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Struggling to make more sales? Follow these 2 simple steps...
Last Updated September 15th, 2014

Today is the day!

We’re approaching the final quarter of 2014, and this new series will show you how to get more sales for your coaching, consulting, or information product business.

I’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

When I pored through 5,000+ survey responses, 1000s of blog comments, and a countless number of emails, I noticed that business owners of all types all needed one thing:


And as I shared last week, sales are the lifeblood of every business.

You see, some people think it’s all about “quality products,” “being passionate,” and/or “doing what you love,” but I’m the loud New Yorker who will give it to you straight:

In 2014, quality products, being passionate, and doing what you love, is the COST OF ENTRY. That lets you get your skin in the game…

…but knowing how to make more sales, systematically, without being salesy, is how you win the game.

And even if you’re not looking to win anything, the additional revenue and income that comes from more sales makes business – and life – so much better.

On the one hand, you can splurge on life experiences that matter to you.

Earlier this year, a friend hit me up, and asked, “Do you and your lady want to come to Switzerland?” And I responded instantly with a “heck yes!” He said, “No problem, we’ll put it all on our credit card and we’ll settle up after the trip is over.”

And that was that.

I didn’t know how much it was going to cost, or even what days they were planning to go, but it didn’t matter. The cost and time was a mere triviality. I run my own business, set my own vacation times, and I was going to go no matter what. I was going to splurge.

On the other hand, you can reinvest the additional revenue back into your business, to keep your customers happy, to eliminate stress from your life, and more.

Back when I started, I was officially a bootstrapper.

Sure, I bought training courses, books, and attended conferences, but when it came time to doing things for my business, I did everything myself because I didn’t have a lot of money to spend.

When I wanted to create my first videos, I filmed them myself (even if it took me 18 hours, and it sure did). When I wanted headshots, I took them myself (I spent 45 minutes figuring out how to do one of those “delayed photos,” and ran into place and “hoped” for the best). When I needed a new web design, a new ebook design, transcriptions of videos, and more, I did ALL OF THAT myself too. And I couldn’t help but think, “it sure would be nice to hire experts to handle all of this for me.”

Sound familiar?

Fast forward to today, I now have a professional video team for my videos, and even though they cost about $1,000 per video to produce, I can still give them away each week because I’ve got a system in place that generates sales. I can also happily hire expert web designers, professional photographers, developers, and more, all because I have the balance sheet to support it.


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So, have you ever heard that question, “What would you do if money didn’t matter?”

Well, when you’ve got profitable sales coming in, day in and day out, like clockwork, you’re no longer thinking about a “what if” fantasy. You’re living it.

The question is, “How can you generate these sales for your coaching, consulting, or information product business?”

That’s where this new series comes in.

As you know, I’m Derek Halpern, and I started Social Triggers a little more than 3 years ago. And since then, it grew from scratch to a large profitable business. Here’s a quick screenshot:

Social Triggers Revenue

With growth like this, I learned a few things about building a large profitable online business that sells coaching, consulting, and information products…

…and for the first time, I’m going to take you behind the scenes and show you how I did it.

So let’s dive in.

Here Are 3 Big Problems Business Owners Face When Growing Their Online Business

Business growth, I believe, comes down to solving three big problems. And they are:

Problem #1: “How do I find more people who are interested in buying what I sell?”

Whether you’re just getting started, or you’ve been at it a while, your revenue is tied directly to the number of people you reach who are interested in what you’re selling.

And you can trust me on this: if you reach more of the right people, you will get more clients, customers, and sales.

I’ll show you how in a second. First, let’s talk about the second problem.

Problem #2: “How do I make people genuinely interested in buying (without being salesy)?

This should be self-explanatory, but once you’re reaching the right people, you need to make them genuinely interested in buying what you’re selling.

And, ideally, you should do it without being salesy, pushy, or sleazy.

It’s the right thing to do. And soon you’ll see that it WORKS BETTER than those old hard-nosed sales tactics you see other people using and pushing.

And finally…

Problem #3: “How can I do it again and again so that I can build a 5, 6, or 7 figure business?”

This is the clincher.

You see, once you get started on this path of finding the right people, and enticing them to buy, the real growth comes when you can scale it.

Now I will show you how to to solve these 3 problems throughout this entire series.

Because I believe doing that is the secret to building a large and profitable business.

And I believe this because, unlike so many other people who are “faking it til they make it,” I actually did it.

But for right now, I want to show you how solve the first big problem. How do you get people interested in what you do in the first place?

I’ll show you both the RIGHT and WRONG way to do it.

Let me set the stage.

You’ve heard people tell you that if you want to grow your business, you need to promote your business. It was probably me who said it, and it made sense, right?

If people don’t know what you do, they aren’t in the position to pay you for what you do. So you must let people KNOW what you do.

The problem is, people have NO IDEA how to do that. They either sell themselves short, and struggle for sales. Or they’re obnoxious and piss people off.

Here’s one BAD example…

As you know, when you have a community as large as Social Triggers, you tend to get a lot of comments on blog posts. And that’s when this started happening:

What’s going on here? People visit my comments, see people commenting, visit their websites, and then SPAM them.

I, of course, would hear about it, and I’d feel like Will Ferrell from Zoolander:

Was I annoyed?


Is it rude to go into someone elses’ house and “set up shop?”


Is this borderline spam?


Here’s the thing though:

I don’t think that person knew that he was acting a fool. And while it bothers me, it’s clear that he (and others) don’t know another way to do it. Because if they did, they wouldn’t even ATTEMPT this. Partly because it’s wrong. And partly because it’s never going to work.

Do you know how people respond when they see something like this?

Here’s a screenshot of what one of my readers sent back to one of the people who spammed her:

Do you see what happened here?

When you try to get attention the wrong way, you may land a few sales, but you’re burning bridges with everyone else… FOR LIFE.

And this is the problem.

People don’t know how to promote themselves the right way, and when they “try” to do it, they do it wrong and get a response like this.

It’s no wonder people are scared to promote themselves, right?

But what went wrong here?

When he reached out to promote his productivity book, he said, “I’m starting a productivity book business and thought you’d be interested.”

It wasn’t based on anything. He didn’t see that person complaining on Twitter about being unproductive. He didn’t see them write a blog post about their quest for getting more productive. He SPAMMED them. And that’s why people responded negatively.

So how can you get attention from the right people the right way?

Here’s what you need to do…

Step #1: Find A Big Problem People Will Pay To Fix…

Step #2: …And Get Paid To Fix It

If you’re in business for years, or you’re just getting started, the key to your success is based on this one simple idea…

Find a big problem people will pay to fix, and then get paid to fix it.

I know it sounds like I’m oversimplifying here, so let’s unpack that statement a little bit.

First, you need to “Find a big problem.”

Why start with the bad?

Because when there’s a problem in someones life, and it hurts bad enough, they’re going to want to change it.

And that’s the key.

Many people try to convince others to buy their products and services, and they get responses like, “I’m not interested” or “That sounds nice, but not for right now.”

The only reason why they hear those types of responses is because they’re not starting with a big problem. If they did, their customer would already want to change it. They wouldn’t need to convince them of anything…

I mean, think back to the productivity book example. If he saw that person complaining on Twitter about being unproductive, and then reached out, do you think they’d have been more receptive?

Absolutely. Because they already clarified they had the problem, and they weren’t spamming, but instead, offering a solution.

(Note: don’t just start pitching random people all the time. That’s not the answer either).

Then, notice how I said “People Will Pay To Fix”

And that’s also key.

You see, people often create solutions to problems that people have no interest in paying to solve. Or worse, they don’t have the money to pay to solve.

And guess what:

If that’s the case, you’ll never get a buyer.

As an example, let’s say you want to help non profits market themselves. In theory, it makes sense: they need the help, and you can help them.

Here’s the issue:

Nonprofits don’t have any money. So, while they may have a problem that you can solve, that doesn’t mean they’re able to pay for it.

So, whether you’re already in business, or you’re just getting started, you need to get clear on the problem you can fix… and start telling people you can fix it.

You might think, “but won’t people be concerned that I’m selling something to them?”

I’ve got news for you…

If you’re talking to people who have a problem that you can solve, and they’re able to pay for it, they’re not going to worry about the fact that you’re selling to them. They’re going to imagine how great their life would be when you solve the problem for them.

Moving on…

I know this all seems like common sense. And you might even be thinking, “well no duh,” But nobody does this.

Or if they do, they’re not making it clear. Do you know how many people’s websites I stumble upon that solve problems… but make no mention of the problem they’re solving?

That’s a big mistake. And we should heed the words of the late David Ogilvy. He said, “When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire”

And you need to do the same thing.

If you’re selling art, show a picture of a room with no art on the walls. And explain how boring, and “cookie cutter” it feels. Then show a room with art on the walls – YOUR ART – and explain how much more homier it looks.

If you’re selling coaching for women who have relationship problems, don’t just talk about how you can solve their problems. Instead, show them an example of a woman who has problems first, and then talk about how you solve them.

So, right now, whether you’re just getting started, or you’ve been at it a while, here’s what I want you to do:

Leave a comment describing the big problem you’re solving for people. And then explain how what you’re selling solves that problem.

Talk about the problem first…

…And then talk about how what you sell solves that problem.

This is your first piece of homework during “More Sales for Your Business Month,” so make sure you do it.

I’ll try to respond to a lot of people leaving comments, and provide feedback. I can’t promise I’ll get to everyone, but I will respond to many of you.

Over the next 3 weeks I’ve got a lot of training material for you. This will include all-new HD videos, webinar trainings, and then, towards the end of the month, I’m announcing a BRAND NEW online course.

If you want to make the most of it, you need to do the work.

We’re approaching the final quarter of 2014, and if you’re not going to hit your sales goals, now’s the time to right the ship.

So leave a comment now…

…and you’ll hear from me more later this week with more training material.


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417 comments Leave a comment

The second statement looks pretty well. I really like it and keep it up

Click now

Doing micro jobs is not an easy job, although it is a good source of second income, we need to follow rules and then only we get paid well for the work delivered. They have great rules for both buyers and sellers and they get the equal opportunity to enjoy the full freedom to cancel an order by mutual agreement. It is not that only workers earn good amount but even the company does, because these days no one works for nothing, everyone works for money and hence it is true in case of Damongo too. On every order Damongo will take 15 % which counts for 0.75 cents for every $ 5 of the earnings.


Problem: we live in a world that doesn’t teach us how to manage stress and how to be healthy. 90% of the people I come across are depressed,, unhealthy and unhappy with every aspect of their lives. They are waiting for something miraculous to happen so that they can finally be happy and feel better about themselves and their lives. They live the same routine every single day and are miserable with the lives they have settled for. They all want to feel better and be healthy emotionally, mentally and physically.

I can give them a mind body soul transformation. I impact people’s lives every day in a positive way and help them manage stress and deal with all the things in their lives that are making them unhappy. I guide them in knowing the true purpose of life and what it means to be healthy. I make them into the best version of themselves.


Business owners who are great at their craft but not at online marketing. Customers now search online way more than search in

Ed Goryl

Big Problem:

Business owners who are great at their craft but not at online marketing. Customers now search online way more than search in the yellow pages and that’s a problem. The business owners are left in the dust and replaced by national companies, who have the money and staff to market themselves but who more-often mess up a job. It’s sad because they just can afford to provide bad customer service when a local guy isn’t in the picture at all.

Big Solution:

A solution to their lack of online presence that is built by working with business owner, step-by-step so we keep them informed and in-the-know. This lets them do what they are great at without having to hire another person full-time to do their marketing.


It was a useful post and I read many articles like that.. I’m newbie on online marketing but when I let some thing to sell people show they are interested they hit the likes ask info…but don’t buy even once so it’s doesn’t matter how positive I was it’s breaking down my confidence so .. Facebook Twitter Blog or other site’s .. which one’s is greater to pay more attention to it I usually tried all of them but I will be glad what you suggest can you please help me to figure this out 🙂 thank you for reading this


What we need is honest and clear sharing of pertinent details on how to build a profitable business. it is not an easy thing. very often one can read success stories on very smart marketer who make 6 figures a moth within a couple of months. they try to convince people that if you buy their app your are done. just install and ready to go.
i think a few of your statements above clearly show the right ways how todeal with the e business. it is hard work and there certainly is no short cut.

good job with this blog


Just found this blog post and its exactly what I needed for my business and to get me thinking,

The Problem: Turning a blog into a business, using it as a springboard to launch a brand/business (not very specific)

Solution : creating content that resonates with bloggers who want to build their online business, putting strategies in place to become more visible via social media.


Great article , really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing with us.

Tom Saccato

Fantastic post, I loved it and took a lot of it into consideration for ideas to incorporate. I’m a Front end web developer, I’m seeking to market myself as a designer and offer package deals for customers, I have yet to release my deals, in the past I’ve tried to develop websites for clients for free for cross promotion marketing and trade, unfortunately I always ended up putting together worthy projects and they under-delivered. I was so frustrated I couldn’t understand why they didn’t care about my success and I was doing my best in making their website and conversion rate successful. I then decided to offer these deals so that my clients can easily decide what package best fits their situation, do you have any tips to help maximize the the amount of packages I can potentially sale, or to better close the larger package deals?


Great article and website, Derek!
Problem: Most men hate engagement ring shopping and don’t want to overpay for their ring.
Solution: Talk to an expert gemologist and jewelry industry veteran who will find the perfect diamond or diamond ring for you. At no cost to you, I will do the shopping for you by narrowing down from the thousands of diamonds available online to 3-4 options that exactly match what you’re looking for.
Website: RockShopper.com

Business Development India

WoW this is really good
I like this stuff


Big problem: Many small business owners don’t have the time and sometimes also the knowledge to manage their business financial data. As the result, it hurts their sales because of these owners tried to juggle these paperwork themselves on top of managing their business.
My solution: Provide outsource bookkeeping service by keeping track of their expenses, sales and monitoring their accounts so these business owners can focus on their business goal.


What great info! I love your stuff and am learning so much.

Problem: Parents fear traveling with kids will be exhausting, boring, or filled with visits to Disney or Chuck E Cheese.

Solution: I create ebooks and activity guides to keep kids happy, engaged, and learning on visits where ADULTS want to go – museums, nice restaurants, and historical sights.


Great article. Great copy. The problem I am solving is helping creatives find the best way to market themselves so they can focus on their passion.

Gavin Bell

Great article here buddy.

As a social media management agency. We’re solving the simple problem that people simply don’t have the time to make the most out of social media. Or simply don’t know where to get started!

Will follow your other articles!

Ellen Scott

Great article, Derek. I’ll try to apply them to my situation. Your writing style is great too, very interesting reading.


Hi Steven! I hope you’re still reading and replying to these 🙂

Big Problem: Most high fashion designers outsource to factories in China, India, and Bangladesh where labor laws are unregulated and quality of clothing suffers.

Solution: To start a new brand that offers clothing and accessories handmade in New York City with direct access to the designer, without factories.

I think this is specific enough but I’m not sure. It doesn’t cover all aspects of my mission. For instance, another big problem could be: Women are bored with generic fast-fashion brands like H&M and Zara because the items are not unique and they are poor quality.

Solution: To offer custom, handmade clothing made in NYC, and a personal designer/client relationship.

What do you think? Thanks so much!


I am a Certified Massage Therapist and working in a Spa trying to build my clientele. I have been offering a series package of 2 full 1 hour massages at $55 each and this took off great… I am now offering a Customer Loyalty Card that offers them a FREE massage on their 10th visit; which is doing ok so far. My problem is this, I need to build more people in my circle. Most of my clientele do not or are not interested in giving me referrals. I informed them if they do and if that person comes in to see me that it will affect their Loyalty Card and will get them closer to receiving their FREE massage. Because of this, I have looked into a different avenue as far as picking up my clientele. Being that Valentine’s Day is approaching I thought I would ask one of the restaurants in the area to work with me to offer Dinner and a Massage at a competitive price. If a restaurant is willing to work with me on this, I was also thinking that those who purchase this package for Valentine’s Day, will receive a Customer Loyalty Card. What are your thoughts on this?


The big problem:
You’re a network marketer. You’d like to use the internet to help you find new customers and team members. You’ve been posting about your product and business all over Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, trying to get new customers or get SOMEONE interested in joining your team. Maybe you’ve even started messaging your friends (or random people), asking them to check out your business or try your product… but, it isn’t working. People aren’t showing as much interest as you thought they would. Your business is not growing the way you want it to, and you aren’t earning the income you can and want to earn. This business is so important to you, and you need a way to effectively find new customers and team members, online.

My solution: A training and marketing platform that will teach you how to effectively market yourself and your network marketing business online, so you can stop chasing after your Facebook friend list and start finding people that will be truly interested in your offer.

Alphine Mapa

I was writing notes while I was reading this blog post. I just love it!
This just motivated me even more. Thank you!

ps: I won’t forget about the homework! 😀


This is awesome stuff!

Problem: Emerging/underground hip hop artists don’t have the money, time, and or experience to make industry standard (professional sounding) music.

Solution: I provide emerging hip hop artists with affordable industry standard instrumental tracks.

Would love to get some feedback/help on this… I seem to struggle getting conversions and have yet to make a sale.


    It sounds like you have a clearly identified market, problem and solution, so my question would be whether or not you have tested this niche to see if people are actually willing to pay for it.

    You specify “emerging” artists, can they afford your service? Is your price point too high?

    Are there competitors in this niche ? If so, how successful are they and what are they doing right, and where could you do it better?

    Do you have a website with an opt-in offer to capture email addresses? Are you using social media to authentically connect with your target market?

    You mentioned that you have not made a sale. You may want to redefine your pitch and make sure your messaging is clear and concise and is focused on the benefits and outcomes that these artists will get from working with you or buying your product.

    One of the best ways to build a business in the beginning is to provide free services in exchange for testimonials. This helps you get social proof, and hopefully, satisfied clients will refer others to you.

Cheyenne Leo

Bootstrap mode does not touch the sides when it comes to my Freelance Writing business.

Problem; You’ve got boring, poorly edited, non- SEO copy all over your website that isn’t bringing in any customers and is making you look unprofessional to every potential customer that stumbles by your site. Maybe you wrote it yourself, but you have no idea what you’re doing- or even worse, maybe you got screwed by an unqualified and inexperienced writer- whose services you paid through the nose for!

Solution; You can hire me, Cheyenne Leo- a Freelance Web Content, Copy, and Technical writer with 5 years experience in the industry and a following of over 11,000 for her fiction works alone. I can optimize your copy to get noticed by search engines and I will only charge you 2 cents a word.


This is a great post!
But how do we compete with somebody offering a solution to the same specific problem we are solving? Especially in retail. We are selling ethnic clothes, so are the competitors. Competitors match us at every level in problem solving. Is there any way to get more sales by just solving a major problem?

carinaa sarah

I am literally just starting. Full on bootstrap mode.

You have got constant recurring back pain. You’ve tried the doctor you’ve tried the physio. It helped short term and then they pain was back again. You might even have to rely on pain meds to get through the day.
I have created the “muscle zen method” to bring you relaxation within 1 hour. And if done correctly I have had people report unbelievable painfree results within 4 hours of practice. based on the theory that 90 % of back pain stems from muscle inballances in your back the “muscle zen method” can in a very simple way relax muscles that have been tensing up for years and at the same time strenghten those way to weak muscles that you usually cant target. And the best is the “muscle zen method” is safe to be used in the comfort of your of your own home.

I literally made the name of the method up right here and there. Does that sound compelling ? Or would “body zen technique” sound better ?

Love carina


    Why not call it ‘back zen method’?
    Just lost a whole month in August due to a slipped disc, so I can relate!

    Go you!


Hi Derek,
Really useful article because you speak about how can anyone increase how sales and for me i think that that most effective way to increase sales is how to show people the benefits of the product without giving them the feel that I’m selling them the product.

Benjamin Houy

Awesome post, thank you.

People want to become fluent in French, but they don’t know how to do it.

I show them how they can become fluent in French using proven strategies and effective tools.


I’m hooked.

Problem: Companies that struggle with executing their big vision and turning it into reality through product development processes that work.

Solution: I offer a set of services to help companies realize their vision and effectively take their products from ideas to reality, ranging from high-level training and workshops to being embedded with teams to help implement the strategies I teach.


For buying good quality design furniture you have to travel far and the showroom does have the most standard items available. Most online shops do only sell the standard items and models and/or ship only locally.

Online sales of high-end design, full range of products and per brand available, niche products. Shipping worldwide. Direct online support available.


