How to turn ideas into profitable products
(And avoid painful mistakes)
Taught by Tamara Monosoff of Mom Inventors
Master Class: Ideas into Profitable Products
Master Class Toolbox
Andrew: This session is about how to turn ideas into profitable products. It’s led by Tamara Monosoff, she is the creator of TP Saver which keeps kids from unspooling toilet paper and making a mess. She’s also the founder of Mom Invented which provides mentoring and training for product entrepreneurs. She is also the author of this book, The Mom Inventors Handbook, there it is right there up on the screen. And if you like you can connect with her on her site which is tamaromonosoff.com where she does business mentoring. So good to have you on here, thanks.Tamara: Thanks so much for having me.Andrew: We talked before you started about how you made mistakes in the past. Spent money on … well you tell me, where did you spend money that was so painful?Tamara: Well, when I first started out I had no road map to follow. There weren’t any books that walked me through the steps. I was searching everywhere. And I started with yellow pages and I was searching for a prototype developer. And I ended up finding a machine shop, and putting a website together was not easy at that time. We have so many wonderful tools available today that didn’t exist either.
Andrew: What did you spend on a site?
Tamara: I spent $25,000 and I didn’t just have $25,000 in the bank, I mean I was scrapping it together. And not only that I mean, I was in payment plans that was really tough. And that was for a simple five page website if you can believe that, and my logo of design and I mean that was it.
Andrew: What about patents?
Tamara: What’s that?
Andrew: What about patents?
Tamara: Patents again, about $5,000 for the first patent. And I talk a lot about patents today because I think that they’re a useful tools potential, but they may not be necessary at all. So know you can dive into that when you want to.
Andrew: Absolutely, and especially important when we’re talking about physical products. After doing it all right, what were you able to create? In fact here, let me show it on the screen, as you could describe this. How did you do this in comparison?
Tamara: So in comparison, that’s called Puzzle Bites and there’s a whole long line of sandwich cutters, called Good Bites Crustless Sandwich Cutters. And how I did that differently was I was able to … I knew the ropes now in manufacturing and I also was able to just reach out to retail stores and catalogs. And catalogs are those hidden jewels that cannot be over looked, because one email resulted in a $100,000 order, incredible. And then also reaching out to the large retail stores I was able to get orders of $25,000 a week.
You can imagine it was both a fabulous thing and a scary thing too. Because suddenly production cost went up as I was having to stay ahead of the game. So you know it’s a really good problem to have, but it’s also something to think about in terms of growth.
Andrew: All right, let’s talk a little bit about how to do this. I pulled out and my team has pulled some ideas from the book. And the first one is to start out by writing a sales goal and there’s a specific way that you’d like us to do it. Write a goal and do something else … here let me bring it up on the screen. Why should we start with the sales goal?
Tamara: Because otherwise everything’s up in the air and also many times people have unrealistic goals. I can’t tell you how many times entrepreneurs have come to me and said, ”I want to sell a million units by Christmas.” And they haven’t’ even hit the market yet, it’s only four months out.
So I really like to set goals that are attainable and realistic, not only so you can see how far you’ve come, but so that you can have these little moments of achievement to keep your energy up and continue going forward. So five units, I’m going to sell five units online. I’m going to call five retail stores and I’m going to get my products into the retail stores, locally first. And then test it out there before I go after the national stores and the catalogs.
So it’s really important and also to put dates on there. So what’s the activity you’re going to do? And what’s the date to accomplish it? And then that why you’re going to see results much more affectively.
Andrew: So we like to think big as entrepreneurs. You’re suggesting we start off with more attainable goals first, and also write a list of activities we’re going to take to get to those goals and put dates next to them. So it’s not sell a million, but you’re talking about sell a handful of units, five units.
Tamara: That’s right and also don’t be hard on yourself if don’t achieve your goal it’s okay, just reframe it, reset your goal and go for it again. I like things as entrepreneurs we are often hard on ourselves and that doesn’t achieve anything so just redefine your goal and then go for it again.
