How to (Step by Step) Test a Million Dollar Idea in 24 Hours (Muse Testing 101)

by Alexander Heyne · 19 comments

Nissan GTR

The vast majority of new entrepreneurs are plagued by the same two things: 

The first is a question: What kind of business do I start?

The second is a problem: resistance.

It’s hard as shit to actually overcome inertia and start something.

We are totally overwhelmed by questions, lack of experience, and lack of knowledge that 99% of us never start anything.  This is so absurdly common that i’m surprised more people haven’t made courses dealing with this.

The vast majority of new entrepreneurs encounter a chronic failure-to-launch.

The internal thought process goes something like this:

Got a new business idea, super excited. This could be a big one. Wait, don’t get ahead of yourself. Do I know if there’s a market for this? Am I going to like the day to day work?  How do I go about this.. is there a way to test beforehand? How many hours is that going to take? (Briefly calculates free time, what free time is worth in dollars, etc.) . Do I commit or do I drop this thing? Do I have enough time to really go all out? I wonder how much I can do in 3 hours a day – no, wait, I should probably push myself harder. I’ll get up at  7 instead of 7:45.  

It’s like the mental process of a madman. And all that internal chatter prevents us from doing the only important thing: doing something. 

A lot of entrepreneurs you talk to will talk about “that phase” which usually lasts a few years, where you’re trying to test out ideas to see what sticks, you’re trying to see what you really are passionate about, you’re trying to test out the market and position yourself. In other words, a few years before you’ve started anything.

This is a guide to setting up (in 24 hours) and knowing (within a week) whether or not to commit to a project.

This is a guide to STARTING SOME SHIT.

Alright, here’s the premise: selling a product that doesn’t exist already, by using landing pages and paid traffic. It’s something that a lot of online gurus recommend, and is one of the ways Tim Ferriss recommends testing a muse for a potential market.

Total Time Required: 30 hours

Total Money Required: $50-150

Total Time Saved: Potentially years



Step 1: Set up your website (and do some research)

You’re going to be driving traffic to a website, by using keywords (Facebook Ads/Adwords), meaning you should do some smart SEO and have your “.com” as a smart keyword too.

I hopped on over to Google Keyword Tool  and started researching some keywords.

So for example, you are wondering about three products you want to create: a course on fixing homesickness, a product that’s green tea for weightloss, and a product for curing asthma.

Let’s check out the keywords and competition for the first one:


You’re basically checking for two things: To see if there’s a market, and to see the competition (keyword-wise).

I can’t really give you a good idea of how much traffic is enough traffic – but I can tell you that less than 5 or 10,000 global monthly searches is not a lot.

So #1 is it obvious people are searching for it, and is it a problem?

I would say here there’s really not that much traffic or buyer-intent in this example, but if you DID go with this niche, you’d then need to choose some keywords.

If you decide to go with the niche, when choosing keywords, go with “long tail keywords.”

So instead of using “homesickness” as your keyword (more on this later), you want to use the following phrases:

  • Homesickness at college
  • Homesickness in adults
  • Dealing with homesickness

The main keyword often has high competition and there are a lot of much larger sites that you’ll be competing with. Niching down 101 right?

Ideal situation: Traffic above 20,000 (minimum) and competition listed as med or low

The second thing to check, in order to test for a market, is amazon:

For homesickness, it looks like books exist but none of them have even a substantial amount of reviews. As someone who frequents Amazon almost daily, I’d say any niche without a book under 100 stars is not that popular.  That would be a warning sign.

So let’s pretend you want to go ahead and test this product that helps with homesickness. You dealt with it, and found a solution to the problem, so you figure you can probably sell it.

Set up a new website with one of those “long-tail keywords” as the URL.

So for example:

Step 2: Crafting Your Sales Letter/Page

***Note: Some of the Examples I Use Are From my Test Sales Letter That I Did on Knee Pain: Check It Out Here***

I ended up using Optimize Press to do this process. It was insanely easy to make a sales letter, and it came out clean and very professional.

Now let’s talk about creating your sales page. This is not just where you are selling people – this is where you CONNECT with your target market.

I think too many people get caught in the sales (the talking) instead of getting the prospect to go “Yes, yep, yeah! You totally know what I mean!”

In fact, in the book SPIN Selling, which was the result of $1 million in research and 35,000 sales calls, one of the defining qualities of the best salespeople was this: how often the customer talked. Not how often the salesperson talked.

For you this means that your #1 priority when writing a sales letter has got to know where your prospects eat, piss and sleep. You have got to know every emotional aspect of their problems.


