Here’s how I built a business over a DM on Twitter during Covid19.

I built a business with a Twitter Influencer over a DM. Hint: Naval recommends him.

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Feb 2020 : I created a cryptic twitter account to build a brand with inspiration from Ed Latimore & few others.

April 2020 : I built a business with Ed Latimore.

April 2020 : The project gets voted as #1 Product on ProductHunt.

I haven’t interacted with Ed Latimore before Feb 2020. I discovered Ed after Naval Ravikant recommended him.

This is not another ‘How to make money online’ post. If that’s what made you read the 5th sentence, you’d be disappointed hereafter.

Tl:dr

The whole of India is under a strict lockdown. I create an anonymous account on twitter from a non-metropolitan place in India. Try to ape a few accounts who I look upto. Fail. Quickly find my voice. Pitch a business proposal to Ed Latimore who is a twitter celeb with over 120,000 followers. Deal done. ‘Project Ekalavya’ is launched. It’s a monthly subscription service that delivers 3 book summaries as infographics. Because a picture is worth a 1000 words.

This is how I made it work — I was hopeful. I went big. I analysed problems & designed a solution. I pitched. We launched Project Ekalavya.

My initial chat with Ed Latimore

Being hopeful

The pandemic hit. People were locked down. People lost jobs, sleep and walks under the sun. The future looked gleam. There is an overload of information, especially if you’re following Norbert Elekes on twitter.

The pandemic hit. People had more time than usual. People built skills, relationships, quality me-time. ‘I have no time’ excuse became irrelevant.

I struck off one ‘I have no time’ excuse. I started with hope. Because hope is not a strategy, I added learning & action. The strategy became — be hopeful, learn and act.

Going big

There’s an effective way to get what you want — Ask. Ask and magic might unfold. However, do your homework before you ask.

Here’s my homework: I made a list of people who I look up to on twitter. I analysed their patterns, persona through a list of filters. The filters made the list short. I reached out to the No 1 person on the list — Ed Latimore.

And he responded. But do you think Ed would have taken the discussion further if I said ‘Hey, let’s build a taco chain together?’.

Filtering problems & finding solutions

I do SEO. I write. I read books. I code. I make infographics. I’m a generalist. Unlike an expert I will have to package my skills as a bundle. That became a winning formula. This also made me think that problems ranging from climate change to productivity apps can be solved. I hoped to solve them all. But hope is not a strategy, hence I put structure. I filtered problems based on scale, skills and sales. Things became clearer.

Here’s the structure which I used to filter problems

I zeroed on the ‘problem’. I had one rule to find solutions — ‘Out of all the solutions available, pick the one which is the simplest’

Crafting the Pitch

30 seconds can change your life. Give a reader 30 seconds and he would’ve read 120 words of your article. Give an investor 30 seconds and he would’ve decided on to take a second meeting or not w.r.t your startup. Give a customer 30 seconds, he would’ve formed an opinion on your brand for life.

30 seconds will change your life. Put hours of effort to build a 30 second pitch. The golden rule of pitching is Show, don’t tell.

If you’re talking about the skills you have — Show samples of your work.

If you’re talking about the impact of the project — Show projections built.

If you’re talking about the solution — Show MVP.

I made all the pitches pass through the Pitch filtering framework

The pitch that gets all y (yes) passes.

Bonus tip: Build trust before business. I delivered before the deadlines without compromising on the quality.

Did you ever experience that feeling when you read an inspiring story and yet you feel miserable? I did. I read the story of Harry Dry’s Kanye Story. I read the story of how LifeMathMoney built a following. I read how Nas created Old Town Road. These & all other similar stories made me feel miserable.

It took a pandemic for me to realise that the articles didn’t cause the miserable feeling but my inaction did.

This lockdown I built skills, relations & revenue.

I’m sharing the Influencer filtering framework, problems filtering framework & the pitch filtering framework for public use here.


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