The Formula You Need: 30×500
Do you want to break out of working by the hour? Do you want to create your own products and really be your own boss? How about crafting an independent income you can live on — and never have to freelance again?
You absolutely can. I know, because in 2008 to 2009, I did it.
In 2008, I had a career crisis. I was able to charge a very good hourly rate for interaction design consulting… but I loathed it.
I kept telling myself, “At least the money is good!” and wondering what was wrong with me that I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and work. Client meetings, proposal writing, wireframing, dealing with committees, watching my work destroyed by internal power struggles at my client’s office… it blew.
After inadvertently spending nearly a month off work, it hit me: I didn’t want to go back. I hated consulting. There had to be a better way.
I made a commitment to myself: I would find that better way, and I would throw myself into making it happen.
Cue montage: I researched. I strategized. I used everything I learned from my 10-year business book addiction. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, late nights and work hangovers. There was also a lot of slicing up my dreams and plans into their tiniest possible pieces, so that we could do them on the side without giving up our sole source of income (consulting, naturally).
With my plan, my husband and I worked our asses off for almost an entire year. It was thrilling, satisfying, and totally exhausting. It rocked, but it also kinda sucked. I was exhausted.
Neither of those products was anything close to “finished.” If you compared those very first versions to what we’ve got now, you would scarcely believe they were the same products. But I had learned my lesson from years of failing to ship anything on my own — and ruled those initial feature sets with an iron fist, and shipped before I felt anything like ready.
And, like I said: it worked.
We went from earning $0 from products in 2008, to $85,000 in 2009, to $240,000 in 2010. In 2011, we grossed $549,000. (Learn more about my numbers from 2010). As of Q1 2012, our gross income from products has been over $890,000.
Can you believe it? Sometimes I can’t. Seven years ago, I accepted a job offer of $55,000 a year with no benefits, and at the time I thought that was a pretty good deal.
Now, I know I’ll never have to work for anyone else again. Never have to compromise on my beliefs because I need a paycheck. Never watch a client butcher my work because I need the contract. And, of course, I’m able to live a much more pleasant life.
And it all started on the side, with a little ebook and a little time tracking subscription app, crappy first versions, and a whole lot of tricks I taught myself to get shit done and get it out there and ensure that our products would sell from the very first day.
I built myself a system, and tested it in the field, and it worked. It’s battle-hardened — and after all that, so am I.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, 2 to 3 years from now, you could say the very same?
If you want to do your very own Year of Hustle, and start changing your life… if 2 years from now, you want to be able to look back and say to yourself, “I’m so fucking glad I sat down and bled and sweat and made this happen so now I can quit my job, quit consulting forever, and do what I want,” then I can teach those tricks to you, too.
That’s what the 30×500 Launch Class is all about: Systems that create predictable success. That get you to a paying product by the shortest route possible. That help you free yourself.
The 30×500 Launch Class is here to Pump You Up!
Yup, 30×500. What’s with the weird tongue-twister of a name? Simple: It’s a formula.
The way to success is aiming small. Those numbers — 30 by 500 — are magical numbers that multiply up to $180,000 a year. All you need to do is create $30 worth of value a month for just 500 customers — just 500 customers, from anywhere in the world, from the whole damn internet.
Seems pretty damn achievable when you look at it that way, doesn’t it?
That’s the power of thinking systematically.
And: You’ve gotta agree, $180,000 a year ain’t too shabby. Just think what you could do from there, what opportunities & freedoms that kind of money could open up.
You don’t have to invent the next Twitter to have a blast building products you believe in. You can build this kind of income on the side, without funding, and be beholden to no one.
“Okay, Amy,” I hear you thinking, “it all sounds nice and easy when you put it that way. But how do you ensure that you can create a product that will bring in even 500 customers? How do you know what to build? How do you know which of your many ideas to build, or how to have those ideas in the first place? How do you reach your customers? How do you sell to them? How do you manage to actually build something on the side without going absolutely batshit crazy?
How do you finish and ship something when you’re terrified, or at best, chronically disorganized?”
Well, I’m glad you asked, because that’s exactly what the class is about.
You know the 30×500 formula now. The Launch Class will get you to the point where you can implement it.
What’s this class exactly?
It’s an online class, lasting about 3 months (plus a break around the holidays, cuz let’s be serious), starting this November.
Just like a university-level class, you’ll get a huge-ass syllabus, weekly internet meetups, and homework — and, unlike at university, you’ll hands-on support from someone with real-world experience. (Chiefly, yours truly, and several awesome alumni.)