Andrew: Okay, all right, let’s go onto the next idea that we’re going to be talking about which is to figure out if your product is niche or mass market. I talked earlier about the product that you created. It solves this problem that we’re looking up on the screen, the TP Saver. Let’s zoom it in. There we go.
There is the problem. A kid is unspooling a roll of toilet paper. So how do you know? Is this niche or is it mass market?
Tamara: Well, like most entrepreneurs, I started out with visions of selling in the mass market. I didn’t understand that not everybody experiences this problem and if people do experience the problem, is it worth it to them to pay for a product to prevent it? So you can see that I had this big vision and then as it turns out, it’s a very niche item. Now, you can still be successful with niche items, but you need to identify what that niche is. Where is that market? And then you can hone in on that market rather than thinking broadly and wasting tons of time going after markets that really make no sense for your product.
Andrew: Okay, so we figure out, all right, this obviously is meant for parents. Actually how did you know it’s meant for parents with kids as opposed to maybe families with cats or as opposed to someone who’s . . . How do you know who just has toilet paper that happens to unspool because of the way it’s laying on the roll?
Tamara: That’s actually a great question. I learned from reaching out and talking with people that cats do it all the time. So we did create a pet version.
Tamara: And then also I learned interesting things like RVs when they travel across the country the toilet paper unspools.
Andrew: Ah, yes!
Andrew: So it was like, oh, my gosh! You’ll find that once you start getting yourself out there that things will come up and markets will come up that you never first even realized.
Andrew: So what I found is for me, I like to think about who is the smallest group of people that I can really focus on and I’m just going to make it really good for them, and only concentrate on them, and forget everyone else. But when I talk about that other entrepreneurs or other people frankly on the Mixergy team will say, “Broaden it out, but it could also be used for this and it could also be used for that.” It could also be used for, in your case, RVs and cats. What about dogs? What about annoying neighbors? What about in schools where kids like to screw around? So should we allow ourselves to go broader or are you recommending narrowing down at first?
Tamara: It all comes to one word and that’s focus. And we as entrepreneurs have so many great ideas and often times want to go after them, and I am at fault for that too because I get excited about new possibilities.
Tamara: But what I’ve learned over this last decade is that it pays off to focus. So to bring it in even though you have all these other fantastic distractions and opportunities really, to focus in on your core market first. And then as you start to sell successfully think, okay, which is the next one that makes sense not trying to reach everything at once.
Andrew: What’s an advantage that you are able to get by focusing on families with this issue as opposed to going broader from the start and saying it will also work with RVs and pets, and so on. Do you have a specific example of a benefit that you got by focusing on this problem?
Tamara: Well, it was new to the market. There was nothing else like it at the time and so that’s why it made sense. And plus, think about the packaging and the cost of packaging. I would have had to repackage it for the RVs. I did eventually branch out to the pet market, but that was after focusing here on the baby market because at that time those were the trade shows. You have to pick and choose. It costs money to attend trade shows. It costs money to create packaging for your product. So you have to pick and choose which market makes the most sense first.
Tamara: And then you can branch out later. But really that’s why I focused on the kid market first.
Andrew: All right, I was going to go onto the next idea which is actually something that we . . . I don’t think anyone else has talked about on Mixergy and it’s important for us to talk about, but first what about patents? Now you have this idea. You know who you’re targeting it towards, are you saying that we shouldn’t bother with patents when we have a product like this?
Tamara: I think you should always get information such as speak to attorney about what’s possible, okay, and to have that knowledge and information. It’s important to know what aspects of your product are patentable, but what I have had happen year after year is my patents once I’m successful with a product on the market other companies want part of that market share and they figured out how to design around the patent anyway.
Andrew: I see.
Tamara: So as a struggling entrepreneur or at the very beginning stages, do you want to spend that $5,000 on the patent or do you want to spend $5,000 on just being super aggressive at getting your product out there as hard and fast as possible and getting, you know, all this excitement and interest around your product. So again, I’m not saying don’t get a patent. It can be a useful tool if you got something about the product that is patent-able that could prevent others from creating a similar type product.
However, it’s not necessarily essential and people make the mistake of thinking that’s the first step. It is absolutely no the first step. The first is making sure that you have a market you know who they are and you’ve got make sure people want your product first before you spend a lot of money developing it and bringing it to market.
