New year, new plans for you and your financial future, right? You’re not alone if making the most of your money is at the top of your list of resolutions this year, and we think these books — nothing like the financial planning guides your parents and grandparents used — are a great place to […]
It's hard to create your own financial independence, especially when beholden to the traditional work week. That's where Noah Kagan comes in. In Million Dollar Weekend, he posits using the weekend as a launching point to living out your entrepreneurial dreams.
The founder and CEO of AppSumo.com, Noah Kagan, knows how to launch a seven-figure business in a single weekend—and he’s done it seven times. Million Dollar Weekend will show you how.
Now is the best time in history for entrepreneurship. More than ever, the world needs new businesses and it’s cheaper than ever to create them.
And, let’s be frank: most day jobs suck. People spend too much time doing too much work for too little money—and they know it. They want out.
But, if the barriers to starting a business are getting lower and lower, why is it SO HARD TO DO for SO MANY PEOPLE? Why are there so many wantrepreneurs playing at business on social media and so few entrepreneurs actually running them?
- Do you want to work for yourself, or start a side-hustle, but it all feels too risky and unpredictable?
- Have you spent time or money on things like websites and logos, but still have no customers?
- Are you brainstorming endlessly and waiting for the perfect idea to strike?
All those Frequent Excuses are solvable. The plan is simple—so simple it can be completed in a single weekend, but so powerful that Kagan has used it to build seven businesses now worth more than $1 million:
- Find your Creator’s Courage to overcome your fear and have fun!
- Use the "Million Dollar Weekend" Process to get customers EXCITED to give you money.
- Automate your business so it can grow while you sleep.
By Monday, you’ll have a market-tested, scalable business idea and you’ll be a entrepreneur on the path to seven figures. Million Dollar Weekend is the path to creating your dream life and attaining financial freedom. LFG.
|Penguin Publishing Group
|5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Just Fu**ing Start
Begin Before You Are Ready
Noah, today's your last day."
That June day in 2006 was just like any other. I woke up at the Facebook house where I lived with the other guys who worked in Mark Zuckerberg's dream world.
That morning, we all drove to the Facebook offices in Palo Alto. I sat down and began playing around with some modifications to a new feature I had helped invent called Status Updates. Suddenly the guy who'd hired me-who's now worth $500+ million-said, "Hey, let's go to the coffee shop across the street to talk about work."
It had been nine months, eight days, and about two hours since I was hired as Facebook's thirtieth employee. I was just twenty-four years old, and here I was among the smartest collection of people I'd ever been around, led by a man-child who seemed even then like he was the smartest of them all. Ivy Leaguers. Big brains. Coders and entrepreneurial savants. All of us doing what we believed to be the most important, impactful work in the world. I got 0.1 percent of Facebook in stock, which in 2022 would have been worth about $1 billion. It was heaven.
Life moves fast. In a matter of seconds I went from living my best life ever to a feeling of deep shame and embarrassment.
Matt Cohler (early Facebook, LinkedIn, and a general partner at Benchmark) called me a liability-a word I've heard echoing in my nightmares ever since.
Most notable: While I was partying with colleagues at Coachella, I leaked Facebook's plans to expand beyond college students to a prominent tech journalist.
I was self-promoting, using my role and experiences at Facebook to throw startup gatherings at the office and write blog posts on my personal website. As the company grew from baby to behemoth, the talents that allowed me to thrive in startup chaos became, well, liabilities in the structure of a corporation.
"Is there anything I can do to stay? Anything at all," I pleaded. Matt just shook his head. In twenty minutes, it was done.
I spent the next eight months wallowing in grief on a friend's couch, dissecting every bit of what had happened. It was a defining moment. A before and after.
Part of me had expected something like this from the moment I'd been hired at Facebook, surrounded by these super-nerds always talking about changing the world. It made me insecure about who I was and what I had to offer. I was not a member of the same club those guys came from, a bitter fact I'd swallowed years earlier in high school.
I was born and raised in California, grew up in San Jose. My father was an immigrant from Israel and didn't speak English, at least not well. He sold copiers, and I knew I didn't want to do that. Lugging around a copier is heavy, sweaty hard work. My mom worked the night shift at the hospital as a nurse, and she hated it. I didn't want to do that, either.