You will learn:
- how to avoid becoming an idea’s bitch
- how to have only profitable ideas
- how to escape the depressing cycle of Idea Quicksand
- how to secure customers for your product before you ever commit a line of code, or write a single page, or record your first minute of video
- crafting a business model that’ll play to your strengths (even if you can only work part-time)
- why you should never bother making an iPhone app
- how to come up with a plan for your very first version — and stick to it
- how to break a large project down into easy bites
- how to build a product by yourself, without making yourself miserable
- how to beat procrastination
- how to keep on track even when you’ve got a day job
- how to find your customers
- how to get your customers to come to you
- how to write sales copy so your customers will listen — with no previous copywriting experience
- how to launch your product to immediate sales
- (and more)
These lessons include practical workbooks full of guiding questions and formulas that help you decide what to do, and for whom, and how, and when.
In this new version of 30×500, there’s more structure, more checklists, more timelines, more case studies — more concrete help and examples to leaven the theory, and get your butt moving.
Wanna see how awesome these lessons are? Keep reading for the 5-part 30×500 Taste Test.
SAMPLES! Appetizers: Get Psyched, Get Your Head Screwed On Right
First, the first three lessons from 30×500. They’re all about the mistakes & missteps & suffering that we all suffer on the rocky path to profitable-product-owner-hood.
You know, that whole cycle: you wake up energized, eureka! You’ve found your great idea. It has such promise. You know that this time, it’ll work. You’ll make money. You’ll achieve your financial goals. You’ll be able to build the life you want.
But it never works out.
Read these lessons — and you’ll slap yourself in the forehead and wonder why you didn’t think of it before:
- Lesson 1 – Why Things Are Broken
- Lesson 2 – What to Do About It: Crafting Your System, Step 1
- Lesson 3 – What to Do About It: Crafting Your System, Step 2
It’s kinda obvious in retrospect, isn’t it?
SAMPLES! Worldviews: Everybody’s Got One & You Need to Know Em
I hate niches. When you get into business, you can’t swing a cat without being told you have to find a niche.
What the hell’s up with that?
Obviously you know what a niche is: a group of people defined by slots and numbers, like middle-aged housewives, young men with disposable income and technical skills between the age of 18 and 35, white Republicans with an income of $70,000 to $100,000, new mothers, cat fanciers, Rails developers, web designers. Blah blah blah.
And there’s the problem. Those people may share a demographic, but they don’t think the same. They don’t value the same things. They don’t look at the world the same way. They don’t buy the same way.
Niches-ism doesn’t respect the way people actually buy.
On the other hand, Worldviews — and the 3 Laws of Customer Physics — do. Learn to spot Worldviews, and you’ll save yourself so much heartache, like when you try to sell to people whose worldview will prevent them from buying. (So sad!)
And your understanding of Worldviews will also answer that age old question: Does design matter? (The answer is: it depends on what worldviews your potential customers have.)
In short: this lesson is vital. Don’t miss it. Download it now:
(This taste test lesson also includes a lot of background on the other stuff you’ll learn in 30×500. As you’ll see, the lessons build on each other.)
SAMPLES! Pain Killers: Everybody Hurts… So Make & Sell a Soother
You know that REM song, “Everybody Hurts”?
It’s not that different from that Buddhist saying, “Life is suffering.” Which is, if you ask me, is a sentiment with an unfairly bad rap.
To be human is to hurt. That’s just kinda the way it is.
And one of the best ways to make a profit while helping people is to kill their pain. Either take away the pain, or transform it into enjoyment and even joy.
But… other than just trying to spot a “problem” to solve, how the heck do you know which pains exist? Which pains to tackle? Which pains you can fix most awesomely? Which would be profitable?
That’s what this next lesson is about.
When you take 30×500, there are a bunch of lessons between the beginning 3 I already sent you, and this bad boy.
First off, you learn how to pick an Audience to investigate. Then how to find them, and learn from them. Figure out if they’re your ideal customers — or not. How hard it will be to sell. What they need.
You collect all kinds of crazy raw data.
Then you do THIS lesson, lesson 13. (And lesson 12, which is similar, but about money.)
This lesson guides you through, step-by-step, sifting thru that data and squeezing insight out of it. And what do you get at the end? Delicious juice?
No! An infinite number of potential product concepts. As many as you could ever want.
