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Broseidon - From Zero to Something More Than Zero?
Why is it that some of us can jump into venture after venture with no safety net like fearless entrepreneurial demons and the rest of us spend most of our life, as the powerful Joe Rogan likes to put it, living lives of quiet desperation? Sticking to the script. Go to school. Get good grades. Get a good job. Contribute to your 401k and buy index funds to retire in 40 years.
To be honest? I have no idea. When you put it in plain writing it seems like the “safe” path is for the birds, right?
Now, let me make something crystal clear. I am by no means saying there isn’t a good life on the other side of a fulfilling, well-done career. And by no means am I signaling that I am some better-than-thou internet entrepreneur.
In fact, at the time of writing this it is my 32nd birthday, and up until ~6ish months ago I was pretty much the career man described above with just the hint of a calling in the back of my mind to take a shot at something. A wantrepreneur if you will.
Something changed though. I can’t put my finger on it directly (if I had to it would probably be a guest post from this very Substack a few months back about starting a supplement company) but something most definitely changed. I finally committed to myself to take a real shot. To do the work and leave it all on the table and give me a chance to break out.
My hope is that by the end of this post, you will pull the same level of inspiration I did so many months ago and take the plunge.
But enough with the philosophy lesson. Let me introduce myself properly and then we can get down to business.
By night? I’m known on this corner of the internet as Broseidon.
By day? I’m a sales engineer at a SaaS platform.
And, the reason I was asked to write this post, I am also the creator of the lifestyle supplement brand Ramp Health. I’ve just launched Ramp Health’s flagship product, B4, into presale - you can check it out for yourself here ramphealth.co
I promise you that was the last of the fluff. Really.
Below you will find the reason I imagine most of you are here reading - a step-by-step walk through of pretty much every action I’ve taken over the last 6 months from initial ideation to first 100 sales and beyond.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
The big idea. The phase the majority of people get stuck in.
One of the most common questions I've received since starting Ramp Health is "How did you come up with the idea?".
The devil on my shoulder wants me to reply with something snarky like "Used my brain" or "problem -> solution" but that's not why we're here. So, instead, I'm going to provide you with a few tactics I used that helped me lock down my idea.
"Idea Sex" coined by James Altucher
This is the process of writing down 10 ideas every single day. The thought process behind it is that over time your ideas with marinate and start to "have sex" with each other thus leading to more ideas as they start to combine. This method is super effective if you're not the creative type.
Audience of One
Build the product you wish existed. Simple and effective.
Take an area of your life that you enjoy and/or understand well
Look for a problem
Build a solution
Slight tweak of an existing product
Great eCom minds like Opossum himself, BTB, Jester, WiFiMoneyGuy, etc... will give you this advice and, based on their success, you should probably listen. Don't try to reinvent the wheel.
Take an existing product
Iterate on it slightly
Feedback (Requires existing audience)
If you have an existing audience in a niche, this is probably the easiest method. Which questions are you being asked in your DMs or on your posts?
Take the most popular
Create a solution
BOOM WiFi $ printer go burrr
In my case, I ended up using a combination of all of the above. I have built an audience of around 6.5k followers on Twitter over the last 8ish months around the topic of interacting with others and wanted an effective product I could bring to my audience.
I also happen to be an amateur biohacker aka I experiment on myself with a LOT of compounds (basically anything @Bowtied_UM mentions). So, the natural path forward for me was a nootropic stack focused on social settings.
Layer in the amazing margins on supplements and the upwards trajectory in popularity over the last few years and here we are. Broseidon, supplement extraordinaire.
Setup of Company
This is the second phase that it seems, anecdotally anyway, that most get stuck on: the logistics of setting up a company. (fun fact: none of the logistics are the “hard part”)
This being said, it doesn’t make it easy. Below you’ll find a breakdown of most of the logistics required to start a supplement brand. I’ve included the tools used as well - I do not have any affiliate partnerships with any of them they are simply what I chose to use based on functionality and recommendations of others.
Really simple. I used a platform called Doola. For $397 they’ll do 99% of the work for you.
Doola also offers the ability to create an anonymous LLC if that’s something you’re into.
As far as the state for filing is concerned? I chose Wyoming. Wyoming is generally accepted as one of the most business-friendly states right now for forming a business. However, my attorney and accountant both tell me that I’m not as smart as I think I am and I will end up paying taxes in my home state whether I like it or not. Use your best judgment here and speak to folks smarter than me for further guidance.
Don’t overcomplicate this. I chose to go with Novo Bank but given recent events, I will be swapping to a larger bank in the coming weeks.
Generally accepted as the best e-commerce platform. Once again, don’t overcomplicate.
Buy a domain (Namecheap)
Make an account
Choose the base-line package ($29/mo)
Use a free or cheap template
Go through the setup tutorial
Voila! You have a digital storefront!
This can get a little tricky depending on your product.
If you have an everyday, low-risk product like Flip-Flops? Use Shopify’s built-in payment gateway (the platform folks use to pay you that is linked to your bank account) Shop Pay.
If you have a consumable product like supplements or hot sauce consider using a different payment gateway (I used a friend who brokered a deal for me through Authorize.net - Feel free to DM me if interested). Reason: Shop Pay does not like consumables. They are higher risk and there’s a good chance you’ll get booted.
