The journey of creating a physical product [case study]

Dustin Lien is a reader turned friend who is experimenting with a new business called Fit Fly Shaker that I helped fund. This episode of Noah Kagan Presents is the first episode in a series where we’ll follow Dustin’s business journey and learn about what works, what doesn’t work, and how to focus on your goals and tactics.

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Questions and topics in this episode:

  • What is your business and where are you today?
  • How long have you been working on it and how’s it going?
  • How much have you invested in the business so far
  • How long from idea to prototype?
  • Where did you find your manufacturers?
  • How do you prototype the product?
  • What’s your total revenue to date?
  • How long have you been selling them for?
  • What’s worked in your sales and what’s not worked?
  • The difference between passive and direct marketing.
  • Discussion of targeted email, referral, and follow-up tactics.
  • How did you build your mailing list?
  • What are the 2017 goals for the company?
  • Goal setting workshop and target focusing.
  • Goal simplification tactics.
  • The $100 Challenge
  • Mapping and tracking company goals.
  • Accountability buddies.
  • Focusing on where the demand for the product is.
  • Understand why people aren’t buying.

Links discussed in this episode:

Fit Fly Shaker

Dustin on Instagram

The Five Foot Traveller



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15 responses to “The journey of creating a physical product [case study]”

Will Chou
January 18, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Keep it up, Noah. You’re making waves.

January 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Great set of questions! Kudos to Dustin.

Now, you can throw tomatoes at me, but bugger thoughts like these come to my mind:

How long till Platypus® come after him with cease and desist letter?

Daniel H
January 23, 2017 at 8:34 am

Listening to your podcast I thought of another market segment that would be easy to target and less competitive. People who are into ultralight backpacking gear. They are always looking for ways to reduce the size of things they carry and add things without adding a lot of space. Meal replacement shakes without the shaker would cut down on food, shaker, etc. —- Lots of groups and dedicated gear manufacturers to target. — Just a thought. Good luck with the product.

Noah Kagan
January 23, 2017 at 11:59 am

Dope Daniel. I’m into that as well. Dustin should check it out 🙂

Dustin Lien
January 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Great idea Daniel! Thanks 🙂

Peter, Contest Listing
January 25, 2017 at 5:40 am

Another great interview. Thanks Noah!

A giveaway is really a great source of traffic / newsletter subscribers / potential customers etc. Not only we help people promoting their giveaways, we also use giveaways to promote our other businesses.


January 25, 2017 at 3:01 pm


January 25, 2017 at 3:03 pm

I think this could be a successful product if, like Noah implied, you can market it to the right niche. One caveat, though, might be that disposable protein shakers seem a bit wasteful. Could become a negative externality in some people’s eyes as they would view it as opposite of eco-friendly. Design of product & website are dope though!

Dustin Lien
January 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Thanks Samuel! They are recyclable which helps with the wastefulness. Lots of things are in the same category like paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, sandwich bags, straws – very proud that they are recyclable though because the eco-friendliness is an important factor to me personally. Thanks for checking out the website…YOU are dope too sir 😉

January 26, 2017 at 4:07 pm

ahhh! okay I understand. They’re recycle, just not reusable. As someone that goes to the gym on a weekly basis (unfortunately I don’t have much to show for it lol) I don’t see the why the average gym goer would rather have disposable shakers instead of normal ones, that could last perpetually. I have like 4 or 5 that I bought on eBay from china for about $3-4 each. So, if one is dirty, I just grab the other. In the long run, for me it’s more cost efficient to have indispensable shakers. They’re not too inconvenient to carry, in my opinion, either. Like i said before, I still think in another target market this would rock. Maybe for hikers, idk. Anyway hope this pov helps & good luck! PS: How much did your site cost to create and get running? Was the cost included in the 1500? Thanks!

January 25, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Thanks for the podcast, pls continue the series. Couple of Qs to Dustin:
/ was the option to proceed in direct-to-consumer only mode reviewed? Your product is good for such, also it could be supplied subscription-based. I am refering to dollar shave club biz model
/ any plans to do crowd funding? It is a new product, many of prospects simply do not know about its existence: the campaign could be a good mean to get the exposure to big audience

Dustin Lien
January 26, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Hey Pavel 🙂 Subscription based is definitely something that was looked at and may happen in the future. The trick is getting people to try them out and create the habit before pitching subscription model. No plans to crowd fund at the moment. – Thanks for the ideas!

Andrew M. Warner
February 2, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Hot damn. Where have you been all my adult life, Noah?

You shared some timeless tips with Dustin here. I loved how you helped him narrow down and focus on specific goals. More specifically the $100 challenge.

I’m going to personally share this with a few entrepreneurs I know that have businesses but clearly aren’t focused. They’ll learn a lot just from this episode.

Great stuff.

– Andrew

February 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

I like Noah’s idea for pre-filling them, or something along those lines. Either way I think a video on how it used on the website (front page if it’s somewhere else I didn’t see) would be nice because it is a little unclear to me. GOOD LUCK Dustin and thank you both for the motivating info!

February 10, 2017 at 11:15 am

So impressed with this episode! Great insight and direction. Interested in how things are going to play out for Dustin. The promotional aspect of the product makes so much sense.