Molly Wolchansky is the founder of The Agent Nest (@theagentnest), an application that manages social media posts and marketing materials for real estate agents. In this episode, we'll find out why she chose this niche and how seven years of manual agency work led to a breaking point.
• Follow Molly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theagentnest
• Check out Molly's App: https://www.theagentnest.com/
What's up, everybody? This is Courtland from indiehackers.com and you're listening to the Indie Hackers Podcast. More people than ever are building cool stuff online and making a lot of money in the process. On this show, I sit down with these indie hackers to discuss the ideas, the opportunities, and the strategies they're taking advantage of so the rest of us can do the same.
Today I'm talking to Molly Wolchansky. Molly is the founder of a company called The Agent Nest. It's a SaaS application that helps with social media marketing. In particular, she helps real estate companies automate their Twitter posts, their Instagram posts, and their Facebook posts.
You sort of popped onto my radar because of this post you made on Indie Hackers, I guess last month or the month before. It was “Growing from $145 a month to $7,500 a month in revenue since January of last year.” It was kind of just your pretty fat line of your story. Then you just kind of took questions. What motivated you to make that post?
My co-founder, who happens to also be my boyfriend, actually started posting on there. He told me, you should really go for it and start telling your story, especially since I am a woman in the SaaS industry, there's not many.
He thought that it would be beneficial for me to just tell people what's been going on with my business and because it had grown so much. We started, like you said, in January of 2020. From March to April, we jumped from $500 MRR to $2,443. It just kind of grew so fast and I was really happy about it.
I am really happy about it, but it's also a very intimidating kind of thing because this is my first Saa S business. My co-founder has a lot of experience running a SaaS. He's had his for about eight years now, so I'm very grateful that he was able to kind of guide me through.
I think your business is called The Agent Nest and you had another one before that called MoRealty marketing.
Oh my gosh. I really don't like that name.
You talked about that in your post. You said you didn't like the name.
Yeah, I don't know. I just, it doesn't, I don't know. I was trying to incorporate my name, Molly into real estate. Then I don't know what happened there.
Then it happens and you're stuck with it. Whatever name you choose, it's on all your business cards, it's your domain name. It's the name you told everybody. And it's so hard to change it. How'd you come up with a name for The Agent Nest?
Good question. I just did a lot of brainstorming. I did want agent in my name due to SEO and everything, and I am a big fan of birds. I actually have some bird tattoos and I have always just been fascinated by them. A nest to me, it's a very safe place and it's a place of growth. I wanted to incorporate nest into my name because of my personal connection and feeling.
There's a guide online. It's sort of a legendary guide to naming. It's called the Igor's guide to naming. It's from some branding company called Igor. I look at it every time I want to name anything.
It's always a grueling process cause you sit down and start spitting out names. At least when I try it, most of the names that come up with just aren't good. Then it takes, you know, a day or two of doing it. I'm like, okay, I like this name. Kind of the entire time through the process, I always feel like I'm never going to have a good name. I'm on my 15th name suggestion, it still sounds horrible.
In the guide, they kind of break it down into, they kind of analyze all these different names and they break them down into, I think, four categories. They have functional, descriptive names. That would be, I think, kind of similar to what you have because your company, The Agent Nest deals with agencies. You have agent in the name, right. It's very obvious. It's clear you’re speaking to your customers, et cetera.
They have kind of invented names. A lot of times these names generators will do this, will just come up like a completely fake word, like acquaint. Okay, that sounds cool. But those names, the upside to that is it sounds cool. There's no negative connotations, but the downside is that there's no positive connotations either.
When you hear that name, it might sound cool, but it doesn't make you feel any feelings. It's not associated with anything. So, you guys spend a bunch of money and time trying to infuse that brand in people's minds.
The other type of invented name is like invented names that just kind of sound cool or feel cool to say like Oreo or Snapple or Google. Those are the best kind because they just feel like something.
