TMBA 190 (LBP158) – 1,000 True Fans, 100 True Customers, or 10 True Clients

TMBA 190 (LBP158) – 1,000 True Fans, 100 True Customers, or 10 True Clients post image

Dan and Ian dig into some of the most talked about and effective online business models for the bootstrapping entrepreneur.  They discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each but it also comes with a healthy dose of why you might not want to use particular business models.

This episode is all about getting your business rolling, whether you’re looking to generate passive income or really start pounding the pavement.  You’ll see that just because it’s popular, it may not be the best method over the long run and a little planning up front can get you off to a faster start, and provide explosive growth benefits in the future.

Would You Rather Have 1,000 Fans or 10 Clients?

  • Why your mini-monopoly in brick and mortar won’t translate online, and what you can do about it.
  • Dan and Ian’s “Layering the Cake” model that multiplies your income from every customer.
  • How getting 100 people to pay you $1 per day can sometimes trump the 1,000 true fan model.
  • How to flip the triangle and transform clients into fans instead of fans into clients, and why that’s better for you.


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Episode length: 22:45

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Published on 05.30.13
  • Hey guys, great podcast!

    One question for you, is your SOD (Google Doc) supposed to have links to other documents?

    I see one line is linked perfectly, but the others just seem to be the color blue and an underline with no link attached. Just checking because I love getting the inside scoop to how you are running your businesses!

    Thanks so much,

  • Andy Gray

    Great episode, guys. And thanks for the shoutout for the A Congruent Life podcast episode with Dan! I really enjoyed talking with Dan about his journey to entrepreneurship and some of his philosophical perspectives; hopefully your listeners will enjoy our conversation also.

  • Wow, one of the best episodes ever! Great advice for where I am at right now, perfect timing, thanks! See you in Saigon soon :)

  • Liz Froment

    Totally loved this, such a great way to look at it and perfect timing for me.

  • Love it, I am doing OK at the 10 true clients bit, and just realized that I need to be creating products to turn them into my 100 true customers. Cheers guys!

  • Dudes, thanks for sharing the SOD. Tons of value in there.

    General Operating Principle #7 has a small typo.

  • Epic mix my Madeon! Gotta check out this too #dancemode:

  • Dan

    ROCK ON!!!!! Thank you.

  • Dan

    Cheers thanks for that Danny.

  • Dan

    Rock on man!!!! Pumped to talk about it.

  • Dan

    Thanks Liz!

  • Dan

    WOAH ! Our editor told us we took a bomb :) Looking forward to catching up.

  • Dan

    Cheers Andy turned out great! Thanks for the call and talk soon. D

  • Dan

    Hey Chais yes those are just example links :) They aren’t so scoopy but they contain stuff like links / access codes etc so I just took them out rather than editing them all. Hope you find it useful!

  • Ian

    FTW– DT!

  • Thanks for sharing the SOD, and the video. So awesome. I really appreciate it.

    You club kids like your rave music lol.
    You seem to lean towards the trance, electro, and electro-house side.

  • Pat

    Thanks for the post guys. Great advice about flipping the pyramid.

    I’m focusing on my first 10 clients right now as I trying to figure out how to escape Chicago for Chiang Mai :) as a family of 4! Launching a MBA admissions consulting business ( so we’ll see where it goes.

    ps. The gun next to Brian is a badass rifle, not a badass shotgun :)

  • Dan

    haha we are indie rockers at heart but the electro stuff is good for working i’m finding.

  • Dan

    hey Pat congrats, sounds like fun…. you should reach out to Darren at TouchMBA you guys could probably swap notes …

  • Ian

    Nice, was hoping someone would correct me, just a wild ass guess..

  • Rob Hanly.

    Solid episode, resonated as historically accurate.

    There’s something that I think you guys missed in your model, though: the change of audience and buyer that occurs when it comes to information.

    At each level of the pyramid, there’s going to be a different decision maker/economic buyer and consumer. Sometimes, they’ll cross paths.

    Example —
    At 10 true clients, you work directly with an individual. The bill payer may or may not be the one consuming your assistance.

    At 100 true customers, you’re working at scale with a slight detachment. The bill payer is probably the consumer.

    At 1,000 true fans, it can shift to the two categories again. Run an education portal? The payer is the employee, not the consumer. Giving talks to audiences? The bill might get footed by someone else entirely.

    Now sure, this isn’t a golden rule, and it’s subject to change across industries.

    But if you’re considering how you can take valuable information from consulting clients and move it along the chain, it’s important to note that your target market (and their needs) is liable to change… and so will the way that you package up the information.

    A little bit of further expansion:

    Working with ADHD individuals and families on an intimate basis. Information/ideas/executions were shared in a personalised way. Economic buyer was not the key consumer, and had a different problem to solve to the key consumer.

    Speaking to groups of 300+ people. Economic buyer was not the key consumer, and both groups had totally different desired out come (although reliant on each other).

    Working at larger scale again through ebooks, the economic buyer was invariably the key consumer. Different packaging for key ideas to achieve the desired outcome.


  • I am the cop, Brian Cain, in the photo. You are correct. That is a Smith & Wesson M&P 15. It is my baby and she goes with me everywhere. :) My Benelli Nova Shotgun is in the trunk. :)

  • Thank you for linking to my stuff! You guys rock. I wasn’t expecting that. And that fine piece of machinery next to me is a Smith & Wesson M&P 15. My shotgun is in the trunk. :)

  • Top episode, guys. I’m building out a biz right now where there are 3 different types of services for which businesses can pay. The goals are 1000 true (paying) fans, a to-be-determined # of mid-level customers, and 20 true consulting clients by year’s end by adding 2/month. Having the different levels keeps the anxiety manageable – it’s a much better feeling to know I only need 2 new clients/month as opposed to 10/month. And, I do my best to cherry pick the clients I think will be a good fit.

    But I don’t have a consistent progression for this biz – right now, people are entering the funnel at all different levels. Time will tell.

  • Dan

    Thanks for the pic and the support Brian! I still contend you look like a badass :D

  • Dan

    Interesting, sounds like there are some interesting opportunities here to get some transparency between the tiers… we need to chat about this!!! :D

  • Dan

    I think I see the tree you are barking up here: basically the most intuitive transition of product from the 3 levels (consulting->group coaching->book) might actually miss the mark at some levels when it comes to target audience, so there might be a kink in the system if your model follows the obvious product roadmap instead of the consumer’s progression.

    Might make sense for us to start whipping up checklists on this stuff? There’s no reason why we shouldn’t ask ourselves that question every single time you make a business model decision….

  • HA! Thanks.

  • Rob Hanly.

    In a nutshell, that’s it.

    On checklists, I’ve just built out a framework for products and marketing, will share it with you now. Hit me with some feedback, amigo.

  • Here is the exact song form the end of the ep.

  • One of the top 10 episodes of all time for me. Just revisited it and started creating our SOD for our company. But the stuff on the business models is so true and so valuable. “Flipping the triangle” has been added to my vocabulary.

  • Dan

    thanks so much for that David! good luck with the SOD… I’m working more on this Triangle stuff as well.

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