I happened to have some baseline Web Dev & Web design experience and did all of the web design myself using templates. However, I understand that this is not the majority. So here are your options the way I see it:
Do it yourself by
Use a template and simply change the colors, branding, and messaging yourself
Mimicking your competition
Go on Fiverr and find someone with a ton of reviews
Make sure to ask for examples of their work
Set realistic timelines for completion
Lock down all “fees”
Another time waster
Do it yourself:
Use a Canva template and make it your own
Same as the above via Fiverr
Or use a talented jungle member like Bowtied Apollo or Bowtied Maker (I used both of their services and continue to)
Brand assets, Mockups, Labels, Packaging, etc..
Do you have your product in hand? Take some professional pictures
In my case - I am waiting on final production at the time of writing this and had the amazing talent that is BowtiedMaker create renders for me using Blender
Check out ramphealth.co to see them live (shameless plug - buy my supplements!)
Now we get to the fun part: Actually getting your product made.
Once again, I am speaking from the context of a supplement brand owner but the general process should apply regardless of the product.
I will admit, this is where I made my first big blunder, and by sharing hope to help you avoid doing the same. How did the almighty social demi-god of Twitter blunder you might ask? Let me fill you in. I spent more than THREE MONTHS spinning my wheels trying to lock down a manufacturer in the US.
The process, which I repeated 20+ times, went something like this. Submit a request for info > Call number on website > Wait 1-2 weeks for order taking monkey of a salesperson to tell me they’d check if they could work with my ingredients > Wait another week for them just to tell me no.
If I were to do it all again here’s what I would do instead:
Get a referral. Find someone making a similar product and ask who makes their product. Simple and effective.
If one isn’t possible? Use the method that I ended up using to create B4.
Go to Alibaba
Navigate to the manufacturer section
Search for your product or related products
Filter for verified manufacturers
Start a chat with their rep
Describe your needs
Pay for a sample/prototype
Iterate until the product is up to standard
To be honest, this process was much simpler than I imagined it. It’s also way more expensive than expected.
Fulfillment is pretty straightforward and there are tons of vendors for this. I ended up using ShipMonk (for now) due to the ease of setup and relatively low costs.
Some other options are Deliverr (via Shopify), ShipOffers, and hundreds more. Do what works best for you here.
My advice? Try to find something with a local warehouse so you can check out your product before it’s sent into the ether.
The process for most onboardings is:
Connect to the Shopify store
Setup fulfillment provider dashboard with all of your settings
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any specific questions here.
So, now that you’ve got your business setup, a product being made, a shiny new online store, a fulfillment center, and a whole lot of ambition - now what?
Pre-sales. That’s what. (Pre-sale for Ramp Health’s B4 is live! You can check it out at ramphealth.co)
Welp, tbh this step probably belongs before the product creation page. If you follow the advice of BTB, Jester, WifiMoneyGuy, Opossum, and others in the Jungle they will tell you that the smartest move to save yourself 10s of thousands of dollars wasted is to pre-sell your product to test demand. (There are ways to do this that you can look up on your own - out of stock being one of them)
The reason being: it’s really dumb to buy 20k, 30k, or 50k worth of product without any idea if someone is willing to buy it. Yeah, sure… your friends tell you your idea is awesome.
But is a random person on Facebook going to click your ad > read your copy > and pay $100 for your Star Wars-themed electric teapots? We have no idea.
The only way to confirm is to test demand.
Against this advice, I chose to pre-sell between the beginnings of product creation and the final stages of production. I was lucky enough to achieve a decent level of success in my presales with my built-in audiences (high 4 figures) and build a cushion to now use towards marketing to cold traffic.
Use your own judgment here.
Maybe you’ve heard this. Maybe you haven’t.
But THIS right here is 90%+ of your business.
Marketing is the “hard part”. It’s the piece of the puzzle that trumps all else in terms of importance. Think about it… does anything else really matter?
Yeah, you now have 20,000 units of your super cool stretch ripped skinny jeans but how are you getting people to buy?
This topic is way too broad to cover in one guest post and, in full transparency, the area I am currently learning the most.
However, here are some of the high-level areas to explore
Copywriting (resources listed below)
Social Media Ads
Sales letters/Landing pages
VSLs (Video Sales Letters)
Organic audience building
Much of this is covered in other posts within this very Substack.
Shout out BowtiedOpossum - you a real one.
Helpful Tools & Resources
The entirety of Ramp Health was built with advice, guidance, and information gleaned from this corner of the internet. Below is a list (in no particular order) of some of the most helpful.
BowtiedOpossum’s Substack (obviously)
The 16 Word Sales letter
Pretty much the only copywriting book you need to read
To scout your competition’s Ads
For all of your designs
A very easy-to-use video creator app
A very easy platform to create landing pages and sales letters for your ads
Academy of Advertising
An in-depth course on how to create, traffic, and utilize online ads for marketing
- , , , and many more (sorry if I missed you).
Creating a supplement brand is something I dreamed about for years. It’s been a fun, fulfilling, and downright grueling ride so far but I am so glad I made the plunge.
My hope in writing this is that you, the reader, are inspired in the very same way I was to use this guide as a jumping-off point for your own eCom adventure.
Stop. Being. Soft.
Literally, just go step by step with the information above and make it happen.
Until next time…
If you’re subscribed to this newsletter, you need to keep in mind why we’re here.
Your boss and company, no matter how nice, doesn’t care about your future. Nobody outside of a few family members and select friends care about your growth and your future.
You are the only one that can save yourself and make your life what you want it.
Single player. Just you.
This Substack is here to help you build a business and build the life that you want. I’ve laid out the basics to understand, analyze, & grow most any online business.
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Disclaimer: Nothing written here should be construed as legal for financial advice of any kind. These are opinions and observations, written by an anonymous cartoon Opossum, built up over years working in e-commerce & affiliate marketing.