The other couple of categories, I feel like it's just worth going through in case somebody out there is trying to name their business and they want to know what the options are, experiential names. These are names that connect to something real or something. A lot of internet browsers are called Safari or Navigator or Explorer or something like that, kind of imaginative.
Then the last type of names is the evocative names. These are even more one step removed from what's going on and kind of caused you to think. They kind of talk about how you want people to feel about your brand rather than describing exactly what it is that your company does.
This would be like Virgin Airlines or Uber, Apple or something. It makes you think for a second, what is this about? But then you can kind of infuse a lot of emotion and feeling into those words, or maybe they already have them. They talk about like evocative names being the best or the most ideal, but often other names from other categories could be even better.
Anyway, you've got your business. You've got a very functional name, The Agent Nest. It's doing super well. It's grown to, kind of the magical mark that most funders are trying to hit is $10,000 a month. You're on your way there. You're like 80% of the way there.
Yeah. I have this written on my whiteboard. I have, I will get to $10K by July in giant letters.
Of course, some months are really awesome. Then some months, we kind of stay around the same MRR and those months that don't grow, I get really discouraged. Cause I'm like, I'm not going to meet my goal. It’s okay.
If you stick around the same MRR, if you're not losing a ton of customers, I think it's okay. I've had to kind of tell myself that because we're not always going to meet our goals all the time. So as far as getting to $10K by July, maybe that will happen. Maybe that won't. If it doesn't, it's on a whiteboard, so I can just erase July and write in October or something like that and we're good.
That's the cool thing about being your own boss too, you can just erase the goal off the whiteboard and no one's going to come down on you. There is no one above you who will get mad that you didn't hit that goal. It's just you, so if you feel good about it, then it's totally chill and things are fine.
So, you're around $8,000 a month in revenue. What do your expenses look like? What does your team look like? Is it just you and your boyfriend?
So, yeah, so right now our expenses, so I did go through expenses recently. It's definitely necessary software, like Butter CMS, ConvertKit, we also use Stripe for our payment processing, also Zero, Netlify. Just integrating all that into ad spend, probably spending around $1,800 per month.
I have not hired anybody yet. I have, I actually did include that in my post because I'm kind of on the fence about hiring somebody. My thoughts were I'm going to hire somebody once I get to $10K MRR and I don't know if that's a good idea or not. Right now, it is just me and him, but he's very, very busy.
He's the one who did all the backend and everything. He's a computer programmer. For me, I'm doing all the marketing, doing the design, customer service, kind of the whole shebang. In order to kind of alleviate some of that stress, I have hired some freelancers to help me with graphic design and to help me with marketing.
But as far as a hire, I have not made one. Right now, it's me, then he does about 15% of the work. Only in emergency situations where it involves coding or, yeah, coding, basically.
So are you both are either of you full-time on this or do you have other things.
This is the only thing that I do right now. So, it would be, it would be full time. And I had an issue with trying to do too many things at once because I always said yes to everything. A really important thing I learned throughout the process of owning my own company is you don't have to say yes to everything.
I would get emails from real estate agents asking me can you build my website or can you create this for me? I would always say yes, and then I'd get really overwhelmed with how much I needed to do, because I was trying to manage The Agent Nest and I was trying to build websites and I was trying to make sure individual social media looked presentable.
Before, MoRealty Marketing, before it kind of transformed into The Agent Nest, I was working for individual agents. I would post directly onto their social media for them. I would create events for their open houses and their listings.
It took a lot of time. One of the biggest issues that I ran into with that business is since it takes a lot of time, I have to charge more because I feel like my time is valuable. A lot of times with agents, they weren't able to afford the $450 around there that I was charging per month.
I kind of got the idea for The Agent Nest after thinking about that, because there are a lot of agents who can't afford that, especially ones who have just come into the industry. They're brand new, they're trying to figure out how to market their business.
One day I'm just like, I need to create something that everybody can afford, that everybody can have access to, at the same time where I'm not doing everything myself.
