June 4, 2020

Top Trends insights, 1 year later

June 4, 2020
The Hustle
TOGETHER WITH
Ascent Protein

It’s hard to think about celebrating when our world is in turmoil. But today marks an important milestone for our company: It’s the first anniversary of Trends, our premium-subscription service, which helps entrepreneurs create and grow their businesses. More than ⅔ of Hustle readers identify as entrepreneurial-minded — and we’re grateful for all of you who’ve come along for the ride.

To commemorate the occasion, we decided to pull back the curtain on what makes Trends so special. For today’s email:

  • We curated a handful of our biggest hits.
  • We pulled together our most popular business-building advice.
  • And we highlighted several startup ideas and partnerships born in our community.

In such distressing economic times, it’s comforting to have a community of builders where we can turn for support. So we’re making it easier for more of you to join. For today only, we’re offering $100 off your first year of Trends. Think of it as an investment in yourself.

I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

– Brad Wolverton, Head of Content

PS: If you don’t have the money but still want Trends, take our 5-question quiz at the bottom of this email and you’ll be eligible to win one of 5 free Trends subscriptions we’re giving away.

Happy Birthday, Trends!

Trends turns 1: Our hits, misses, and strangest finds

For this special edition email, we’re looking back on some trends we got right in year one, a few misses (hey, nobody’s perfect), and some of our most unusual insights.

This email ain’t just replays

Hot off the presses, our Trung Phan just published an interactive report on 30 companies that are defining the future of media and pop culture. It’s one of the coolest pieces our Trends team has produced (see an abridged version here).

Nailed it

Would you believe us if we said one of the ideas we got right was about… airplanes? Sounds nuts, but in October, we covered the fast takeoff of airplane cocktail kits.

The Signal we published was a major hit. And the kits are still going strong — air travel is grounded, but companies are buying them in bulk for remote team happy hours.

Timing is everything

In March, we wrote about the budding niches of TikTok. Shelter-in-place orders made dancing by yourself one of the world’s favorite activities. 

TikTok’s subcultures multiplied as its user base grew — in the US alone, the number of unique mobile visitors 18+ years old skyrocketed by 36% (from 28.8m in March to 39.2m in April). 

The craze shows no signs of slowing, and products for your star turn are shining bright — collapsible green screens, anyone?

But sometimes your timing sucks

Paging Freezing Cold Takes: In January, we published a bullish report about Simon Property Group, America’s largest… mall operator.

In early March, we went big on the $18B boutique hotel industry. About a week later, the US declared a national emergency over the pandemic. And you thought Quibi’s timing was bad!

Let’s get weird

Occasional misses aside, our analysts are pretty good at finding under-the-radar gems (sober bars, the strange sport of teqball). Here are a few more:

  • DIY… medical devices?! The open-source movement is going to the doctor’s office. The NIH, for example, hosts a 3D-printed prosthetics exchange.
  • The early bird monetizes the worm: Worm farms have gotten big Down Under. Now they’re wriggling into the US — one worm supplier makes $360k/month.
  • Honey, I shrunk everything: Who needs tiny Nutella jars and miniature cooking equipment? A lot of people, apparently.
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Leads: Best of the Best

Every week, the Trends team curates a half-dozen of the most actionable articles we can find for our Leads section, which offers fast tips to build your business. Below are ~20 of our most-clicked Leads from the past year. For a mega list of 100+ more, check out this listing.

Build your business

Discover profitable online projects. A comprehensive guide to margins, by sector (updated January 2020). How to acquire more users. How to transform your blog into a lucrative business. The best copy reads like customers wrote it. 6 tools one team uses to generate thousands of LinkedIn leads. 17 tips for great copywriting.

Maximize your potential

Why your landing page didn’t convert. How to build traffic campaigns that convert customers faster. A free Facebook ads analyst. 5k+ email marketing designs that work. 7 tips for keeping your business afloat during the pandemic. How and where to cut costs.

Success stories

How Bobby Hoyt built Millenial Money Man into an $88k/month machine. How a $45 doorstep became one of Shark Tank’s biggest deals. 50 companies that made it big with little funding. How an ex-Amazon employee sold $20k in copies of a digital book in 3 days. Warren Buffett explains how he assesses the intrinsic value of companies. 7 Zoom-ified businesses that are here to stay.

Looking Ahead

Trends predictions for a post-COVID world

There’s a reason that the “my plans vs. 2020” meme lit up Twitter like a pinball machine: No one could have seen that 6 months into the year, we’d be facing global crises on such a grand scale. 

Our Trends analysts pushed to find the 2nd- and 3rd-order effects of the pandemic — to anticipate what will resonate with consumers in a reimagined world.

We also asked our Trends subscribers, a talented group of entrepreneurs, to predict the hottest products and industries of the future. Read 27 of their best takes here.

And if you want to know where other big opportunities might lie, these themes are a good place to start.

Tech will shape our social lives

Our Facebook group pondered the question: What will it mean to be part of a community when school and work no longer dictate where you live and who you socialize with?