PROBLEM: People are fat, sick, stressed & fearful because they don’t know WHO they are.
SOLUTION:I help R3(Reverse, Retrain, Rebuild) the Body & Mind with my R3 Body Method (Detox/Food, Fitness, Supplements & Mindset) through

(Free) The R3 Detox Game that people can play to earn points that consists of weekly body/mind challenges to complete. A fun & unconscious way to elicit behavioral change.
(Paid) Coaching Courses & Speaking events for my ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road to your TRUE SELF’ series.

**I have a health club & have mainly worked with clients in person. I find it difficult to reach people & sell online. ie.The detox game on my site is so powerful & has helped people kick their sugar addiction, save their marriage & more, yet it only has 25 people subscribed to it….did I mention that part is FREE…*scratches head*


Client Niche: Left Behind Spouse
Men (~30%) and women whose spouses are in a midlife crisis and seeking to leave the marriage or have already left. My clients are Standers, they want to reconcile with their spouses. Infidelity is usually a complication.

Problem: Detachment

The problem as my clients see it is their spouse…they are acting crazy (Monster), there is a mate predator, this is traumatic on their kids, there entire life is being destroyed…
But I can’t solve those problems. I can’t change their MLCer’s mind–and I don’t work with MLCers anyway. I can’t stop the affair.
Their are other obstacles/problems, but without detachment those other problems will not go away, instead they grow bigger.


Hi Derek,
Problem: People want to go on holidays to get time and relaxation… but planning a holiday can be time consuming and stressful.
Solution: We do the research and planning for you.

Problem: Want to eat like a local on holidays…but your not a local so you need time to research and book.
Solution: We (locals) recommend restaurants based on your wants, and book the restaurants for you.

The Get In Shape Girl

Big problem: flabby arms, jiggly booty, general unhappiness with one’s self image, short on time, busy life, unsure of the best way to fix these problems, which is a problem in an of itself.

Solution that people will pay for: online personal training with my coaches and I that gives you the exact training program and meal plan for the individual’s body and goals to lose fat and build muscle. no more guessing!

Nancy Townsend

Hi Derek

I’ve got 2 audiences – the check-signer (business owner or senior manager) and the end-user of my product. I know which problem the product solves for the check-signer as it repeatedly shows up in the testimonials I receive from them. A completely different solution shows up in the testimonials from the end-user. In marketing collateral that goes to the check-signer, I can easily talk directly to them about their perceived problem. But both the end-user and check-signer visit the website. Who do I talk to from there? (The check-signer’s perception of a problem is almost always very different than the end-user’s.)

Ashley :-)

Love this Derek. I started out as a psych major in college so I’m always fascinated by it. That’s why I think I’m so addicted to your blog. Anywho, I do two things in my business. One Im an auto transport brokers who helps people ship their car from point a to b. And secondly, I teach people how to do what I do- ship cars for a living.

Big problem People pay to fix: CERTAINTY: People want guarantee rates and know when their vehicle will move. They want certainty not left to chance like most brokers do.

How I solve it: I work with carriers directly so your spot on the auto transport truck and your rate is always guaranteed.

Big problem People pay to fix: People want to become an auto transport broker but have no clue where to even start.

How I solve it: I save them time and money from having to research or use trial and error by showing them step by step how to start and run an auto transport broker business.


connie curtis

I am starting my business so love what your doing. Big Problem: people getting diagnosed with gluten intolerance and food allergies then the doctor says cant eat this and tells them there is a ton of information out . you do fine. the person says what the hell , how do I do this and I dont have time to research all this.

Solution: I offer guidance to these folks on everything the doctor didnt tell them how to do everyday around gluten or food allergies from reading labels to eating out and more. I have been down this road so I know what they need to do so I can save them time and money when they hire me and they get well faster.


Hey Derek,

Fantastic article.

PROBLEM: When you opened up your ETSY shop a few months (or years) ago, you expected that you would quickly be able to quit your job and work full-time on your passion for crafting. But things aren’t quite working out as planned. Despite all your hard work, you have barely made a hand full of sales.

SOLUTION: In my book, “How I Made My First $1000 on Etsy (With No Social Media Following & No Money to Spend on Advertising)”, I will show you how I:
– Get over 100 shop views per day with less than 50 items in my shop;
– Get free promotion from my small, but loyal following;
– And ultimately, made my first $1000 on ETSY without a social media following or an advertising budget!


My target audience is Founding and/or Legacy Leaders for churches, non-profits and para-church ministries.


Leaders are retiring at alarming rates. Many of them are paralyzed in their ability to address the topic of succession planning. It’s not that they want to inflict damage to the organizations they love by transitioning poorly. It’s that many have no frame of reference for what a healthy succession COULD look like in their context. Consequently, fear sets in and causes organizational paralyses.


I teach leaders (for free) six key areas they will need to navigate in order to get from where they are to where they want to be – having executed an effective transition plan. I have created products and services to help leaders go deeper into any of the six areas they need help with. My clients self-diagnose the area(s) they need help with.

It has been said that succession planning is the last great act of a leader. I COMPLETELY DISAGREE! Succession planning is the gateway to a leader’s greatest season of influence.

I help leaders understand how to navigate the succession planning process so they can move into their greatest season of influence.


Hey Derek,
My customer’s problem is: how she can best honour her parents and grandparents on the day she leaves them to start a family of ther own – her wedding day. She is a third generation of Croats abroad, and was brought up respecting her family’s origin. She also wants to feel and look georgeous, as all brides do…

My solution to my customer’s problem: a traditional hand made Croatian jewelry, with a more than a hundered years old design, made contemporary. Translation: unique.

Thanks for asking!


Problem: There has been mulitple hits in life: maybe divorce, foreclosure, job loss, death. Feelings of despair, despondency, failure and boredom.
Answer: Pushing Reset – Teaching people who are ready for massive change how to start with telling themselves the truth about the lies they believe, to exploring options, to fericious courage to engage the PUSH IT skills to make the change they dream about and start fresh



So, I am selling Shirts online, it seem that no real big company selling shirts are solving a problem. They seem to just be selling items online that people like.

Derek, How can I solve a problem?

Kind Regards,



Great Advice as always Derek. You make it sound so simple and I appreciate that. Can’t wait to the next post and Thanks!


Women who want to start their own business online but feel overwhelmed on where to focus or stuck in indecision. They don’t have clients, a marketing plan, and aren’t clear about what they offer yet they spend months watching free training, getting business cards or perfecting their website. They need a plan and to know where and what to focus their energy on.

I offer private coaching that is focused on keeping my clients in action and accountable to implementing and following through on specific activities that will get their business going and growing consistently. I give them a simple and clear 6 month step-by-step plan on where to focus each day and how to go from overwhelm and distracted to focused with tangible results.

Would love any feedback.

Thanks for this article Derek!!


I just figured out what I am actually all about, so thanks for that Derek.

“I want to teach filmmakers, comedians, musicians and other entertainers how to make more money by sticking it to the man when they become their own boss.”


Big Problem -A lot of independent filmmakers, musicians, comedians, and others in the entertainment industry have no audience, and with no audience, have no method of getting paid to do the kind of work they enjoy. They often spend the majority of their time working a day job that doesn’t fulfill them.

The Solution -Change their mindsets so that they stop thinking like employees and start to think like entrepreneurs growing a business which sustains them on the side, while growing an audience to whom they will ultimately be able to sell not only the products they create, but also the art that fulfills them.

AJ & Serenity Services

Hey Derek great article! I appreciate you going above and beyond in delivering excellent content to your readers.

My Big Problem: many small business owners and entrepreneurs (online or offline) don’t have the time, money, or expertise to establish their online presence. Some are on a budget and cannot afford the typical rates for logo design, web design, or SEO help.

My solution: my partner and I provide these entrepreneurs with low cost graphic design, website creation, and SEO services to help establish and/or improve their online presence. We also offer different package deals where prospects can get even more bang for their buck. By outsourcing these tasks to us (without costing them an arm and a leg), they can better invest their time in their business.


Big Problem – people are unclear and/or unhappy about their actual worklife. or – People don’t know how to unleash their true potential and express it in their work/business

The Solution – Soulful coaching to help them find clarity from within and a roadmap to construct the life they want, in 10 one-on-one sessions.


PROBLEM: millions of people are suffering with embarrassing and uncomfortable symptoms of IBS including excessive gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea and/or bloating.

SOLUTION: I provide strategies, diet advice, and recipes to help IBS sufferers Relieve these symptoms.

Thanks for the videos Derek, looking forward to hearing what else you have to share.


The problem: photographers spend too much time basic retouching their photos. They think outsourcing is expensive or the retoucher couldnot do the basic edits of their photos according to photographer’s own style.
The solution: outsource your basic photo editing and invest these hours in your business. Think what you can do in these extra hours. Try it.


Problem: getting family pictures can be super stressful. Finding the perfectly coordinated outfits that aren’t too “matchy”, getting everyone perfectly primped, keeping kids happy and engaged for more than one photo. Convincing the husband it’s worth doing.

Solution: funbooth sessions. A professional quality photo booth session. Casual, easy, FAST, and fun. Intended to be relaxed, fun, and candid like a photo booth. Pictures are only from the waist up so only your shirts matter, and if you print them in black and white, your outfits don’t even need to color coordinate. Family pictures without the Xanax.


Not sure if I have the gist of this, I am a versatile creative trying to make some pocket money online:
Idea 1:
You are so busy, trying your hardest to give your kids the best life possible. You want to be creative, and seen as successful, “having it all”. You arrange the party, invite the guests, prepare and serve the food, How do you feel when you bring out the cake, light the candles, and realise you don’t have the camera ready? GUTTED
Follow this birthday party schedule/checklist – no more missing out on the moment/forgetting things – getting everything from the party you want AND MORE!

Idea 2:
You are so busy, trying your hardest to give your kids the best life possible. You want to be creative, and seen as successful, “having it all”. Dislike the corporatism and commercial dress up costume for halloween/book character/dress up parade – prefer something interesting and creative but SHOOT> the parade is tomorrow!
Download the template and guide for a fun and unique costume all you need is a printer, a bit of creativity and some things you will have at home already. You will have put together a costume (while involving your kids) in no time.

Idea 3:
You are a creative person pushed for time – the awful commercial sympathy cards at the shop with photos of white roses the only selection available and just don’t cut it to send to someone you care about
Download template to create a beautiful heartfelt partly handmade card in the same time it would take you to go to the shop and buy one.
Problem 4:
Don’t want a cropped photo of yourself with other people/drinks/Santa cropped out of it as your Avatar. Would prefer to be recognised by an appropriate and memorable personal online image – avatar, email signature and letterhead that you can also print out.
Solution: Download a template package, and be uploading your new avatar/emailing an introduction letter/CV in moments

Does anyone out there identify/believe in any of the above? xx


The big problem:

We all have a little pain in life.
Occasional back pain. Emotional hurt sometimes.
What’s more, you’re noticing that you’re lacking the liveliness that had you had in college. Feeling like you’re on autopilot? Drained? Perhaps you’re comfortable but not ENERGETIC. Life has stagnated.

A therapist can help you recognize the “whys” of your life, but HOW do you change them?
More yoga…?
…What do you do off of the couch? Off the mat?

THE Solution:
Practical skill building of how to redirect your energy, both physically and emotionally.
You’re ready for change?
I’m a one and done deal.
Be ready to dig deep and work.

I’ll teach you how to recognize both your physical and emotional habits, and and provide the roadmap for greater possibilities of energy and freedom in your life.
Choose your reactions by using the Alexander Technique.
Conscious energetic direction.
Body and mind congruence = contentment.

You deserve it.
Come activate your poise (the name of my upcoming website 🙂

Guy Hauptman

Problem: high school students in New York State need to pass their Regents Exams (biology and chemistry)

My solution: an online video series that guarantees a passing grade on their exam or their money back

Mary Ann

Big problem: young professionals wanting to improve their health naturally but have no time to sift through all the data to choose the option that best suits their lifestyle.

Big solution : I provide a one stop lifestyle improvement experience focused on mindful eating, active living and lasting results.


Professionals, new entrepreneurs and local businesses want to be successful and come across in a certain way through their online profiles and websites, but the images (photos, either headshots/portraits or other photos of products or “brand” photos) they are using are turning people away or, at least, making people second guess their credibility as a trusted source, leading to lower confidence in the person, product or company.

Solution: professional photography that takes your brand identity into consideration and revamps your look so that people feel confident in you and also buy with their eyes.


“Cindy” is my client avatar.

Cindy’s problem: she’s starting a business online and has her website up and has a course she wants to sell and a lot more ideas. She just doesn’t know how to go from her “one click WordPress install” to being able to sell a membership subscription to the course she wants.

My solution: I’ll be her turnkey solution. She tells me what she needs, and I let her focus her time and energy on developing that course she wants to sell. I’ll take care of the installation and presentation of all of the widgets she needs to add to her site to make selling her thing possible. She gladly pays me because while she could probably figure it out, she’ll make more money sooner if she pays me to do it.

Dimitrios Morfis

A critical question. What would they do if money didn’t matter? What is the big problem anyway? A necessity. Great insight Derek and really helpful!

Carlos Ramirez

One of the wonderful things that can happen to us when we are involved in Online business, Marketing, Network Marketing, Affiliate, Direct Sales, final products, e-books, training guides, health and wellness programs, Is what we Invest In ourselves. vehicle that will take us to the next station where the next steps will be revealed, depending on the Desire, Faith, Planning, Persistent. Formal education will help us to earn a life!. The self-learning will give us a fortune! To be continued


Derek! Thank you for making me do the homework, it’s much REALER than jotting this down on a piece of paper.

I work with women who feel lost, purposeless and disconnected from their cycles and womanly wisdom.

My offerings provide women with ways to feel emotionally satiated and connected with their natural womanly rhythms by exploring the more wild aspect of their femininity and ways to bring life into and love their cycles. This can happen with my e-mail ritual programs, diving deeply into the mysteries of our cycles, and one on one time together, exploring and making these inner connections.


Thank you,



This is the problem we solve: newlyweds who are overwhelmed and find it difficult adjusting to married life.

Solution: Products and services to help them have a great start to married life without being overwhelmed, and strategies for building a strong foundation for the lasting marriage they desire.

Thank you.


Problem: Many travelers (particularly American travelers, whose vacation time is at a premium) want to make sure they have the most authentic experience of a city. They don’t want to stand in line with the other tourists and come back with the same photos and stories. They don’t want to find out later that they got scammed. They definitely don’t want to feel like they missed out.

But finding the hidden gems of a city, meeting the locals, having an authentic experience of a place, and having the bragging rights afterward? Yes, please.

Solution: The 100 Locals guidebooks (now available for Italy, Barcelona, Paris, and Prague) are a collection of interviews with real people who live and work in those places. They’re long-time locals, passionate expats, chefs, trekking experts, historians, and culture buffs. And they’ll tell you how to find that hidden-away pizzeria with the best pizza in Rome, or the palace that inspired Versailles (which most Paris visitors never visit), or that unique tour company in Prague whose tour guides are (wait for it) homeless people.


Great article indeed, helps me with ideas of promoting a new service I’m working on. Thank you!


Problem: People feel uninspired or overwhelmed when it comes to creating mixed media art or art journaling

Solution: I provide inspiring and approachable video instruction for people to get started and create their own art that they will feel good about.


Thank you for your course, Derek!

Big Problem:
You know what you want to do; you know you can do it, but something in you keeps you from moving forward. It’s so overwhelming it makes your head hurt! and you just want to get starting but you can’t seem to make that first step… for months… a maybe years

I specialize in helping you get to that first step. Sometimes we just need help working through our options. Sometimes, we just need to identify what our options are when the possibilities seem so overwhelming. You start by answering a few questions and then we have a free 30-minute to discovery session to see what’s unconsciously keeping you from moving. And if you need some help from there… you can choose from our convenient continuing support options. But it all starts with 30 minutes to make the headache go away. Are you ready?

Steve Corriveau

It seems I have a dilema.I am a graphite fine artist and my niche is the New York Yankees and I want to help the faithfull celebrate the greatest team in the history of sports.I want to illustrate their present players greateness as well as those players in the past.I think one of the best ways would be to ask exactly what they want,what’s missing from other artists and what they would pay for.What do you think?


My target audience are small business owners that do not know a lot about online. Their problem is that they want to spend little time online but be more visible and get more clients. I help them by training them how to use website and social media effectively. The training can be done in different ways. I also set up sites and social media and make straight-forward marketingplans.

Brian Matthews

We are a town planning and development company and we help people develop their land. Their big problem for people is knowing whether they should they a property to develop and if they can actually develop what they want and make money. We offer a brief discussion first to understand what they are doing. In our world, we know if something is generally possible, but with local government and 500 page planning schemes, the devil really is in the detail. We offer to our prospective clients a Preliminary Site Report. This confirms what is possible and looks for any issues that might kill the deal or add large hidden expenses. During every conversation I will ask what they expect to pay for the property. If they say $500,000 I will generally say “that a small investment of $550 to confirm that what you want to do is possible is definitely worth it as you don’t want to be left with a half million dollar property that you can’t sell.” I know it sounds a little salesy but as part of our a 10 minute chat, its much more natural. People always agree. I’ve only just changed my discussions about upside, profit and finding hidden expenses, and this new approach is resulting in much better sales.


Problem: Entrepreneurs and small business owners do not know all of the legal steps that must be taken in order to safe guard their business and income. Since lawyers are expensive and the legal aspect of business is complicated, confusing, boring, expensive it is often ignored.

Solution: A legal service membership for an affordable monthly rate that includes unlimited legal consultation, document review, debt collection assistance, legal correspondences, trial defense, IRS audit assistance, and 25% discount for services not included in the memebership.


Hi Derek,

Thanks for you effort in helping others.
Despite being independent for over 20 years (thumbsup) my weak point is marketing. So your effort is also reaching me. Please Note my website is temporary till the official one is done.

Over the past few weeks I notice something – I need to be more specific on where I come in. I was always reluctant on aggressive talking and that has left it’s marks in my marketing attempts. And as you mentioned David Ogilvy “When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire” and that I was way too shy to do. I am sure with that professional knowledge and life experiences I could do better.

So here my part 1 homework (on Communication):
The Fire: I am in SE Asia. In some countries people are really bad in talking and understanding the Business Language nr. one – English. In a Globalized world you have no time to lose and need to improve or close down.

The Foam: I can see from my past assignments that I am a kind of a “troubleshooter”. I can help people get of their way to excel. It’s not enough to know that but I need now to think of how I can better communicate this to potential clients.

Your comment is much appreciated.
Thanks Derek and keep you reading.


Is this what you mean? I read, I listen, yet it seems I absorb nothing, but I think I heard you this time. I’ve also tried to use language that is more like story telling than technical reading this time.
PROBLEM: My grandfather served in WWII, was highly decorated, and made it home again. My grandkids can’t seem to relate to anything from that era. I know they never met him, but I wish they could know him. All I have left are a few letters and photos, his military pins and awards, and his favorite pipe.
SOLUTION: Sounds like you have the makings of a story box – we can frame the pipe, the military pins & awards, some photos, and perhaps even a letter or two. Bring everything to the frame shop, we can look at everything, decide which pieces tell the best story, then design a display the honors your grandfather. Having this hanging in your home will also encourage conversations about him and that time.

Tamara Baranova

Great post, Derek! I’ve had some of those emails after my previous comments here that you used in the example 🙂

PROBLEM: Coaches have heard that digital marketing can help them grow their business and that social media is the IT thing to be doing right now. But they haven’t got the expertise to do it, or the time to figure it out, or the technical aspiration to get involved and try things out for themselves. They are worried they will lose the time and gain nothing. Or they’ve played with it a little and didn’t see any results. Yes others are promoting it so much, how are they missing the trick?

SOLUTION: I can help coaches and entrepreneurs use social media effectively that grows their business and generates new leads. They don’t need to worry about technical aspects, or that they will waste time and money figuring out what works and what doesn’t, or that it will take them hours and hours to learn everything there is about social media and digital marketing. Either they can follow a proven system that works and do it themselves under my guidance and hands-on training (marketing mentoring option), or I can take care of everything completely for them (marketing services option).


I liked Ur empty room art analogy. I do make art. I don’t make very many sales. I write a blog in which I “engage” readers and inspire them to get involved with life. I like to call it adventure.

U R inspiring me to sell easy – fix stuff for readers – All through Hot Rod Art (?) Most people – seems to me – live what I consider unattractive – unimaginative lives. They need inspiration in their surroundings and even on their backs.

They need Sparkle – That’s my goal ~:0) Thanks – VivaChas!


Hi Derek,
Great stuff here – thanks! I’m a direct sales (MLM) entrepreneur with many naturally based products to offer. For this homework assignment I’ll focus on one of my personal favorites.