Let's talk about your first business where you're doing all this manual, one-on-one work with these real estate agents. I know nothing about real estate. I know nothing about what real estate agents are worried about. Why would they come to you? Is it just because they had trouble finding clients?
Beginning of 2015 is when I started creating the business. Let me preface this by saying I've always been a business owner. I've always had a business owner mindset.
When I was six years old, I would create these boats out of foil. My sister and I would sit on the side of the road in front of her selling foil boats. We were having issue with nobody buying them. I'm like, you know, what we should do is we should fill up a cooler with water and then put the boat on top of the water so we can show people that the boats actually work. We made 50 cents, so that's cool.
Then after that, during college, I ended up starting an Etsy business. I created products for people. That was another business where it took a lot of time because I was painting on coffee mugs and creating t-shirts and doing so many different things to where I got really overwhelmed and almost burnt out, I think, from doing the same thing over and over again every day.
Then, after that, my mom, going back to your question, my mom is a real estate agent. She was needing my help with her social media. I was like, okay, well, let's do this thing. I've always been, I did all my own marketing, all my own design for my Etsy business, so I had experience with graphic design and marketing at that point. I kind of taught myself how to do it.
I started posting on her social media and then people were asking her, where are you getting all this great content from? She told them, and then they told their friends, and then I started having people email me, and then the light bulb went off and I'm like, time to name this thing. Then I did it too fast and I came with it anyway.
And you get MoRealty Marketing.
Yeah. That’s where that came from.
I thought it meant that it was like more realty, like MoRealty, like more Realty, but I didn't realize it was supposed to be Molly.
Yeah, I know. And nobody didwhy would anybody know that?
I started posting for individuals, creating individuals’ content for about five years. It became a little bit too much for me for a couple of reasons. It got to the point where I couldn't manage that many people.
I have a problem with saying no to things, as I kind of mentioned earlier. I kept saying yes to everything. So, a new person would email me, I need help. Yes, I'll do it. Then I ended up having 19 clients where I was trying to manage everything all at once.
It just got to a point where I couldn't do it anymore. Then I actually ended up making my first hire for that business to kind of help me with posting and everything. The hire that I made lasted three days. That's why I'm so scared of hiring somebody now because it just didn't work out. It didn't work out.
So many people have this experience with hiring where if you have a really bad hire, it kind of scars you for life. You're just like, oh my God, this is so expensive and so much time and so much emotional effort. It was so horrible to have to fire this person, et cetera, et cetera. How does anyone ever hire? I couldn't trust anybody to do anything when I'm the one whose done this all successfully.
But then people often have the opposite experience. If you make a really good hire, where you feel the anxiety, you're like, I don't know if it's going to work. I'm giving my baby to this person and then they just go above and beyond expectations. They're doing things you didn't even think of and they're amazing. You’re like, hiring's amazing. Whenever you have that experience, you're like, okay, I get why people hire, et cetera, et cetera.
Your first hiring kind of shapes how you feel about things until your mind is eventually changed.
With my first hire I think I didn't do enough research on the individual person. As far as their experience goes, I really liked her, but at the same time, on the first day of work, she showed up 45 minutes late. So, that was kind of a red flag.
The second day, she took a two-and-a-half-hour lunch break and didn't come back ‘til like 2:30 PM and I'm like, hey, so I'm not very good with confrontation. Let me just put that, let me just throw it out there. I need to be a bit, a little bit better about that. I was like, what's going on? Why'd you take two-and-a-half-hour lunch break and she was like, oh, I had some stuff. I was like, okay, instead of saying something.
That's something I need to work on and I am working on. I definitely have become more confident in my own skin I suppose since with growth, you know, comes more confidence, I believe.
And mistakes, too. Doing things wrong and making the hiring mistakes, we've all done and then realizing, actually your business is fine and it will live to see another day and things are fine. It kind of helps you build a little bit of that thick skin toward like it's okay to experiment. It's okay to try things. It's okay to make mistakes. You're probably still gonna keep going.
Well, there were definitely some mistakes made and in different aspects of it, but there were all learning experiences.
As far as with the individuals that I was working with, they started asking me for more things. They started emailing me more and saying they needed this and this and this and this when we had agreed upon I'm only doing social media posts.
Then they're like, well, you can create a postcard for me real quick. Can you create a flyer for me real quick? And I would say yes. Then I would get so bombarded with all of these things.
I was just like, I need to fix this. I need to do something to where number one, I can handle an infinite amount of customers. I also need to be able to put a little bit less of my time into talking and posting to people's social medias.
I had to figure out how can I alleviate all of this stress and how can I fix this? I did a lot of brainstorming sessions. I like to meditate, so that helped a little bit too. It kind of transformed into The Agent Nest from here.
Tell me about that process, because I think you could have gone in so many different directions. You could have been like, you know what, I'm going to get better at saying no, I'm only going to stick to social media posts and that's how things are going to be.
Or you could have been like, you know what, I'm just going to embrace the scattershot approach and just start doing any and everything with my agency. Or you could have been like, you know what, I'm getting out of the real estate business for good. This is too stressful. I'm tired of it. I don't like it. Let me do something new.
How did you decide I'm going to build a SaaS application that serves, well, maybe we haven't even described what The Agent Nest does. What is The Agent Nest exactly and how does it help a real estate agency?
The Agent Nest is a platform where people can sign up for a membership at $32 a month or $59 a month, depending on what plan they go with.
When they sign up, they have access to social media posts that they can edit through Canva and they come with captions and hashtags. We also do have postcards, flyers, listing videos, listing presentations, open house promos, basically anything that an agent needs, digital or print, they can get it in one place. With the $32 a month plan, they get access to all that.
$59 a month, we actually white label with a company. We were able to give the agents an option to schedule directly to their social media, which was a huge thing for us. We implemented that, I think around May of 2020, and that we did see a lot of growth from that. We still are seeing growth from that.
Going into something new is always scary. I did want to quit. I'm not going to lie because I just felt, I don't know. I wanted to quit and I wanted to give up for a few reasons. One being, I kept on looking at other people and I kept on seeing their success. And I kept telling myself, I will never be like that. I'm never going to be that successful person. How can I compete with that? How can I do that?
I did want to quit and I'm a writer and I love to write and I have written plays and I'm published, have been published in magazines and I've helped publish books and everything. I kind of wanted to focus on that, but at the same time, I really like marketing. I really like content creation. I do like working with real estate agents.
I had to figure out what my passion was. I had just turned about to turn 30 years old, going through not a midlife crisis, obviously, but kind of like an existential one, like what am I doing with my life kind of thing. I'm sure maybe some people can identify with that.
I was just like, you know, I like what I'm doing. I just need to tweak it. After walking through what to do to fix these problems of time and how many people I could handle, I thought about it. I talked to my co-founder about it. I said, I have this idea. Is it possible? Can you help me?
We actually started with a no code solution to our platform and I created the website myself. He worked on the back end of the website. Now we use, you know, we're, we're coding C-sharp and using Vue.
Custom development. Yeah. I was just talking to a buddy who wants to start an app and he's like, well, how do I raise money? I got to talk to investors, et cetera. I'm like, what do you need to raise money for? He's like, I need software engineers and designers, et cetera. I'm like, no, no, you just start with something super simple.
I talk to so many founders who were not technical or who get started with something using no code or using an email list. They eventually step-by-step, as they make more money or find more success, build it up into something bigger and better.
But you don't have to start with the custom coded web app from day one. There's really no reason you have to start there just because that's where you want to end.
Absolutely, and it does cost money. If you don't have the money to start it, I think that's a deterrent for a lot of people. You don’t need all this money to do this.