Andrew: Okay. And speaking of knowing if people want your product first, this is an idea that you suggest for figuring that out. Sell and consignment in local stores. Why consignment? Why local stores?
Tamara: This excites me actually because oftentimes the local stores are entrepreneurs themselves. They’ve got the small business owner right there and they are more likely, if you walk in and say, “Hi I live in the community and I have this product and I think it would be perfect for your store. Would you be willing to test it out?” And they’re like, “Oh, I’m not sure.” Would you be willing to test out twelve units or six units even and say, “If it sells successfully then will you be willing to reorder it from me?” This is such a great way to get your foot in the door.
Andrew: I see.
Tamara: And they have no risk. So they’re not having to pay you anything and so it’s really a win, win.
Andrew: And because it’s on consignment, no risk they only pay you after they sell and it’s local so you get to get some feedback from them and hopefully you get some hometown advantage because they get to see you in the store.
Andrew: You give an example on your site of this woman who did that.
Tamara: Right. She did that and that was how, she was having trouble getting people. That’s a Snickey[SP] and it goes around your neck and it keeps you warm and she was having trouble getting stores to accept her product and that’s exactly what she did. She put it on consignment all over in her local town in different stores and that’s when it started to sell and she able to then, really launch her business.
Andrew: There it is. It’s kind of like a smaller scarf that you can easily take off not as bulky and that’s how she was able to get some feedback and early sales of her product by taking in to local consignment shops. Alright, you also talked about pitching. The WOW factor, let’s bring that up right there. And one example you talk about is this one. What is this? What are we looking at?
Tamara: So this is the, do you see the booster seat that that child is sitting at?
Tamara: Kids cannot reach the kitchen table. Also, times when you go to restaurants there isn’t a booster seat available or they’re all covered in food and sticky. And so this way you can bring your own. And this she makes it with a material, it’s called love chicken, and you can wipe it off and it’s stylish and fun and the kids love it. And this is one of my menties[SP] from my power mentoring program and why this excites me is we were talking about that she was feeling stalled in her sales so we talked about what had she already achieved that was amazing.
Now it may be that you haven’t achieved anything yet because you haven’t had any sales yet, but these are the things to start thinking about. So she was saying, ‘Well I sold, in three hours, I sold 300 units.’ And said, “Wow, that’s great!” And it was on one of the websites that has the daily deal websites, we can talk more about that as well. And I said, “That is a WOW factor.” And then she said, “Well and Gwyneth Paltrow tweeted about my product.” I said, “What? That’s a WOW factor. Okay. This is what we need to put into the subject heading to entice buyers to click.”
Now before she sent it I said, “You need to have a product video so that when the buyer saw in the subject heading “Gwyneth Paltrow Raves About Love Chicken” and sold 300 units in three hours. Then you go in and there’s a video demonstrating your product. She got a buyer, she got a meeting immediately with a mass retail buyer and now she’s going to be going into this mass chain nationwide by this December.
Andrew: I see, wow, and so just because she saw a tweet which many of us would write-off and seems like she just was excited about it but didn’t see the significance of it, you found that as a WOW factor and featured and highlighted it in the headline.
Tamara: Right. And that’s what you need to do. You need to think about when you’re writing emails, a lot of time entrepreneurs explain way too much. The emails go on, and on, and on. You need to think about it from the buyers prospective. They need something fast, they’re looking for products, they want, they have to. They have to keep bringing things into store but they need to get the information in almost like sound bites. Quick, fast, what’s the wow factor? What’s the significance? How is this product going to sell in my store? And then the demonstration of the video makes all the difference. And by the way, let me just say, keep the video under two minutes.
Andrew: Under two minutes for the video. What about how you get to the buyers. Wasn’t your book, didn’t the forward come from a buyer at Sam’s Club?
Andrew: Director of showcase events, Sam’s Club. So you’re connected to them, but how does someone who’s watching us who says, “You know what? I don’t want these one offs of sales on my own website. I’d like to be sold by Sam’s Club and some of the major retailer.” How do they even connect with the buyers who they could then pitch the wow factor to, etc?