**Big Problem** It’s 10pm and you’re all settled in for a nice long slumber. The room is the perfect temperature, the bed is just right – not too soft, not too firm, your significant other is in cuddle-mode. All is right with the world as you drift off into dreamland. Two hours later you awake drenched in sweat! You strip down to your birthday suit, turn the thermostat to arctic freeze and push your shivering partner to the other side of the bed. You toss and turn for the next 40 minutes, then finally give up and head for the shower to try to cool down… only to have the entire episode repeat 20 minutes later. You’re dragging, unfocused and grouchy all the next day, as you continue to battle the periodic hot flashes. And you’ve probably been reliving this nightmare for years, with no end in sight!

**Big Solution** Ladies, does this scenario sound familiar? I have the natural solution you’re searching for. Help relieve menopause symptoms with the world’s first, naturally based, two-part solution that includes a supplement and convenient pre-measured daily balancing cream. No mess & no guess. Get your “Rhythm” back without the worries associated with synthetic solutions.

David Kenward - The Mental Coach

THE BIG PROBLEM: I focus on professional golfers (all levels) who have the skills, ability and talent, do well in practice, but can’t consistently play their best, under pressure, in competition. That’s a problem with their mental game. The pain they feel is they aren’t living up to their potential, can’t play on (or stay on) the PGA Tours, and aren’t having the career they believe is inside of them (and with time, it’s slipping away).

THE BIG SOLUTION: I created a method to solve problems with the mental game to get players past what’s holding them back and consistently bring out their best when it counts. Fast results, guaranteed, even if choking or in a slump.


Hey Derek.
I just joined and am scouring through everything! My product is an actual product (jewelry)…and I’m not sure that it fixes a problem, per se. Does the same theory apply when dealing with a product and not a service?


Big Problem: Small business owners often get too sucked into day-to-day operations to cast vision and work on the growth of their business

Solution: Work with small business owners to create a vision for their company, then establish goals and benchmarks to bring that vision to pass.

…solution seems too vague, but the challenge is that few companies face the same challenges.


I have my big problem to solve and I have the solutions but I don’t know how to let people know I can solve them. I’m a hair stylist so I can aproch a lot of problems from form to color or hair care or styling products. I like to find there needs and wants and educate my clients but I have a hard time reaching new ones. How do I aproch someone about there problem so I can offer the solution?


Oops! Meant to say material has been indispensable!


Problem: I’m a functional nutritionist and doctoral candidate in natural medicine. My clients (mostly women, but includes men) are sick with a variety of chronic degenerative and/or auto-immune diseases and it’s stealing their daily quality of life, destroying their dreams and families, and killing them early, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Solution: I offer customized, personalized healing programs that address the root causes of their illness. These programs include extensive nutritional counseling and coaching, functional diagnostic labs, personalized and focused nutraceutical therapy, comprehensive detoxification therapy, lifestyle education and coaching and, if they roll that way, spiritual mentoring.

And my website has this stuff everywhere….EXCEPT the landing page! Doh!

I have a brick and mortar practice but I want to build a virtual practice as well, so your materials here as well as on the Blog that Converts course has been immaterial.

My biggest challenge is that I’m it in terms of the marketing, the blogging, the admin, the customer service, the products, the clinical research, furthering my education, etc. NEVER enough time in a day, and prioritizing is difficult, i.e. do I put together a funding campaign on Indiegogo or do I work on my blog?

Aviva Goldfarb

Problem: Families want to sit down to a healthy meal together but they find it daunting (Exhausting, Expensive, Unhealthy)

Solution: I give families a plan and grocery list for the week
• eliminate decision fatigue
• easy, healthy, curated recipes
• they can shop once a week


Great article as always.

The big problem : Italian parents think children growing up bilingual are so lucky to learn a foreign language effortlessly. They would love to offer their child the same opportunity but they don’t speak English fluently.

The solution : Come with your child to my English playgroups and learn a foreign language together with her. I’ll also give you materials and support for your bilingual journey.


Absolutely excellent blog post 🙂

BIG PROBLEM: People who are struggling to lose weight and unsure what to do in the gym.

SOLUTION: I provide daily workouts and full training programs from established personal trainers via my site with video demos and support.

? 😀



Great article Derek. I work with take-out restaurants and tell them that everyday lots of people Google their place on their smartphones. How would you like a low cost way to turn that traffic into paying customers?

The conversation begins…

I’m looking forward to more from you.

Thanks, Mike


Ok, here goes:
Big problem : you’re smart, educated yet don’t seem to get the life yiu want. Too many things happen, you lose focus, direction and when things abate, you realise you haven’t made progress.
Big solution: a virtual coach. A motivational video or an article, a quote each day, tailored to your needs, and a progress sheet to monitor your achievements.

Any good?


The Problem:

I help skinny guys who have tried the “lift heavy, eat big” moto thrown out by the bodybuilders and have still got no where. Maybe they’ve entered the gym and failed before or their just too nervous because the fitness magazine workouts are long and not designed for them.

Either way they’re anxious about their appearance and it affects everything from their confidence, to the people they spent their time with to the lack of dates they may be getting.

The Solution:

I teach scientific step-by-step muscle building strategies. Workout programs that help skinny guys build The Hollywood Physique, one which looks good in and out of clothes.

Nutrition hacks that allows them to build muscle without eating 24/7 and getting full and sick every time,

And most importantly the psychological strategies to help them build habits, set achievable goals and stop thinking invisible scripts that stop them from believing they can build muscle and thus, not get anywhere.


Hi there!

I make music (beats), and I don’t really see a BIG PROBLEM to solve.

I just feel like I’m creating something that people can vibe to if they want to.

I guess I need to reframe

Kenneth Allen Morris

For one of my startups I’m launching, I’m solving the problem of drunk driving. There are systems in place that are not working. My company, The Bar Car, is an Uber-like car service whose focus is reducing drunk driving. One thing that sets us apart from a taxi or Uber, is out ability to get your vehicle home for you. I’m starting first in Wisconsin, and I plan to franchise nationwide in college towns and smaller, underserved markets.

Great content. Thank for allowing me to share.


Again, Derek, you make a lot of sense! I’ll do my homework and look forward to learning even more from you. Thanks you! Nathalie


Problem: Most people think dehydration is something that would happen if they get lost in the desert and had to go without water for several days. The truth is that chronic (ongoing) dehydration is widespread. Most Americans are in a state of dehydration without even knowing it. According with Dr. Dave Carpenter, N.D. The common symptoms of Dehydration are: fatigue, constipation, digestive disorders, weight gain skin disorders, join problems, premature aging, acid alkaline imbalance…Seems familiar? More and more people of all ages claim this symptoms.

Solution: Change your water…Change Your Life! Alkaline Kangen Water provide a better hydration. It’s worthy to try when the results can be fabulous.


I am a quilt designer, teacher, speaker and judge and recent author.

Here’s the BIG PROBLEM: Quilters have nooks, quilting rooms or studios that inevitably become a mess. They need to clear the clutter so they can set aside the guilt and feel free to be creative.

My BIG SOLUTION: A quick and easy guide that takes you through the process of clearing the clutter and creating a room that draws you in and inspires you to be creative again and again. A ten step program with daily tasks and a bonus end of day speed clean checklist.


Big Problem:
People outside of the Savannah, GA area would like to have freshly baked food gifts delivered to their family/friend/business associate etc, but no one provides this service.

My business, Sweet Girls Cookie Delivery, bakes cookies fresh each day, packages them in pretty boxes and delivers them to people around Savannah, GA. I have many people tell me on the phone that they are thrilled I provide this service, especially the parents of local college students who are far from home. I just need to get more repeat business on a regular basis.

Michael Daily

Big Problem: Are your guests tired of the same old desserts? Do your guests care about what goes into their body? Do your guests want to feel a part of a bigger, local community? Is your restaurant seeking the best ways to excite your guests with the best products?

Big solution: Avant-garde is more than a word or an idea, its our driving belief we celebrate in our culture. Trentino Gelato provides feasible, sensible and down-to-earth solutions to our partners with whom we do more than provide a consumeable commodity. Our irreverence towards the typical procedures of trouble shooting and service is what drives us to continue towards innovation. Partner gratification is our mission. Supreme service is our inspiration. Gelato is our opus.

Bhanmati Maharaj

You have dreams and goals but do not know how to achieve them? Your 9-5 can only meet your current expenditure?

Dreamers and Goal Setters take note: This home-based business opportunity can be done on a part time or full time basis.

World Class Beauty Products; Nutrition Products – largest selling in the world; Home Products – Been around for over five decades and sales have been increasing annually; Bath and Body Products – second to none; eSpring Water Purifier – largest selling in the world, and more, lots more…

Become an IBO and make those dreams come true.

Kamden Huckabee

Big Problem: Are you wanting to restore youth back into your smile? Have you lost your youthful pearly whites due to lifelong habits such as coffee drinking or smoking, to name a few? Is your At Home Teeth Whitening System robbing you of your freedom by holding you prisoner to a teeth whitening tray for hours a day several days a week just to end up with mediocre results? Can you not fathom forking over $800+ and 2 hours of your time to a dentist to end up with sensitive teeth and bright white molars you can’t even see?

Big Fix: Smile Labs of Charleston is Effective, Affordable, and FAST! $99 Laser Teeth Whitening that GUARANTEES you’ll be AT LEAST 2 shades brighter in as little as 15 minutes! Smile Labs of Charleston is for the Beauty Conscious, Budget Minded, and Busy!

I’m selling a teeth whitening service obviously…lol


Problem: Entrepreneurs who are following their passion with their business but are yearning for a modern brand identity and logo that they’re proud to represent their work. Currently they are dissatisfied with their logo and they feel it does not accurately represent their skill or quality level, and they feel embarrassed to display it on their marketing materials.

Solution: I design a brand presentation that encompasses their perfect brand identity based on input from questionnaire and examples, and refine it until they are 100% satisfied.


The Problem:
Everybody wants extra cash, but the vast majority of people don’t know how to make money “on the side” in addition to their regular income.

Our Solution:
We teach people how to make extra money by doing people’s taxes for pay.


Big problem: Most people attending churches aren’t giving. Many churches struggle to make their budget.

Solution: We make giving easy for the donor by offering a very simple form for online giving that churches can embed in their page. We also offer the ability to receive donations by text.


Problem: Business owner has no time to consistently build his/her Facebook fan base.

Solution: I manage the business’ Facebook Page.


Problem: Business’ website looks terrible on mobile phone screens, too difficult to read and manipulate, too hard for people to find what they’re looking for.

Solution: I build the business a mobile website and host it on my local guide.


Big problem: Life coaches are broke. Median life coach income is $30k because they don’t know how to attract clients.

Big solution: My 7-week Referral Mastery course that teaches coaches a system for generating referrals that is easy to maintain and capitalizes on the coach’s strength of creating relationships (with referral sources).

Looking forward to the training!

Kyle B. Schmitt

Hey Derek, great first homework assignment! It’s really making me think about what kind of brand I want to represent when it comes to solving that “big problem” for people.

Right now my focus is on people who want more out of their lives and are looking toward entrepreneurship as a solution (for either more freedom with time/money) but might not have the self confidence to take those steps on their own.

My solution right now is to grow a community of young entrepreneurs who act as a support system that they feel safe to grow and become the amazing people they already are deep inside. So a focus on personal development, smart finances, and entrepreneurship.

I haven’t really moved toward any monetization as of yet, I’ve been more focused on building a community/list, but I see potential for a membership group, maybe an e-course or two down the road for more mechanical stuff (how to build a website, etc.) and I’d love to have a couple ebooks focusing on the areas of personal finance or personal development. I could start with simple amazon affiliate links to some of the books that have already helped me out a ton as well.


BIG PROBLEM: People these days hate their jobs or need extra income

MY SOLUTION: Join my team and make your own hours, bring in extra (or all) income while having fun!!


Problem: People have too much junk- houses full of clutter and they’re overwhelmed with trying to clean/organize.

Solution: daily checklist helping them create cleaning routines, daily decluttering walkthroughs giving them a specific area to declutter and how to go about it. (It’s an ebook- It’s been selling decently, but I’d love to sell more)

And yes, I talk about decluttering on my blog all the time.

Steve Wasnick

Framing: I run a Pay What You Want online auction fundraising venue for schools/nonprofits.

Problem: NP’s notoriously fall prey to paying what are often exorbitant fees for online auction services, often from 15% – 50% of their auction proceeds (problem #1, the charitable cause ends up with less than 100% of their auction revenues) . Worse, these fees are really paid by their auction winners (the source of the auction proceeds), but the money is siphoned off the winners’ bids without their knowledge or consent. If bidders new this, they would likely be upset at best, or feel alienated, at worst (problem #2).

Solution: Sadly, it takes education for most NP’s to realize this system is not in their best interest – and that they may be alienating their supporters while costing themselves money needlessly. We solve this problem by allowing our NP clients to pay us nothing, thus keeping 100% of their proceeds (solution to #1). Though we’re still funded by winning bidders, we provide a clear, honest, extremely transparent “ask” of bidders to pay a premium (in addition to their winning bid) to cover the cost of our services. Armed with this info up front, bidders can then bid accordingly (solution to #2).

Results: No complaints from winning bidders, raising up to 162% of retail value auction-wide, and then we take from the bidders’ fees and share that back with our NP client, donating back between 2% and 9% of the total auction proceeds, leaving our clients with more than 100% from their auction. Everybody wins.

Adam Justice

First of all I just want to thank you Derek for all of the awesome content here at Social Triggers.

Big Problem: People don’t know how to effectively mine the hidden marketing assets they already have paid to develop in their business, especially their customer list and past customer list. (Not a problem for online marketers, but a Big Problem for many companies whether they sell a product or a service. You would be shocked at how many companies miss this opportunity.)

Big Solution: Proven Marketing Campaigns that generates revenue quickly and easily with no risk.


Hi Derek. Thanks for doing this series by the way. Loving it so far. I tried to rewrite my page intro in your format, so apologies for the long comment.

Creating a clothing line or new brand can seem easy. They’re just clothes. But there is a lot more to a clothing brand than design. factories can be hard to source. Many of them won’t take large orders. Then you have to pay for samples over and over again to get each sample right. Then how do you sell it? Where do you sell it? What should my logo be? What about packaging…… the list goes on and on and it’s a daunting, long process.
Here at Fashion Services we can take the pressure off you and give you give you Retail Standard processes and services that will have you making sales without wasting money or time. With 20 years worth of fashion retail experience we know every process, problem and solution that is right for you.


The problem is that life in Hawai`i is good … and it’s not. Hawaii ranks No. 1 in quality of life, but we also know the Islands too well. We see both the good and the bad up close and real, not like a picture postcard or during a two-week vacation.

We make it possible for individuals and groups to preserve our best and create community anew. Change happens. Through our organization, anybody and everybody can be part of the solution.

Judy - Pedagogical Artist

I saw your post, Ruth Collis!

I’m not Derek, but may I ask you a question?
Who’s to say that the artwork is boring and unimaginative? Do you think that artists actually feel that way about their work? If I were an artist and didn’t feel this way about my work, I would be put off by this description and I might really benefit from your product for other reasons altogether!

Perhaps phrase it from another angle: Want to take your artwork to another level – dimension? OR Do you want to explore new techniques?

Just a thought.


    Oh wow, great suggestions, Judy, but the problem now is in Derek saying to state a “problem.” That brings negativity. Your suggestions are for my positive category, not the problem category of my post… which I actually do like better (focusing on the positive solution than state negative problems). What would “you” put for my problem category then?

    Your site kind of does the same thing, suggesting that a person’s “e-course sucks.” You actually did what Derek said and state a problem there, but same thing, I could be offended that I’m told my e-course sucks or that my art is boring too. I’m not sure I like stating the problem now. I like how people just see my course idea and get enlightened, there’s no “problems” or put-downs, there’s just new ideas that get one happy and thinking about the possibilities.

    Yes, to answer you, many artists do think their work is unimaginative and not creative. In fact, there’s way more artists ready to think lowly of themselves, their work, their fears, their mistakes, and how to get over blank canvas syndrome than there are confident artists that do love their work. There are more people in this world that wish for all they’ve got to be more creative, and much fewer with an overload of creativity trying to give it away.

    But glad for your thoughts. I don’t want artists to get the impression I am putting their work down. It’s just a style.

    Many thanks, Judy!


      Hi Ruth!
      I’m not sure if this is a problem you’re solving, but how about ‘creative blocks’, ‘just not moving forward with your art’, or ‘being unhappy with your technical skills’?


        Love it Marleen! Gonna write these down. Thanks for the feedback. Those are nice and general.

Ruth Collis

This is a great idea! Thank you, and wow, quite a following here. Guess this post is for just me and an exercise to do since I don’t expect it to be seen among the numbers.

Boring, unimaginative artwork from artists.

Make your art come alive with learning 3D painting techniques in Ruth Collis’ online video course.

Judy - Pedagogical Artist

Confession: As much as I enjoy reading other people’s posts (and I do read them!) I am basically interested in ME. Admittedly, I am curious when someone, especially you, Derek, replies to my comment and anxiously await a notification. I have signed up to receive notifications from this thread. The problem is that the notification only offers the NAME of the AUTHOR and the comment – and NOT which comment it relates to,which makes it pretty frustrating, when the comment is something like, “Well done!” or “Terrific idea!” Is he talking to/about me??? If you really want to know, you have to go back to the thread to check it out. With the growing number of comments, this is a tedious waste of time.

Request/Solution: Derek, when you reply to a comment, could you please use the person’s name, “Judy! Super idea!” Or “Jack, still work to be done.” That’s all it takes, so that when we receive the comments via email and peruse them with great anticipation, we can enjoy immediate satisfaction or disappointment, whatever the case may be.

Please NOTE: This suggestion is relevant to anyone who facilitates discussions or manages long threads online.

    Jay Snively

    Judy – thank you for bringing this up! – I second that request.

    Also, how does one get their photo displayed with their post?

      Judy - Pedagogical Artist

      The photos are linked to WordPress Gravatars – https://en.gravatar.com/

      HUGS <3


        Judy, I thought i was the only one anxiously waiting a reply!

          Judy - Pedagogical Artist

          Do the numbers, Sharissa 🙂 Count the number of comments, subtract those who have already received a response and you will discover that you are in good company!
          Patience. I am sure Derek is doing his best.
          HUGS <3

          Suggestion: While you are waiting, make the most of his comments to others and see what you can learn from them re: your product and homework.

      Terry Matlen

      Ditto here, too. Also wish that the email notification links took us directly to the specific response. Jay, I think- but am not certain- that the pix is pulled up via one’s WordPress blog.


Thanks, Derek, for the clarity on this subject, and the kick in the ass to put it out there. 🙂
Problem: high performers who have been pushing themselves hard to achieve their goals but have lost connection to their inner wisdom and passion and are suffering from stress and burnout
Solution: I help them to relax the effects of stress and rebalance their energy with Reiki, and then use coaching, meditations, EFT, and other tools to empower them to reconnect to their intuition and purpose and learn to sustain their own healthy, joyful energetic state.


Hey Derek – great article, thanks. I’m in the UK, just establishing my new business. I’m looking to help small businesses who want to increase their marketing and sales, but have very limited budgets. My solution will be to help them with online marketing, as well as ‘viral’ marketing.


Great article Derek, thanks! Here’s my take on our online retail business in terms of ‘problem’ and ‘solution’. I’d love to hear your opinion on whether or not I’ve got it right.
Problem: people spend a chunk of money on the latest smartphone, tablet or laptop, but they need to protect it from harm and optimise its functions to get value for their money.

Solution: we provide a range of protective cases, bags, mounts etc. to suit all price ranges and lifestyles

Will Black

Big Problem: Businesses generally want to support their non-profit, but often feel a little strapped themselves.

Big Solution: Their merchant account (ability to accept plastic as payment) has a fee built in (they have no choice but to pay it) that goes to a bank. I redirect it for them legally to go to their favorite charity that is a legal 501c3. As we say, you can fund your bank or you can fund your charity.


Derek, help!

Problem: Over priced phone/tablet cases that are generic and of poor quality.

Solution: Customized cases that are more affordable than the generic cases being sold.
I offer individuals a case that can express their personality.
I offer large or small businesses a new and creative way to advertise.


Problem: Most acupuncturists are horrible at running businesses and either go out of business or are scraping by, stressed out, and exhausted.

Solution: Online training video course that teaches acupuncturists a simple 7-step system that I used with my own acupuncture practice to accelerate it to a 6-figure business in less then 3 years. They learn how to start up a business, market, patient care, mindset, taking insurance, practitioner confidence, etc. If they take action on these 7 steps they will become a happy acupuncturist with a successful practice.