You don't because for me, I'll tell you I was not doing well. I was broke. I didn't have money. Even after handling 19 clients, I still didn't have the money because I was paying, I had a lot of bills. You know how life is.
That was another thing where I had talked to my co-founder about how can we do this for the least amount of money possible. Whenever I started, I only invested about $500 into starting the company.
How I grew it to be from, from January, just say to April. January I had like four signups and I'm so hard on myself. I'm like, why am I doing this? My boyfriend's like, you got four signups. That's awesome. Some people don't get their first signup for like two years, I'm just like, no, I need to be better.
Well, let me ask you. What is driving you to need to be better? You're talking about looking at these other people who are so successful and thinking like you're not going to be that successful. What is your goal? What do you want to accomplish?
I've always just kind of been a perfectionist where I have to be good at everything. That is also a big problem. I have not done a lot of things in my life that I wanted to do because I was afraid of failure.
I've wanted to write a book, but I'm afraid it's not going to be good. I'm not George Orwell. I'm not Ernest Hemingway. Nobody's going to want to read my book. I'm comparing myself to these amazing people. It's okay to compare yourself, but it's not okay to stop doing what you want to do because of that.
I’ve just had a lot of issues with that and it does pop up still sometimes because we're having other companies that are similar to mine, like our competitors and everything. There was one day when I was looking at one of my competitors and I noticed that she had just gotten to a thousand customers and was talking about it on social media.
I was just like, I am not doing this anymore. I'm never getting to a thousand customers, I can't believe this. I have learned to not be so hard on myself and to celebrate my successes. I need to make sure that I do celebrate even the small ones, because that's how you keep going. That's how you keep moving forward.
Yeah. I'm wired kind of the same way as you, when you talk about being a perfectionist, when you talk about being self-critical and wanting to do more and do it better, and it's a double double-edged.
Obviously, there are limits to how self-critical you should be and you can just beat yourself up. You can get to a state where you're actually doing really well. You found your first four customers in the first month, that's better than a lot of indie hackers start off, but then you're not happy because you're just thinking about how much better things can be.
I think the advantage to being a perfectionist is that a lot of people, especially when they're crafting a product or some sort of art or some sort of book or anything just aren’t realistic with themselves in terms of evaluating what they're doing and whether or not they're doing a good job, which I think sometimes prevents them from fixing obvious mistakes and flaws.
Of all the perfectionists I know that's never the case. We're very good at saying this could be better. Here's what needs to be improved, et cetera. I think that realism, if you can channel it and hone it into a limited surface area, if you can be a perfectionist over just one very specific app or one very specific piece of writing, or one very specific thing that you're working on, then you can really make that, take that thing and make it much better than I think the average person can.
That is a really good way to put it, because if you're trying to be perfectionist in every single aspect of your life or every single aspect of your business, it's not going to happen.
If you just focus on the one thing. There's actually a book called “The One Thing” where it's saying you need to focus on one thing at a time. If you're doing too many things, then you're not going to be good. You can't be good at everything.
There was a time when I was trying to be good at everything. But like you said, there's a point where you're like, okay, I need to focus on this and then we'll get to the other thing next.
That’s hard to do when you start a new company, because every blog post you read, every podcast you listen to, every book you read, they have like a million different tips and tricks, do this, do that. What about SEO? What about ads? Why aren't you on Facebook? What about Instagram?
It's super easy to think like, oh my God, I'm not doing enough. But the real answer probably in the early days is you should only be doing one or two things tops. Two things might be too many. If you're doing any more than that, even though it feels like that's what you should be doing, because that's what everybody says you should be doing, that's probably not the right way to go.
When I look at like your early growth for The Agent Nest, you start this SaaS company in January of last year, you made, it looks like 145 bucks your first month. The next month, more than double, about $400, then $500. Then in April suddenly you go to $2,500 a month.
You basically quintupled your revenue. I'm going to guess that that probably wasn't from doing 15 different things. I'm going to guess that something worked really well. I don't know. I could be wrong. What changed from January?
