All the Stuff You Can Get Reimbursed For, and How to Do It
I watched Zuckerberg demo the new Quest Pro VR headset earlier this month. I didn’t buy one, but I would have a few years ago. Why not now? It is not compelling enough for me as a consumer, and I don’t have a justification at work for expensing it. But I have had jobs before where testing new VR devices was a customer research expense. I definitely proved that with my Google Glass and, um, Oculus Rift.
Expense reports are a pain for most people, but they could be a goldmine for the right entrepreneur.
The concept is to merchandise products and services to professionals in a way that they are easy to justify as work expenses.
Imagine the product page for the Quest Pro VR headset on Expense This. There is a dropdown menu to select your industry and role. You select “Software Product Manager” and a request letter template is generated for you to copy and paste.
“I’d like to expense the purchase of a Quest Pro…. Meta has sold over 10 million headsets. This technology is being used by our customers at home, and, with the recent Meta Microsoft Partnership, they will be using it at work…”
You may cringe at the thought of asking permission to purchase something, but if you have worked in a large corporation, you can appreciate that it is part of the dance. One of the many games played at adult daycare.
Scott Galloway knows this. His online business education platform Section4 has a page dedicated to helping you get work to pay for this. Lenny Rachitsky at Lenny’s Newsletter offers an email template and goes right after those funds. This is reality.
🎁 HOLIDAY NEWSLETTER DEAL 🎁
25% off a years subscription. First time I’ve offered a discount since launch. Deal ends in 24 hours.
Tip: Ask your manager if you can expense this as part of your learning and development budget.
— Lenny Rachitsky (@lennysan)
Nov 30, 2020
Expense This Revenue Opportunities
Affiliate Sales: Start simple with Amazon and other marketplace affiliate links. Negotiate 1-on-1 affiliate agreements as your audience grows.
Sponsored Products: There are plenty of products that would love to be spoon-fed as an easy to expense purchase to your growing audience. Charge for premium placement, ads and direct promotions.
Product Sales: There is a unique opportunity here is to sell bundles and long subscription terms.
Bundle what people expense all the time, like an annual subscription to the Wall Street Journal, with something else that they want, a Spotify membership.
Offer lifetime subscriptions. Often there is not a lot of difference between a $250 and a $1,000 expense in a category like software. The same logic that gets an enterprise user to pay yearly vs. monthly can apply to longer terms — I only have to expense this once, and I’ll still be able to use it long after the company has moved onto something else.
Expense This should let customers browse products by industry and role. It should provide an enhanced purchase experience that allows customers to customize elements of their receipts, and change payment method post purchase — you know, for when your expense report is denied, and you want to keep your 4K drone.
Now, go build this.