People would rather struggle than ask for help. Maybe it’s pride or insecurity, but I want to help them be who they are no apologies!


Thanks Derek!

The problem:
Women with health issues (menopause, cancer, pregnancy) are further stressing their systems through daily use multiple skin care products that contain unhealthy chemicals.

The solution:
Safe, healthy and nourishing skin care products.

Terry Matlen

Problem: Women with ADHD have a difficult time organizing, de-cluttering, getting dinner on the table each night, getting to places on time, managing paperwork, filing, paying bills on time and much more. These challenges cause women with ADHD to feel inadequate, depressed because they feel they can’t measure up.

Solution: QueensOfDistraction.com offers online group coaching in a secret, private room headed by me, a national expert in the field of ADHD who, along with other women with ADHD, will help you to get things done in weekly hands on sessions. Members in this pro-active “roll your sleeves up and jump in” group are able to tame the clutter, manage paper, and get things done through assignments and check-ins.


The problem: people experiencing significant pain, either due to arthritis, an injury, or other, and nothing else has helped. Maybe they’ve even heard yoga could help and were curious to try it. They can also be intimidated to go to a studio or want a personalized program.

Solution: Private yoga therapy sessions in their home or my studio.


Big Problem: People with diabetes often have a lack of confidence when it comes to their self care, whacky results and aren’t as healthy as they can be.

Solution: I help them feel more confident and healthier with my one on one coaching, tailor-making them a program that fits their specific needs.

Timothy Moser

The problem:
Traveling businessmen and businesswomen frequently work with Spanish-speaking colleagues, and while they have a little Spanish, they don’t speak it very well and feel partly stuck or even inept when forced to use the language. Some of these people even have Spanish-speaking girlfriends/boyfriends/spouses, and they want to be able to communicate with their in-laws.

The solution:
They take my free mnemonics-based accelerated Spanish course, with weekly conversation practice, first to re-learn the essentials of the language on a solid foundation, and then to be coached into genuine fluency. The accountability of working with a serious native-speaking coach each week is invaluable.


People working in the self-help / personal development industry (life coaches, authors, trainers, course instructors, counselors etc.) want more money and to help more people with their life-improving ideas.

I help them increase their sales and reach more people by writing persuasive copy for their products/services (book descriptions, course descriptions, event descriptions, sales pages for their coaching/consulting/training, landing pages, emails, web pages).

I specialize in copywriting for Amazon books and Udemy courses.

More than that, I can help entrepreneurs in the self-help industry:
– position themselves successfully by creating a unique brand for their business
– get tons of customers by creating a marketing plan for their products/services and
– outsource technical stuff they hate doing to experts I know.


Does every business have to solve a problem? It’s hard to think of how our bakery business solves a ‘problem’. It’s more a ‘need’. Same or different?


Great article!
Problem – women entrepreneurs straddling the fence between the job they hate and the business they love.

Solution -step 1- prescreen to see if they are serious about doing the work to leave their job, through online assessment http://www.kissmybossgoodbye.com

Step 2- have a conversation to see if they are a match for 3, 6, or 12 month program. The programs are designed to help them leave their day Job in 12 months or less.

claire stone

Currently working on upgrading my site, so this is perfect timing.
Problem: busy entrepreneurs who also love to be active outdoors and surf when they get the chance. They don’t have time to figure out what foods they should eat to get fit, and can get so stressed and confused by all the options and advice out there that they end up just eating the same old reliable foods.
Solution: a nutritionist who breaks it down to small quick and easy steps. One who knows what the most important parts of the food jigsaw puzzle are so that you can do the most effective parts first and know exactly what to do next and how to do it and who makes the whole thing a blast.


Big Problem: People pay the rent to someone else, without owning anything at the end. They enrich other people by paying off their mortgages and don´t build up wealth themeselves. Here in Germany, 60% of people are renters.

Solution: I help them getting their finances straight so that they can save up money for a downpayment fast and buy a home.

PS: Great move Derek. You got over 200 business ideas here. Take that, SharkTank.

J Dunn

problem: women who cant lose weight and keep it off following a restrictive diet, because they use food to deal with difficult emotions

Solution: I teach them self-hypnosis & relaxation techniques that show them how to eat only when they are hungry and develop more effective methods of dealing with difficult emotions

Nitin Aggarwal

Thanks Derek and as always your articles are great value.

Problem :: Sports item and very costly and it’s not easy to pursue a sport economically.

Solution :: Provide 2nd hand sports item to sport loving community who keeps changing there sports equipment or want to start a new sport.


Do your beauty products contain harmful chemicals, harsh alcohols, allergens and/or animal derived ingredients? Don’t know?!?

Get peace of mind with our 100% natural and certified range of skin care, hair care and cosmetics.


Big problem: Becoming more green/sustainable in your home life without turning into a soy latte sipping, vegan, hipster. Spending 80% of your pay on organic soap.

Solution: An energy and sustainability consultancy dedicated to ‘normal’ people who want to go green without too much social and most importantly, financial upheaval.


Problem: Small Businesses (in the creative and lifestyle segments) are willing to start a business – write a business plan – do all that is necessary to get started and grow.
But they a) don’t have the financial capital to get started with the online basics: a brand (logo) and website (business card online) and b) are gobsmacked with writing a business plan.

Solution: For my target markets (creative & lifestyle segments) Flamebox offers all small businesses big-wig business strategies at small business prices i.e. within “budget”. We know how much a small business can spend per month – so we know there’s no point in over-charging.
a) Logo development & Business Consulting: A business without a brand is just another “someone” out there. Put a face to the business and bring it to life with a well designed business logo. Consulting at a fixed rate for small business start-ups (Costs are on par with the government subsidy for small businesses but more detailed and less paperwork).
b) Business Plan workshops: (write a business plan in ONE day! no hand-outs and do the homework. if you want to get your business started then give it direction by writing a plan for it TODAY) plus a review from Flamebox consultants to ensure the information written is on the right track
c) Business Directory: Subscribers are given an online platform that all a website needs in the beginning (contact details, photos, social media links, pdf/word uploads and the most important customer reviews. Reviewers receive a voucher from the company they reviewed for their next purchase).
d) FlameFlava digital magazine: An interactive magazine (iOS app soon to come) where the company can “sell” itself digitally with videos, uploads, links etc. for a snippet of what a conventional magazine advert would cost. By advertising over a year you build brand awareness. The monthly cost includes expertly written copy and graphic design.

    Spencer Goldade

    Hey Sashka. I think a lot of people get a company’s brand confused with its visual identity. I think it would be helpful to your solution to offer branding exercises and workshops to help the company clarify who they are and how they communicate with their customers, and then providing the “visual identity” that is the logo and any packages that come along with it. It’s easy for clients to think that a logo is synonymous with a brand, and it is our duty to educate them on what their brand truly is and how it can reinforce engagement with their own customers and clients.

Kristina Buk

Perfect – just for me: “If you’re selling art, show a picture of a room with no art on the walls..” I’ve always just shown how great it can look – the “after” photo. When relaunching soon with art prints I thought of doing some posts with before/after scenarios – but now I’m thinking the whole shoot I’m going to make – needs to focus on this – and become the main showcases – when entering my site.

Thanks 🙂


Big problem: People are obese and don’t know how to lose weight effectively.

Solution: Tailored macronutrients guidelines and exercise protocols to lose weight. As well as the accountability from weekly check-ins with myself.

Crista Cloutier

Problem: Artists think that they have to cut off an ear and starve in order to be “real artists.” They equate suffering with talent. They stubbornly cling to their failure and make excuses such as “selling art is selling out.” But at the bottom of it is fear, fear that they aren’t good enough, and fear because they don’t understand how the art business works.

Solution: My online program, The Working Artist, will give them the nuts and bolts of how to build an art career and teach the secrets of selling art. I’ve spent my career in the art business and understand exactly how it works. I’ve taught artists around the world how to move from starving to thriving. It’s not easy but I truly believe that any artist can succeed, if they are willing to do the work. And that’s why I call my program The Working Artist.

p.s. I love your work Derek and find great value in all of your posts. Thank you.


Big Problem: You know your passion, but you are unsure how to make a career out of it. Your afraid to leave the job you hate because it pays well.
If you stay where you are your soul will die!! If you take a leap of faith you may fail and be left with nothing.

Big solution: Work with me and we’ll break down your fear and concerns.
Address your limiting beliefs and self sabotaging patterns.
Align you to your values and vision.
Create a strategy and action plan that we work and adjust when necessary.

Big love to you Dereck!


When I read this article, I was so excited, and was sure that I already got that on home page of my site. So, I went there to copy, translate and paste the text here just to realize that all I have is a solution. I have a home based catering and cake business and everything written on my site is just about what they get!
So, I’m going to do my homework now
Problem: People who celebrate their kids birthdays, anniversary, wedding or having a party ussualy don’t have time or skills to provide food and cake.
Solution: I’ll make it! It will taste just like homemade, it will look good and it will be good quality!

Im just not sure how to write that – to try and put everything just in one sentence or to elaborate it 🙂

Ines Festini

Thanks for the article Derek! Beside all your usefull information, I love your style of writing. Very inspirational, simple and to the point.

Alrighty, heres to the work:

Talk about the problem first…

problem: super ambitious and successful business woman struggles to take care of herself, feels out of shape and like a loser. She doesn’t have time to go to the gym three times a week, doesn’t know how to train anyway and doesn’t really know what to eat. She’s overwhelmed. She has everything under control, except her health and wellbeing.

…And then talk about how what you sell solves that problem.

solution: keep it simple! I am her online personal trainer on the go! Personal skype kick off sessions and ongoing support. She’ll get customized workout videos that she can perform in the comfort of her home and nutrition coaching based on her personal needs and goals. The workouts are short & sweet, but most effective. Never longer than 20 minutes & no equipment needed. She gets the liberty to train anytime & everywhere, whichever her agenda allows. This is about getting the independence she’s looking for, but still getting very personal support by me.


This is great Derek, thank you

Problem: holistic entrepreneurs (like yoga teachers or holistic health coaches) want to add retreats to their offerings but have no idea where to start. The overwhelm stops them from taking action on creating their dream retreat even though they wish they could host their own retreat

Solution: They find my 12-step DIY Build Your Own Retreat Course that takes them through every step of planning, scheduling, figuring out where to book, what to charge, how to set up the retreat, even legal considerations, etc, so that by the time they’re done the course the retreat is fully planned and ready to launch.

Cara Maclean

I hear and see so many women who don’t take time to exercise or take care of themselves, because they’re too busy, they’ve got kids, and life just gets in the way. I solve that problem by helping them build a personal yoga practice that 1) gets them moving, 2) clears their mind/increase calm, and 3) prompts healthy habits overall. All this with bit sized yoga sessions and coaching to eliminate time and energy sucks. Cause ain’t nobody got time for that!


The Problem: I’m working my ass off creating beautiful art (cakes, cookies, etc) and I’m not earning enough of a living doing it. It’s me dream job, I love it, but it’s not paying the bills and I need it to.

The solution: 2 days of industry specific training which not only shows you where the money in this industry is, but where to find it so that you can do what you love but earn a real living out of it. We give you the specific tools you need – everything from templates to marketing tactics – to help you earn a living from your skill.

Reynold Liang

Hi Derek,

Thank you for your generous offer. I am in the process of narrowing down my focus, so thank you so much for this piece that came in at a perfect time! 🙂

Problem: People in today’s world are anxious and unhappy because they are so bombarded by the media and their environment. They feel restless and unsatisfied because they never truly spend the time to introspect on what they truly want what makes them truly happy.

So they run around chasing and doing things they are “suppose” to do and never gets anywhere like a lab rat on a treadmill that only ends up being more tired after the long run with nothing to show.

Solution: I will offer a solution or 30 days program where people can systematically unplug from the system through technologies (heart rate variability, isolation tank) and healthy diet (I’ve successfully helped my best friend lose 60lbs through the bulletproof diet ala Dave Asprey), meditation, mindsets (gratitude) and introspecting questioning that will help them be happy again. My program will also help them get back on the right track in life. It may not solve all of their problems, but will start making them asking the right question, and start living a happy life.

Thank you,



My favorite part about this was how every time someone just praised your article, you asked them to do the homework. You do care!

Martial arts–regardless of what they say–usually don’t actually teach you how to fight/defend yourself very well. Most are focused on sport fighting or tradition–which is fine but then they all claim “effective self defense”. I have a lot of martial artist and a boxer friend who all spent several hundred dollars and months on training and still froze during real muggings (the reason is because of forming state cues that can’t be done during real combat and ignoring what adrenaline does to your body).

10 “Cheat sheets” that detail exactly how to fight like a spy (or better than a black belt–still settling on names) and get the Unconditional Confidence that comes from being truly dangerous. Ideally working as supplements to past training but able to stand alone for the select few willing to put the work in (from what I see, select VERY few as it’s a ton of work) and teach themselves.

Wow dude, this took me an hour and a conversation with a friend but… I think I got something sharp here. Thanks for this homework, man! ha, NOW I praise you. This was so super useful.

Dina Burke

My DIY Room Makeover does just that- provides you with an easy to use DIY Way to design a beautiful custom room to your style and preferences with an easily executed Plan of Action.

Muhammad Nazrin

PROBLEM : Should you or shouldn’t you invest in a wedding videography ? It can be daunting decision to make. Seriously, you will always put wedding videography at the bottom of your wedding planning list, isn’t it ?

SOLUTION : NO OBLIGATIONS at all. Yes. I will answer all your questions about investing in a wedding videography. I will break down into bits size about your wedding videography investment. I can guarantee by the end of it, you will make an informed decision to invest in a wedding videography.

Thanks Derek for this post. It is really massive for a newbie like me who wants to venture or just trying out social media marketing to promote my business here in Singapore.

Sorry, if the problem and solution I put is kinda weak. I am new to all these. I am looking forward to all your posts and trainings.


Here’s one that just might stump you…

Problem: Long term care facilities in my home state need inservices to meet new hire (and yearly) state training and education requirements. Without meeting state requirements, staff are not properly trained, staff make (sometimes serious) errors, residents are harmed, and penalties are levied by the state.

Solution: Some of the training and inservices can be conducted online, an easy and convenient way to meet these requirements. As a nurse, I can knock off PDF inservices and training courses like nobody’s business. (Boring to most people, but I like it.)

Issues: My potential customers only cover one state (since state regs differ from one state to another, and I am licensed in my state), far less than the whole world, so limited potential. Also, some inservices (but not all) are provided for free by pharmacies, who offer their inservices free of charge in exchange for the facility using them to supply meds for their residents.

Very limited customer base, compete with “free,” and would like to offer solutions to parties that don’t really want what I have to offer. In other words, they “have” to meet education/inservice requirements, but they would not buy anything from me that they “want.” Make sense? Easier to sell (IMHO) something that a person “wants” rather than something they “need.” Most of my potential customers do not “do” social media professionally. There is a constant battle for them to save money where possible. Pitiful results so far.

Jon Chandonnet

I’ve lost the spark and am sleep walking through life. I wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, and go to sleep, then wake up and do it all over again. I have a nice car, live in a good neighborhood and am a foodie–who am I to complain? But I’m thirty pounds over weight, and my mind is my enemy. I want more energy and focus. I’ve lost connection with myself and those around me. I’m a hamster chained to a wheel, but I don’t know to escape this box I’ve put myself in.

A VIBRANT well-being check-up is a place to start. It evaluates where you stand relative to the 7 VIBRANTs—a timeless system of wisdom meant to generate sparks and identify adjustments that bring you closer to the VIBRANT life you were meant to live.


The problem: People working in the nonprofit world are tired and frustrated due to insufficient funds and staff. They feel like they are never going to get it all done and are always chasing their tails.
The solution: I provide the tools and skills for them to accomplish more and feel good about themselves.


Hi Derek,
I’m a self employed interior designer. I never thought of it this way. Not sure how to apply this strategy to my work as each project has a different nature – eg. Revamping lounge room, revamping office etc. Any suggestions? I’m stuck.. Thankyou

Della Glein

I am a product based business. . .I am hopeful your advice can fit these needs.

Problem: Knitters have many, many needles (in different sizes and lengths – think drill bit sets for various types of drilling) and several projects going at once. The needles are often in drawers, hidden in baskets, under the bed, etc.

Solutions: della Q offers storage solutions with labeled pockets to easily store and find your needles and projects. Spend more time knitting and less time searching. . .

Tung Tran

The Problem: Many people with mid/severe acne have tried every drugs and medications available but nothing works for treating acne permanently. The acne always comes back after a few months. They’re desperately looking for a solution that can…

1) help them get rid of acne FAST
2) with long-lasting results

The solution: I teach people how to treat acne naturally without expensive drugs and medications by making simple lifestyle changes. I’m developing a 12-week course focusing on one simple change per week with detailed instructions for each lesson.


Problem: Social media is a pain for small businesses with no time to think about it, not enough money to pay for consultants or staff an extra person. These days, social media is as essential as a website for any business.

Solution: Low cost monthly service that posts targeted content to your social media channels for businesses to start building their audience. Small biz owners can jump in the conversation when they want, but dont have to worry about scheduling daily and monthly content.

David T

I’m a financial planner and my biggest issue is trying to position that the urgency of the problem is now even though the consequences of now might not be seen for a long time. Most people think they can get by without life insurance until they have an insurable event, and that they can get by spending all of their money now instead of saving and investing over a long period of time until that is also too late and they are scrambling around trying to find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow investment to save them from what they have / haven’t done many years before. It is also hard to position the value of my fees right now as my value is seen many years from now as they start progressing financially and are somewhat protected against poor decisions now and and giving themselves the highest probablility of success when all they can see right now is more expenses.


The Big Problem –
Working Moms feel like they cannot get off the hamster wheel –
The house is a mess. Their diet is worse. They have no energy. They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. They’ve run out of motivation and even worse – lost any hope of breaking free.

The Solution –
26 week ecourse to build routines and habits that make life management easy. Daily emails with easy assignments. Weekly accountability report.


Many people (all of us at some point), suffer from physical, and or mental/ emotional pain. I practice an alternative medicine called BodyTalk that gets rid of these symptoms from the inside out, and ensures that they don’t return.

BodyTalk combines traditional healing methods (like TCM and Ayurveda) with modern science to approach health from a truly holistic perspective. It’s non-invasive, and works with the body’s own ability to heal itself.

(looking forward to this series of posts!)


Big Problem:
When tall men buy standard sized dress shirts the sleeves are too short, the collar is too tight, or it’s too baggy in the waist.

Big Solution:
Dress shirts that are tailor made according to the persons size, in an easy and pleasurable way.

Like: http://www.shirtsmyway.com.


    Hi Peter, yes I can testify this is indeed a big problem for my tall boyfriend! I’m gonna have him take a look at your website.

Phoebe Hook (Soulful Warrior)

Hey Derek,

What a great reminder of meeting your clients where they are at. Here is my homework.

** Big Problem **

The big problem my perfect clients and customers have is feeling the pull to believe in their dreams of travelling the world, and/or spending more time with their kids, and feeling more connected, energised, vibrant and fulfilled in life, except they don’t know where to start to make this happen.

** Big Solution **

Connecting women to their passion and their calling, and teaching them how to profit from it through the art of online, service based entrepreneurship.

How close am I to hitting the mark?

Maelisa Hall

Problem- Therapists in private practice work in isolation and find it difficult to stay up to date on paperwork requirements, have difficulty managing their time and don’t have anyone to give them feedback on their documentation.

Solution- I teach therapists to create rock solid documentation so they can spend more time with clients and less time on paperwork. I will be offering a consultation program to connect therapists with one another so they can share ideas and also provide feedback on their documentation so they can be confident it’s some of the best in the field.

What do you think, Derek? 😉


I’m redoing my website because of these exact issues! Thanks for the help.
I know what I do. I just have a hard time expressing it in a concise manner….

I work with luxury vacation property developers that are tired of hearing complaints from their home owners, property managers and real estate agents about the bad tap water. They are tired of hearing that its making their stomachs hurt. They are tired of having to explain where to go in town to get bottled water. They are tired of having to tell people not to “drink from the sink” They are tired of losing big sales to another developer just because he has tap water that doesn’t make your stomach turn.

I sell a medical device that needs only running water and electricity. It takes bad tasting water rids it of contaminants and fills it with billions of antioxidants.

What was once a sore point for a potential buyer is now a selling feature.

By suggesting it as an add-on to the new home buyer the developer keeps their money for themselves. Better yet, they could even earn referral income for sending them my way creating an additional income stream!

now….I just need to condense that and (I think…) I will be on my way.