This is part of the awesome process that is 30×500: pick, gather, apply rules, apply a system, apply effort, and BAM!! Results.
SAMPLES! Dessert: From Lowly Peon to Rich & Famous
You know 37signals? Of course you do. You know how many products they had when they started out 8 years ago?
You know how they got from zero, to millions of dollars of revenue a month? The same way you will get from zero to the income you want.
They did it by Stacking the Bricks. So did just about everybody else you see who’s successful. In this video, I dissect the product career paths of 37signals and 4 other smaller companies (including moi). And turn it into a lesson you can use.
Other Things You Learn in 30×500
I’m not joking when I call this set of lessons a tasting menu. They are only a taste. There is SO much more.
This class isn’t about high-level conceptual hand-waving, this is down-n-dirty work that gets the job done.
We’ll talk about the lesson on the mailing list (where you also have access to alumni from previous classes!). You’ll get that wonderful frisson of being surrounded by other people doing exactly what you’re doing, for inspiration and support.
The lessons are boiled down to their very essence, pithy and funny, and easy to read. You will learn philosophies, strategies, and yes, tips & tricks to ensure you can start earning money from your product as soon as humanly possible.
And weekly group chats (on Campfire, with transcripts, and with alumni at all stages to help you along).
You’ll be able to email me if you have problems or questions, or just need a reassuring hug (or kick in the pants).
Or you can ask the amazing community full of your fellow bootstrappers. Over four 30×500 classes, the mailing list has become one of the best resources in this class. It’s full of nearly 300 alums, at every stage in the process. And they are incredibly smart, giving, and thoughtful.
Lately some of my students have been saying that the mailing list is so amazing, it alone is worth the price of admission.
And you’re invited to hang out with us on the mailing list forever. (And whenever I update the 30×500 lessons, or add new ones? You get those too. Free For Life.)
Is the class right for YOU?
Are you a developer or a designer?
Are you self-employed with the ability to raise rates, subcontract, or delegate to free up lots of time & energy? Or do you have a very flexible job?
If so: class is for you!
(NOTE: It is not for you, however, if you are in love with & committed to serving a consumer audience, such as hobbyists, yoga teachers, musicians, etc! That way danger lies, and 30×500 is about skirting around the danger & ensuring your success!)
How does the class work? When is it?
30×500 is a largely “offline” class — you aren’t glued to your computer for lengthy teleconferences or live video. Any live content (such as the bootcamp starter session and live chats) will be available as recordings or transcripts.
- You’ll kick things off with a bang the weekend of Nov 10. Prepare to spend all of your Saturday (and part of your Sunday) on an intense, action-packed orientation!
- Every week, you’ll receive an objective by email, along with lessons for you to read and work through at your convenience
- Most lessons come with a workbook to help you implement what you’ve learned — also known as “homework”
- You’ll share your homework on the mailing list, to see what others are doing and get feedback
- The mailing list is also a great place for you to discuss your triumphs & troubles with your fellow students and alumni from the previous classes
- We hold live group chats every week, on Sunday afternoons starting at either 2 or 3pm EST (so that it will be early evening in Europe, and morning in PST)
- When you need a little personal guidance, or if you are stuck and just need a gentle kick in the pants, you’ve got access to your fellow students, alumni, Alex Hillman (my co-conspirator & co-teacher), Brennan Dunn (alumni extraordinaire), and of course, me.
You’ll receive your first lesson on Nov 5th, and on Saturday, Nov 10th, we’ll kick off the class with a live bootcamp session. (A live, real-time, audio/video “webinar” to help you hit the ground running — about 4 hours on Saturday and probably another 2-3 on Sunday. Still working on the script!)
Will it work for my time zone?
The orientation weekend — Nov 10/11 — will start at 3pm eastern (noon PST, 7am Auckland).
Live chats and presentations are almost always on Sunday afternoons, East Coast USA time. That means morning on the more western US time zones, and early evening in Europe, and 6-8am Monday in Australia & New Zealand.
If you can’t make these chats on a regular basis, you should not attend. I’m serious… these are a huge part of the way the class works: live exercises, live practice, live help.
Recordings or transcripts will always be made available for any live stuff — including our text chats.
You can always email your fellow students & alumni if you have a question. If you have a very private question, you can email me personally.
Who am I to teach such a thing?