Tamara: What’s interesting, that forward was written by Julie Allen Martin and she is the head of the showcase events which is their local purchase program. What’s interesting in speaking with Julie is she says they are looking. They are hungry for products. They are thrilled to work with entrepreneurs. See most people don’t realize that. They think, “How am I going to get into that big store?”
Well one of the key ways is Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, Walmart, they have these local purchase programs and you just need to go onto their website and search local purchase program. In this case was Sam’s Club Showcase Events. And then see when you can participate in one of their programs. In one of their events.
Andrew: I see. Local purchase programs. I had a Mixergy fan who sold to Whole Foods. I couldn’t believe it because he was brand new. He told me about this too. That the local Whole Foods is encouraged to buy from local entrepreneurs. And because he knew it and pitched to them he was able to get into Whole Foods. Once you prove yourself there, you can expand and expand. So that’ it. And is it every company or many companies that have this? Or is it a small isolated group of companies like the ones that we’ve talked about right now?
Tamara: It seems to be the big stores are creating these programs because they need to keep pulling things in for their customers to keep them happy. I’ve heard the same stories over and over about Whole Foods. Also Walmart is interesting because they do give their regional managers the power to test things out locally. A lot of people don’t know that. And if it does sell successfully, then they’re the ones, the regional manager then takes it to the corporate office.
Andrew: I didn’t realize that.
Tamara: So it’s much better to have the regional manager take it than you trying to figure out how to get in.
Andrew: Right. Especially if you’re trying to talk directly to Bentonville [sp].
Tamara: That’s right.
Andrew: Alright. Onto the next big idea. You kind of talked about this earlier. Which is test different marketing tools, different sales channels. A lot of people have written this company off. Let me bring it up on my website. Where is it? There it is. But you still like it as a sales channel. Groupon.
Tamara: You have to test things out. I don’t know if Groupon is going to work for you or not. In fact, I was just looking into Groupon because I want to test that one out personally. But I’ve had other people have success on Groupon. I had an inventor who’s featured in this book actually. She has a product called the Kiddie Catch All. She just sold 750 units on kidSTEALS.com just last week.
Andrew: On what website?
Andrew: Kidsdeals.com. Okay.
Tamara: It’s kid steals, with an s.
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Tamara: She sold 750 units within 72 hours. Think about that. If she was normally selling one at a time on here website. She was so excited she couldn’t contain herself. She emailed me immediately. She was like, “I can’t believe it.” So this is the daily deal websites are real. In fact, Amazon even has a new one and it’s called Woot. W-O-O-T. I just learned about that. Maybe you know more about that than I do. I just learned about Woot. We’ve got Gilt.com. What do we have?
Andrew: There are tons of them. You know what? I’ve heard of Woot, I’ve heard of Groupon, of course. I never heard of this site that you were just talking about a moment ago. KidSTEALS.com. I kind of thought that all these deal sites were done. You’re saying no and they’re not just not done, they’re sending a ton of traffic.
Tamara: They are. My products have sold extremely well on Zulily.com. Which is Z-U-L-I-L-Y.
Andrew: Z-U-L-I-L-Y dot com. Wow.
Tamara: Multiple times I’ve had my products on Zulily. So these are real and it’s worth looking into. Especially because of the volume in terms of sales. But also it goes beyond the sales. It’s marketing. Marketing costs. Think about their email list. I mean, if they’re getting you 750 sales, think about how many people they’re sending these messages out to and it’s repeatedly over the week they’re pounding their list with your product with a picture. So even if they don’t buy it right away, they’ve seen it. It’s an incredible marketing tool.
Andrew: And then they buy afterwards. I’m a big fan of AppSumo. AppSumo is geared toward start-ups. And I’ve seen many entrepreneur’s products on there do well and then they come back and they tell me, “You know what? People still came over to the website and bought directly from us instead of going through AppSumo. You’re talking about sales that come directly from these sites, but also residual sales afterwards from people who decided not to buy directly from the sites.
Tamara: That’s right.
Andrew: All right. I like that. That’s a direction a lot of people have forgotten about. What about this? How do you get to this? This is a huge channel. We’re talking about the major networks. We like to put them down as online interviewers and podcasters. But there’s still a lot of pull when you’re talking about a site like this.
Tamara: So you see George in that picture.
Andrew: George Stephanopoulos, yeah.
Tamara: George Stephanopoulos is holding one of my products. That product is called Tinkle Targets.
Tamara: You put it into the toilet and it helps teach boys how to aim.
Andrew: Oh, great.
Tamara: This is, by the way, if you’ve got something funny about your product, the news loves it because it makes for fun TV.
Tamara: This is the thing. You can connect with people, like this I went through Tory Johnson on Twitter. You can connect on LinkedIn. You’ll see in the sales chapter of The Mom Inventor’s Handbook that some of the inventors found, in fact one of them in particular hooked up with buyers on LinkedIn and got her products distributed in FAO Schwarz and in many stores nationwide. It was huge and it was by reaching out to buyers on LinkedIn.
And in that case in that photo that you just saw, that was by reaching out to Tory Johnson which you can do on Twitter. So the host of the TV shows, they’re there. They want stories. So definitely get onto Twitter and Facebook. I have found most success with Twitter because it’s fast and I find that it’s a really easy way to connect with…
Andrew: You know what? Let’s jump to that section here and we’ll come in and refill and cover the previous sections. You do recommend using social media to reach the big guys. We have an example of how you did it right here. Is it as simple as this? This is from October 6th. You’re just tweeting at someone from KTLA, right? The television station in LA.
Andrew: This is how you build connections? From a simple tweet like this?
Tamara: Yes. Yes. So that’s Gail Anderson and I’ve been on that show about five, six times with my products, with my books. I was giving her a heads up that my book was coming out. It is that simple. And you can find them by just searching on Twitter and they’re there. She’s tweeting on there all the time and it is a fantastic was to connect with people. You know, you used to feel like TV was so removed…
Tamara: …and it’s not. And it’s easier than you think. Also getting into magazines. One of the things that you can do is you can use editorial calendars. This is something that’s often times overlooked. What you do is you go to a magazine’s website and you go to the advertising tab. If you can’t find it there, go to the corporate tab, then the advertising tab.
They have set it up for advertisers who are going to purchase ads for the magazine, but they have to give those people who want to put ads in the magazine an editorial calendar for the year ahead. You then look at the year ahead and there’s a theme in each month. Figure out which month makes sense for your product. Where will it fit in? Is it an organizing type product? That will fit into “With a Clean, Fresh Start in January.” So figure out where it is that yours fits in. Then often times the editor’s names are right there and you can reach out to them to pitch your products.
Andrew: I hadn’t thought of that. That’s great. By the way, is this your product right here? This is on Walmart’s website.
Andrew: The one that got on ABC News?
Tamara: Yes. That’s the one that George Stephanopoulos was holding. Yes.
Andrew: And I see it here on Amazon and a bunch of other websites. Wow. Alright. Let’s go on to the next point. The one that I skipped over a moment ago. Which is to get outside the box, think creatively, to get attention, you give this example. What is this? Let me zoom in again.
Tamara: Okay, this is, she’s one of my inventees [sp] from my power mentoring program and she has a business called Kass Covers. What she did, I just love this, talking about how to really focus and target the people that could really have an impact on your sales. So she wanted to direct her information about her product which in that case are called arms and send that to orthopedic surgeons. So she used this company called ThinkShapesmail.com. And if you see that red line around the arm, that’s actually where it’s cut. So an arm actually arrives in your mailbox. Not a postcard in a rectangle.
Tamara: You cannot help but to look at this arm. Because you are like, “What is going on?” There’s an arm in my mail. She got an incredible response and she ended up getting put into hospital gift stores. She had an orthopedic surgeon who’s head surgeon at Stanford University end up coming on an endorsing her product. It was incredible. So it is worth it. Now I sent out postcards when I first started out. I didn’t get any response because, hello, I was sending it out to everyone. Lesson learned. Don’t do that. Think about what she just did. She focused in.
She said, “Okay, I want orthopedic surgeons to be talking about my products. Telling their patients and telling the kids, “Hey, would you like a cast cover because it’s going to take away some of the pain?” Right? They’ve just broken their limb and now they can put something fun on their arm. And it also creates a lot of conversation because kids can then say, “What do you have on your cast?” So there’s a lot that goes on and it’s absolutely a fantastic tool to use if you focus on the right target.
Andrew: By the way, you mentioned that she’s someone who you’ve mentored. Where do I find information about that on your site here. Is it mentoring classes here? Is it somewhere else?
Tamara: Yes. So if you see that pink Power Mentoring on my shoulder and it says click here for Power Mentoring…
Andrew: Right. This Power Mentoring over your shoulder. This is what we’re talking about.
Tamara: That’s right. And there’s a video there and then there’s all the testimonials. My students, you’ll see, they’re are incredible. What they said…
Andrew: And we join on the right side if we want to be a part of it.
Tamara: That’s right.
Andrew: Okay. Is this just for moms, for women? Or is it for everyone?
Tamara: That’s why I created Tomorrow [??].com because I wanted everyone, men, women, moms, anyone who has a product idea and they want to know what to do with that idea. And they want to generate income from it. I wanted to create this website that was full of mentoring and resources and tools to help people succeed faster.
Andrew: I see. As opposed to the other site which is meant just for moms, Mom Invented.
Tamara: Right. And they’re mostly stories, great inspirational stories and tidbits. But the other on is really about, okay, let’s buckle down, let’s take the classes, let’s get to work and get your product out there.
Andrew: Okay. We have two more points that I want to talk about. The first one, I want to ask you a little bit more about, you recommend using QR codes to link to video testimonials. Of course they are like this. I’m looking through your book right now and I can see, that zoomed in a little too much. But here, I go through your book, can I show it here? Does it show up there?
Tamara: It does.
Andrew: In the book you use the QR codes. You’re a big fan of QR codes. Maybe it’s because I’m on an iPhone, let’s fix the camera, there it goes. I don’t use QR codes much. I had to install a separate app that happens to have it in there. Have you found success? What have you found with that?
Tamara: I wanted to make this book interactive. I wanted the stories of the 50 entrepreneurs who are featured to not just be written words, but I wanted them to come to life. I wanted you to read something about them and then get your phone and scan their code and have that entrepreneur pop up onto this screen and say what challenges that they’ve had to overcome. The struggles.
What has surprised them the most about starting their business? And advice that they have for aspiring entrepreneurs. And some of them are really heartfelt stories. Some of them have really sound advice. I wanted this book to be truly interactive. And the response has been phenomenal. This book has hit number one in six business categories two weeks in a row.
Andrew: We’re talking about this book right here. There it is.
Tamara: Yes. And it’s partly because it comes to life and then it’s useful. The one you pointed out was my QR code. So every time you see my QR code then that’s me introducing what you’re going learn in that chapter.
Andrew: All right. Let me take a step away from QR codes for a moment and just notice that you’re good about getting testimonials. It’s video testimonials. How do you get video testimonials that are useful?
Tamara: You ask.
Andrew: Okay. I’ve asked and you know what happens? People start to rave and it’s very flattering, but it’s an empty rave. It’s just, “My life is so much better because of Mixergy.” It is fantastic. I love the site. I recommend it to everyone and it goes on for three or our minutes. Heartfelt, really sincere, but an audience in not going to be eager to listen to that because it’s not useful for them. How do you get testimonials in a way that are structured and useful?
Tamara: In terms of the videos and the book, I put four questions down. I said, “I want you to be honest, please.” And share because people really want to know what you struggled with.
Tamara: I said, “I want to know what surprised you the most about going into business?” And I asked them about giving advice. I was very specific about what I was looking for. I wasn’t looking for praise for myself. I wanted their story to come to life. In terms of the Power Mentoring Program, mostly those are hand written testimonials. I just say, “What did you get from being a part of this class?”
Andrew: So asking more directive questions as opposed to, “Look, speak from the heart. Say what you want. I don’t want to guide you.” You recommend being more specific. Asking questions that will lead to answers that are more useful.