Thanks Derek!

Steve Palfreyman

Wicked article Derek! I work with both musicians and creative professionals, so while the problems are very similar, the solutions are a little different.

Whether it’s their music or a creative business, both groups of people are struggling to build an audience, get recognition from industry & media and build the income they need to sustain and grow their career.

I help the artists to build their own launch strategies, taking them every step of the way through things like branding, publicity & social media.

I help creative professionals develop and market their products and services from the ground up using strategies that I’ve used myself over the past few years of growing my own business.


You’re and artist/entertainer who is also a business person. Your bored of the usual gold, shiny stones and blah blah jewellery you see everywhere. Your not a trend follower. You need elegant accessories that are also unique statement pieces, not just jewellery . They must be multipurpose and easy to travel with to fit your busy lifestyle and diverse wardrobe.

I design and make handmade studded leather accessories that are modern tribal inspired yet elegant. Many of my pieces can be worn in different ways from necklaces and chokers to belts and harnesses. Each accessory comes with a sleek protective case for safe keeping while traveling. Statement jewellery for urban warriors.


Big problem: Pregnant women have tons of concerns about the baby, themselves and how to navigate pregnancy, but their busy doctor is often too busy to spend the time with them they need or is just plain unapproachable. So, they end up scouring forums, books, and websites for guidance.

Solution: An Ob/Gyn offers pregnancy “coaching” packages with phone calls, emails, Skype throughout their pregnancy. It’s like having a doctor friend on speed dial; they help you cut through all the confusing info online and get to the heart of concerns and have a stress free pregnancy.

Jay Snively

Big problem:

Businesses are losing money by letting their website’s visitors slip through their hands, never to be seen again.

My solution:

I show business owners how to increase profits by 50% or more by turning visitors into subscribers and subscribers into customers.

— Jay Snively

isaac guerrero

Love the article, looking forward for more

jo ebisujima

Big Problem: Moms are overwhelmed, under appreciated and sick of the day to day grind, the stress, picking up after everyone else and never having time for herself or the quality time with the family that she dreamed of.

My Kick Ass Solution: I help busy moms organize their homes, kids and minds by setting up systems and child centered areas of their home which frees up time that they can then use to connect with their family and have time for that all important self care.

Pernille Norregaard

Big problem: Reading interview after interview with bestselling authors talking about the daily writing practice they never divert from, and realising that YOU need to create your own daily practice and stick with it, but not having a clue how to do that.

Big solution: My step-by-step program that shows you exactly how you find the time to write, create a daily writing routine, and stick with it even when you get bored, scared, frustrated, and feel the urge to procrastinate.


The problem is there are many people who are overly toxic due to poor nutrition, being overweight, uncomfortable in their skin and have low energy levels.

I have a program that will help you to live a clean and healthy lifestyle. I am helping people detox from environmental toxins. I am also showing people how to live a healthier life. I am giving people the gift of health wellness and weight loss.

Alex Leong

Hi Derek

I’ll go straight to point. I “sell” nutritional supplements and mind “food” via two affiliate companies. Yes, I’m not “salesy” and my site’s voice is more to “educating,” “building trust” rather than to “brick-selling!” But after reading your article, I know where I got it ALL WRONG (not that building trust is unimportant) … I did not focus on a TSUNAMI PROBLEM!

The real Mammoth problem: STRESS KILLS yet people either ignore it or are in the dark about it! It’s the few hammer-and-bricks that you do nothing about that eventually bring the bulldozer flying your way!

The real Solution: Tackle BOTH the body-and-mind with the RIGHT “nutrients.” Too many a times we rely on pill-popping alone (and got ripped off at the same time!)

I’m going to rewrite my main page. What do you think?

Ray Pryor

PROBLEM: You’re “burning money” on ineffective ads and websites; and you may not even know it.

SOLUTION: I act as a “smoke detector” that sounds an alarm when your marking investments are in danger of catching flames. As a seasoned marketing expert, I can evaluate your materials and make improvements to make them fireproof.


Thanks so much for this article! Brings such a fresh perspective into putting yourself out there in a “non-salesy” way.

Learned a lot from the comment section already!:)


There’s this huge misconception that selling it’s similar to lying and/or stealing, for sure, they’re over promising liars. But in reality selling is enabling a solution to happen. In IT where I work for example, it’s very interesting that the people who sell the solution make more money than the people who actually do the work, why is that?

The technical job is very hard for sure, can be painful at times, but the other job of selling takes hard work as well, dealing with people’s emotions and mixed messages sometimes.

I changed my perception of sales when I actually became a tech sales person my self and there I learned many things about listening and providing value to people first

Connie Rossini

Problem: Are your fears, doubts, and frustrations keeping you distant from God?

Solution: Trusting God with St. Therese shows how, by meditating on the life and teachings of a popular Catholic saint, I found internal peace. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and practical suggestions that help you dig down deep to confront the sources of your anxiety.

Taylor Davis

BIG PROBLEM: being pregnant in America is overwhelming and confusing. The mainstream culture is one in which women are often not listened to, respected, or heard in regards to their wishes about pregnancy care and birth experiences. Pregnant women want to be the decision-makers in their birth experience, but often get derailed by providers, friends, and family.

PRODUCT: My potential e-book, 24 Ways to Own your Birth, will help address this problem by providing information, ideas, resources, and plans of action for women to own their birth experiences.


    Love your idea and the name own your Birth

Nathan Williams

Big problem that I am solving: How to win at online poker.

How that problem gets solved: By reading my eBook which explains how to beat online poker.

Derek, this article of yours was very enlightening because I am not highlighting the problem well enough and what it would be like for them if I solved it. I need to make some big changes to my copy. Thanks and keep up the great work!


Hi Derek,
Thank you for your very timely article. Has helped with marketing that I am putting out in the lead in to the busy wedding season in Wanaka and Queenstown, New Zealand.

In the lead up to your wedding its going to get busy, its going to get stressful and overwhelming.

Do yourself, your mother, your maids and your groom a favour and hire Fantail Productions Day of Service. Trust us to be your spokesperson. Let us take care of all the nitty gritty stuff so that you can relax and enjoy all your hard planning work. Making each hour of your wedding day worry free and seamless.

Happy days, Rebecca

Steve W

Problem: Filthy underground carparks that are too big to sweep by hand with a broom.

Solution: I have a commercial ride-on sweeper/vac that can do the job at a fraction of the cost of buying a machine.


Problem: Massage therapists needing continuing education for licensing/certification compliance as well as needing help with expanding their business.

Solution: Offer a variety of continuing education courses in seminar, webinar, and home study formats. Also offering free and paying support services specific to the massage therapist community (i.e. marketing material makeovers, school and therapist directories, informational videos, bookkeeping, intake, and SOAP note forms, etc.).

Looking forward to learning as much as possible with you!

Jay Kimelman

Business owners don’t know what they don’t know. The did not get into business to be a bookkeeper or an accountant and get held down with keeping the books and compliance.

We provide the back office solutions to take the burden off the business owners shoulders and free them up to do what they got into business to do or to improve their life by spending more time with their families.


Makes sense. Excited to hear more.


Finding advertising methods that are effective, yet still affordable for tradesmen in the Riverina (Rural area of NSW Australia).
Being online our overheads are lower than traditional forms of advertising which is a saving we can pass on to our customers. Our website is effective as not only is it the only one of it’s kind in the Riverina but it is locally targeted and in-line with current consumer trends.


Big Problem: New Business Owners & Active Business Owners not knowing the value and need for accurate bookkeeping and not having the time to setup a system & keep up with it on a regular basis.

My Solution: Educate business owners on the importance, setup up a simple system for bookkeeping & we can even do the bookkeeping for them. They get the info with minimal work on their part!


The big problem I solve is sleeping problems, behavioural problems and low self esteem in children 3 yrs old and older by removing environmental triggers that cause these problems.

I do this by providing bedroom makeover consultations. The bedroom is the child’s sacred space and relates to their identity. Consultations can be done in person or online or via a 5 week ecourse.

The one thing I struggle with is wether to tell people the systems I use to solve the problems. I use feng shui, numerology and colour therapy and wonder because they are alternative therapies so to speak am I inclined to scare ppl away.

Thanks Derek

Jeff Harrison

The Problem facing my ideal clients, local small business owners, not getting enough traffic and sales and no idea of how to create consistent income from names in a database, because they have no online presence.
My solution is we create an online video, get it to page one of Google in their specific niche, helping them with traffic by getting them on page one, as well as placing them on our site and exposing them to our traffic and finally, putting a call to action at the end of the video that offers them gift in exchange for their information (builds list)

Leigh Shulman

You’ve wanted to write for as long as you can remember, right? You have all these great ideas. Sometimes you even start to write them down, but something always gets in the way. You never actually finish anything, and man is it frustrating.

My writer’s retreat will help you break through your blocks and figure out what keeps you from writing. Work with me for a week and you’ll not only start AND finish a project, but you’ll walk away with clear goals and next steps for your writing career.

(Which, btw, the website for this project is different from my blog address. It’s http://creative-revolution.com)

And someone also wrote me after finding me through a comment on your site. I erased it. Sorry people are doing this. Such bad manners (is the nice way to say it.)



Women are feeling run down and unfulfilled, and are seeking guidance around how to live in alignment with their environment, the seasons, and their cycle – all whilst supporting their partner/family and integrating this into their home.


Via my ebook which is a guide to seasonal living, mindful food preparation (that is simple and non-intimidating), methods to sync up their cycle to the moon cycle, and create optimum digestive health – which is the key to maintaining overall health and happiness. It’s all focused on living in aliment with one’s values and standards of health.

I’d be incredibly grateful for anyones feedback!! Great thanks in advance 🙂


    I really like this. I’d be interested to see what you have already come up with. I think this is really relevant for a lot of people I work with, especially the moms.


The Problem:

High potential women who don’t know their purpose. They want to do something great with their lives, but get stuck when fear gets loud.

How what I sell solves their problem:

I sell life transforming VIP Days, Deep Dive VIP Days and 1-on-1 Coaching. Backed with testimonials and stories from clients who get results, my coaching helps these women clarify their purpose, amplify their strengths and thrive financially with what they already know.

The result:

Happy, fulfilled women who finally know their purpose and are living it out.

Shae Baxter

Problem: Many entrepreneurs and business owners never do keyword research. They’re guessing what search terms will bring them the best and most profitable traffic instead of validating it. This means the words and phrases they use often attract the wrong type of people to their website, which often means that traffic is bouncing.

Solution: I provide custom and personalised (not cookie clutter) keyword reports of the very best keywords for your niche – those keywords you can rank for. These are the keywords that will allow you to rank high in Google and make you the most money. These reports help people find their best clients by finding the best search terms/keywords they can use in blog posts, sales page, web pages etc to attract their ideal clients. This includes detailed advice on how to use them and the potential profitability of each keyword.


Problem: Apple ships all their computers with Garageband, a free & simple to use recording software. However, there is far too little help on the many features it includes. Especially when it comes to the plug-ins & advanced features.

Solution: I offer free video tutorials on basic operation & could sell a PDF or video training with greater details on the advanced features.

Feedback anyone?


69% of industrial company marketers report at best they are neither satisfied and at worst, extremely dissatisfied with online marketing efforts according to the 2014 Trends in Industrial Marketing (learned that from you :). The trouble is many manufacturers don’t know how to use online tools to achieve company goals such as customer engagement, retention, lead generation, etc.

My content creation/marketing services delivers copy aligned with goals of manufacturing companies by focusing on customer/prospect needs, wants and desires.


Problem: Working mothers who are unhappy and looking for more balance in their lives. They are looking for fulfillment and to reach their goals.

Solution: Provide a framework to help people understand who they really are, what’s important to them and only focus on their main concerns. Whether that be spending more time with family and not feeling guilty, getting that promotion, or starting the first college fund

Susanne McCabe

Big problem: Ecommerce businesses who have difficulty meeting their online conversion targets.
Big solution: High-quality website research and practical, specific advice on how to solve website issues. To gain insight I perform on-page optimisation, website reviews, competitor research, user surveys and accessibility audits.


Dear Derek, Thank you for a great article. However, I am more used to videos and now I see how lazy I am to read :D. I am definitely going to include video in my new website. I am a career coach (12 years of experience in HR) and business consultant (8 years as a business owner). I struggle how to communicate it on my website as these are 2 target groups (employees/business owners.)

The problem: Reaching goals that people, who are ready for change set
The solution: I have techniques and strategies to push them a little bit their way.

What picture would represent this? I want to avoid just the happy person face. As there will be my happy face on my new website :)). Thanx

Lauren Fritsch

Hi Derek!

I hAve just discovered a new problem that I solve!

Problem: founders of startups who can’t get along and want to quit!

Solution: my “functional startup” process gives founder teams tools to improve their working relationships, culture, and productivity as well as proven methods to tackle future disagreements and challenges.

Would love your feedback!


    Hi Lauren,
    Love your website. I´m a Scanner too. I find difficult to communicate as I have so many business activities. Working on it 🙂


Big Problem:

Kids who have a sense of entitlement who don’t appreciate what they have, don’t contribute to the family, and don’t know how to manage money.


Our Kid’s Responsibility & Money Management printables pack which will walk parents through the steps of raising autonomous, hard-working, charitable, and money-savvy kids. Kit includes family job sheets, $ job sheets, morning routine charts, evening routine charts, allowance ledgers, printable spend/save/share piggy bank labels and a savings goal sheet.

Carol J. Alexander

Problem: A homesteader places a lot of emphasis on producing her own food. Yet after spending her day mulching, milking, or mending fence, she has little energy left to turn that hard-earned food into an evening meal.

Solution: My book Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals shows the busy homesteading homemaker how to prepare her food at harvest time so that she spends less time making supper the rest of the year. It shows her how to prepare simple, healthy foods that do not require a culinary degree for those nights when she lacks the energy to chop, braise, caramelize, or glaze.


I am building a website to educate people about dehydration, and to education them about the health issues are caused by being dehydrated. My approach involves: 1. creating awareness; 2. educating visitors on how they can determine their status(dehydrated or not?); 3. what are the best options to deal with their problem.

Biggest challenges: most people are unaware that they are dehydrated, and they do not appreciate the serious health problems flow from dehydration.

Jamie Logie

Thanks Derek, this looks great so far. Im working in nutrition and though it’s very general i’m trying to solve the “what the hell should I be eating” remark that I encounter all the time.
Looking forward to all your great work

Joe Girard

The problem people have is that they are overwhelmed by all of the information out there and bounce from idea to idea, without getting traction. Especially in sales.

How I solve it is by working with them to structure their processes and create clear plans to accomplish their goals. We work through a 90 day sprint to take them to the next level and keep it simple.

PS, gave you a shout out today on my my post including awesome people giving away their best stuff for free http://joegirard.ca/u2-and-apple-stunt-give-away-best-stuff-free/

Thanks for all you do, man. Looking forward to seeing what you are putting together.

Samantha Kaufman

With the advent of mobile apps and the shift into “relationship” marketing (growing your own following or “tribe”), all of the big companies are jumping onto the bandwagon developing their own app with their massive huge marketing budgets, once more marginalizing the small business owner in the local playing field.

Tribal Apps offers affordable custom designed mobile apps for the small business owner that allows him/her to update their mobile app in real-time, send out unlimited push notifications, sell products, schedule appointments, offer loyalty rewards, thus growing a closer relationship to their customers.

Elsa Alexandra

Hi Derek,

Here’s my “homework”:

I work with busy & ambitious professional women who want to have a successful career and also a fulfilling personal life, but who struggle with stress, fatigue and finding a healthy work-life balance (BIG PROBLEM).

I offer private mentoring programs and coaching intensives that teach them how to better manage their stress and time, so that they can excel at work while having a gratifying private life that includes a meaningful, passionate relationship and greater personal fulfillment (MY SOLUTION)

    Elsa Alexandra

    Just hit “submit” accidentally.

    PS. Thank you in advance for your feedback, if you have time!



Thanks Derek!

Problem: People struggle to stay connected in the present moment as they are often worrying about the past or future. When someone struggles to stay in the moment they miss out on the joys of life and are much less functional in work and social environments.

Solution: I offer on my blog yoga based practices that will help them learn to control their ability to be present in the here and now.


I’m a nutritionist and generally solve many problems from thyroid and other hormonal issues, excess weight and diabetes, and mental health issues including depression and anxiety. How do articulate all that I do on one website page??

And, in terms of finding the people who will buy to have me solve their problems- does that mean that I advertise to different groups at different times?? i.e. a target audience on FB in which the member has expressed an interest or concern with weight or anxiety???


Hi Derek!
Here the spanish one 🙂
Big problem: people who start affiliate marketing from scratch and don’t know how to start and how to plan their first profitable business.

Solve: my own video course with the exact route map to choose the right place, right product and right customers.

What’s your opnion Derek?

TJ Nelson

The problem I’m solving is the utter misery of depression. I’m not talking about depression from losing a job or a relationship. I’m talking about “I wake up every day and I feel like shit and I don’t know why” depression.

You wake up and have no energy or motivation for life. Nothing is pleasurable. And no matter how much “positive thinking” you do, you feel depressed and want to die.

Not only that, but all of society is telling you you just need to “snap out of it” or take powerful antidepressant drugs like a lab rat which makes you feel even more insane and isolated.

The truth is, and on my own journey out of an 11 year long depression, there are root causes for why you are depressed. There is always a REASON. My example is I was deficient in magnesium, vitamin D, had adrenal fatigue, and food allergies.

What I do is I give people lifetime access to a product that gets people on the right track and figure out what their ROOT cause is. Once they find that, then I hold their hand and show them exactly how to fix it, so they can live a fulfilling life and not want to blow their head off anymore.


Hi Derek,
Love the focus on solving the pain. I am thinking that our message may not be specific enough. The problem: Canada’s new anti-spam law makes MANY normal business communications spam. Our solution: “Protect your business with solutions & strategies for Canada’s new anti-spam law. We give five free “How to” Guides when you sign up for our newsletter. Are we being specific enough in identifying the pain point? Any small business is affected and needs help.

Should we be trying to narrow it down to specific audience within small business, for example business advisers and consultants and their need to have this info for advising clients re email marketing? Most of these people are at least aware of the law. The majority of small business owners either don’t know about it or don’t know how to implement it. Thanks for any help!

Trisha Funk

Definitely my focus for the end of 2014. I have a new book published and I am absolutely wanting to kick up my one on one coaching clients for the remainder of this year.

Smart people struggle with creating financial plans that actually support the future they want to be living, so because they haven’t given their financial situation any attention they stay stuck living a life of anxiety and frustration over their money situation.

As a financial coach, my “perfect financial plan package” includes a 90 minute strategy session to determine what they really want their money to do for them, how they work, and where their behaviors have sabotaged those desires. Followed with a step by step action plan including a list of activities to shift the automatic behaviors that them away from the plan as well as any forms or scripts needed to address immediate sticky situations. This is coupled with 3 months of unlimited e-mail support and 3 follow up accountability sessions to tweak parts of the plan that might not be working and hold my clients accountable to making mature financial decisions that support the life they ultimately want to be living.

I just put together the package last week and am planning a webinar for this Thursday.


Problem: You want become a bartender and don’t know how to start.

Would a bartending school be good for you or can you learn on your own?

Solution: Follow the steps in an ebook. Sign up for the newsletter and get a pdf checklist to get started and keep you on track.


Thanks for the article Derek. I keep receiving the emails in my inbox and keep telling myself to go back and read them when I get the time, and I’m glad I finally just made the time to go back. I like your advice about approaching the problem first, otherwise you might be targeting the wrong people and missing out on those who really do want your help.

So, for the homework: 🙂

In my case the problem I focus on wellness. More specifically, I work with people who want to feel good and to do it without excessive dependence on medication. I used to be that overly medicated person before I learned new habits that helped me wean off my medication, so I feel a lot of empathy for others suffering from similar conditions and I offer solutions. Right now I offer personal coaching and I teach cooking classes in person or online. I am currently building an online curriculum that includes Skype consultations and a community forum. The online classes make it available to more people who would like to learn the information at their own pace and from anywhere. The personal coaching I received was paramount to my success and it empowered me to keep going and to learn more and to feel more in charge of my personal health. That’s what I offer others through coaching and classes. I’m slowly building a following on my website and different social media platforms. I really want to build a community that feels supported and that supports each other. I appreciate this article and have taken notes going forward.


Thanks for this, Derek. I think we can all see how much work you’ve put into this. Thanks again.

So…the big problem is that Social Workers don’t know how to independently make more money without compromising their ethical standards. They want to enjoy their work more, but they also want to enjoy their lives more without feeling guilty about it.

