I Built A $10K/Month Online Community Where We Fight Fake News Stories

Kervin Aucoin
$13.8K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
1
Employees
Aucoin Analytics,...
from Washington D.C., DC, USA
started November 2018
$13,800
revenue/mo
1
Founders
1
Employees
884K
alexa rank
12
followers
11
followers
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello folks, my name is Kervin Aucoin and I am the founder of Aucoin Analytics, LLC, a private intelligence company that focuses on security trends by using data and predictive analysis to protect customers. Aucoin Analytics delivers highly specialized risk assessments and intelligence reports specially tailored to our customer's needs.

Aucoin Analytics has also developed a subscription-based private intelligence community that specializes in defeating fake news stories by providing unaltered raw data to confirm or deny reports from all major media sites. Within this community is a social media platform developed with the help of the Tribe community platform that gives subscribers access to subject matter experts in the government intelligence career fields.

Along with access to experts in the intelligence community, I have begun using my years of experience as an instructor in the US Army to develop a curriculum that will provide subscribers with access to certification as a basic level Intelligence analyst and fake news filter.

With very low overhead our profit margin has been quite steady and we have seen profits at $10,000/month between consulting and the private sector.

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What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

As a 15 year Army veteran and 20+ years as an Intelligence analyst, I’ve traveled the world and immersed myself in the culture of many countries.

On multiple occasions, friends and family would ask for insight on traveling to certain destinations. That was my “aha” moment where I saw a real need for an unbiased and well-informed travel security platform.

Over the last 20 years, I have traveled to countless countries. Some of those travels have sent me to austere locations devastated by civil war or terrorism and other times I have had the benefit of traveling to paradise-type locations. In either atmosphere, I felt secure and comfortable because I had access to information that gave me peace of mind and provided me with locations to avoid. I wanted to pass this information on to anyone who wants access.

I then began to blog about my experiences in different countries and posted those blogs to the company website to help others who may be dealing with some of the same traveling hardships.

Within the last decade, I have also seen an increase in the U.S. media’s usage of what I call “Headlines for profit” which provide incendiary headlines to obtain “clicks” that drive ad revenue. While this increased the profitability of major news media companies, I had seen a decrease in mental health among people who immerse themselves in current events and politics.

From the start of this journey, I have learned that going from idea to product can be a long and arduous process. While there is some luck involved, the business startup process takes long hours and hard work, but if you stick to it the result is very rewarding.

With this information, I began to develop a community that can provide both services with a relatively cheap subscription-based platform. I am out to prove that people want the truth and not just a confirmation of their own bias.

Take us through the process of building and launching Aucoin Analytics, LLC.

The starting process was very fluid and evolved before Aucoin Analytics became what it is today.

As the owner and only employee, I utilized the abundance of online courses from both Coursera and udemy to learn entrepreneur skills that would come in handy during the designing of our subscription-based product. Coursera has a robust offering of business-related courses. Some of the professional certification courses that were most helpful were: Google Project Management, Digital Marketing Strategy, and Facebook Social Media Marketing. The best part of Udemy is the various flash sales that go on which offer up to 90% off various courses.

With those skills, I was able to design the services I wanted to provide as a company and test those services with people in my inner circle so that I understand what is value-added for everyone involved.

The first few attempts at creating the service failed miserably but I was lucky enough to have a community of diverse intellectuals that helped guide me to the final product.

Trying to perform all company tasks alone while also promoting the company, drained me personally and took too much time away from family and friends. Each task I tried to perform alone failed. Once I realized this, I began to reach out to close friends and colleagues for help in developing things like A website, Business plan, marketing strategy, and editing services.

Since I do not have a degree in business and had not started a company before this time, I ran into some frustrations.

Developing a business plan, creating a specific price point, and marketing to the right audience were all issues that I resolved through networking with individuals who were much more advanced in business than I was.

This networking helped guide the business plan and develop the first iteration of the services we provide. I have been privileged to have access to virtual networking events like Network After Work where hundreds of business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can pitch their company’s products to gain customers, request business funding, and gain invaluable knowledge from top companies. Due to COVID-19, all in-person networking was canceled, so I went to Linkedin, Instagram, and Zoom to participate in as many virtual networking conferences as possible. The best part of the virtual conferences was that most were free of charge and the conferences brought a more global audience.

This close network of people helped form the private intelligence community and helped guide some of our products like this one on unrest in Kosovo:

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Describe the process of launching the business.

The launch of the business, from idea to product, has been a long and arduous process with many twists and turns. What began as an owner-operated intelligence consulting company, has morphed into a full-fledged intelligence community with multiple subject matter experts (SMEs) offering unbiased information to community members.

The original business plan began as a way to provide high-value corporate leaders with intelligence products catered to their specific travel needs. The COVID-19 pandemic did not allow for the advancement of this idea but did help scope the future of the company from a protective intelligence travel company to a robust intelligence community that offers unbiased news and information.

Our very first customer was someone I knew very well and had been one of my former bosses until I moved on from my previous position as an analyst to form Aucoin Analytics. He saw my announcement on the company through Linkedin and immediately reached out to receive access to our private intelligence community. That lead turned into multiple customers because he vouched for our company.

I would highly suggest Linkedin as a form of company advertisement as well constructed posts on the service can lead to hundreds and even thousands of engagements a day.

