The Indie Hackers Podcast March 9, 2018

From Fledgling Founder to 7-Figure Deals with Stephanie Hurlburt of Binomial

Episode #044

Stephanie Hurlburt (@sehurlburt) shares the story of how she went from being an employee to being half of a 2-person startup that sells software to gaming companies, and all the steps in between. Learn how she quit her job, met her cofounder, landed lucrative contracting gigs, built a product, learned about sales, and stayed sane while doing it.

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    Yes yes yes, very happy to see Stephanie on here, would definitely recommend her blog too!

  2. 2

    Really enjoyed this... Listened to it all the way to the end. It's a well-planned out interview, interesting and full of lessons. Having a full-time job and trying to do something on the side, this has been a boost towards this direction for me. Lots and lots of the lessons learned I have experienced my self. Stephanie was a BRILLIANT speaker. Thumbs up!

  3. 2

    "Rich Geldreich"? What a name. :D

    1. 1

      Lol. If you know Afrikaans/Dutch then you know 'geld' is money.

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        Im German. I lough about the combination with Rich and Geldreich. "Rich" is in German "Reich". So if i translate the whole name to english it is: Rich Moneyrich.

  4. 2

    Thanks Stephanie for sharing your path forward. Loving the F*ck You. Pay Me vid.

    1. 1

      I cracked up when I heard this. I definitely need to watch this. :)

  5. 1

    My Main Takeaways:

    • Stephanie is big on work-life balance.

    • Stephanie is a graphics engineer.

    • Use your expertise - Stephanie's product "Basis" is an image compressor for game developers.

    • Business opportunities are usually natural expansions your life - Stephanie and her co-founder didn't start their image compression product intentionally. First They started a consultancy to help game developers "put out fires" before launch, and one client mentioned their need of a tool for image compression for their in-game textures.

    • Stephanie started a consulting company because she didn't feel that she was emotionally ready to take on a full time job.

    • For consulting, develop a strong network. This way, you can call someone when you need a contract.

    • When Stephanie was building up her clientele for potential consulting contracts, she'd do a lot of networking. She only had 2 months of savings and managed to get a consulting contract in 6 weeks.

    • Stephanie learned through networking that, 93% of people can't actually help you, but they may know someone who can help you down the road. So the best thing is to just make a good impression, and letting them know that you're looking for work in that conversation, and also being sure to demonstrate how you can help them.

    • Selling a product is better than selling your time.

    • Even when you have a consulting gig, you should always have backup gigs, or be networking for more if you have none.

    • Pro tip: When getting a consulting contract, get them to pay you upfront, even just a little bit, so that you can be in their system, and it's easier for them to pay you later.

    • After Stephanie and her co-founder began switching to a product mindset from a consulting mindset, they began prototyping business ideas in-between contracts. And in their networking conversations they'd now talk about the products they were building. Eventually Netflix reached out to them saying that they wanted to licence Stephanie and her co-founder's software.

    • Stephanie's co-founder had a blog that he would consistently write about their prototype on. And eventually an engineer at Netflix saw the value of the prototype, so the engineer made a recommendation to the company.

    • Don't just quit your job, take calculated risks.

    • Stephanie is in a company with a 2 person team, and is negotiating 7-figure deals for her company.

    • Look at value, not at time.

    • Stephanie's pricing strategy tips: When pricing, pick one of two strategies, (1) price so low that an engineer doesn't even think twice and just buys it. Or (2) price high enough to make it look really valuable.

    • Stephanie tries to not work more than 20 hours a week.

    • A lot of businesses are built off of really simple solutions. You can be very profitable this way.

    • More important than your technical skills is your ability to gain trust, identify problems, and propose a solution.

    • When you are very career focused, it's very hard for people who aren't directly related to that to play any role in it. So you end up drifting apart.

  6. 1

    Great story, overall. I also specifically liked the part about putting yourself out there more. I already have been doing it some (via my blog and social media channels and open source software I created - like xtopdf), for a while, and have seen some tangible benefits (e.g. getting consulting and training deals), need to do it more.

  7. 1

    Great episode! I love the way Stephanie is designing her business to meet her life goals. I also like how limited of scope Binomial's Basis is. It just makes images smaller. But it provides incredible value so she can charge accordingly.

    I definitely recommend reading Stephanie's post on the Stripe Atlas blog if you are interested in more of her thoughts on networking.

  8. 1

    Thanx, it was wery interesting

  9. 1

    Great podcast, very inspiring and not just for middle-ware devs 8)

  10. 1

    Podcast time! Thank you! ( ^ω^)

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    This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

    1. 1

      Funny you should say that. I'd never heard (of) Stephanie before now, but I have to say she has perhaps the most endearing laugh I've heard since Ron Swanson. I had to smile reflexively a few times while listening on the train this afternoon.