SFN212: The Secret to Selling & The Importance of Mindshare, with Nathan Latka

SFN212: The Secret to Selling & The Importance of Mindshare, with Nathan Latka


Today’s interview will completely change the way you think about starting businesses and selling products.

Nathan Latka pre-sold about $80,000 of product, built up the Facebook marketing business Heyo, and sold it by the time he was 26-years-old. He is also one of the most entertaining (and somewhat controversial) people in the entrepreneurial world.

Now Nathan is pioneering a new way for entrepreneurs to enter the software space more quickly, more easily, and for relatively cheap. We’ll be learning about the methodologies and processes that helped him purchase an existing product, with 20,000 users, for only $1,000.


In This Interview I Ask:

  • 5:00 - Let’s talk about Heyo and where the idea came from.
  • 5:55 - How did Nathan start pre-selling Facebook pages?
  • 8:50 - Does Nathan have an example of how he uses shock as a tool? What does he learn and what does it give him in the long run?
  • 11:25 - There’s a way in which Nathan works with media that is really unique, and not a lot of other people do it. Does it come naturally to Nathan, or is it something he developed consciously?
  • 16:50 - Why did Nathan acquire Send Later and what is he doing with it?
  • 20:45 - How did Nathan decide which company to buy?
  • 27:48 - Nathan bought Send Later. Were they making any money?
  • 31:15 - How did Nathan make the transition from a free app to a paid app?
  • 35:25 - How many people are actively using Send Later (and how should we define an active user?)
  • 42:50 - Tell us about the screw up with adding a Send Later signature to the bottom of emails.
  • 44:55 - How does Nathan deal with that backlash, from an emotional standpoint? Does that affect Nathan?
  • 46:45 - Let’s talk about Nathan and media. It seems he is building up a media company (with the podcast) as the tip of the funnel for everything he is doing. What's the long-term plan with the podcast?
  • 51:30 - So the intention is that Nathan wants to have as much mindshare as possible. Are there specific people that he wants it from?
  • 53:50 - What has Nathan learned from Trump?


Pre-Selling to Big Egos

While studying architecture at Virginia Tech, Nathan was worried about his job prospects. People from his school, one of the best in the country, were graduating and not getting jobs.

Nathan decided to start selling, and he chose Facebook Fan Pages.

He targeted people with big egos, because he has a big ego and he knew that people with big egos would do anything to fix a perceived hole in their grandeur. Nathan pre-sold Facebook Fan Pages by...

  • researching people with Executive in their job title.
  • telling them that they’re not a real executive without an executive Fan Page.
  • then pitching his product after they feel vulnerable.

Five years later, when Nathan sold Heyo, he did one of the coolest things online: he recorded, and shared, the acquisition process.

We also covered the whole Heyo story, and more, last time Nathan was on the Starting From Nothing podcast.


Why Nathan Doesn’t Like to Create Markets

“People are trying to create their own markets. I’m not interested in that. I think it’s more risky and I think it’s more difficult.”

Nathan doesn’t want to be the first person in a market. If you’re inventing something brand new, or you’re going into a marketing without clear leaders, you won’t have an idea of what already works.

Nathan doesn’t want to trudge through the early stages of a business when he can focus on his strength: improving pre-existing processes. There’s two steps to Nathan’s methodology.

  1. Get equal to them and understand what they do well.
  2. Add your own spice and beat them.


Nathan’s New Business Strategy: Sniping

“You want to look for assets that other people don’t value and figure out how to creatively value them in your business, and that’s how you can build something from nothing.”

Nathan acquired Send Later, with about 20,000 users, for less than $1,000.

How Nathan finds a good company to purchase and grow:

  • Scouring a software marketplace (like the Salesforce AppExchange or Google Marketplace) and looking for a tool that has a lot of users, but isn’t actively updated.
  • Calling the creator of the tool on Skype and asking them questions like “is this your full-time gig?” Ideally, it isn’t.
  • Pitching the developer on the idea that selling their tool will relieve a burden, while simultaneously preserving the image of the product they created.


The Secret to Getting People to Pay

“Getting people to pay is so easy, if you look at one thing… which many people in our world totally ignore.”

People paying for your tool ≠ people using your tool, and usage is critical.

If an individual uses your product regularly, they will think about your product more often. Occupying their mindshare makes them more likely to pay for your product.

So, if you focus on increasing overall usage then you will increase the likelihood of someone paying. Mindshare is the secret sauce to a good freemium model.

By the same principle, Nathan is building up a brand akin to a media company through his podcast, and that podcast is the tip of his selling spear. He wants people thinking about him, because then they’re more likely to pay him.

“Money follows mindshare. The stuff you think about more on a daily basis, you spend more money on over time.”