I solve their problem by offering coaching that helps them align their desires with their ethics, and strategies to start a business (I’m a life & business coach).

BUT MY PROBLEM is that I’m still learning about business myself! Although I have had some marginal success with a self published book, I don’t feel like I can coach anyone but an extreme novice, so I’m not sure how to promote my service.


Problem: All the gurus say having a mentor makes life easier, but when college women ask older women for advice about their relationship, they get told they’re too young to be in a serious relationship. They’re left frustrated about their man and confused about what to do next.

Solution: My blog provides real answers they can actually use.


I have an anxiety counseling practice. The Big Problem: The person is tired of not being able to attend family functions or events without panic or they are tired of not being able to leave their home or being highly anxious all the time.
The Solution: I work with them to be able to go the places they want, to go to a restaurant without getting completely overwhelmed with panic. I help them be able to live a life not ruled by fear. I will meet them where they are whether it is their home, at my office, online (secure video conferencing and telephone), or out in the community (go to a restaurant together, go driving, etc.).


In Australia most people use a rental manager for investment properties but this costs them about 6-12% of revenue per year. People want to manage their property themselves but THE PROBLEM is that it is so confusing exactly what documentation you need and how to do it that no one does it.
My solution – the complete self leasing kit. A kit with all the documentation broken down into sections so they can find it if and when they need it. Plus lessons on how to get great tenants.


Always enjoy your articles Derek, particularly when you talk about the basic and obvious things like problem & solution. It’s so easy to neglect the obvious and important foundational pieces and chase what I call “shiny things”.

I’ve been a coach for years, but am moving from coaching and info marketing into marketing a physical product. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to apply the lessons I learn here to my new venture.

Problem: Dogs, cats or horses suffering ill health, lack of vitality and pain from inflamed joints.

Solution: Organic Fermented Green Papaya supplement that builds strong immune systems, reduces or eliminates pain from inflamed joints and eases digestive issues.

Justin Hammond

Problem: Time starved powder hungry skiers and boarders

Solution: We chase the best conditions over 9 resorts with flexible itineraries and small groups so our guests can truly say the got to ski “The greatest snow on earth”.


OK, here’s the problem: Expectant parents want a healthy, safe, and positive childbirth experience for themselves and their babies, but navigating maternity care, understanding their rights and options, and understanding the process of labor and birth and how to best work with the body aren’t skills most people have without specific childbirth education and support. Expectant fathers are often nervous about their role and providing labor support, and the plethora of information on the internet can be very confusing.

The solution: I offer a comprehensive childbirth class series that is very effective at giving people the skills they need to make informed decisions and to cope with labor. Most people who sign up for my classes desire a natural birth experience and the vast majority of my students get that experience. Too bad I’m not able to help more families off to such a great start because few people are aware my classes exist and of those that are aware, many feel the time commitment is too much or the classes cost too much or they can just take the childbirth classes the hospital offers, which are not nearly as thorough as the ones I offer.

Kathie Simon

Problem: People concerned need to come to my email (for the time being as I have not created a Website yet) to update me on each of their Sports updates by the mid week. I in turn relay the collective information to the media oulets either broadcasters, or social media. I am providing this avenue.
Solution: These steps are simple and educate you to as the Passionate leader behind that Sport discipline to a timely routine to be more effective, reflects efficiency, learn to maintain a weekly attraction and support by fans and supporters and the whole community. These steps enable leaders to provide their updates even if the information or item is small. You need to make them want to come to you to provide information!

Samuel Earle

The Problem: People are stuck in an old, offline, outdated way of doing business which causes headaches and loses money (by losing time or revenue, or adding cost).

The Solution: Introduce them to methods, tools and thought processes that save time, energy and money.

Rick Searns

Excellent article

Our company offers an array of marketing services to restaurants. As a start-up we are focused on our local area in Western New York until we achieve proof of concept.

Big Problem:
Very few restaurants have enough customers and the cost of marketing in both dollars as well as time and effort are more than most restaurant owners can afford.

Big Solution:
We do three important things for our customers.
1. We help our client increase their sales by incenting their existing customers to dine more frequently and by attracting new customers.

2. We help our clients reduce the cost of their marketing by replacing advertising and direct mail with permission based email marketing, referral and nurture marketing, social media marketing and use of our online directory for presentation of their specials, deals and events .

3. We save our clients time by using our expertise to do it for them.

I find your approach to marketing very interesting and more important extremely valuable to people without much marketing experience.

Judy - Pedagogical Artist

Derek, we all kinda agree that you are great 🙂 What I find just as amazing are all the different businesses that people are involved in. Just from reading the comments, my eyes are wide open.

OKAY – my homework:

My Ideal Customer:
People who want to “spin their know-how into gold”. In other words, people who want to sell their expertise by creating information/instructional products such as courses, webinars, video clips, blogs, website, ebooks, manuals, training programs etc.

The Big Problem:
Being an expert doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to share your knowledge with others, so that they actually get it. Consequently, many information/instructional products garnished with “bells and whistles” (fancy graphics, catchy sales pitches, and technological gimmicks) actually SUCK. There is either too much or too little content; the content is confusing; the language is professional gobbledygook, the focus is on “what to do” rather than on “how to go about it” – leaving the users in a state of anger and frustration. Even if they don’t ask for their money back, they certainly won’t buy from this line ever again.

This is where Cut the Crap Solutions comes in:
As a Pedagogical Artist (Yes, “Pedagogy” is an actual word meaning the “Art of Teaching”), I am an expert on learning. I offer two main solutions. As a consultant I appraise Information Products in order to identify what works and what doesn’t. I examine each product on the basis of 3 C’s. Is the product: COHERENT (is the message clear), CONSISTENT (does the message actually come across throughout the product), and COMPELLING (does the product call for action and if so, does it call for the intended action)?.

Rather than telling people what is wrong, I provide them with a solution “What could be” and work with them to make that happen.

For those who can’t or don’t want to pay a consultancy fee or prefer not to share their product with me, I offer a simple mini-course (for a fraction of the price), which will help them analyze if their product is working or not, by asking three “magic” questions.

… and yes, I need lots of help!


Al Pickett

Nailed it!

Penelope Swithinbank

Tired? Overworked? Stressed and stretched?

Come to The Vine at Mays Farm, described by one visitor as “the best spiritual spa ever” for a few days of re:FRESH re:NEW re:TREAT.


Problem: You’re a solopreneur going to networking meetings and events, but your business isn’t growing!

Solution: Learn how to network in a way that works for you! A way that creates business relationships that lead to more business.


Big Problem: People who try to learn Feng Shui are very confused by the varying and contradictory information out there. They have tried to apply the tips to their spaces, with no good results, and their spaces ended up looking strange. They still believe Feng Shui can be of help, but they are at a loss on what to do.

Solution: The Nine Steps to Feng Shui(R) System is the easiest way to learn Feng Shui online. The information is presented clearly and in a sequential, by-the-numbers manner, that is easy to understand and apply. My background as an architect assists me in delivering advice that creates healthy environments where people feel happy, comfortable and safe, and that also look great.

Randy Stuppard

Big Problem: You lose sleep because your Adwords is not attracting customers, is costing more than it should, and is missing opportunities.

Big Solution: We review your campaign and create a fix report where: you can fix it yourself, take it to your marketing company and find out why they’ve been wasting your time and money, or have us make it right for you.


Big problem: Executives gaining weight and don’t have the time to go to the gym or cook healthy meals

Big solution: A short to the point online course that teaches them a proven and tested 15 min routine they can do early in the morning that will make them lose weight so they can look and feel great!

Caryn Hommel

PROBLEM: Foreign language programs are so frustrating! Nothing seems to sink in or stick! What a waste of time, money, and energy. What we want is real fluency (and a little fun, too, please!)

SOLUTION: Excelerate SPANISH: The DVD-led program that builds fluency quickly via gestures, action sequences, stories, and skits! Have a blast while you practice putting useful words and phrases together in meaningful ways. This is learning that lasts, because “what we learn with pleasure, we never forget.” (Alfred Mercier)

Jorge Lopes

Hi Derek!
In my case:

Problem; Musicians in Brazil have few high quality guitar gear available for buying in the country and these few ones usually are really expensive ones and lack client support.

Solution; Using the 10+ years I have in the music market and also my engineering background I founded a company to develop new and original gear, source parts from good suppliers and try to reach these musicians locally with a lesser coast compared to the imported ones.

That’s it.

Brittany Murphy

Hi Derek,

Thank you for starting this series!! I love the way you give it to us “loud New Yorker” straight – sometimes we need that!

Big Problem:
Local businesses are not online in front of the customers when the customers are actively searching for their products and services. And those who think they are online are not getting any benefit from their website or inbound marketing.

Our Solution:
We are a local company that understands how our city searches and can create optimized websites that not only attract customers, but can make them respond and ultimately convert those local customers. We help local businesses compete with national companies on an efficient marketing budget by consulting and adapting to their business needs.

I started with my company 3 months ago as the marketing side and the sales side. Never being in a sales position before I greatly enjoy reading your articles and thank you in advance if you do get a chance to reply to my post.

Keep it up Derek! And I’ll do my homework so that I can travel to Europe on a whim like you someday!



First – thank you for the tremendous value you give!

Second – What if it’s a problem that hasn’t been recognized by the target audience? We handle marketing for non-visual (industrial) brands following traditional methods for filling the funnel. They want more sales but are super-negative about social/digital.

We are ready to run a kick-ass inbound marketing program but they don’t even recognize the need. Any thoughts to create a spark?


    Find a target market where there IS a spark and go for it, rather than trying to create interest. Life is short, take the path of least resistance so that you can be more successful more quickly.


First off, thanks for this excellent post. I’ve learnt much better things on your website than what some other IM sites offer in their costly and useless course.

Problem: Guys who recently got a number of a girl desperately want to text her to impress her and take her out on a date( somewhat they want to make her fall in love with them).

Solution: I offer content and some exact texts that they can use on their specific situation to impress her. I also respond to their emails.

But the problem is I make very few sales (2695 hops for just 7 sales). I also find that the person who emails me to for help never going to buy my affiliate offer. I am a little confused whether to respond those guys are not.


Problem: You’re having a hard time reconciling personal success with social and environmental sustainability. Doing it all feels like too much work, and you’re burning out.

Solution: My step-by-step process can help you define the most effective, efficient actions to move you toward prosperity as quickly, and as sustainably, as possible.


Problem: People want to start their online business (website) using WordPress and they run fast into difficulties on how to set everything properly up. And they don’t know how they can build a website that attracts customers.

Solution: On my portal they learn in step by step video tutorials how to setup a business website and how to modify it. And they learn in step by step videos how to implement marketin strategies. And they can hire us for a flat fee to fix any problem they cannot fix by themselves.


PROBLEM: Does this sound familiar to you: “I thought I was a great parent … Then I had kids”? Let’s be honest. Being the best parent possible sounds great … as long as everyone cooperates and everything comes together. The truth is … For most of us, things don’t always go as planned. That’s when we suddenly meet parts of ourselves we never knew existed. It may feel as if a stranger — someone who yells a lot and feels constantly stressed — moved in. And we have no idea where that person came from and would like for him or her to disappear.

SOLUTION: It doesn’t have to be like that! You can raise thoughtful, happy and well-adjusted kids. You can be the best parent for your child. You can be at peace and enjoy a deep, authentic connection with your child. In my individualized 10-week, step by step program, I guide you to that best version of yourself and then show you how to deepen your relationship with your children so you can live the life you dreamed of when you were planning your family.



As always, great article. You get me thinking about marketing in ways no one else can. I had a coaching biz years ago, left that to run a research firm, and am just getting back into coaching, and working on my niche. Here’s my first stab at a problem/solution:

Problem – Do you remember who you were before you put yourself last?

When you look at the top three things on your ToDo list today, are they tasks for you? I don’t mean responsibilities for your job, or errands for your kids, or commitments for your elderly parents. I mean actions that will reawaken your passions, rejuvenate your energy, revitalize your career?

Solution – My one-on-one coaching and online courses help women over 50 to reconnect to their inner Warrior Goddess so they can finally craft the life THEY want.

Well, that clearly needs some work, but am I headed in the right direction?



    That’s perfect Annaliese! I’d contact you if I read this, and I don’t even fall into the age bracket @ young 43 y.o. (maybe widen it?) 😉

Daniel Boswell

Big Problem: Local small businesses starting out online don’t know what they need to have a foundational website that begins generating leads and sales all without spending thousands of dollars.

Solution: My Small Biz Start Up Package combines a fully scale-able website platform with critical components like email marketing, analytics and local SEO to get small businesses started right online. I personally work with small businesses to help them develop their website content and an online leads process that they can use to start building an email list.


    Sounds like a great idea. Is there a specific niche business you think you can help the most? Which ones have the most pain, and the money to invest in it? Are you offering the whole business package, or just the ‘start right online’ package?


Hi, Derek,
A fan of your eye-opening thoughts.

Problem: people from my home Lithuania (Baltics) learn English at school only by grammar and exams. I live in London now and I see how lithuanians who come here, struggle a lot with understanding *real* English – phrases, signs, accents etc.

Solution: a website in Lithuanian language where I share real phrases or photos from London life.

It’s up and running for 1.5 years now but I’m struggling with taking it to next level financially. Not a lot of people in Lithuania gladly pay for educational stuff.

Anyway, you inspire me to continue 🙂

Dan Kempka

Derek, your post topic is perfect timing for me since we are working on our marketing message right now.

Problem: Many businesses have unmotivated and unhappy employees, which quickly causes poor team morale. Left unchecked, this ultimately leads to a negative corporate culture, sometimes known as the “Corporate Flu”.

Big Solution: Our “Relationships That Work” program fixes the root of the Corporate Flu issue…poor relationships between co-workers, between departments, as well as the age-old struggle between management and staff. This is accomplished through a combination of online courses, webinars, and in-person workshops that help create an ideal corporate culture.



Gawd, I adore you, Derek! This was just perfect timing for me.

The Problem: Total life disruption and chaos that comes from having a new baby. The house is a wreck, the older kids are destroying the books, and we’re definitely not having sex any more.

The Solution: Individual and group coaching programs that examine all the facets of post-baby life, which allow for a completely customized plan to be created.

I, ahem… DO have a brand new sales page for my group coaching program here. http://purecaresses.com/sex-and-life-after-baby/ But I KNOW I need to get clearer about my messaging on my site itself.


I’m (trying) not being negative Nancy, and after reading this post I’m thought, “How will this course help me if I don’t sell coaching, consulting, or information products?” For the first time, I’m seriously contemplating purchasing your training, but I hope I’m not dismayed because I actually sell a tangible product.


    Hi Maggie – I thought the same thing, but I have noticed that I can pick out sales techniques and other things that can still apply to my business (I sell nautical jewelry online). Not all things will apply, but I found I can definitely see how defining a problem, then offering a solution (with your product) can increase sales.

    I see that you do offer classes showing people how to make cards, so you totally have a marketable skill, in my opinion, to glean info from this course for. Think about why people would pay you to teach them something like that? You could say:

    Problem: Do you want to make a lasting impression on someone by creating a handcrafted card that shows how much you care, but you’re not sure where to start?

    Solution: Sign up for my class, where I’ll teach you how to do it in just a few hours!

    Or something along that line. 🙂 Good luck!


      You know, I never thought of it that way! Thank you Iris for your wonderful feedback. I want to send you a handmade thank you card. LoL.


        MELODY! Not Iris. I don’t know how I typed that. Dang iphone!!


      Thank you for your feedback. It helps a lot to have someone on the outside look with a fresh set if eyes. I’m going to try this approach. Again, Thank you so much!

      Randy Stuppard

      Sometimes finding a solution that is “old hat” in another industry can be “new” in the one you’re in. Take the ideas and test them out. See which one(s) work.

Pablo Testa

Nice post Derek, as alwais


Large companies need to show their products visually appealing ,
and generate different contents based on them for use in digital marketing,
printed, and advertising.

I solve many of these problems by creating 3D digital products,
reaching the visual perfection needed for their products,
providing a service that generates satisfaction of having everything resolved smoothly.


Big Problem:Pregnant women don’t know they have options during pregnancy and childbirth and often feel like things are done TO them and not FOR them. Many of them do not have the communication skills or confidence to address this with their doctors

Big Solution: Being prepared for pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood helps a woman become confident. Our childbirth classes, yoga classes and host of other workshops fully prepare women and help them give birth with grace and confidence.



People want to succeed and find a better future for them and their children and succeed in Country X. They do not know where to start and how to do it.


As their Immigration Coach I make an assessment of their immigration profile, tell them what their options are and what they should do in order to legally arrive to Country X and start their new lives.


Problem: Software for creating closed captioning for videos has up to now been either too expensive or too complicated to use.

Solution: My software, MovieCaptioner, is a fraction of the cost of the leading closed captioning software ($100 as opposed to thousands), and it’s just a 3 step process to caption your videos – load your movie, click the Start button, and type what you hear in the 4 second loop. Once you hit the Return/Enter key, it records the caption and moves on to the next 4 seconds of the movie automatically. When you’re done, there are plenty of export options to choose from depending on how you will be delivering your video.


    It sounds like a long, tedious process. For a 3 minute video, how long might it take to caption?


new training product I’m working on (evolving from my work with hypnosis and NLP and love of gymnastics)

Problem: Your daughter is in competitive gymnastics or cheer, and does fantastic in training, but messes up in competition, or can’t handle the stress and judgment. You are worried sick about her self-esteem. (or, you are the athlete wanting the edge- it just seems like a mom is more likely to be the one looking for a solution, and of course doing the buying)

Solution: My “mental coaching” online training program for pre-teen/adolescent girls in competitive gymnastics and cheer, like a six pack for your mind 🙂


PROBLEM: Working out and eating right is confusing, many women are not sure where to start.

SOLUTION: IgniteGirls offers two membership options that GIVE YOU A PLAN to follow: in the gym and in the kitchen.

One membership provides an entire training system that includes a new packet of workouts each month, access to a visual exercise glossary, support from other members and ongoing motivation. The other offers the same, but in addition, a custom nutrition plan and email/text accountability to me.


Hi Derek,

Many of us asume that Grieving from a loss such as Death is the only time one would call that individual Grieving & plus….How do I Transition from Grieving into my purpose?

What do you think Derek?

We would let them know that there are over 40 ways to grieve. Work with them on their point of hurt initiate a (Healing process).
Then lets talk about how we can start Transiting into your purpose.

Jason Cabler

Big Problem: People who are in debt and want to get out of debt.

Big Solution: I have a blog and a paid online course that teaches every step for getting out of debt, as well as how to avoid the behavior that got them there in the first place, how to agree with their spouse about money, and how being debt free changes the legacy they leave behind.


Hi Derek,

Thanks for the article! Here’s my ‘problem-solution’ homework now (as you asked).

The problem: A corporate or promotional video that does not engage viewers and makes no emotional connection with the audience.

Solution: Increase engagement by adding the appropriate background music that sets the desired emotion (optimistic, confident, happy, sad) and makes the video more memorable.

I’m selling background music for corporate and marketing videos. Thanks again for the article and for the opportunity to talk about what I do!


    Do you create the background music yourself? I imagine your target market is not actually corporations, but the videographers who create the videos. It’s pretty easy to find lists of local videographers online along with their websites or even to google your own zip code or state like this: 07719 corporate videos – or – NJ corporate videos. And there’s your list of prospects!


Big Problem: People die. Everyday, everywhere and anyway.

Big Solution: We have develop an highlander-elisir to make you live FOREVER.. Yes.. FOREVER. It’s a new mix of vitamins and stem cells you just need to take once a day. After breakfast.
Yes, of course it’s a joke! but how many times did you heard that? May be not just in the healthcare industry but, sometimes, marketing is just….excessive!

Problem: I am a content marketer and I know how difficult can be to find the right channel to promote your services. You need to spend a loooooot of time (and money) to find the right way. And if you are a small business you can’t afford it.

Solution: I will create a content marketing program to leverage your content and find the right audience for your product (or service).
Actually this is also a mix, but a good one. It’s not forever but could help you living better 🙂

p.s. Derek, thanks for your videos and your blog: it is really “enlightening”


Thanks for the article, Derek.

Problem: Boxer shorts bunch and ride up, creating an uncomfortable situation – both physically, and socially (when you need to adjust your underwear at the office or another public place).

Solution: Boxers that use silicone grippers (like in athletic apparel) to keep them in place, preventing bunching and wedging, and avoiding the uncomfortable situation that creates.

…I know it’s not the typical service/course product that Social Triggers followers typically produce, but I’m trying to apply your lessons to get my business off the ground.

