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After a rallying to record-setting prices, recapturing the attention of the public, and becoming once-again the topic du jour, cryptocurrencies are losing ground today.
Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency, peaked at more than $ 41,000 apiece on January 8th. Today after shedding a little over 23% in the last 24 hours, one bitcoin is now worth around $ 31,800.
Similarly, ether, the token associated with the Ethereum blockchain, peaked at a little over $ 1,300 on January 10th. Today, after losing an even sharper 29% in the last 24 hours, ether tokens are worth around $ 960 apiece.
Coins remain far above recent prices, with bitcoin setting new all-time highs this month, and ether nearly reaching its early 2018 all-time highs. CoinMarketCap, a data platform tracking the cryptocurrency market that was purchased by the Binance exchange in 2020, reports that the value of all cryptocurrencies has fallen by just over 22% in the last day to $ 832.4 billion.
Whether the recent declines, or the fact that cryptos were very recently worth north of $ 1 trillion in aggregate is bigger news will be determined by your perspective on the asset class.
For startups, however, focused on the digital token market, it’s been a heady start to the year. Coinbase, an American cryptocurrency exchange, filed to go public in late 2020. The recent rally in the price of bitcoin, for example, has led to record trading volumes for the coin. That could translate into lucrative incomes for Coinbase, and its rivals.
If so, the venture capital market could warm to companies in the space, opening wallets to crypto projects that may have been closed since 2017.
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This has been the year of the social organization. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world and the United States, governments and a patchwork of nonprofits and volunteer organizations sprang into action, offering everything from food and medical supplies to children’s books and clothing to individuals and families struggling in the virus’s wake.
Perhaps the biggest divide though to getting people help has been digital — non-profits need to connect with their beneficiaries over the internet just as much as any retailer today. Unfortunately, tech talent is expensive and hard to find, particularly for often cash-strapped nonprofits.
That was part of the impetus for two Stanford seniors, Mary Zhu and Amay Aggarwal, to co-found Develop for Good, a matching service designed to connect motivated and ambitious undergrads in computer science, design and economics to nonprofits with specific projects that require expertise. They launched the network in March as the pandemic started spreading rapidly, and since then, the organization has itself started growing exponentially as well.
Develop for Good “was in response to [the pandemic], but at the same time, a lot of our peers were having their internships canceled, [and] a lot of companies were having hiring freezes,” Zhu explained. “People were also seeking opportunities to be able to develop their professional skills and develop their project experience.” This coincidence of needs among both students and nonprofits helped accelerate the matching that Develop for Good offers.
So far, the 501(c)(3) non-profit has coordinated more than 25,000 volunteer hours across groups like the Ronald McDonald House, UNICEF, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), Easterseals, The Nature Conservancy, Save the Children, AARP and more. The program, which in its first batch focused on Zhu and Aggarwal’s network at Stanford, has since expanded to more than a dozen schools across the United States. The two first reached out to nonprofits through Stanford’s alumni network, although as the program’s reputation has grown, they have started getting inbound interest as well.
Volunteers take on a project for 5-10 hours per week for 10 weeks, typically in teams. Each team meets their nonprofit client at least weekly to ensure the project matches expectations. Typical projects include application development, data visualization, and web design. Most projects conclude at the end of the batch, although the founders note that some in-depth projects like product development can cross over into future batches. As the program has expanded, Zhu and Aggarwal have added a more formal mentorship component to the program to help guide students through their work.
Applications for the next batch starting in January are currently open for students (they’re due January 2nd, so get them in quick!). The founders told me that they are expecting 800 applications, and are likely going to be able to match about 200 volunteers to 32 projects. Applications are mostly about matching interests with potential programs for the best fit, rather than a purely competitive exercise. So far, the program has worked on 50 projects to date.
For this next batch, Amazon Web Services will sponsor a stipend for first-generation and low-income students to help defray the financial impact of volunteer work for some students. “Over the past cycle, a few people had to drop out because they said, ‘they’re unable to work for free because they’re having a lot of financial stress for their families’,” Aggrawal said. The new stipend is meant to help these students continue to volunteer while alleviating some of that financial burden.
Aggrawal said that two-thirds of the program’s volunteer developers and designers are female, and one-third are first-generation or low-income.
Obviously, paid acquisition is the most scalable way to grow your business to $ 50k per month and beyond.
But as great as paid is, there’s a few downsides that we have to consider.
First, for folks who are getting the vast majority of your clients from paid, it can be quite risky.
For one, we’ve all heard horror stories of ad accounts getting shut down for apparently no reason. If all your revenue comes from paid, this external factor could cripple a business.
But more realistically, having everything in paid is dangerous because as you scale, your ROAS can fluctuate dramatically.
Sure, we might have 5-10x ROAS for a particular campaign over a particular month…
But often times, our campaigns dip below target KPIs and we struggle to even hit the 3x ROAS that we normally look for to stay sane.
