695
10 min 37 sec

Business Students Make $125,000 Selling Headphone Attachments

Two friends always talked about starting a business. But it wasn’t until a run-in with some expensive headphones that they finally found the idea they’d been waiting for.
Design Manufacturing Product Transition Story

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What It's About

This clever side hustle idea will stick with you.

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Product Design & Research
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

If you're thinking about putting your product on Amazon, Helmut recommends you focus as much time as possible on the basics. Get your images and product descriptions right, and when you do you’ll be in the top 10% of sellers by default. From there, it’s just a case of tweaking, improving and testing.

Fun Fact

Earhoox won a business pitching competition, which is run by PayPal and hosted by Daymond John. Helmut and Jeff received $30,000 cash to invest in the business!

Notes from Chris

Episode 695
Helmut Wyzisk and Jeff Becker spent most of their time at business school generating business ideas.They came up with grandiose schemes to start companies that would challenge the status-quo and knock the likes of Google and Facebook off their pedestals. But they never found an idea they were ready to take action on.

Helmut stumbled across the pair’s first profitable ideas in the headphone section of an electronics store. He noticed all the top-of-the-line headphones from Bose and Beats had a little piece of rubber to help the in-ear versions sit much tighter than the ones every iPhone owner had. He tried them on, gave his head a few shakes, and found they worked pretty well. There was just one problem: they cost $300!

Helmut began to think there must be a cheaper option. The little piece of rubber can’t have been too expensive to make, after all. What if there was a clip-on version he could add to the free headphones he received with iPhone?

He called up Jeff, who loved the idea. The pair decided they would do some testing to see if there was a market for it.

The first step was to contact local engineers to see how expensive molds would be, and whether it was even possible to make the product. They used these conversations to get an insight into product creation, and understand the different aspects like creating molds, ordering samples and what materials to use.

Once they had the confidence that they could actually create such a product, they moved to searching on Alibaba where they contacted every silicone manufacturer they could find. They used the “chat now” function to start lots of conversations and see what people responded with. This helped them to find an average market price, and understand who was trying to fleece them. They found a few manufacturers they felt comfortable working with and put them on hold to first see if there was market demand.

To trial their idea, Helmut and Jeff created an Indiegogo campaign. They used a designer from UpWork to help generate some basic concept art showing the product in their ear. They also gave their idea a name, Earhoox, with an “x.”

Over the course of 30 days, Earhoox raised $9,751 dollars from 400 backers in 32 different countries. Helmut and Jeff couldn’t believe there was such demand for the product. They felt like they finally had a real business venture on their hands.

They used that Indiegogo money as their entire start-up costs, without taking a profit. They invested it all into buying samples, building a website, and ordering their initial product run.

Earhoox currently generates around $125,000 a year in sales. They’ve been able to ensure a lot of this is profit by always keeping fulfillment in-house. For the first few years, they did this themselves from boxes in the spare bedroom, until demand grew enough they needed to hire a small team to run fulfillment from a small warehouse space.

Helmut and Jeff have found the business runs itself now, and they don’t need to spend much time on it. Despite starting as a full-time hustle, this allowed them to transition Earhoox into a side hustle and both work on different projects. Jeff has a full-time job at LinkedIn, while Helmut works in consulting. They continue to enjoy the income from their project even as they do other things.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Earhoox: Check out Helmut and Jeff's helpful accessory at the their website
  • Alibaba: The marketplace Helmut and Jeff used to source materials for their product
  • Indiegogo: The crowdfunding campaign Helmut and Jeff's used to help launch their hustle
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Talk is cheap. Action is everything."
—Helmut Wyzisk and Jeff Becker #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau