You Need an Angle, Not a Logo – 3 Easy Steps to Your First Customers

You Need an Angle, Not a Logo – 3 Easy Steps to Your First Customers post image

Hi! If it’s your frist time here, thanks for dropping by. I hope you’ll join the 2000+ readers on our RSS feed, or follow me on Twitter. On this blog I write about starting honest-to-goodness businesses from your laptop. I try to write from my experience, but sometimes I get bullshitty.

Speaking of Twitter, I was already thinking of getting customers when I saw this:

“When you first started your podcast, or any other product, how did you get your first 5 customers. I know you talk a lot about cold calls, any other broad tips? Adwords seems to be getting expensive.” via @Ryan Gough

First off, I’m pretty sure our first 20 podcasts were listened to a grand total of 20 people.

Starting a brand like the TMBA or the Lifestyle Business Podcast is a bad idea if you are just getting started with online marketing. A lot of people write me saying they want to do similar stuff, and that’s fine, but helping people build businesses, secure clients, design lifestyles, or build wealth isn’t a winning strategy.

The handfull of people online who started meaningful careers this way have an excess of either grit, gall, or personal debt.

Here’s a quick 3 step process to shaking down your approach to content marketing. Once you’ve got these three steps completed on a basic website, it should be relatively easy to contact publishers, bloggers, and prospective clients in your niche. It’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel! Live your passion baby!!!

STEP 1: Dedicate your site content and tagline to solving task flow problems in your market. 

This is where most people fail. The fewer resources you have, the more “angle” your content needs.

You can be an exception to this if you have a ton of money, experience, or friends. If you don’t, try making the key marketing tagline of your business the answer to a specific task flow problem.


“Beautiful WordPress headers”    —>   “WP site management ” —> “WP themes that convert”

“HK corporations cheap”    —> “HK virtual services” —> “Asset protection for internet age”

“Easy expat tax returns” —>  “Biz and personal tax plans” —>  “A better way for expats to file”

“Increase ebook sales” —>  “easy self pub production” —> “lifestyle design biz strategy”

Ok, it’s not science, but I want to drive the point home. You don’t “design stuff.” You make $200 WordPress headers. You don’t help people “manage their assets.” You set up Delaware C corporations. You don’t “help people live the life they’ve always wanted” you help them “lose 10 pounds with a juice fast.”

Having an angle gives people a reason to stick around. Once you get customers in the door, you can broaden your offering and brand message. Solve a few 1000 task flow problems over the course of a few years, and you might find youself owning a company that solves market problems.

It’s a great case study so I’ll say it again– it should not surprise us that the AdsenseFlippers have 100’s of people lining up to join them on webinars, 4000+ subscribers in just over a year, and 10’s of thousands of podcast downloads. If you follow their blog, over the past few months you’ve read articles about travel, niche sites, link building, productivity, internships, life in the Philippines, and the internet marketing industry.

That’s a broader range of topics that you can expect from your neighborhood personal development blogger– and they did it under a brand that focuses on Adsense.

STEP 2: Clearly articulate a product. 

Since we started with physical products, we got used to creating well-defined products that were positioned strategically against the competition. Many content marketers operate as if they weren’t competing against anyone else. Not so hombres.

Start with the product (not 15 blog posts). Write at least 5,000 words about every single benefit, feature, anxiety, and question that your traget customer might have. Don’t let up until you are done. At the end of you 5,000 words, you’ll need to put a price and a Paypal web standard buy-now button. Don’t bother blogging until you’ve done it.

STEP 3: Focus on building a legible body of work. 

One you put up a simple product that solves task flow problems (even if it’s a simple consulting phone call or webinar), people will refer others to the resources you’ve created.

When you help out people who are influential for free (nice marketing!), they’ll click over to your site. If you’ve got 20 articles about the particulars of website header design theory, I’m impressed.

These types of sites are exactly the type that big publishers like to highlight as experts. Who would you rather hear on Pat Flynn’s podcast? The guy who tested 1000’s of different email opt-in variants and has developed unique insights into what converts, or a story of a guy who travels the world making adsense niche sites?




PS, like the TMBA? You can subscribe here.


Published on 04.10.12
  • Really good post, Dan. Clear, simple, concise, but useful advice on what people need to be focusing on. I think I’m going to link to this in my monthly wrap-up. 

  • Great post.  This is something I’ve really been trying to focus on while starting/growing my biz – specializing instead of generalizing.  I’m visualizing the upside-down pyramid (I think you were the one who brought that up) – get em in the door with one specific thing. treat em well, and they’ll check out with a whole lot more.

  • Gordon McNevin

    Great post dude! Ive fallen into the trap of thinking “i must create a blog about my IM adventures” when really i should be focussed on more money. Trouble being i just love to share what i think works. My advice to startups, stay just under the radar of your competitors as long as possible, then make big moves!

  • Love it … It’s the same post I just wrote, but a million times better! Thank you sir for letting us read your “angle”

  • Help me understand. I remember you talking about your cat furniture business and how if you had to start again, you’d build an audience first. This article seems to be the opposite advice.

    What happens when you develop your product, write 5,000 words, add the Paypal button and no one buys?

  • I’ve had my blog for a year, and for a year minus one day I’ve been telling myself to get a product up there that is helpful to my readers and solves a problem for them. I read this post, and am now 7 pages into my future product, this finally got me off my ass. Thank you!

  • What are drinking/eating/taking lately? Damn, you’ve been on point for a streak now. Hope it won’t end.

    Very clearly articulated, and such a simple roadmap to follow. People pay $97 for products that aren’t even this clear.

    The whole task flow/client/market problem was eye opening.

  • JustinWCooke

    Hey Brad,

    I think what Dan’s saying is that it’s good to start with an angle first…a very specific niche that you can own.  Start there.  Do the work, make it happen, and start building your audience in that specific niche.

    Once you’ve made that successful, you can expand the reach of your audience well beyond your original, tightly-focused nice.  (Niche AdSense sites for us)  Once you’ve got an audience onboard you can start interacting with them to find out the content they’re interested in that’s outside the original scope.

    Once you start getting that feedback, you can design products/services around their needs.  It makes it awfully easy to meet a need in the market when you have lots of people telling you exactly where it is that they’re hurting.

  • Dan

    Thanks for mentioning that Liz, keeps me motivated!!! Good luck with the product. 

  • Dan

    Thanks Johan! Your soul has been invoiced! I’m drinking rocket fuel! :P

  • Dan

    Agreed, example of somebody who built an audience without 5K word product at the beginning is Kate at Great blog, super focused on artisan designer cat furniture. SHITE TONS of loyal followers and subscribers. :)

  • Dan

    If the ultimate product needed to be adverts of affiliate product sales, say for a hard goods product blog, the 5K advice might not apply. If you are selling consulting or info stuff, I’d start with the 5K articulation and then tweak in constantly. That’s part of the reason info / consulting stuff is so much fun, you can just develop it on the fly based on what’s working. I think the best way to build audience is just to be hyper focused, and I find articulating a product is a great step for a lot of people. Also, if I’ve contradicted myself 100x by now, please don’t be alarmed! My brain only works so well… :)

  • Dan

    haha that’s only because I read yours first! I call it “blog-poaching”

  • Dan

    Fight up!! :D

    Cheers thanks for dropping by.

  • Dan

    word. seems like you are doing a great job so far !

  • Dan

    Cheers Adam! I appreciate that always ! 

  • Thanks for this. I understand the distinction now.

  • Dan was the first person I’d heard talk about niching down till you felt uncomfortable. And the first time I heard it I thought he was a bit loony. It was so different than anything I’d heard before.

    But now with enough repetition and case studies like AdSense Flippers, I get it.Thanks for you comment,

  • Dan

    Testimonial! :D Thanks Brad. 

  • There’s some good stuff on this site, but you really need to use that spell checker!

    Also tropical workforce needs some serious beta testing. I tried to post a gig but, man it’s not working as it should.

  • Only just noticed the link! Cheers dude. New site’s almost done, tweaking the video sales letter, launching in a few weeks. But yeah, the whole idea came from doing what you did above. No one wants just “juicing recipes”, but they’ll pay for a result (10 pounds lighter in 2 weeks).

  • Dan

    Cheers man, maybe someday! Focused on the biznass right now, but maybe sometime this year. I’m okay with people knowing I’m not the sharpest shovel in the shed. Regarding TWF, we are 100% changing the site this week. Really sorry about that. 

  • Dan

    Cheers! Good luck with it, great site! 

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