Speaking of dodgy business gurus… Niall Doherty and his partner are on a mission to help people find high-quality business courses, and avoid the scams.
They’re building a review site (like Capterra) focused on Amazon FBA courses, and want to generate 200 high-quality student reviews in the next 2 months.
Here’s what they’re working with so far:
A 2-person team working full time on this project.
$10k to spend on rewards and marketing.
The site earns $15k/mo so far based on their own in-depth reviews.
They’re planning to offer a $10 reward to each reviewer, but want to know how you’d kick-start the process if it were your business:
💸 Can’t buy me love: “I’d think about what your audience wants more than $10. They aren’t just creating content for you, they are potentially your first users and evangelists. You want people that are interested in taking future classes. Can you leverage the $10k to get discounts for future classes?” (Sam Buck)
🌴 Appeal to shared values: “For every review offered by [my customers], we give 1€ towards a reforestation project… I collect way more reviews, and they are of a higher quality (and of a better rating). We have a challenge to plant a small forest each year.” (Valentin Nguyen Van Nhut)
🤝 Partners with similar audiences: “You could try to partner with Coffeezilla and BallerBusters (other scam-busters), [giving you] access to a lot of people that took these kind of courses.” (Andrea Persico)
His theory: Most people with a great business idea get stalled because they don’t have the money or know-how to build products.
The plan: Use his knowledge and resources to help people quickly launch a no-code MVP of their business in exchange for equity.
“What are the biggest assumptions and challenges you see with this?” he asked.
The Trends community weighed in with insights helpful for anyone considering a similar model:
🤓 Data Is Key: “This strikes me as a numbers game. You may have lots of ideas being paid for by a few winners. Filtering what you choose to invest into through data will be a challenge.” (Tyler Speer)
🍰 Own the Pie: “Unless you plan on owning 90%-95% of the company (or better yet owning 100% of the company and giving the creator a 5% net profit share) you won’t make enough off the winners to pay for all the losers.” (Will Green)
🔧 Products Over Apps: “I think a lot of people have really good niche ideas because of their passion for that niche and they have no idea how to turn it into a marketable product... If you can find THOSE people, you’ll be rockin’. Biggest challenge would be [that] many of the best ideas are not apps. They’re physical products.” (Katherine Chan)
🧠 Lean on Community Insight: One business, Quirky, tried this with physical products and it didn’t work out. “The one big thing they did right when they launched is involving the community. That was key to their early success.” (Adam Knight)
4. How to scale a furniture-flipping side hustle
Asher Mcaulay has been flipping furniture in his spare time. It out-earns his day job, which he’s thinking of leaving to pursue the flipping full time.
“The challenge as it currently stands is that I’m just a ‘guy and a van.’ I buy furniture privately and sell it privately, most of the sales coming through FB Marketplace,” he wrote.
“What I’d like some advice on is how to turn my furniture flipping from a side gig into a tangible business that I could scale… or eventually grow into a legitimate business.”
The thread is full of nuggets that may also apply to your side hustle, including:
🛋 Channel Optimization: “Next step you need to take is to see how you can optimize that channel and push it to its limits. Are there other similar channels you could take advantage of? I'm thinking of eBay/Nextdoor/Craigslist.” (Derek S. Truty)
📹 Going Viral: “Are you [restoring] the furniture you’re buying? Could get some really cool traction on TikTok with before & afters etc., giving people an insight into the process.” (Robbie Ball)
🏢 Franchising: “Used furniture is super fragmented. If you can develop a clean process in your local market, what if you franchised or duplicated that in other locations? Over time, you could have central storage and shipping for lighter or more valuable items while the local franchises standardized the process for local buyers and sellers.” (Justin Garten)
🎓 Teaching Others: “The scalable model that comes to mind is in teaching others how to do this. How to create this side business for themselves from A to Z.” (Carson Sweezy)
Where we curate the most interesting discussion threads
5. ~500% growth on Amazon in 1 year
A couple months ago, Hristo Arakliev started working with a client who had bought a business that was underperforming on Amazon.
Since then, Hristo and his team helped their client achieve “478% growth compared to last year and $1.7m in Q4.”
“Amazon is one of our most favorite channels,” he wrote. “We’ve been selling on the platform for more than 9 years now and although I am sure that no one can ever turn it into a completely tamed beast, I can say we are getting on pretty good terms with it.”
In his in-depth post, Hristo goes on to drop his top tips for optimizing listings and driving organic traffic on Amazon.
Here are some of our favorite SEO tips:
Create an easily readable title with 3-5 keywords with high search volume.Make it effortless on the eye and use an explicit voice to bring your message across. Don’t think about keywords in the beginning -- focus on the feeling you’d like to convey. Include benefits and USPs, and make sure to put the most important information at the beginning.
Use bullet points with text length between 150-200 characters. Each bullet should have 2-3 high search volume relevant keywords.
Create a description with multiple text separatorsand emojis. Don’t simply duplicate the bullet points. Tell a story about the product instead. Make it easy to read by having a maximum of 3 lines per paragraph. The description is the perfect spot to use long-tail keywords.
Format your keywords correctly. Some formatting tips:
Repeating words shows no positive impact on ranking. Instead, use the opportunity in whatever is left as space to add more relevant keywords.
You can use either singular or plural; adding both is not necessary.
Minor misspellings are matched to the correct spelling.
Different spellings of compound words (e.g., “basketball” vs. “basket ball”) are not indexed automatically. Cover different variations by joining or separating words through hyphens.
6. How to capitalize on ‘Shark Tank’ publicity
Source: ABC’s YouTube channel
Earlier this month we wrote about GRIND -- a startup that recently launched their affordable basketball shooting machine that weighs only 100 lbs. and can fit in a rollable duffel bag.
A couple days later, the company’s head of growth (and Trendster) Brian Blumlet the community know that GRIND had appeared on “Shark Tank.”
According to Brian, the company has seen “an overwhelming amount of positive feedback” since appearing on the show, and now they’re looking for advice on how to capitalize.
In addition to PR hacks specific to “Shark Tank” success, Ryan Shell (a fellow “Shark Tank” alum) dropped some tips that apply to anyone trying to maximize on publicity:
“The most immediate wins will come from: 1. capturing data on your site, 2. maximizing conversions with the increased site traffic and awareness, 3. getting orders out quickly and nurturing the new customer base.”
Bryce York added, “Some kind of lead gen would be a great idea. A 5-part email course for grinding your free throws to perfection or something.” Ryan agreed, and suggested that the company “drip the tips.”
7. How do you focus on high ROI stuff without FOMO?
Stephen Covey is famous for saying, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
But how do you actually do that? In a world filled with both noise and opportunities, we need good frameworks for figuring out what’s most important.
Dogukan Ozgen asked the Trends group for books or mental models to help with this, and some favorite responses include:
⚙️ Focus on Leverage: “The book The Effective Engineer introduced me to Andy Grove’s take on high-leverage activities. This book (and Andy’s High Output Management) are excellent reads for anyone, not just engineers.” (Shaun Patrick Martin)
✅ Trendster Deya Aliaga Kuhnle uses a variation on the RICE score. She has a spreadsheet with all possible tasks, and scores them based on anticipated ROI, certainty of ROI, urgency, time required, and whether the task can be delegated. Then she can sort the sheet based on any of those factors to pick tasks based on her priorities.