Sales Page Example

General Steps Simplified in Writing an Epic Sales Letter

Preliminary: *** Grab a copy of Optimize Press,  It’s the easiest way I know to create a professional-looking sales letter***

A. Create two “pages” -- once you’ve installed optimize press. Use “Sales Style 1 – Sales Letter Standard” as the template.

Now open page #1 and let’s get started.

#1 The Headline: Bring People In


Your headline is the first thing people see, the first thing that affects their buying intent, and the first reason they might leave your page.

Some tips for writing a good headline:

  • The obvious: it should make people want to read more. Having the words “unusual or weird” seem to work well, “5 weird tips” — because people view them as fast/quick fixes but they sound a little less scammy.  Make people curious — “Animal takes over city” is less intriguing than “Never seen before animal invading New York City.”
  • Check out Copyblogger’s tips for writing “Magnetic Headlines”
  • Use some of your keywords, or at least match the word you use in your ads. (E.g. if your ad talks about Chronic knee pain, your headline should have chronic knee pain as some of the first few words)

#2 The Problem: Tell the story of what you went through (Create the emotional connection)

Know client

Going back to our homesickness example, a story would go something like this:

“When I moved to college in 1957 I was extremely excited and looking forward to the best time of my life.  Parties, girls, and no parents – sounds like a paradise right? Little did I know that just 6 months in, I would be practically failing out of school because of one little thing I never thought of: homesickness.

I started missing home so bad that I would skip out on meals with friends, stopping going to class, and even dropped out of the sports programs I was doing. I didn’t even know why I felt so depressed, I just did. No matter how hard I tried to keep fitting in with new friends, It just never felt quite right. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. I even developed an interest in things that never interested me before – I started watching TV all day, I started smoking cigarettes, I stopped doing my homework. I was like a completely different person…”

Prospect Should be Saying ==> “Oh man this is exactly how I feel!”

#3 The Solution: Talk about how you solved it, get the prospect excited about the potential “what if”

“Around this time is when I realized that I could not put myself through this any longer. So I started seeing a psychologist while doing lots of personal research online.  I ended up learning that there were 3 or 4 mental changes that had to take place, as well as a step by step system to act out (in real life) to get rid of homesickness forever. I finally understood the root cause of being homesick, and once I did it was pretty easy to fix it forever.”

Prospect Should be Thinking ==> “Okay.. what isit? Damn, that would be AWESOME if there were a solution.”

#4 The Emotional Benefits of Your Solution/Product (Benefits)


“Imagine if you could feel like this: Motivated once again, no longer lost in time-wasting activities like TV or other addictions. Imagine if you could finally get out of bed excited again. Imagine what it would be like going to work, or school, or getting on with your life without the constant unhappiness of thinking about what you left behind?”

This is all about emotions. A huge part of consumer purchasing is based on emotion and not at all rational. If buying stuff was rational, nobody would buy things they can’t afford (and obviously that’s not the case.)

Prospect Should be Feeling ==> “Oh my god, if I buy this I can be a normal person again?” or “Wow, this can really give me the slimmer body that would massively raise my self esteem?” or “This product will bring in an extra 2k a month so my kids no longer have to see their mother struggle and be depressed?”

#5 The Physical/Real Problem solving ability of your product (Features)

The features are more the physical aspects of the product or solution that you provide. E.g. consulting sessions, a physical item, or an ebook.


 Now that you’ve sold them on the emotional benefits (This product will make me feel the way I want to feel), tell them about the physical benefits:

“So, in the Homesickness Away course, here’s what you’ll get: Two expert interviews with psychologists that specialize in treating homesickness, an ebook I compiled containing all the 5 lifestyle changes and mental changes that fixed my homesickness, and 5 video tutorials helping you get started today.”

Prospect Should be Feeling ==> “Nice, that’s a good deal.”

#6 (Optional) A video 

Video sales letters tend to convert better than pure text sales letters – and I don’t think it’s really rocket science to state this as a fact. Videos that are well-done keep your attention longer, allow you to express emotion, and in general are a more engaging way to bring the sales process to life.

I ended up just going for a classic text transcript/voice over video that I made with iMovie (Check it out)– and then I set it to Autoplay by using this tutorial: 

 #7 The Fake Buy-it-Now Button

If you’re using Optimize press, it’s easy to direct where the buy it now button directs people. Obviously you DON’T have a real product made, but you want to see how many people would actually click the purchase button. (Make sure your price is on the first page, otherwise people might click to the second page to find the price, but aren’t interested in buying).

So now go ahead and create a second sales letter (New page in WordPress/Optimizepress). 