Well, for starters, I’m an interaction designer who started as a web developer, and who evolved into the total product nut you see before you today. I’m a great teacher. I’ve been teaching people how to code (in a totally novel visual kinda way) for years and years. I’m totally obsessed with systems thinking, and business systems especially and, thanks to my other obsession with teaching, the ability to turn it into valuable, insightful, action-packed lessons.
But don’t take my word for it — check out this sample lesson. As one of my students said about that very lesson, “I think anyone who reads that Worldview lesson could sell me anything!”
And to follow it up, I have the real-world experience — I’ve repeatedly been able to create winning products. Here’s a growth chart of my first software as a service — planned, researched, designed, and managed by moi:
We launched in Dec 2008, had our first round of billing in Jan 2009 (just over $1,500), and as of March 2012, our estimates show we’ll bill about $28,000. That’s $336,000 a year run rate (projected), and more than 18x growth over our first month.
Wondering if I’m just lucky?
You might be wondering if I got lucky — or if I’m a one-hit wonder. You might also think that it’s because I’m “internet famous,” and this isn’t something anyone can do.
How’s that saying go? Once is luck, twice is skill? I’ve got more than one hit under my belt.
That is the system I teach in this class. (And this very class has sold out all of the five previous times I’ve offered it!)
Wondering if YOU can duplicate my success?
You can. It will take time, and sweat, and effort, but I’ve dedicated over 2 years of my life to learning how to teach these tools & strategies to smart people just like you. And my marketing strategies — which you’ll learn — don’t rely on fame of any kind. You just have to be willing to put in the effort, consistently, to make a product that pleases your customers, and to ship.
All of which you’ll learn about when you attend 30×500.
I’m currently in talks with several of my students who have changed their lives (and launched products!) thanks to my course. But preparing this kind of case study takes extra time, so it’s not ready just yet. Watch this space, because they will be coming soon.
Here are some quotes from the case studies in progress…
>I started my business with the intention of selling software products. It took two years of studying and reading before I felt that I knew enough to build a product.
Boy was I was wrong. After a losing over $3,000 and 8 months of work on a “killer” software idea, I realized that I still didn’t know what I was doing. Since I was already watching Amy build a streak of successful businesses, I decided to copy how she was doing it. Luckily I didn’t have to go all covert ops, her 30×500 class had her entire process from beginning to launch.
Four months later after starting, I launched my second product. This time it was profitable in the first week and is still selling.
*– Eric Davis**
> Can’t recommend this class enough. Amy is a miracle worker.
– Anne Halsall
> … The proof is in the pudding ! I had a lot of half-hassed-never-launched products under my belt coming in It’s now painfully obvious to me why some of my past projects didn’t work out. I stopped “hoping” for users. It’s a lot easier to make progress on a project when people are showing an interest for it… And personally, wow, beside the huge motivation boost I got every time we talked about TheBusinessPart, your advice almost systematically led to some of the most liberating changes I made to the app and the business.
– Etienne Segonzac, TheBusinessPart
> [Using what I learned in 30x500,] I built Freelance Funnel, a service to help freelancers land better gigs by delivering hot leads every day. I learned that I can build something of value, that helps people and that people will respond to that value with dollars.
Right now, I’m at 7 paying customers — that may sound like nothing to write home about but it’s infinitely more than 0.
More importantly, I know I’m on to something, whether it’s this or another idea. Now I know I can stop trading my time for money.
– Jeff Schoolcraft, Freelance Funnel
And how does the class help? Here’s a glimpse:
> You just removed quite some lead time from my launching date. First by helping me trashing some pitches, now by removing these features. If I continue like this, I’ll launch in October!
This is indeed a Personal Development course.
– Matej Leban, 30×500 Summer 2011
And one more!
> 30×500 purged me of [my] fears. Now that I am close to shipping a paid product, I realize that all of those fears are irrational. There is absolutely no reason I can’t build a product with the tools and skills I already have… The homework and feedback was instrumental in helping me develop a relationship with potential customers and knowing what kind of product to build. I would recommend the course to anyone that wants to get over their fears, stop making excuses, and bootstrap a paid product.
– Moe Burney (launch in progress)
This course can have a much bigger effect beyond the act of building and launching a product:
> The biggest thing I find is I’m not beating myself up over these thoughts and feelings — I’m feeling like a million bucks with what I’m accomplishing and where I’ve brought myself in my career. Again thank you very much for helping me break out of a constant cycle of self-loathing and deprecation.
– anonymous student
Yup — this class can be a real lifechanger. If you’re ready for it.
Don’t Miss Out!
