Sometimes it takes a crazy news story to remind you just how many ways there are to make money…
As I was scrolling through Google News this morning, I couldn’t ignore this headline…
“Florida woman earns middle class salary selling positive pregnancy tests on Craigslist.”
So of course, I clicked!
… And the story was exactly what it sounded like!
In fact, there in all its glory was the Craigslist ad itself — and I quote…
pregnancy tests/urine – $30
Very self explanatory I am 6 months and I am providing a product in which the consumer is able to purchase positive pregnancy tests or urine for your own use. Whether you are using it for your own amusement such as a prank, or to blackmail the ceo of apple who you are having an affair with I DON’T CARE AT ALL this is an absolutely no questions asked type of deal tell me what you need I provide it for monetary exchange. I will not overcharge for the urine test but I will not be low balled either do not contact me if you are going to be cheap and difficult
A local TV station decided to do some investigative reporting. They sent an intern to meet this woman, undercover.
They set up a meeting at a pharmacy, where they bought a pregnancy test and the woman fulfilled on her offer, producing a positive test after a quick trip to the ladies’ room.
Once the transaction had been completed, the intern revealed her identity, and the woman agreed to be interviewed anonymously.
She shared, “I saw from other women and their experiences that it’s very easy. Two hundred dollars in a day off, [for] something I have to do no matter what.”
Turns out she’s in college and just trying to make money in whatever way she can…
And selling positive pregnancy tests at 30 bucks a pop is far better than most jobs available to a busy woman college student who also happens to be six months pregnant.
That’s about it for the story, but my job here isn’t to report on the news, but to give you marketing ideas and lessons you can turn around and apply…
And so I’d like to share three BIG lessons that I get from this story…
LESSON #1: Your copy can suck if your offer is right…
Now, if you do the math, at $30 each she’s averaging about 7 sales per day, off the craigslist ad above.
It uses very little that could be construed as “proven effective copywriting techniques.”
And yet it sounds like she’s making just about all the sales she can handle.
Obviously, there’s a market for this. (It’s really hard, I think, to even pull off an innocent prank with this — so I’m not a fan of this market — but there’s a market whether or not I believe it’s moral or not.)
And I actually think she added one layer to the offer that makes it really appealing to her buyers.
She’s not JUST selling a positive pregnancy test. She’s selling a DISCREET positive pregnancy tests.
Seeing as how there’s probably about ZERO reasons you’d buy this that you’d want the whole world to know about, having crystal-clarity that she’s not going to pry into your reasons is an additional layer on the offer that makes it appealing.
LESSON #3: When you have a good offer, be firm on price…
I really like the way she closes. And if you’ve ever sold anything through Craigslist, I think you’ll appreciate her reasons for being really firm about price in her close.
And yet, it’s also a very powerful selling lesson.
You have a product that people want. You’ve set a price for it. You probably haven’t set an exorbitantly high price for it, or else you wouldn’t have any customers. You also don’t want to short-change yourself by constant price negotiations and cutting. And so you choose to be assertive and stand firm regarding your price.
“I will not overcharge… but I will not be low balled either.”
Any time you make an offer into the marketplace, you have total discretion as to where to set your price, just like a customer has total discretion as to whether or not to buy from you.
If what you sell is worth what you ask, don’t hesitate to stand firm!
LESSON #3: Disqualify bad customers, while also qualifying good ones…
I was going to loop this into the last lesson, but really it stands on its own.
The last line in her ad was, “do not contact me if you are going to be cheap and difficult.”
Now, in isolation it reads as her being difficult. But I think she’s being totally fair in not wanting to deal with people who aren’t able to conduct the transaction in a professional manner.
It’s a novice move to think everybody is your customer. It’s a novice move to try to convince and to serve everybody. A true professional knows that they are a fit for some people and not a fit for others, and will do as much as possible up front to weed out everyone who isn’t a perfect fit for what they offer.
The “people pleaser” part of our brain revels in listing all the reasons why something is a fit for the prospect. It takes real maturity to be able to say, “here’s why you may NOT be a fit.”
LESSON #4: There are practically infinite ways to make money!
Until today, I had no freaking clue that there would be a market for positive pregnancy tests, or the urine you could use to DIY one. Who’d a thunk?
And yet, I know for a fact that the ways you can make a little or sometimes a lot of money are endless.
The only way you can figure out if an idea will work for you is to decide what you’re going to offer, who you’re going to offer it to, and then to go out and start trying to make some sales.
Frankly, many people make the mistake of trying to “build a business” before they see if there’s actually an opportunity to build their business around.
Now, I don’t necessarily think this woman should go out and start building a scalable business around offering positive pregnancy tests…
However, if YOU find something that’s a little less gray area, and you’re able to create a little income with it using the same sell-it-now, build-a-business-later approach, then do it!
Have an idea? The best way to figure out if it’s good or not is to test it — quick — and see if it sticks.
If it doesn’t, cut your losses quick, and move on.
If it does, then think about what comes next.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,