Million Dollar Weekend Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Million Dollar Weekend* is a proven step-by-step guide to launching a business with 7-figure potential in just 48 hours, showing you how to overcome your fears, pick, structure, and validate a great idea, and then scale it to your first million dollars and beyond. 

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It’s 2006, and you’ve just joined Facebook as its 30th employee. Your stock options equal 1% of the company, and the rocket ship is growing at 50,000 users a day. But less than 9 months in, Matt Cohler, employee #5, asks you to get coffee across the street. 20 minutes later, you’re fired. Poof. Gone is your job and what would be a $1 billion+ payday 15 years later.

This is Noah Kagan‘s story. Of course, he was sad for a while, but eventually, he made his own way — and started 8 million-dollar businesses. I “met” Noah in 2013, when I stumbled on his guest post for Tim Ferriss: How to Create a Million-Dollar Business This Weekend. I’ve followed his work ever since. Even did my own guest post on Sumo once!

His new bestseller, Million Dollar Weekend: The Surprisingly Simple Way to Launch a 7-Figure Business in 48 Hours,* goes back all the way to that blog post — and far beyond! Whether you know Noah from his blog, interviews, or his million-subs Youtube channel, first and foremost, he is the Chief Sumo at AppSumo, a deal site for software. It makes $80 million in annual revenue.

Noah is the person to talk to when it comes to overcoming “your inner wantrepreneur.” The book has 3 parts: Start It, Build It, and Grow It. In our 3 lessons, we’ll focus on the first 2 to help you get your business off the ground ASAP:

  1. Take 2 challenges in order to overcome your fears of starting and asking.
  2. There are 4 sources you can tap any day for a million-dollar idea.
  3. Never start a business until you convince 3 people in 48 hours to pay you.

Let’s start your million-dollar business right now!

Million Dollar Weekend Summary

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Lesson 1: The fear of starting and the fear of asking are the 2 most common killers of business dreams — address them with 2 challenges.

After Facebook, Noah launched countless side hustles. He taught Korean students online marketing. He blogged. Noah launched local happy hours, chess meetups, and an event business. “Focus above all else on being a starter, an experimenter, a learner,” Noah suggests. Eventually, the pieces will come together.

Unfortunately, most people never start anything. Fear, in whatever form, stops them. Your remedy? “The Dollar Challenge:” “Ask someone you know for a dollar investment in you and your future business—one measly dollar!” This will force you out of your comfort zone, make you accountable to someone (they’ll want updates!), and get you some early supporters.

The second big obstacle, the fear of asking, Noah’s father helped him overcome. One day, he accompanied the door-to-door copier salesman. He watched him get rejected again and again. But his father said: “Love rejections! Collect them like treasure! Set rejection goals. I shoot for a hundred rejections each week, because if you work that hard to get so many noes, in them you will find a few yeses, too.”

To develop that same spirit, do “the Coffee Challenge:” Go to Starbucks, order your favorite drink, and ask for 10% off. Don’t justify your ask. Just be nice, smile, and ask. Most likely, you will be rejected — and everything will be fine. It sounds easy, but even professionals find it hard. Try it!

Get over your fear of starting and your fear of asking, and you’ll have taken the first 2 crucial steps on your journey as an entrepreneur.

Lesson 2: Tap into 4 sources to come up with a million-dollar business idea.

In college, I brainstormed business ideas with my best friend. “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could order at restaurants from an iPad right inside the table?” There was only one problem, says Noah: “Customers don’t care about your ideas; they care about whether you can solve their problems.”

People dream up great visions but never ask real people whether they want them. “Business creation should always be a conversation!” Noah says. Here are 4 ways to find legit ideas:

  1. Solve your own problem. If you’re frustrated with something day-in and day-out, chances are, you’re not the only one!
  2. Complement a bestseller. Create something to make a popular product you love even better. Examples: iPad covers, video game tutorials, or covers of famous songs.
  3. Scour marketplaces. On eBay, Etsy, and Craigslist, people are already trying to spend money. To get a babysitter, unclog their toilet, or solve any other problem. Be the solution to one of them!
  4. Google what people are googling. Search queries reveal what people struggle with. Google’s autocomplete feature is a goldmine! Type in “how to…” and see what comes up.

Solving your own problem is the king of these. Dive deeper into it with 4 questions: What is one thing…

  1. …this morning that irritated me?
  2. …on my to-do list that’s been there over a week?
  3. …that I regularly fail to do well?
  4. …I wanted to buy recently only to find out that no one made it?

Whether it’s a movie critique Youtube channel, knitting-on-demand service, or a new caffeinated drink — find an idea people really want, and then get on building it. But not before…

Lesson 3: Don’t start any business you haven’t validated by getting 3 paying customers in 48 hours.

There’s one other criterion your business idea has to meet: People must be willing to pay for it. It’s Noah’s “Golden Rule of Validation:” “Find three customers in 48 hours who will give you money for your idea.”

Asking “Would you pay for this?” is not the same as saying, “Please pay me for this.” Even the best friend’s support ends at their wallet. That’s good! You need real data.

Noah validated AppSumo with a simple landing page, a PayPal button, and some ads on Reddit. When he sold over 200 subscriptions to Imgur, an image sharing tool, in 2 days, he knew his idea had legs.

In 2015, I validated an online course for stress-free productivity. I sold 0 units after promoting it on a webinar — and simply moved on. No harm, no foul. When I did the same for my writing course 3 years later, I got $20,000 in preorders within a week. That’s how I knew I should actually get to work.

Always validate your businesses before launching them. Keep it simple! Get 3 people to pay you in the first 48 hours, and if you can’t, move on or start over. Once the first dollars roll in, the hard work begins — but at least you’ll finally be on your way!

Million Dollar Weekend Review

Million Dollar Weekend is packed with great tools and easy-to-grasp concepts. Noah’s process hasn’t changed fundamentally since his blog post 13 years ago, only evolved. He’s a compelling, walking example that his advice works. A fantastic book for any budding entrepreneur!

Who would I recommend our Million Dollar Weekend summary to?

The 19-year-old college student who doesn’t yet understand the difference between an idea and a solution, the 35-year-old journalist who’s slowly beginning to believe her side hustle will never happen, and anyone who’s fed up with spinning their wheels in the world of business.

Last Updated on February 2, 2024

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Niklas Göke

Niklas Göke is an author and writer whose work has attracted tens of millions of readers to date. He is also the founder and CEO of Four Minute Books, a collection of over 1,000 free book summaries teaching readers 3 valuable lessons in just 4 minutes each. Born and raised in Germany, Nik also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration & Engineering from KIT Karlsruhe and a Master’s Degree in Management & Technology from the Technical University of Munich. He lives in Munich and enjoys a great slice of salami pizza almost as much as reading — or writing — the next book — or book summary, of course!