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AMA about Intro.ly - Startup which pays you cash for introducing your friends to products and services.

Derek Devore
Nov 8, 2017

I will be answering questions about Intro.ly - A service which pays you cash for referring friends to products and services. A great way to make side income helping your friends find the best deals. Plus, your friends also receive cash back on the purchase!

There are no apps to download and payments are made directly to your SquareCash, Google Wallet or PayPal account.

I'll also be answering questions about our startup and how we launched, the best traction methods we used, etc.

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Is this internationally or locally marketed?

Nov 9, 7:16AM EST0

Hi James. Right now it's locally marketed, but we are working very hard to push it into international markets.

Once we've solidified enough relationships with retailers and service providers internationally, we will be rolling out with country-specific phone numbers to receive SMS requests.

Nov 9, 9:17AM EST0
Show all 4 replies

Welcome everyone! How's everyone doing?

Nov 8, 1:03PM EST0

What is your ultimate goal in pursuing this kind of business?

Nov 8, 3:44AM EST0

There's a great satisfaction in bringing an idea you have inside you out into the world and noticing how it brings value to people's lives.

Our goal is to give the average person a solid way to make side-income, by sending us a text - while also helping their circle of friends find the lowest prices on items they want to buy.

We want people to think of us before they make that purchase at the mall, or before their friend buys that expensive handbag at full price.

To have a vast number of people reach out to us before someone they know makes a full-price purchase is really our ultimate goal.

Nov 8, 8:33AM EST0

How can you become the company that everyone would love to join?

Nov 7, 5:46PM EST0

I think that the best way to create something that people absolutely love is to create something that they ask for.

In other words, test out ideas using services like Proved.co, QuickMVP and surveys and just keep refining it until you have a polished idea that you know people want.

At this stage, just start executing your idea and continue to iterate based on feedback. It's a long process, but much more cost-effective than building something first, then finding out later it's not that popular.

Nov 7, 6:27PM EST0

Did you ever deal with contention from your family concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it?

Nov 7, 3:27PM EST0

Yes.

Not really contention per se, but just a lack of belief that I create something worthwhile.

I handled it by using it to fuel my drive and determination.

I became stronger. I stopped believing my "inner-story" I kept telling myself of "you just need to settle", "you don't have enough money/time/relationships,etc" - this is all ridiculous.

If anyone ever tries to convince you that you can't accomplish your dreams - well, that's their problem.

My best advice is to turn the negativity around. Let it fuel your desire to succeed. Most all of us have something really great inside of us, but we listen to others (or our inner-voice) which tells us it's not possible. You need to avoid these thoughts like the plague.

If these thoughts don't serve you, why have them at all? Just go for it.

Nov 7, 3:34PM EST0

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Nov 7, 3:01PM EST0

I believe the ability to inspire others to bring out the greatness within themselves is an important characteristic to have as a leader.

Nov 7, 3:25PM EST0

What are the three most important variables to monitor within your business?

Nov 7, 2:54PM EST0

1. Attitude/Positivity within the organization. How do your employees feel about what you are doing? Do they feel like they are on an exciting journey with you? Or are they showing up for a paycheck.

2. Customer Satisfaction and Feedback. We spend a lot of time and money on getting honest feedback from our customers and people who use the product. This is the best source for making future moves with your product.

3. Long-term growth. Scaling your business for the long-term is so important and greatly underestimated. Our philosophy is; we're ok with acquiring a quality customer at a break-even cost (or sometimes a small loss) if that customer has proven to be a valuable resource for the long-term.

The media is filled with unicorn stories of startups getting bought out after one year in business. These stories are certainly inspiring, but realistically you're more likely to win if you are focus on providing long-term value to your customers.  That's what we believe.

Last edited @ Nov 7, 3:23PM EST.
Nov 7, 3:22PM EST0

What has been the biggest let down in your career so far?

Nov 7, 11:31AM EST0

I've been working really hard on my psychology of how I see the world of business lately.

I like to read (a lot), meditate, think of new ideas and challenge myself.

This has led me to view "let downs" in a different way than before. I like to view them as temporary challenges which have a solution. This keeps me grounded (and sane) to give me the strength to keep going.

Entrepreneurship is hard. REALLY difficult at times. I do think though if you have your psychology under control, it gives you resilience to keep moving forward, despite the challenges.

