Welcome, my name is Mike Zimmer, I recently disclosed that I have abandoned my 6 figure 30 plus year career in healthcare administration to focus on a different business model and it created a lot of curiosity.
I had numerous requests both publicly and privately asking me to share the details of this new direction. Some from family members most likely worried that I may have gone crazy and will soon be knocking on their door looking for shelter and food and from people in my network who straight out said they trust my decision and would like the opportunity to take a look and possibly join me in this new venture.
Once I present the facts I will let you decide for yourself and I welcome your feedback. Let me know your opinion, am I off the reservation or did I make a smart move?
Full disclosure, the post wasn’t completely accurate. Oh I definitely left healthcare but for the last 15 years I have actually wore 3 or 4 hats. Because of my strong leadership and technical skills I was recruited by several of the top 7 and 8 figure earners in the direct sales industry developing online training and recruiting systems. Over the last 10 years I also spent a significant amount of time focused on the the birth of social media and mobile communications. For most people I was a shadow figure in the back of the room at events, people knew I was involved in the game, but not totally sure how or why; well that is about to change today and honestly what I am about to share will make some people overly excited and others will hate my existence. But change is inevitable and change agents create huge opportunities.
So you may be wondering why come forward now and the honest answer is timing and opportunity. Oh sure after 15 years I could grab the stage with the best of them and train for an hour and of course I know how to recruit and close. Clearly I knew how to build huge networks of professionals on social media, I have over 9,000 first level connections on LinkedIn alone. But there was a huge problem, the systems were highly effective for about 20% of the network. What about the other group of people who joined, were actually working, and seemed to get stuck. The 50 plus year old home business models were based on antiquated advertising models, in other words they taught us if you sling enough mud you are apt to hit someone who likes mud. I didn’t give up and I kept searching for a solution I could really get behind and promote and once that happened I would be all in.
During my search, I was watching these low risk financial growth opportunities pop-up with an easy story and they were totally disrupting entire industries. Messages like “make money driving your car”, “Make money renting out a spare room”, “Make money cooking a meal”, the list goes on and people were jumping on them and people were making money and the companies were getting stronger. What I saw as an entrepreneur was people that were self-identifying as entrepreneurs or consumers so I didn’t have to guess who wanted to build, who wanted to buy, and who didn’t want either.
Also the doom and gloom about the economy and jobless ratios stopped making sense. No one seemed to be reporting on this emerging economy, almost like it didn’t exist. On one side you had people protesting for more hours and higher wadges, on the other I saw people who abandoned the old employee based business models and were completely independent, calling the shots, and surviving. The deeper I searched the bigger the opportunities got, too big to call a trend and too big to ignore.
But how were they growing so quickly. I wasn’t seeing advertising, it isn’t like you can just put a free app in a mobile store and get action. Something was driving these companies massive growth so I set out to uncovered those not so publicly shared steps and created a road-map to success in this new emerging economy.
Please indulge me by allowing me ask you the two thought provoking questions that helped my comfortable level in making my career changing decision:
How many assets do you own that you would like to switch from a monthly expense to a monthly profit center? It could be your car, home, or maybe something else. If those assets were no longer an expense or just taking up space 90% of the time could that change your monthly financial position dramatically?
Now lets spin that question around; Would it be of value if every time you wanted a product or service you were treated like a celebrity without the hefty price tag? You know it was like you just snapped your fingers and things were delivered directly to you when and where you needed them. Better, if you didn’t like them you could just cancel no questions asked.
For example: You stepped out to the curb and a car and driver was waiting; You knew you would be 4 place settings short for last minute dinner party guests so you went online and had them delivered to your home today. You needed new shoes for an event and little free time to shop so you ordered a few pairs online because you knew you could return any unwanted pairs without hassle.
Now what if I shared that all of this is already possible today; affordable for the average person, and everyone of the companies are rock solid and valued in the billions of dollars, yet were started with little or no money in a basement, dorm room, garage, or some other shared space.
Over the next few minutes I am going to share some eye opening information about the emerging economic shift which has many names. Some call it the Sharing Economy, others call it collaborative consumption. I don’t feel either of those labels really describe the business model accurately which I feel is better described as peer to peer networking or the peer to peer economy. The business road-map that I will be sharing here is what I uncovered and one that just about anyone with a positive attitude and a solid work ethic can apply to rock the foundations of mega-companies.
While I can’t totally see what was done by these companies, it was disclosed in interviews that what I uncovered helped Tony Hsieh of Zappo’s turn a start-up online shoe business into a billion dollar payday, PayPal grow into a 6.6 billion dollar payment processing service, and Uber into an 18 billion dollar rideshare service.