It was pure luck that I ended up going to Lynbrook High, one of the top 100 high schools in the United States. I was an average kid in a competitive Bay Area school full of the sons and daughters of America's tech elite. My best friend Marti would go on to work as a senior developer at Google; another of my best friends, Boris, was number twenty at Lyft. Other guys sold companies to Zynga for millions. Being around these people in school opened my eyes and elevated me.
But it didn't make me one of them. To get into Berkeley, I had to sneak in the side door. I got into Berkeley's spring semester doofus class (they called it extension), solely because another freshman dropped out and their spot opened up. Worse, during my freshman year I, a native-born American, was placed in ESL (English as a Second Language!) because I tested so poorly in English on the SAT. Honestly, I don't know how Berkeley let me in.
The early years of my career were filled with "almost successes." I got an internship with Microsoft my junior year. Normally, anyone who gets an internship with Microsoft gets a job; I was rejected because I performed poorly on interviews. Then I had a job offer at Google pre-IPO. Google rescinded my offer because I couldn't do long division. LONG DIVISION!
And then of course Mark Zuckerberg fired me.
At that point in my life, I felt like I was not worthy of success. I was not good enough. It felt like I'd already lost the game, and that everyone around me was better than me. I still struggle with those feelings at times.
And yet, even then, I knew I had something, a spark-or really, the ability to create sparks-but my gift was rough, messy, a talent that wasn't yet a skill. I had this incredible knack for choosing great opportunities, but I kept failing.
On that couch after my Facebook firing, I tossed and turned under a blanket of shame. I couldn't imagine anything worse happening to me the rest of my life. I'd been just three months away from being partially vested (don't remind me). My confidence was shot. Maybe they were right? They said I was worthless, incompetent, inferior.
They being the voices in my head.
Though I couldn't have told you this then, the best thing that emerged out of that period was a realization: I have got to figure out how to do entrepreneurship my own way and share those experiences along the way.
And so I no longer hid anything. I told everyone about my "failure." Years later, it even became a calling card. "The guy who was fired by Facebook!" And people loved it! My fears about what other people thought of me were totally overblown.
Deep down I felt liberated by my failure-not liberated to keep getting fired and lose billions of dollars, obviously. But liberated from the fear of doing things my own way; liberated to play and experiment, to find my own path.
And as a result, it lit a fire under my ass to get going on my own.
Show me an experimenter, and over the long run, I'll show you a future winner.
And so I started again.
The next few years I tackled every business opportunity, no matter how random, that came my way-daydreaming about some big, splashy score that would redeem my self-worth and, more important, allow me to show Mark Zuckerberg what a mistake he'd made.
I was young, stupid, and reckless, but I was also learning fast-cue the montage music. I'd quickly start an online sports betting site, realize I hated sports, and then find myself suddenly traveling South America and Southeast Asia for a stretch. It was an endless experiment of launching side hustles, website ideas, and adventures in lifestyle design. I . . .
• Taught students online marketing on Jeju Island in Korea
• Consulted for startups like ScanR and SpeedDate
• Set up a startup versus venture capital dodgeball tournament series
• Blogged for my site OkDork and launched Freecallsto
.com to cover the emerging internet phone call industry
• Launched peoplereminder.com, a personal CRM website
• Started Entrepreneur27.org happy hours and local events like chess meet-ups
• Created a conference business called CommunityNext that started pulling in $50,000 per event doing what I would have done for free-bringing together emerging business stars, like Keith Rabois, Max Levchin, David Sacks, and Tim Ferriss
It was during this time that the variables to the Million-Dollar Weekend formula came together . . . and not just for starting a business, but for creating a life that felt free and fulfilling thanks to entrepreneurship.
Each day a new experiment, a new lesson learned, living for the rush that only possibility can bring, until one day a friend showed me a product in development from an unknown company that was then called My Mint. The founder, Aaron Patzer, had created a tool to help people manage their finances, and the prototype he built blew me away. At the time I was blogging on my site OkDork about personal finance, and I immediately saw that this could be huge.
I was so excited about Mint that I told Aaron that I wanted to be his director of marketing. The only problem was, as he pointed out, that I hadn't done marketing before. So I did what I've always done-I just started. I hustled. And with no experience, I created a marketing plan that got 100,000 registered users before the site even launched and 1 million users six months later-which got me a full-time offer: 1 percent of the company and a $100,000 job.