You will have let downs, set backs, lack of money, etc. but it's how you view these things which make all the difference. I truly believe this.

Nov 7, 11:46AM EST0

What are some strategies that you would recommend for making the best use of your business?

Nov 7, 9:13AM EST1

We built our service from the ground-up as being super easy to use. You literally only need to send us a text to get started. No apps. No logins.

The best strategy to use our service is simply to listen to your circle of friends. If you hear of someone who needs a product or service, then simply send us a text and let us know.

My team will answer and find the product for the best price possible - as well as pay you and your friend cash back on the purchase.

Here’s an example of 4 requests out of 24 we had just yesterday:

  1. A request to find the best price for a Creed Green Irish Tweed Cologne, 4oz bottle. The customer received $10 cash back and so did the friend who referred him
  2. A request to find a Chris-Craft Launch 23’ power boat. We found one at around $85,000. Customer received a great discount and referring person will receive 1% cash back on the final price of the boat (around $850 cash)
  3. A request to find the best price on Graphic Design services for a Music Album Cover, budget of around $800. Customer will receive around $20 cash back with discount. Referring person will receive $20 cash back
  4. A request to find a deal on a Peterbilt 379exhd Semi Truck with a budget of around $65,000. Our team is still searching for the best deal on this item..

If you’d like more information on how to become one of our referrers, just visit http://intro.ly and click “Get Started”.

Last edited @ Nov 7, 9:41PM EST.
Nov 7, 11:41AM EST0

What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained?

Nov 7, 8:48AM EST0

I like to visit places which make my problems feel small and insignificant. Like, the ocean for example.

Getting out into Nature is a great way to just wipe the slate clean and re-evaluate where you are and where you want to go in your life.

It's tricky to find time to get away - especially as a founder of a startup, but most people don't realize that it actually makes you more productive.

Nov 7, 8:51AM EST0

What question do you think we need to be asking that we haven't asked already?

Nov 7, 8:29AM EST0

No one's asked me if I'd like a Double-Shot Mocha, yet...

Nov 7, 12:18PM EST0

Did you have major competitors when you started, how did you plan to compete with them, and how did that plan play out?

Nov 7, 8:23AM EST0

Sure, there are tons of cashback programs out there, but we wanted to spin it much differently than most.

A while ago, somewhere I read something which explained the "Blue Ocean" strategy. It basically says that you want to build a business in a thriving market - one with lots of customers.

The problem with this is that if you build the same business model that everyone else is using, you are part of the feeding frenzy of sharks in the water.

I actually wrote an article about this blue ocean strategy, which you can find here.

So, you want to seek out the Blue Ocean...the waters which have less competition.

You have to be able to do things differently. Create a new way to enter the marketplace. If you can successfully create a product which is easy to use, that customers love and that can be used in the same marketplace as the "sharks" in the feeding frenzy, then your competition is minimized.

So far it's played out quite well as more and more people are plugging into our service and making money.

Last edited @ Nov 12, 8:45AM EST.
Nov 7, 8:40AM EST0

A few years. We had to stop and start several times to get it right. I think doing a lot of iterations and making changes based on what the customer wants is the key.

When we first launched, we were more or less just another cashback app that really wasn't that interesting.

After we changed our focus from ditching the "app" idea, just paying the shopper cashback and ALSO paying the person referring the shopper cashback, things reallly started to click.

Last edited @ Nov 7, 3:27PM EST.
Nov 7, 8:06AM EST0

What do you look for in an partner?

Nov 7, 5:40AM EST0

Someone with the same level of drive and determination as me. I'm up at 4:30am, everyday.

I make sure that all the customers and referring partners are taken care of, as well as do nightly videos which I send out to our team members to give them ideas and share with them successful customer experiences we had throughout the day.

I think it's really important to be involved deeply in the business from every level - not be seen as some "investor" who checks up on the business every few months or so. We're a team and we're dedicated to the success of the product.

I would look for someone with those same qualities, not necessarily the person with the most experience or the one who came from the best business school, etc.

Last edited @ Nov 7, 11:02AM EST.
Nov 7, 8:10AM EST0

How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?

Nov 7, 5:22AM EST0

In two years, we will be fully setup with assisting shoppers in real-time via live video.

In fact, we've actually begun rolling out this feature. Individuals shopping in any store can have a video chat with one of our personal shoppers, as if they were in the store with them.