Make it look something like this:

Fake second page


“Sorry, the product is currently being updated, I was abducted by an alien, my cat ate it, my cows are having an uprising, etc.”

And then give people the option to opt-in to your mailing list (most won’t but just incase).

Then go back to the first Sales page, and you’re going to add a “buy it now” button near the bottom.

Fortunately, optimize press makes it really easy to do so: Optimize press has some shortcodes (basically built in buttons) up in the menu with a mini “Add to cart” Button. When you click it,  this will show up:

optimize buttons

Pick whatever looks nice to you.

When you do, it’s going to show up in your post like this:

Optimize before

and where the # in “link=”#”  is where you add your sales page 2 web URL. So remember, you are directing people to the second page.  For me, my sales page 1 URL is “” and my sales page 2 URL is “” so I put in the sales page 2 URL in here:



Pretty easy and straightforward, yeah?

#8  Install Google Analytics on Each Page

Self-explanatory. But set up google analytics with two separate accounts so you have some way to track the traffic going to Sales page A (the main page) and Sales page B (The “Sorry” page).

You’re trying to track how many people will actually click the “buy” button and ultimately get to page 2.

#9 Advertise (Facebook) (for a week, NOT at same time as Google Adwords)

First, go to . You’re going to set up an add campaign on facebook to get some people coming over to the site and testing your sales letter.

The instructions are pretty self explanatory, but I want to highlight two points:

  • Your picture is extremely important. Test various images and potentially put on red borders to your images (to contrast with the blue facebook color). Nudity is banned. Believe me, I was going to put a picture of some cleavage. hehe…
  • Know your target demographic EXTREMELY well: for example, for my knee pain niche I thought not only of obvious knee pain candidates (runners, athletes) but I actually focused on inactive people in desk jobs who have knee pain too and I targeted potential likes of theirs: TV shows (The office), Computer Programmers, people who watch Tv (Sports), Small Business Owners, people in Personal Finance. Facebook is cool because you can target people by interest.

A specific look at some of the keywords I used, as well as lateral interests:

Knee Add 1


Knee Add 2


Also make sure to set a daily budget: I set $15.00 per day. I  spent around $60 testing.

While the ad is running, switch things up: the headlines, the images, etc. Certain things will affect your results more than others, even seemingly small stuff you didn’t expect, like a red border on an image.

#10 Advertise (Google Adwords) (A week, separate from the week during your Facebook ads)

Next, hop on over to Google AdWords  and set up a campaign with them.

This one is going to be more keyword specific, so go back to step 1, research some long-tail keywords, and use those for your campaign.

These are the keywords I used for my knee pain ad (again, keywords that I researched from using the Google Keyword tool to know what people are searching for):

Adwords keywords

And then when you run your ads, you’re going to get daily data including your CTR (Click Through Rate), CPC (How much it’s costing  you every time someone clicks your ad), and your position on google among the ads:

Adwords keywords 2

I also spent about $50 or $60 on Adwords so I could get a big enough sample size to choose from. I wanted a minimum of 100 unique visitors so that if I got any clicks on my “buy page” I could calculate what % of visitors are buying.

Just like in your Facebook ads, play around with headlines and keywords to see how your click through rate varies.

#11 Review Your Data

After you’ve run each test for a week, you’ll have at least 100 unique visitors that have visited your site, and some data to check out.

Now what you want to do is see how many of those people actually clicked your “Buy it now!” Button to go to Sales page #2.

For me, I had 1 person out of 100.  That’s 1%.  What’s normal? 1-3%.  You could obviously verify that if you have more money to spend — maybe it was a fluke, maybe you’ll get a lot more conversions with 3,4,500 visitors.

#12 Fire or Pass

Unfortunately it’s not quite so black and white – you can’t just say “Well, I had 0 conversions to the sales page, so I guess there’s no point in following through.”  And it’s also not totally true to assume that “Well I had 5 conversions, so there’s probably massive demand.”

But let’s go with the law of averages and assume that if you know A. There is market demand (see step #1), and B. You also got some click through’s to your Sales page #2, there is probably pretty good demand and you know you might have a viable product.


Again, if you want some help, go check out my sales letter: Behind Knee Pain. Is it an expertly done sales page? hell no! Will it work? Hell yes.

Hope you guys found that useful! I know how goddamn hard it is to beat the initial resistance to start something — it’s one of the hardest things to combat especially when you’ve never started anything before.

Sometimes you just need to take that first step, and the rest falls into place from there.



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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron Black December 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

This reminds me of the lean startup methodology I used on a number of ventures. Minimum viable product testing. Great stuff.

