The $10M business whose “secret” is free ice water

Today, Wall Drug Store does $10 million+ in revenue.

It has 225 employees, a 76,000 square foot store and is visited by up to 20,000 people per day.

But, in 1931, when Ted Hustead purchased the store — in a 231-person town in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota — business was slow. Hustead made just enough to stay open, but things didn’t look good.

They were 2 years into the Great Depression…

And, by 1936 — and the birth of second child — Hustead and his wife were beginning to question whether they should give up on their dream of owning a drug store.

Then, one day, Ted’s wife Dorothy laid down for a nap with their new baby.

And, she was having trouble sleeping because of all the traffic rushing by on route 16 A near their store — tourists on their way to Mount Rushmore.. She began thinking, “How do I get all those people to stop at OUR store?”

And, she suddenly had an idea.

The badlands where the store is located is a desert. And, in those days, car air conditioners didn’t exist. So, many of those travelers had been driving for hours, windows down, in the heat — and didn’t realize they needed to bring water.

So, Wall Drug Store started offering free cups of ice water.

They put small signs along the road to entice people into their store.

It worked.

Customers began flooding into the store for free ice water…

And, they bought other items while they were in there.

By 1981, Wall Drug was giving away 20,000 cups of water per day. Their billboards advertising free ice water can be seen for hundreds of miles throughout South Dakota. They now offer free bumper stickers and 5-cent coffee.

There’s a bunch of little business and marketing lessons in there…

But, the most important, in my not-so-humble opinion, is “know thy customer”. Specifically, KNOW what they want — not what you THINK they want or what you think they NEED.

What they actually want.

The WHY behind your service.

What is it they’re really after?

Simply figuring that out and presenting it to them in an “irresistible” way can be the difference between sales as dry as the desert or as bountiful as an oasis. That’s one of the reasons why I spend so much time on understanding your “audience”…

In my 5-Figure Formula course.

Both in the video course and in the email coaching program that comes with the it, I show you how to uncover your clients’ “magic bullet” — the “magic pill” they already see as the cure to all their problems.

It’s the thing they’re ALREADY fixated on.

They already see it as their cure-all.

It’s already like free ice water on a blistering hot day — in THEIR mind.

So, there’s no selling that you have to do. All, you have to do is prove that you can deliver. That’s it. And, once word gets out that you can — referrals will come natural and easy and clients will just show up in your email inbox.

Just like they show up at Wall Drug.

Anyway, I created a video that shows you how I went from charging $1,000 per website all the way up to $18,445 for a single website for a single client — using the principles I teach in the course.

You can watch that video here:



Idea Engine LLC

P.O. Box 245

Winona, MO 65588

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That’s been the top, so far. The highest I’ve hit on Skillshare. And that IS just Skillshare. Doesn’t count Udemy, sales on my own website,

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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