An example of this road-map in action is a 2 yr old start-up called “Dollar Shave Club” that launched with little more than a dream and an entertaining youtube video which offers members convenience and value by automatically shipping their grooming supplies each month for less. Their competition, which includes Proctor & Gamble, one of the largest personal care suppliers in the world didn’t seem phased by the competition until they booked a 2% decrease in sales this year in their Gillette Razor division making that division the worst performing of all of their companies. P&G took aim at Dollar Shave Club by opening their own membership model which is equivalent to paying full price for their blades but having them shipped direct. Dollar Shave Club had shifted 6.6% of the shaver market to their convenience member model in 2 years. The small startup is on track to end the year with 60 million dollars in earnings.
Full disclosure, I am not offering you any form of guarantee of income I am only sharing the research that I uncovered about how these companies were able to totally disrupt rock solid mega-brands within 24 months. If that makes sense to you then I am going to invite you to a private online meeting where I will breakdown those points in more detail and share exactly what I am doing to capitalize on what I estimate will be the next trillion dollar economic shift over the next 5 years.
Keep in mind that all of these companies launched and grew exponentially selling hard goods and services to consumers during what is termed the worst economic conditions since the great depression. This one fact alone should spark the question “How is this possible and how do I get in front of this so the next down economy will not impact me?
25 years ago I thought the answer to a safe lifelong career was in healthcare, after all people need doctors regardless of the economy, but when I am seeing doctors are jumping ship then I am yelling “Save a place for me in that lifeboat.”
Let’s get into the meat of my findings before I ramble this into a book. I went through a two stage research process to develop my road-map. First I needed to find out how these companies grew so quickly and appeared to be economy independent and next I had to apply this to a business model that didn’t exist in this new economy yet.
I spend a lot of time on the internet doing research and building systems and it seemed like new companies were magically appearing and no one knew about them until they had already rocked the foundation of their competition. I kept asking myself “Where are they finding the customers and how come no one I know seems to know anything about them?” Lets be honest, even with a great idea and lots of venture capital you still need a growing list of consumers and that means lots of exposure. But little did I understand at the time, the information was there, it was easily accessible, I was just functioning with an antiquated mindset and a different economy.
My initial research uncovered the following consistencies between highly successful companies in this new economy which answered the most common questions I had:
- Every company was totally focused on providing an exceptional customer experience. Their business model includes easy ways for customers to share feedback and they are continuously and publicly tweaking their business plan.
- They offered a value proposition based on time and convenience, some also offered monetary saving to the value proposition but this was not consistent. For example Uber and Lyft know exactly where you are based on a mobile app and send the closest car to your location. Hard good companies offer membership (auto-delivery) models so you can set it up and forget about refills.
- Doing business with them was different but easy and natural. AirBNB offers the additional comfort of being in an actual home setting vs. an institutional hotel setting.
- Most were based on a zero marginal cost initiative. Basically meaning one person could consume a solution and multiple people could benefit from that single consumption.
- All contained peer-to-peer financial rewards offering both independent contractors and consumers a financial reward for sharing the products with their peers. This is one way the companies would expand quickly with little or no mass media advertising.
- They were launched in a highly targeted market, yet based on a highly scale-able business plan allowing rapid and viral growth. For example PayPal first launched to eBay PowerSellers only, once they had a 20% of that member base they expanded the offering building on that momentum.
Some companies are employee based but a large percentage offer independent professionals the opportunity to generate income through their business model.
This research answered another nagging question I had which is why do some report unemployment rates in excess of 30% and others state they are only 5%? They can’t both be correct. The answer is the 30% guesstimate is counting independent contractors who have exited the workforce as unemployed along with those that still receive unemployment benefits and those who no longer receive unemployment benefits. The 5% number only counts those who are still receiving unemployment benefits. So in fact both numbers don’t accurately count people based on their current income status.
I am not trying to promote a political agenda and it doesn’t impact my plan but with the current trend of individuals transitioning away from traditional employer/employer relationships expected to reach 40% by 2020 in the U.S. these numbers can become even more skewed.
It was great to finally figure out how these companies accomplished such amazing growth but then what, write a book? The second piece of the equation and where the real money is requires applying these concepts to a vertical market that is unique from the existing offerings. The vertical I choose is building a business model that fulfills the demands of the youthification trend in our society.