Thanks again!

Jacques Botha

Problem: Employees wanting to start their own online business, but feeling overwhelmed with all the experts /guru’s suggesting different solutions.

Solution: Step by step guide to setting-up an online business with no previous programming experience. Form idea to product /service launch in less than 60 days.


Great tips (and so obvious yet we still miss it!).

The problem: Busy moms don’t take care of themselves so their health and happiness suffers.

The solution: I work with them to determine what they need to be healthy and happy and then we come up with a process to get there.

Linda Melone

The Big Problem: Women over 50 gain typically gain 10 pounds or more, especially after menopause. They either shrug it off and continue to gain more weight and don’t know what to do about it. This makes them miserable, depressed and feeling hopeless.

How I Can Fix It: I provide information and tools (I just finished my first eBook and am working on more ideas as I build my list) to show women over 50 it’s not only possible but very doable to stay fit and lean. I’m 55 so I speak from experience (I lost 15 pounds after hitting 50) and, as a former personal trainer and now a seasoned health and fitness writer, I have the background and chops to provide actionable tips and advice through my blog, a weekly newsletter and… (informational products still TBD…). My eBook is currently at the designer’s and will be my first actual sales item. I plan to create more free downloadable templates as non-salesy sales tactics to turn readers into buyers.


big problem-you have the need to make more money.
Solution-make money online with a turnkey system.


Thanks Derek for all you do. I so appreciate how you stretch us!

PROBLEM: Professionals are applying online for MANY jobs, spending a LOT of time in cyber space without getting the result of an interview. They are submitting chronological resumes to employers, hoping that the employer will pick through pages of detail to find what is relevant. Out of hundreds of resumes sent, when an interview is secured, they are not prepared to tip the scales in their favor during the interview.

SOLUTION: I offer a Professional Coaching package that gets you to the interview faster, avoid excessive cyber space time, and connect with employers. I take you through a 4-6 week process that streamlines the job search process through homework, one on one coaching sessions, AND I provide a Professional resume package that targets what you can offer the employer, and presents you in the best light.

Storm Cestavani

Hi Derek,

Problem: Women suffering from relationships problems — either lack of them, inability to keep them, or not understanding the needs of their partner.

Solution: Offer astrological tools so the client can better understanding their own relationship issues and their partners relationship issues so they can have more productive relationships.

    Gwen Gayhart

    Suggestion: You state the problem as a “fact” or observation. Talk to us about what that feels like to us, so we know you understand us.

    Talk to us about feeling lonely, or how it sucks on Friday evenings when we see couples headed out to dinner together, etc., etc.

    If you want a stellar example of EXACTLY what Derek is talking about, go check out Christian Carter’s site. His emails were ALWAYS nothing but pages of text, but it was written in a way that made it UNDENIABLE that he knew exactly how the reader felt. By the end, didn’t even matter WHAT he did. You wanted it.

      Storm Cestavani

      Thank you for your suggestions 🙂

Joel Harrison

Great stuff, actually reading the comment section helps to think about this stuff too.

Problem: Natural health practitioners(naturopath, chiropractors…) know how to do their specific trade, but struggle with getting clients in the door

Solution: Consulting and services to help them market their practice online and get clients


Nerds, we spend inordinate amounts of time studying things (usually confining ourselves to dark basements surrounded by empty pizza boxes and piles of unwashed laundry). It could be learning to speak fluent Klingon or it could be memorizing the entire history of the Geth uprising against their Quarian creators.

Knowledge is power after all.

And if there’s one thing we nerds are good at, it’s accumulating knowledge.

But what the hell, why aren’t we all rich? Why don’t we have everything we can dream of? All this while some guy who seems like he shouldn’t have gotten past the 8th grade gets what we want.

I’m Brandon Scriver and I can tell you why.

Simply knowing something is not enough (it’s only half the battle after all). You need to being willing to apply, what you know. You have to create and provide something of value for the world sit up and pay attention.

NerdJutsu is all about making practical use of natural nerd behaviors so we can enrich our lives and the lives those around us.

(well now if I just had something to actually sell)


    I just love your Nerdjitsu name, hilarious! Can you put together some kind of downloadable guide?
    I am not a nerd, (not cool enough 🙂 but IMHO, you have a very unique angle here.

Sharon Jackson

Problem: People with outdated websites that are getting no sales, since Google considers their site “abandoned” and they aren’t showing up in local searches

Solution: I work with the customer to create the look and feel of a website that best reflects their business, non-profit or corporate culture. Their sites have a call to action, I provide training in content management and I put them in contact with an SEO expert once the site is built.

Gregg Clunis

Big Problem:
Artists and other creatives don’t know how to get their work in front of an audience.

Twitter and Facebook marketing and growth services. Ultimately will expand to complete inbound marketing services and products specifically for the creative.

    Steve Palfreyman

    Hey Gregg! Looks like we have a similar audience & objective. Would love to connect with you and hear more about your business. Always happy to share ideas about what’s worked for me and the things that definitely have not, if that would be useful for you too.


I’m away and doing my homework now! Suddenly I can see exactly how to help myself… and I really needed this, Derek. I work totally on my own and it overwhelms me sometimes. Thank you so much.

    Derek Halpern

    You’re welcome ;-).

Anushka Christian

Big Problem:
female entrepreneurs struggle to put together their best style and beauty look for events and for on camera appearances. hiring a stylist and makeup artist every single time could be financially difficult for some or some don’t feel comfortable and are afraid the stylist or makeup artist wouldn’t deliver a look they are confident with.
Big Solution:
learning to do it themself with step by step instructions of the basics AND the explaination of the different options on how to put a twist to it that suits their personality. In the long run their image will combine with their professionalism and people’s perception will always be “wow she really knows what she’s talking about”. It only takes 3 seconds for a stranger to form an opinion of us, entrepreneurs understand they are the face and voice behind their business so image matters.

Matt Ackerson

Problem: B2B service businesses suffer from a feast / famine cashflow cycles mainly because they’re unable to generate a consistent flow of quality leads. One business owner told me he couldn’t sleep most nights because he was always worried about where his next “big client” would come from and if he’d be able to make payroll. Every day was different, there was no consistency and growth seemed impossible, like he was always “running in place.” He had little budget if any to invest paid ads, so that wasn’t an option.

Solution: My course trains B2B marketers how to quickly implement a semi-automated “Sales Engine” that drives consistent leads and sales, without spending $1 on ads.


Nice article Derek.

The average investor underperforms the S&P 500 index when investing in individual stocks, thus making it pointless to invest in stocks.

Solution: I show you how to outperform the S&P 500 so your savings go further and you can live a richer life.



Problem: New gardeners with limited space that want to grow their own organic food, but don’t have a clue how to get started.

Solution: I’ll be providing an online course that will walk them step-by-step on how to grow abundant organic food all year-round in small gardens. This will take them through the entire gardening year – from creating the garden to harvesting the crops. The course will include multiple short videos, downloadable mp3 audio files and PDF workbooks, links to resources, and private forums to ask questions and share experiences.

Catherine Johns

Big Problem … Coaches, consultants, and advisers have skills that could help people and a message those people NEED to hear. But they’re overlooked and underpaid; they’re not positioned as THE ONE to work with.

Solution … When they work with me they develop the skills and the confidence to use speaking to attract clients. They speak with power and presence so that people know what they offer. And WANT what they offer.

    Derek Halpern

    Notice how your problem and solution are disjointed. You need to make the message match.

Abhilekh Verma

Problem- How to make money online

Solution- I write blogs to show different legitimate ways of earning money ..I don’t charge money currently.. Because I want to see my subscribers earn some good living..I would surely start putting a price, when I hear back from them on a good note(though I have received 1000a of blog comments already)

    Gwen Gayhart


    Problem: “How to stop following someone else’s orders & do what I want for a change without going broke!”

    It’s not about what happens. It’s about the effect that it has on me!

Steve Daar

The Big Problem:
Potential customers abandon the cart & checkout process of e-commerce, SaaS, and information product websites. Visitors that coulda, woulda, shoulda completed their purchase instead decide to bounce.

The Solution I Sell:

There is a better, more effective version of their website waiting to come out that turns more visitors into buyers.

Through an in-depth conversion optimization process, I bring that more effective website into reality.

The payoff is profit increases that are significantly higher than the rates we charge. Essentially, we sell money at a discount.


    Do they know they have this problem, or are you trying to show them they have the problem so that they’ll realize you have the solution?


      Steve Daar

      That’s a good question.

      Let me know what you think of this answer:

      If you run a website/online business and you had a choice between more traffic or less traffic, you would choose more traffic – – right?

      And most sites are actively working each day to do something to increase their traffic. Whether it’s buying traffic, working a social or SEO strategy, doing some media appearances (guest posts, podcasts, webinars, etc).

      A much smaller percentage of sites are actively working each day to do something to increase their conversions – – to get more of that traffic to take action to buy (or sign up or subscribe).

      If every site realized the problem, they’d probably be doing something to regularly increase conversions so some education is necessary.

      Any thoughts on how to do that?

      What I’ve been saying is that you can double your revenue by either doubling your traffic or doubling your conversions. Which one seems easier and faster to do:

      A) Doubling traffic from 50,000 a month to 100,000 a month


      B) Doubling your conversion rate from 2% to 4%


        Maybe you’re more successful than I am, but I thought I’d defined a pain point, but I couldn’t sell a solution. Turned out that while it was a pain point, I had a hard time convincing them that it would make their lives easier. That’s what made me ask. YOU know that a certain website could be optimized better, but how do you plan to find someone with the problem and then convince them that the problem even exists in the first place? Someone else in here said it this way: they don’t know what they don’t know.

          Steve Daar

          Yah, truth.

          As far as ‘lives easier’ goes – – I tell them that it’s a done-for-you process. The only thing they have to do is put the code on their site for the conversion optimization tools & then make the changes on their site after we have run confirmed winning tests.

          Maybe it’s not so much a solution to a pain as it is the promise of a desire. In this case the desire being higher revenue & profits.

          Case studies, referrals, networking, etc has been useful.

          Also some cold outreach where I offer to specifically show them a few things on their site that are actively causing visitors to leave without buying or a few ideas that might make their site better at turning visitors into customers.

          Once you show them a few things and demonstrate you can help them get the benefit, you’re at least part way there to a sale.

    Gwen Gayhart

    “Potential customers abandon the cart……decide to bounce.”

    So what? What is the result for the prospect?

      Steve Daar

      They are losing revenue/profit that could and should be theirs if the website was more effective at turning visitors into customers who complete their purchase.


PROBLEM: You’ve decided to go Vegan for your health, environmental reasons, or animal welfare concerns. Now your whole world is upside-down… What can you eat? What do you wear? How do you get your kids to try QUINOA???

SOLUTION: Rabbit Food Grocery is a one-stop shopping experience for new and seasoned vegans. We carry the best vegan foods and household products on our website and in our shop in Austin. We guide you in your path to healthy, compassionate living.

    Timothy Moser

    Rabbit food. Bahahaha. Are you sure the self-deprecatory tone isn’t a little bit of a put-off? I mean, I would shop there in a heartbeat, but it seems like it might alienate outsiders. BUT great solution to a great problem!

    Derek Halpern


Todd Baltz

Big Problem: No iPad for the sound technician at church to use to run sound, so an on-stage guitarist runs the sound via his iPad and turns the spot-light on him.

Big Solution: Bought a 2-in-1 tablet/computer combo from Dell to view chords for myself. Now the sound technician can use my iPad to run the sound and the band can have a more neutral and more focused sound technician during services.


I’m starting a new website based on novice muscle building and my biggest breakthrough in terms of my unique selling proposition came when I thought of these two questions you’re posing right now, Derek:

Problem: When it comes to fitness, most fitness gurus assume the problem is “I don’t have the body I want,” when in reality the problem is more like “My body doesn’t impress anyone or attract the opposite sex.”

The solution: I offer diet and training advice that focuses specifically on weight-training that creates “impressive” strength and a very “visually-appealing” body in the shortest time frame.

It’s all about meeting their inner desires. You know… “You don’t sell the drill. You sell the hole.”

    Diego Lucero

    That’s a great pitch if I’ve ever seen one. I’d buy it.

    Gwen Gayhart

    Nice work, Kyle….! Good luck!


Sales are the lifeblood of any business, and your 24/7 salesman, your website, is the heart of your online business.

The problem is that most websites load too slowly (longer than 3 seconds) for your visitors and customers. If your website loads too slowly, your visitors get annoyed and leave your website before you get a chance to sell them your product or service.

The visitors end up leaving your website and going to your competitor, buying THEIR product rather than YOURS.

That’s where I can help you. I will make your website load extremely fast so your visitors will stay on your website and purchase from YOU rather than your competitor.

I’m still working on the pitch, but how do you like this Derek?


*Problem:* WordPress bloggers and Powerusers that want to create a custom look & feel on any WordPRess theme need to hire a developer.

*Solution:* We created http://conductorplugin.com to make custom layouts a snap without needing code. It’s theme independent (use any theme) and works in the front-end WordPress customizer (drag-n-drop widgets.)

My sales pitch without being salesy is running a WordPress podcast interviewing other WordPress entrepreneurs, freelancers, and agencies.

Terry Shepherd

You own a nice flower shop in town and your customers love youarangements! There is no loyalty from your customers they see a sale or see aanother shop with lower price but lower quality and jump ship! I can help by providing you a custom Mobile App that will increasetmer ! engagement and create loyalty for less than you spend in a month in advertizing

Allison Braun

Problem: Women who have a lot of gifts and want to start a business that serves their purpose but they don’t know what to focus on/niche in.

Solution: The perfect mix of community support & 1×1 coaching to get to the core of who you are + marketing training through The Clarity To Clients in 90 Days program.

    Derek Halpern

    This needs to be more specific. When you say gifts, you mean talents, right? Does that mean you’ll help them focus on one gift – and start selling it?

Shelagh Cummins

Problem: Entrepreneurs are working around the clock, spending their days putting out fires, and running in circles on the hamster wheel and they can’t escape the madness. They end up volunteering their time and not getting paid enough for the value they are bringing. They have maybe hit a plateau in their biz and can’t bust through to the next level.

Solution: I offer coaching, consulting and online training programs to help Entrepreneurs own their time, double their income and accelerate the growth of their business.

Alberta Smith Johnson

So glad to see that you have an example for us artists 🙂

PROBLEM: You’re right–Many folks do have empty walls because they can’t decide what to put on them. Or they haven’t had time to go out shopping for the perfect pieces.

My artwork at
http://www.asjartworks.com/category/prints/available-regular-prints/ and http://www.facebook.com/asjartworks can help solve that problem for them. I have several categories of artwork to suit any taste: animals, landscapes, flowers, child-theme wall art, and more. And you don’t have to physically go out to purchase: simply browse and purchase from the comfort of your chair –anywhere you use your computer. I also have a newsletter available that features new artworks every month. Sign up here–>
http://www.asjartworks.com/category/newsletter/ and get a free instant downloadable high res art print. So you can easily get started finding great artworks for your empty walls right now.

Jacki Smith

“No matter what your problem; money, love, family, job, we have a candle for that. ” That has been a successful tag line for years in the spiritual market.,
ONce I applying your formula, I realize that the solution is implied and not quantified. The larger market needs a clearer problem and a better solution or they won’t understand what in the world I mean

Maggie and Milly Nautical Jewelry

Men often have a hard time finding jewelry that’s masculine, not to mention rugged enough to stand up to the elements and resist wear and tear. My nautical shackle bracelets are made from actual sailing hardware. I use triple braided polyester rope that is finished off with whipped ends from waxed sail thread. A stainless steel bow shackle completes the look. These won’t rust, and they can be worn at the beach, while sailing, playing sports and more, without needing to take them off first.

    Derek Halpern

    Do they also look great?


      They do! I guess that would be good to mention, huh. 🙂 Thanks!

Jeffrey Cannon

Problem: you paid a lot of money for a website that doesn’t work and now the web guy is no where to be found.

Solution: training materials on how to work on your own website, support forum for getting help on specific issues and a list of available web developers for hire.


    That’s a great idea, similar to what I do. My only question is how do I get on your list of available devs to hire. 😉


    Diego Lucero

    Hey Jeff!

    I like this! As a web developer myself, I know just how many dead (or dying) websites there are! Way to bridge the gap between the owners knowledge the technology they own!

    Gwen Gayhart

    Thank you, Jeffrey! Finally, somebody got it right!!

Estevan Montoya

Great example of what NOT to do. I have seen this type of marketing for mlm people, and it’s horrible.

I personally create print designs for churches that want to grow. Often, churches that have a vision to grow understand the need for professional prints and invitations. They are willing to pay instead of learning print design, photoshop, and how to handle orders via online print companies.

While they are non-profit, if they have a hunger to grow, they will buy. My prices are lower than competitors due to being a “lifestyle” business. I don’t have tons of overhead. I just need electricity, internet, my website (which I manage being a designer), a photoshop subscription and my creativity.

Eventually, I’d love to outsource customization, but I currently handle all orders.

Thanks for your great information. I look forward to more learning!


Hi Derek, I enjoyed part one, thanks.

Small and medium businesses waste a ton of paper and staff time by printing out content for use within the business. This makes their business (processes) slow, kills profits and slows growth.

I help businesses cut paper, automate sales campaigns and build stronger relationships with their clients and prospects.


Big problem: how to make lashes look longer and fuller while keeping them healthy.
Big solution: by using my all natural 3D fiber lash mascara.

Carol Colman

The problem I solve is how to give meaningful gifts for special occasions.
The solution I offer is creating personalized gifts of celebration – framed keepsakes using invitations, photographs, or other memorabilia that keep people connected to the joyous emotions of their celebrations.

    Derek Halpern

    Can you be more specific?

      Carol Colman

      Some people don’t want to take the “easy way out” of giving gifts by giving cash or buying something from a registry. They want a gift that is unique, thoughtful, meaningful, memorable, desirable – something that will be admired for its originality and thoughtfulness. Something that demonstrates the giver understands the meaning of the celebration and wants to show the recipients they have put some thought into it. So I show them how to give a high-touch gift in a high tech world – something unique and handmade, combining my artistic vision with my background in invitation design – to create keepsakes for life milestone occasions that reflect the spirit of the occasion and the people being celebrated. Every time the recipient looks at one of my keepsake collages, it connects them to the joyous memory of their milestone celebration in a completely personalized way.

Luis Ramos

(Btw, thanks for this, Derek)

I have this construction company in Mexico, focusing on building residential houses.

Find a trustworthy architect firm to have their houses design and built in time, with high quality standards and affordable prices.

– House design: We focus on great design, with young talent in our creative team, full of new ideas .
– Prices: we focus on giving the customers fixed price packages (noone in the market does so) and work very hard to make them as low as possible, so they can choose the finishing touches for their future home and know for sure how much it’s going to cost. And we sign a contract with the description of what they are going to receive, and how much it’s going to cost.
– Trustworthy: We write down every agreement with the client, and sign it, so there’s no surprises for the two of us. The contract is the basis of our agreement, always.
– To be found: We’re investing in FB ads and SEO and SERP optimization.


    Derek Halpern

    Gwen makes a point: why is finding a trustworhty architect a problem? And what kind of horror stories can you share about that/

      Luis Ramos

      Thanks for the feedback, Gwen and Derek.

      About finding trustworthiness here in Mexico, when talking about architects, I mean there are not that many people that can offer the client a contract, expressing their commitment to deliver something with certain finishing touches, with a fixed amount to invest and that commit to deliver the house finished in a predefined timeframe. Horror Stories: You pay someone to build your house and he disappears with the money, or disappears leaving the house in its first construction stages…

      Plus, it’s even more difficult to find some architects that can sign a post-sale guarantee that protects that house from certain problems that may or may not appear, related to the construction process itself. Far too often, architects fail to deliver on time, and fail to serve the client once the house is finished by providing a written guarantee, and make it effective if needed. Horror stories: The house is finished, the client goes to live there and there are water leaks, the walls soaking water, and the architect never goes back to the house to fix those problems (though he’s responsible for that), so the client has to fix them himself (and it’s usually expensive).

      The thing is that I find it hard to put this in a convincing elevator pitch.

    Gwen Gayhart

    It stumps me why people get so stuck focusing on “here’s what I do and here’s why you need it”.

    Just a suggestion, Luis, but maybe try explaining someone’s experience of building a house WITHOUT using your services. And do that first, before even mentioning what you do.

    You said the big problem was “finding a trustworthy architect….” but WHY is that a problem?


The Big Problem:

Having a vision for a physical product but no skills to show what the product looks or feels like to present to their clients.