It’s interesting, because starting a business in 2020 was definitely scary due to the obvious, you know, everything that was going on in the world. In March, when the pandemic hit, I was like, this business is going to fail. I'm not going to be able to do this. Nobody's going to sign up. People are trying to save money.
So I did actually decide to give my product away for free to everybody, to all the real estate agents for 30 days. I made an ad about it and I said, I know everybody's going through a hard time. Here's my website, sign up for free. It's yours.
After I did that, I had a lot of people actually sign up for paid afterwards. I did not expect that to happen. I really didn't. Another thing that was really beneficial for me was I have had a lot of former clients, I've probably had about a hundred, a lot of them come and go, so I did email each and every one of my clients.
Just said, how's it going? I haven't talked to in a while, told them about my new business. This was all in March, too. I was just really determined. I emailed all these people. I said, do you know people, other real estate agents, we have a referral program. If you want to refer somebody over to this and we'll give you this amount of money.
I emailed them and I also emailed, in the past I was invited to teach classes at Keller Williams real estate agency. I have taught a lot of classes around the Dallas metroplex to Keller Williams agents about how to market their business, how to create a Facebook page, how to use the internet. I'm not joking.
There were a lot of different classes. Some people did not even know how to use the internet. That's okay. You have to be really patient for things like that. After teaching those classes, I had an email list of those people and I sent out a mass email to them. After doing that and after running the ad, that was really well perceived. I don't, I only spent about $400 on that ad. My click per cost was I think, 2 cents. After that happened is when we started seeing a lot of the growth.
Through a lot of the work that you basically spend years doing in the real estate world with your marketing agency, with the classes that you taught, you built up this huge network. That came in handy later on, which I think speaks to why it makes sense to, you know, when you're sort of searching through the wilderness, trying to figure out what to do, and you wanted to quit, the decision to stick with that needs to stick with what you felt comfortable with and the connections you built in the real estate agency. It seems like it paid dividends.
If I tried to start a real estate marketing business, I know nobody. I know zero people. I would have absolutely nobody on an email list that I could email and be like are you interested in this? I would get crickets.
You know, like I said, I, I did it for five years, so I did have a lot of contacts. I'm very lucky that I did. I'm also very lucky that I wrote down the contacts. I actually didn't implement them into any kind of system like MailChimp or anything. I just had this notepad full of emails. I had to go through and type them all out and do all that.
I also went to a few real estate conventions and got some emails from there as well. My advice for conventions, I won't go on a rant, but I will tell you, before you decide to pay for a booth at a convention, do research on that convention. There was one that I went to that probably had about 50 people show up.
I need to do research on the things that I'm investing my time and money into. That's important. That's just another thing you can add onto the list of mistakes. It's okay.
Tell me about this ad that you ran, that you spent what $400 on, and you're getting clicks for 2 cents or something crazy? Where did you run this ad? Facebook? Google?
I ran it through Facebook. It's really difficult because back then, I was able to target real estate agents and job titles, realtors, and everything. At that time I did target real estate agents and I targeted brokers. I targeted people in the United States and also Canada.
On the ad, I had a graphic on there that said 30 days free in big letters. Then in the text box, I said, everything you need for your real estate business, we're giving it away for 30 days free for a limited time to help you during this difficult time.
People just click started clicking on it and signing up. I was happy. I was really happy. The thing about Facebook ads is it, Facebook ads have made my life a lot more difficult now I will say because there are a lot of restrictions that they put up about probably nine months ago where you are not allowed to target job titles if you are in the real estate industry.
So anytime I try to run a Facebook ad and don't check off housing on there, then I get flagged, and the ad gets rejected. I've had a lot of challenges with recreating an ad that's able to target that many people. I think that's one of the things I'm still working out.
I'm able to target zillow.com pro and realtor.com pro and multiple listing service, but I can't target specific job titles. That has been a challenge. After that, I decided to move on to Pinterest and run Pinterest ads.
