How Long Can a TikTok Be? The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Video Length (+ What Gets the Most Views)

By May28,2024

In this #AskBuffer, we explore whether there is a best TikTok length and look at examples from content creators who make both short and longer videos on the platform. My New Business Hit $1 Million in Sales in One Year: Here’s My Playbook

If you were to ask me about my superpower, I’d say I’m really good at making money fast. 

I’m a serial entrepreneur who started my first company when I was 17. I’ve had five ventures and two exits. Until this point, my life strategy has been to build a business, make the money I need, take a sabbatical, and believe that when I run out of money, I’ll be able to spin up another company to make some more.

I know it’s not the most financially responsible way of life, but it’s taught me a lot about how to bootstrap a revenue-driving venture quickly. 

Ten months ago, I launched my sixth company, Robin House, which fractionalizes property investments into thousands of shares, empowering everyday individuals to invest in real estate with as little as $100. 

We currently have three properties that will be renovated into short-term rentals to quickly start earning returns for our investors (“investors” in this article means customers who are buying shares of our properties). We’re on track to hit $1 million in sales in our first year, all completely bootstrapped. 

This didn’t happen by accident, but thanks to some tactics that I’ve learned along the way, including growing a previous company to $1 million in a year. Read on to learn my playbook for rapid growth and how you can apply it to your own business. 

1. Make it critical

Early on in growing Robin House, my team was stuck on the idea that the only way we could possibly grow was by investing in paid marketing. So, I brought them together and asked them to brainstorm ways they could get 100 leads in a week for $0. After about 15 minutes, I noticed nobody was coming up with anything.

I then remembered a brainstorming exercise I learned on a podcast: What if getting 100 leads by the end of the week was truly a matter of life or death for the business? 

Suddenly, everyone had ideas. With that change in perspective, they were willing to do whatever it took to achieve the goal: walk around and knock on doors, print flyers to hand out everywhere you go, ask anyone and everyone you know for referrals.     

Thanks to this exercise, we identified some simple, obvious strategies we hadn't thought about yet. We created a business on Google Maps at the address of the house we were purchasing with a title that made it clear this was an investing opportunity and got a sign printed in front of the house that explained how to get involved. This simple move led to at least 20 new inquiries and about $7,000 in new investments. 

We also agreed that we’d never leave a conversation without asking for a referral because you never know who might be interested. This also led us to some of the strategic partnerships I’ll talk more about in a minute. 

Yes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. (For example, I wish I had made sales and marketing hires for this company sooner — I think we’d be even further along in our growth.) But there are also plenty of ways to grow for free that you can unlock if you push yourself to think creatively. 

2. Do things that don’t scale at first

As you’re brainstorming budget-friendly marketing tactics, you may be dissuaded by the fact that many of them are very hands-on and won’t be feasible as you grow — but that’s OK when you’re getting started. 

For example, one idea we brainstormed to get more investors and lower our costs was to trade with providers of products and services we’ll need for the house renovations. We give them shares of investments based on the value of the toilets or furniture they give us. It’s probably not something we’ll be able to do when we have more investment properties, but it’s really helping us out for now — the furniture alone is worth about $100,000 in investment. 

We’re also realizing that we have to be a lot more hands-on with potential customers since we’re a newer company still building trust. Eventually, we would love buying shares in one of our properties to be a completely web-based process that’s hands-off for our team, but for now, I’m OK with customers wanting to come see the property in person before investing or needing more hand-holding from our sales team.

An important mindset shift for early-stage entrepreneurs is to let go of the need to find approaches that scale and instead do whatever it takes to get those first customers. 

3. Consider who already has trust with your target audience 

Again, building trust was a big challenge for us, especially in the beginning when we didn’t have any brand equity or even properties to show. So, we looked for opportunities to work with people and organizations who already had access to and trust with our target audience.

For example, one of our customers was part of an investment club, and he invited us to talk to them. We got seven new investors from that because we were piggybacking off the relationships he had already built in that community. 

We also started reaching out to real estate agents who might work with clients interested in short-term rental investments. We told them about our benefits and then let them sell us to their clients, whom they had already built trust with.

There are so many other ways to do this: you could get active in Facebook Groups or local associations for your target audience, go on podcasts, get on panels, go to conferences, pitch news outlets, or partner with social media influencers

Listen to where your customers are coming from and where they hang out, and then look for ways to get visibility and build relationships in those circles.

4. Create incentives to encourage word-of-mouth marketing

While we’re investing time in building our own social channels, I’ve learned from previous companies that getting other people to talk about your products is how you achieve true social media virality. 

Sometimes, you can just ask people to help promote you. For instance, at a previous company that sold dog carriers, we DMed hundreds of dog-related accounts, they shared our videos, and we achieved over five million views.

But generally, I find it’s easier to create word of mouth when you have incentives, which is why I love affiliate programs. For Robin House, we offer a commission between one and five percent depending on how much total investment a person brings in. This makes it so much easier to reach out to financial and investing influencers, for example, because there’s something in it for them, too. This affiliate program is responsible for 34 percent of our sales.

It’s also bolstered our partnerships with real estate agents since our commissions are quite generous compared to the norm. And, since we only have to pay for this promotion when we make money, it’s a cost-effective approach for our growing company.

5. Don’t forget your existing customers while you search for new ones

Finally, as you’re doing all this work to gain more customers, it’s critical to keep nurturing the ones you already have. 

We’ve worked really hard to make our customers feel appreciated and like an active part of the process. We put them all in a WhatsApp group and share behind-the-scenes content about the renovations or new properties we’re considering, offer education about the real estate industry, and generally hold their hands through the whole process. 

It’s worked in our favor because not only have we gotten a lot of referrals from existing customers, but they’re excited to buy more shares of property when they can — about nine percent of our customers have already re-invested.

Don’t just sell to someone and then forget about them. Keep them warm and they might be your biggest spokespeople, cheerleaders, and drivers of more growth.

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