I recently published The Book on Small Business Ideas, which has inspired me to (surprise, surprise), create another simple small business. The good news is after going back through the principles in the book, I was able to put them into practice and get something amazing done in a very short time.
The bad news is I got so excited about this project, I completely geeked out over the last month and have utterly failed to market the book. Oh well, one venture to the next.
Simple small business case study – Crypto-ML
Then I thought this may actually be a great opportunity to meld the two projects together and provide my readers with a case study…showing you how the principles in the book play out in a real-life scenario.
So here’s what I’ve had my head buried in for the last few weeks: https://crypto-ml.com
I’ll write a series of case-study articles diving into various aspects of how this business came to be and the steps I took. I hope this gives a great illustration of how to quickly generate an actual simple money machine.
Simple small business idea generation
Despite the title (The Book on Small Business Ideas), the book is not a list of ideas. Rather, the first section is a framework for generating your own ideas. This first section dives into examining your passion, purpose, goals, and interests.
You need to be excited and engrossed in your business idea. Frankly, if you’re not, you won’t have the drive to rocket over the speed bumps and shrug off the naysayers.
In my case, I applied these concepts and came out with an idea that I’ve been lost in for weeks. I make time for my family…but that’s about it. I’ve been obsessed. I have to force myself to go to sleep. I have to remind myself to check email and return phone calls.
It’s exciting and invigorating. This is how life should be.
When’s the last time you felt this obsessed with your work?
The Crypto-ML business idea
The business idea in this case study is pretty basic. Crypto-ML provides simple BUY and SELL triggers for cryptocurrency generated by machine-learning algorithms.
Here are some factors surrounding this idea:
- People can buy and sell cryptocurrencies like stocks.
- Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, so people can make (and lose) money very quickly by trading.
- Many people buy-and-hold crypto, but ride the wild ups and downs because they don’t know when to capitalize. They may be millionaires on paper one day and broke the next.
- People are emotional and therefore make mistakes trading.
- Traditional technical indicators conflict, are confusing, and have mixed success with crypto. They are also open to human interpretation.
So Crypto-ML provides the following solution:
- Simple buy, sell, or hold signals presented each day. People just need to do what the signal says.
- The signals are created by next-generation machine learning technology. This trumps traditional techniques and eliminates human emotion.
And in practice, machine learning turns out to be massively successful here, smashing buy-and-hold results.
This is a very exciting business because not only can I use the signals to generate my own income, but I can explore selling the access to the signals via a membership site. This sets up a separate cash-flowing machine. There are other monetization options available as well.
Alright, now that you have the idea, let me show you how I came to it and how you can fuel your creative beast.
How the business idea for Crypto-ML came to be
Every new idea starts with inspiration. Personally, I happened across an article saying Google was releasing a simple machine learning tool for people to experiment with. The idea is you can upload images of something and the tool will learn to identify it.
For example, you could upload 100 pictures of dogs and say these are “dogs.” You don’t tell the computer to look for two pointy ears and a long snout. You just upload the pictures and let it work its magic. It will generate its own model for a “dog.” From there, you should be able to show the program a picture and it will identify if there is a dog or not.
This gave me an idea…what if I uploaded pictures of price charts from every day prior to Bitcoin jumping 10% or more in price? Could machine learning find a pattern and begin predicting future price jumps?
I began digging in and realized I found a perfect synthesis of my background and interests…
Machine learning is the evolution of statistical analysis. When I got my MBA, my emphasis was on statistical analysis. I also used statistics for years professionally in Six Sigma and process improvement initiatives. I knew this stuff well and…enjoyed it. (Weird, right?)
There is also a software-engineering component to all of this. While I’m not a developer myself, I have worked in the industry and have many connections and plenty of insight to get going on my own. In fact, I know multiple data scientists and machine learning experts with whom I can bounce ideas around.
So I already knew all of the terms and concepts. I just needed to learn a bit about the changes and validate ideas with my contacts. Easy.
I seemed to have an awesome idea that was interesting to me and took advantage of my skills and network.
Plus, machine learning is sexy right now. So is crypto. Perfect.
How is this business idea “simple” exactly?
You may be reading and wondering how in the world this is a “simple” money machine. As I mentioned earlier, I can make money a few different way:
- Using the signals to make my own trades
- Selling access to the signals on a membership site
- Other to-be-disclosed methods
The hard work on this was in developing the machine learning models that make this possible. This took a lot of analysis, a lot of testing, a lot of segregation of data, and a lot of getting beat up by experts in the field as I let them dissect the models.
BUT…that hard work was a one-time event.
The intellectual property is created and I enjoyed every minute of that process. It kept me up at night. I was excited every morning. My brain hasn’t stopped racing.
Now if I sell this as a subscription service, that’s the simple cash-flow machine.
Once the intellectual property was ready, it was time to build the subscription website and automate the generation and delivery of triggers. I’ll discuss the technology behind the delivery in an upcoming post. But there are inexpensive “plug-and-play” solutions that allow you to set systems like this up rapidly and easily.
So here’s the money machine. People can sign up and pay month-to-month. It doesn’t matter if 1 person subscribes or 10,000. Fundamentally, the backend business process stays the same.
Takeaways and generating YOUR own business ideas
You might be thinking…great…good for you, but I don’t know anything about machine learning. 🙁
While I have written plenty about the theories and approaches to generating your own business ideas, the point of this case study is to show how this all plays out in a practical concept with Crypto-ML.
Here are my big takeaways:
1. Ideas come from inspiration
You have to stay intellectually curious. You should read every day. You should listen to audiobooks and podcasts while you drive. Change who you listen to. Constantly feed yourself new ideas. Some day, a random connection will happen and your idea will be born.
2. You need to get lost in your idea
As you noted in this post, this business idea was the perfect union of my expertise and interests. This caused me to become completely absorbed, power through ups and downs, and pull off an exceptional idea. You need this level of excitement to actually see a project through; particularly if you have a regular day job. I seemed to survive a few sleepless nights. 🙂
3. Perform self-discovery
In both of my books, I emphasize self-discovery very heavily upfront and I’m still a firm believer in this. Without first figuring out what you want to do and what you want to get from life, it’s very hard to land on the right idea and path. The Book on Small Business Ideas is filled with exercises for this in the first section and you can find a lot of ideas throughout this site.
And yes, I actually still do everything I recommend in my books. I still write down my goals (by hand) daily. I still do everything I prescribe.
But without knowing yourself and your motivations, you’re going to have a hard time coming up with something you can get this excited about.
More to come in Part 2!
Do you want to share how you started your own simple business idea? Hit me up in the comments below!