I've been working with Pinterest for a really long time. I didn't run a lot of Pinterest ads. I decided to just post some of my content on there for free and said, sign up for this email to receive 10 free social media posts with captions and hashtags.
Through the Pinterest ad, it started getting a lot more traction too. From April to May, we went from $2,400 to 3$,500 just from running the Pinterest ads. I've been kind of sticking with Pinterest and I have about a hundred thousand Pinterest views on my profile each month. So yeah, I really enjoy using that platform as well.
I want to talk about your sort of continued growth. Would you say that Pinterest ads have been sort of the crucial, or ads in general have been the crucial linchpin in your growth strategy since then? Because in April of last year you hit $2,500 a month with the sort of free promotion. These ads today, you're like three times that. What's contributed to that growth?
So definitely ads. I usually stick to Facebook ads and Pinterest ads and also Instagram as well has been a really big outlet for helping my business. I know you're really big on Twitter. I'm trying, I'm working on Twitter, but as far as Instagram goes, I have almost 13,000 followers on Instagram.
In order to target my specific audience, I go through Instagram, type in the hashtag realtor, and then just start liking and commenting on all posts with the hashtag realtor on it. That has also helped me tremendously, but it also takes a lot of time as well.
I am trying to do, I'm trying to market my business as well as create content and I already, but what helped with that growth is number one, yes ads. Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are the main ones I go for. Number two, we did add a new plan was scheduled posting.
I looked at all my competitors and we are the only company in the industry right now that offers scheduled posting. Since we're white labeled with another company, we're able to give people analytics and we have RSS feeds in there and that's been really helpful to them. So, just adding on that other plan really helped with the growth too.
Also, just increasing my ad budget. I started, my MRR started going up, so I started to increase how much I was spending per month. Now I'm spending around $1,000 per month on that. That's okay. You know, a part of me just wants to spend all of it on ads.
I'm just like, I need to just throw it all in there, just an entire month's worth of MRR for an ad to see what happens, because it's okay to spend your money on marketing. The number one way you're going to get customers is through marketing. I think that should be, in my opinion, that should be the biggest budget for any company that's trying to grow.
Even if you feel like, oh, I didn't make any money this month, it'll be okay because you're getting more. Or as far as me, I was getting more signups. So now I'm averaging around 60 signups per month, just starting this year. Last year, it got a bit slow and I got stuck.
I feel like a lot of people get stuck at a certain amount. I got stuck at $5,000 MRR. For a while. I was even running the ads. I was doing everything that I was doing before. I just was like, man, why am I stuck in this one spot? I was like, I have to do something to figure out how to get me out of this little rut I'm in.
I decided to reevaluate my marketing strategy. I decided to reevaluate my ads. I created new ads. I also started running ads on Google for the first time. I had never done that before with this business. I decided to go the Google ads route. Also worked on the SEO for my website, which was kind of faltering a little bit.
Rhat's how I kinda got out of that 5,000 rut was I just kind of switched around the strategy that I used for marketing. I was like, it worked before. It's not working now, so let's change it and fix it.
Yeah. There's so many advantages that you have in the situation I think by being a marketer, because most of the people that I have on the show, they're software engineers.
They come into every problem with their software engineer hat on and say, oh, I'm not getting enough customers. I'm not getting enough signups. It must be a problem with my product. If only I spend the next six months building this feature, I tweak these colors. I move this button over here, then something better will happen. It'll magically start growing.
Because your co-founder is a software engineer, and he’s just sort of plugging away and working on that. You're free to think with only your marketing hat on. That's something that a lot of people who haven't actually gotten started doing, like are totally afraid to do.
Probably the vast majority of indie hackers have never even tried spending a single dollar on advertising, which probably one of the easiest ways to get users cause you just show them a thing. If they like it, they click it. It's pretty straight forward.