No I did not make up the term youthification, it is the action or process of making someone appear or feel younger. I first heard the term used by best selling author Gary Vaynerchuk in reference to the impact mobile technologies like Snapchat and Instagram are having on our society and that fact that we never know when we will be photographed or feel the need to create a selfie to capture a moment. Gary observed that the average 40 year old women today more closely mirrors the behavior of a 27 year old women only 20 years ago. 40 year old men are just as guilty as the ladies both in appearance and behavior like texting “OMG” to their peers. Today the same percentage of men as women age 20 – 27 are actively using products to improve their appearance and that number is expected to increase as this generation ages.
When I did my research I couldn’t find any companies that were focused on both genders and developing a hard good business model to meet the demands of the youthification trend in the peer to peer economy.
I offer more details on the actual business model for those who are interested in working with me on that aspect of the plan.
I just want to quickly recap: It is an undeniable fact that a growing number of hard good and service based companies that were launched during the 2nd worst economic times in our history grew to become multibillion dollar giants totally disrupting highly recognized brands within 24-36 months. They did it with little or no mass media advertising and the average person didn’t know who they were until they were so disruptive that the media had no choice but report on the story.
In closing what I have discovered is growth businesses in the peer to peer economy focused on improving customer experience in a vertical that is ripe for change and then offers an unmatched customer experience. This along with the peer to peer network financial rewards generate a nearly unending supply of customers and independent professionals.
“For two centuries, we have lived in a mass society defined by passive consumption, vast corporate hierarchies and the centralized control of state power. Those organizations didn’t seem artificial to us because we couldn’t imagine alternatives. But now we can. Peer networks are a practical, functioning reality that already underlies the dominant communications platform of our age. They can do things as ambitious as writing a global encyclopedia or as simple as fixing a pothole.” Peter Johnson, Wall Street Journal
Here is the real deal, most people I know don’t want to take the time to read all of this research or search for the next billion dollar peer-to-peer economy mega-shift. They simply want to grab a small piece of this economy for themselves and their family. This is evident by the number of Uber, Lyft and AirBNB hosts joining this economy everyday. So I offer you both opportunities. Below is as much of my research as I tracked and I am offering those who want to join me the opportunity to take a look at what I am doing.
Want to learn more and take a harder look at my business model? I will be hosting regularly scheduled webinars on this topic which go into much greater detail on each point and how I am applying them to my business. I will post scheduled webinars on social media and in comments on future posts.
- Verizon Enters the Sharing Economy with Verizon Auto Share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gwoLjYIeIw
- Peer Power, from Potholes to Patents http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390444165804578008511493789642
- The Collaborative Economy is Replicating Social Business #socbiz. http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/category/collaborative-economy/
- Making room for micro-entrepreneurs in the sharing economy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4YXbj0tMjs
- Airbnb: Earning Money in the Sharing Economy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWD-I5qPCfw
- The Sharing Economy: Kurt Abrahamson at TEDxTimesSquare https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ3m1FS_jjs
- “Sharing Economy”: Trend Overview (Talkinar promo version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTwPucuYC08
- Collaborative Consumption and The Sharing Economy: Featuring April Rinne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQKBsGRktjY
- Airbnb And The Unstoppable Rise Of The Share Economy. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/01/23/airbnb-and-the-unstoppable-rise-of-the-share-economy/
- TED: Kare Anderson, Be an Opportunity Maker. http://www.ted.com/talks/kare_anderson_be_an_opportunity_maker
- 40 Percent Of Americans Will Be Freelancers By 2020. http://www.businessinsider.com/americans-want-to-work-for-themselves-intuit-2013-3#ixzz3Kf2CcguU
- What’s Next for the Sharing Economy? http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239233
- Gillette Subscription Service Takes Aim At Dollar Shave Club. http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2014/04/29/gillette-subscription-service-takes-aim-at-dollar-shave-club/
- Peter Theil on How to Build the Future. http://demo.ottw.net/fall2014_keynote1?ch_id=298
- Zero to One, Notes on Startups or how to build the future by Peter Theil. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0804139296/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0804139296&linkCode=as2&tag=zto-20&linkId=K5HJDPUEXGTSURYE
- Sharing meals in the sharing economy. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/eatwith-sharing-meals-in-the-sharing-economy/
- By shaving margins, Dollar Shave Club set for $60M in revenues. http://upstart.bizjournals.com/companies/rebel-brands/2014/09/24/dollar-shave-club-set-for-60m-in-revenues.html
- Airbnb’s Brian Chesky | Disrupt SF 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffhEIDXkJDM
- Michael Arrington in Conversation with Uber’s Travis Kalanick | Disrupt SF 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5zXIjGlzDU
- Binary Truths with Peter Thiel | Disrupt SF 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl8JvF5id6Q