Alright — I know I’m supposed to be much more strategic about this, but I’ve been in Cape Verde, speaking at TedX Pittsburgh, and so on.
The best pre-launch plans do not account for British Airways strikes, conference calls with my publisher in various airports, and 46-hour Amtrak rides with uncertain internet access.
Today I’m in Chicago with J.D. Roth. He’s never been here before, so we’re wandering around throughout the day and heading out to a couple of events later. (If you’re in town, feel free to join us tonight from 7-9pm at Rockit Grill, Wrigley Field location.)
J.D. and I just finished up a tour of the city courtesy of reader Margaret Hicks, who was kind enough to include visits to the Apple Store and Sprint Store among other historical highlights.
EBK: What It’s All About
Anyway, I know a lot of people are excited about Empire Building Week. What a coincidence! Me too. Here’s the plan.
The long-awaited Empire Building Kit will finally be available about 48 hours from now, on Wednesday morning around 10am EST / 7am PST. In deciding whether this is something you should pay attention to or not, here’s what you need to know:
The EBK deconstructs the process of building a successful lifestyle business — something I define as a small business with one or two employees, built around something the business owner loves to do. The “successful” part is critical, so I cast a wide net and looked at businesses that earn between $50,000 and $150,000 a year in net income.
The most important question of the whole project is: how can other people do the same thing?
Using the case study model and a series of 365 specific steps, the goal of the Empire Building Kit is to help someone become their own emperor by doing one thing every day for a year.
The not-so-secret involves hard work, a few key decisions made at the beginning of the business, and continuous improvement over time. If you already have a small business of your own, the goal is to dramatically increase your 2010 revenue. If you don’t have a business and are serious about creating your own independence plan, EBK will help too.
The case studies (in PDF, video, audio, and transcript format) are the best part of the project. They include a woman who makes $105,000 a year by walking dogs, a guy who hosts murder mystery parties, a fitness coach, several artists and freelancers, someone who exported an entire new industry to Germany — just to name a few.
What this diverse group of fun, interesting people has in common is that they all make a good living doing something they love. Some businesses are online and some are offline; some owners are interested in scaling up to a higher level and others are happy just to have more free time.
Each case study focuses on what you can do to create a similar business. Some of my favorite lessons from the case studies include:
- How to raise your price from $300 to $500 an hour—and generate more demand
- Why building relationships with other people in your industry can be the worst thing you can do when you’re trying to get started
- How an unknown consultant created a $75,000 business in one year.
- How to set up shop as an offline business in a new city and be profitable in the first month
- The $50,000 e-book that keeps selling and selling (hint: it’s not one of mine)
None of the case studies are professional bloggers. Many of them use blogs and other online media to get the word out, but their main role is something different.
One other note: in business, money is extremely important — and that’s why we talk about it in every case study. I am not shy about asking the respondents: “How much money do you make?” Not only that, I also ask: “How much money did you make two years ago, and what did you do to make it go up since then?” and “What is your best-selling product or service and why?” And so on.
Hearing that you are “doing well” helps no one. Being specific can help a lot of people, so I’ve been very direct in asking the respondents to show us the money. They all came through, in very specific, actionable ways.
365 Daily Steps
Let’s see… what else? Oh wait! The 365 Daily Steps. See, the EBK includes a bunch of video interviews, audio interviews, and written interviews — in addition to other lessons from my own mobile desk from all over the world. Being in the ADD club, I totally understand how different people relate to different learning styles.
But I wanted to do something else to ensure active participation on the part of every new emperor, so that’s why I’m including a series of daily lessons for an entire year.
That’s right… EBK owners will get 365 mini-lessons over the next year. (I do try to go all out when putting on a serious project.) There isn’t any monthly fee or ongoing charge of any kind — the 365 days of lessons are included with every version of the EBK.
The 24-Hour Launch + “Ask Anything” Webinar
If you’ve been around for a while, you know I’ve been very careful and deliberate with the growth of the Unconventional Guides business. (Check out some of the Store Updates for more history.)
I’m doing the same thing with the Empire Building Kit. This is my first comprehensive resource for entrepreneurs, and I want to be careful about opening it up too broadly at first. Therefore, I’m going to sell it for one day only. Just 24 hours, and then that’s it for at least a month.
This is because I want to work a bit more closely with the first group of emperors. After the 24-hour window closes, I’ll prepare a survey for the first group where they can ask any question they want. I’ll then produce a private webinar for a few weeks later where we go through every single question in detail — no matter how long it takes.
After we’ve had a month to do the webinar and get feedback from the first group of emperors, I’ll do another launch to a broader audience with affiliate partners. There won’t be a webinar the next time, and the price of the budget version will probably go up as well.
Speaking of the price, thanks again for all of the feedback last week. There wasn’t really a consensus–I’m still getting emails about why it should cost $700 or $70 or any number of prices in between–but probably the largest group of folks suggested $365 as a base price, or $1 a day for all the updates. The good news is that those who suggested that price for the base version will be pleased to see it’s actually much less than that.
In the higher version, I also provide an entire module explaining exactly how I’ve set up the Unconventional Guides business, how much money each product makes, the 20-minute action I took last fall that has brought in an additional $4,000 so far, a few big mistakes and a few big successes, and more.
It’s a true “behind-the-curtain” demonstration with no holds barred, including some revelations that I expect will be fairly surprising. This version will cost a bit more, of course, but I know it will provide tremendous value for those who judge it to be a good fit for their situation.
I’ve worked on this project from 10 countries, and I know it is really going to help people take a big commitment towards building or improving their business. If anyone thinks I’ve “sold out” in creating a more comprehensive resource to help entrepreneurs, there’s not much I could say other than “this isn’t for you.” You should certainly not feel any pressure to buy this (or anything else).
Well, that’s it for the non-strategic pre-launch message. I’ll look forward to serving some of you with the EBK, and for everyone else, next week we’ll return to regularly scheduled programming. I’ve got a new interview feature coming up, more travel hacking fun, and so on.
Is that cool with everyone? By the way… Chi-town is a fun place! I’m happy to be here.