Customers have the ability to use our personal shoppers to find them the absolute lowest price and the highest cashback payments for most any item. It's an extremely easy way to use our service.

We are also rolling out with community "get-togethers" for our high-performing "referrers" (people who refer their friends to us). These get-togethers will offer 1-on-1 training sessions on how they can maximize their revenue with us.

We're excited about the next few years!

Nov 7, 8:16AM EST0

How much should I capitalise my business with at the beginning?

Nov 7, 1:35AM EST0

It really depends on the type of business. Some businesses require that you give away a lot of value up-front in order to build a solid community - then you can capitalize on that source.

If it's a SAAS or product business, then I would say you should capitalize on it very small at first, because you want others to use the product and give you feedback. The feedback you get from your customers is golden - and it's worth a lot more that a quick buck up front. It has long-term value for your business that will take you much farther.

Nov 7, 8:20AM EST0

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

Nov 7, 12:59AM EST0

The biggest initial hurdles was discovering the difference between building something that we thought people want, versus something they really want.

After much feedback and trial-and-error of building a product, refining the idea, building it again, we found something which resonates with people.

Of course, this costs a lot of time and money. If I were to do it again, I would have done triple the amount of research in the beginning before even starting.

If you or anyone is considering building something, I would highly suggest that you double or triple your efforts during the research phase.

I know it's not as flashy and glamorous as making the actual product, but you'll thank yourself later.

Nov 8, 8:37AM EST0

Are we changing as fast as the world around us?

Nov 7, 12:34AM EST0

Not even close.

This last decade has been excelling at an incredible speed. I think as humans, we don't have the capacity to keep up with the pace of technology - meaning the "collective" human race.

I still know people who don't have an email address. I also know people who are genius-level coders. The collective human race is a very wide range and tends to be resistant of changing quickly, because we are creatures of habit. 

This is an exciting time to be alive. The opportunity we have as business owners is absolutely mind-blowing.

Nov 7, 9:12AM EST0

Are there any good business resources you can recommend for beginners online?

Nov 6, 9:12PM EST0

I find Product Hunt to be a great resource. You can find us here.

It's a great resource to see which products are trending, what resonates with consumers and the community. Reading the comments on products is great too; it can give you a lot of insight as to what is working.

Nov 7, 11:01AM EST0

Do you prefer to pursue funding or build organically, and why?

Nov 6, 8:35PM EST0

We never pursued funding early on. We always wanted to have full control to build organically.

If you are passionate about your idea, you've talked to hundreds of people, been "in the field" and observed how people react to your product and have made it the best it can be, then there is an excellent chance that your business will grow dramatically on its own.

Granted, this doesn't happen all of the time,  but the alternative of giving (basically the majority) of your company before you've even started didn't really make much sense to us.

I think funding early on makes sense if you have a long-term relationship with the investors, but there are way too many traps out there for Founders who think they MUST be funded to succeed.

Nov 7, 8:47AM EST0

How are your communication skills?

Nov 6, 6:10PM EST0

Horrible. lol. I've had to work very hard on how I communicate to people to get my ideas across. It's definitely a skill that I have to work on.

Some days I'm a very effective communicator, yet other days I ramble on and on, or stay very quiet, etc. 

I think the trick is to believe in yourself and your idea and don't let your mind trick you into doubting yourself. That will get you in trouble.

If you doubt yourself and your ability to succeed, other people will sense this in you. This hinders your ability to communicate effectively.

Listen closely to yourself and value your own opinion. If you've gotten this far in realizing your ideas and making your dream happen, then don't ever doubt that you can accomplish it.

Nov 7, 8:25AM EST0

What 3 books would you recommend that every business networker owner should read?

Nov 6, 5:50PM EST0

1. Think And Grow Rich - This one's a classic, but it's a powerful book. You have to get your mind right before anything else and no one explains this better than Napolean Hill.  It's important not only to read this one, but also apply the practices in the book too.

2. The 10X Rule - When you have your mind at the right level, then you need to start taking MASSIVE action. Grant Cardone lays out exactly how much action is needed to make your dreams a reality in today's market.

3. Traction - Gabriel Weinberg. Every owner needs to understand how to systematically grow awareness to their business. This book is great for learning how to find your traffic "niche" and really go after it.

Nov 7, 8:32AM EST0
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