Currently helping my brother with a business project using MVP, will certainly try and employ some of these methods.

The best thing about this type of testing is it’s a true indicator about how serious someone is. I ran a lean startup meetup group for about a year. Everyone liked working on their business plan, talking about their plan, and tweaking their idea but you knew who was serious by whether or not they had a forty page business plan and no results, or a five page plan and 20 pages of iterations and tested results.


Alexander Heyne December 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Hey Aaron —

Yeah man! It’s a pretty cool exercise and something I wish I did sooner.

TOTALLY agree with you that this indicates how serious someone is about really running a business. I started a group for entrepreneurs and it was obvious that almost all of them fell into that category too. Everyone loves planning and reading and writing and idea talk but almost no one actually does it or wants to execute it. They avoid the hard work.

Most frustrating thing ever, although I’m starting to realize that this is pretty human. Writing businesses plans and talking about ideas instead of doing the work that needs to be done that actually matters, that separates the 1% from the rest. Dieters every january…


Mike December 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

This is like Ferriss’ model on overdrive. Very specific and cool. Well done!


Alexander Heyne December 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Yeah man! Always wanted to do this, will definitely use this in the future.


David Delp December 26, 2012 at 2:51 am

MVP is a fascinating model, especially when your idea is so specific. Thanks for clearly outlining the method.

In general I try to test ideas as often as possible. I ask the question, what is the smallest step I can take to show a result? It works in almost any situation. It’s the basic question for agile software development, and for positive psychology and for health, too. Love it. Thanks.


Alexander Heyne December 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm

No problem David !

I agree, this strategy has worked wonders for me and I wish I learned it sooner. Too many of us (99%?) just leave things in the idea phase, and like most mid life crises-ers, we never act.

Funny that you mentioned positive psychology and health — because that’s exactly what I’m in the process of applying it to!



David Delp December 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Neato. I wonder how you are applying Most Viable ____ to your health. Recently I started running a lot then developed an injury. I’ve been using something like MV__ and testing falsifiable hypotheses to my healing. Small steps, something specific, and falsifiable, for example “Doing ____ will not make me hurt more.” That way I find out what works and more importantly I rule out what doesn’t work.

And you?

Marcus January 2, 2013 at 7:50 am

Hi Alexander, I’ve actually used this strategy in the past and it works wonders without one having to spend too much cash on something that may never be. Never tested it with a video though (yeah, I know), but will definitely try it out. Kudos for how well you explained the process!


Alexander Heyne January 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

Hey marcus —

Yeah man it really is an awesome strategy. I wish someone showed me it sooner so that’s why I decided to write a guide. It would work just the same without a video (likely with fewer conversions though), but the video was a total bitch to do and probably tacked on 15+ hours itself. For that crappy video hahaha, huge time investment, but at least I know how to use the mac ivideo now.


Dean Bocari December 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Dude, this is thorough. Nice work man.


Alexander Heyne December 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

Thanks Dean !


Heike March 6, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Hi Alexander,

funny coincidence this is! You are using homesickness as an example for testing!
I just found your very useful and actionable article because I was wondering if it is worth it to write an eBook about homesickness. I recently started a website about homesickness and wanted to take it now to the next level. I will definitely follow your detailed advice that you are giving here.
However, I hardly use my Facebook page, so I don’t have enough likes to be allowed to start advertising on it. Any suggestions?



Alexander Heyne March 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Hi Heike,

You can advertise on facebook without likes – don’t drive them to your facebook page, just drive them to a newsletter/optin page so you can get more readers :)


Rahman Auf August 27, 2016 at 4:42 am

Dude, this is thorough. Nice work man.


Alexander Heyne August 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Thanks Rahman


Alexander Heyne December 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Hey David —

Yeah I actually had knee pain for 10 years which led me to study the origins of knee pain, study muscles and physiology, etc. and now I’m pain free. I assume it’s your knees bothering you from running, do you want to shoot me an email and we can talk more in depth? I also fixed ankle and hip problems from it.

Your strategy is pretty much how I did it. There’s lots of bullshit on the internet, but one approach you can take is try something for 7-15 days. E.g. the IT band stretch. Do it every day and record how the pain changes or abates. After 3 days, 5, 7, 10 days. Any better? If not, scrap it and try something else.

Some health things take time though – like muscle gaining and fat loss – and those are harder to track, and much more discouraging sometimes.

Positive psychology works well though. Can test very quickly too on a daily basis since our brains and thoughts are working almost all the time.

Anyways shoot me an email maybe I can help with your injury.


David Delp January 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Thank you Alexander. Will do!


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