Tamara: I do because I want who they are to come across. It’s not about me. It’s about them. So what did they get?
Andrew: What is the most useful question we can ask if we want to get a testimonial that is useful? Sorry to interrupt.
Tamara: What’s a question you could ask?
Andrew: Yeah. What’s the most useful question. If we were going to ask for a testimonial, what’s the most useful question we could ask to get a useful testimonial?
Tamara: Well, it depends. If it’s a product, like something you’re selling in a store. How have you used this? Or how has this changed the way you do things? Or how has this changed your life?
Andrew: I see.
Tamara: That would be a product. You know, has it made your life easier? You don’t want to say yes or no, but you want to say how has this changed your life? Because that’s a bigger open ended question. In terms of my classes, I say, “What has transpired for you? What has changed since when you first started this class until now?” And really I want to know. I really want to know. Not only for other people. I really want to hear what has this been for them. What’s their experience?
Andrew: Okay. Onto the final point that we’ve got up here, which is to practice your pitch. You did that when you were on the Today Show. How do you practice properly? To do it right.
Tamara: Yes. That was about four weeks ago when the book launched. That was an interesting experience because it was very short and I had a bunch of products that they wanted me to show and tell. I was there to talk about the book because I wanted people to know about the book.
Andrew: I see. They wanted to talk about the product, you wanted to make sure to talk about the book because it was just coming out. The new version of it.
Tamara: It was launching that week.
Andrew: Okay. And so how do you do that?
Tamara: Yes. It was hard. I worked hard. If you watch that video you’ll see, but luckily it came across okay. There is a fine dance because you want to be respectful of your host and at the same time you need to make sure that you’re getting your points across. Otherwise the TV segment is of no value for you. So I practice. I tell my students in the Power Mentoring classes I still practice.
So before I went to the Today Show, the evening before and the morning of, I looked and thought about the bullets. The things that I needed to get across. And I said them over and over again on my way to the green room. I practice. I say it out loud in the hotel room before I go. People are like, “Oh, you’re so natural on TV.” And I’m like, “No, I’m not. I practice.”
Andrew: Do you remember one of the bullet points that you made sure to include?
Tamara: What’s that?
Andrew: Do you remember one of the bullet points that you practiced?
Tamara: I practiced that there is an abundance of opportunities today with getting funding for your business. And then I listed. There’s crowd funding, micro lending, and I went on. That’s what I’m saying. You have to think, what are the four points. Funding was one of them because I know that that’s a pain point for a lot of entrepreneurs. I also talked about sales. That there are opportunities today in sales that didn’t exist before. Catalogs, Daily Deal websites, local purchase programs.
Andrew: Got you. So you don’t have to think of it on the spot. You knew your answers because you thought ahead. You know what? I found when I started doing interviews, we’re now over a thousand interviews on the site. When I started and I was in the dozens, I noticed that there were some people who were really good and some who were not so good. What separated them was the practice, the forethought. I would see people who especially good afterwards and they showed me the notes that they made in preparation. I was so frustrated that not everyone would it.
In fact, most people obviously wouldn’t. That I then hired a pre- interviewer. I actually started doing pre-interviews myself. Then I hired a pre-interviewer to make sure the people were trained. You’re saying that if there isn’t that pre-interview process, and often there isn’t, we have to do it ourselves. And the way to do it is by writing out the points that we want to make. And the other thing that you do that’s especially good is you transition from what they want to talk about to what you want to talk about and make it useful for them. How do you make that transition? That’s a challenge that I still see entrepreneurs on Mixergy have.
Tamara: Right. Well, you have to be respectful and quickly answer what they’re asking, but then just leap. And I’ll say things like, “I’m so glad you asked that because”, and then jump right into whatever it is that I want to talk about. And it just takes practice doing that. You see politicians doing that all the time where they answer the question then they switch to what they want to talk about. It’s really the same skill, but it’s really important because what I learned when I first started is I got on TV a lot when I first launched because there was nothing . . . The whole focus on mom entrepreneurship didn’t exist so that interested the media.