The opportunity: Businesses that build loyalty through digital communities will reap the rewards. 

The Lego Group created the Lego Ideas Community: a place for enthusiasts to interact with each other and crowdsource ideas for new products. Another example: The Nomad List for digital nomads.

Commerce won’t look the same

Historically, 3 roadblocks have prevented ecommerce from eclipsing brick-and-mortar shopping: tradition, pricing, and the in-store experience. 

The pandemic is eroding those roadblocks. The online shopping boom will create more competition, driving down costs for consumers relative to traditional retail. Think of a world where free same-day delivery is the norm.

Post-COVID-19, the only in-store retailers that will survive will be those that focus on the value of the physical experience. 

The opportunity: Retailers will benefit from turning their physical locations into flagship stores and “experience hubs.” This Nike store, described as a “powerhouse of experience-driven retail,” allows consumers to try on their shoes and test them out in simulated sports venues (think basketball courts, enclosed soccer fields, and treadmills).

‘Local only’ might be the new ‘local first’

You’d think a pandemic, which confined billions to their homes, would inspire people to fly the nest as soon as possible. That won’t be easy — global supply chains are a mess, and travel could take a long time to recover.

So local experiences, local tourism, and locally produced goods could rule the day. 

The opportunity: Consumers have shown that they are willing to pay a premium to support local businesses. Brands that focus on this value proposition will win, with the added benefit of independence from global supply chain challenges.

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SPONSORED

Why Tim Ferriss, Christian McCaffrey, and Katrin Davidsdottir turn to Ascent for their post-workout recovery

Whether you’re a Pro athlete, a CrossFit champion, or simply someone committed to maximizing their health and fitness, a high-quality protein source is one of the keys to keeping your body healthy.  

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Everyone from high-level athletes to casual Amazon shoppers trust Ascent for their post-workout recovery — it covers all their fitness bases:

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  • Accommodating: Certified Gluten Free & Soy Free

In a nutshell? It’s one of the most efficient, clean, and efficacious protein sources you can reward your body with… sounds pretty good when you put it that way. 

Their delicious chocolate flavor took over 252 recipes to perfect, and now you can taste the finished product for yourself — just use promo code ASCENTHUSTLE on Amazon or over at their website to save some dough on your first bag of whey, casein or pre-workout.

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Success Stories

Community highlights: Trendsters solve Zoom headaches and help local businesses

The Trends Facebook group is both incredible and incredibly active. 

Over the past month, the group has contributed 700 posts, 7.9k comments and 12.4k reactions.

Trends members network, swap advice, vet ideas, incubate new ventures, and do deals. Here are some great Trends community stories from the past year: 

Chris Koerner read one of our Steph Smith’s reports about the anything-as-a-service (XaaS) industry and was inspired to start an ecommerce-as-a-service (EaaS) business. He bought the domain name www.SendEats.com for less than $10, and he’s now helping brick and mortar food shops sell online. 

Trendsters Ali Jiwani and Anson Cao (along with a 3rd founder, Amy Liu) had an awful 20-person Zoom call at the start of quarantine and decided to do something about it. 

They built Rally, an online video conferencing platform meant to make collaboration easier (one feature: conversation switching between groups). They’ve hosted more than 100 events (including one for the Trends group) and have secured investment from a prominent Silicon Valley VC. 

After reading a Trends article on the fast-growing world of online plant sales, Narek Vardanian and his team built a Kickstarter campaign and raised $1.5m for PICO, an innovative indoor gardening system.

Paul Lemley told the group that he used no-code tools to quickly create a directory app to help local businesses in specific cities. He laid out step-by-step instructions, and fellow Trendsters replicated the app for 17 other cities. 

On the My First Million podcast, Sam often mentions his love of job boards and wanted to create one based on companies he would vet personally. Trendster Henry Johnson loved the idea so much that he did it, curating fast-growing business ideas under the Rocketship Jobs brand. 

Tamar Weinberg was ready to launch a unisex fragrance before the pandemic hit. She lives in New Rochelle, New York, the first suburb in the US that had community spread of the coronavirus. She ended up getting COVID-19. After recovering, she recently let the Facebook group know she was launching a crowdfunding campaign for her fragrance.

Our members tell us all the time that the community alone is worth the price of admission. Don’t forget: For today only, you can get $100 off your first year of Trends.

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The Hustle Says

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Quiz Time

Test your Trends knowledge

Are you an entrepreneur in-the-know? Put your startup savvy to the test by taking our 5-question quiz, which draws on some of our most popular Trends posts. Five lucky people will win a free, one-year Trends subscription.

Snippets

🏊 Buying a pool this summer? Good luck finding one. 

🐶 Meet the doggy daycare startup owned and run by workers. 

🔎 Black Mirror season 6? A new ad from the show says we’re living it

🍕 Sorry to this man: For 9 years, one guy in Belgium has been terrorized by pizza deliveries he never ordered

📹 Brace for the confusion: The stock market is adding a 4th “Zoom” to its ranks.

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

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