Marketing is easy when you have a great product. Mint's product was so good that less than two years after it started, Intuit bought it for $170 million. There was, however, no $1.7 million payday for me (¯\_(ツ)_/¯). It was the math that sent me packing. I had figured that the company would sell for $200 million at most, which would cap my 1 percent share at $2 million pretax. Question was, could I make close to that over the four years it would take for the stock to vest? Could I create more money, joy, and insight than I could by clocking four years in middle management?
I bet YES.
I believed I could because while I was working at Mint, I was also creating the formula for starting businesses that you're going to learn in this book. I spent my mornings, lunch breaks, nights, and weekends creating Kickflip, a company that developed apps for Facebook, which then morphed into Gambit, a payment system for social games.
In less than two years, Gambit was generating more than $15 million in revenue. The value plunged later because of another guy who keeps appearing in this story-thanks, Mark Zuckerberg!-more on that later. My bet had been right: Using the principles that would evolve into the Million-Dollar Weekend process-always staying alert to problems as opportunities, always starting experiments to find solutions and always asking for the sale.
I was beginning to see that to live well as an entrepreneur, I just needed to stop thinking so much and go get busy. That meant starting small, starting fast, and not worrying about what I didn't know.
I became an expert at taking leaps. Being unafraid to start new things meant that, unlike most people, I was constantly conducting experiments in my personal and professional life, in both big and small ways. New industries. New hobbies. New technologies. New roles. New people. New side hustles. That's where I found my superpower, which taught me a lesson I want to pass on to you: focus above all else on being a starter, an experimenter, a learner.
Pro Tip: Don't base your happiness or your self-worth on being the smartest, the most successful, the richest. Being so focused on the end results sets you up for a major fall because there's ALWAYS going to be someone who's smarter, more successful, or richer-and every time you see that you've fallen short, it will eat away at your motivation. Defining yourself by the things you do each day (the process) will get you to where you want to be quicker and more joyfully than measuring yourself against others.
That's the wonderful thing about experimentation-every experiment has within it the potential of unforeseen rewards that can change your life.
But first you've got to start.
The Dollar Challenge.
Ask someone you know for a dollar investment in you and your future business-one measly dollar!
This is YOUR spark. Once you do this, you realize the power of starting and the simplicity of business: starting, asking, iterating. I've seen thousands of lives changed by this simple and powerful exercise.
Tell them in exchange, they'll get regular updates and a front-row seat to the process of building a business from scratch, warts and all-like a member of your personal board of directors. Sure, it's an insignificant amount, yet jumping right in and asking for it-from family, friends, colleagues-is an oh-shit starting-and-asking experience that will get your heart racing.
This is the script I've seen work best:
Hey [first name]
I'm reading this book Million Dollar Weekend and they told me I need to get $1 from someone.
You're the first person I thought of, and it would mean a lot to have your support.
Can you send me $1 right now?
Oh no, I'm on the hook for this, you'll think. Good! Feel that fear and do it anyway. As my guy Ralph Waldo Emerson likes to say: "Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain."
Every day, people in my audience post pictures of their first dollar with pride. It's a symbolic game-changer for anyone who's been sitting on the sidelines wishing they had their own business. And while you're at it, ask me, too! Here's my venmo/cash app @noahkagan or email@example.com. I may even say yes.
Post and tag me @noahkagan, #thedollarchallenge. I may repost you.
The Magic of NOW, Not How
Starting. Experimenting. Really? That's a superpower?
• If you buy all the hype about Silicon Valley, everyone wears Patagonia jackets, can code with just one hand, and are all geniuses. I didn't get the coding skills or business genius part, but: I can start a lot of stuff without overthinking it.
• I can eat a crazy number of tacos.
It seemed downright unfair for the longest time. But as I got older and started to experience some success, all sorts of people began seeking me out for advice on this thing I did, which never occurred to me as being a thing at all.
Of course they didn't come to me to ask about starting, or at least not knowingly. The people who came always talked about their dreams of running a business, about hating their job or wanting freedom or feeling trapped. The problem in nearly every instance was the same: they hadn't started.
Only now do I understand what a problem that is, and how life-changing it can be to get someone to fully embrace what I call the NOW, Not How Habit.
When most people decide they want to start a business, their first intuition is to learn more first-read a book, take a course, seek out advice-and then take action after having carefully considered all the facts.
After all, there are a ton of top-rated MBA programs, $10 Udemy courses, free YouTube videos, and entrepreneurship how-to books-so why wouldn't you learn all you could? That's got to be a whole lot safer, and it probably makes you a lot less likely to fail, right?