Using my skills to put that vision on paper or in digital format so they can show their clients what their product will look and feel like.

    Derek Halpern

    I’m still not sure what you’re selling. Are you going to ‘invent’ the product for them? Or do they already have the product and you just draw it?


Big Problem: Small Business owners don’t realize the cost of IT downtime on their business bottom line.

Solution: Have someone managing and monitoring their IT infrastructure proactively. Having a vested interest in the success of that company.

    Diego Lucero

    This is a good solution Steve, but most business owners don’t know what they don’t know. Meaning, the problem as you stated above needs to be clear and speak to the specific problems that a business owner would face from IT downtime.

    For instance: missing an important email/fax at the wrong moment; losing data before it was saved; the cost of labor for employees chatting around the cooler because they can’t do anything; computer freezes; etc.

    My last week was a bear because of IT downtime. We had too many problems, and I already had much too much to do. The downtime doubled that when it came back up.

    We needed redundancy in data backups, and in internet connection. We needed updated hardware and software across the board. Most importantly, we needed somebody who was just as proactive as well as he was competent.

    This is the ever important need of a knowledgeable, proactive, and competent IT company.

    From my experience anyway.

Simone Davies

BIG PROBLEM: People struggle to set up their homes for their toddlers – there are toys everywhere, mess always to clean up, and they have run out of ideas how to entertain their kids.

HOW I CAN SOLVE THE PROBLEM: My (in development) e-course will give them step by step, room by room ideas applying Montessori principles to make their homes calmer and tidier, with the activities more attractive to their children too.

    Gwen Gayhart

    Love this idea, Simone! My kids attending Montessori and I always wondered why my house was such a mess when they were so capable of picking up their things at school!

    “Peace, at last” is what I’d call your biz :-)! Good luck!!

      Simone Davies

      Thanks Gwen for your support! The e-courses are going to be called “The Montessori Notebook” but “Peace, at last” is also a fun idea :). The site is to be live by early 2015! I’m still busy with my classes…


Imagine you’re a real estate agent with a property listing. We all know people like to drive by properties that they’re interested in, check out the neighborhood, probably peek in the windows, but then they usually just drive away. Maybe they’ll contact you later to view it, maybe not…

What if you could get that person on the phone while they’re still looking at your property? ListingCode.com allows a prospective buyer to send a text message and receive extra info on a property but also gives the agent the opportunity to follow up with them via phone immediately.

    Diego Lucero

    Eli, this is a great solution to a problem. I know, because I sell a very similar product every day to listing agents.

    Most listing agents who are worth their salt, will see the value in this, so long as they know that it solves a few problems for them: capturing leads for drive by and foot traffic, provides a cool new way for texters (mostly gen X, Y, and Zers) to find out information on the home, and here is the kicker: the listing agent gets their phone number IMMEDIATELY after they text in for a follow up.

    I would really recommend marketing this tool to mortgage companies and loan officers though. You can then charge the LO a larger set fee/mo for the opportunity to attract more high end listing agents along with the HUGE opportunity to app their listing clients for a new homes that they can transition into. Then, you can charge through your app (per RESPA) the realtors directly a nominal fee to take part in it.

    Another upside of this strategy is that you can utilize the salesmanship of the LOs to market your product to realtors, and if they are good at that, they will eventually increase your market penetration in the realtor field so much quicker.

    Gwen Gayhart

    Still missing the mark a little, I think. You’ve described what a realtor’s potential clients’ behavior might be, but not the impact that it has on the realtor. So the people stopped, peeked in, drove away. So what?

    If you answer that question, you’ll have your hook!


Another awesome post Derek!!

You got some very valuable tips on selling here!

Is all about supplying the demands. Plain and simple. I guess some people just do not get it.

Here are the problems I solve for people:

Online Traffic Generation Problems

When I first started online, I had no idea how to drive traffic to my websites online – I took the time to learn all about internet marketing.

Struggling to build a team online and lead them to success.

Network Marketing is an amazing industry. It is not that hard to accomplish financial success in this industry, but just because everyone can, it does not mean everyone will!

There are simple ways to make people want to work with you in a network marketing company, you just gotta learn exactly HOW to do it right.

These are just some of the knowledge I like to teach. I spent countless hours learning and implementing all I know.

Anyways… thanks for these awesome tips Derek! … keep up the great work!

I wish you the best of the best!

Cheers! 🙂

    Gwen Gayhart

    I agree with Judy, here….paint me the picture of what my life will be like when I’ve spent my money on your services, not what yours became when you educated yourself about internet marketing.

    How about “I’ve learned it all, so you don’t have to!”

    Judy - Pedagogical Artist

    Hi Freddy,
    Sorry, I’m not Derek, just one of your “classmates” going through the responses.

    I feel your enthusiasm and passion, but I’m confused. As someone suffering from lack of Online Traffic, it’s not clear to me that you actually get my problem. I’m so confused, I need you to help me figure out my problem – to be specific, so I can say, “Aha! That’s what it’s all about!” Then, I need you to explain to me how exactly you are going to solve my problem in succinct easy to follow terms. For someone like me, general terms are overwhelming.
    I’m hopeless on the subject!
    Thanks 🙂

Amanda Smith

Problem: I help people suffering from borderline personality disorder and their families get connected with evidence-based treatment. I empower them to make better healthcare decisions.

Solution: I offer treatment consultation at an hourly rate and I also offer two different email newsletters (one daily and one weekly) at a lower price point.

    Aaron Beaudette

    Nice Amanda. While I don’t have the disorder, I do a fair amount of research on it and other, similar personality disorders as I believe I know someone affected by them. I firmly believe that the people that show up at the therapists office, i.e. needing your services, are not those that have it, but those that are around them, affected by
    the disorder….just my 2 cents.

      Amanda Smith


      My best clients are family members and friends of those diagnosed with the disorder.

        Aaron Beaudette

        Well, I see at least 2 women online that seem to make a great living doing just that….you must be aware of them as they market their services via skype and/or telephone.

          Amanda Smith

          I bet I do. 🙂

Angie Mattson Stegall

Most business owners are overwhelmed – too much to do, not enough time to get it all done. They are stuck, struggling, often spinning like a top as they work 24/7/365. This leaves them feeling frustrated, burned out, and overwhelmed.

I help business owners make time to slow down and discover their real priorities. Then together we create time to them to focus on accomplishing those real priorities.

    Gwen Gayhart

    If you don’t mind a bit of unsolicited feedback, Angie….as an overwhelmed business owner myself, you’ve described me quite well but I’m not believing that you’re going to be able to help me solve that problem because you haven’t given me anything about HOW you do that. Not even a hint :-). All I’m thinking is, “I’m not THAT much of an idiot…I know what I need to do. But who’s going to ______ and _____ and ______ while I take time to figure it all out?!”


I blog about learning Chinese. One of the biggest problems I’ve found is that Chinese characters are really hard to learn. I mean look at them!

I created (and am now selling) an eBook which takes 150 really common characters and makes them much easier to remember. I used these things called radicals which make up every character. Every radical has a set shape and meaning.

I make stories out of the radicals in each character. Funnily enough, people find it much easier to learn these stories (and so the character)!

    Gwen Gayhart

    Very interesting, Ollie, but no mention of what “the problem” really is…


The problem: People are wanting to lose weight and feel better about themselves. They have health issues and are scared or not motivated to get started on their health/ fitness journey.

If they commit they would get me as their coach/ accountability partner and a program that is guaranteed to help them get healthier and lose weight. I also offer monthly challenge groups to where they work with more than one person on FB with the same workout program and are all on the same schedule and focusing on the same goals. I will also be there to hold them accountable , give them tips, and be their cheerleader as needed!


Problem: Work and home environments that are so enervating and uninspiring that they literally make you sick. Plus repelling your ideal clients, if you’re a business, and making your friends avoid your home when you invite them over.

Solution: A complimentary Sanctuary Session that helps you get clear on how you want to FEEL in your space, and a tiered system of services (color design, room curation, and custom mural painting) that transforms the space you have into the space you dream of.


    I’d probably sign up for one of those. 🙂


Good stuff, as always. Keep it up, man!

Problem: people have finished their book and want to see it in the world, but they don’t want to go the traditional publishing route and wait around. They just want something tangible in their hands that looks and feels legit and is presented well.

Solution: No frills, no royalties taken, just solid coaching, advice, and creation of a professional-level book, ready for print, Kindle, or any other format.

    Derek Halpern

    Is that a big problem? People have already finished their book, without the ability to get it published? This isn’t me giving advice, it’s more a curious question 😉

      Cheryl Pickett

      As an author who does a little bit of coaching as well, I can say that a lot of people write the book and then start asking two questions: ‘Should I use CreateSpace/Kindle or should I self-publish?”. You might be surprised at how many people write a complete book without having any idea of the big picture, especially of how to market or that being an author means you are a small biz owner in 2014.
      I can hardly count the number of comments in places like that that say, “My book is done, now what?”, or “I’m on Facebook and Twitter, what else can I do?”


      a friend of mine has finished a book, and after receiving several offers from publishers, decided to self-publish it. So in her case this was a problem.

Aaron Beaudette

Big Problem: people pay too much for their life insurance, don’t understand what they have and can’t get competitive quotes on the spot.

Solution: http://www.termquotesfast.com has a built-in term quote tool that displays quotes in real-time from over 50 companies competing for your business.

While the site is still in development, the quote tool is working on the right or at the very bottom

Melanie Nolan

The Problem: A bride wants some help & support to plan their wedding but… A. they don’t want to slash out for a full time wedding planner B. They want to DIY and don’t want to give up the control of planning their special day.

The Solution: My ‘Busy Bride Helping Hand’ Wedding planning package (http://eleganttwist.co.uk/busy-bride-helping-hand/) is a fraction of the cost of a full-time wedding planner, the bride still gets to enjoy all the fun of planning her wedding, but she gets the tools, advice, and face-to-face support of an experienced wedding planner (me).

Travis Allison

People in the summer camp industry are over-whelmed and struggling. They have seen the effect a camp experience can have on a child and they believe in what they do. They just have no idea how to sell that to families.

We provide the tools to tell their story and find more of the right kind of families.

    Derek Halpern

    That’s an interesting market, Travis. But even better, I’d describe an example of one summer camp person who didn’t sign up… even though they would be perfect. And why they didn’t sign up.


Thanks as always, Derek.

Big problem: Businesses wanting to expand into foreign markets but who don’t know how to generate those all-important international sales and orders.

Solution: We become their international sales team, employing online and offline methods, across multiple languages, to get them more sales, guaranteed.

    Derek Halpern

    This is very succint, but I’d get more specific with describing the problem. Talk about people who tried to expand and failed as well.


      Thanks for the pointers, Derek. Very much appreciated.
      Second try 🙂
      Big problem: Manufacturing and retail businesses that need more international orders to add cash to their bottom line but who don’t have the budget/willingness to recruit and train their own international sales teams. These businesses are worried about failing in export and losing their investment or have failed in the past and need a sure-fire international team to ensure their success.


        Hi Nicola, my 2 cents.
        Where’s the money enventually?
        Buyers/Wholesalers/Distributors, etc. are those who pay for the goods. Instead of running a service for the Manufacturers, why don’t you flip the coin and offer a service to the buyers to find/source Manufacturers? It seems more reasonable to charge the buyer a small commission, as he gets the service.. (they pay for the goods)..instead of the Supplier?


          Hi Marcelo,

          Thanks for your comment. It’s always great to get feedback.

          The way I see it, there’s 2 sides. You could be a manufacturer with a retail product, in which case you want people to buy your product (which is where we help) or, like you said, there’s the buying of raw materials/products from the manufacturers side. It’s definitely a possibility I’m willing to explore. Thanks for opening my eyes to this!


Wow, you are right again Derek. Thanks!

    Derek Halpern

    You need to do the homework now 😉


New York City life is stressful and demanding. In the city, it is nearly impossible to escape the everyday and find your real passion. At The Art Studio NY, NYC’s #1-rated art studio for all ages and levels, you will relax, awaken your passion, and express yourself creatively. No need to be an artist or draw a straight line. Art is food for the soul, and we know you’re hungry…

    Derek Halpern

    Are you suggesting that “NYC ” is stressful, and learning how to create art will solve that?

Spencer Goldade

Designers, illustrators and fine artists galore have issues with tangents and other compositional blunders in their work. A tangent is a broad term for a large group of unintentional mistakes based in visual composition, like tension points, closed corners, halved shapes, and more. I am writing an ebook on tangents, what they are, how to avoid or utilize them, and will also be starting to educate people on my blog shortly.

    Derek Halpern

    Yes, but can you describe the pain of those “tangents?” What happens when artists have them? Do people hate their work? Etc.


      To Spencer Goldade
      Here comes a little bit of feedback on that specific case, as I probably fall within your target group of potential buyers.
      I have been doing some design-work (self-taught), and reading what you wrote about tangents, actually made me interested.
      I guess it was the point where you mention “unintentional mistakes based in visual composition” which caused me to be interested, and if you reinforce that together with consequences that most designers can recognize, as Derek suggests, then I think that you are getting somewhere good with your sales text.
      I guess what makes me interested about that, is the annoying feeling of making something which you thought would be nice, but the design just somehow “doesn´t work” or “there is still something off about the design”, and you dont know why.
      That is least how it is in my case, I don´t know about other people.

        Spencer Goldade

        I like that. Approaching it from a “make something you thought was cool, but can’t figure out why it isn’t working? Maybe I can help” type of angle.

      Spencer Goldade

      Yes! unintentional tangents can cause a lot of issues in design, illustration and art. They can compromise the readability of work, redirect viewer attention elsewhere than intended, cause frustration to the point of just leaving a website, and otherwise cause the creator to essentially be fighting with themselves unnecessarily. If you’re a web designer, some of the reasons you may be struggling to get people to click on CTAs may be because you don’t realize your page is riddled with design tangents that direct your viewer’s attention elsewhere. I can help educate you on how to notice those, get rid of them, or even to use them to your advantage and drive sales and views instead of lose them.


        I agree with Daniel, I’d be interested in something like this. I think this would be great for people who lack a professional design background.

          Spencer Goldade



        Sounds like an interesting academic idea, but as a designer, I’m not feeling the pain. How about showing a before and after example, and the difference it made to someone winning a pitch, charging x3, or another concrete result.


          Hi Dan, out of curiousity, are you self-taught designer, or were you formally schooled?

          Because I am thinking that maybe the reason why I find the current pitch it interresting, is because I am self-taught?
          That could imply that the current pitch would be good at the “self-taught”-target group of Designers, while perhaps not so effective at the “schooled”-target-group.
          Might not be true… but just a thought.

          Spencer Goldade

          Absolutely. I will hope to provide multiple ways of looking at the problem and approaching a solution, as well as backing it up with real world application. Thanks!


The Problem: People want to live healthier, more vibrant lives, but many aren’t ready to make huge lifestyle changes to get there.

Solution: My new month-long e-course, Everyday Wellness, teaches simple natural health strategies that can easily be incorporated into everyday life, so you can feel better from the inside out, without a gym membership or extreme diet.

It sounds quite “salesy” to me, but I guess I’m just getting used to this whole business person side of my personal 😉

    Derek Halpern

    This is on the right track, but I’d try to get even MORE specific. What’s the problem people have with living healthier? Is it that they’re not ready to change? If that’s the case, you can’t convince them to change. Or is it that they don’t know how to change?


      That’s such great advice, I didn’t realize it wasn’t clear.

      I imagine that my customers aren’t ready or willing to make huge changes, but a bite-sized approach is more manageable to them. They don’t know how to change in ways that are sustainable within their busy lives.



        Actually, I’m going to take this further toward your suggestion.
        You’re right, if they don’t want to make big changes they probably don’t want small ones either.

        Instead, I’m going to show busy and stressed-out people how to fit natural health strategies into their already-full lives.

        I like that. What do you think?

          Cynthia Trevino

          Self-help is a giant niche and getting bigger. Would it be easier if you described exactly who you helped best? Then your ideal audience would see themselves more quickly, like: We help single women ages 30 to 40, who work 50+ hour weeks, try to get to the gym, volunteer their time and have a social life. And don’t have time/budget to get to a therapist.


          Derek Halpern

          There you go.


          I like that too, Katerina. Great angle! I ran a beauty and wellness blog for a while… and got burned out on talking to people who really were not looking to change their habits.


Thanks, awesome article! My business does solve a big problem, but I had never thought to state on the website which problem it solves! Even though I’m passionate about opening with the problem when talking to people, it just didn’t occur to me to put it on the website. This is so timely because I’m making a bunch of changes to my website anyway, so I’ll talk about the problem I solve right away. Thanks for your helpful advice.

    Derek Halpern

    Amazing how that happens right? You solve a problem. And never mention it? Heh.

Kevin Duncan

Hey Derek,

I can definitely relate to your “bootstrapper” days. I’m living it, man! My wife is wonderful support, of course, but right now we’re bootstrapping it big time.

The big problem I’m trying to solve for people is helping with the learning curve new bloggers and website owners face.

For churches and non-profits, I solve the problem by helping them develop their own websites. For new bloggers, I solve the problem by offering blog tips in interesting and entertaining ways they can (hopefully) easily digest.

The former brings in a bit of income for the Mrs. and I. The latter hasn’t been monetized yet. Your training material will no doubt help us down the road when we do monetize.

Have a good one, Derek.

– Kevin

    Derek Halpern

    Do churches and nonprofits have money to pay you or do you find them trying to haggle your rates?

      Kevin Duncan

      Hey Derek,

      I’ve never had them haggle, but I do charge a lower rate for churches and nonprofits. I’m sure that helps.

      – Kevin


        I used to give lower rates to non-profits and churches and it ended up hurting my bottom line because I also worked with bigger companies doing the same sort of work. I ended up realizing I was delivering the same value to both. The question you need to ask yourself, unless you’re only targeting churches and non-profits is, would you do the same work for a non-profit as you would for a larger company that would pay you more?

Steven Handel

Big Problem: People who aren’t happy with their lives. People who don’t feel like they are reaching their full potential. People who struggle with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Big Solution: Easy tools and exercises anyone can practice on a daily basis to get them to start living their lives in a new and more fulfilling way.

    Derek Halpern

    This is good, but not specific enough. Focus in on one problem and one solution.

      Steven Handel

      I know my problem is not being specific enough – I feel like I have too many interests and cover too many different things.

      But I tried thinking a bit:

      Big Problem: People who want to improve their mental health, but don’t want to see a therapist.

      Big Solution: Exercises you can practice on your own without needing any help.

      I started reading your free ebook about 5k subscribers. It got me thinking, “How do I want people to think of me?” And I came up with:

      “The psychology blog that’s better than your therapist.”

      Am I onto something? 🙂


        DEFINITELY. I know a blog that’s better than a therapist. In fact, I told my therapist that the blog was better than she was (lol. I do still see the therapist though — she’s good, just not as good!). The blog talks about a specific trauma that I’m going through, and the blogger speaks truth about the situation — MY situation — in a way that nobody else ever has, not even my therapist. Bloggers can be straightforward in a way that therapists can’t. Your therapist is supposed to help YOU figure out what to do, which can take YEARS. A blogger can say, Hey, stranger on the internet, DO THIS NOW. That’s really powerful.


        I think that tagline is great actually. Can a blog be ACTUALLY better than a therapist? Maybe not. But if I may give you a personal example: I see a therapist. It is absolutely one of the best things I’ve decided to do in my life. I get this for ‘free’ through public healthcare (I’m in the UK – I put free in inverted commas because people pay for their healthcare through taxes). If I had to pay for this privately, I wouldn’t currently be in a position to do so.

        There will be a LOT of people who either cannot see a real therapist for monetary reasons or maybe for other reasons. Having a blog that promises to REALLY help them help themselves… I think people will definitely be interested in that, as long as you are able to put your money where your mouth is so to speak.

        Derek Halpern

        Much better.



          I found your second statement to be very clear and compelling.

          Well done–and a much needed solution.


        I gotta say, I’m intrigued! There are websites like The Daily Love that I think are kind of along the lines of what you’re thinking, in that this one aims to help people find love/happiness their lives through inspiring stories, little things you can do to help you achieve self-love (I know, there needs to be a different term for that), etc.

        I would be interested in a psych blog that is a little more serious/less new-age-y.


        Yes, you are! That’s perfect. 🙂 Well, in my opinion it is.

        Stacy Harp

        LOL… well, I am a therapist and there’s really no blog that is better than in house counseling… so no. 🙂

          Rok Sprogar

          I don’t think his target audience are theraphists 😉


Great article, Derek. Excited for the next three weeks.

    Derek Halpern

    Make sure you do the homework Patrick…

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