frequency of putting ones out there to find the two that are actually going to work. And then maybe as topics and time…

Hal Elrod: Maybe in the beginning do more than two videos a month.

Noah Kagan: Dude, I did three a week for a year.

Hal Elrod: Okay.

Noah Kagan: So, the point there was just like, don’t go invest in a lot of these things. It’s just like Million Dollar Weekend. Don’t go spend six months and a lot of money building an app that no one wants. Go validate it in 24 hours. So, an idea for you is instead of making videos, you could put out tweets or live streams or shorts with a lot of different ideas and look for the one that gets the most popular and be like, “All right. These are the two we’re going to do.”

Hal Elrod: Got it. Really cool, man. Thanks, brother. Little live coaching from Noah Kagan on the podcast. I love it. All right. So, hey, I know you talked in the book about emailing for profit, like you said. You also talked about using systems and routines to design the business and life that you want, which I’m a big systems and routine guy, so I love that. Man, what is your biggest hope for people that read Million Dollar Weekend? What’s the mission? Why did you write the book?

Noah Kagan: My biggest hope is people realizing how much more capable of themselves they are. That’s my hope, is that people are realizing like, “Holy sh*t, I can do a lot more than I realized.” And I was thinking about it this morning with this book where I’m so proud of it. I am really proud of it. It’s something I worked really hard on. And that’s available to everyone to find something they want to do and work really hard in it. And almost every time, you’ll be proud of that. Every time actually. Guaranteed.

Hal Elrod: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: I always dreamed of having a book, and I felt ready to be able to help other people at this point. I felt grounded. I’ve started seven, eight different millionaire dollar companies. I’ve been a part of the most successful businesses on earth. I’ve helped thousands, tens of thousands of people with their own. I felt, “Okay. If I’m only going to do one book, which that’s my plan, I want to give it everything to be able to make a big impact.” So, hired one of the best business writers in the world, Tahl Raz, who’s written two other top ten bestselling business books to collaborate on and making sure that the writing is phenomenal. And I do believe it is.

Hal Elrod: Yeah, because it is one thing, right? You can have brilliant concepts and ideas, but it’s an art and a skill to be a really good writer, to be able to translate somebody’s ideas in a way that like, “Oh, this actually resonates.”

Noah Kagan: Big time. Yeah. I want to see people change their lives and everyone can do it in 48 hours. And that’s amazing. Because I know I didn’t want someone to live their life and not know that they could actually be a lot more than they realize and then what they actually want, which is that. And so, I never found a book that could do that for me and I was frustrated. I was a little annoyed. I was like there’s all these charlatans out there. So, people are like talking these things that I was like, “I can actually put it all together for them.”

Hal Elrod: Awesome. And I think you did it, man. Phenomenal job. It’s really helping me even as somebody that’s been an entrepreneur for many, many years. So, thank you, brother, for putting it out there.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, man. It’s been fun. I’m glad.

Hal Elrod: So, this episode will come out on January 31st. I believe that’s the day after the book comes out. What is the best place for people to buy the book and then also to keep learning from you?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. Go to MillionDollarWeekend.com. You can grab the book there. There’s tutorials, videos, checklist templates. You can take the 48-hour challenge where you’ll be supported with other people and get going on your own 48-hour journey to change your life. So, yeah, everything’s at MillionDollarWeekend.com. It’s going to be crazy how this comes out then. For everyone out there, find something that people actually want to pay you for, which is exciting. And then I think you’ve done a great job with this, Hal. I got to give you a compliment where part of the book is being out there. It’s starting right now and then asking. And so, for me, it’s been out here asking like, “Hey, I’m proud of this book. I want to talk about it.” I think you’ve done a great job of that as well with your material, like consistently showing up for very long periods of time.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Well, I appreciate that. And I mean, I can tell that you like me like you believe in the book. You believe in the message. You know, it will help people. And so, you want to get it in as many hands as you can, dude. So, thank you, Noah, for doing things. Excellent, man.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, man. Well, one thing I was going to share. Sorry. I got to share this. I think a lot of people out there, a lot of people have a great book in them. A lot of people have great stories in them. They have great businesses in them, and they can all do that and find out really quickly. And I would say most of them are like, “I don’t know. Who am I?”

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Oh yeah.

Noah Kagan: Right? All of us ask that and there’s no certificate for life. And that’s the beauty of just go help one person right now. Don’t overthink about, “Well, you know who says I could be a life coach? Who says I could be a business coach? Who says I could be anything?” And I give you permission. Give yourself permission. Permission granted. You can go get going on that right now. That is what this book is for. Because I’ve seen people read it and change their lives, I’m like, “Wow, I feel good to go and share that message.” And you’ve sold before you. That’s one of the best goals in life. Find something you’re excited to sell, create it yourself, or go work for it. That’s definitely how I feel with this book. So, thank you for having me on and I look to seeing people change their lives with Million Dollar Weekend.

Hal Elrod: You got it. Everybody listening, goal achievers, members of Miracle Morning community, if you have dreamt of starting a business of creating, becoming an entrepreneur, of creating a side hustle, however you want to define it, I really encourage you to get this book. I think it is just a really, really simple, detailed, effective roadmap from obviously someone who has done this not once or twice, but eight times and runs an $80 million company. So, MillionDollarWeekend.com. And goal achievers, I love you all. Thank you so much, Noah. Thank you, everyone, for listening and I will talk to you all next week.

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