What I didn’t know when I started out is I used to just let the host lead everything and then I would leave and I would gain nothing from the segment. There are no . . . people were not going back to my website because I neglected to mention it because the host didn’t ask me and I didn’t want to be rude and say it.
Andrew: You know what? I have that challenge too. Because I do so many interviews, a lot of entrepreneurs online, a lot of websites want to interview me, I will sit there and do the interview for an hour because I want to help out and I want to learn how to present my ideas better, and at the end I’ll feel like I helped them. Yes, I did get better presenting my ideas, but there is no connection with the audience afterwards and I feel a little bit smarmy pushing an agenda, pushing a website.
I don’t want to do it in a way that doesn’t feel right. I want to do it well. And I think if I do it well the audience will benefit because they’ll get to connect with me if they like what I had to say in the interview. The host will be happy because they want me to do well. They don’t just want to use me, they want to help me back and I’ll do well. I just don’t know how to transition it from someone who asks me about, in my case, how I started a business to a site that I want to direct the person to so that I can connect with them, get their email address or somehow introduce them to my work. What is a good way to transition?
Tamara: It is really a difficult choice and I don’t always say my website. I was interviewed in New York on three television segments last week and I chose not to say my website because I felt like it wasn’t right.
Tamara: And so you just have to really . . . It’s a delicate dance. And when the host says, “Where can people find you?” That’s when you just jump in.
Andrew: That’s when you need to be prepared.
Tamara: And say your website. Okay? But I didn’t have that opportunity. I could have pushed it and said it, but I didn’t want to be s- . . .
Andrew: What about pushing towards the book?
Tamara: What’s that?
Andrew: So again, a book is a little bit easier to promote and they want you to talk about it. So if they’re asking you about a product and you want to talk about a book, what’s a bridge that you’ve used that works that we can maybe copy or learn from?
Tamara: Right, so that’s what happened on the Today Show. So what you do is you could talk about a product and then you say there are 50 entrepreneurs featured in this book who all have really interesting products and share what they have learned as they’ve brought their own . . .
Andrew: Got you, so you’re expanding from the one product that they’re talking about to many others. So it’s still relevant and now you’ve made it bigger and more relevant to your book.
Tamara: That’s right, so you’ve then gone to their focus. What happened on the Today Show is they focused on my original product, the TV Saver from ten years ago. I wanted to talk about the book.
Andrew: Yeah, I see it here.
Tamara: So they were talking about that and they were ask- . . . I didn’t want to show [??] demonstrated. I wanted to talk about the book because I’m so excited about the book. So I quickly demonstrated it. It was like a quick . . . I reduced my normal explanation into a sentence or two and then reverted straight back to the book, and about the entrepreneurs featured in the book.
Andrew: Okay, I was going to start playing it, but I think I’ll just leave it for people to watch afterwards. It is up on Today.com.
Tamara: You’ll see the delicate dancing I was doing.
Andrew: I just paused it. I’m going to watch it right afterwards on here and I hope everyone in the audience does too. If they want to follow-up with you, it seems like the best way to do it is to just go directly to your site. I’m going to go over to it right now. You can see I’ve been checking it out throughout the interview. It’s just . . . Well, actually we’re going to be linking over to it, but it’s TamaraMonosoff.com. We’ll link over to it so people can see it and what you’re suggesting they do is just click that image over your shoulder.
Tamara: That’s right and then that gives the list of the classes. Also free workshops where the rocket ship is, they launch next week. I’m really excited to be doing . . .
Andrew: Right, your bottom right.
Tamara: . . . these free weekly workshops where I’m going to be giving concrete tips and tools every week.
Andrew: All right, thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate you coming on here and of course we’ll link to everything we’ve talked about on the page and the site is called . . . Wait, there it is. Mom entreprene-, the Mom Entrepreneur. Excuse me, the Mom Entrepreneurs . . . Wait! Why am I saying entrepreneurs because that’s what this is about and I keep thinking about that word instead of inventors. Sorry.
Tamara: Because we are entrepreneurs.
Andrew: The Mom Inventors Handbook and yes they are entrepreneurs. Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you all for being a part of it. Bye.