Again, your particular situation, you're only trying different marketing approaches. You're only trying different ad channels, et cetera. If it turns out that's the actual thing that's caused you to plateau, then you're going to succeed because you're trying this thing that other people don't even attempt to try or might be scared to try.
I like the division of labor between you and your co-founder. I like the fact that you're willing to spend money to make money.
I'm curious now that you're pretty close to your $10,000 a month goal, what are you going to do to get there? What do you think is the next hurdle you need to overcome?
To get to my $10,000 MRR, I actually revised my ad yesterday, I am keeping on my free trial. I do want to eventually drop the free trial. I'm going to continue to run a Facebook ad. I actually upped my budget for my Facebook ad to $30 per day. I’m focusing on that one ad, because right now it's doing very well.
I also would really like to market more on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. By market more, I mean by posting every single day, going through each hashtag and commenting and liking on people's pages. Whenever I did that, whenever I interacted with my target audience on a daily basis, I would get multiple sign-ups.
Then I started getting too busy to do that. But that's something that I can do from my couch or my bed. It's something that you don't have to be sitting on a desk to do. It's easy. It doesn't cause you know, it doesn't, I don't have to think a lot about it.
All I have to do is just go through #realtor, they say, oh, I made a sale and I comment and say, congratulations, this is amazing with the heart emoji. Then you get a follower and you potentially get a client or a member. I need to focus more on just talking to my target audience and being more available. I think that if I keep doing that, then I will get to my $10,000 MRR. Once I get to my $10,000 MRR, that is when I will hire somebody to do all that work for me.
And to make another post on Indie Hackers about how you got there.
Yes! Oh my gosh. Of course, yeah. I have come across a few communities that I have not felt as welcome in. Whenever I posted on there, everyone was nice and so welcoming and wonderful and so supportive. I've had people message me or send me an email or contact me through Instagram asking me questions on how I got to where I am. I just feel so honored.
You made a really good post. I think it's the formula is pretty straight forward. You be transparent. You actually tell your story in a story form. You don't hide the bad stuff. You don't only show the good stuff and you did all of that in your post. S
It's hard for people reading that and going through the same journey that you are not to want to connect to you and not to want to empathize with you and not to want to like reach out to you. It was really cool to see that, and you've done the exact same thing in this podcast. Hopefully people will reach out to you as well.
I ask everybody who comes on the show kind of the same question at the end, which is what's your advice for other people who are just getting started? A lot of people are trying to do what you're on the verge of doing and getting to this $10,000 a month revenue mark. What's your feedback for them if they're frustrated and just getting started?
Frustration is something that's going to happen. Your feelings are valid. I just want to tell you that.
My advice would be don't let other successful companies in the same field become a deterrent to your success. Because a lot of times I would look at companies that were similar to mine. I would see how well they were doing. I would say, you know what, I'm not going to get there. I can't do this.
I think it is so important to tell yourself, I can. I can do this and I will do this. Just focus on your business, focus on what you care about. If you do become discouraged, don't stay in that discouragement. Use that discouragement as fuel to grow and to get better.
All right, love it. Don't let other companies become a discouragement to your success. Honestly, it makes perfect sense because so many of the founders I've talked to are starting companies that are solving similar problems to companies that are much bigger and more established than theirs.
They're just coming at it from a different angle, with a different creative solution or different customers. They weren't deterred by the fact that someone had already done it in a different way before them. I like the fact that you're doing the same thing.
You're not the very first person to ever help real estate agents with their social media marketing, and yet you're still crushing it and doing a great job.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.
Yeah. Thank you for coming on the show. Can you let listeners know where they can go to learn more about you and what you’re up to?
My website is just TheAgentNest.com and then all of my social media handles are @TheAgentNest. That's another marketing tip for you, make sure that all of your social media handles have the same exact name. That's really helpful.
That's how you can contact me or, [email protected] That's my email. So don't feel don't be afraid to reach out.
All right. Thanks, Molly.
All right. Thank you so much, Courtland. Appreciate it.
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