To keep quality high, and ensure lots of hands-on support, I’m closing the doors at just 75 students.
The entire class, including personal attention to your questions, is priced at less than a single class at a good business school — just
Just $2,450 if you apply, are accepted, and pay by by September 28th. (The application process opens on Sept 21st!)
After Sept 28th, tickets go up to $2,650. And after Oct 5th, and before the start of class, tickets will be $2,750.
That may seem like a lot, but compare it to the other things you could spend that money on… and how much those things can change your life and your bank balance forever:
One class in a local MBA program? (Not Harvard, that’s for sure!) Taught by a TA, with no follow-up after the class is done, no support group? No relevance for a tiny 1- to 5-person shop?
A 5-day vacation somewhere moderately luxurious and tropical? That’s nice, but it doesn’t last, and it won’t ever pay you back.
It’s true — this course is not cheap. But when you look at what it can help you do, you’ll see that it’s worth every penny.
Pays for Itself Handily
In case this class sounds a little pricey to you, think about this: If you follow the class, and do the homework, it’s entirely possible that you’ll be able to make that much in the first two to four months with your product.
My ebook launch paid $5,000 the first week and Freckle earned nearly $1,600 after its first round of free trials ended.
But that’s not just because I’m special: One of my students from the very first version of this class created an ebook (from content he already had!) that made him over $5,000, and he’s currently working on his next product. Jarrod Drysdale has earned more than $40,000 with Bootstrapping Design. Brennan Dunn‘s app, Planscope, is earning $4,000/mo now and growing nearly 10% every month — and, to pay for a trip to Dublin, he used what he learned in 30×500 to whip up a way to pocket another $6,000 on the spot with an ebook.
And that’s just handful of success stories! There are others in the works right now.
Some students make ebooks. Some make software. Some make training courses. Some do all three (like I do!). The process you’ll learn in 30×500 will help you make any kind of product.
These students above are seeing a pretty kickass return on investment. Better than half a class, anywhere… even at ye olde ivy-covered Harvard Business School.
> Unsexy Lawyer Note: Are these results typical? No. Are they guaranteed? No. But I do offer a 100% money back guarantee in the first 30 days you have to review the material, if you don’t feel the class is delivering all the power-packed education I’ve described.
No Risk. Seriously.
My whole system is all about eliminating risk.
Heck, think about it — you already have a job, or you already have clients. It’s not like you can just take a year off and waltz around inventing The Next Big Thing. Your pockets aren’t bottomless, either. You have limited time, energy, and money — so you need to make sure every single thing you do will get you closer to your goal of a product-based income.
That’s how I designed 30×500: I built my first two products on the side while consulting, and built 30×500 on the side of working on those. There are tools, tricks, techniques & ways of thinking that can help you make the absolute most out of your limited time. Those things are all baked into 30×500.
Make no mistake: it’s fucking hard to do this on the side, but it can be done… and it’s worth it.
That’s why I’m glad to offer you a 30-day 100% money back guarantee. You’ll get all the lessons before class starts, giving you a great opportunity to dive in and check them out. If you don’t feel like you’re going to learn how to create predictably profitable products that sell, I’ll be glad to refund your entire ticket price. (But remember: only in the first 30 days!)
Now, we’ve got good news and bad news.
The bad news is: I expect those measly 75 seats to sell out.
All three of the previous classes have sold out.
And: this may very well be the last time I offer this class with so much personal attention/involvement from me.
Be Among the First to Book Your Seat
The good news is: you can be among the first to apply.
Yes, this class requires an application. No, it’s not about sexy exclusivity… it’s about you and me, together, ensuring the class is right for you right now. I want you to get your money’s worth, and that means finding out if you’re ready.
This class is not for dilettantes. It’s not for people who are kinda maybe interested in making a product, because it seems like a good idea. No. If you’re the type who “needs motivation,” this class will crush you (and not in a good way).
This class is for people who absolutely need to make their lives better, this year. For people who excel at investing in themselves. This journey will take a lot of work.
If you’re ready, I can help you rock it.
Applications open on Friday, Sept 21st. The application process is not public, it’s only for people who’re on my announcement list. And the seats are available as first-come, first-serve.
If you want to attend, get on the list today:
Every class so far has sold out. There are only 75 seats available this time around. I’ll be making them available first come, first serve, for those who apply.
There are over 1200 people on this mailing list already. Not everyone on there is really ready to make this commitment and shell out that cash, but… you do the math
See you in class!