And after you subtract additional client acquisition cost (commissions especially for reps) and fulfillment costs, you don’t have much left.
Here’s where organic shines though.
Organic client acquisition is GREAT because it helps you get clients incredibly profitably with next to no client acquisition cost. I personally scaled my business to over $ 45k per month in profit without having spent any dollars on ads, at a 90% + profit margin.
HOWEVER, Organic has one big drawback.
It’s manual, time-consuming, and for a lot of people, a total pain in the ass.
Maybe you’ve personally dealt with that and it’s why you decided to focus more on paid. And who can blame ya, this stuff sucks:
- Manually sending out your 50 FB friend requests or 100 Linkedin connections a day.
- Painstakingly sharing your content posts across dozens of Facebook groups everyday and engaging with commenters yourself
- One by one, following up with those prospects in the DMs so you can hopefully convert them into calls.
- Tracking all of them in some janky spreadsheet so you have even a semblance of your metrics and conversion rate.
- Probably getting super frustrated that your conversions are low because these prospects have no idea who you are
But what if you could take what you’re doing organically that works, and build it into a fully auto-pilot engine which generated you 20+ strategy calls every week without any intervention whatsoever?
What if you could make organic scale just as effectively as ads?
You can do this as long as you know how to create SYSTEMS, PROCESSES, AUTOMATION, and DELEGATION around your organic process.
I implied earlier that my near $ 50k pm business is mostly on auto-pilot and operating at 90%+ profit margin. Let me show you the systems that actually has enabled this to be possible.
When you’re doing organic and trying to create inbound leads with content, you might find yourself writing ALL the time.
This was exhausting for me back when I was doing organic manually. I almost grew to hate content creation.
So what enables scaling is building a system where you can batch create content, repurpose assets, and track content quality.
I ultimately reduced my content creation down to just a few hours a month while making my content better across the board.
A ton of my leads come from sharing helpful content across dozens of FB groups, subreddits, and forums that have my ideal audience.
However, to do this all myself is a total pain – I dreaded it everyday.
I had to build processes where I could distribute my content through all those channels in an automated and predictable way.
Having now built that, I know exactly when to post, what content to post, and where to post it to. And best of all, now it’s done for me automatically. So much easier.
Expanding My Network
Inevitably, part of organic growth is to bring new people into your network.
This can be on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, doesn’t matter.
However, this is exhausting.
That’s why paid can often feel better.
But when you have the right systems, automations, and delegated workflows in place, you can organically get dozens of qualified leads into your pipeline and book multiple sales calls every day totally on autopilot.
Following Up & Managing My Conversations
This is the REAL time suck.
Imagine having 50 Facebook or Linkedin conversations in the DM’s every single day.
It’s fun at first since you’re booking calls, but eventually, it’s the most time-consuming annoying thing ever.
Needing to respond to DM’s on Sundays.
Waking up to 15 messages at 6am that you really don’t want to deal with yourself.
Having a 7 sales call day and realizing after you’re done with them, you still have twenty messages to respond to.
So I ended up building a system to allow me to handoff 90% of the follow up DM process so I could have more calls booked into my calendar – while spending 20% of the effort.
Managing my Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are a great strategy for anyone who is above $ 10k per month.
Once I started utilizing it, I very quickly tripled my revenue.
Part of that comes because at a certain point, Facebook will just drive traffic to it organically.
As well, it operates as a place that you can constantly nurture leads to move quicker through the funnel, while also being an easy source to generate new calls.
Building this community, and then automating its growth and ongoing management was massive for me. Almost all my deals now route through my group at some point.
Something really cool is that these FB groups also serve as a point of “indoctrination”.
What I’ve seen is that when someone has been in my group for months, by the time they arrive on a sales call, they’re super easy to close.
It’s similar to a VSL in that sense. In fact, my FB group houses all my VSL’s, so it’s an easy way to get people to watch my webinar and enter my funnel without needing to pay for it.
And the thing that makes FB groups blend super effectively with ads is that instead of pushing people just towards your VSL, you can also push them into the group post-VSL where you can continue nurturing them.
So you get the idea by now.
And this just scratches the surface. There’s SO MUCH MORE you can do to make your entire business more efficient.
And when you do this, you can definitely add an additional $ 10, $ 20, even $ 50k per month from just organic client acquisition alone.
And when you combine your organic engine with your ads engine, things blow up even more.
Imagine you can just rely on $ 30-$ 50k per month of pure profit every month coming in organically.
That way, you can spend your $ 5 to $ 15k per month on ads without needing to feel that worried about whether your ads pull in 2x ROAS or 8x ROAS. You’ll always have that foundation to keep you safe.
Anyhow, that’s my ramble. If anyone here has questions, let me know in the comments!