The process continues to this day and the global environment/current events will continue to shape the company. What I have learned during this process is nothing is set in stone and being flexible can be the difference between success and failure.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

SEO

The best way I have found to attract and retain customers has been, educating myself on search engine optimization (SEO) which was crucial in getting customers to the company website.

SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page for search engines. Udemy has a great SEO Training Masterclass course. Being in such a niche environment, SEO is crucial because we compete with various companies for a highly specialized group of customers. Learning SEO is not for every entrepreneur and should not take away from the work being done on a company. In cases where there is just no time to learn such a robust platform, I recommend utilizing an SEO consultant like Cadence SEO.

Social Media

From there I learned that LinkedIn/Instagram/Twitter can be very useful in establishing a network that validates your credentials and gives you the ability to broadcast your products to thousands of potential customers, sometimes free of charge.

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LinkedIn

Linkedin has brought a tremendous amount of quality customers to Aucoin Analytics and helped with providing my credentials when discussing our services with potential clients. It also allows the company to interact with thought leaders in the field of intelligence.

MailChimp

Mailchimp also provides a great template for communicating with new customers or community sign-ups. Because it allows for automated emails, a customer can request information any time and any place and receive a tailored email that will provide the information needed and I do not have to be tethered to my phone or computer.

The best part of Mailchimp that Aucoin Analytics utilizes would be those automated emails. The way it works is, Mailchimp uses their global customer data to automatically send emails for various customer interactions. If individual signs up for our private intelligence community, Mailchimp will send a welcome email that keeps the customer engaged without any action on my end. They also have many pre-created emails to choose from.

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Finally, the next step in the process of attracting customers will be a targeted ad campaign. This is still a work in progress but it is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of attracting customers. A company can easily retain customers by providing a product that people want, but if those customers don’t know the product exists they will never be a patron.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

While Aucoin Analytics currently offers bespoke intelligence reports to companies in need of the information, the future of the company sits squarely on the private intelligence community being built at this time with a scheduled rollout for the end of September 2021.

Don't Give Up...Don't Ever Give Up

Aucoin Analytics strives to build a first-of-its-kind subscription-based private intelligence community that will give community members access to subject matter experts in the fields of intelligence and security. Also, Aucoin Analytics hopes to train members to be analysts themselves and use the platform to be better informed on all global matters.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

From the start of this journey, I have learned that going from idea to product can be a long and arduous process. While there is some luck involved, the business startup process takes long hours and hard work, but if you stick to it the result is very rewarding.

The most important thing I have learned, however, is how important a close network of encouraging friends and family can be. My inner circle of friends has provided the “outside looking in” view that has been instrumental in the success of Aucoin Analytics.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

With my offerings mainly focused on the technology side of things, I have learned to leverage outside sites to help in development. The most important platform that has guided Aucoin Analytics has been the community building site tribe.so.

Tribe offers community leaders a place to build and promote their self-created community sites with a personalized social media platform that helps keep customers engaged with the company.

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For the website, I chose WIX due to its ease of use and plethora of add-ons. Wix gives my company’s website a professional look and their 3rd party apps increase productivity and promotion.

Any other technology-based needs for the company are dealt with through python and Rstudio coding platforms.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The single greatest book on leadership, in my opinion, is Jocko Willink’s “The Dichotomy of Leadership”. In the book, Jocko(a former Navy Seal commander deployed several times to multiple combat environments) uses his background as a military commander to better explain how to master the Dichotomy of Leadership by understanding when to take the lead and the times when best to follow. In addition, the book explains that the most effective leader/entrepreneur must take extreme ownership of everything that impacts the company, and also the need to utilize a decentralized command by giving ownership to their team. A leader should care deeply about their people and their success and livelihoods, yet look out for the good of the overall team and above all accomplish the mission and most importantly that leaders should exhibit humility while also being able to push back against questionable decisions.

My top podcast listens recently have been The GaryVee audio experience where entrepreneur, CEO, investor, vlogger, and public speaker Gary Vaynerchuk encourages entrepreneurs to be forward-thinking and focused while advising his real-world experiences as one of the top modern-day serial entrepreneurs. Another top podcast for me is the 10-minute entrepreneur podcast. In this podcast, seasoned serial entrepreneur Sean Castrina shares quick-hitting tips to help equip promising entrepreneurs with the tools needed for success.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I always start my advice by repeating the words of former North Carolina State University Basketball coach James Thomas Anthony Valvano(Jimmy V) “Don't Give Up...Don't Ever Give Up".

Since I began this path of launching the company, I have had days, weeks, and even a month or two where I wanted to give up the dream. If I had given up I would regret it for the rest of my life. There will be times where the company needs to pivot and find its footing due to uncontrollable circumstances.

Trying to build a travel security company from scratch during the COVID-19 shut down of spring 2020 could have spelled the death of Aucoin Analytics, but we didn’t quit and have revamped our business plan to better fulfill the needs of customers to align with a new normal.

Where can we go to learn more?

Aucoin Analytics is all over the internet. Here are all the ways you can get more information and interact with the company:

We launched a podcast entitled 'This Week Explained' within the first month we have had hundreds of downloads and over 40 subscribers.

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If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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Kervin Aucoin   Founder of Aucoin Analytics, LLC
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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